Devotion and News: Wednesday, January 21, 2015

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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries
By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin!  Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).


"Just Our Secret"  
January 21, 2015

rainbow, cross... We who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a Forerunner on our behalf .... Hebrews 6:18b-20a
Having received threats that promised a long, legal battle, the City Council in Grand Haven, Michigan, has voted to take the 48-foot cross, which stands on a hill overlooking their city, and convert it to an anchor.

The reactions to the decision are mixed:

* Some are upset to see this symbol of the Savior being removed and reduced.

* Others are rejoicing that one more "illegal" Christian image has been disposed of.

It's that second group, the ones who think they've won a victory by turning the cross into an anchor; those are the ones who are making me smile. I'm smiling because they haven't won a victory at all. All they have done is substituted one Christian symbol for another.

Let me explain. If you examine the graves of the first Christian martyrs you will find many are decorated with a symbol.

That symbol is not the cross; it is an anchor.

In those early days of persecution, using passages like the one from above, Christians let other believers know their faith was anchored in the Lord Jesus Christ. On their graves they made a very quiet, albeit public proclamation, that in all the storms which had swirled around them, the anchor of faith had kept them confident in Jesus, who had won their salvation.

I guess it's not so very different today.

We also are living in a time when Christians are being persecuted. The world still hates Jesus. It detests His sacrifice and despises the victory He has won for us. To keep the story of salvation from spreading, they are banning our symbols, banning the sharing of Scripture, and doing their best to push Jesus back into His empty tomb.

Folks, after watching what happened in Grand Haven, you have to admit, these guys who want the cross taken down are pretty good at what they do.

That being said, we also have to acknowledge they may be good at taking the cross down, but the Holy Spirit is even better at making sure God's people can clearly see their crucified and risen Redeemer. Take down the cross, the Lord will put up an anchor. Cross or anchor makes no difference to us, they both point with pride to our living Lord Jesus.

So, as the anti-Christian-crosses-in-public-places people are congratulating themselves in their victory at Grand Haven, Michigan, I hope the Christians of that community will also rejoice and say to everyone who drives through their beautiful town, "See that anchor up on the hill? It says our faith is anchored in Jesus, who gives us hope and salvation."

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks the Holy Spirit confuses and confounds the proud people of this world. Grant that I may always be a person of faith, a person who is anchored in Jesus Christ, my Savior and Redeemer. Amen.
Pastor KlausIn Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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Today Read:
Job 32-33; Matthew 14:1-21

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How many were in Jacob's (Israel's) family when they left their homeland and entered Egypt?  70  (Genesis 46:27)
TODAY'S QUIZ:  What does the name "Israel" mean?
Wed- Ladies Aid noon; Choir 7
Thurs- Karate 5:30pm-7:30pm; Praise Band practice 6pm; Carnival Committee meeting 6pm
Fri- Newsletter assembly
Sat- Worship 5pm
Sun- Worship 8:30; Sunday school 9:45; Worship 11; Kelsey @ Concordia, Seward for midyear conference
Acolyte- 8:30- Dawn Sherman, 11- Sophie Tinnin
Ushers- George Hoelscher, Brent Davis, Gary Hoelscher, Ben Hoelscher
Altar- Set up- Marilyn Foster and Sue Ruhl; Clean Up- Lynn Russell and Elaine Schauer
Communion Assistants- Sat- Don Turnure; 8:30- John Hachtel; 11- Jim Rahn
Greeters- 8:30- Allan and Barb Dreyer  11- Dan and Lisa Rausch
Lay readers- Sat- Marcia Sevier 8:30- Jo Fahrni; 11- Jim Rahn
Sat Pianist- Kathy Barrow
All kids in grades 1-12 are welcome to come along with their parents!!  Cost is $11 for members of St. John's and $22 for friends and other nonmembers. 
They will leave at 11:30 from church!  Depending on the number of people going there will be a big need for drivers. 
Deadline to register is Tuesday January 20!! 
Come and join us every Monday at 6pm for a great time of food, fellowship and God's Word!!
The Garms family, a southern gospel music group from Minnesota (I know the two don't go together, but you gotta hear them!!),  will be at St. John's on Thursday evening February 19th at 6pm!   It is a family of eight with wonderful voices and a tremendous desire to share the love of the Lord in music!  Mark your calendars right now to come on out for a night of music!!
Make sure you get them and use them for tax purposes, but also to take stock in how much you gave versus how much you had decided in your heart to give last year!
Day shift-- part time.  Pay is $9 per hour. 
If interested contact Star Resource, Beth Murray at 314-432-7827
Altar flowers are a wonderful way to share joy at a birthday or anniversary or to honor someone's memory!  Altar flowers are $25.  Call Marilyn if you'd like to brighten up the church and honor someone you love at the same time!  456-2888!!  Or you can sign up on the flower chart in the narthex located on the bulletin board. 
Tickets are $25 a piece!!

Raffle Tickets for the $500 drawing are also available.  1 ticket for $10 or 11 tickets for $20. 
It is always a BLAST!!!  Get your tickets this weekend before or after one of our worship services or contact your favorite youth to buy them from one of them.  
For years this event has become known as a great place to get good deals on things and help out our youth program at the same time!! 

For DANIELLE MEINE, a senior at WHS, a friend to many kids at St. john's, and a rider on Karin's bus since kindergarten, who has a very serious form of cancer.
For ELTON TEMME, Harold Temme and Lois Frick's brother, who has had many seizures and is dealing with many other health problems.
For THE PEZOLD FAMILY as they have the memorial service for Lisa's dad this coming Saturday.
For DENISE SCHLESSELMANN as she continues to work hard to bring the people of the Czech Republic to Christ. .
For TODD PONDER, former band teacher/director and friend to many at St. John's, who suffered a massive stroke and can't do anything but move his eyes.  He is unable to breathe on his own. Here is a link to a fund that was started to help the family as they will have astronomical hospital and rehab bills for a long time to come.   At the bottom of the page it also has updates as to his progress.

For OUR CONTINUED FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND SPEECH in the United States, that we would continue to be able to freely speak the truth even in the face of opposition.

For our NATION'S MILITARY LEADERS AND SOLDIERS as they figure out what to do about the imminent threats from ISIS.
For MILLIONS OF CHRISTIANS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, who are being persecuted to the point of death for their faith.



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