The Ultimate Selfies
How many celebrities and famous people have you seen involved with their fans or friends taking selfies (pictures of themselves)? It seems harmless enough, doesn’t it? When a television commercial or even a news program pictures people engaged in taking a “selfie”, their smiles and funny face antics make us laugh. Some of us even copy their hijinks as we take our own “selfies”.
“Selfie” is an interesting word, isn’t it? It’s a buzz word for today’s culture and society. We live in a world where “self” has become all important. Retailers tells us how important the “self” is. Who doesn’t have their own iPhone and iPad? Notice the selling part of those items is the “I”. Instant and self gratification is king in America, as parents do everything we can to give our children healthy “self-esteem” and we eliminate high school valedictorians so that no one feels inferior or superior among classmates. These simple modifications do have a certain favorable quality for us today, but there is a dark side as well.
St. Paul says the End Times will be difficult days when people are consumed with Self. “Men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than of God, holding the form of godliness, although they have denied its power; avoid such men as these” (2 Timothy 3:1-5). These words of the old saint have a familiar tone to them, and could be a fitting commentary on our culture today.
Our best life is not achieved through pumping up our self-esteem, but by seeing ourselves as we are – sinners who are deeply loved by a heavenly Father. Only when we grasped our own unworthiness, yet realize we are showered by God’s grace and eternal salvation, can we embrace appropriately the selfless gifts of family, friends, and faith community. As we draw closer to the latter days, I hope we will reclaim the vintage biblical teachings of Christianity… ”love your neighbor as yourself” and “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It’s in the constant tension of obeying these two “good news” laws that we find a picture of ourselves worth taking.
Plans are underway for the upcoming Sunday School year
which begins on Sunday, September 7th with Rally Day!
3 & 4 yr. olds-- approx. 4 students-- Sheila & Gary Duttlinger
Pre-K & Kindergarten-- approx. 14 students-- 3 teachers are needed
1st & 2nd grades-- approx. 20 students-- Jeni Holland, Jennifer Hartt, Tara Champlin
3rd & 4th grades-- approx. 11 students-- Barb Anderson, Mel Schroeder, Melissa Nosalik
5th & 6th grades-- approx. 15 students-- 3 teachers are needed
7th & 8th grades-- approx. 15 students-- Pastor Peterson, Maria Bonine
High School-- approx. 18 students-- Don Goy
Thank you to the returning teachers from last year! St. John's is lucky to have you teach again this new school year. As you can see, we still need three Pre-K/Kindergarten teachers and also three 5th & 6th grade teachers. Won’t you please consider teaching Sunday School during 2014-15. If you want to volunteer or have questions, please call Cyndy Kreiser at 815-252-4836.
Eagle Sightings by Pastor Dale
**Tim and Mari McKenzie are our two special missionaries to Japan, representing the ELCA in the seminary there in Tokyo. A letter from them is posted on the bulletin board in the narthex of the sanctuary for you to read and respond if you wish.
**Bishop Elizabeth Eaton has requested every ELCA congregation across the nation to spend some reflective time praying for all those involved in the Middle East conflicts. Conflict is not new for the Holy Land residents, but prayer for all those involved is obviously our Christian response. See the Bishop’s letter on the bulletin board in the narthex.
**It’s that time of year to begin planning our 2014-2015 school year Confirmation program. This is the year we emphasize and teach the Bible as inspired by God. We will be using The Story, a paraphrased version of the Bible, for our basic text. What’s different this year from two years ago, is that we will start with chapter 23 – The New Testament rather than the Old Testament. Copies of The Story are being ordered and if you are not a confirmand but wish to participate in this intergenerational class, call the church office before August 15th and we’ll order you a copy of The Story, too.
**Hobby Lobby and the Supreme Court, The Benham brothers and their HGTV controversy, and the Duck Dynasty family are all symbols of Christians who are willing to stand firm in their faith and loyalty to Christ and Christianity as they understand it. Perhaps the best statement on their defense came when Jason Benham claimed he and his brother are not simply “purpose-driven” but “person-driven”. We live in a day and time when people who are committed to biblical principals and values must start speaking out and standing firm with moral courage. Isaiah had his finger on the changing times in our land when he said: “Woe unto you who call good evil and evil good” (Is. 5:20).
Ice Cream Social
St. John’s annual Ice Cream Social will take place on Sunday, August 24th, from 2pm to 4pm. There will be fun for all ages including yard games, bingo, and several other activities. “Hit ‘N Miss” will provide musical entertainment again. And we can’t forget about the delicious cupcakes and ice cream! Please join us… and bring a friend!
A sincere “thank you!” to all who so generously contributed to our most recent Project Respond collection. We were able to donate a total of $455 as well as 77 pairs of new or used jeans, 27 pairs of new shoes, and 30 blankets!!! This will touch a lot of lives in a very special way.
Our Summer Worship schedule (5pm on Saturday and 9am on Sunday) continues through the month of August.
We will return to our Regular Worship schedule (5pm on Saturday; 8am and 10:30am on Sunday) beginning Sunday, September 7th. Sunday School classes also resume on September 7th at 9:15am.
LWR School Kit Project
Can you believe it is almost time for the new school year? School supply lists are ready and the stores have all the supplies on their shelves. This is a reminder that we at St. John's continue to support Lutheran World Relief. Besides making quilts, we also assemble school kits. A total of 8 items are needed for each kit; items are Notebooks, Ruler, Sharpeners, Scissors, Pencils, Ink Pens, 16-24 Crayons and Erasers. When you are shopping, please consider purchasing and donating any of these items for our LWR School Kit Project. There is a box marked "School Supplies" by the Information Booth in the Parish Hall for these items. Also, if you would like to make the new style draw-string bag, directions are available. Thank you for your continued support of this project.
St. John’s Youth News
"Growing Together in our Faith as we Serve Others"
Water Park Adventure
Who’s ready for a water park adventure?
On Tuesday, August 12th we will head to Raging Raves Waterpark in Yorkville for a day of fun in the sun! All interested 6th grade through High School youth should sign up with Maria no later than Sunday, August 3rd! Cost is $20. We will plan to leave church at 9am and return by 4pm. Please pack a lunch or bring extra funds to buy your own. If you have any questions, please see Maria! Adult drivers and chaperones are needed!
God’s Hands in the Bayou! We had a great experience serving as God’s Hands in the Bayou! Thank you to our church family for all of your prayers and support of our trip. It’s time to start planning for our 2015 Mission Trip. On Sunday, August 17th there will be a brief meeting in the fellowship hall following 9am worship for any current 8th grade through high school senior who is interested in learning more about next summer’s trip. Parents/family members are welcome to attend.
Lunch in the Park
Helping hands and hearts are needed to provide Lunch in the Park on Friday, August 15th. We are in need of helpers to set up, serve lunch, clean up, and donate items. If you are able to help please let Maria know. Donation items needed include hamburger buns, hotdog buns, bags of chips, bottled water, soda, and individually wrapped desserts. (High School youth will already be in school, but perhaps you can volunteer to donate an item?) Monetary donations for purchase of grilling meats are also accepted. Thanks!