Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my plans are higher than your plans.” (Isaiah 55:9 - EHV)
It is very common for people to want to question God and his decisions, and I am willing to bet that most of us reading this devotion are no different. Do some of these questions sound familiar? “God, why did this person die at such a young age? God, why did I lose my job? God, why did you allow a pandemic to spread throughout the world? God, why is there so much suffering and hate in this world?” How long do you think the line would be if God came down to earth to answer questions for a day?
We all have questions that we would like to ask God. We question why things happened the way they did. We question why God didn’t tell us this or that or why didn’t he let us in on the secret. Isaiah reminds us that there are just some things we will never understand about God and his ways, “My ways are higher than your ways, and my plans are higher than your plans.” How foolish for us as sinful people to question God or think that for some reason we need to know what God is doing or has done. Honestly, even when God tells us his will in his Word, there is a good chance that it will not make sense to us. This is not a bad a thing, but rather it is good for us to remember that there are some things that God has decided it is better for us that we don’t need to know.
So how should we handle all our questions for God? It is much better to look at this so-called problem from a different perspective. Rather than be disappointed or frustrated at what God doesn’t seem to tell us, why don’t we look at the positives. While there may be many things our sinful minds don’t know about God and his plans, there is plenty that God has so graciously revealed to us.
For instance: We know that we are sinful and need a Savior. We know that God sent Jesus to be our Savior. We know that God sent Jesus to be born as a man, to stand in our place, to fulfill all of God’s Law perfectly. We know that God sent Jesus to endure the punishment we deserved by suffering and dying on the cross. We know that Jesus did everything exactly as God planned, and he rose from the dead on Easter Sunday to prove it. Everything Jesus did was just as God planned, just as God wanted, and just what we needed to be saved.
Everything we need to know for our eternal life with God, God has given us in his Word. And now that we know and believe it, God wants us to share it. He wants us to start at home and work our way out—to our families, our neighborhoods, our communities, even to the ends of the earth. We don’t need to know the answers to all of life’s questions, and truth be told we should never expect to know everything that our all-knowing and all-powerful God knows. But we can live with complete confidence that what God has revealed to us in his Word is all we need to know! Rather than living to question God about why and what he does or doesn’t do, we can know 100% that God has told us everything that is truly important -- Christ has come, Christ has died, Christ will come again!
Pastor Mark Gartner
On March 25, Pastor Frey received a divine call to serve the Lord at Nebraska Lutheran High School in Waco, NE. as Campus Pastor and Dean of Students. Please keep the Freys in your prayers at this time as Pastor decides where he can best use his gifts and talents in service to the Lord in his kingdom. Pastor Frey plans on spending some time during Bible Class on the 11th going through some basics of the call process as well as giving information on the call to Nebraska Lutheran. He welcomes your feedback at any time.
Women of Faith and LWMS
Tuesday April 13th at 1:00 pm, all the ladies are invited to our Bible study and to receive updates on our LWMS group.
With the pandemic, we realize that many people do not feel comfortable worshipping in a large group setting. Because of this, we know that many people haven't been able to make use of Holy Communion during this past year. The Pastors want everyone to know that you may call and set up to come to the Pastors offices to receive private Holy Communion at any time. It has been a blessing that many people have made use of private Holy Communion during the past year, but we want all people to know that this is available for all those who don’t feel comfortable attending in person.
Church Seating and Social Distancing:
With things moving slowly in the right direction with Covid-19, more people have been returning to worship each Sunday. Because of the pews being roped off for social distancing, this has caused some issues with finding enough seating for everyone. After considering all these things, the Church Council decided to remove the ropes from the pews starting on Sunday March 28.
While we may be taking down the ropes, this doesn't mean that common sense is to be thrown aside. We are asking everyone to use their Christian love and judgment as they consider not only their own levels of comfort with social distancing, but also their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Please be respectful of each other as you worship, especially as you look to respect each other’s comfort levels with social distancing.
Remember that our 10:30am and especially our Monday evening services aren't full and one can socially distance if so desired. If you have any questions, please talk to one of the Pastors or to one of the Church Council members.
Because of the Outagamie County mask mandate we are still encouraging everyone to wear a mask (but we are not making it a requirement to attend).
Worship Service Through Your Phone:
If you know someone who does not have the Internet and would like to still listen each week to our Worship Services, please let them know that you can now receive our weekly worship services by dialing 1-920-212-3625 each week and you will be able to listen to our Sunday morning Worship Service. Each week the service will become available to listen to each Sunday after 10:30am and you can listen to these services at any time during the week. If you have any questions, please call Church. Presently, we have about 3-5 people who are making use of this wonderful tool to hear God's Word.
We will no longer be asking members to sign up for worship services. You may come to whatever worship service works best for you. Thank you to those who have taken the time to sign up each week.
A few years ago St. John set up a fund to support our members who are attending Martin Luther College (MLC). This coming school year, we will have one of our members attending MLC to study to be a teacher in our WELS Schools . If you would like to contribute to this fund, please mark your special offering to the "MLC Fund" by May 1st.
Pastor Frey started a new Bible Study on Sunday March 7th at 9:15 am on the New Testament book of Colossians. Join us as we look at this important letter which highlights the person of Christ and his work of salvation.
Pastor Gartner started a new Bible Study on Mondays and Tuesdays starting Monday March 8th at 8:00 am and Tuesday night March 9th at 5:30 pm. The title of this Bible Class will be, "Luther’s Small Catechism – A Study of The Apostles’ Creed, Baptism and Holy Communion." Martin Luther wrote the Small Catechism to help assist Christians in their learning the basic truths of God’s Word. Please join us in this Bible Class as we seek to strengthen our faith as we use Luther’s Small Catechism to refresh our knowledge about The Apostles’ Creed, Baptism and Holy Communion.
If you would like to receive a recording of these Bible Classes, please contact one of the Pastors and we will send you the link for these recordings.
If you are not comfortable sending your child to in person Sunday School, we have weekly recorded videos of each weeks Bible Lesson and the Lesson sheets that we can send to you so that your child can still learn the valuable truths of God's Word. Please contact us if you would be interested in these materials.
We will continue to live-stream our services and post our worship folders online. We will be recording our Sunday 8:00 am service which means you can watch anytime after 8:00 am on Sunday morning. If you need any help accessing these resources, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
You can find our worship services at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCsQs-LDzlHE1NTjOaVaQ2A.
You can find a bulletin for each Worship Service so you can follow along here: https://stjohncenter-my.sharepoint.com/:f:/g/personal/pastor_frey_stjohn-appleton_org/EqetvOMWflhLsfsLRcDkxSgBL2cnYkpiuk8Klh7d-r_XQg?e=07dSma.