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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 “February 2015”

"There's Nothing I Can Do!"

You’ve heard the phrase, “Well done is better than well-said.” It is meant to spur well-intended people to action.  

We all know people who “talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk.” I don’t believe that’s always the problem. Most people truly want to help but don’t know how. Christians are especially motivated, but inhibited by their lack of resources. Demand exceeds supply.

But lack of resources presents an opportunity, not an obstacle.

Become the go-between. Most of us have more influence that affluence. I get that… we all do. A few years ago, friends of ours, unable to get pregnant, felt God’s prompting to adopt a child born into troubled circumstance. This young couple had all the “right stuff,” just not any money. (And this adoption was going take some serious money.) They asked their friends to help. But most of their friends were equally limited. Opportunity! We leveraged our resources and our friendships to people of means to address their financial shortfall.

We hosted gatherings in our homes, where we shared the opportunity and a meal with people known to us but not to each other. Afterward, the various gatherings all convened at our home for dessert and to meet the young couple who shared first-hand information of their situation. Everyone knew in advance the purpose of the gathering, but no one was under obligation to help until they learned more about the need. The result? 1.) We surpassed our financial goal. 2.) Good people were introduced to other good people. 3.) Strangers became acquainted with this young couple and continued to support and encourage them long after the adoption was completed.

That is only one example of how good people can make a difference in things that matter. Your time, friendships and organizational skills can be used by God to multiply your resources for greater good. If you lack ideas, simply host a gathering of like-minded people and brainstorm the possibilities. You’ll be surprised what can be accomplished.

I hesitate to even mention my second suggestion because it is often urged, rarely done and universally misunderstood. You should pray.

People equate prayer with doing nothing. But that assumption could not be farther from the truth. Turning a situation over to God is far from “doing nothing.” In fact, I should warn you to be careful what you pray for, and not waste God’s time on prayers you don’t expect Him to answer. There is a Scripture that says;

“When you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” James 1

For instance: The world is shocked by the brutality of ISIS. When we thought we’d seen the last of blatant evil: the horror of children forced to butcher their own families in Africa, the killing fields of Pol Pot in Cambodia, or Hitler’s Nazi reign of terror in WWII, along comes ISIS. We wring our hands. We demand the world do something. We buy handguns to protect our families and schools, all while feeling hopelessly inadequate. But we can pray.

The Bible contains chapters of Psalms called, “The Imprecatory Psalms.” Almost 10% of David’s Psalms were Psalms that prayed for God to destroy evil and those who do evil against the innocent and the righteous. The verb “imprecate,” means: “to pray against,” or to “invoke God’s judgment upon another.” The Psalms most often listed as such are Psalms 5, 10, 17, 35, 58, 59, 69, 70, 79, 83, 109, 129, 137 and 140. I urge Christians who are sickened by evil to pray these Scriptures over the violence of ISIS.

Abraham Lincoln had a different solution. When it came to personal enemies, Lincoln said, “Do I not destroy my enemy when I make them my friend.” His advice follows the counsel of the apostle who wrote

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12

People of faith are never beyond their means to help. We can (and should) step up and step in. We can enlist the help of others to their benefit, to the benefit of the cause and to the glory of God. And we can ask for God to assist. It reminds me of the hymn of my childhood:

Let none hear you idly saying, / "There is nothing I can do,"
While the multitudes are dying / And the master calls for you.
Take the task he gives you gladly; / Let his work your pleasure be.
Answer quickly when he calls you, / "Here am I. Send me, send me!"


The Scripture

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.” Ecclesiastes 9

  • What good thing needs to be done that you have avoided doing?
  • Take a moment and read one of the Imprecatory Psalms; asking God to destroy evil in the world.
  • What was God’s ultimate plan to destroy sin, death and the power of the devil?

Survey

 When something needs done, are you mostly

A. A leader.
B. A follower.
C. Wish to be left alone.

Click here to take the survey, and take a moment and share your reaction to the thought conveyed in this Edify.


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

“Declare them guilty, O God! Let their intrigues be their downfall. Banish them for their many sins, for they have rebelled against You. But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in you. Surely, Lord, You bless the righteous; You surround them with Your favor as with a shield.”


Brief Notes

Midweek Lent Services: February 25 at 7pm
special series called The Ask where we’ll explore several different crucial conversations that people had with God, learning how we can better go to God in whatever circumstances we face.

Family Forward Unites with Bryan Hill
St. John Church, in partnership with Bryan Hill School, will bring Family Forward Fun Day to the College Hill neighborhood on Saturday, March 7. This event will bring the two communities together with entertainment, game-show style group games, the St. John Illumination puppet team, the Family Forward kids dancers, music by a live DJ and plenty of food and drinks. Visit our web page for all the details.

Leadercast: Save the Date
Save the date! Leadercast simulcast returns to St. John Church on May 8. Details coming soon. Check out the line up and start making plans to bring your team. Great way to invest in student leaders, too!


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

God is doing amazing things!

This week, St. John School hosted a visiting team of six education experts representing two accreditation agencies:  AdvancED and National Lutheran Schools Association.  While St. John has maintained National Lutheran Schools accreditation for many years, the school had never been through the rigorous AdvancED process.  AdvancED is an agency that objectively evaluates 35,000 public districts and private schools nationally and internationally via a consistent set of standards.

The school staff gathered evidence to substantiate their self study using the strictly structured criteria associated with each of those standards.  As they were seeking dual accreditation, they had to demonstrate excellence in all of these areas:  1) Christian culture, 2) Teaching and Learning, 3) Leadership Capacity, and 4) Resource Utilization.

The visiting team reviewed vast documentation, including stakeholder survey results, for several weeks and then came to campus to see the school in action. In two days’ time, they did 28 classroom observations using a specific scoring rubric.  They also interviewed groups and individuals including students, staff, parents and pastors.

They are recommending St. John Lutheran School and Early Childhood Center for dual accreditation.  The school earned high marks in all areas!  How high?  St. John exceeded the national/international averages for 35,000 accredited schools in all learning environment categories. 

Detailed reports from both agencies will arrive this summer.  The St. John School Administrative Team will craft their five-year school improvement plan informed by the findings of this independent review.  One of the first graders expressed it best when he said:  “It’s great for them to tell us what we need to practice.”

During the high-level exit overview shared with the St. John staff and Board of Directors Tuesday afternoon, the visiting team commended the school on several “Powerful Practices.”  Some programs highlighted were:

  • Fine Arts emphasis across grade levels
  • Student Portfolios in our Early Childhood Center and Middle School
  • Bring-Your-Own-Device and Digital Citizenship integration in Middle School
  • House Groups and Leadership Development in Middle School
  • Communication with families which includes a Learning Management System
  • Dedicationto Mission, Vision and Core Values

God is doing amazing things in and through the staff, students and parents of St. John School.  It is a blessing to have that validated by an external evaluation.  As we celebrate our school’s successes, may we continue to intentionally seek His will and favor. 

Posted by Heidi Hays with

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