Edify: The Genius of Gratitude: #Ilovemychurch
There is a Scripture that says, “The foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” I believe that. I believe God’s Word is not only true, it is wise. His way is the best way. His way is the pathway to blessing.
God’s wisdom is clearly seen in the Genius of Gratitude. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
- Grateful people are more mindful of blessings (Perspective)
- People more mindful of blessings focus on the good in life.
- People who focus on the good in life are most optimistic (Optimism).
- People who are optimistic tend to be more courageous. (Courage)
- Courageous people attempt more in life.
- People who attempt more in life, achieve more.
- People who achieve more, experience more blessings. (Success)
- More blessings, more gratitude… and the CYCLE CONTINUES…
Our congregation is in the midst of an emphasis we call #Ilovemychurch. I’m most grateful for St. John Congregation in Ellisville, Missouri.
I know what you are thinking. Of course you love St. John Church, you are the Senior Pastor and get PAID to love your church! Duh! I am fortunate to be on staff at St. John but that IS NOT why I love my church.
Plenty of pastors don’t love their church and their church doesn’t love them back. I have been through the ups and downs of ministry at St. John for over 25 years. It hasn’t all been wonderful, but it’s been important, life-changing, blessed and used powerfully in the hands of God.
I recently ran across a website called www.expastors.com . No, I wasn’t signing up… ha-ha. I was confirming my suspicion that not every pastor loves their church and visa versa. It turns out my hunch was right. Every month 1,500 pastors resign their church in America. 90% feel inadequate and poorly equipped to meet the expectations of ministry. 70% of pastors fight chronic depression. 50% of pastors are so discouraged they would leave the ministry if they could find another way to make a living. 50% of all new pastors will not last 5 years. Only 10% will reach retirement as a pastor. (BTW, the site is run by a former pastor who now works in the IT department of a medical clinic.)
I’ve had my moments, but those stats don’t represent me. I love my church and feel privileged and blessed to be a pastor here. Why? Because I get to help people discover God’s love and truth that can bless them like nothing else. I’m privileged to guide people along the narrow path provided by God through Jesus that leads to eternal life. But all true Christian Churches do that. I love this church for specific reasons.
- We don’t play at church. We take it serious and work hard at it.
- We are not people pleasers. God’s truth pushes us out of our comfort zone.
- We are Biblically Sound, Culturally Relevant, and Outwardly Focused.
- We don’t just TALK MISSION… we engage, near and far in significant ways.
- We are community focused. (Last week 900 people from the community more or less trashed our sanctuary to attend a Family Forward Event.) One staff member said it was awesome and annoying at the same time. :)
- STJ worship is drawing young people and families to the Lord. The average age of our denomination is north of 70. The average age of St. John is south of 40. God doesn’t care about age (and I’m closer to 70 than 40 ha-ha), but I’m happy to support a church that refuses to make me (a saved person) the focus of its ministry. The style of music and worship doesn’t have to be my personal preference as long as it touches those who need to know the Lord.
- We provide a AWESOME Christian Community School, led by a staff that surrounds students (including our granddaughter) with dynamic Christian role models, academic excellence, leadership training and experiential learning techniques.
- The St. John staff works hard. (Our leaders must tell staff to go home and maintain a healthy balance, not struggle to motivate them.)
- We use the digital world to impart God’s ancient truth. We use cameras, live stream, smoke, lights, social media and TV monitors to display Scripture. We teach ancient truth to contemporary people with the tools they know. The ancient church used stained glass, candles, censers and robes. It’s the same truth but a different era.
- We are pragmatic. We know you can't teach anything if you don’t first have their attention. St. John strives to capture and hold people’s attention.
- We believe and expect miracles.
St. John Church isn’t for everyone and good people have chosen different ministries to accomplish the same mission in different ways. We wish all Christian ministries God’s blessing and pray they are used effectively by God to reach the lost and strengthen the saved to lead bold and courageous lives before a non-believing world. Cuz like it or not, that (not me) is the mission.
“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” 2 Timothy 4:2
- Do people chose teachers who are pleasers more than teachers who challenge?
- What does “in season and out of season” mean to you?
- Why did Paul tell Timothy this will take great patience and careful instruction?
Why do you love your church?
A. It does things that please me.
B. It is willing to do unpopular things for the sake of the gospel.
C. I’m not especially fond of the church I attend.
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.
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.
St. John Church live streams Sunday services at 9:00am and 10:45am. Join us!
Lord, please keep me close. I’m often confused by what is right, best and most helpful. Send Your Holy Spirit to guide me and guide Christian leaders to in all we do and say. I’m not perfect. I’m far, far, far from perfect. Be my perfection. Forgive my past, guide my steps and bless my future to Your glory, the benefit of others and for my own good. Keep me from being contentious. For whatever reason, Christians like me have a hard time remaining positive, helpful and gracious. I don’t only want to know Your truth, I want Your truth to be shown in my demeanor and in the love I demonstrate towards my friends and enemies alike. In Jesus’ name; Amen.
Stop and give thanks tonight, Wednesday, November 26, at 7:00pm in our Sanctuary.
Give before you receive! That’s the true Christmas spirit.
Last year, you came together as a community to serve 90 families in North St. Louis. Christmas gifts for over 350 children in North St. Louis city were collected here on campus to create a toy shop at Bryan Hill Elementary School. Our challenge to you THIS YEAR is a BIG one. The trees in the lobby have TWO kinds of tags on them: those with ages of children and those with gift ideas for parents. We want to empower parents to choose gifts for their children AND we want to build up kiddos and help them learn generosity by shopping for gifts for their parents. This is an opportunity for YOU to be generous and build families, not just in North City but in your own homes. Take TWO tags, shop with YOUR kids and then join us on December 13 for a family friendly opportunity to serve our city. Click here for all the details!
Looking for the Prayer of Gratitude or other resources mentioned in worship? Look no further. They are all on the website for your reference.
Silhouettes of Christmas
We know you love it. We’ve seen this place filled. You’ve done a great job of inviting people to see the story of Christmas in an entirely new and captivating way for all ages. But don’t stop. Reach out to people who came with you. Encourage them to invite others and you do the same. There are 5 shows beginning on December 10. Check out the website for all the details on performance dates and times AND to purchase tickets. Tickets will also be on sale in The Commons on Saturday and Sunday before and after all services. You may purchase with cash, check or with debit/credit in The Commons.
Give the Gift of Music This Christmas Season
Help nurture a yet developed musical talent in your child or grandchild this year. Provide them with a season of music lessons through School of the Arts at St. John Church.
Our next session starts in January 2015.
School Auction Wish List
You can help ensure the future of Christian education in West County through donating to the School’s Annual Auction. Do you own a time share that you could donate a week or weekend of time? Sporting event tickets? Can your business donate gift certificates for goods or services? We’d love to talk to you about how you can support the school behind the scenes with your donation! Click here for more ideas and contact information.
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)
Be SomeONE by forwarding E-dify to a friend who needs God’s encouragement.