May 2019

The Work is Done; The Work is Not Done

Pastor Joel Leyrer - Ascension Day - Thursday, May 30, 2019

Text: Luke 24:50-53

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Dear Friends in Christ,  Some of us with long and deep roots in this congregation may have had snippets of it passed down to them, but nobody present was party to the conversation our St. John’s forefathers had when they built this church and had to make a decision on what Bible story of image they wanted on the big stained glass window everyone would see as they exit the church.

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More Than You Can See

Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Sixth Sunday of Easter - Sunday, May 26, 2019

Text: 2 Kings 6:15-17   

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Just over 78 years ago, on May 9th, 1941, most of the world was engaged in a massive confrontation that we know today as World War II, and a not very well known but important event was taking place.  It started in an ordinary enough way.  British ships found and attacked a German submarine, damaging it heavily.  Thinking they were about to sink, the German crew abandoned ship, but the submarine didn’t go to the bottom as quickly as they had anticipated.  The British sailors managed to board the vessel and took everything they could find that seemed to be of value, including a strange looking typewriter-like machine in the radio room and a book that was beside it.  Upon further investigation, this strange device proved to be a code machine known as an Enigma machine to history, and the book was its key.  The capture of this device and book allowed the allied forces to read German radio messages for the next couple of weeks and contributed to the eventual deciphering other German communications.  Knowing where the German forces were going and what they were doing was a huge strategic advantage! 

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The Gift of a Godly Friend

Pastor Eric Schroeder - The Fifth Sunday of Easter - Sunday, May 19, 2019

Text: 1 Samuel 20:12-17

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Some of the best stories are those of unlikely friendships.  A generation or two ago, American television viewers followed the story of Felix Unger and Oscar Madison, the “Odd Couple” of men (each of them recently divorced) who wound up sharing an apartment together.  What made it interesting was that Felix was a neat freak, and Oscar was a slob, and the whole show is built around how their personality differences lead to a whole lot of conflict and comical situations. 

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The Shepherd and His Flock

Pastor Joel Leyrer - The Fourth Sunday of Easter - Sunday, May 12, 2019

Text: Ezekiel 34:25-31

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Dear Friends in Christ,  Within the church, today is designated as Good Shepherd Sunday.  And, as most everybody knows both inside and outside of the church, today is also Mother’s Day.  Can we make an unforced connection between the two?  I believe we can. 

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Seeing the Light of Easter

Pastor Eric Schroeder - The Third Sunday of Easter - Sunday, April 5, 2019

Text: Acts 9:1-19a

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If you had to give up one of your five senses, which one would you choose to lose?  That’s one of those questions that makes for an interesting conversation, and maybe you have already considered the relative value of taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight. Perhaps we look for an example from people we know. I would imagine that all of us know someone who has lost some of his or her hearing; that seems to be pretty common and tends to happen slowly over time. I have known a few people that have either temporarily or permanently lost at least some ability to smell or taste; and yes, they miss it, especially when it comes to their favorite foods, but they seem to get by. I don’t know that any of us can even begin to imagine what life would be like with absolutely no sense of touch, but as life-changing as it might be to never feel anything again, there is still one more that people would rather hang onto. 

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Too Good to be True

Pastor Kyle Bitter  -  The Second Sunday of Easter - Sunday, April 28, 2019

Text: Genesis 15:1-6

When I was in middle school, I remember hearing my mom answer the phone.  After listening for a few seconds, she politely said, “no thank you, we’re not interested” and hung up.  My brother asked, “Mom, who was that?”  She said, “Just some telemarketer.  He was trying to say I had won a free car.  Probably some kind of scam.”  “What kind of car?” my brother asked.  “Some kind of SUV.”  Probably similar to something you’ve experienced yourself, and probably on a number of occasions.  So why does it stick in my memory?  Well, there is more to the story.  What my mom didn’t know was something that had happened about a week earlier on the day when my brothers and I had attended the local fair.  While our family was volunteering at our church’s booth, my three brothers and I took a break to make the rounds of vendors and collected the candy and free stuff that businesses hand out…and we entered a drawing to win a brand new car.  An SUV, to be precise.  And because none of us were 18 yet, we had entered my mom’s name…and she had won!  But when the phone call came, a free car seemed too good to be true, and nothing more ever happened. 

Now, to be perfectly fair to my mom, it’s entirely possible and perhaps likely that had the phone conversation continued, there would have been some kind of catch, and speaking for myself, I too have hung up on many such phone calls over the years as I’m guessing you have too.  But, because there was no number to call back and they never called us again, we can only guess, and it certainly hasn’t stopped us from teasing my mom about how we might have missed out on a free car because she thought it was Too Good to be True.   

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