The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid again. In his joy, he goes away and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (Matthew 13:44 – EHV)
What is of first importance in your life? Is it your job? Or maybe your family? Is it your bank account as you are trying to save up enough money to retire comfortably? Could it be your smart phone? Is it your favorite sports team? Is it God?
We all know God should be of first importance in our lives, but if we take a closer look at our daily lives, do we find evidence to show that is true? What does our checkbook register or credit card statement indicate about where God ranks in our lives as we spend our money? What does our internet history say about where God ranks in our lives? What does our management of time say about where God ranks in our lives? Sadly, we don’t always show God that he is of first importance in our lives with our words and actions. Because we sinfully place too much importance on other things in this world, you and I deserve God’s punishment.
Jesus in the parable of the treasure reminds us what our greatest treasure is and what we should do when we find that treasure. In the parable, the man finds this great treasure and what does he do? “He sells all that he has and buys that field.” Did you hear that? The treasure he found was so important to him that he sold “all” that he had to get the treasure.
God has given us the greatest treasure of all and that is the Gospel message of Jesus who came and died for our sins. In sending Jesus to live and die in our place, God demonstrated that we are of first importance to him. In raising Jesus from the dead, God showed once and for all that our eternal salvation was his top priority. Because Jesus lived and died and rose again, you and I are forgiven and trusting Jesus as our Savior we too shall rise to live forever in heaven. There is no greater treasure in our lives than this!
These words from the parable that Jesus spoke remind us that for us as Christians, there is no greater treasure in this world than the saving work of Jesus. When we realize we have this priceless treasure as God works faith in our hearts, our priorities in life will change. We will look at our lives as wonderful opportunities to show where Jesus fits in our lives as we refocus and thank God for what is most important.
God doesn’t want to be just a part of our life. God is the greatest gift and treasure in our lives and for that reason he wants to always be first in our lives. Moved and motivated by the love of Jesus, let us demonstrate on a regular basis just how important our Lord is to us. Let us give him the best of our time, talents, and treasures. Let his love for us reflect in our lives for the entire world to see as we fear love and trust in him above all things!
Pastor Mark Gartner
Sunday, August 16th in the 10:30 am service we will celebrate Confirmation. Since this Confirmation service will be quite full with just the Confirmation families, we are encouraging those who might normally attend the 10:30 service to try and attend one of the other worship services. Please keep these young people in your prayers.
We have begun our Summer online Bible study of the book of Ecclesiastes. We are pre-recording these online studies and sending them out via a youtube link along with a study guide. Please contact one of the pastors if you want to be included on the email list.
Vacation Bible School:
Join us for a one-day Vacation Bible School on Wednesday August 12, 2020 from 9:00am-noon. Parents/teens are invited to stay with their children. Weather permitting, most of our VBS will be taking place outside together as families so that we can "socially distance" as much as possible. Everyone is invited to join us for a meal afterward.
Please bring one blanket per family and a plain white t-shirt for each participant for tie-dying.
REGISTER NOW you may sign-up in the entryway at church OR you can fill out this form: https://forms.gle/igRtCUHMiFwxUedg8
Our second quarterly Voters' meeting will be tonight, August 11th at 7:00pm. We encourage all voters to attend. At this meeting we will be discussing our Fall Worship and Bible Study plans.
Sunday School Teachers:
We are still looking for a few more people who might be interested in teaching Sunday School this year. If you are interested or would like more information, please speak to one of the Pastors.
Returning to Public Worship:
How great and wonderful it is to see people in-person as we worshiped our Lord together again! You should have received a copy of our plan for returning to public worship. Please look over the document carefully. Please note that for the time being, since only one or two ushers will be needed per service, we will not be in need of Usher Teams. If you have any comments or concerns, please contact one of the Pastors or any of the council members. The document can also be accessed by clicking the link below. https://stjohncenter-my.sharepoint.com/:b:/g/personal/pastor_frey_stjohn-appleton_org/EaBy-IahwepIjjaHxkS5IbMBC7X1SDx1pug80s5jAzCihQ?e=fJjd64
In order to encourage and practice social distancing, we are trying to limit each Worship service to 75 people. To help with this, we added an extra service on Sunday morning. We are offering 7:30, 9:00 and 10:30 services on Sunday as well as 6:30 pm on Monday. We are also asking everyone to sign up each week for whatever Worship Service you plan on attending. Please note, that we are in need of volunteers to help sanitize the sanctuary between services. When you sign-up you’ll have an opportunity to mark whether or not you are willing to help out—it only takes about 10 minutes, so we pray that you will!
You can find the link to sign-up on the front page of our website at: www.stjohn-appleton.org.
You can also signup by going directly to this link (it will be a different link each week): https://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040a4aa9a62ea6fa7-stjohn2
As we go forward, we will continue to live-stream our services and posting our worship folders online. We will be recording our Sunday 7:30 am service which means you can watch anytime after 7:30 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.
Free Digital Resources from NPH
Our Synod's Publishing House, NPH, is offering many great digital resources for free for the time being—including June’s Forward in Christ and the latest edition of Meditations. Please click on the link below for more info.