Bible Reading for 11/21/13
Ecclesiastes 11:9 - 12:13
The dust returns to the ground it came from,
and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
Ecclesiastes 12:7 (NIV84)
I remember making a comment once how it was a blessing to be able to serve as a pastor at a funeral. A response I got was this: "Blessing? Most funerals I've been to are depressing."
Are they? I sure hope not. Sad? Sure. It's always sad to not be able to see someone we love anymore. It's sad that we won't get to talk to this person whenever we want or see them or hear their voice. But I hope that a funeral service of a Christian is the furthest thing from depressing.
A Christian funeral is a celebration of victory. It's the celebration of Jesus' victory over sin, death, and hell. It's the celebration of a Savior who didn't leave us to die in our sins, but lived, died, and rose so that the grave would not be the end of us. At a funeral we get to celebrate the words found above from Ecclesiastes: the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. The person's body may be going into the ground, but the spirit is already with their Savior!
And through our tears, we see that Christ's victory means that we will see our loved one again. We will be with them forever in heaven because of Jesus' love and life for us. At a funeral, Jesus' words ring loud and clear in our ears and hearts: I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. (John 11:25-26) May these words never depress you, but give you joy as you celebrate Jesus' life -- even in death.
Lord Jesus, thank you for letting sinful people share in your perfect victory over sin, death, and hell. Help me to rejoice when a believer dies, knowing that you have given that person life everlasting. Help me to look at my own life in this world knowing that it is not my full existence, but that I have eternity to thank you in heaven. Amen.
A member at Village Green East needs rides to church, the Sunday School program is looking for teachers interested in teaching 1-10 Sundays of the year, we're looking for someone to organize Soup Suppers during the three Wednesdays of Advent, AND we're looking for members to volunteer reading and listening to our St. John's school children read. If you gifts match any of these opportunities, please contact the church office ASAP (793-7300) or Pastor Arndt
+Equipping God's People+
--> Needed - Sunday School Teachers, Help getting members to church, Someone to organize Advent Soup Suppers, and readers in our Lutheran Elementary School
--> MEN'S Bible Study
- is now twice a month. That's right. We're now meeting on the first AND last Saturdays of the Month. So our next meeting will be Saturday, November 30th at the M&M lunch in Two Rivers for our 7:30 AM Breakfast and Bible study. We're currently looking at "Very Important Chapters in the Bible." Please help get the word out to the men of our congregation. And if you are among them, please consider joining us on Saturday. You'll get to know your God better, your church family better - and find yourself better equipped to face the day as a man of God!
+St. John's, Facebook & Outreach+
Many people are surprised to find out that St. John's has a facebook page. Don't let yourself be one of them! Consider "liking" St. John's page or passing word of its existence to family or friends. This will greatly increase the free advertising and Gospel reach of our congregation. Finally, please consider passing the devotion above to someone who could use it. This devotion now goes out to 72 email addresses, as well as being posted to our Facebook page. You can also pass this signup form on to them so they can opt in themselves to receive this devotional mailing each week. Use the link below to LIKE our St. John's Facebook page and these devotions. It is a simple way to get the Word out!