Text Study

Pastors have been doing text studies as long as there have been texts and pastors to study them. Pastors will gather pray, read the Bible passages for the coming week and talk about them.  It is a good way to get fresh perspectives, to learn from others and to share with others the various gifts and insights the Spirit gives us.  Unfortunately I have never really been able to avail myself of this tool usually because of distance, schedule or both!

Today we are trying something new.  

A few months back Pastor Dom mentioned that he would like to be a part of a text study. Not a problem from the concept side, but the closest one would not allow him to be here for our staff meeting.  So we came up with the idea of doing one online using Google Hangouts.  Today is the first run on this!  

I pray that this will be a blessing, I pray that the technology will work, but most of all I pray that God would use whatever we do to bless the congregations we serve in His name.

Potluck Kids - by Beth Voigt

This is the first of posts by the staff of St. John.   You too are invited to write a blog about faith and life. If you are interested contact Pastor David.

Potluck Kids

When I was growing up in the late ‘70’s, a new phrase was born.  “Latchkey kids” was the term used to describe all those neighborhood children who wore their house key around their neck.  After school was dismissed, many of my classmates walked home, unlocked their front door, dumped their backpack in the hall, maybe grabbed some Pringles, and turned on the TV for some late afternoon cartoon nirvana.  I was so jealous of these kids.  When my mom was not able to be home after school, I had to go to Mrs. Carlson’s house where I sat on the plastic covered couch and watched Mikey, her youngest, pick his nose.

             Now the reason these kids had their house key around their neck was because both parents worked and no one was able to be home after school.  In reality, some of these kids might have enjoyed their Pringles/Tom and Jerry induced bliss.  Many dreaded going home.  The house was empty.  There were strange noises.  TV gets boring.  No one asked how your day was, or pestered you to do homework.  Now, the latchkey phenomena ushered in all sorts of social commentary about a generation of youngsters growing up without parent supervision for a significant amount of time each day.  I don’t know that I observed a huge behavioral difference between myself  - whose mother was home almost every afternoon – and my friends who wore their key around their neck.  We all had our ups and downs.  One thing I could count on, however, was this:  when I opened that door after school, my mother would yell my name and ask me how I was doing.

             These days, in our congregations, we bemoan the absence of a certain generation.  Adults in their 20’s and 30’s increasingly indicate that “the church” is not relevant or meaningful to them.  We commission study after study and write book upon book trying to figure out how “we” failed them – not enough small groups, no rock bands, making them memorize things – these are just a few theories floated for the way the church did not move fast enough to keep pace with the times.  I beg to differ.  I believe the reason we see fewer attendees in these age brackets is because their parents did not bring them to church – church became, for all intents and purposes, the empty house after school and these kids did not have any keys.  In an effort to make up for the missed moments during the week, parents crammed as many “fun” activities into the weekend – sports, trips, shopping, movies.  Church did not fit into that plan.

             I am going to break this cycle with my children.  My children will become children of the potluck.  They will wear their fork and spoon around their neck.  While I believe worship is an integral part of faith life, it is also important to know that the lady who sits in the pew next to you also makes the best pumpkin pie.  And she wants to give you five pieces.  Bible study is good.  Knowing that “Rub a dub dub, thanks for the grub” is also acceptable to the Lord, is good as well.  When kids know they can walk into the Fellowship Hall and someone is going to yell their name and ask them how they are doing…well this is proof that Jesus does, indeed, love them.  My children may decide, as adults, to not be a part of a faith community.  However, they will base this decision on the lived experience of a place where they were welcomed and loved and taught and known.  The keys to the kingdom will always hang around their neck.

Ash Wednesday

Crossofashes.jpg

Today is Ash Wednesday.  I invite you to join us at St. John for worship with Holy Communion and the imposition of ashes.  We have a soup bread and pie meal at 12:00 and starting at 5:30 with Worship at 12:30 and 7:00. If you come for the noon meal and worship and need to get back to work, please feel free to stay as long as you can.
As part of our service we will hear the following words: “Friends in Christ, today with the whole church we enter the time of remembering Jesus' passover from death to life, and our life in Christ is renewed.

We begin this holy season by acknowledging our need for repentance and for God's mercy. We are created to experience joy in communion with God, to love one another, and to live in harmony with creation. But our sinful rebellion separates us from God, our neighbors, and creation, so that we do not enjoy the life our creator intended.

As disciples of Jesus, we are called to a discipline that contends against evil and resists whatever leads us away from love of God and neighbor. I invite you, therefore, to the discipline of Lent—self-examination and repentance, prayer and fasting, sacrificial giving and works of love—strengthened by the gifts of word and sacrament. Let us continue our journey through these forty days to the great Three Days of Jesus' death and resurrection.”

USMC-120222-M-EE799-013.jpg

So the question is how will you follow a “discipline that contends against evil and resists whatever leads us away from love of God and neighbor.”?  Maybe it is giving things up, that is an age old practice.  One young lady I know is giving up coffee, chocolate and gum. That sounds a tad drastic to me… I am giving up my diet Coke, which if you know me at all well, is a big deal.  I am also taking on a couple of disciplines.  This blog is one of them.  I will try and post daily here. I am also blogging on my personal blog as well and doing some photography as a devotional exercise.   Alms giving is also an old Lenten practice. The giving of finances to the church, and to the poor, it can also be doing by giving the gift of your time and talents.  No matter how you observe Lent the point is not our actions toward God, but remembering and living out what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. 

Blessings on your Ash Wednesday and your Lenten discipline.

Beginings

As you may know this web page is new for us as is our new web address. www.sjrdb.com is simpler and much shorter than our old address!  

If you were wondering how we got to this address it wasn't with out some effort, but ultimately  sj is for St. John and rdb is an abbreviation of Reedsburg. Together they are 5 letters that have meaning and are much easier to remember and spell out than our old 15 letter address!

We are doing much of this work in house so pardon us if the transfer of things takes a little time or has a hiccup or two!   

Starting Sunday we will be starting the "Year of John" in the Narrative Lectionary.   That means we are back to the beginning to Genesis.  

It is fitting to go back to Genesis as this time of year marks so many new beginnings. The first day of school, first day of college, and many more firsts I am sure.  I look forward to seeing you at St. John this weekend for worship and remember the congregational breakfast between services, it is a marvelous ways to begin!

 

 

 

For more information on the Narrative Lectionary click here.   

First

IMG_2041.jpg

Peace,

This is the first blog entry on St. John's new web site! 

Here we hope to include posts from pastors, staff and the members of St. John about life and faith here in this place and how we come to know and proclaim Jesus Christ and as disciples reach out in love! 

If you are asked to consider writing for this won't you please consider it?  It is a great way to share your faith and we take care of the technical issues!

This blog will also be where you can catch up on the latest happenings a little more in-depth than we get covered in our facebook page or twitter account.   If you have any input about our new page in particular things you like, or things you would like to see, please e-mail us, call or stop in and tell us.

Hope to have more real soon! 

 

Peace