“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people.” (Psalm 118:8 - EHV)
Who did you choose today? No, I don’t want to know who you chose or voted for to be the next President of our country. What I meant was where did you choose to put your trust today? I’m thinking that many of you reading this today and many people living in this world today seem to be putting their full trust in an earthly election. There are many people who are choosing either Joe Biden or Donald Trump and if their candidate doesn’t win, the world as they know it will collapse and our country will be going down the tubes. And if their candidate does win, they think that everything will be good. Back to my original question, Who did you choose today? Did you choose to trust in God or are you choosing to put your trust in people?
I am pretty sure that all if not almost all who are reading this article today would call themselves Christian. We sincerely love Jesus. We trust his promises to take care of us. We know nothing is impossible for him. We know that he will protect us. We believe all this, or so we say? Then reality reveals our hypocrisy. How many of us will lose sleep tonight because of the election results, if the “wrong” person is elected? How many of us will be so stressed out and even angry for weeks and months and possibly years, because we fear the leader that was elected will not be the best choice for our nation and our families? How many of us will be full of anger at the “other side” as we think our opinion is the only correct opinion about the correct candidate? How many of us will be full of “sinful” pride if our candidate wins and we want others to accept our candidate as the "best" candidate?
The point of this article is not to argue about which candidate is best for our nation or to try to encourage or discourage you to do your civic duty and vote. Who you vote for is a personal decision that we can and most likely will disagree on. The point is – where are we placing our trust?
Today on this election day, our Lord doesn’t suddenly give up his control of the universe as he eagerly waits to see who is elected the next President of the USA. He doesn’t stop loving us or take back his promises to protect us, because the "wrong" person got elected. So why are so many of us losing sleep and getting stressed out about this election? Honestly, we lose sleep and get stressed out because we forget the words of the Psalm writer, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people.”
Did you catch what the Psalm writer said? His words are very important. "It is better to take refuge in the LORD." The key words are to trust "in the LORD." All too often, and this election is a good example, we are losing sleep and are stressed out, because we are trusting "in people" (elections) more than God. We are putting our trust in the wrong place. We think, if we have the right leader, if our government sets up the right laws, if our police force is uncorrupted, then our lives will be good. We act as if people and governments are stronger and better than God! How foolish!
Think about this for a minute: God is all-powerful and all-loving. God made the heavens and the earth. He gave each of us life and promises to watch over us to the end of the age. He promises to rule over all things and over all people – even over our country for our eternal good. In love and power Jesus willingly came down to this earth and gave his perfect life to conquer the most powerful enemies of all –Sin, Death and the Devil by his death and resurrection. In love God has made an unbreakable, unconditional promise to us to love us and forgive us. He is our refuge and our protection. If we lose our job, if we get sick, if we are on our deathbed, even if the “wrong” person gets elected, the Lord will always be our refuge. He will always give us strength. He will always fill our hearts with his eternal peace. No election of any earthly leader can do that -- Only God can!
These next four years may be the best ever in our country, or they may be very difficult. This I can’t really answer, but no matter who is in charge of our country, we can know and trust that the Lord is in charge of our whole world and our entire life. He is and will always be our refuge until we are safely home in heaven. This is a promise we can sleep on every night!
Pastor Mark Gartner
The quarterly Voters’ meeting was held Oct. 20. Among other things, elections were held. Pat Gowey was elected to serve as President and will begin serving in an official capacity in January. Andy Pevonka has been elected to serve an additional three-year term as Chairman of the Board of Evangelism. We thank Kris Wilson, outgoing president for his years of service.
Minutes from this meeting are available in the narthex. For more information, please read the minutes or talk to any of the council members or pastors.
Special Mission Offering
At our Voters’ meeting Tuesday evening we designated special offerings. $3500 to Sure Foundation Lutheran Church in Brandon SD, a new congregation in the Sioux Falls area. $3500 to WELS Mission for Christ in Kenya. And $3000 for WELS Christian Aid and Relief that helps out WELS congregations, members, and others after natural disasters hit.
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 of 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.
Women of Faith/LWMS:
All ladies are invited to join us for our Bible Study and LWMS meeting on Tuesday November 10 at 1:00 pm. If you have any questions, please contact Kathy Schabo.
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.
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. The 8:00 am service is the most attended service, which perhaps will make some of you feel uncomfortable. First off, if you feel uncomfortable in this more attended service. we encourage you to attend either the 10:30 am or the Monday evening service which offer plenty of room in order for you to socially distance. In addition, our Council has decided to remove the ropes for the first few pews of the lectern side of the sanctuary. People deciding to sit in these “unrestricted” pews should use their own good judgment on 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 a Council members.
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.