Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he gave us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3 - EHV)
Which of Jesus’ disciples do you think you are most like? Are you like James and John who wanted to be in positions of power on Jesus' left and right? Are you like Matthew who at first was a sinful tax collector? Maybe you are like Nathaniel who didn’t really trust Jesus at first as he asked if anything good could come from Nazareth. Are you like Thomas who didn’t believe in Jesus’ resurrection until he could actually touch Jesus and see Jesus? Are you like Peter who blatantly denied Jesus three times?
Honestly, I see a lot of myself in many of the disciples, but Peter seems to jump to the top of the list. How many times have I denied Jesus by my failing to follow Jesus and his Word. Way too many times! But like Peter I have also seen firsthand the mercy and hope that God has showed me in the form of sending Jesus to die to bring me a “living hope”. What is interesting about the words of our text, is that these words were written long after Peter denied Jesus the three times, but he could see how God’s forgiving love and mercy are what truly mattered. Peter knew God’s mercy firsthand and God led him to write these words, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he gave us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
Can you imagine how horrible Peter must have felt on Good Friday evening and Saturday? He had blown it, blown it, blown it! He couldn’t have failed more miserably! Just as Jesus had told him, he had denied his Savior three times! How horrible those days must have been for Peter!
Peter of course is not the only one who’s blown it. As we consider our lives, we see our failures over and over again. We have failed to fight temptations, failed to show love, failed to be faithful. We have failed, and sometimes we have failed miserably. We can relate to Peter and how disappointed he was in himself. Perhaps like him we even weep bitterly over our sins.
But oh how things changed for Peter on Easter Sunday, as Jesus came popping into the room and showed the disciples his hands and side! He was risen! He had conquered! Sin was forgiven! The proof was in those nail-scarred hands!!! Even Peter’s sins of denial were forgiven!
And so are ours! Our sins are fully forgiven, because Jesus died and rose! We have “a new birth into a hope” which is living and ongoing! Trusting in Jesus, we know 100% that we are going to heaven! That is true today, will be true tomorrow, and someday we will enjoy the full blessings of it! It’s proven true by Jesus’ rising from the dead! Thank You God For Your Mercy!
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. He welcomes your feedback at any time.
Livestream on Youtube:
We would like to apologize for any inconvenience that you may have had over the last two Sundays as you tried to watch the Livestream on YouTube. One of the electronic pieces that sends the Livestream out failed and we are in the process of replacing it. We are doing the best we can and things should be working bettter by this coming Sunday. Thanks for your patience.
The first quarterly Voters’ meeting will be held tonight on Tuesday, April 20th at 7:00 p.m. All men ages 18 and over are encouraged to attend.
Confirmation and Examination
This Sunday, April 25, starting at around 9:15, we will have our Confirmation Examination. Please come and listen as these young people show the many truths that they have learned from God's Word and the Catechism over the last three years. It is also a great way for all of us to review some of the basic truths of God' Word.
Sunday May 2 in the 10:30 service, we will have our Confirmation service where these young people make their public confession of their faith.
NOTE: There will not be Adult Bible Class on April 25 and May 2 because of the Examination and Confirmation.
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.
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.