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5:00pm | Sanctuary

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The Parents' Room is also available if you need to step out for a moment with your child.


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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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*Children's Ministry options are available for children from birth through fifth grade at the times marked.  Children are always welcome to worship with their families. A Parents' Room is also available if you need to step out for a moment.


 

 

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Showing items filed under “December 2014”

Christmas; Ba-Humbug

As a Christian pastor for several decades now, (that alone is nearly impossible to comprehend); I am more and more drawn to Mark’s description of Jesus’ thoughts about the young rich man who asked the Savior, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Mark describes it with this phrase; “And looking upon him with love, Jesus said…”

Jesus was about to show this man that his own good works and religiosity were not sufficient to “inherit” eternal life. After all, an inheritance is not something earned, it is something given. Before Jesus answered the man. Before our Savior corrected the error of the young man’s thinking. Before that man lowered his head and walked away to reflect on his self-righteousness attitude; before all of that … Mark tells us how Jesus felt. Jesus loved him.

I feel Jesus’ compassion deeply in my bones. As I pastor to God’s people, I am drawn to those statements in the Bible that reveal our Father’s underlying and heartfelt compassion for wayward people (like me). Psalm 103 is the same. “As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.”

But still Jesus spoke truth to the man that day. God won’t spare us the truth because that is not true love. He loved that man too much to overlook the destructive nature of his misguided piety, but it hurt Jesus to call it out.

I’m about to conduct Christmas Eve services as people gather to celebrate Christmas again. I know based on experience that many will be in attendance who treat regular worship as an optional activity. I care too much to compromise the truth; but, I love them, too. From the cross, Jesus prayed, “Father forgive them for their ignorance.” Even in His death Jesus asked his father to go gentle. Paul once said, “… for if they had understood who He was, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”

This compassionate spirit of God is on display throughout the life of Jesus.

  • “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” Matthew 23:37
  • “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Mathew 9:36
  • Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.” Luke 11:46

It is not my intent to burden anyone with guilt over their superficial faith and unfaithful worship practice. Guilt should never be the means Christians use to goad people to faithfulness. I love you. I want more for you. I want you to discover all the riches God has prepared for those who draw close to Him. He has incredible gifts for you. He is waiting for you to come unwrap them!

  • The peace that surpasses understanding.
  • Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.
  • The secret Paul discovered and wrote about which enabled him to endure all things through the Lord who gave His strength.
  • The assurance that the sufferings of this present age are not worthy to compare to the glory that will one day be revealed to you.
  • The ability to turn the cheek, to love your enemy, to rise above insult and gossip, the affirmation of unconditional love.

Jesus looked upon that man with love… and then He said, “One thing you still lack. Go and sell all you possess and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then follow me.”

The Lord is not asking you to sell everything you have, BUT (for your own sake) He is asking you to keep it in proper perspective. Only ONE thing is necessary, everything else is optional. Jesus asked the rhetorical question,

“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? What would anyone (in their right mind) give in exchange for their soul?” Matthew 16:26

Nothing compares to the gifts God has prepared for those who love Him. My Facebook status includes my annual encouragement to worship. “Don’t celebrate Jesus’ birth without coming to His house. That would just be rude.” ☺ God is pleading for you to receive His blessing, not only at Christmas, but every day of your life. For heaven’s sake and for your own sake, come to His house and gather up your gifts. Don’t let them go unclaimed.

Merry Christmas! See you at our Dad’s House later. It’s gonna be awesome, so don’t miss it and don’t be late!


The Scripture

“Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” Mark 10:21–23

  • Who’s rich? Are you rich?
  • This man was a good guy. How do good guys like him get turned-around?
  • How do you think this story ends? (In the near-term? In the long-term?)

Survey

What’s your Christmas worship practice?

A. We choose a worship time that fits around our family plans.
B. We make our family plans based on our worship priority.
C. I can worship anytime, so I’m not inclined to attend Christmas services.

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

The Prayer of Simeon after He beheld the baby Jesus

“Sovereign Lord, as You have promised; You may now dismiss Your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.” Amen.


Brief Notes

Christmas Eve and Day Services
Check out the times and find your family's fit.

I Love My Church
Help us finish strong this year and share your story of why you love your church with us. #ilovemychurch

Children's Ministry on Break
Our Children's Ministry programming will be on break on Saturday, December 27 and Sunday, December 28 for children from PS3-5th grade. Our Nursery room(s) will be available for our infants and toddlers from birth through 3 years old on Saturday, December 27 at 5:00pm and Sunday, December 28 at the 9:00am and 10:45am services.

High School Students: Join a Small Group in 2015
These groups are for students who want to develop their relationship with Jesus and connect with a community of Christian teenagers.
If you’re interested in JOINING a group: contact Pua at
If you’re an adult and you’re interested in LEADING a group: contact Pua at

School of the Arts
Is there a guitar or drum set arriving under the tree this year? Don't let it gather dust, but learn how to make music on it. Lessons begin in January through School of the Arts on the campus of St. John.

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)

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.

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The Parable of The Canna Lilies

What’s you favorite flower?

I recently read the kind of flower you like tells a lot about you. If it’s a…

  • Daisy: You are unpretentious, optimistic and prefer the simple life.
  • Gardenia. You are exotic, mysterious and hold your cards close.
  • Iris: You are meditative, spiritual and prone towards reflection.
  • Poppy: You are creative, bold, quirky, and willing to take a risk.
  • Rose: You are classic, old-fashioned and prefer tradition over innovation.
  • Violet: You are sensitive, private, shy and prefer your privacy.

I like the Canna Lily. I’m not sure what that says about me; perhaps intelligent, courageous and independent? Haha…I just made that up! The Canna Lily was not included in the list of flowers attractive to a certain personality type, perhaps because too few think of it when choosing a favorite.

I like it; nevertheless, because it is bold in color, tall and unique. It derives its name from the Latin word for cane or reed because its singular flower blossoms atop a substantial single stalk. There is nothing usual about the Canna Lily. The petals of its flower are long, turning over and outward like the end of a trumpet. The leaves that frame the stalk are wide and fan-like. They can be solid green, brownish or even maroon. The veins in the leaves are bold and attractive in their own right. The stalks and leaves of the Canna Lily are so striking that they are sometimes used in flower arrangements to accent entire bouquets. It is tall, growing from 4 to 10 feet tall depending on the species.

Its origins are tropical but the Canna Lily can thrive in almost any climate that provides 6-8 hours of sunlight in the summer. Gardeners especially love the Canna Lily because they are especially attractive to pollinators such as bees, humming birds and even bats. But, (and this is important) the flower grows from a bulb that cannot survive in ground that falls below freezing.

I grew to love them when we lived along the Gulf Coast of Texas but discovered if you want to grow the Canna Lily in St. Louis, (or anywhere the ground is apt to freeze), you must dig up the bulbs every fall and store them in the basement or someplace safe until you can replant them in the spring. They multiply naturally by extending their bulbous root system throughout the growing season. You can break the roots apart and double the number of flowers when you replant them in the spring.

As I said, I have long loved the Canna Lily. We planted them in all our flower gardens until a few seasons ago. I had grown tired of the annual process of digging them up and taking them to safe storage. It was tedious and dirty work. I decided any flower worth keeping was a flower that could survive the winter. I was sold on the idea of perennials. Still, I wanted to give them every chance of survival. That fall, I doubled the layer of mulch over the Canna Lily bulbs and said to myself, “If they survive, they survive. If they don’t, so be it.” And that was that.

As I remember, it was an especially cold winter. I watched eagerly the following spring for any signs of a delicate green shoot emerging from the mulch which would indicate their survival. But it was for naught. All my Canna Lily bulbs had frozen. No worries. Move on. But the garden was not the same without the tall Cannas. I missed their majestic presence towering over the black-eyed-Susans, the coreopsis and jonquils.

There are people like the Canna Lily. They are high-maintenance individuals requiring special treatment and your protection. Without special care they will not survive or thrive. But what makes them difficult to maintain also makes them special. They add beauty and color to life.

It is easy to get frustrated by the demands some EGR’s (extra grace required) make on your time, and the special care they require. You may find yourself thinking, “I’m done with them; ‘If they survive, they survive. If they don’t, so be it.’” and move on. But when they are gone you will miss them. The qualities that make them unique also make them special. If we only tolerated the self-sufficient, our lives would be the lesser for it. We would steer clear of the artistic, the creative, the dreamers and some of the most gifted people in society. What would the world be like without the eccentric academician, the self-absorbed diva, the quirky artist, the flamboyant designer, relentless visionary or the insatiable inventor?

God doesn’t love you because you are easy. He loves you because you need Him. The Bible says,

“At just the right time, when you needed Him most, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5)

If you could be a flower, what would you be? A rose with thorns? A dandelion growing wild? A flowering lilac bush; strong and tough? I’d like to believe I’m more resilient than the Canna Lily, but probably not. I’ve required special handling all my life. Jesus was described by Solomon as “The Rose of Sharon (a fertile valley in Palestine), and the Lily of the Valley.” He was comparing the coming Savior to a flower which was known to be God’s beautiful and unexpected free gift to the world.

Anyone have some extra Canna Lily bulbs to get me started again next spring?


The Scripture

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us— to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.” Luke 1:68-75

  • Where do you run when you are afraid, or feel the need to be loved?
  • The “horn of salvation” is a reference to a part of the OT altar which a convicted person could grab hold of and be spared justice. How does it apply to Jesus?
  • These are Zechariah’s words at the birth of John the Baptist. Why was he thanking God for Jesus at the birth of his own son?

Survey

What was your custom in childhood?

A. We always went to church on Christmas eve.
B. We worshipped on Christmas day.
C. We did the Santa thing but worship at Christmas was not a part of my childhood.

How has that practice changed for you and why? How important is worship vs. all the other traditions surrounding Christmas? – Leave a comment for the benefit of others.

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

(The prayer of the old man Simeon as he held baby Jesus in his hands.)
“Sovereign Lord, as You have promised,
You may now dismiss Your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen Your salvation,
which You prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”
Amen.


Brief Notes

Holiday Greeters!
We won't ask you to ring a bell, but we'd appreciate some help in welcoming our many guests to our services from December 23-25. Plus, you're guaranteed a seat. Serve with your family and guarantee multiple seats! Sign up here!

Greeter                       Usher                   Parking                 11pm Communion Server

Special Worship Service Featuring Curtis Finch, Jr., American Idol 2013 Top 10 Finalist
Curtis Finch Jr. is a top ten American Idol Finalist who captured the hearts of millions during the show’s 12th season. Curtis is a multi-talented singer and songwriter from Saint Louis, MO. Born to a musical family, Curtis has been fascinating audiences since age 5. Classically trained and soul inspired, Curtis brings audiences a solid mixture of unmatched vocal ability and soul stirring musical finesse. Enjoy a sneak peek of Curtis! Saturday, Dec 20, 5:00pm and Sunday, December 21 at 9:00am & 10:45am.

Christmas Services
3 days--6 services. Check out the times and find your family's fit. If you can, please consider joining us on December 23 at 7pm to allow plenty of room for families with out of town guests and our many visitors at our Christmas Eve services.

Our 5pm Christmas Eve service will be live streamed. Join us for worship no matter where this Christmas finds you!

I Love My Church
Help us finish strong this year and share your story of why you love your church with us. #ilovemychurch

Children's Ministry on Break
Our Children's Ministry programming will be on break on Saturday, December 27 and Sunday, December 28 for children from PS3-5th grade. Our Nursery room(s) will be available for our infants and toddlers from birth through 3 years old on Saturday, December 27 at 5:00pm and  Sunday, December 28 at the 9:00am and 10:45am services.

School of the Arts
Is there a guitar or drum set arriving under the tree this year? Don't let it gather dust. Learn how to make music on it. Lessons begin in January through School of the Arts on the campus of St. John.

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)

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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