So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is present with me. I certainly delight in God’s law according to my inner self, but I see a different law at work in my members, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me captive to the law of sin, which is present in my members. What a miserable wretch I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:21-25 - EHV)
Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions? I don’t want to discourage you too much if you did, but one-third of the resolutions made on January 1st will be broken by February 1st. And four out of five of the resolutions made will be broken well before the end of the year.
What this means is that by February 1st many people will begin to regret the money they spent on their treadmill or gym membership. Others will have given up on quitting smoking or losing weight. Not only will they be frustrated, but in a short time, they will be right back where they started.
The apostle Paul knew the pain of failed attempts at making lasting change. He genuinely wanted to live to please God . . . and failed . . . again and again. He gives a window into his frustrated emotional state when he says, “What a miserable wretch I am!” Continually failing made Paul miserable. He felt like he was his own worst enemy. Do you ever feel that way?
But Paul’s story didn’t end with his failures. He points us to the hope he had for the future. He writes, “Who will rescue me from this body of death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” The answer to Paul’s misery was not found in his own attempts at perfection, but in the perfect life of Jesus Christ.
One can sense the huge burden that was lifted off of Paul’s shoulders as he focused on Christ’s perfection instead of his own failures. Jesus lived a perfect life. Jesus kept all of God’s commands. And Jesus gave his life and traded it for Paul’s life and your life on the cross. God delivered Paul through Jesus Christ and he did the same for you. The burden of trying to be perfect to please God has been taken off your shoulders forever.
Now we face the daily struggle of living a life of thanks to God. Let’s be honest, it isn’t easy. Sometimes we will enjoy success. Other times we will fall short. But don’t live in misery. Live in peace. Christ offers you strength for the battle and hope and forgiveness for the future.
Pastor Mark Gartner
Tuesday January 19 at 7:00 pm, we will have our Annual Congregational Voter's Meeting. All voters are invited to join us as we see God's many blessings from this past year and plan to do his ministry in the coming year.
Head Usher Meeting:
Thursday January 14 at 7:00 pm, all the Head ushers are invited to a Head Usher's Training Meeting at Church.
Men's Bible Study:
Tuesday January 19 at 9:00 am, all the men are invited to our monthly Men's Bible Study.
New Bible Classes:
Pastor Gartner started a new Bible Study on Sunday November 29 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 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 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.
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.