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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 “April 2014”

Prove It!

Those who doubt the resurrection of Jesus have their reasons.

First, you have to admit even those closest to the Lord, the very ones who heard Him candidly foretell His death and resurrection, doubted even after seeing angels!  The angels asked the first to arrive at the tomb, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here. He is risen. Don’t you remember what He told you?”  Luke says, “Then they remembered the words of Jesus and ran to tell the disciples the good news.”  On hearing their story, Peter and John also hurried to the tomb and found it empty with Jesus’ burial linens lying where his body had been. It says, “John saw it and believed.”  Meanwhile, Mary Magdalene, who first told Peter and John of the empty tomb, returned alone and was the first to actually see the risen Jesus. Jesus told her to go back and tell the disciples. But despite the angels, despite John’s conviction, despite Mary’s validation, the gospels tell us, “Their words seemed like nonsense to the disciples and they would not believe.”  Wow.

Secondly, it is simply unreasonable to believe in the resurrection. Even today, despite all medical advancements, no one can restore life once it’s been lost for more than a few moments. We are educated people. We don’t believe in zombies. We know bloodletting does not cure a sick person. We don’t expect a pocket full of daisies to protect children from the plague. We no longer believe childless couples are cursed by God. We know ground up rhinoceros horns don’t increase our virility, and that cats don’t always land on their feet. We are educated people. Only fools and children believe those things.

There has also been a great deal of misinformation in books and movies about the Bible. It’s hard to know fact from fiction. The movie Ben Hur won eleven Academy Awards including best picture, but Judah Ben Hur is a fictional character invented in the mind of an author. He never escaped from a slave ship, never won a chariot race, nor offered a cup of water to Jesus when carrying His cross, and never witnessed his mother and sister being healed of their leprosy in the storm following the crucifixion. Yet many accept Ben Hur as fact. Jesus never rose from the dead in Ben Hur. He just died. Another movie, The DaVinci Code, “convinced” an already skeptical audience that the Roman Catholic Church has covertly suppressed the “fact” that Jesus fathered a child through Mary Magdalene!  It’s not true, but many choose to believe the Christian Church is hiding the facts from us in one form or another.

Despite all the doubt, Jesus’ resurrection is a verifiable fact that can be proved. A passage in the book or Acts says that after the conversion of Saul (who became the apostle Paul), “Saul kept increasing in strength and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.”  (Acts 2:22)  Paul was able to prove Jesus was the Messiah to the greatest skeptics of his day. By appealing to their understanding of Old Testament prophecies, Paul could show that everything Jesus experienced had been foretold, from His birth to His death and even the resurrection. There are other factual reasons to believe the resurrection of Jesus. No one ever found His body, even though challenged by Peter to produce it. The apostles were not courageous people. After the crucifixion, they went into hiding for fear of the Jews. But something changed. All of them, except John, died tragic and painful deaths rather than deny faith in Jesus as the true Messiah. No scholar denies the existence of Jesus. His life, including His popularity and crucifixion, even speculation about His resurrection, is validated in secular Roman history.

Despite the provable nature of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, no one has ever been “argued” into the faith. The saying is trite but true, “Anyone convinced against their will, remains unconvinced.”  Faith is not established in one’s heart by proving anything. To the contrary, the Bible defines faith as; “The assurance of things hoped for and conviction about things unseen.”  (Hebrews 11:1)  Faith is the work of God’s spirit on our heart. Everyone (whether they admit it or not) is spiritual (80% of all Americans believe in God). People are the result of God’s creation; who brought about their conception and every person (even those in denial) instinctively feel it. As Paul said in his letter to the Corinthians,

“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” - the things God has prepared for those who love him - these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. …This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 2)

While the truth about Jesus can be proven, people believe in Him through the Spirit’s appeal to their heart, not their mind. Christians live lives of faith in a “nonbelieving world,” trusting that the truth of Christ has an appeal that rings true in the heart of others by the power of God’s spirit.

As Paul also said, “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” 

Will you accept the Lord’s invitation?  He invites all who are weary and burdened to come to Him saying, “I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

It takes two to argue. I’m convinced about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus but I have no need to argue the facts with you. It wouldn’t convince you anyway. Happy Easter!


The Scripture

“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”  1 Corinthians 15

  • Is it possible to be a Christian, accept the truth of Jesus’ life and death but deny the resurrection?
  • What does Paul mean when he calls Jesus, “the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep?”
  • Do you believe in the resurrection?  Why or why not?

Survey

How often have you attended an Easter celebration of Jesus’ resurrection in the past five years?

A. I never miss it.
B. No more than a couple of times.
C. I believe in Jesus but can’t accept the resurrection.

Click here to take the survey and take a moment to leave a thought or opinion.


Online

If you were unable to attend services last weekend and would like to listen to the message, visit www.stjstl.net/media/messages. 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

Gracious Lord, thank You for the great gift of eternal life so dearly won upon the cross. You suffered and died in my place. You broke the back of sin, death and the power of the devil on Easter morning. Help me to be more patient with those who doubt. Enable me to confidently share my faith without arguing. Give me greater trust in the power of your Holy Spirit to work faith in the hearts of those who question Your truth. Lord, even though I accept the truth of Your resurrection, there are times in my life when I’m confused by what you do or don’t do on earth. I believe. Help me with my doubts. In Jesus’ name; Amen.


Brief Notes

Friday Frenzie is tomorrow night, April 25, from 7:00pm-8:30pm. Fifth graders, this is your last one before you move up to Youth Ministry. Don’t miss it.

Mission Impossible for all current 6th-8th grade students. Friday, April 25, 7:00pm-9:00pm. Buebird Park Amphitheater. Free event. Bring your friends for a fun night of stealth and strategy!

Blood Drive this Sunday, April 27, from 8:00am-12noon, The Commons. Walk-ins are welcome.


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)

   

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Just Be Quiet

Silence is rare.

According to Gordon Hempton, a quiet place is defined as, “Where you can listen for 15 minutes during daylight hours without hearing a human-created sound.” There are no quiet places left in Europe. Neither are there any such places to be found east of the Mississippi River in the United States. By that definition Hempton has identified only 12 such places West of the Mississippi. He has designated such places in our national parks by placing a red rock on the epicenters of silence. He is also urging national authorities to protect those places like a threatened species.

Gordon is on a mission to record the natural sounds of the world before they are forever drowned out by human noise. He is looking for absolutely quiet places where the only thing you can hear is the sound or water falling, birds singing, a woodpecker tapping a hollow trunk, or leaves rustled by the wind. “Think about finding one place you can visit where there will be no trucks heard, no planes flying overhead, no man-made machinery, no human noise.”

There is something nearly sacred about silence. The Bible says Jesus often sought such places for meditation and prayer. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus arose and went out to a quiet place and was praying there.” (Mark 1:35) And in another place, “Jesus went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when evening came He was there all alone.” (Matthew 14:23)

People who have no appreciation for silence are those who have never, or very rarely, experienced it. I vividly remember a winter 36 years ago when Carol and I took our not-yet one-year-old on a late-night sled ride as a heavy snow was falling in Michigan. Nothing quiets a neighborhood like a foot of fresh powder falling steadily during the night. It was stunning. As a child I still recall my grandparents’ mantel clock, unheard during the day, but resonating like a drum as I lay wrapped in a quilt on the living room floor all night long.

The longer I live the more aware I am of my need for quiet. The bulk of our household chores fall to Carol, but the task of dog-walking has fallen to me. Carol chides me over the amount of time I take in doing the deed. But the walk isn’t entirely for the sake of Buddy’s comfort. We are out almost every morning between 5 and 6am. We listen to the birds chirp, the squirrels rustle, and catch the silhouette of deer moving silently across the lawns. Late night walks are just as peaceful.

When Joshua and I go hunting in the mountains of Idaho I’m always impressed by the stillness of the night. We pack-in all our gear so our tents are of the one-man variety, highly efficient and extremely light-weight. The only sound you hear is the crumbling of coals in the fire ring, the yipping of distant coyotes, and the occasional snap of a twig you hope is caused by some animal other than a cougar or a bear.

I even enjoy occasional rounds of golf alone. I love the challenge of competition and have been known to place a small wager on my skill, but the lack of distraction and the calmness of walking the course alone is something I also cherish. It is the reason PGA pros seldom (if ever) talk to their playing partners or acknowledge their fans. It is what some call, “putting on their game-face.”

Therein lays the wisdom of God’s advice to… “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46) No wonder it is one of the most loved verses in all the Psalms. Noise = Distractions and Distractions = Noise. It is hard to focus on anything when your attention is being constantly diverted by the activity of others.

Do you value the importance of silence in your spiritual life? I’m reminded of the time Jesus included Peter, James, and John to join Him on the mountain when He met with Moses, Elijah and His heavenly Father to discuss His coming Exodus (i.e. release from bondage) that was to occur in Jerusalem. (Luke 9:31) Peter was so overwhelmed he began to babble about things he was willing to do to mark the occasion. The Bible tells us, “While he was still speaking, God interrupted him saying, “Just be quiet. This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Peter, you would do well to just listen!”

Just listen. Just be still. Just be quiet. How will you ever hear God’s voice if you are always in a tizzy to get something said, or something done? Maybe the reason God seems distant is all the distractions in your life. How can God answer your prayers if you never stop talking long enough to listen? How can He speak to you in His Word if you never stop analyzing, discussing, and reading? Just listen. Just be still. Just be quiet.

By the way, the quietest place on earth, I discovered, is inside the anechoic chamber at the Orfield Laboratories in Minnesota. It is so quiet the background noise is measured in negative decibels, -9.4 dBA. It is so silent, the only sound you hear is the beat of your heart and air moving through your lungs. The silence, they say, is so “deafening,” it will disorient you in 30 minutes to the point you will be unable to stand. The silence removes all perceptual cues that enable you to maintain your equilibrium. No one has been able to tolerate that degree of dark and silence for more than 45 minutes. So while silence is good, not even silence is encouraged for no good reason. The Lord told Peter; “Stop talking and start listening.” Both it seems are important.


The Scripture

“The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.” Proverbs 17:27,28

  • Are you a talker or a listener by nature?
  • Do you agree with the idea that God gave you two ears and only one mouth so that you would listen twice as much as you speak?
  • What’s the significance of God calling Jesus, “The Word made into flesh?” What are the implications of that description?

Survey

When it comes to noise and silence:

A. Too much silence bothers me.
B. I can’t get enough silence and quiet in my life.
C. I need to practice more listening and less talking in my relationship with God.

Click here to take the survey and take a moment to leave a thought or opinion.


Online

If you were unable to attend services last weekend and would like to listen to the message, visit www.stjstl.net/media/messages. 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

(Verses from Psalm 46)

“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; He lifts His voice, the earth melts. The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress… He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” May it be so also in my life; O Lord. Amen.


Brief Notes

The Holy Week Experience: (manife)Stations of the Cross
Prepare your hearts to celebrate the power of Holy Week by following Jesus during His final hours in a creative, powerful and immersive worship experience.

April 17 | 7:00pm, Communion, Sanctuary

April 18 | 12noon, 7:00pm, Communion, Sanctuary

All services on April 17 & 18 are identical.

Easter Services

Easter Saturday, April 19

5:00pm | Sanctuary

5:00pm | Cornerstone Youth Center, Second Floor. This service will feature a live band and the message from the Sanctuary will be streamed to this venue.

Easter Eggstravaganza, April 19

Begins immediately after the 5:00pm service ends.

6:30pm | Kids’ Easter Egg Hunt

Easter Sunday, April 20

7:30am | Sunrise Service, Cemetery

Service begins at the cemetery entrance at 7:30am and moves into the Sanctuary at 7:45am. You also choose to join us in the Sanctuary at 7:45am.

9:00am, 10:45am | Sanctuary Both services will be live streamed

Next Generation Ministries will be on Easter Break, April 19 and 20
Our Nursery, Preschool, Elementary, Middle school and High school programs will be taking the weekend off so our many Next Generation volunteers can worship with their families. We encourage families to bring your children to service and worship as a family.


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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