(920) 733-1307 church.office@stjohn-appleton.org Worship Services: Sundays - 8:00, 10:30 am  Mondays - 6:30 pm

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Solomon, the author of these two short verses, commands us to do three things. I would like you to evaluate how well you have been doing at following these specific commands. We will use letter grades like the ones we used in school with: A - superior; B – very good; C – average; D – below average; or F – failing:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8.)

Who likes change? Most of us don’t like change at all and even those who don’t mind change would say that the last two weeks have been a little too much change. Stores are closing. Restaurants are closed or serving only take out.

“I saw one like a son of man coming. He came to the Ancient of Days, and he was brought before him. 14 To him was given dominion, honor, and a kingdom. All peoples, nations, and languages will worship him. His dominion is an eternal dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13-14)

Looking at the week that just passed and things that have happened over the last few days, you might have asked the question, “Who is ruling?” While I am not that old, I have to admit that I have never witnessed anything like this past week in my whole life. The confusion, the fear, the panic, the uncertainty, the threats of being laid off of work, the crashing of the stock markets -- all of which makes everything feel so chaotic and unsure. Really, who is ruling?

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will endure, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. (John 15:16– EHV)

Lord, ’tis not that I did choose you; That, I know, could never be,

For this heart would still refuse you Had your grace not chosen me.

“Lord, ‘Tis Not that I Did Choose You” —CW 380 (Stanza 1, Verses 1-2)

12So then, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, so also death spread to all people because all sinned.

 18So then, just as one trespass led to a verdict of condemnation for all people, so also one righteous verdict led to life-giving justification for all people. 19For just as through the disobedience of one man the many became sinners, so also through the obedience of one man the many will become righteous. (Romans 5:12, 18-19– EHV)

“You have heard that it was said to people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you that everyone who is angry with his brother without a cause will be subject to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ will have to answer to the Sanhedrin. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of hell fire. . . You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery, but I tell you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28 – EHV)

What’s more important – our actions or our hearts? Does God want our actions which means doing the right things the right ways, or does God want our hearts which means doing whatever we do for the right reason?

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