The child’s father immediately cried out and said with tears, “I do believe. Help me with my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)
How strong is a Christian’s faith? We sometimes have this idea that the faith of a Christian is always strong and steady—that since it’s built on the foundation of Christ as the cornerstone, our faith is always stalworth and unwavering. We take a look at our fellow Christians and we may envy their faith at times because it seems that they never waver in their faith, they never question God’s Word, or they never have any doubts at all about the Lord. And we compare that to our faith and we seem the exact opposite—that we do have a lot of questions, there are plenty of things in the Bible we don’t understand, that doubts do crop up in our heads and hearts all the time. And we may feel down about our own faith or feel isolated because it seems as if everyone has a stronger faith than us.
But the truth is, everyone—even those who seem to have a strong and steady faith—has doubts from time to time; everyone’s faith wavers. It is a result of being sinners with a sinful mind and being attacked by the devil and his lies.
The man who spoke the words above and come to Jesus in need of help. His son was possessed by a demon which was endangering his life. So he came to Jesus and said, if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us. Jesus harped on him for saying “if you can.” Of course Jesus could—didn’t he believe in Jesus, isn’t that why he sought Jesus out? Since Jesus is God he was able to do all things—and he proved his power over all things, including the devil and his demons, again and again. So if this man truly believed in Jesus then he would know that he can do anything he wants! It’s not as if the man didn’t believe in Jesus—he most certainly did, that’s why he sought him out. But this was a big task—earlier the disciples weren’t able to drive this demon out, and so the man’s faith wavered, even though he believed in Jesus.
And so he cried out to the Lord, I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief! What an appropriate prayer for us as Christians to pray! We all believe in Christ and yet our faith wavers. So we pray to the Lord to help us overcome our unbelief by strengthening our faith. And the Lord not only hears that prayer but he also answers it! He will help you overcome your unbelief through the gospel—through the means of grace: the gospel in Word and Sacraments, the Lord will strengthen your faith in him. Does this mean that we’ll never doubt or waver in our faith? No, of course not. This side of heaven we will never have a perfect faith. But it is comforting to know that we don’t have to have a strong faith in order to be saved, for anyone who believes in Jesus as their one and only Savior will be saved—even faith as small as a mustard seed is enough to receive the blessings of salvation. And, in the end, the Lord will keep us in the one true faith until he calls us home in heaven where our faith will be strong and perfect!
Pastor Andrew Frey
You have probably heard by now that Pastor Frey has accepted his call as the campus pastor at Nebraska Lutheran. A date will be announced in the next few weeks as to when the Freys’ last Sunday will be, please keep your eyes open. The council is going go meet later this week to discuss options for calling another pastor. Please keep your eyes open for more information concerning a possible call meeting.
To read Pastor Frey’s letter to St. John, please click the following link:
Confirmation and Examination
This 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. Please join us for this joyous occasion. Please also keep these young men and women in your prayers.
- Lyla Magdelynne Beyer
- Will James Harris
- Adam Lyle Helmrick
- Grace Elaine Lankow
- Autumn Rae Lemke
- Joshua Nolan Mathe (private confirmation May 1)
- Lydia Kate Merrick
- Carlee Marie Olson
- Abby Marie Presteen
- Zachary James Siebers
- Mitchell Lee Volkman
Last Saturday, Connor Jacob Kempf was confirmed at Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Appleton.
This Sunday, Will Volkman will be confirmed at St. Paul, Appleton.
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 is leading a study on the New Testament book of Colossians at 9:15 on Sunday mornings. Join us as we look at this important letter which highlights the person of Christ and his work of salvation.
Pastor Gartner is leading a study on, "Luther’s Small Catechism – A Study of The Apostles’ Creed, Baptism and Holy Communion" on Monday mornings at 8:00 and Tuesday evenings at 5:30. 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.