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The worship style St. John is known for with biblically-sound real life messages, band and vocal music that enhance worship and the message while maintaining a focus on the sacred and encouraging you on your LIFEjourney with Christ.

9:00am* and 10:45am*|Sanctuary

 

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Showing items filed under “January 2015”

Best of Edify: Is Sin an Outdated Idea?

Whatever became of sin? The famous psychologist Karl Menninger wrote the classic and best-selling book on that subject 25 years ago. He pointed out that no one uses the word any more, but the reality of its existence still haunts the guilty conscience. For Menninger, mental health and moral health were closely aligned. If our values and our behaviors are at odds, peace of mind and heart will elude us.

Menninger may be on to something. It seems popular in America to claim victim status for personal failure. The other night, Carol and I watched one of those hour-long documentaries on a capital murder than occurred a few years ago in St. Louis. Being our home town, we were familiar with the neighborhood, the hospitals, and the story, so it captured our interest. An off-duty police officer and her boyfriend were confronted by armed thugs as they left her mother’s house in the city. They were forced back inside, robbed and realized their lives were in danger since they could now identify their attackers. A scuffle ensued leaving three people shot and one dead. The murderers fled but sought medical attention for a bullet wound at a city hospital where they were quickly arrested. In the trial that followed, their defense attorney argued for their release since they were victims of broken homes and the influence of gang violence.

It reminded me of the lyrics in my favorite song by The Eagles called, “Get Over It.”

I turn on the tube and what do I see
A whole lot of people cryin’, “Don’t blame me.”
They point their crooked little fingers at everybody else;
Spend all their time feeling sorry for themselves
Victim of this; victim of that;
Your momma’s too thin; your daddy’s too fat.

Get over it. Get over it.
All this whinin’ and cryin’ and pitchin’ a fit;
Get over it. Get over it.

It’s like going to confession every time I hear you speak
You’re making the most of your losing streak
Some call it sick, but I call it weak
You drag it around like a ball and chain
You wallow in your guilt; you wallow in your pain.
You wave it like a flag, you wear it like a crown
Got your mind in the gutter, bringin’ everybody down.

So what’s to be done about sin? First, we must acknowledge its reality. There is right and wrong. We still teach our children to memorize The Ten Commandments as a good summary of moral law. The first three deal with our relationship to God and the last seven with our relation to our fellow man. An even shorter summation can be found in the New Testament; “Love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.” Do this and you will be perfect! But unfortunately NO ONE CAN DO THIS PERFECTLY. The same Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory (His nature and expectation).”

So what’s to be done about sin? When asked that question on Pentecost, Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” What was true then is still true today. Only by forgiveness and the faith you receive by the power of the Holy Spirit will you be saved. As Paul later said of himself;

“I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.”

The same God who gave us Jesus gave us the law of Scripture and for the same reason; because He loves us and wants to prosper us and not harm us. When we walk in the truth of God’s Word our life, the lives of others and the witness we make for God are all blessed. But when we violate (sin) his ways, we bring harmful consequence into our lives, the lives of others and harm to our witness. God wants better for you than that. Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life and have it to the max!” I want the very best for my children so I have tried my best to teach them right from wrong. God wants the very best for me too and has given me His Word to guide me on my journey.

The longest chapter in the Bible is all about the importance of knowing right from wrong and putting it into practice. Psalm 119 says (in part), “Your teaching makes me wiser than my enemies for they are always with me. I have more insight than my teachers, for testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, because I keep your directives.” Who wouldn’t want to be smarter than their enemies, their teachers and people with a lifetime of experience?


A Scripture

“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

  • Was David (the author of this passage) perfect? If not, does that make him a hypocrite?
  • Someone said, “If we forget we are sinners we will soon forget our need for a Savior.” Do you agree?
  • What was the difference between the two men Jesus described in Luke 18:12-14?

Survey

In your opinion does the Christian church…

A. Talk too much about sin.
B. Not talk enough about sin.
C. Maintains the proper balance.

Click here to take the survey, and take a moment and leave a comment that God can use to encourage someone to greater trust in the Lord.


Online

If you were unable to attend services last weekend and would like to listen to or watch the message, it is available on our website. Growing Deeper, a Bible study written to accompany the message series, is also available to download.


Live Stream

St. John Church live streams Sunday services at 9:00am and 10:45am. Join us!


A Prayer

Psalm 130 - The Message
Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord; Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.

Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.


Brief Notes

School Auction
Come on out and support Christian education in our community by attending this year's Dinner Auction for St. John School on March 6. RSVPs are due back on February 13.

Friday Frenzie
Calling all 4th & 5th graders! You’re invited to a frenetic night of fun on February 6. Find out the details!

Employment Opportunities
You have connections. If you know the perfect person for any of these job openings, please refer them!


Stephen Hower, Pastor
Challenging the status quo to awaken an appreciation for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Phil. 3:13,14 (and to lower my golf score)

To subscribe to E-dify, a periodic e-mail to encourage and inform, please click here and type, “Subscribe” in the Subject line. To unsubscribe to E-dify, please click here and type, “Unsubscribe” in the Subject line. Or better yet, forward E-dify to a friend who needs God’s encouragement.

Posted by Stephen Hower with

Best of Edify: Do We Have To Believe Everything In The Bible?

I still have the book. It was my introduction to Biblical Criticism and The Higher Critical Method in my first doctrinal studies in college. It was written in 1966 by Henry Flanders and Robert Crapps is currently in its fourth printing and—from what I recently discovered—is considered a classic still in high demand. I was shocked to see it offered on Amazon.com for $72.25–you save $10! The tagline says, “People of the Covenant (POTC) is grounded in the best scholarly methodology, respect for the rich literary values of the Hebrew Bible, and concern for its enduring relevance.” Wow…promos don’t get more impressive than that!

I remember being especially impressed by the scholarly rhetoric of the authors. I poured over the chapters, underlined the main thoughts and memorized the concepts. POTC argued better than most, that contrary to popular belief, the Pentateuch was not written by Moses and the bulk of the Old Testament was not written alone by the famous prophets whose names children have memorized since God made dirt.

I learned that a collection of sources, called JEDP (the Jahweh source, the Elohim Source, the Deuteronomic source, and Priestly source), were used by various editors to assemble the ancient Scriptures over hundreds of years. According to the JEDP hypothesis, the incredible prophecies of the ancients were actually NOT PROPHETIC but added back into the ancient texts AFTER THEIR FULFILLMENT by an editorial group of theologians. How else could the prophets actually predict the future? Miraculous, inspired insight by God? Seriously? Such childish thinking was scoffed at and belittled by our professors who took it upon themselves to enlighten us. It was a Dorothy moment. I sat in stunned awe as my professor pulled back the curtain on the Wizard of Oz. I soaked it up. I was a good student and learned fast and well.

I also remember the summer after finishing my first year of college. I was back home, taking a break from my studies. I was on fire for all things Christian and eager to share my newly enlightened status with the common, uninformed people of the hinterlands. I remember making Kennedy Evangelism calls with other volunteers from my country church. One night Bob Young and I struck out in our efforts to make visits on the people assigned to our team. No one was home or wanted to talk to us. So as we drove from house to house, I took it upon myself to “educate” Bob on my understanding of the Bible and the scholarly work that is necessary to discern its true meaning. To his credit, Bob listened attentively, respectfully asking a question now and then to clarify a point. I was quite proud of my ability to handle the complexity of the material and help a simple-minded-man like Bob understand what I had learned. When I was finished, and I will never forget this moment, Bob just quietly said, “Somehow that just doesn’t seem right to me.”

“Somehow that just doesn’t seem right to me.” It was a simple statement made by a simple man, but that was all it took to convince me he was right and I was wrong, and so were my highly educated and mistaken professors. The truth has weight to it. Most people know it when they hear it. Later I came to understand Bob’s simple but powerful statement was a confirmation of Paul’s insight, “The Spirit of God testifies to our inner spirit that we are children of God.” And also in 1 Corinthians 2:12,13...

“We speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.”

I learned an important lesson that evening making evangelism calls with Bob. I learned I don’t need superior wisdom, debating skills or a library full of books to speak about my faith to people more educated and articulate than myself. The truth of God has a weight to it. It doesn’t need defending; it needs only to be shared with simple confidence and personal conviction. Bob was a brakeman who rode the trains of the Erie Lackawanna railroad. I doubt Bob ever attended college. And I’m certain the theologians who taught my doctrinal courses throughout college and in the seminary had forgotten more about the Bible than Bob ever knew. But Bob was used by God at a critical time to teach a future pastor an important lesson about the truth and power of God’s Word.

It is not our job to argue anyone into the faith. I would even say, “It is impossible to argue anyone into the faith!” That is God’s work, done by the Spirit of God who empowers our witness when we share His truth. Paul told the Christians at Corinth;

'When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.”

I like the way Mark Twain summarized his view of the Bible when he said, “It is not those parts of the Bible I don’t understand that bother me most; it’s those parts I understand perfectly well that give me the most trouble.”

By the way, if you would like to purchase “People Of The Covenant”, I have a first addition I would sell for a mere $70…you save $12!


A Scripture

“Continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:14–17

  • Who introduced and nurtured you in the Christian faith?
  • How important is your Christian spirit and attitude when witnessing to others about your beliefs?
  • The Bible says, “Speak the truth in love…” Which is more important?

Survey

How would you describe yourself?

A. Make all efforts to avoid confrontation.
B. Damn the torpedoes all speed ahead.
C. Eager to become more accepting of those different from me.

Click here to take the survey, and take a moment and leave a comment that God can use to encourage someone to greater trust in the Lord.


Online

If you were unable to attend services last weekend and would like to listen to or watch the message, it is available on our website. Growing Deeper, a Bible study written to accompany the message series, is also available to download.


Live Stream

St. John Church live streams Sunday services at 9:00am and 10:45am. Join us!


A Prayer

Gracious Lord, by Your Holy Spirit deepen my faith and trust in You. Also increase my compassion for others that I might more and more reflect Your compassion towards those near and far from faith. Keep me from developing a judgmental spirit out of insecurity or superiority. Relieve any fears I have of entering conversations about faith. Help me to remember that when I speak Your truth, Your Holy Spirit empowers my words. As Paul counseled the young man Timothy, keep me from engaging in meaningless and often destructive debates about trivial matters of belief that can be used by Satan to dissuade and discourage people from accepting You in their life. Let my peace and confidence be seen in all I do and say; through Jesus Christ my Lord, Amen.


Brief Notes

Blood Drive
Blood drive here on Monday, January 26. Walk-ins welcome or make an appointment.

IronMen Speaker Series
Our IronMen groups are inviting all the men of St. John to hear James Westbrooke from Mission: St. Louis. A great opportunity to come together and work towards solutions to make our city and county a stronger place on February 21 at 7am.

School Dinner and Auction
Big hats, bow ties and mint juleps will make for a fun evening on Friday, March 6, as we come together as a community to support Christian education in West County at it's annual dinner auction. Invitations are on the website and are due back by February 13.

Job Openings
Are you the perfect fit for a job at St. John? Or, do you know someone who is? View our current employment opportunities.

 


Stephen Hower, Pastor
Challenging the status quo to awaken an appreciation for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Phil. 3:13,14 (and to lower my golf score)

To subscribe to E-dify, a periodic e-mail to encourage and inform, please click here and type, “Subscribe” in the Subject line. To unsubscribe to E-dify, please click here and type, “Unsubscribe” in the Subject line. Or better yet, forward E-dify to a friend who needs God’s encouragement.

Posted by Stephen Hower with

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