“The man said, “The woman you gave to be with me—she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” The Lord God said to the woman, “What have you done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:12-13 – EHV)
Welcome to another episode of the blame game! Today’s contestants are Adam and Eve–the first two humans who were created in the image of God to be holy and blameless like him. However, reading Genesis chapter 3 shows us that Adam and Eve did not keep their holiness for very long. They broke God’s one command and fell into sin and soon there was plenty of blame to go around. But did you notice that nobody wanted to take the blame? Adam blamed Eve. Eve blamed Satan. Adam even dared to pass some blame to God, when he said, “The woman you gave to be with me.” Sinners are awfully good at playing the blame game.
If we are honest with ourselves we find that we are pretty proficient at playing the blame game too. From little on we excel at failing to own up to our sins while at the same time passing blame to others. As children we point the finger at our sibling and shout: “He made me do it!” As adults we blame society for our own loose morals. We blame work, our social life and the pandemic for not getting to church as often as we know we should. We blame the coworker’s attitude for our own harsh thoughts and words in the workplace. We blame our busy lives for not spending enough time in God’s Word. We blame our family or our upbringing for the sinful choices we continue to make.
God had a different take on the blame game. Even though we deserved nothing but eternal torment in hell for our stubborn sinful refusals to admit our sins, God chose to blame somebody else. He pointed the finger at his one and only Son Jesus. He blamed Jesus for all of your sins and mine. Jesus was blamed for our laziness and cursing and apathy and immorality. Jesus was blamed even though he was perfect and holy—and he willingly accepted the blame. He took our sins on himself and went to the cross to pay the penalty of death for us.
As a result, you and I are free to go. In Jesus, the Father counts us as blameless. Our salvation is secure and certain. In response to this great love from God, let’s stop with the blame game. Let’s honestly confess our sins to God and trust in the forgiveness that he freely gives us through Christ. Then, out of love for God, let’s strive to live our lives to thank and praise our heavenly Father for sending his Son Jesus to take upon himself all our blame so that we can stand before our Father in heaven – completely, 100% blameless.
Pastor Mark Gartner
Tonight, Tuesday October 20 at 7:00 pm we will have our quarterly Voter's Meeting. This is the Election and Finance Meeting. We will be electing a new President and Evangelism Chairman at this meeting as well as decide on some of the ways that we will use the financial blessings God has given to us to do his ministry here at St. John and throughout his Kingdom.
Important Note: (Meeting will be offered Live on Microsoft Teams)
Since there are some who may not be able to attend this meeting due to the Covid virus, we are making this meeting available Live through a Microsoft Teams link. Click on the link below and you will be able to join the Voter's meeting live. You will be able to join anytime after 6:50 pm tonight. If you have any questions, please contact one of the Pastors before the meeting.
Important Update -
We rejoice that we have been able to return to the Lord’s house to worship together, but at the same time we want to do so in a safe manner. As many of you are aware, the last few weeks, the 8:00am service has been full, which perhaps made some of our members uncomfortable. First off, we encourage you to attend a different service. Both the 10:30 am and the Monday evening service have plenty of room in order for you to socially distance. In addition, our council has decided to remove the ropes in the front portion of the lectern side of the sanctuary. This section will not require social distancing. We hope that, with enough worshipers sitting in this section, it will leave enough space in the rest of the sanctuary for everyone else to socially distance. If you have any questions, please speak to one of the Pastors or Council members.
Our fall Adopt-A-Highway date was postponed from last Saturday and is reschehuled for this coming Saturday, October 24th at 8:00am. Please plan on helping out!
Pastor Frey has started a Bible study on the Christian and the Government—looking at what God says concerning the government and the Christians relation to his other Kingdom. We may be sick of hearing about politics already; but with so much information being thrown at us on a daily basis, it is important to step back and look at what God has to say to us. Join us Sundays at 9:15am.
Pastor Gartner also started a Bible study on "The Life Moses -- A Study of the Book of Exodus". Please join us either Mondays at 8:00am or Tuesdays at 5:30pm.
All these Bible Classes that will be starting will be held at church. If you are not comfortable attending them in person or can't make these times and 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.
In order to encourage and practice social distancing, we are trying to limit each Worship service to 75 people. We are offering 8:00 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.
As we go forward, we will continue to live-stream our services and posting 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.