St. Andrew Sermon Series for May 26th - July 28th

Mystery Box Challenge is Back!

It's that time again!  Where Pastor Jon takes a break from perusing the Dollar Tree for object lesson ideas.

Starting this Sunday (5/26) and lasting through the end of summer, the mystery box challenge is making a comeback!  At the end of each children's message on Sunday mornings at St. Andrew, a youth will be invited to volunteer to take the box home and fill it with a mystery item.  On the following Sunday, the pastor will open the box during the children's message and give a message tying the Scripture reading and its application to the mystery box item.

See if you can stump the pastor!

Rest In Worship

It was a common occurrence as a young boy growing up in east Texas.  My parents would wake me up at six in the morning to get us ready for church.  Why so early?  Because the church we attended at the time (Trinity Lutheran in Tyler, Texas) was approximately 40 minutes away from our home in Jacksonville...and we just had to be on time for the 8 o'clock service.

I will confess that as a young boy, even up until my teens and early 20's, I was not always excited by the idea of going to church on Sunday mornings.  And perhaps there are those of you who feel the same?  Or maybe you have a young son or daughter who feels that way?  Yes, there were days I would have rather stayed in bed or else do ANYTHING besides go to church.  However, I am grateful that my parents did not give in to my less than ideal church-going attitude.  Though they could have.

Why do we go to church?  Well, the Third Commandment calls for us to rest in worship.  Not only do we need physical rest and renewal for the week ahead each and every time, but we also need spiritual rest and renewal through worship, fellowship, and devotion to God's Word and promises.  Also Hebrews 10:25 says, Do "not neglect(ing) to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."  Let me say how personally encouraged I am to see you on Sunday mornings!

Now, why did my family drive a long way to get to church on Sunday mornings?  Because Lutheran congregations in my neck of the piney woods in east Texas were generally 40 to 50 minutes apart.  How very different the situation is in this part of Wisconsin!  In my 5 mile journey from the house to St. Andrew each weekday, I pass by two other Missouri Synod congregations (not to mention the other Lutheran branches, including the ELCA and WELS).  Unlike those congregations located in the heart of West Bend, St. Andrew is out in the country off of state hwy 144 N. (approx. 7 to 10 minutes north of downtown West Bend).  St. Andrew is a small congregation, BUT with a big heart.  We are always eager to greet new people, and we would love to see you here!                       

The Real Thing

"But whoever keeps His word, in him truly the love of God is perfected." - 1 John 2:5

On April 23, 1985, Coca-Cola announced that it was changing its 100-year old formula by introducing "New Coke."  There was a firestorm of consumer protest over changing a formula that was thought to be tried and true.  Protesters at a Coca-Cola event in Atlanta were seen carrying signs that read, "We want the real thing."  Ultimately, the folks at Coca-Cola brought back classic Coke.

Many people find excitement in things that are brand new.  Yet there is value in something or someone who has been around for a while.  The older we get, the more "mileage" or "experience" we have to share in shaping lives.  Pointing to our experiences (including our errors), we then point to the love of God in Christ Jesus who comes to us in His Word and forgives our sins.  The love of God never goes out of style.

I Have an Opinion!

Having traveled to Lafayette, Indiana following Easter services this past Sunday, I'm enjoying some time with family in the town that, throughout the years, has become a sort of second home to me.  I also find myself spending a bit of time reflecting on two favorite things starting with the letter "B.": Bible and Baseball!

A couple weeks back, I shared a story about Major League Baseball umpire, Babe Pinelli (1895-1984).  During his rookie year as a baseball umpire in 1935, he was told NOT to call a strike on a certain other Babe (Babe Ruth), who was in the process of finishing off his baseball career with the Boston Braves.  Well, Pinelli did not see it that way and, calling Ruth out on strikes during a game, Pinelli was loudly booed at.  And that's not all!  Babe Ruth turned to him and said, "There's forty thousand people in this ballpark that know that was a ball, tomato-head!"  Yet, through it all, Pinelli kept his cool, and he responded to Ruth by saying, "Perhaps--but mine is the only opinion that counts." 

James 1:19 says, "...Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger..."  I will confess...I have not always been quick to hear (listen).  Perhaps some of that has to do with having wax in my ears.  However, a large part of it has to do with being "self-centered," rather than being "other people-centered."  And in the process, I find myself missing out on opportunities to represent Christ and minister to the needs of others.  Yet, in being "quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger" (displaying the fruits of the Spirit in my life by God's grace), I'm presenting a kind of love motivated by God's greater love for me that opens up the door to minister to the needs of others.  For where love is lacking, every word is viewed with suspicion, every action is liable to misunderstanding, and conflicts about - to Satan's perverse delight.  We see a lot of this today already?  Don't we? 

Of course, in a world where everyone seems to have an opinion...God's TRUTH is what matters the most.  In Luke 24:6 the women who approached Jesus tomb where told by the angels, "egerthe" - "He is Risen!"  The most miraculous thing captured in a single Greek word!  And because Christ has risen from the grave, as Christians we have the promise of new life in Him.