I’m not a big fan of commercials on television or radio, but as a Christian leader I confess I often listen with ulterior motives. I’m curious what the well-paid ad agencies have discovered about human nature and how they use that knowledge to push their products. I sometimes say, “Truth has no opinion.” Human nature is human nature… we can better understand it through a study of God’s Word or by observation of behavior. If it’s true, the conclusions will be the same.
The world’s motive to understand human nature and the motive of a Christian should be different. Salesmen want to manipulate our emotions and use our desires to sell us something. I want to understand people to talk about my faith in ways that make sense. Some might say it’s the same thing. They are selling products and you are selling Jesus. But I don’t agree. No one can be convinced to accept Jesus by logic or marketing. People come to faith by the power of God’s spirit working on their heart through the Word of God.
The Apostle Paul once said,
“When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God, For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.”
Expecting God’s help, it is still helpful for Christians to know how best to engage a person in a meaningful discussion. I have been intrigued lately by Mutual of Omaha’s approach to marketing. They are calling their campaign, “Aha Moments.” The premise is solid. They rightfully assume there are moments in life when we are open to new ideas. Through the use of personal stories they are tapping into a common experience to say; “What is there about your life that needs attention? What do you care about that might be better protected, better funded, better achieved with the help of our company?”
Here’s a link to their website that lets you choose which story you want to hear… all of them are captivating.
Out of concern for a friend, the one that captured my attention was about a woman who recently decided to retire. She had cared for her aging father who had plans for his life that he never “got around to accomplishing.” She didn’t want to repeat his mistake.
I like their campaign. It reminds me life is defined by “aha-moments.” When I think about who I am as a man, a husband and a father, there are moments that have defined me.
- The day when my pastor called me into his office (not to discipline me) but to say he saw leadership qualities in me that I hadn’t seen in myself.
- That moment in high school when a teacher asked me to take her speech class because she wanted me to join her debate team.
- The day of my wedding, watching Carol walk down the aisle thinking, “What have I gotten myself into now?”
- Holding my newborn son thinking, “What have I gotten myself into now?”
- The day I was ordained to be a pastor thinking, “What have I gotten myself into now?”
- The day I accepted the call to St. John congregation thinking, “What have I gotten myself into now?”
- The night Josh and I spent on top of King Mountain near Colorado Springs 10 miles from our truck as a blizzard beat against our tent and the wind and I thought…(I’ll let you finish the sentence.).
There are literally thousands of moments that define our life and make us the people we become. Not all of them are sent by God. Some are of our own making. Some are the result of other people’s decisions and circumstances beyond our control. Some are planned and gladly embraced. Some are unwanted intrusions imposing changes we resent but are forced to confront. Our life is made up of moments that define who we become.
Jesus’ life was defined by His death on the cross and His resurrection three days later. As He entered Jerusalem, realizing His moment was near, Jesus said,
“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified… My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”
Who are you anyway? Why are you born into this time and this place? For what purpose beyond taking up space and consuming resources, do you exist? Jesus came to be the Savior of the world. Now, as His follower, I intend to use my life to help other people come to the knowledge of that truth. I do that best when I?????? (I’ll let you finish that sentence for yourself.)
“This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:1,2
- Describe three defining moments in your life.
- How are you different today than you were ten years ago?
- How do you demonstrate your faith in Christ through your current circumstance?
Most of my defining moments have been:
A. Of my own making.
B. The result of circumstances beyond my control.
Click here to take the survey and take a moment to leave a thought or opinion.
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.
St. John Church live streams Sunday services at 9:00am and 10:45am. Join us!
Gracious Lord, thank you for the good, the bad and the ugliness I have had to face in my life. I’m not inclined to be thankful for hardship but I realize a child spared all hardship is nearly worthless and unable to cope. Thank You for the gifts You’ve given me. Help me to honor my uniqueness and not wish I were someone I’m not. Use me in life to encourage and bless other people Lord. Help me to see in Your life, suffering and death; the example I am to follow. Bless me to be a blessing to the benefit of others, to Your glory and to my betterment; Amen.
July 4th Community Event
The 4th of July is just around the corner and you can help us celebrate with our community at the biggest and best July 4th party in West County—right here on this campus. The best part is you can volunteer for a while and still enjoy the party and the fireworks. Sign up here.
St. John School
There are 1000s of decisions to make while raising children. Choosing where your children go to school is an important one. Not only do you want the best education, but you want them surrounded by adults who have the same Christian values as you. We encourage you to come discover St. John School serving children from 2 years old through 8th grade. Schedule a tour or request more information about us today.
Our Next Big Step
Tuesday night, June 2, was a momentous night in the history of our church. We came together as God’s people to prayerfully decide who would be our next Senior Pastor. We have watched God move in many ways throughout this process over the last several months, and Tuesday night was no exception. There was an incredible spirit of unity and excitement in the room as we chose to extend the call for Senior Pastor of St. John Church to Pastor Dion Garrett. We are so humbled by the way God continues to work though us at St. John to impact the world for Him. Pastor Garrett has accepted the call to serve as the next senior pastor and notified the congregation of this during services last weekend.
Now, as a congregation, we are getting ready to take Our Next Big Step! On the weekend of June 27 & 28 we will celebrate the Senior Pastor transition at St. John. We are going to look back on all God has done through this ministry under Pastor Hower and look forward to all God is going to do through the leadership of Pastor Dion.
Here’s how we need your help:
- Think about how Pastor Hower or Garrett have impacted your life.
- Shoot a video (90 seconds or less) telling us about it.
- Email it to .
- Not that techy? That’s okay, on the weekends of June 13 & 14 and 20 & 21, we’ll have a video booth in the Parents’ Room near the Coffee House in the Sanctuary lobby to capture your memory.
- Posting about this event on social media? Use the hashtag #STJNEXT so we can follow along.
These videos are going to be a great addition to Our Next Big Step transition celebration weekend!
Find out about upcoming programs and events at St. John Church. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Stephen Hower, Pastor
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