“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how untraceable his ways! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his adviser?” 35 “Or who has first given to God that he will be repaid?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” (Romans 11:33-36 – EHV)
What will be the first question you ask God when you get to heaven? Maybe you will want to ask about something that happened in the Bible: “Lord, what really happened to the Ark of the Covenant?” Or maybe you will want to ask about something from history: “Lord, why did you allow those planes to crash into the Twin Towers or why did you allow the Pandemic of 2020?” Perhaps your question for the Lord will be on a more personal level: “Lord, why didn’t you give Grandpa more years with us on earth before taking him home?”
Like so many other passages in Scripture, these words from Romans remind us that God knows infinitely more than we ever will. Thankfully, our God is many times smarter and more knowledgeable than we are. He sees the whole picture while we often are left to wonder why he did this or allowed that. Often, we sinfully doubt God or question his will. We get frustrated and demand to know why he is doing what he is doing. As Christians we do well to simply trust him and know that his will in the end is always so much better than we could ever have thought or imagined.
That is certainly the case with God’s plan of salvation. From the beginning, God had a plan to save us from sin, death, and hell. It’s a plan we maybe haven’t always understood fully, but what a wonderful plan it was! In a nutshell, the plan was to send his only Son into this world and to sacrifice him for a world full of sinners. That’s not what we would have come up with. Our plan might have involved some way to try to earn our own way to heaven; a plan that could only end in failure and eternal condemnation. God’s ways are so much higher than ours! He sent Jesus to be our Savior from sin and promised that through faith in him we will receive eternal life in heaven. “To him be the glory forever!”
We will always have lots of questions in this life. We may at times wonder why God does what he does. One thing we need never question is God’s love for us. He has proved it in sending Jesus. With hearts full of love for our Savior, we trust God to continue to do what he knows to be best for us.
Pastor Mark Gartner
Thanksgiving Worship Services
Thanksgiving Eve worship service will be Wednesday evening, November 25 at 6:30 pm. Thanksgiving Day worship will be at 9:00 am Thursday, November 26. As you make plans to attend these special worship services, please make sure to sign up on our website or call the office so we can have an accurate number of those who will be attending so we can make sure we are offering enough worship services so that we can practice proper social distancing at each service. Thank You.
Because of the health issues, we will not have a pie fellowship this year.
Midweek Advent Services
Our Advent mid-week services will be on December 2, 9, and 16 at 10:30 am and 6:30 pm. Plan to attend these mid-week services as we prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of our Savior. This year’s theme will be “The Songs of Advent.” Each week we will be looking at one of the three songs from Luke.
December 2 — The Song of Mary.
December 9 — The Song of Zechariah.
December 16 — The Song of Simeon.
Christmas For Kids
Due to the pandemic we are not going to hold an in-person Christmas for Kids (God’s Greatest Gift) this year. Instead we will be offering Christmas for Kids to-go kits. These packages will include an interactive opportunities for your children to learn about our Savior’s birth. Please sign up by November 29th on the sheet in the entryway or online so that we know how many to prepare. A pick-up date will announced shortly.
Pastor Gartner will be starting a new Bible Study on Sunday November 29th at 9:15 am entitled: “Catholicism Today — A Study of What the Catholic Church Teaches and How It Measures Up to God’s Word.” Join us as we look at some of the key teachings of the Catholic Church in light of God’s Word, and we will also look at ways on how we can share the truths of God’s Word with those in the Catholic Church who may be struggling in their faith.
Pastor Frey is leading a Bible Study on Mondays and Tuesdays called, "Counterfeit Christianity." The devil is called the Father of Lies (John 8:44); he uses his web of lies to lead Christians away from God’s Word and thus away from the one true faith. This study, based on the book, Broken: 7 “Christian” Rules that Every Christian Ought to Break as Often as Possible by Jonathan Fisk, will examine these lies of the devil and their antidotes from Holy Scripture.
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.
Our congregation will be adopting families for Christmas from our congregation. If you would like to give a monetary gift, the money will be used to purchase appropriate gifts. Please give any money to Pastor Frey or Pastor Gartner by Friday, December 4.
Poinsettias For Christmas
If you would like to purchase a poinsettia plant to decorate the church for Christmas, please sign up on the sheet in the narthex. The poinsettias are available in red, white, pink and marble. The cost is $14.00. Use the envelopes by the sign-up sheet for your payment and place it in the box in the entryway. You may take your plant home after the Christmas Day worship service. The last day to sign up is Monday, Nov. 30.
Children' Christmas Service
Due to the ongoing pandemic it has been decided to alter our format for our Children’s Christmas Service this year. After surveying parents and discussing it among our Sunday School Teachers and Council members, it has been decided to have our children sing parts of two Christmas hymns and recite a few Bible Passages together as one large group at the beginning of the service before sitting back in the pews with their parents. The date will be the same as it always is—the Sunday before Christmas—December 20th. The children will sing and recite during both services.
Because of the uncertainty of how many will attend these services (and we still want to be able to socially distance), we are requiring everyone to sign up ahead of time. If both services are too full, we’ll add another service. The sign-up will go ‘live’ on our website December 1st.
Christmas Eve Worship
We are still planning on holding our normal Christmas Eve Worship services—at 3:00, 5:00, and 7:00 pm. However, like the Children’s Christmas Service, because of the uncertainty of how many will attend (and we still want to socially distance), we are requiring everyone to sign-up ahead of time, either online or by calling the office. If all three services are too full, we’ll add another service. The sign-up will go ‘live’ on our website December 1st.
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.
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.