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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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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

 

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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 “March 2016”

Holier-Than-Thous

I am not a fan of extremists, especially when it comes to the overly religious type. One of my favorite Proverbs of Solomon is found in Ecclesiastes, chapter seven. "Do not be overly righteous, neither be overly wise— why destroy yourself? Do not be overly wicked, and do not be a fool— why die before your time? It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes.”

Can you actually be “overly righteous?” Well I suppose that depends on how you define the term. I am made perfect in the absolute forgiveness I have received by grace through faith in Jesus. (Complete righteousness!) You can’t have too much of that. But there are definitely too many “self-righteous Christians,” who pass judgment on others who don’t live up to their “godly standards.” I agree with the guy who observed, “No matter what battle you’re fighting, there will be people on your side of the conflict that you wish were fighting for the other side. That’s how I feel when it comes to some who call themselves Christian. I am not a big fan of the puritan ethic and those who live life with their spiritual noses in the air. Overly pious people make me nervous. That’s only fair I suppose, because I’m pretty sure the things I say and do make them more than a little uncomfortable, too.

I believe God made life to be enjoyed. God is not a killjoy. He instills joy. He made us to laugh, enjoy food and drink, recreation and sexuality within the limits of His design. I know Christians who are so uptight, other Christians are uncomfortable around them. I prefer the opposite perspective, “Christians who live their lives with so much joy uptight Christians doubt their salvation.” I’m most comfortable with that kind of Christian.

The 16th century reformer Martin Luther urged Christians to, “Sin boldly!” He wasn’t condoning lawless and indecent behavior, He was merely saying, “Take the perfection God provides through faith seriously and don’t fret over your shortfalls and certainly not over the shortfalls of others. After all, in God’s sight you are made perfect. It is His gift to you, not something you achieve through good behavior.”

Don’t misunderstand, the Lord nor I, am encouraging vulgarity, drunkenness, and illicit behavior gone wild. But I’m never surprised by it, nor easily offended by it. I prefer to enjoy and live in the real world, rather than the plastic world of the self-righteous, finger-wagging, head-shaking, narrow-minded,Bible-thumping Christians who aren’t happy unless they are unhappy. These are the same self-righteous kinds of people who blasted Jesus saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them!” The apostle Paul said it was our duty to embrace sinners without embracing their sinful lifestyle. “When I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— I didn’t mean at all the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world!” (1 Corinthians 5)

No wonder the song, “Just As I Am,” has such universal appeal to sinners and saints alike. Like Paul we can all say, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” To God be the glory. My imperfection is a testament to His grace.

Can you live with sinners and not become a sinner yourself? It is not only possible, it is required if you are to be a witness to people living outside God’s saving grace. The night before Jesus was crucified He prayed for the Lord to protect His disciples IN THE WORLD. “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one… As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” (John 17) We are to live in the world without letting the world live in us. A word of caution, “You must be careful to know who is influencing whom.” There is a corresponding Scripture that warns, “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15)

So be a Christian, but not a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N !! …If you know what I mean. “Do not be overly righteous, neither be overly wise— why destroy yourself?”

It’s like golf (Isn’t everything?). I take the game seriously, but not so seriously I can’t enjoy it. I worry about those guys who get so upset with their game they almost always leave the course angry and depressed. Why bother to play if it only makes you mad? Why embrace Christianity if it robs you of joy? How can you claim to love Jesus, if you can’t love sinners? How can you call Him your Savior if you refuse to acknowledge your own sinfulness?


The Scripture

You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment. So then, banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body, for youth and vigor are fleeting. 
Ecclesiastes 11

  • What does it mean that God is not a killjoy?
  • Do you find your faith more restricting or more freeing?
  • What does the Bible mean when it says, “For freedom Christ has set you free?”

Survey Question

 Who annoys you most?

A. Christians who sit in judgment of others.
B. Nonbelievers who do not embrace your faith.
C. Both equally.

Take the survey and leave a thought of explanation with shared insight for the benefit of others.


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!


A Prayer

Lord, I am far from perfect. I have been judgmental at times, and complicit in behavior that was beneath my status as Your child too. Help me every day and every way to be more and more like You. Help me to welcome sinners and share meals with them. Help me be equally gracious to self-righteous Christians who think they are doing Your will even when they drive people from the faith by their behavior. You walked this earth and understand how difficult it is to be in the world and not OF THE WORLD. Help me find the balance. I pray by grace, through faith in Your redeeming love; Amen.


Brief Notes

You're  never too old to come and play with us at Cave Quest Vacation Bible School. Okay, so play may mean volunteer, but we promise that you'll have fun, too!

Red Cross Blood Drive is this Monday, April 4 from 3-7pm in Cornerstone. We welcome walk-ins.

First and Third: Breakdown STL returns to STJ on Sunday, April 17 at 6:30pm in Cornerstone.

 

 

Posted by Stephen Hower with

Have You Never Been Mellow?

I like music of every kind. Good lyrics stick with me – even if the style of the song is not a favorite. I always liked the lyrics of Olivia Newton John’s song, “Have You Never Been Mellow.” 

There was a time when I was in a hurry as you are
I was like you
There was a day when I just had to tell my point of view
I was like you
Now I don't mean to make you frown
No, I just want you to slow down

Have you never been mellow?
Have you never tried to find a comfort from inside you?
Have you never been happy just to hear your song?
Have you never let someone else be strong?

Running around as you do with your head up in the clouds
I was like you
Never had time to lay back, kick your shoes off, close your eyes
I was like you
Now you're not hard to understand
You need someone to hold your hand

Olivia has a point worthy of consideration. We are not God, and we miss a lot of blessings by trying to do everything ourselves. I remember the words of my supervising pastor during my internship in Minnesota many, many years ago. A few months before my arrival, he had suffered a devastating heart attack, which was one of the reasons he consented to accept the assistance of an intern.

Pastor Marxhausen’s wife was a sweet lady and very dedicated to their shared ministry. It made her uncomfortable to be “the focus” of other people’s concerns. She objected to all the attention. “We are here to minister to them, not the other way around.”  He responded, and I never forgot it, “There is a ministry in allowing other people to minister to you.”

“Have you never been mellow?  Have you never let someone else be strong?”

I am self-reliant by nature. (Which I think is “code,” for saying, “I’m too proud to ask for help.")  Carol will bear witness to the fact that I resist almost every effort of hers to help me with a project. I’m not sure why this is especially true for me, but it is. Just last night, I was in the process of figuring out how to apply credit we had from a cancelled flight to book a new flight to attend our oldest grandchild’s confirmation in Idaho. Carol began to tell me how to use the code, check for existing flights and then call the helpline to apply the credit to the new itinerary. I cut her off in mid-sentence saying, “I will ask for your help if I need it. I think I can figure this out.”   (Not my proudest moment.) 

Have you never been mellow?  Have you never let someone else be strong?

Maybe you struggle with the same thing. Maybe you need to slow down and listen to Olivia’s song. I thought of it when teaching this past weekend on Jesus in the Upper Room, the part where he got up to wash the disciple’s feet. Peter objected. “You will never wash my feet Lord!”  But you see therein lies the problem. If you are too proud to admit your need for Jesus, you are lost. When Jesus pointed that out, Peter welcomed the Lord’s service.

I think it’s mostly a guy thing, but women are not immune. The apostle Paul had the same problem. He was experiencing frustration over some aspect of life and demanded God eliminate the problem so he, Paul, could be strong again. But the Lord knew better. He told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Paul began to understand. If we never allowed God to be strong in our weakness, we limit our opportunity to grow in faith.” Lesson learned. Paul reflected, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

It’s okay to be needy. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay be mellow. It’s okay to let someone else be strong.

Next week I’m going to tackle the difficulty of hitting a lob wedge out of a greenside bunker. I need help with that too. 


The Scripture

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; You do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart You, God, will not despise. 
Psalm 51:16,17

  • Explain penance. Is it possible to get right with God by doing good to make up for wrong?

  • What is a broken spirit and why does it matter so much to God?

  • Have you never been mellow towards God?

Survey Question

 When it comes to a project you have never done before, do you

A. Prefer to figure it out on your own.
B. Almost always ask for help before you start.
C. Hire it done.

Take the survey and leave a thought of explanation of your answer that may be helpful to others


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!


A Prayer

Lord, help me walk that line between being helpful to others and allowing others to be helpful to me. You have scattered your gifts across the spectrum of life. No one has all the answers. Increase our humility and our interdependence, Lord. Increase especially our dependence upon You, not only in matters of faith, but in matters of faith expressed in life. Come Lord Jesus. Come more fully into my life. Prompt me by your Holy Spirit to know and do Your will. Amen.


Brief Notes

Holy Week Services and Event begin this evening.

Be sure to invite your friends and family to these services and the Eggstravaganza.

Holy Week Experience
Encounter the journey of Jesus from his last supper to his last breath on the cross in this emotionally gripping worship service.
March 24 at 7:00pm and March 25 at 12noon and 7:00pm. All services include communion and are identical.

Easter at St. John
Join us as we begin a new series: Can I Ask That? Over the next six weeks text your questions to us during service and after a short message on the day’s topic, we’ll answer them live. Tackling all of the big questions you wonder about, no matter how irreverent.

Easter Saturday March 26
5:00pm, Sanctuary

Easter Eggstravaganza, March 26
Begins immediately after the 5:00pm service ends.
This event happens Rain or Shine. We'll simply move it inside if the weather doesn't cooperate.So bring your friends and family and come have some fun.
Don't forget your Easter basket!

This event is free and open to the community.

Easter Sunday March 27
7:45am, Sunrise Service, Cemetery
Service begins at the cemetery entrance at 7:30am and moves into the Sanctuary at 7:45am. You may also choose to join us in the Sanctuary at 7:30am.

9:00am*, 10:45am*, Sanctuary
*Live streamed at stjstl.net/streaming
All Children’s Ministry (infant–5th grade) and Student Ministry programs are on break Easter weekend. Please worship as a family.

Posted by Stephen Hower with

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