“You are more than what you do.” It’s a comment spoken by parents to their children when contemplating careers or career changes, by adults caught in the grips of career choices or a feeling of fulfillment, by almost anyone dealing with some level of vocational change. Whether that change is in career, home or relationships, dealing or coping with change is something we all do consciously or not, and finding ways of justifying our decisions, comes naturally to all of us. Hence phrases like: “You are more than what you do.”
But equally true from a theological, or to use a more contemporary term, spiritual, level: “we all are naturally shaped by what we do.” Do anything long enough and it becomes a habit, it becomes an essential part of who we are and how we operate. Our habits are a part of our basic thoughts and patterns. This speaks to the previous paragraph’s comment about the unconscious nature of our decision making. Whether you realize it or not, the easiest way to think about this is: the theology of daily life. All of life is built around theology in one aspect or another. Not all of it deals with salvation directly, but neither does much of the theology we derive from God’s Word. But because it’s all related and there is a need to think rightly and talk rightly about theology, or the words/study (logos) of God (theo).
Another way this is often talked about is by use of the word worldview, as I’m sure you’ve heard me sermonize in the past. But sometimes it’s helpful to view things in different light to see them better. I think we have lost in many of our lives a true and living Christian theology. We are Christians in a technical or nominative sense. We believe in Jesus Christ the only Son of the Father and His vicarious atonement on the cross as the only way truth and life. We belong to a Christian church, we may even attend it regularly. But is that all that is required of being a Christian? Or is being a Christian as the apostle James challenges us in his 2nd chapter something we do? Faith is not merely something we think or say, but as James says: show. As Christ reminds us in His response to the Pharisees that while the 1st great commandment may be to love God above all, the 2nd like it is to love our neighbor.
The first is all about faith in and to God, the latter is faith-driven-action based on the One whom we have faith in, and what He has declared to us in His Word. These two great commandments put together drive faith into action whether it is going to church, opening our Bibles, or being polite, generous with our time, and forgiving to friends and family. Theology is obviously interwoven into each of those comments and so many more in our lives. The question becomes how and why we make the decisions we do. Are our decisions based on what God has directed us to in His Word, or our own very earthly human theology, or as Paul calls them the traditions of men.
I’ve been toying with a phrase recently that I will use to round out my thoughts this month: “Traditions inform theology and theology informs faith.” You may push back wanting to think about it in the reverse, but I believe the direction written is more accurate than we want it to be. While I would agree that faith should be the thing that informs our theology and thereafter our traditions. What is written more often ends up being the case. How do I spend my time? What do I prioritize? How do I spend my money? What is most important in my life? These are easy theological questions, right? What about what I watch on TV, the food I eat, the importance of rest and what it looks like, or what I do with my money outside giving to church? These are all theological questions too.
Faith in God, the theology of life is no mere intellectual accent, some idea that one agrees to or simply thinks about. We are not Descartian in our theology so as to “think therefore I am,” rather our habits, our norms, our traditions are the literal living out of our faith, and as the previous comment implies show what indeed we truly have faith in by what we are living for, what we are prioritizing, what we are making a habit of.
To that chief end I invite you to make Wednesday evenings this Lent a part of your tradition, your lived theology. Come and hear God’s Word read. Sing not just praise to God but sing the theology of God’s Word, the Scriptures set to song. Come not because you are supporting a group at dinner, doing some good in donating to them as they serve you but come because of what is being offered to you in the Word and worship as God’s service for the good for your soul, for your faith, for directing and redirecting of you in the way that leads to eternal life. I look forward to seeing you on February 22nd for Ash Wednesday, and obviously beforehand on Sunday as we enjoy together the lived theology of the church in Word and Sacrament and song.
God’s Blessings on your month,
The Elders are looking for a few gentlemen to assist Pastor Nick in serving communion on Sunday mornings at St John. Please let Pastor Nick, any elder or the church office know if you can help with this.
Year-End Financial Statements:
Please check your mailboxes in the old narthex for your Year-End Financial Statements.
We have received our 2023 Offering Envelopes!
They are in the old narthex so please stop and get your 2023 envelopes.
Portals of Prayer (Jan-March 2023): UPDATE
Please note that there was a printing error in the Portals of Prayer. Replacement Portals of Prayer have been received and are available in both narthexes.
St John Bible Class & Sunday School:
Join us for Adult Bible Class at 9am on Sunday Mornings! We decided to study Genesis, the first book of the Bible. Come and witness the power of God’s Word. Bring your children to Sunday School and Youth Bible Class and then join us at Adult Bible Class. You do not need to come every Sunday but come as often as you can.
We are looking for additional money counters. If you are able to help by joining a group, please contact the office. All money is counted by the congregation. We have 5 groups of different counters. Group 1-4 count once a month on their assigned Sunday and Group 5 only counts when there is a 5th Sunday in the month. The money is counted Sunday after worship service or the group may choose to reschedule counting to Sunday evening or Monday morning.
Thank you to all who donated their time and talents for providing flowers on the altar for Worship Services to praise God our creator and bring joy to His people.
Feb 10 Robert and Sharyl Johnson
Feb 12 David and Nancy Hischke
Feb 15 Jeffrey and Lisa Suring
Feb 1 Kroix Kempka
Feb 3 Morgan Suring
Feb 4 Margaret Elfe
Feb 5 Kaleb Kempka
Feb 6 Karen Linzmeyer
Feb 8 Ryan Carow
Feb 10 Lanette Genskow
Feb 10 Melinda Heimerl
Feb 12 Kimberly Krings
Feb 14 Boston Bowman
Feb 14 Kolia Hischke
Feb 14 Renae Steffeck
Feb 17 Matt Denkert
Feb 17 Paige Friebel
Feb 17 Garret Peters
Feb 19 Jada Vandevelde
Feb 21 Hunter Miller
Feb 24 Lisa Staszak
Feb 25 Violet Buchholz
Feb 26 Gerald Heins
Feb 26 Leola Pitzen
Feb 27 Carla Christie
Feb 28 Henery Anderson
Feb 28 Sandy Herning
Feb 28 Vernon Schuettpelz
Quilting is starting up again every Tuesday from 1-4pm. If you cannot sew, we can teach you! Come and join in the fellowship and fun sewing quilts that go all over the world to those in need. Contact a Ladies Aid Member or Kathy Tuschy at 920-609-4431 with questions.
Office hours this week:
The secretary will be in the office Monday through Friday on scheduled school days from 8am to 12pm. The secretary is also available by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone (920)842-4443. Please send all bulletin articles to the secretary by Wednesday morning each week.
Thank you for using Amazon Smile and selecting St John. By using smile.amazon.com and selecting Saint John Lutheran Church (Suring, WI) for your everyday Amazon purchases, Amazon will donate 0.5% of eligible purchases to St John’s. It’s that simple. Same products, same price and same service. Plus… Amazon will donate 0.5% to St John’s.
We received $61.35 in December for the previous quarter!
Thank you for donating your aluminum cans to St John. A collection bin is between the School and the Teacherage. The Aluminum Can Recycling is sponsored by PTL.
Box Tops for Education:
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Thank you for selecting St Johns! We received $33.40 in January towards our Children’s Fund! Children’s Fund helps pay for fun activities in the classroom, children’s programs, concerts and field trips!
ARTICLE VII – POWER OF THE CONGREGATION (from The Constitution of St John Lutheran Church)
The congregation as a body, through the Voters’ Assembly, shall have supreme power to administer and manage all its external affairs. The establishment and conduct of all institutions and organizations within the congregation, such as a parochial school, Sunday school, youth societies, ladies’ and men’s organizations, choir, etc., shall at all times be subject to the approval and supervision of the congregation. The congregation shall not, however, be empowered to decide anything contrary to the Word of God and the Confessions of the Lutheran Church (Article III). Any such decisions shall be null and void.
B. Right of Calling
The right of calling pastors and teachers shall be vested in the congregation. Pastors and teachers shall be called by the congregation in a regular or special meeting of the Voters’ Assembly
Matters of doctrine and conscience shall be decided by the Word of God; other matters shall be decided by the Voters’ Assembly by a majority vote unless otherwise specified by the Constitution or Bylaws.
D. Property Rights
All rights to the property of the congregation are vested in the congregation. Should dissension and strife arise which the congregation cannot bring to a peaceful conclusion, it shall seek the advice and assistance of the Synod with which it is affiliated. If even then a separation or division cannot be avoided, the property of the congregation and all benefits therewith connected shall remain with those members who continue to adhere to the Confessions mentioned in Article III.