(920) 733-1307 church.office@stjohn-appleton.org Regular Worship Services: Sundays - 8:00 & 10:30 am Mondays - 6:30 pm
Advent Worship: Wednesdays 10:30 am & 6:30 pm

Guarding our Eyes

When I was in Sunday School, I remember we sang the following song:

O be careful little eyes what you see

O be careful little eyes what you see

For the Father up above

Is looking down in love

So, be careful little eyes what you see

Although intended for children, it has good advice for believers of every age.  This simple rhyme teaches the truths we heard in our second reading this last weekend in Church from 1 John 2.  In it we heard, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, boasting about material possessions—is not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the one who does the will of God remains forever.”

It's hard to believe but true: if we love the world, God’s love isn’t in us.  The only way we can love the things of this world is to turn our backs on the Father’s love for us.  If we’re chasing after the people, things, and pleasures of this life, we’re also running away from God and what he wants to offer.  We’d like to think that we can have it both ways, that we can love both the things of this world and love God.  But there can be only one #1 in our hearts.  If that spot is occupied by anything from this world that also means that it’s not God. 

John then goes on to remind us that this love for the world can manifest itself in several ways, including what we do with our eyes.  We hear about both “the lust of the flesh” and “the desire of the eyes”.  Consider the following statistics and facts about pornography:

  • 40 million U.S. adults regularly visit internet pornography websites
  • 10% of U.S. adults admit to having an addiction to internet pornography
  • 17% of all women struggle with porn addiction
  • 20% of men and 13% of women admit to accessing porn while at work

Statistically speaking, we have brothers and sisters in our church family who struggle with addiction to pornography.  Maybe you know somebody.  Maybe it’s you. 

So what can we do about this problem?  How can we be more careful with what our eyes are seeing?  Can we prevent these desires from taking over God’s spot in our hearts?  It's not easy, but hiding the problem doesn’t make things any better.  Any solution must start with repentance, exchanging our excuses and rationalizations for an honest confession.  That confession leads us back to the love of the Father, a real, genuine forgiving love.  That love, then, leads us to make changes.  Depending on the addiction, those changes may be especially challenging.  But those challenges don’t need to be faced alone.  Your pastors and church family are here to walk beside anybody fighting a pornography addiction.  Our synod also has some great resources that can help get you started.  If this sin affects you or somebody you know, you need to talk about it.

Whether we’re young or old, we all have to be careful what we do with our eyes.  We know the Father’s looking down in love, we’ve already experienced that love. That love is always there, ready to welcome us home. Nothing that the world offers could be worth more than that amazing love. 

Pastor Matthew Schoell 

Church News

Quarterly Voters' Meeting   

Please pick up a copy of the quarterly meeting minutes and the other reports. The reports are on the counter in the entryway of the church.

Reformation Service  

All are invited to the federation Reformation service at FVL from 4-6 pm this Sunday.

Online Worship:

We 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 any time 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.

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