April 2014

Reshape who you are...
Redefine what you do...
Rethink how you live...
When these happen, God can use you!

Lent becomes Easter after the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Likewise there are many things in our lives that have to die before something new – hopefully better – is raised up in its place.  Someone has said: “the reason why it’s so hard to be happy is because we refuse to give up the things that make us sad.”  There’s wisdom in that truth, isn’t there?  So the Lenten season (six weeks leading up to Resurrection Day) finds us in the process of examining our hearts to know what we can give up, and what we ought to take up.

Wednesday evening mid-week worships and weekend services have focused on “America Is Crowded With gods” – the small “g” type gods. We are wired for worship, but what we ultimately give our energy, resources, thoughts and time to is really what we worship.  So we find the journey through the Temple of Pleasure – sex, food, and entertainment – does not provide a lasting satisfaction.  Likewise, the Temple of Power offers only limited comfort at best as success, money and achievement do not provide what the heart longs to know.  Towards the end of Lent and into Holy Week we’ll research the false lure of the Temple of Love – romance, family, and the most dearly loved – Me.  All of these idols are competing with God for first place in your heart.

Idolatry is not a new problem for believers.  We usually associate a worship of idols with an arrogant, under-educated culture like those we read about in the Old Testament.  For example, 2 Kings 17:33 says: “They worshiped the Lord, but they also served their own gods.”  And that pretty well describes American Christians today. Our journey through these Temples during Lent brings us to the point when we ask God to reshape our lives, redefine what we do, and rethink how we live.

What are the Sunday School
offerings being used for this year?

Plan to attend services on April 5th or 6th to see a slide show & hear a short temple talk to find out about the Sunday School’s Global Barnyard campaign. You might even want to get involved with “Buck-a-Chick”. A dollar is all it takes to provide a family living in poverty with a little chick. Soon enough, the chick begins producing eggs. Its eggs make nutritious, protein-rich meals, and can be sold at the marketplace for income - helping a family escape hunger for good.

Pastor's Column
Eagle Sightings

**One friend hit the nail on the head about the significance of ministry to the average person.  He said, “Pastor, we are not human beings having some spiritual experiences.  We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

**Have you been keeping a running count of all the beautification projects going on in our buildings?  As our “Snow Birds” return they are favorably impressed with the refurbished Library, redecorated narthex, and redesigned Children’s Resource room upstairs.  Please, take time to thank Aimee Holland for sharing her decorating skills and the many hours of volunteer labor.  Our purpose is to keep the facilities updated for Ministry.

**As time is calculated, we are apparently nearing the end of “The Church Age”. Prophesies in the Old and New Testaments reveal many of the dramatic events taking place in our world today.  Whether this ending lasts for a year or for a thousand years, the real concern I have is that the world is losing Christian values in the work world.  Is Faith, “Faith” if its only for Sunday mornings?

**While I highly recommended “Son of God” as a movie for everyone to see, I have great reluctance in suggesting anyone see the new movie, “Noah”.  I saw “Son of God” and despite some flimsy reinterpretation of events, the Hollywood version is simply not as accurate as reading scripture for authenticity. I’m told to be aware of politically-correct touches to Noah’s story.  Once again, the book is better than the movie

**You know that I write to our Senators and Congress representatives monthly.  I ask them to be aware of persecution of Christians such as Asia Bibi who has been held in a Pakistan prison since 2009 for drinking from the same water container as her Islamic village women.  And Seead Abidini who is imprisoned in Iran for spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ in that country.  Hundreds of other Christians are being kidnapped and raped, and churches are being burned in the Middle East.  And here at home Christianity is under fire on many levels.  Please join me in praying for and contacting officials with your concern for these and others who suffer for the faith.

2014 Holy Week Schedule

*Palm Sunday - April 13th - Saturday worship at 5pm,

Sunday worship at 8am and 10:30am

Sunday School at 9:15am

*Maundy Thursday - April 17th - worship at 7pm

*Good Friday - April 18th - worship at 7pm

*No Saturday Worship - April 19th

*Easter Sunday - April 20th - worship at 7am & 10:30am
No Sunday School today
Children’s Easter Egg Hunt at 9:45am

2014 Highway Clean-up Dates

The Saturday pick-up dates for 2014 are as follows: April 5th, June 7th, August 2nd, and October 4th. We will meet in the church courtyard at 9am to issue safety vests, litter bags and to organize into groups. Our route begins at the US 251 South viaduct and travels 2 miles south on both sides of the road. This is a great volunteer/service project for kids, too. We require that students be at least Confirmation age in order to participate. We are usually done in an hour with 8-10 volunteers — hope to see you on April 5th!

Welcome New Members!

We were blessed to welcome new members on February 1st. Our mutual ministry at St. John’s has been enhanced significantly with your partnership. God bless and keep each of you and all of us!
Courtney Ebner & Alexis Nave of Mendota
Ron Sessler of Mendota

St. John’s Youth News

"Growing Together in our Faith as we Serve Others"

Please keep our 8th graders, Grace Brandner, Jenifer Bresley, Natalie Landgraf, Gabrielle Peasley, and Mikayla Wilhelm in your prayers as they prepare for their day of Confirmation on Sunday, May 11th (Mother’s Day) during the 10:30am worship service. We will have practice during Sunday School on April 27th. (Parents… if you have any questions about Confirmation, please speak to Pastor Dale or Maria.)

Confirmation Students —
Don’t forget that you are responsible for “Stripping The Altar” at the Maundy Thursday worship at 7pm on April 17th. Plan to wear black clothing. (We will practice during Sunday School on April 6th.)
Let’s get together on Thursday, April 17th at 4pm to prepare the eggs for the Easter morning Egg Hunt and enjoy dinner together. We will then attend Maundy Thursday worship together.

High School Students —
Our High School Students are in charge of providing the midweek Lenten Meal on Wednesday, April 9th. The menu will consist of baked potatoes, chili and hot dogs. Dinner is served from 5:30pm to 6:30pm. Students should check the sign-up sheet in their Sunday School classroom and indicate which menu items they are able to donate. Help will also be needed with food prep, table set-up, serving, and clean-up. Our high school juniors who have a conflict due to the ACT test prep class at MHS should speak to Maria. There are many ways that you can help even if you cannot be present. (Please remember that all freewill offerings given at the Lenten meals this season are being generously donated to our Mission Trip.)

5th through 7th graders…
The Poured Out 2014 Mission Trip is scheduled for June 6th through 8th at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Belvidere, IL. This is a great opportunity for our junior high students to experience a weekend Mission Trip a bit closer to home. There will be a brief informational meeting and light lunch for all interested students and their parents on Sunday, April 6th following the 10:30am service. Registration forms will be available at this time. The deadline for registration is May 4th.

Mission Trip Youth —
Our “Baker’s Dozen” mission trip group gathered for some fellowship time, discussion and lunch after worship on March 23rd. The scripture verse for this summer’s trip is “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” (John 13:15). Amy Devitt has volunteered to work on a t-shirt design for our group. We are anxious to see what she comes up with! Our next meeting is scheduled for Sunday, April 27th following the 10:30am worship service. The mission trip girls will be providing our lunch. The girls should talk to Paige Holmes about how they can contribute. Thanks Amy & Paige for “Leading By Example!”

Easter Egg Hunt
All 3 to 11 year olds are invited to participate in an Easter Egg Hunt on Easter Sunday, April 20th at 9:45am. We will meet in the Fellowship Hall then head outside for an egg-citing time together!

If you are graduating from High School or College this spring, we will be honoring you on May 18th at both services. Please submit a photo (if you’d like) and information regarding your future plans to the office by Monday, May 5th.

© St. John's Lutheran Church, Mendota, Illinois  (815) 539-5626