The Messenger

January Special Events

  • Congregational Vote
    January 6, 11:15 am
  • Babysitting Night
    January 12, 4:00 pm
  • Budget Information Meetings
    January 13, 9:00 am &
    January 16, 5:30 pm
  • Breakfast hosted by CKP
    January 20, 9:00 am
  • Annual Meeting
    January 20, 11:30 am
  • Installation of New Council
    January 27, both services
    January 30, 6:30 pm service

Full schedule of events at stjohnskasson.org/calendar

Committing to God in the New Year

Pastor Nirmala Reinschmidt
Interim Pastor

“I never make New Year’s Resolutions, anymore,” the man told me, “I never keep them, anyway.” I can remember all too many resolutions I’ve made and let slip away, too. But I believer New Year’s resolutions are worth making. Let me tell you why.

First, we all need changes. Some we find very hard to admit to ourselves. I’ve heard people say, “I have no regrets about my life, if I had it to do over, I’d do it the same way again.” But that attitude is way too blind and self-serving so far as I’m concerned. There is great power in confession-to ourselves, to God, to others. Owning up to our failures is the first, painful step on the road to something better.

Second, when we change calendars is a good time for assessment. How did last year go? What do I want to do differently this year? This time of year always reminds of a passage of Scripture, better understood by farmers than suburbanites: “Break up your unplowed ground, and do not sow among thorns” (Jeremiah 4:3). It makes sense. The more land you put into production, the more prosperous you’ll be.

Let me as ask you a question. What percentage of your life is producing something of value to God? How much “unplowed ground” do you have that ought to be broken up in this coming year and made useful? Reassessment. The brink of a new year is a good time for reassessment.

Third, New Year’s is an excellent time for mid-course corrections. Sure, we might fail in what we set out to do, but if we fail to plan, the old saw goes, then we plan to fail. One of my favorite characters in the Bible is Apostle Paul. Talk about failure! Throughout his life he was opposed, persecuted, shipwrecked, and stoned. Sometimes it seemed that projects to which he had devoted years were turning to dust before his eyes. But during his time in prison, he wrote” Forgetting what is behind, and straining toward what is ahead, I press toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). No wonder he made a mark on his world. He stopped looking back and looked forward instead. He didn’t let the fear of failure keep him from trying again.

Fourth, New Year’s is a time to learn to rely more heavily on the grace of God. Now I’ve met a few self-made men and women and so have you, but so often these people seem proud and driven. There is another way: beginning to trust in God’s help. One more lesson from the Apostle Paul: “I can do all things through God who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13)

If this last year, you didn’t practice relying on the Lord as much as you should have, there is no time like the present to make a New Year’s resolution. In fact, why don’t you say a short prayer right now-use these words if you like. “Dear God, I want the new year to be different for me.” Now spell out in prayer some of the changes you’d like to see. And close this way: “Lord Jesus, I know that I’m going to need a lot of help for this. So right now, I place myself in your hands. Help me to receive your strength. Amen”

I encourage you to commit your life to Jesus and make Him as your Lord who is willing to guide and direct your life. Please continue to Worship and Serve Him with your gifts and talents. I extend my heartfelt thanks for supporting the mission of St. John’s Lutheran Church.

Have a Blessed New Year!
Pastor Nirmala Reinschmidt

Self-care in the New Year

Amanda Sabelko, Deacon
Children, Youth, & Family Development Director

It’s a new year — what are you planning to do with your next 365 days??

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says, “Love your neighbor, as you love yourself.”

Maybe you’ve heard that before, but have you thought about what it actually means? Sure it means to be kind and respectful to your neighbor; it also means to be kind and respectful to yourself. I mean, how can you treat others kindly if you don’t do the same for yourself? Today, you might think about kindness toward yourself as self-care.

As someone who lives with seasonal affective disorder, this time of year can be hard. It’s hard to be motivated, to connect with others, and even to focus on caring for myself. I have found a few things that work well for me and thought maybe they could work for you too.

  • Keeping a regular schedule: go to bed and wake up around the same time every day. For me, this also means that I need to schedule something every day so that I connect with other people.
  • Do something that brings you joy: even if it’s just drinking a good cup of coffee. What’s something you love to do? Coloring, playing piano, snowshoeing, and a million other things are just some ideas for you.
  • Try meditation: whether you sit in a cozy place in your house and meditate on scripture, read a daily devotion, or pray, taking a moment out of your day can reduce anxiety.

You might think of other self-care ideas that work for you. Feel free to share with me or others. We will be featuring self-care ideas throughout the month of January, your idea could be featured too!

Congregational Vote on January 6

On December 11, St. John’s Leadership Council met with representatives from the Call Committee who presented an excellent candidate for our next lead pastor. We will have a special congregational meeting on Sunday, January 6 following the 10:15 worship. In order to extend a call, we will need a 2/3 majority vote saying “yes” to the candidate presented. All confirmed members are encouraged to attend and exercise their right to vote.

2019 Annual Meeting & Budget Information Meetings

The Annual Meeting is scheduled for Sunday, January 20 at 11:30 am. The annual report will be available in hard copy and electronic format in mid-January. There will also be budget information sessions so you can ask questions about the budget on Sunday, January 13 at 9:00 am and Wednesday, January 16 at 5:30 pm.

Needed: Leaders for 2019

Do you feel called to serve St. John’s in a leadership capacity in 2019? At the Annual Meeting on January 20, we will elect two new council members and members of the St. John’s Foundation, Nominating Committee, and Audit Committee. We’re also seeking youth and adults to attend the 2019 Southeastern Minnesota Synod Assembly May 31-June 1 in Rochester. This year’s assembly will include electing a new synod bishop! If you feel God’s call to serve in any of these capacities – or know someone who should – contact Joel Mindermann (jmindermann@onsitecomputersinc.com or (507) 634-3121), Sharyn French (French.Sharyn@mayo.edu or (507) 696-2341), or the office.

Parents: need a night out?

St. John’s is hosting childcare Saturday, January 12 from 4:00 pm – 9:00 pm. The 25 spaces are first come, first served. Sign up at stjohnskasson.org/babysitting (coming soon!) or the Welcome Center. Dinner, snacks, crafts, games, and a movie will be provided. Price is $20 per child or $50 maximum per family. Children ages 6 months-12 years are eligible to attend.

Girl, wash your face

The St. John’s Moms’ group will be reading Girl, wash your face by Rachel Hollis. Anyone – moms or not! – is welcome to join in the discussions Sundays at 9:10 am or Thursdays at 12:30 pm. Details are at stjohnskasson.org/moms To be added to the email list and online group, contact Lindsay at lindsay@stjohnskasson.org or call the office.

2019 Chili Cook-Off February 24

Get out your pots or your spoons – chefs and tasters should all plan to be at the 2019 Chili Cook-Off February 24 from 11:30 am-1:30 pm. Prizes for the top three chilies and bingo with prizes. Freewill donation. Details coming soon!

Christmas & Advent Special Events

  • Festival of Lessons & Carols
    Dec 9 | 8:00 am & 10:15 am
  • Grief Support Program & Lunch
    Dec 10 | 11:00 am
  • Children’s Christmas Program
    Dec 16 | 10:15 am
  • Senior Christmas Worship
    Dec 20 | 2:00 pm, dessert to follow
  • Christmas Eve
    Dec 24 | 2:30 pm, 4:30 pm, 6:30 pm, 10:00 pm
  • Christmas Day
    Dec 25 | 9:00 am
  • No worship
    Wed, Dec 26 or Jan 2
  • One service, coffee to follow
    Sun, Dec 30 | 9:00 am

More times and details about worship at St. John’s here.

Full schedule of events at stjohnskasson.org/calendar

Waiting…

Pastor John Allen
Interim Pastor

‘O that I might have my request,
and that God would grant my desire; 
that it would please God to crush me,
that he would let loose his hand and cut me off! 
This would be my consolation;
I would even exult* in unrelenting pain;
for I have not denied the words of the Holy One.
What is my strength, that I should wait?
And what is my end, that I should be patient? 
Is my strength the strength of stones,
or is my flesh bronze? 
In truth I have no help in me,
and any resource is driven from me.
–Job 6:8-13

There’s old expression about “the patience of Job,” as in, “She must have the patience of Job to live with that old goat!” In the verses above, Job isn’t showing much patience, and I can understand why. Job was righteous and without fault in his trials, yet everything worth clinging to in life was taken from him. He is in grief, sorrow, and unrelenting pain—yet his greatest challenge is waiting on God, who seems to be absent and uncaring. He would rather that God would “crush” him than endure this waiting.

Don’t most of us find waiting to be hard? Whether it is for the birth of a child, the arrival medical test results, the grade on a final exam, the coming of spring, or the removal of stitches; waiting is harder than most other things. Even when what is expected is a bad thing, we’re likely to say, “Let’s just get it over with.”

The season of Advent is a practice of the discipline of waiting, watching and praying. A discipline is a hard thing, from which we gain growth. During Advent, we intentionally wait and practice being still. Christmas can wait, spring can wait—there will be times to break out the trumpets and open all stops on the organ, but let’s leave time to rediscover the exhilaration of expectation. We proclaim in the past, present, and future tense, “Christ was born, Christ is risen, Christ will come again!” Like a dog sitting with a Milk Bone on its nose, waiting is hard, but it’s good training, too.

Have a Blessed Advent Season.

Finding peace, even in imperfect moments

Lindsay Colwell
Youth Ministry Coordinator

The Advent season is upon us again. Every year when Advent comes around I am reminded of lights. The blinking Christmas lights that played Christmas carols that used to ring the front window of my grandparents’ home. The blinding light of my bedroom when my little brother would come in to wake me up at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning to open presents. The lights on the trees outside at Luther College as I walked back to my dorm room with friends following the candlelight worship service just before Christmas break. Lighting a candle at the end of mass at my in-laws’ church in Foley, Minn. But the one that stands out most to me is a bitterly cold December morning when I was at seminary.

It was my last year and I was full of anxiety about what came next, but for one quiet morning before the sun came up as I walked to the campus center to my job at the information desk I felt the presence of God. In the bitter cold with snow all around and the twinkling Christmas lights in the trees there was a deep quiet in that neighborhood of St. Paul and the peace that only comes when God reaches out to touch us. My anxiety was calmed through that quiet. That moment was not the end of my anxiety or the perfect moment that made everything right. Instead, that moment gave me strength to face the future.

The Gospel of Luke tells us in chapter one that the angel Gabriel came to Mary to announce that she was with child. In Mary’s unwed situation I doubt very much that it felt like a perfect moment to her at first. But then Gabriel bestows on her the peace of God, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God” (Luke 1:30).

In this Advent season of waiting for the birth of our Lord we are living out that very real waiting that we are doing for the second coming of Christ Jesus. While we wait, we also realize that he never left. His Holy Spirit works in, through, and among us as we worship, serve, and have fellowship together. God’s peace is among us, God’s presence is among us. May the Advent season be the time when you too feel the peace and love of God.

Advent Devotions

Looking for a devotional to lead you through this season of Advent? Hark, the Glad Sound! devotions from Luther Seminary are available for you to pick up at the Welcome Center or download at www.luthersem.edu/advent There are other devotionals with a special focus on family-style resources on a dedicated shelf in the Library for you to borrow.

Giving Tree

There will be a variety of giving opportunities this holiday season on our giving tree in the narthex. Ornaments with ELCA Good Gifts items will be available, gift cards to resupply our Good Samaritan Fund, and a local family to support this Christmas. All items should be turned into the office no later than Sunday, December 23. Any checks should be made out to St. John’s Lutheran Church. Items for the local family should not be wrapped. Thank you in advance for your generosity! Any questions may be directed to Lindsay at lindsay@stjohnskasson.org

Tree Auction

Our youth are decorating and auctioning off amazing Christmas trees again this year! The auction will begin on Sunday, December 2 and will end on after worship Wednesday, December 19 (7:30 pm end time). The auction proceeds will benefit our students attending summer youth trips in 2019 to Sugar Creek Bible Camp and our service trip to San Diego. Please be sure to stop into the Fellowship Hall between the above dates to check out all of their great work! Direct any questions to Lindsay at lindsay@stjohnskasson.org