Weekend Services

Saturday

5:00pm | Sanctuary

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.

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


Worship Anytime

Watch the most recent and archived messages by simply clicking the button below.

 

Watch Video

 

Sunday

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

 

Stream now

*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.


 

 

Live Stream In:
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Go

Showing items filed under “Stephen Hower”

Rehabbing Things and People

I take no credit for God’s blessing of St. John Church.  I have often said, “God blesses those He chooses to bless." I know more gifted leaders, who worked every bit as hard as me, but their ministries have not experienced the same blessing. That’s just God being God, deciding things above my pay-grade.   

I do however take a little bit of credit for the number of staff people who have tackled significant home improvement projects.   St. John Staff is a rehabbing bunch! I could name at least ten staff members who have tackled major projects inspired (at least partly) by my example. The thinking goes, “If Hower can do it, how hard can it be?” I used to borrow my friend’s tools for my rehab projects, but now, more often than not, our staff checks to see if I have a specialty tool or a word of advice about their project. My most common advice is, “Check it out on Youtube!” 

Here are six “biblical lessons” I’ve applied to my rehab efforts!   

  1. Proverbs 12:15 is worth its weight in gold. “The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.” A wise person asks advice from those who’ve been there, done that. 
  2. Joshua 1:9 teaches another important concept useful in rehab. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” I begin by asking myself, “What’s the worst that could happen here?  If that doesn’t scare me, I measure twice and cut once. Rehabbing takes courage. 
  3. Ecclesiastes 7:8 is helpful. “The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.” Be patient when attempting rehab. What’s your hurry? I subscribe to the principle that any progress is worth celebrating. Don’t delay celebrating until the project is done. Enjoy an atta-boy (and an adult beverage) for any progress made along the way. 
  4. Ecclesiastes 9:4 has merit. “Anyone who is among the living has hope—even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!” Be safe!    I’ve had my share of close calls with saws and ladders and nail guns. My guardian angel has an advanced degree in special ops, but you can’t count on that in every situation. Don’t use an electric tool while standing in water. Use a safety harness when on a roof, and even though saws work better without the safety guard, it might not be the best idea to remove them. (I can never figure out how to put them back together anyway.) 
  5. James 5:16 “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” There is no shame in admitting you messed something up and need a do-over. I’ve torn things out after spending hours on it. I recently made several cuts on a trim board only to realize they were on the wrong end. Ha! It cost me a trip to Lowe's and $8 to buy another board.
  6. Daniel 12:8 is also worth prayerful consideration. “I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, “My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?”  It helps if you think a project through BEFORE YOU BEGIN. Make a plan and work the plan. Like the Cheshire cat told Alice, “If you don’t know where you are going, any direction will do.” (He was being facetious.) 

I take pride in the fact that God loves rehabbing too. He rehabs people. He’s good at it and never grows tired of the challenge. The Bible says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.” (Romans 10:21) He’s not afraid to get His hands dirty. 

I thought about this as I read the Easter stories of Peter's and Judas’ denials. Judas betrayed Jesus to make some money, which resulted in overwhelming guilt and shame. Peter also betrayed Jesus, not once, but three times. Judas killed himself. Peter changed the world. What was the difference between these two?

Judas’ sin was not worse than Peter’s, but he thought it was. He believed his sin was beyond forgiveness. Peter believed Jesus could rehab his soul. Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” Mercy is needed by those who are guilty. Mercy is Jesus’ specialty. 

If your life is in serious need of rehab, not to worry, Jesus is an expert carpenter of souls. There is no person too damaged. No one beyond His ability to restore. He’s in the sinner-restoration business. In fact what we see as a detriment, He can turn into a strength, positioning us to help others who have also fallen down. 

Experienced rehabbers know there is no perfect house. A perfectly square tile will quickly expose a crooked wall every time. There is no such thing as a perfect person either. “All have sinned and fall short of God’s perfection.” That is no surprise to God. Jesus knows our flaws.  Sin is why He came to earth. The Apostle explained his need for Jesus when he said, “I cannot set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness (perfection) could be gained through the law (by doing only good and never any wrong), Christ died for nothing!” (Galatians 2:21)

BUT CHRIST DID NOT DIE FOR NOTHING. He was 100%, take-no-prisoners, completely-committed to rehab. And I know from experience a person can get hurt doing that!    


The Scripture

At just the right time, when we were still powerless, 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 5:6-8

      • What would cause Jesus to die for sinners?
      • What does it mean when it says we were, “powerless.”
      • What did the death of Jesus accomplish for sinners like you and me?

Survey Question

When it comes to giving people a do-over; are you,

A) eager and gracious.  
B) hesitant and wary. 
C) forgiving but not forgetting. 

What's your opinion?
Take the survey and leave a comment based on your thoughts.


Online

If you were unable to attend services last weekend and would like to listen to the message, visit our homepage at stjstl.net and click on Media at the top right of the web page. 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!


The Prayer

Gracious Lord be gracious to me. I’m often overwhelmed by my shortcoming and fully aware of my faults. Even with Your forgiveness, I’m aware of the damage my impatience and judgmental nature does to others and to my own sense of well-being. Help me every day to become more like You. Help me to accept your complete forgiveness for myself and to begin each day with renewed optimism and expectation.  Help me likewise to be gracious and affirming of others. By Your Holy Spirit increase my love; through Jesus Christ, my Lord; Amen.  


Brief Notes

Getting Started | 90 minutes fly by in the quick-paced orientation to St. John | May 7

The Global Leadership Summit returns on August 10 & 11. Take advantage of early bird pricing.

Register now for Vacation Bible School and Extreme Vacation Bible School.

Feel called to go on a short-term mission trip? There are openings for Disaster Response, Wyoming and Belize.


Stephen Hower, Pastor

Posted by Stephen Hower with 0 Comments

Edify: Wall Building

I’m in favor of legal immigration. Immigrants are the backbone of the United States and have been drawn to our shores since Columbus (or Leif Erikson) discovered the continent. I believe every country should have national, state, and local laws that they enforce. If it is determined those laws no longer serve the best interest of America, the laws should be changed, not ignored. When it comes to building a physical wall along our border(s), I have no opinion, other than I am willing to accept the outcome of the legal process by which such things are decided – i.e. the outcome of the debate that determines how best to enforce the laws that govern us as a nation. So long as in the end the law is enforced or changed. (Romans 13:1-4)

Sorry to disappoint those who were expecting a political blog about the controversy of a ‘big beautiful wall, with an equally big and beautiful door” on the border between the United States and Mexico. I’m more interested in the walls we construct between people.

I just came from a breakfast meeting with a business leader of one of our city’s premier companies. We met to discuss leadership issues, focusing on the qualities of successful leaders who are able build consensus and inclusion, despite differences. We both agree the first step is to focus on areas of agreement, not attack or defend areas of disagreement. The outcome is not to determine who is right or who is wrong. The outcome is about what is true and best, not winning. It is impossible to achieve that goal when you begin the discussion with an attack.

Our oldest son is a Christian pastor serving in Idaho, one of the most Mormon states in America. Clearly Mormons do not believe that Jesus was born as the “only begotten son of God,” but was one of many children born to God as result of physical intercourse with mortal women. They do not believe Jesus is in every way equal to his celestial father since Jesus had an earthly mother, nor do they accept the Trinitarian nature of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. According to their teaching Jesus “became god of earth”, by living an exemplary life and was elevated to his celestial status because of his obedience. According to Mormon teaching, anyone can become a god and be elevated to the highest levels of the celestial kingdom if they strictly follow Mormon teaching and complete all the required Mormon ceremonies. Jesus became the earth’s savior by providing the perfect role model for us to follow. It is by obedience that Mormons earn advancement in the heavenly realm. In their understanding, all souls pre-existed in a spiritual realm until they took on an earthly existence as an opportunity to demonstrate faithfulness to god. Likewise all souls will be resurrected from the grave, and if anyone fell short of god’s standards in this life, not to worry, they will have all eternity to do better and by obedience in the next life achieve higher and higher status in heaven.   

It would do little good to attack all the falsehoods of the Mormon teaching derived from the Book of Mormon. They believe that book details the migration of the lost tribes of Israel to America. But despite having lived here for 2,000 years, there is no tangible proof of Jewish heritage found among the Native Americans tribes. The Book of Mormon is called “an additional testament to god’s truth” but in its pages refers to people, cities, rivers, and other geographic locations that have no basis in fact.

Most Mormons believe they are true Christians and celebrate both Christmas and Easter just like their Christian friends. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is world-renown and has produced some of the most beautiful sacred music ever recorded. Most Mormons are unaware of the difference between Mormon teaching and the biblical teaching of salvation, and the life, death and complete redemptive nature of Jesus’ resurrection as taught in the Old and New Testament of the Bible. So why build a wall? 

What benefit comes from an attack on someone’s belief? What value comes from making others defensive over beliefs they may not fully understand or accept themselves? I prefer to focus on the truth of Jesus as taught in the Bible without an accusation against my perception of their beliefs.       

The same can be said about people of other beliefs, or even Christians of other denominations, or virtually any discussion of divergent viewpoints. Start by focusing on common ground. If they advocate for a different perspective, listen. Be curious. Ask them to explain their viewpoint and the basis for their conclusion (without jumping down their throat). Inevitably they will ask you to do the same. Be ready for that moment.

In your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
1 Peter 3:15

“But do this with gentleness and respect.”  That’s important. The authenticity of facts in the Bible, the verifiable nature of prophecy and fulfillment, the historic nature of places, people and geographic descriptions are easily verified by extra biblical sources, all of which gives Christians confidence to trust the Bible.     

Why build a wall?  I subscribe to Norman Vincent Peale’s theory, “When two people argue only bad things result. If you win, you lose. If you lose you lose.”  Arguing results in no good outcome. State your facts and the reasons for them, then let the Holy Spirit do the rest.

Truth needs no defense, just opportunity. You will never argue anyone into the truth, so why attempt the impossible?  We are only asked as Christians to speak the truth in love. Love without truth is not love. And truth without love is never heard.


The Scripture

We will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
Ephesians 4:14, 15

      • Define the phrase, “speak the truth in love.”
      • A professor used to say, “When in doubt, sin on the side of love.” What do you think he meant?
      • How do you come to the knowledge of the truth

Survey Question

When it comes to potential conflict,

A) you avoid it at all cost. 
B) you readily engage. 
C) you go into de-escalation mode. 

What's your opinion?
Take the survey and leave a comment based on your thoughts.


Online

If you were unable to attend services last weekend and would like to listen to the message, visit our homepage at stjstl.net and click on Media at the top right of the web page. 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!


The Prayer

Lord I fail on this issue repeatedly.  Without Your help all hope would be lost. I find I either avoid conflict at all cost, and later feel like I abandoned the truth. Or, I engage in the fray and just end up making things worse and not better. Help me to not only understand but to demonstrate the godly principle of “speaking the truth in love… with gentleness and respect.” I could say more Lord, but that’s already a tall order. Help me overcome my sinful nature and be more and more like you in all my relationships. Amen. 


Brief Notes

The Global Leadership Summit returns on August 10 & 11. Take advantage of early bird pricing.

Register now for Vacation Bible School and Extreme Vacation Bible School.

Feel called to go on a short-term mission trip? There are openings for Disaster Response, Wyoming and Belize.


Stephen Hower, Pastor

Posted by Stephen Hower with 0 Comments

Previous12345678910 ... 7576

15800 Manchester Rd., Ellisville, MO 63011 • Office: 636.394.4100

E-mail UsGet Directions

Give Now