St. John's Lutheran Church LCMS

September Pastor Rick’s Message

On Wednesday, September 14, the Holy Christian Church celebrates, “Holy Cross Day.”  “Holy Cross Day” started being celebrated in the Holy Christian Church in the year 335, in the Holy City of Jerusalem.

Traditionally, the Holy Christian Church maintains that Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, found the cross – the very cross on which our Lord Christ was crucified. Constantine the Great, has been credited as the one who enabled Christianity to be the accepted religion of the land. Constantine the Great, appointed his mother Helena, “Augusta Imperatix”, giving her, unlimited access to the Treasury, in order to find historical relics and artifacts of the Christian Church. On September 14, the Holy Christian Church combines the celebration of: 1) Finding the Cross of Jesus, along with, 2) the Dedication of the Basilica (The Church of the Holy Sepulcher), on “Holy Cross Day.

According to Wikipedia:

Helena undertook a trip to Palestine. The Historian Rufinius relates that while traveling in Jerusalem, Helena found 3 crosses (the three crosses of the crucifixion).  The story is, that a woman at the point of death was brought to this site.  The dying woman was told to touch the first two crosses, and nothing happened.  The dying woman then touched the third cross (the cross of Jesus) and was immediately healed.  At this site where the cross was found, and the dying woman was healed, Helena ordered that a Church ( The Church of the Holy Sepulcher ) be built. This is what is celebration of Holy Cross Day, is all about.

According to Historian Eusebius of Caesarea, Helena was responsible for the construction, and beautification of two other Churches.  These are: 1) The Church of the Nativity, and 2) the Church of the Mt. of Olives, where Christ Ascended into heaven.

As all of this is considered, a few thoughts come to mind. The first, is the miraculous way that our God works through history to accomplish His Will. Our Lord also worked through Caesar Augustus, to issue a decree that a Census be taken, that all Jewish families return to their family home to be counted.  This brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem, which is the birthplace of Jesus, thus fulfilling the Scriptural prophecy. (Micah 5)

The cross is the most identifiable symbol of the Holy Christian Church today. When we see a person wearing a cross on a necklace, we immediately think of Christ, and that they are a Christian. Sometimes as a Lutheran Pastor, I am asked if it is on to make the sign of the cross, like our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ. I then direct the person to Luther’s Small Catechism, Section 2, under the Heading, “Daily Prayer.”  Here, Luther instructs us, “In the morning, when you get up, make the sign of the cross and say, ‘In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”  When a Christian does this, they are retracing the cross made on them at their Baptism. This reminds a believer that they are a Christian, believing in, and belonging to the Christ, and that they are also a child of the heavenly Father.

Have a Great September, Pastor Brad Rick

Sunday School Update

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 16TH

9:45 AM

Sunday School will resume on September 16th for all our youth.

We will have a potluck brunch after Worship to celebrate.

The grade school students will be studying “Worship in The Tabernacle”, “The 12 Spies In Canaan”, “The Bronze Serpent”, “Entering the Promise Land”, & “The fall of Jericho”.

Don’t forget about Adult Bible Study also at 9:45 AM

Calendar

September

3rd – Labor Day

4th – 5:45pm Confirmation Parent Meeting

– 6:00-7:30pm Confirmation

7th – 9:00am – 1:00pm Pastor Rick & Jo Ann Lerew in the office.

8th – 9:00am LWML meeting

11th – 6:00-7:30pm Confirmation

12th -8:00pm Council Meeting

14th – 9:00am – 1:00pm Pastor Rick & Jo Ann Lerew in the office

– 9:00am LWR Quilting

16th – 9:30am Potluck Brunch

– 9:45 Sunday School Fall Session Starts

– 1:30 LYF Theater

– 5:00 LYF Meeting

18th – 6:00-7:30 Confirmation

21st – 9:00am-1:00pm Pastor Rick & Jo Ann Lerew in the office

25th – 6:00-7:30pm Confirmation

28th – 9:00am-1:00pm Pastor Rick & Jo Ann Lerew in the office

– 9:00am LWR Quilting

29th – LWML FALL RALLY –

 

August Pastor Rick’s Message

On August 24, the Church remembers St. Bartholomew. Who in the world is St. Bartholomew?

He is the Apostle, who was also named Nathanael. He was born in Cana of Galilee.

St. Philip, having received the gift of faith, sought out Nathanael. He then said to him, “We have found the One about whom Moses wrote the Law (the First 5 books of the Bile), and the prophets did write. He is Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael heard this, and gave his famous reply, “Nazareth, can anything good come from Nazareth?” (John 1) – The answer is yes – Jesus, the Son of God, our Savior.

Soon after, Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him. Jesus said to him, “Behold, an Israelite in which there is no deceit.” Nathanael asked, “How do you know me?” Jesus replied, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanel replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Being in the presence of Christ and hearing His voice, noting His Omniscience, Nathanael – St. Bartholomew received the gift of faith. (Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Rom. 10:17).

Nathanael-St. Bartholomew, would have seen the Baptism of Jesus, was also anointed with the Apostles (Matt. 10:3, Mark 3:18, and Luke 6:14), witnessed the death of Christ on Good Friday, saw Him after He was resurrected from the dead Easter Sunday night, witnessed the ascension of Jesus, and returned with the Apostles to Jerusalem (Acts 1:4, 12, and 13). All of this fulfills the criteria for being an Apostle.

Tradition has it that St. Bartholomew brought the Gospel to Armenia. It has been reported that there, he was flayed alive, and crucified with his head downward.

St Bartholomew, was, “a calm retiring soul, whose whole sphere of existence lies not here, but where beyond the voices, there is peace. It was a life in which the world sees nothing, because it was hid with Christ in God.” (Farrar)

It is good for Christians to reflect upon the saints of the past. They are, the company of heaven, and, “the great cloud of witnesses.” (Hebrews 11)

St. Bartholomew was chosen by Christ, by being in His presence and hearing His Word. The same thing happened to you and me at the Baptismal Font. He was taught by Jesus, through the Word. So have we. He was sent out to share the Good News. So are we. In His death, he proclaimed that Christ is the Resurrection and the Life, and so will we.

We are where God wants us to be. It is His vineyard, and we are His workers. He decides who goes where, and does what, so His will can be done through us.

Have a Great August Pastor Brad Rick

July Message From Pastor Rick

Can you believe it, July is already here.  Sometimes as we move ahead in time, it is also good to stop, look back, and reflect.

This last Spring, in May, I had the opportunity to bring some Junior High Confirmation youth to a, “Higher Things” Confirmation Retreat at Camp Comeca, Cozad, Nebraska.    All reported having a great time, and look forward to going again next year.

The theme for this year was “Vocation- from the Table of Duties of Luther’s Small Catechism.”  On Wednesday, we had high winds, thunder, lightening, rain, and hail, which took out canoeing and the Zip Line, yet, everything went really well.

Higher Things is a Recognized Service Organization (RSO) of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, like KNGN Radio.  Higher Things specializes in providing good ministry to College, High School, and Junior High students. They have a monthly magazine consisting of current topics, written by LCMS pastors, and even a website “higherthings.com”  Each summer, Higher Things offers 3 regional High School Youth Gatherings, in each month in the summer- One on the East Coast, one the West Coast, and one in the Midwest.  Each gathering is held on a College campus.  The motto of High Things is, “When we worship we worship, when study we study, and when we play we play.”

Sometimes, the topic of Vocation is overlooked.  In the day of Luther, it was believed that only certain people, doing certain things, were credited with doing, “good works.”  These good woks were good enough to shave time off spent in purgatory after death, and in some cases, even provided “get to heaven free pass.”  Usually, the people who could do “good works” were workers of the Church or for the Church. This resulted in huge cultural shift in Germany during the time of Luther.  Many wives and mothers left their family to become a nun, joining a Convent. Also, many husbands and fathers left their family to become a monk, joining a monastery.  This had a devastating effect on families in the day of Luther.

Knowing something was wrong, Luther searched the Scriptures. He discovered that God assigns people an Office(s), and Vocation, as they go through life. These include: Father, Mother, Husband, Wife, Son, and Daughter, Citizen, and Christian.” When a Christian executes the duties and responsibilities of their Office, they serve their neighbor, and also God. God hides behind the mask of our neighbor. Our neighbor includes: ourselves, our family, our friends, and anyone in need. For Jesus says, “Whatever you do unto the least of these, you do unto Me.”(Matt. 25:40) These are good works acceptable to our God.  We also believe that good works naturally flow from faith, and where there is faith, there is also always good works.

Pastor Gutz in his class, showed a video from Pastor Jonathan Fisk, on “dating”, to the 7th and 8th Graders.  Pastor Fisk has an awesome website and awesome segments on a variety of topics.  His segments are geared for College and High Schools students.  His website site is, “worldvieweverlasting.com”.  Our Lord has richly blessed us with awesome youth. He has also blessed us with awesome resources for our youth.

Lords Blessings have a great July   Pastor Brad Rick