America’s Many gods
Lent 2014 begins on Ash Wednesday, March 5th, with the Imposition of Ashes at the 8am Prayer Service in our Te Deum Chapel and again at 7pm in the Sanctuary with Ashes and Holy Communion. The Lenten Theme is “America’s Many gods” in which we identify the source of all sin and disobedience to God and how to conquer those gods. Our Lutheran theology is structured around the First Commandment: “I am the Lord your God; you shall have no other gods besides Me.” And yet there is idolatry in our lives as we bow often at the altars of money, sex, food, entertainment, sports, success and/or even family. Perhaps the most worshipped god in our lives is the powerful “me”. What can we do about the hold these gods have over our lives and happiness?
There are probably a thousand or more references to “idolatry” in the Bible and so we easily relegate the concept to being too primitive and irrelevant for our contemporary culture. But the Commandment has not expired and has, in fact, become the #1 issue that Christians face today as we struggle to live lives pleasing to God. So, the purpose of spending Wednesday evenings in worship and Christian fellowship as we journey through this Lenten season, is to discover the impact and source of our idolatries, and discover the recovery process through the power Jesus Christ. Wednesday services are only 45 minutes in length, but the personal investment you make in your spiritual life can offer a life time of renewal and peace.
For your convenience, a meal is offered before the Wednesday service (from 5:30pm until about 6:30pm) so that you and your family can come from work and school to eat, enjoy some fellowship, and then worship with your Church family. Please bring a friend, co-worker, neighbor or relative with you and double your investment. Never underestimate the value of Christian fellowship in combating the “America’s Many gods”!
**Coming to theaters across the nation on February 28th — about the time you should receive this newsletter — is a movie called “Son of God”. This may be an opportunity for families, or couples, or several couples together to see and evaluate the life and ministry of our Lord Jesus as portrayed in this movie. Advertisements that I’ve seen call Jesus “a religious icon.” We call Him, Master. I’ll look forward to your reviews.
**On Ash Wednesday, March 5th, St. John’s offers “the Imposition of Ashes” at the 8am Chapel Prayer Service for those who wish, and again at the beginning of the 7pm worship in the Sanctuary with Holy Communion.
**The Bible talks about the Church (believers, not the building) as the “Bride of Christ” and much to-do is made of heaven being comparable to a Wedding Celebration. But what happens if the Bride-to-be is unfaithful to the Groom. That’s the comparison some make of Christians who chase after other gods. Lenten worship on Wednesdays at 7pm will examine idolatry.
**I return to the classroom again beginning March 13th, this time as the Teacher for “Luther’s Ethics”. This class is held weekly at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Sterling. Some ethical-minded men of our congregation are helping me prepare the lesson plans. Thanks men!
**Our Service Team has asked the Church Council to reinstate Saturday funeral meals. The new meal preparation system is streamlined so that the volunteers feel they can accomplish Saturday meals again for those church members and families who request their services. Our thanks to the funeral meal team for providing this service for our church family.
**If someone asks you: “What makes Christianity special over other religions?” you might share with them the basic difference. What sets Christianity apart from Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and all other religions is the God we serve. Only God the Father of our Lord Jesus, is in hot pursuit of his servants. We are the object of His love and affection. No other religion has such a God as ours!
Mendota Church Women United
2014 Lenten Services
The Mendota Church Women United will hold their first Lenten Service for 2014 on Wednesday, March 12th at 9:30am at St. John’s Lutheran Church. The theme of this year’s service is “Final Words” based on a book by the same name authored by Adam Hamilton. First United Methodist Church will present the first program and serve a continental breakfast to all those who attend. This service is open to all community members. Each Wednesday morning during Lent, the women of various area churches will host the study here at St. John’s.
St. John’s has a Scholarship program to help the youth of our congregation finance their education at a school of higher learning. College Scholarship Applications are now available in the church office and on the Information Booth. Completed forms must be returned to the office no later than April 15, 2014. For further information, please contact Alice Fritz, Chair of the Scholarship Team.
Due April 30th
St. John’s Team Leaders
Educational Ministry Team
and Council Representatives
Cyndy Kreiser - Chair
Jackie Steinbach - Rep.
Kathy Politsch - Supt.
Pastor Peterson - Chair
Tim Munson - Rep.
Carol Dilbeck - Rep.
Leo Quick - Chair
Brian Eich - Rep.
Ron Rose - Rep.
Warren Holmes - Chair
Rob Guardiola - Rep.
Rob Guardiola - Rep.
Elwood Kidd - Chair
Carrie Delhotal - Rep.
Brian Bogle - Rep.
Pastor Peterson - Chair
Brian Eich - Rep.
Rita Randecker - Rep.
Youth Huddle Team
Maria Bonine - Chair
Roberta Wendel - Rep.
Alice Fritz - Rep.
Children’s Worship Team
Melissa Nosalik - Chair
If you are not currently serving on a Team, please know that you are invited to join ANY team at ANY time. The next All Teams Meeting night is scheduled for March 13th at 7pm.
ST. JOHN'S YOUTH NEWS
“Growing Together in our Faith as we Serve Others”
The Confirmation date has been set for this year’s Confirmation class. Our five 8th graders, Grace Brandner, Jenifer Bresley, Natalie Landgraf, Gabrielle Peasley, and Mikayla Wilhelm will be confirmed on Sunday, May 11th (Mother’s Day) during the 10:30am worship service.
Thank You to the seven Confirmation students who helped prepare, deliver, and serve the meal at PADS on February 19th. Your servant hands and servant hearts are much appreciated! They had some fun while waiting for the meal to cook… enough time to play some games and try on the Mardi Gras themed masks and beads that will decorate the Fellowship Hall for the Pancake Supper.
Attention 5th through 7th graders…
The 2014 Poured Out Mission Trip is scheduled for June 6th through 8th at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Belvidere, IL. Maria will be visiting your Sunday School classroom soon to share more details with you. This is a great opportunity for you to experience a weekend Mission Trip a bit closer to home. If you’d like to check out the promotional videos created especially for this weekend, go online to www.youtube.com and search for “Josh Wold.”
Annual Fat Tuesday Pancake and Sausage Supper
Our Annual Fat Tuesday Pancake and Sausage Supper is scheduled for March 4th! St. John’s youth will again be serving delicious pancakes, sausage patties, applesauce and beverages (milk, orange juice & coffee) from 5pm to 7pm in the Fellowship Hall. All proceeds from this free-will offering supper will support our Mission Trip to Bayou La Batre, Alabama and other youth activities. (YOUTH: Please sign-up on the sheet in the youth hallway by Maria’s office if you are planning to help and indicate what items you are willing to donate.) Many helping hands will be needed to make this event a success!
Attention all Mission Trip Youth —
Our first group meeting will be Sunday, March 23rd immediately following the 10:30am worship service. We’ll meet in the Fellowship Hall for lunch and to discuss t-shirt ideas/designs. Can you believe that we are less than four months away from heading to the Bayou?!
Super Bowl Pizza Fundraiser
Thank you to everyone who supported our annual Super Bowl Pizza Fundraiser by ordering a pizza or making a donation. We had a great time making and delivering nearly 100 pizzas and really hope you enjoyed them. Our additional toppings were a big hit! Thanks also to the adults who helped out in the kitchen and with delivery. All proceeds will go toward our Mission Trip this summer as well as other youth events and activities