Tuesday, November 29, 2011

St. John Baldwin Dec. '11 Newsletter

St. John Ev. Lutheran Church, LCMS Newsletter                       P.O. Box 162, Baldwin, Illinois 62217-0162 (618) 785-2344              
        Pastor John M. Taggatz,          Carol Wentz, Secretary
December, 2011                                  Lela Rehmer, Custodian          Kevin Kahle, Groundskeeper      
                                                                                                        Church E-mail:  stjohnch@egyptian.net; jtaggatz@yahoo.com
                                                                                                        Church Web Site:  www.stjohnbaldwin.ctsmemberconnect.net

Text Box:


Serving on the Altar Guild for December are:  Linda Schoenbeck, Renee Luthy & Toni Rehmer
Text Box:

Ushers for the Month of December are:  
Larry Erdmann, Kevin Luthy, Terry Rehmer, Cory Rehmer, Brian Schoenbeck, Bruce Schoenbeck, Wes Stellhorn & Dennis Wegener

(618) 785-2344    (or)
(618) 785-2602

-When a member of your family is admitted to the hospital, so a visit can be made by Pastor Taggatz.
- When your group plans to hold a meeting, so it can be cleared and placed on the church calendar.
-When your home or business phone number or address is changed, so church records can be corrected.
- When you are planning to move either out of town or locally.
- When you know you are pregnant so that we will be able to assist you in any way we can with prayers, encouragement and support.
- When a new baby arrives in your family or in the family of another church member.
- When you are planning a wedding or baptism.

“The Holy Family & Kim Kardashian”

                “The very rich are different from you and me.” F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that about Jay Gatsby in his book, “The Great Gatsby”, but he could just as easily have said it about the famous Kardashian family. A descendant of Armenian immigrants to Los Angeles, Robert Kardashian was one of O.J. Simpson’s attorneys. His daughters have become West Coast “personalities.”
                The most famous of them is Kim, who just caused yet another stir by filing for divorce from her husband of 72 days, NBA basketball player Kris Humphries. I have absolutely nothing to say about the “marriage,” because there’s nothing there to learn about relationships. They are different from you and me. It seems to have been just more entertainment for the masses who seem to like the spectacle of rich people behaving badly. Kim and Kris were reported to have been paid $17 million for their own wedding. Just the free Perrier-Jouet champagne alone cost $400,000. There was a media frenzy over the wedding and there is now another one over the divorce.  Elizabeth Taylor’s marriages lasted a little longer, but she had eight of them.
                Jesus said, “What God has joined together, let man not separate” (Matthew 19). Do you believe him? Do you believe that wrecking a marriage is sin and brings his judgment? Do you believe that staying faithful “till death us do part” will bring his blessing?
                Since we are in the season of Advent preparing our hearts for Christ’s coming, it would be good for us to reflect on what took place with Joseph the Guardian of Jesus and the Virgin Mary as they prepared to become husband and wife.  They did this even in the midst of the controversy of Mary conceiving baby Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit and how in the midst of it all God sought to keep these two together as husband and wife.  Their relationship in becoming husband and wife is far different from what we see in the lives of celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor and Kim Kardashian.  This is because Mary and Joseph understood that marriage is not a man made institution, but an institution that has been divinely designed by our Lord and Creator.  And, in fact, marriage as Paul says in Ephesians 5, is an illustration of the relationship of Christ and His Church.
One illustration that shows us the relationship of Christ and His church is the bridegroom and the bride.  2 Corinthians 11:2 says, “For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”  “I have betrothed you” is a figure of speech that Paul used—“I am making you engaged to Christ,” as it were. You’ll find that John, in the Book of Revelation, used that same figure of speech in Rev. 19:7 it says, “The marriage of the Lamb has come.”  And James the Apostle used it in a negative way. He said, Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.  (James 4:4)  What words of warning for people like Kim Kardashian or Elizabeth Taylor who have played with marriage so loosely and lightly.
                In other words, James compares a believer’s unfaithfulness to Christ to committing adultery!  In a first–century marriage, the initial step was taken by the young man who had fallen in love with some girl. What happened was this: When he’d fallen in love with the girl and knew that she would marry him, he traveled from his father’s house to the girl’s home, and he bargained with the father of the girl about how much he would pay for her. The purchase price that he was to pay for his bride was called a mohar, and when the amount of the mohar was mutually satisfactory to the father and also to the young man, then the young lady was consulted. If it was also satisfactory with her, a marriage covenant was made. The bride was then declared to be sanctified. And that means only that she was set apart for the bridegroom. That is the picture we have at the opening of the New Testament; Mary was espoused to Joseph, which tells us they had already gone through the betrothal service.
        Now this betrothal service was actually like a marriage ceremony. It was concluded by the prospective bridegroom and bride taking a glass of wine and each drinking from it. She was now espoused to him. Then when the betrothal benediction was pronounced, the young man returned to his father’s house to prepare a place for his bride. During this time, the bride–to–be prepared herself to become a bride and to enter married life.
This was the first stage, and I’m sure that by now you’ve recognized the parallel to Christ and His church. Almost two thousand years ago He left the ivory palaces of heaven. He left His Father’s house and came to our house—this world in which you and I live—to seek His bride. He gives us this tremendous movement in John 16:28, and many scholars consider this verse to be the key to John’s Gospel. The Lord Jesus said, I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.  What a tremendous movement: out of the glories of heaven and down to this earth for just a brief period of time. And then, having made the engagement down here, He goes back to heaven to prepare a place for us His bride the Church.
                Hebrews 2:16-17 says, For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.  Now that is the wonderful, glorious picture of the Lord Jesus coming from the Father’s house down to our house and becoming a man.
And when Christ came down here, He paid a price for His bride. He explains that price in Mark 10:45,
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.
He paid a price for you and me through His death on the cross for our sins. I wasn’t worth it, and neither were you. Someone has said that if we could see ourselves as God sees us, we wouldn’t be able to stand ourselves. My friend, what a price was paid for you and me! We were alienated from God. Paul said to the Ephesians, “You were without hope and without God in the world. Dead in trespasses and sins.” But Jesus came down and paid a price, and what price did He pay? Peter tells us in 1 Peter 1:18 and 19, Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 
                He paid a tremendous price!  And all this was made possible because God used a man named Joseph to guard, protect, and watch over the young Virgin Mary so that Jesus could grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord through the Scriptures and ultimately die on the cross for our sins.  My what a contrast between the celebrity marriages of this world and the marriage that Christ has made to you and me by making us His bride and giving us the glories of heaven through His death and resurrection.  Merry Christmas!
See You in Church!


Pastor Taggatz
STWRDSHP“It Was so Simple”
                What Christian ever tires of hearing the Christmas story?  First we hear about the Angel Gabriel.  He was a busy guy, delivering messages from God.  He must have enjoyed this task, though, because he was bringing good news.  To Mary he said, “You’re going to have a son, and you shall call His name Jesus.”  To Joseph, who understandably was a little unsure of how to proceed with Mary, Gabriel said, “Don’t worry Joseph.  This is God’s doing.  Mary’s going to have God’s Son.”  Simple, right?  Just follow God’s plan.

                Then there’s a decree from Caesar Augustus.  He had no idea he was just a pawn in God’s hands.  As the powerful ruler he was, he issued a decree: “Everybody has to go to his hometown to be registered for the census.”  And everybody went, including Joseph and Mary.  Even though Mary’s pregnancy was quite advanced, she went on that arduous trip.  Why not?  She was in God’s hands, too, although far from a pawn.  She was God’s channel.  Through her God would bring to earth the greatest gift ever received.

                Just in time, the innkeeper said they could stay in his barn – just in time for the birth.  No hospital, no neonatal unit, no Lamaze – God brought His Son into this world.

                Some poor shepherds were out in the fields that night, just like most nights.  But it wasn’t like most nights, for the night sky filled with light as angels appeared and “the glory of the Lord shone around them.”  Those shepherds looked and listened, and then they acted.  “Let’s go see what God’s been doing in Bethlehem,” they said to each other, and they went.  And they believed, and they told others what they had seen and heard and now believed.

                Sounds simple, doesn’t it?  Not complicated like the world is today?  Not exactly true.  The world was complicated then, too.  Political intrigue abounded; wars were being fought; the greedy still coveted more and more; some people then, as now, were too busy to see the angels or hear their message.  But not everyone!  Then as now, some will put aside the hustle and clamor.  We’ll slow down and listen for angel’s wings, and we’ll hear the message of “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!”  We’ll take time to peek into the manger and worship God’s Son and we’ll eagerly “[make] known the saying that [has] been told [us] concerning this Child.”

We remember in our prayers— We pray for Lori Adair, Jason Mines, Bonnie Highberger, Lee Hogandobler, Evan Saldana (son of (Kathy Hammel)) and Dennis Bunte, all who are battling serious illnesses.  We pray for Greg Laufer, as he continues to be under rehabiltation.  We also pray for Verna Zanders, as she recovers from surgery that she recently had.

The Ladies Aid has been given a large amount of fabric to be used to make comforters. Anyone in the congregation or anyone you know that would be willing to take some to make comforters please contact Evelyn Schwartzkopf 785-2918 or Beverly Schoenbeck 785-2563. They are to be tied and will be given to World Relief or a local charity. Quilters we have a quilt in the Ladies Aid room. Anyone is welcome to come on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 1:00 p.m. to ?

The Ladies Aid will hold their Christmas Potluck on December 8th at 11:30 a.m. Please bring a covered dish.  Everyone is invited so bring your spouse or good friend and join us.

Those wishing to purchase Poinsettias to be placed in the chancel of the church during the Christmas Season may contact Lela Rehmer at 785-2593 by Dec. 4th. The cost is $6.00 per plant. Those who purchase their own plant should bring them to the church by 9:00 a.m. on December 10th and be sure to mark them with the donors name.

2012 Offering Envelopes may be picked up at the school. 2012 OFFERING ENVELOPES—The 2012 Offering envelopes are larger in size, (they are dollar size envelopes), this year than in years past, but the cost for purchasing the envelopes has remained the same.  The smaller envelopes that we’ve used over the years are no longer being printed by CPH.

  Sunday Mornings (8:45 a.m.)                       
Explaining All of the Scary Stuff in Revelation” with Pastor Ken Klaus, Lutheran Hour Speaker Emeritus…
          Nobody said demons, plagues, and an appointment with Armageddon would be fun, but it doesn't have to be feared-at least not for the Christian. Often, the book of Revelation is viewed with mixed emotions. Its fantastic imagery and cryptic phrasings can leave people scratching their heads as they wonder about its real message. Unfortunately, this impasse can lead the individual to side step the book altogether, thus missing its power and significance as a one-of-a-kind text of Scripture.  What awaits believers according to Revelation's final chapter is a "new heaven and a new earth" (Revelation 21:1a). Through an angel sent by God, John testified "to everything he saw-that is, the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Revelation 1:2). In this LHM Men's NetWork Bible study, you, too, will glean fresh insights into this fascinating book and discover why-even for all its horrendous descriptions and obtuse references, it stands first and foremost as a text of enduring hope and ultimate victory for the Christian.

The LYF’s help is needed at the Christmas Eve program here at St. John (it’s at 7pm on Dec. 24th, please be there 15 -20 minutes early to meet with Fleta)—we ask that you hand out the bags of candy to the younger kids after the Christmas pageant.  You may even get some candy too!!! J 

If you have any questions email me (pastor):  jtaggatz@yahoo.com or Fleta Junge: tfjunge@htc.net  /call 282-4642 or 618-444-2764.

Remember:  Every 3rd Sunday of the month we are praying for people who are in the military.  If you have a relative or friend who is an armed serviceman and woman in our Nation’s military please let the Church know so that we may be able to pray for them on the third Sunday of the month.

All you can eat Spaghetti and Homemade Meatballs Dinner on Sunday, December 11th from 11 am to 1 pm at St. John’s Lutheran Church , Baldwin , IL .  $8 a plate for Adults, $4 a plate for Children 5-12, and Children 4 and under free.  This price includes all you can eat homemade spaghetti, meatballs, Italian salad, garlic bread, dessert and a drink.  Carry outs included.  Proceeds go to our local Lutheran parochial schools for children’s tuition.  If you would like to donate any items towards this fundraiser there is a signup sheet in the back of the church.  What we really need is donations of desserts, especially pies for the fundraising dinner. 

810 Soldiers Way, Evansville, IL   62242
Phone 618-853-7300       Fax 618-853-7361
www.coslhs.org; E-mail:  admin@coslhs.org
Mr. John Christman, Principal

Early Bird Registration:  From now until December 15th you can register your student for the 2012-2013 school year.  The early registration fee is $150; 50% off regular price.

Boys Basketball Schedule:
Dec.1     First Baptist Academy                                                 Home  6:30
Dec. 16 @ Saxony Lutheran, (Jackson, MO)                Away   6:30
Jan.6-7   Calvary Lutheran, Tournament  Jefferson City, MO)
Jan. 11   Saxony Lutheran                                         Home  6:30
Jan. 17   @ Marissa,                                     Away  7:15
Jan. 24  @ First Baptist Academy (O’Fallon)  Away  6:30
Feb. 2    Governer French Academy                         Home  6:30

Craft & Flea Market: 
On December 10th and 11th COSLHS will be holding their annual Craft and Flea Market.  If you would like to set up a booth there is a $25.00 fee for a 10 x 10 area with one table and chair.  More tables are available for $3.00 each.  Call the office for more info.  (853-7300)  COSLHS will be having a bake sale table and a craft table so we are asking for any baked sale items, or extra crafts etc. you may have.

Zuehla Rowold                        Laverna Luthy
Red Bud Nursing Home        Three Springs N. Home  
350 W. South 1st                             161 Three Springs Rd.    Red Bud, IL 62278                Chester, IL 62233               

Opal Luthy                               Patty Theobald
Red Bud Nursing Home        402 W. 2nd  St.  
350 W. South 1st                               Apt. F.
Red Bud, IL 62278                Sparta, IL 62286

Dorothy Junge                      Mr. & Mrs. Russell Mahan
7555 State Rte. 15              800 Baldwin Rd
Baldwin, IL 62217               New Athens, IL 62264

Church Council Meeting

Tue. Nov. 8th
7:30 p.m.

Present:  Terry Rehmer, Gerald Poenitske, Toni Rehmer, Susan Piel, Connie Buch, Fleta Junge, Linda Schoenbeck, Tony Junge, Mark Schoenbeck, Brian Schoenbeck , Marvin Liefer, Bob Wirth, Darla Porter and Pastor Taggatz

Opening Devotions were led by Pastor Taggatz
"Atheists Don't Have No Songs."”  Psalm 18:49-50; Psalm 27:6; Psalm 30:4; 2 Corinthians 4:8; Revelation 7:12 (TLH 36)

Minutes of the last meeting were read. Corrections were made regarding the fee for the guest pastor for November 13th. Marriage Encounter will pay his fee.
October minutes also reported that The Lutheran Witness distribution would be discussed at the Annual Meeting. No discussion or motion was made at the October meeting. However, due to the renewal deadline of November 15th it was decided by the Pastor’s Office to ask members to sign up to receive The Lutheran Witness. Those members who do not sign up will no longer receive the magazine through the church.

Financial Secretary’s Report:  Total receipts for October, 2011 $14,358.09.

Treasurer’s Report: Ending balance of the General Fund October, 2011 (­-­$4,141.62).

Spiritual Ministries:  Suggestion was made to release two members, Shirley Liefer and Zach Deffenbaugh, from membership. Motion was made and seconded. Motion carried.

Church Properties:
Marvin and Jonathan Liefer installed the new Carrier school furnace.  The furnace was purchased from Vogel Heating and Cooling through Jonathan at a reduced price. Vogel also donated the duct work that was needed.  Thank you to Vogel Heating and Cooling and to Jonathan and Marvin Liefer for their work and contributions to this project.
Rich Heuman will continue with the service contract on all heating and cooling systems in the church, parsonage and school.
Brian Schoenbeck is working on electrical work bids. The parsonage sump pump still needs some finish work.

Sunday School:  The Christmas Eve Program is titled “Jesus-God’s Greatest Gift”. Practice will be held at 8:30 a.m. on Sundays in November and December except for November 27th.

LYF:  The youth would like to thank everyone who donated items for the Chili Dinner. Also thank you to everyone who supported the youth at the Chili Dinner.
Pastor and Roxanne will attend the Marriage Encounter on 13th November.
Thrivent Choice Program for October and November has amounted to $921.00.
Advent Midweek Services begin at 7:00 p.m. during November and December.
Members have discussed with Pastor about sponsoring a fund raiser for the parochial school tuition. A spaghetti dinner would b e held along with auctioning off ½ of a hog.

Pastor’s Report:

Pastoral Acts from Oct. 12th ‘11 through Nov. 8th, 2011—
-Regular Saturday & Sunday worship responsibilities & catechetical youth instruction
            - 4 Bible Study class sessions (Sunday      mornings)
                        -1 COSLHS Meeting—Oct. 13th
                        -Attended visitation for Lori Adair’s family          on the death of her brother, David--Sat. Oct.         15th
                        -Attended COSLHS Fall Fundraising Banquet        and led them in prayer on Fri. Oct. 21st
            -1 Counseling session
            -1 Hospital Visit
            -11 Homebound Visits
            -Attended Pastor’s Circuit meeting at St. John       Red Bud—Tue. Nov. 1st
            -Oct. 16th did chapel at Red Bud Nursing Home
            -R. County Care Center Chapel—Oct. 26th
            - 12 Homebound/ Member visits
            -1 Bi-Circuit Reformation Service @ Holy           Cross Renault Oct. 30th

DOXOLOGY FOR Pastor Taggatz & a member or members of our church council—Would our congregation consider having me enroll in DOXOLOGY for the next year?  It is a program that helps pastors to learn how to be more effective in the spiritual care and pastoral duties within their congregations.  There are three sessions.  The training sessions are in Rockford, IL next year in 2012, with the last session at Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, IL.  Early registration is $1200, but can be paid over a period of two years.  I would be willing to pay towards half of it or more, if the congregation would be able to pay part of my way.  Pastor Leistico has attended this program and my brother-in-law, Rev. Matthew Wurm, is involved in it this year.  It also allows members of the church leadership to participate as well.  

Baptism—We are planning to have a baptism for Mackenzie Schmoll, the daughter of Ken & Julie Schmoll on Sunday Nov. 27th.

Thanksgiving Day Service w/ Communion will be on Thur. Nov. 24th @ 9am—Would it be alright for my family and I to go to my father-in-law’s place on Nov. 24-25th to visit them in Wisconsin over the Thanksgiving Day weekend?  We will still be back by Sat. Nov. 26th, so that I will still be ready for the Sunday Service and the Annual Meeting…

Annual Meeting—will be on Sun. Nov. 27th @ 7pm in the Church…  Encourage all of our voting members to be there.

Candace Ford & Tammy Moll—spoke with me recently about putting together a fundraising dinner on the first or second weekend of December to raise money for our parochial school tuition.  It would be a spaghetti dinner, along with auctioning off half a hog, we could get Thrivent matching funds on this too if we have at least 6 Thrivent members working in this, but Juila Kahle needs to have this in before Dec. 17th

Encouragement to attend Bible Study—We will be doing, “Explaining all of the Scary Stuff in Revelation” with Pastor Ken Klaus (Lutheran Hour Speaker, Emeritus) on Sunday mornings starting Sun. Nov. 20th…  After this we will be focusing on the life of Joseph the Guardian of Jesus in a video Bible study series with the current Lutheran Hour Speaker Rev. Gregory Seltz

Marriage Encounter—I will be at Lutheran Marriage Encounter in St. Louis on Nov. 11-13th.  Pastor Ken Young will be filling in for me while I’m gone on Sunday Nov. 13th…  He will be talking about his mission work in Taiwan, both in his sermon and Bible class…

Consider doing Mission U with Lutheran Hour Ministries for next yearWe might be able to do this in partnership with some of the other Lutheran Churches in our area as a way for our laypeople to gain the tools in witnessing about Jesus to those God has placed into their midst. 

Giving through Thrivent Choice for Oct. –Nov. ‘11 I am pleased to announce that our giving through the Thrivent Choice program for October and November has amounted to:  $921.00… -Total amount our church has received from the Thrivent Choice program since February 2011:  $5,246.00

Bob Wirth will oversee the cemetery plot map.

New Business:
Offering envelopes have been ordered. Concordia has changed the size of the envelopes. Some members have not used their envelopes in several years. Motion was made and seconded for Linda Schoenbeck, Pastor and the Elders to discontinue providing envelopes to some members to decrease the expense of purchasing the envelopes.

Discussion was held regarding Thanksgiving Offering. In the past the church has designated 50% of the offering to Operation Blessing. Due to the fact that the General Fund is operating in the red, a motion was made and seconded to designate the Thanksgiving Day Offering to the General Fund. The council discussed the possibility of holding a door offering to support Operation Blessing.

Budget Committee has suggested increasing the rental fees of the school building as follows:
Congregation members:                         Non-Members
Gym (dinner) $10 - $25                          $50     same
Kitchen            $10 - $25                        $25 - $50         
Classroom per room $5 - $20                  $20 - $40

Gym rental for use other than dinners is $20/hour

Increase would take effect on January 1, 2012. Voting will be held regarding rental increase at the Annual Meeting.

As there was no other business the meeting was adjourned

Terry Rehmer, President
Darla Porter, Secretary      

Luther_Seal_smWe Believe, Teach and Confess.

Martin Luther’s Small & Large Catechism

“Who Receives What Baptism Gives and Profits?”
Introductory Note:  Baptism is not our work, but God’s work. It is a priceless treasure God gives and faith receives or grasps. God’s Word of Gospel-promise makes Baptism what it is. Baptism gives us great comfort and strength when our sins accuse us, when we realize how we stand guilty before God. Then, says Luther, the Christian is to say, “But I am baptized!” Luther comments about infant Baptism since, in his time as today, some Christians deny infants this precious Sacrament. Luther’s defense of infant Baptism is interesting. He says simply that if God did nothing through Baptism, how do baptized children believe in Him? For Luther, the fact that the gift of the Holy Spirit is given even to very small children is proof enough that God works in and through Baptism. Luther also explains how Baptism encompasses what was known as “penance.” So for Luther, Confession and Absolution are subsumed under Baptism and the proclamation of the Gospel. True repentance is daily returning to Baptism. Baptism is our daily garment, by which we suppress the old Adam and grow up in the new Adam, being clothed with the righteousness of Christ. (See AC IX; SA III V.)

49 The Baptism of infants is pleasing to Christ, as is proved well enough from His own work. For God sanctifies many of those who have been baptized as infants and has given them the Holy Spirit. There are still many people even today in whom we perceive that they have the Holy Spirit both because of their doctrine and life. It is also given to us by God’s grace that we can explain the Scriptures and come to the knowledge of Christ, which is impossible without the Holy Spirit [1 Corinthians 12:3]. 50 But if God did not accept the Baptism of infants, He would not give the Holy Spirit nor any of His gifts to any of them. In short, during the long time up to this day, no person on earth could have been a Christian… Since the holy Christian Church cannot perish until the end of the world, the sects must acknowledge that such infant Baptism is pleasing to God. For God can never be opposed to Himself or support falsehood and wickedness, or for its promotion impart His grace and Spirit… 51 The sects shall not take from us or overthrow this article: “I believe in … the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints.”
52 Further, we say that we are not very concerned to know whether the person baptized believes or not. For Baptism does not become invalid on that account. 53 But everything depends on God’s Word and command. Now this point… rests entirely on what I have said, that Baptism is nothing other than water and God’s Word in and with each other [Ephesians 5:26]. That is, when the Word is added to the water, Baptism is valid, even though faith is lacking. For my faith does not make Baptism, but receives it.[1] (Large Catechism IV, 49-53)

Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions. 2005 (Edited by Paul Timothy McCain) (428). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House..

The deadline for getting articles and reports in to be included in the Newsletter is the 18th of every month.

Do You Have a Question?  There are tracts in the narthex that may be able to help…  Take a moment as you come into church to check out the Lutheran Hour Ministries tract rack.  These pamphlets are free for you to take home.  You may see one that would be interesting, maybe not for yourself, but for a friend or relative who is experiencing or questioning a particular topic.

If you as an individual or your organization would like to help someone less fortunate this Christmas, please consider joining Lutheran Child and Family Services as we strive to make the season a joyous one for the people we serve. We will provide names, ages, sizes and special interests/needs of client. Please call Wanda Rollins, Janet Keiser or Precious Fowler at 618-234-8904.
The Sunday School Children will be practicing for their Christmas Eve Pageant starting at 8:30am on Sunday mornings during December in the Church.

TALK RADIO FOR THE THINKING CHRISTIAN… Do any of these topics interest you?: Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread, The Season of Advent, The Ten Commandments, First Century Bishop of Rome Clement and more.  Issues, Etc. is a radio talk show hosted by LCMS Pastor Todd Wilken and produced by Lutheran Public Radio.  You can listen live from 4-5 p.m. on KSIV, 1320 AM in St. Louis.  You can also listen to what you want when you want at  www.issuesetc.org.

Advent Midweek Series Coming to St. John—“The Hymns of Advent”
On Wednesday nights @ 7pm during the months of November & December we will once again be having our Advent Midweek services.  We will be following the Order of Vespers from TLH and the services will be on: Nov. 30th, Dec. 7th, 14th, and 21st.  This year we will be looking at the “The Hymns of Advent.” The messages will be as follows:

1.       Wed. Nov. 30th @ 7pm— “The Season before the Season” (Matthew 25:1–13)  “Wake, Awake, for Night Is Flying”
2.       Wed. Dec. 7th @ 7pm— “The Uncomfortable Work of Comforting”  (Isaiah 40:1–5) “Comfort, Comfort Ye My People”
3.       Wed. Dec. 14th @ 7pm— “From the General to the Specific” (Luke 3:1–15) “On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry”
4.       Wed. Dec. 21st @ 7pm— “His Exquisite Birth” (Luke 1:31–33) “Savior of the Nations, Come”

Please Note:  Due to the Advent Midweek Series Confirmation & Pre-confirmation will be meeting at different times on Wednesdays.  Pre-Confirmation will be meeting at 4:30pm and Confirmation will be meeting at 5:30 pm…

Results from the 2011 St. John Ballot for Church Offices @ our Nov. 27th Annual Meeting—
ELDER:  Marvin Liefer
PRESIDENT:  Gene Luthy
SECRETARY:  Marla Huebner
TRUSTEE: Kevin Luthy & Corey Roscow
STEWARDSHIP:  Linda Schoenbeck

A Special Task Force Was Put together at the Annual Meeting to work on reaching out to our community and our inactive members:  The task force will consist of:  Toni Rehmer, Kevin Luthy, Dean Buch, Julia Kahle, and Darla Porter.

You are cordially invited to join us in celebrating Marvin Rosenberg’s 95th birthday today at an Open House at the American Legion Hall in Baldwin from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Pastor Taggatz, Roxanne, Eddie, & Marty would like to extend our warmest Christmas regards to everyone of you!  Because when you get right down to it, the true reason for the season is, Jesus

John 17:3—And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

Non-Profit Org.
Permit No. 1
Baldwin, IL 62217
St. John Ev. Lutheran Church
P. O. Box 162
Baldwin, IL 62217-0162


[1]Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions. 2005 (Edited by Paul Timothy McCain) (). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House.

Monday, November 28, 2011

“Are You Ready?” Luke 3:1–6, Nov. 27, 2011--1st Sunday in Advent

1.                    Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Heavenly Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen.  During this Advent season, we get ready for the coming of baby Jesus. As God provided us the ultimate present in his Son, we prepare presents from our hearts also. For each of you, this preparation has had different beginnings. I have already begun to shop for Christmas presents even before Black Friday. I’m almost done shopping for presents. Maybe some of you have yet to begin. Maybe I should say, “You have not yet begun to fight.”
2.                    Now, in addition to the presents, I would suggest that you also prepare useful phrases for responding to Christmas presents you’d rather not have received. You know—honest but polite.  So Advent is a time of preparing presents to share—and choice words to say—but, of course, more important, it’s a time when we are being prepared for Christ. So, are you ready? Are you ready for Christ? Are you ready not only to receive the gift of Christ, but also to speak choice words about that gift? Are You Ready to Share
the Good News of Christ
3.                    In Lk 3, we hear from John the Baptist, or using another nickname, John the Preparer, preaching a Baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  This is what Luke 3:1-6 says, 1In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, 2during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 4As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness:  ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 5Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight,  and the rough places shall become level ways, 6and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”      
4.                    Most of us can identify with what John the Baptist is saying. We, too, were baptized. We, too, were washed out of our sins and into new life with Christ. We, too, experienced a turning away from sin and a turning toward God.  This is what little Mackenzie Schmoll will/has receive(d) today when she is baptized into the Christian faith in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
5.                    Advent is a time when we’re reminded of being in a constant state of readiness. As Scripture teaches us in Matthew 24, Christ will return to us like “a thief” in the night. If you fall asleep at the wheel, there’s bound to be trouble. If we are not vigilant when we stand watch, then Satan and our other enemies can be upon us, and it’s often too late to defend against the attack.  But why must this be so? You might ask, “Why doesn’t God just tell us when he’ll return—date and time?” Then we could be more relaxed, instead of vigilant and stressed out.  There’s that famous line from the movie A Few Good Men. The prosecutor, played by Tom Cruise, screams, “I want the truth.” The colonel on the witness stand, played by Jack Nicholson, shouts back, “You can’t handle the truth.”
6.                    Indeed, we can’t handle it. If God told us when his coming would be, we wouldn’t be able to handle it. With that knowledge in hand, many of us would lead unseemly lives. We would plan a “repentance” shortly prior to the announced date of Christ’s return. But would that planned repentance be a true repentance?  Repentance is a complete change, a reversal of previous thinking, feeling, and conduct. As John the Preparer shares, in Luke 3, repentance is about valleys being filled in, mountains made low, crooked roads rendered straight. Indeed, the proud are humbled. Repentance is not a simple adjustment you make. Repentance is not something you plan to do later. If you’ve repented, you are, at the core, in your essence, different. You cannot help but be different. You cannot help but want to follow Christ.
7.                    I often hear, “Pastor, I’m too busy now for church and God. I’ve got marital problems, problems at work, financial challenges, psychological issues. When I retire, put my kids through college, I’ll see you then.” My response, “Brother, if you’ve got problems, that’s why the church is here. It’s a place for people with problems and issues. It’s not for those who think they’re healthy. The church is for the sick, the wounded, the sinners. If you’ve got issues, Christ is here for you. He will see you through the problems. Christ will heal you, forgive you, and empower you.”
8.                    Rather than denying our need for the Savior—or pretending we don’t need him just now—let us heed the John the Baptist’s call to repent. You are ready for Christ’s coming—and for sharing the Good News of Christ—through repentance.

9.                    Brothers and sisters, there are not too many guarantees in life. One is that, unless Christ comes beforehand, our time on earth will have an end in death. We will all die. Tragedies occur. Our health is brittle. There are “term limits” for all of us. Sadly, as it seems, some of us even outlive our children. Just as Christ will return like a thief in the night, so can death. Let us be ready. Let us help others be ready too.
10.                Now just as John the Baptist’s preaching, teaching, and baptizing aroused the people to wake up, smell the coffee, and stir the pot, we, too, encourage each other into a state of readiness. If Christ comes today, are you confident that he will deem you righteous?  Are you ready? Don’t answer those questions by looking at the accomplishments in your life. Don’t answer the questions by going through a laundry list. Don’t respond by looking at your good deeds and misdeeds and lack of deeds and come up with a sum total. If we respond with these kinds of answers, none of us in this sanctuary is ready. None.
11.                Instead, respond by looking at what the babe Jesus would someday accomplish. Look to the perfect, righteous life Christ lived in your place. Be comforted today by the death he died so you wouldn’t die eternally. Christ has won your salvation for you, in your stead. By believing in him, you are ready.  Part of being ready is to be prepared to share the Good News. Christ gave us that responsibility before ascending into heaven. So, are you ready to share the Gospel?
12.                When I ask that question, I get a variety of answers, but they amount to this: no, not now, not ever, maybe, yes, and (very often!) barely yes. So I ask other questions to clarify. Are you baptized and do you partake in Communion? Yes. Then, you’ve been refined and are undergoing refinement, through the Means of Grace. This is good. Do you believe that your sins are forgiven? Yes. Do you trust in Christ as Lord and Savior? I do. Then, you are ready. Does God continue to equip you as you attend church services regularly so that you hear the Word and become involved in the life of a church? Yes. Does he hone you as you study Scripture? Yes. Does it help to get some training for Gospel outreach? Yes, but the bottom line is, you are ready.
13.                What are the usual excuses? I didn’t go to seminary. I’m not equipped to do that. I need to do more Bible study before I’m ready. I don’t have an outgoing personality. I’m too tired just surviving. I might hurt someone’s feelings when I mess up during the attempted sharing of the Gospel. These are the same kinds of excuses used by the brother who said that he’ll go to church when he retires. Brothers and sisters, you need not be John the Baptist or the apostle Paul to share the Gospel.  Sometimes all it takes is just to invite someone to church or to offer to pick them up to take them to one of our Advent Midweek services or our Sunday morning services.
14.                My brothers and sisters in Christ, God is so gracious that not only did he send his only Son to die in our stead, but he even sent John the Baptist, the Preparer to ready us for his coming. God is so gracious that he has still not returned for close to two thousand years, giving us every possibility of becoming ready for that return. We fall asleep during our watch, and yet he wakes us from our slumber to be vigilant. He even allows us to take part in helping others become ready. What a joy it is for us to have the opportunity to help prepare others!  Are you ready? I pray you are, by the grace of God.