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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.

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Showing items filed under “April 2016”

Edify: Genius & Insanity

Prince Rogers Nelson, known throughout the world simply as “Prince,” died this past week at his $10 million, 65,000 sq. ft. Paisley Park residence and production studio in Minnesota. Prince was 57 years old. He was the latest in a long list of iconic geniuses to die at a tragically young age.

Geniuses are peculiar by definition. It’s more obvious in the arts but not exclusively so. There are geniuses in business, technology, literature, science, even the art of war. They fascinate me. Their autobiographies and biographies have taught me most of what I know about the importance of leadership, creativity, courage, and perseverance.

I’ve always suspected a fine line is all that separates a genius from insanity. A recent issue of the Journal of Psychological Science has verified it. Through a series of tests, they demonstrated that extremely creative and accomplished people share the neuregulin1-gene with those who battle psychosis and depression. The journal contends their findings partly explain why geniuses like Prince, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Hemingway, Vincent Van Gogh, Charlie Parker, Jimi Hendrix, Hank Williams Sr., Ray Charles and many others became the victims of their own excesses and self-destructive behavior. It’s not a new theory. Aristotle said, “No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.”

Reports say Prince was so consumed with work the week prior to his death, he lost track of time and had not slept for six days. It was intentional. The gifted artist had designed his residence with no windows on the first floor so that he, nor his staff, could tell the difference between night and day when working on a project.

Gifted people have trouble fitting in. John Lennon famously castigated his aunt and school teachers for not recognizing his genius early on. He wrote, “I was always different. Why didn’t anybody notice me? It was obvious to me. A couple of teachers would notice and encourage me to be something or other, to draw or to paint – to express myself. But most of the time they were trying to beat me into being a ****ing dentist or a teacher.”

In his autobiography Moonwalk, Michael Jackson experienced sensitivity to a force beyond himself. “Consciousness expresses itself through creation. This world we live in is the dance of the great Creator. Dancers come and go in the twinkling of an eye but the dance lives on. On many an occasions when I am dancing, I have felt touched by something sacred in those moments. I felt my spirit soar and become one with everything that exists.”

Geniuses are not always admired for their exceptionalism. You can’t challenge the status quo and expect conformists to reward you for rejecting their standards. Jonathan Swift understood that. “When a great genius appears in the world you may know him by this sign; that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him,” he lamented. Fulton Sheen put it more bluntly, “Jealousy is the tribute mediocrity pays to genius.”

Loneliness. Isolation. Misunderstanding. Rejection … are the consequences of being gifted in a world of normalcy. If that is true of mere mortals, how much more did Jesus suffer by virtue of His divine nature? I’m sure He felt it. His remarks about John the Baptizer and His own rejection have always caught my attention. “John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”

I’m certain Jesus expected the rejection He experienced at the hands of those He came to save. It had been foretold. Six hundred years before His birth, Isaiah prophesied, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.” Being aware of the reason for His isolation made it no less painful.

The apostle John described the Lord’s unwelcomed status in His version of the Christmas story. “He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him. Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”

I sincerely hope you accept Jesus as your Savior, love Him and let Him love you. I sincerely pray you value the sacrifice He made for your benefit. Geniuses are marked by passion for their work. No one was more passionate than Jesus. The prophet said it best, “Of the greatness of His reign and of His peace there will be no end… The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish it.”

Jesus was only 33 years old when His passion for your salvation caused HIs death by crucifixion. Maybe Groucho Marx was right when he said, “All geniuses die young.” By the way, Groucho lived to be 87 years old.


The Scripture

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? 
Romans 11:33,34

  • Describe how it feels to be misunderstood?

  • Now imagine how it felt for the 33 years of Jesus’ life to walk the earth without equal, and no one who understood His true nature.

  • Why do you suppose theologians say the suffering of Jesus began at His conception, not in the Garden of Gethsemane?

Survey Question

When you observe the death or aberrant behavior of gifted people, are you inclined to:

A. Shake your head in disgust.
B. Feel empathy for their inability to function better in society.
C. Quietly envy their gifts.
D. Thank God for your own well-being.

Take the survey and leave a comment for the benefit of those who might learn from your insight.


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

Dear Savior Jesus; it has rarely occurred to me how difficult it must have been for you as a child or an adult living in a world that could not possibly understand your divine nature. Even now, I realize that as “high as the heavens are above the earth so much greater are Your thoughts than my thoughts.” I’m not inclined to ask for greater understanding for that would require a miraculous transformation of my very nature. I do ask for greater trust and greater appreciation of Your activity in my life and in the world. You are God and I am not. Thank You Lord for Your patience with me and Your willingness to suffer my misunderstanding. 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!

Pastor Hower will be speaking on " A Christian Perspective on Islam" on Tuesday, May 3 at 7:00pm, in the Ministry Center, Room 250. Registration is available at stjstl.net/open-registrations or contact Dorothy at

Make the space to be at Come and Worship on Wednesday, May 4 at 7pm for an evening of acoustic music, worship and prayer.

Share this weekend’s message with someone who needs to hear this message. Follow this link and the share it out via an email, Facebook or your other favorite social media platforms.

May 19-20 is our next Employment Workshop. It’s free and can help out you or someone you know. Don’t keep this a secret.

Work behind the scenes to help organize and run the School Supply Shop and Back to School Bash this summer. We’re organizing now. Get involved. Email Karen.


Stephen Hower, Pastor

 

 

Posted by Stephen Hower with

Restaurants & Saviors

Carol and I have favorite restaurants. They are not the trendy places that folks we know love to frequent. Our favorites tend to be low-on-hype and high on quality and service. One of them is a hole-in-the wall Mexican joint just down the street from where we live. It’s in a strip center sandwiched between a TJ Maxx and a Walgreen’s drug store. Ha! It has absolutely zero Mexican culture except for the Hispanic staff that cooks and serves the food. But their tacos are loaded with real meat that is seasoned just right. Their Margaritas are awesome (Carol is not allowed to drive home after drinking even their smallest, and their largest requires a designated driver.) They recognize us on sight, and their service is always gracious and attentive.

Our favorite barbeque joint is of a similar style. It is short on Western décor, unless you consider country music adequate atmosphere. It’s located several miles from our house. In fact we drive by three or four other restaurants to get there. But it never disappoints. We typically share a half slab of ribs, a bowl of their awesome chicken gumbo with sides of sweet potato fries and their homemade applesauce. If we’re feeling especially deserving, we may carry-out a slice of their homemade carrot cake to share over coffee and tea later in the evening. Again, it is not as trendy as more popular spots nearby, but (as evidenced by my typical attire) I am not a very trendy guy. Haha.

I was thinking about this over a shredded beef taco the other night. Q. “What do the places I eat and the businesses I frequent have in common?” A. “They are almost all family owned.” Although it is not universally true, family businesses tend to focus more on customer satisfaction and less on hype. The people who mow our lawn are a family company. The builder we chose to build our home was a guy we’ve known for years, who used an architect he’s known for years. The same barber has been cutting my hair for more than 20 years. When we find a person who “owns” their work, we stick with them.

The other day we decided to use our dishwasher for the first time – there are just two of us, so we prefer washing our stuff by hand. We were surprised to discover the dishwasher had no power. No breaker switch or GFI outlet had been tripped and the machine was brand new. I called the builder who asked his electrician to stop by and check it out. We all assumed I was just an idiot and there was a perfectly simple explanation. It turns out there as a broken wire behind the outlet that he quickly located and repaired. No biggie. But the electrician was mortified. He apologized for the problem saying, “This is a big deal for me. I consider any home I wire to be my home. You just live here. I’m sure it worked when I wired it. A broken wire is unacceptable.” (You gotta love a guy who takes pride in his work.)

Jesus felt the same way about businesses he frequented. He said,

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

The good shepherd owns the sheep. He is personally affected if anything bad happens to the sheep. The sheep belong to him. He is not just keeping an eye on them. He protects them with his life.

Jesus loves me like that. He was willing to be crucified rather than watch me suffer the consequence of my own sin. In fact, the Lord has two rights of ownership over me. I am His by an act of His creation. Psalm 139 says, “You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.” And secondly, when I strayed from His side like wandering sheep often do, He came looking for me and rescued me from sin, death and the power of the devil. Isaiah said it best, “He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.”

So take my advice and stick with family-owned businesses whenever possible, or with people who “own their work,” and consider it a personal offense if any work they do lacks integrity. That’s God-like behavior. The Lord is heavily invested in your well-being. That doesn’t mean your life will be free of hardship, loss and pain. But the Lord is not the cause of your problems. He’s the solution.

By the way, if you are ever in need of a guy who is excellent in small engine repair, lawn-mowers, weed-eaters, power-washers… that kind of thing. Send me a text. I know a good guy for that, too.


The Scripture

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 
1 Peter 5

  • What makes you anxious? What are you suppose to do about that?

  • Who causes anxiety and trouble in your life?

  • What makes the Lord trustworthy?”

Survey Question

When it comes to trouble in your life, where do you most often place the blame?

A. Others.
B. God.
C. Yourself.
D. The devil.
E. All of the above.

Take the survey and leave a comment for the benefit of those who might learn from your insight.


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

Gracious Lord; help me to see and accept as fact Your heartfelt concern for my well-being. I’m a child of this world. I am inclined to place blame for my heartaches and suffering on others and even sometimes on You. I know You don’t hold my lack of faith against me, but I want to be stronger. I want to trust more completely. Open my eyes to see the pain that I experience is the result of my own sinful behavior, the mistakes of others, or the reality of evil in the world. Help me rise above my short-sightedness. Help me to better understand the pain You feel over my pain. Help me to look to the cross and never doubt the depth of Your commitment to my well-being in life and in life eternal, through Jesus my Savior; 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!

Make the space to be at Come and Worship on Wednesday, May 4 at 7pm for an evening of acoustic music, worship and prayer.

Share this weekend’s message with someone who needs to hear this message. Follow this link and the share it out via an email, Facebook or your other favorite social media platforms.

May 19-20 is our next Employment Workshop. It’s free and can help out you or someone you know. Don’t keep this a secret.

Work behind the scenes to help organize and run the School Supply Shop and Back to School Bash this summer. We’re organizing now. Get involved. Email Karen.


Stephen Hower, Pastor

 

Posted by Stephen Hower with

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