If you, Lord, kept a record of guilt, O Lord, who could stand? 4 But with you there is pardon, so you are feared. (Psalm 103:3-4 – EHV)
Did you see last week that a lady claimed that she had bought the winning lottery ticket valued at 26 million dollars. The only problem was that she claims to have left the winning ticket in her pants pocket when she ran her pants through the wash machine and destroyed the winning ticket. She literally washed 26 million dollars down the drain. I was thinking to myself, how dumb would you have to be to lose a ticket worth 26 million dollars? Wouldn’t you have treated that ticket with the greatest of care until you turned it in to claim your 26 million dollars? But before we quickly condemn this lady for her stupidity, we should realize that many of us has done the very same thing but in a spiritual way.
It is interesting that God has given everyone in this world something far greater than 26 million dollars. God sent his one and only Son, Jesus to pay for the sins of the world and because of the payment made by his Son has declared the whole world “not guilty” of all their sins. We call this the beautiful teaching of Objective Justification. God in a spiritual way has put eternal salvation in the “account” of every single person. That means that God gave the world the greatest gift of all. This payment is the most important payment in our life.
And why is this payment so great? Imagine you look at your checkbook, and you don’t like what you see because you are really overdrawn. There are way more bills than income and you have no way of paying the bills. That’s a perfect picture of our hearts. Our spiritual account is very “overdrawn”. If the Lord God kept a record of our sins, we would have a massive debt before God with no hope of settling the account with him. We would be doomed to face the eternal consequences of our sins as David the Psalm writer says, “If you, Lord, kept a record of guilt, O Lord, who could stand?”
But we don’t have to despair, because there is Good News. There is forgiveness, “But with you there is pardon.” Our loving God paid the debt of sin for us. He charged his Son for our all sins and the blood of Jesus was the complete payment that has set us free from the guilt of all of our sins. We are forgiven! This is the greatest “winning ticket” ever!
Through the gift of faith which the Holy Spirit has worked our hearts, we have received and can see and know the benefits that God has placed into our “eternal account.” How should we treat this “gift” that God has so graciously given to us that has changed our lives forever? Have we treated it like it truly is as the greatest blessing that we could ever have? Have we held on to this gift so that it could never be lost or misplaced?
Honestly, many times we have treated this gift much like the lady who ran the winning ticket through the laundry and lost her earthly prize. If we valued God’s gift as the treasure it truly is, we would do anything to hold on to it. We would regularly read God’s Word to see how great the gift is. We would never leave it out of our sight as we gather around God’s Gospel as it is found in his Word and we would seek to come to Lord’s Supper as often as possible. We would never want to do anything to lose it or misplace it, and yet sadly because of the sin in in our hearts we have done exactly that. We have way too often misplaced this treasure or forgotten about. May we truly treasure God’s eternal gift of full and complete forgiveness which is even great enough to forgive us when we have treated his treasure too carelessly. Thank you Lord for the treasure of your forgiveness.
Pastor Mark Gartner
Pastor Frey has accepted his call to serve as the campus pastor at Nebraska Lutheran. Pastor Frey’s last services here at St. John will be June 20th and 21st. Following the second service on June 20, there will be a farewell picnic which everyone is invited to attend. Look for more information coming soon as we look to say farewell to Pastor Frey and his family.
Sunday May 23 will be the last day of Sunday School for this school year. All the children will be singing in both services. Please have your children meet in the Church basement by 7:45am.
Special Voter's Meeting:
Sunday May 16, the voters decided to call a graduate from our Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. The Assignment Day Worship service for our Seminary is Thursday May 20 at 10:00am where we will find out if the Lord will send a graduate to St. John. If the Lord decides not to send a graduate to St. John, we will begin the process of placing a Divine Call from the field as soon as possible. Please keep all of the young men being assigned from our Seminary and the many congregations looking for Pastors to serve their congregations in your prayers.
Updated Covid Procedures
The Church Council decided it was time to return to the children’s quiet bags. They will be hanging up underneath the bulletin board by the Pastors’ offices, if you are comfortable taking one for your child, please do so! The council has also decided that the time is right for the ushers to return to dismissing the congregation from the front instead of from the back of Church. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
On Sunday, May 2 in the 10:30 service, we had our Confirmation service where these young people made their public confession of their faith. Please 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
William Joseph Volkman was confirmed at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Appleton and Connor Jacob Kempf was confirmed at Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Appleton.
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.
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.
Please note that Pastor Gartner's class will not meet the next two Monday and Tuesdays and will resume on Monday/Tuesday June 7/8 for its final class.
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.