My family planted a tree in the back yard a couple of years ago; a maple started from seed. It’s amazing really: watching it grow from a tiny little sprout to nearly being as tall as me. It shouldn’t be surprising since God blesses us with growing things. Plants in the garden, flowers, green grass, entire forests and ecosystems that thrive and give us oxygen, food, material goods. And God provides them with rain, sunshine, and nutrients. But so often we just take it all for granted. I know this might sound like we’re heading down the path discussing our negative impact on the environment—and yes we have been called to be good stewards of all of God’s gifts — but we’re actually going in an even more important direction.
Do we take our faith for granted?
Faith is amazing. God plants that faith in our hearts and he feeds it with his Word and waters it with his promises. He provides families and his churches for nutrient-filled places for our faith to flourish. But in our laziness we forget to turn to those sources of spiritual strength and growth. Our Bibles sit on the shelf; families discuss politics, sports, favorite T.V. shows, and summer plans but forget to talk about our Savior. Truthfully you and your family probably do read the Bible and talk about God, but shouldn’t we always do it more? Shouldn’t we want to let God grow our faith and strengthen us in his Truth? My prayer is that this summer we all take the time from our busy schedules and watch the amazing things God does for us and our families when he grows us in his Word and Sacrament.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3) Amen.
Few teachings of Scripture have more misinterpretations then Jesus’ final return. Most of the big-time evangelists, radio/T.V. personalities talk about the “rapture,” the “millennium,” and the necessity of backing the physical nation of Israel. The presence of Isis groups within our borders has accelerated interest in these false teachings. What does the Bible really say and why is it important to us?
The Bible says there will be one rapture (I Thessalonians 4:17). It will take place the moment Jesus returns. Not before or after. The belief that Jesus will reign on earth is a misinterpretation of Revelation chapter 20. We are currently living in the millennium. Everyone who believes in Jesus, regardless of his/her nationality, is part of the New Testament Israel (Romans 9, 10).
This is important because Jesus will return one time. We are to be ready for that moment. It will be a great day for God’s people. Jesus said, “Lift up your heads because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28). St. Paul said, “Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, our Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). Listening to Jesus’ words is the basis of readiness. Then we’ll understand our connection to Jesus and the meaning of life.
J.A.M. stands for Jesus in the Afternoon for Me. J.A.M. is a Wednesday after-school program for children in grades 1-5. All are welcome to attend especially those who do not have a church home or Sunday school.
Children gather in St. Paul's fellowship hall after arriving from their school (they can get shuttled by bus from their school to St. Paul’s--Ask your child’s bus driver for details). The sessions begin with a snack, free time (games), a Bible lesson (beginning around 3:50), singing and craft. Children are to be picked up at 5:00 p.m. You can register your child when you bring them or by clicking the link below to our online registration form.
J.A.M. is FREE and a fun way for your child to learn valuable lessons for life and bring them closer to God.
For more information click on the link below to the J.A.M. handbook or call St. Paul's church and school office 783-2552 extension 0.