As a family united in faith by the Holy Spirit, we exist to worship and praise the Triune God, to be nurtured through His Word and Sacraments, and to share His love in Christ with others.
"Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs." Psalm 100:1, 2
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Don’t we all have problems and troubles in our lives? - Some, more than others; -some, worse than others. But we all have problems and troubles in life. There is one big problem that we all share. Because of sin we all are condemned to death, eternal death in hell. God’s Word says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:22). John writes, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us,” (1 John 1:8). St. Paul says, “The wages, (the payment), of sin is death,” (Romans 6:23).
And our own sins condemn us - our cheating, our cursing, our stealing, our fighting, our disrespecting, our slandering, our hurting, our coveting, our skipping church, our sassing back, our complaining, our getting even, our bad attitude, our laziness, our selfishness. “The soul who sins is the one who will die,” (Ezekiel 18:4). That does not sound very promising at all.
But, God gives us a way out, - one way out. St. Paul writes, “When you were dead in your sins… God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; -he took it away, nailing it to the cross,” (Colossians 2:13). Was this fair for God to do this? This was not even close to fair - to send His only Son from heaven to be born on earth in a smelly barn; - to send His sinless Son to be mocked, whipped, spit on, and crowned with thorns; - to send His innocent Son, Jesus, to be crucified like a worthless, rotten criminal; - to send His loving Son, our Savior, to die a painful death for our sins. That just wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair at all. It just makes us sick. But because of this unfairness, we are saved; we have the promise to live forever. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, taking our punishment for each of us, we can live now and forever; our sins, our punishment in hell – erased!
Time. Time is a priceless period of opportunity, which we can use to fulfill our God-given potential or waste on useless pursuits. Once gone, time can never be reclaimed. St. Paul says, “Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity” (Eph.5: 15-16). Each day is a new account. If you had a bank that credited your account each morning with $86,000...that carried over no balance from day to day...that allowed you to keep no cash in your account...that every evening can-celled out whatever part of that amount you had failed to use during the day...what would you do? Without a doubt you would draw out every cent, every day, of course, and use it to your advantage! Well, you have such a bank . . . and its name is “TIME.” Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it wipes off as lost whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose. It carries over no balances. It allows no overdrafts. Each day it opens a new account with you. Each night it burns the records of the day. If you fail to use the day’s deposit, the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no drawing against “Tomorrow.” Paul encourages us to use the time we have, right now, to live for Christ. St. Paul writes, ”For to me, to live is Christ.” Why? Because Christ is the reason we are members of St. John’s today. Christ is the reason we are alive today. Christ is the reason we have hope for tomorrow. Christ is the reason we will live our lives as Children of God. Christ is the reason we will use our time of grace to His glory and service.