"Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” (Ephesians 6:10)
“Winning isn't everything. It's the only thing,” claimed a famous football coach. Our world seems to agree. From the playgrounds to professional sports and everything in between, the world pounds home that kind of philosophy, but not our Lord. He set the pace for us by showing that giving -- not getting; loving -- not hating; helping -- not hurting are what really count. But there is one area in our life where our Lord reminds us winning is the only thing. That's in the contest for our souls.
As in any contest we need to ask, “Who are the enemies that we are facing?” One of our enemies is with us every second of life. From our parents we inherited a sinful nature, which we call the “Old Adam.” Like a snake, our Old Adam is coiled inside our hearts and is always trying to push up the lid and slither free into our lives.
Allied with our Old Adam is the sinful World -- a world which tells us it is good for us to live for the here and now, and behind our Old Adam and this sinful World stands the leader himself, Satan. Satan wakes up every day and has one goal and that one goal is to destroy God's people, and he never seems to run out of ways to deceive us. His arsenal in hell is always well stocked with the latest in weapons and plans.
What are we to do with such enemies? Some say we should “Ignore them.” If we pretend there is no enemy then we will be safe, or so we think. This approach can’t work and will always prove fatal. Just because we “bury our heads in the sand” doesn’t change the fact that our enemies are real and very dangerous.
Others look at our enemies and take the approach that you should “Talk or reason with them.” If we just “sit down and negotiate” with our enemies, then we can figure out a way to co-exist side by side. How foolish!
Still others think it is a good idea to go out into this battle all by themselves. They think they are strong enough on their own to defeat these very powerful enemies. They are either overconfident in their own power or completely ignorant about the power of our eternal enemies. It’s almost like they think that this spiritual battle is some kind of video game that if they happen to lose they will have somehow accumulated enough “extra lives” or “bonus points” to continue the game. But we need to remember that these enemies and this battle are real and the spiritual consequence are also real and eternal.
So back to the question, “What are we to do with our spiritual enemies? Do we truly believe that this battle is so serious that winning is the only option? If you answered yes, then listen to Paul. He doesn't tell us to ignore these serious enemies or to foolishly talk with them, or overconfidently go into battle with them. He said, “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” (Ephesians 6:10) He spoke of power and might, but did you notice whose power and might it is? It isn’t our own power, but it is the Lord’s power. In this battle for souls, where winning is the only real option, Paul urges us to recognize the enemies and to take them on only with God’s help. Paul had learned what God’s weapons were and now he wanted everyone to know. That is why he urges us to “Be strong in the Lord, and in his mighty power.” The only way to win is to rely 100% on the Lord’s almighty strength. Only Jesus and his forgiving love on the cross can defeat our Old Adam, this sinful World and Satan.
And let’s be very clear about this battle. This is a battle that rages every day. That is why Paul urges us to never stop using God’s strength and power. In the original Greek he said, “Keep on being strengthened in the Lord and in his mighty power.” Do we hear what he is saying? He is telling us to as often as possible take hold of God’s power which is the Gospel found in God’s Word and in the Sacraments of Baptism and Lord’s Supper.
This doesn’t mean to use God's power just once a week for an hour in Church or for a few years while we are Sunday School age or until you get the coveted Confirmation Certificate. God is telling us to use it regularly to grow in faith and knowledge as the Spirit works through it for our entire life – 24/7 -- for our whole life. Let the worship services, Bible classes, daily devotions, regular attendance at the Lord's Supper not be options, but divine necessities if we are at all serious about winning, with God’s help, this battle for our soul's eternal future. I can’t wait to see you soon as we gather together wherever the Lord offers us opportunities to makes us strong in his mighty power.
Pastor Mark Gartner
Labor Day Weekend Worship
Labor Day weekend worship will be Thursday, August 29 at 6:30 pm and Sunday, Sept. 1 at 8:00 and 10:00 am. No Monday evening service will be held on Sept. 2.
Worship times Changing
Our fall schedule begins Sunday, September 8, 2019. Worship times will be at 8:00 and 10:30 am. Bible classes and Sunday School will be held between services. Monday evening worship will continue to be at 6:30 pm.
Wednesday September 4th from 6:00-7:30 pm our Confirmation classes will begin for our 6-8th Grade students.
Sunday school for your children (3K to 8th grade) will begin on Sunday, September 8, 2019 at 9:15 am. If you are willing to use your time and abilities to share Jesus with the children this year (2019-2020) either as a teacher or helper, please contact Pastor Frey as soon as possible.
Sunday morning Bible classes will resume Sunday, September 8 at 9:15 am. Pastor Frey will be leading us through a study on "The Lord's Supper." We will see what God's Word has to say about the Lord's Supper and we will see the many blessings God gives to us through this sacrament.
Our Monday morning Bible classes will resume Monday, September 9 at 8:00 am. Tuesday evening Bible classes will resume on Tuesday, September 10 at 5:30 pm. Pastor Gartner will be leading a study of God’s Word under the theme: “What Does It Mean To Be A Lutheran?” Have you ever had questions about some of the main differences between all the Christian churches or maybe just have wondered how come there are so many different types of Christian churches? If so, please come and join us as we explore what God’s Word has to say about some very key teachings that the devil is trying to distort.
Mission Festival Sunday
Sunday September 22, we will be celebrating our Mission Festival Sunday. Pastor Steven Prahl who serves at Foundation Lutheran Church in Peyton, Colorado, which is the Mission congregation that St. John supported this year with our yearly Mission Offering, will serve as our Guest preacher and will also lead a Bible study about his congregation and what it is like to serve in a mission congregation. Please mark your calendars and plan to join us for this special Mission Festival Sunday.
Another year of choir is about to begin at St. John. Our first rehearsal will be Wednesday, September 11 at 7:00 pm in the church balcony. No experience necessary! All are welcome. New singers are encouraged to attend. Come and worship with your voices. Enjoy Christian fellowship! Contact Dave Dahl at (920) 915-3867 with any questions.
A watch with a pink band was found at the Church picnic. You may pick it up from the counter in the back of church.