What are your life goals? What aspirations do you have? Where do you see yourself in five, ten, or twenty years? Maybe you have your sights set on a dream job at a certain company or in a certain part of the country. Perhaps you have an amazing retirement mapped out in your mind. Or it could be that you have the dream of being financially independent and traveling the world. Whatever dream you may have, it will only be achieved through action. We are encouraged to chase our dreams and work towards our goals.
Whatever dreams you have, be assured that Jesus has already set loftier goals for you. Jesus prayed to his Father in heaven and had a clear goal in mind for you: he wants you in heaven with him forever. To achieve that lofty goal, it was not as simple as applying to the right colleges or selecting the right mix of investments in his 401(k). No, to achieve his heavenly goals for all of us, Jesus elected to suffer and die on the cross to pay the bill that our sins had racked up. Then, to guarantee our victory over death and the grave, Jesus rose from the dead on Easter Sunday. His resurrection guarantees that we too will rise to live forever in heaven. Now through faith, he invites us to put our trust in him so that we can receive the blessings of faith, forgiveness, and eternal life.
Christ has achieved the ultimate goal for us. As you chase your dreams here on earth, always keep an eye on the heavenly home that Jesus has waiting for you. Rest assured that no matter what happens here, the loftiest goal possible has already been achieved for you.
Dear Lord, heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to win my salvation. Help me to keep my eyes on my heavenly home and bless me as I set goals for my time here. Help me to always glorify you. Amen.
Complete unity. That sounds nice, doesn’t it? Can you even imagine it? Our world struggles to attain even partial unity. Russia invades Ukraine. Democrats and Republicans constantly argue and accuse each other. Different church bodies and religions teach different things about how we get to heaven. Even the voices calling for unity these days only want unity if that means everyone agrees with their view of the world.
Clearly, the world does not enjoy complete unity, but we are no better at achieving it in our own lives. We can’t even find it in our own families, as we disagree about everything from sports teams to medical decisions. Complete unity? Again, it sounds nice, but it is not reality.
Did you know that Jesus prayed for his people to have unity? Jesus wanted his followers to have complete unity—a perfect unity. A unity of faith, purpose, and love that would last. Such a unity would bring great blessing, but it would prove costly. Jesus was willing to pay the cost for us all. He gave his life on the cross to pay for our sins of disunity. He gave his life in our place so that we could all have God’s forgiveness and salvation. Through his death, Jesus has united us as God’s children. He has brought us into God’s family. Now, through faith in Jesus, we are one. We are on the same team. We are united in the love of Jesus and his call to live as his children.
Can you imagine a place where there is no disagreement? No war or factions or opposing political parties? A place with no shouting, arguing, or violent opposition? There is such a place, and we have been invited there through faith in our Savior, Jesus. Through faith in him, we will enjoy complete unity in heaven forever. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Dear heavenly Father, through the life and death of your son Jesus, you have brought us unity. Keep us in faith and bring us to our heavenly home. Amen.
How long will eternity last? Seriously stop and think about that question.
When you think about it, it’s mind-boggling. The hymn Amazing Grace reads, “When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise, than when we’d first begun.” And that’s true! Eternity will go on and on and on and on and, well, you get the picture.
Of course, for those who are believers in Jesus, that’s an awesome thing! They will enjoy God’s love and praise him forever.
But for those who do not know Jesus as their Savior, it will be awful. They will be separated, forever, from God and his love.
So, can we understand the plea from the Macedonian man? What did the people in that area need? More than anything else, they needed to know about Jesus and his forgiving love. More than anything else, they needed to know that God loved them. More than anything else, they needed to know that heaven was open for them because Jesus had died and risen.
These are the things we need more than anything else as well. Thankfully, we have them because they are all promised by God in his Word.
Thank God today that you have heard about what Jesus has done for you and what he promises you–an eternity of joy with him in heaven.
Lord Jesus, thank you for doing everything necessary for me to spend my eternity with you. Amen.
Whenever a person moves from one home to another, questions abound. What will the next place be like? What will the new neighbors be like? Then there is the most pressing question: What do I take with me? How does one sift through years of memories and memorabilia? How does one determine what is worthless and disposable? It is not an easy question to answer. But it is an important question to answer when a person is moving.
It is even more important for every person to ask this question regarding their spiritual life. When the apostle Paul visited the ancient city of Lystra, he explained to the people there that the false gods they worshiped were worthless. “Turn from worthless things to the living God,” he told them.
Nearly two thousand years later, Paul’s message still applies. If he would look at us, he would say the same thing: Turn from worthless things. Although difficult to accept and, even more difficult to undertake, it is exactly what we must do.
Because, like the people in Lystra, we often worship what is worthless. We spend far too much of our time and effort chasing things that are not worthy, things that will not last. Nothing this world offers can match the lasting value of knowing Jesus and what he has done for us. His precious life was lived to offer us perfect obedience. His priceless death was given to release us from judgment. His incomparable resurrection now provides eternal blessing in heaven.
Recognizing what Jesus gives us makes us realize it is time to clean house, to turn from worthless things to the priceless blessings of the living God and our precious Savior.
O gracious Lord and Savior, how can I thank you for your gifts of priceless worth! Turn my heart to that which has lasting value, and strengthen me to turn away from things that have no worth. Amen.
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'” John 8: 12
WELCOME! WE’RE GLAD YOU’RE HERE! We pray that you find comfort, peace and motivation through God’s Word today.
At St. John’s, the restrooms are located in the link way, out the church entry way, to the left and down the stairs. At Emmanuel, they are located in the lower level, out the church entry way and to the right. You may also find a nursery changing station in the lower level of St. John’s.
In our worship bulletin, you will find an outline of today’s order of worship. The entire service can be found in the hymnal or up on the screen.
When Jesus’ followers gathered together, they comprised a group that was not very diverse. They all belonged to the same ethnic group, grew up in the same culture, and spoke the same langauge. That would change drastically on Pentecost, when the gospel would be proclaimed in many languages to people from “every nation under heaven” (Acts 1:5). This diversity has always been part of Christ’s plan. Rather than eliminating differences among the Church’s members, the Church’s unity is built on truths that transcends those differences. The Church truly is a communion of saints. Differences in our world often lead to division. Therefore, when the world sees the unity in diversity that characterizes Christ’s Church, it will recognize something unique and special about Christians.
ORDER OF SERVICE Holy Baptism (St. John’s Sunday) – pg. 151-153, The Service Setting 2 – pg. 176
HYMNS 684, 446, 884
PSALM 133B (see insert, sing twice)
SERMON Acts 16:6-10 “How Do We Answer a Macedonian Call?”
Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you[a] this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”
17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. 20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you[a] known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
– For the sick and others facing trials…Caryl Bassett, Gale “Blackie” Boyd, Ed Buchholz, Darlene Burrough (Judy Fandrey’s niece), Gene & Sharon Crook, Florence Dahlke, Vicki Davis (Marilyn Riemer’s sister), Reinold Eckelberg, Ken Elmer (Sally’s husband), Earl Ewert, Judy Freitag, Donna Gatzke, Kelleen Grucza (Judy Fandrey’s daughter), Joe Heller, Jerry & Darlene Hunter (Bonnie Chapman’s parents), Geri Kerl (Sue Brown’s mother), Bob & Sandy Klapper, Robert Lederer (Jackie & Jeanne Buchholz’ father), Thomas Marcelain (Dawn’s son), Brian Ninneman, Barbara Petrick, Karen Radke, Wayne Riemer, Sierra Schmidt (Linda Lou Wacholtz’s grand-daughter), Wanda Sellnow (Principal Larry Sellnow’s mother), Pat Sommerfeld, Tom Stempniak (Carol’s husband), Dixie Wagner, Stacy Weisensel (added this week: __)
– For Maverick Mark Finger, the infant son of Dan & Amanda Finger, baptized at St. John’s on 5/29
– For Memorial Day (5/30)
– For graduates and MLC/WLC pastor, teacher, vicar call assignments
– For comfort and healing following this week’s school shooting in Texas
JOIN US FOR WORSHIP
St. John’s: Saturday 4:30pm, Sunday 10:00am
Emmanuel: Sunday 8:00am
HELLO FROM ST. JOHN’S LUTHERAN CHURCH IN PRINCETON Mother-Son Event “Boys Just Wanna Have Fun”
On Saturday, June 4th, the doors of St. John’s gym on Clinton St in Princeton, across from Wachholz Funeral Home, will be open at 2:45pm for all boys that will be entering 3K-6th grade for the 2022-2023 school year to come and enjoy an afternoon of fun games, snacks, and events The event will go from 3-5 pm. Boys may be escorted by Moms, Grandpa, Aunts or any other person that fits that roll. Enjoy a variety of HotWheels tracks to compete against your mother or your friends. There will also be Lego building stations. In the second hour we will move outside and have a tug of war, egg toss, three-legged race, and end with a water balloon fight. Each mother and son will receive a HotWheels car. We ask that you register ahead of time. You can pre-register off the link on our church website www.sjlprinceton.com. It would help us in planning how many would be attending. However, people who simple show up on the 4th will not be turned away. St John’s is happy to offer this event free of charge eventin order to give moms and sons a chance to spend quality time together and make a lasting memory. Feel free to invite other friends and family with sons to the event.
THANK YOU On behalf of St. John’s School, we would just like to thank each and every individual who made this school year so great. To name a few…thank you to our current School Board members for your numerous hours, efforts and leadership representing our school, to our Lunch Ladies, Melissa Zauner and Megan Jaster and any other individuals who helped serve/prepare this year and for keeping our tummies full, to Joey Zauner for continuing to be a wonderful Scrip coordinator (don’t know what Scrip is? Call Joey 608-369-3822), to our school and church custodian, Jackie Buchholz, who keeps us all squeaky clean, to Ashley Henke and Cheri/Ken Borzick for the donated mulch that makes our church and school look so beautiful, to Patty Emond who continues to coordinate a wonderful Kwik Trip and Subway lunch option for students, for all of our volunteer tutor ladies who came in weekly to work with students, to Linda Wachholz who continues to give her time as Sunday School director, to our amazing teachers who give their lives to teach and help raise our children, to our students for their presence and smiles, TO GOD FOR MAKING ALL THIS POSSIBLE…and the list goes on and on. What a wonderful school year and God’s blessings to you and your families this summer! See you in church.
SCHOOL PAINTING The week of June 6, we plan on painting the Montello school walls and we could use some volunteers. If you are interested, please let Larry Sellnow know 616-822-6689. Thank you in advance for your service!
[Paul and Barnabas] preached the gospel in [the city of Derbe] and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. Acts 14:21,22
Paul and Barnabas wanted to strengthen and encourage the faith of the young disciples they had previously met. So they told them that “we must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.”
At first glance, those words don’t seem to be that encouraging. They seem to be predicting that life will be harder for them than they would like. In fact, they seem to be promising that this will be the case—that there is no other way to live as a follower of Jesus. “We must go through many hardships,” they said. Certainly, the thought of hardships is not at all encouraging.
But thinking of the kingdom of God is.
The kingdom of God is perfect beyond what we can imagine. It is perfect harmony with God and with one another. It is an existence entirely without sin and its ability to corrupt every part of our lives—one without any guilt, sadness, or pain.
And it is already yours by all that Jesus already accomplished on your behalf as your Savior.
No hardship on earth can take it away from you. “Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,” Paul would write in the book of Romans, “will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38,39).
Expect hardship on earth. Also, expect one day to be entirely free from it in the kingdom of God.
Gracious Savior, may your victory on my behalf over sin, death, and Satan always be my heart’s greatest treasure. Amen.
“You will grieve,” Jesus promised, “but your grief will turn to joy.”
Notice what he didn’t say. He didn’t say, “Your grief will be replaced by joy,” or “Your grief will be destroyed by joy,” or “Your grief will be swallowed up by joy.” He said, “Your grief will turn to joy.” In other words, the same thing that causes your grief will produce your joy. That might sound a bit strange. But this is what Easter is.
Easter turns a sad, seemingly hopeless situation into joy. It turns the ugly cross from which the disciples ran away into the focal point of the beautiful gospel they went into the world to proclaim. It turns the grave we spend so much effort to avoid into the red carpet leading us into the perfection of heaven. It turns Satan’s greatest win into ours. It turns the sad tears we cry when someone we love dies into tears of joy over their new and eternal paradise. It even turns those who are undeniably weak in so many ways into a source of seemingly impossible strength.
Nothing is impossible for our God. Nothing gets the best of him. Not one of his enemies will ever be able to boast that they were more powerful than him. Indeed, as the Bible says, “all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28).
Even those things that cause our grief.
Lord Jesus, keep me firmly rooted in my eternal victory won by you so that I live with an ongoing expectation of the joy you have promised. Amen.
Consider how many people in the Bible lost their joy between the Thursday when Jesus spoke these words and the following Sunday morning, the day of Jesus’ resurrection.
Think of Peter after the rooster crowed, running outside, and weeping bitterly over his sin. Think of Mary Magdalene on Easter morning, soaking Jesus’ tomb with her tears, blinded by so much sorrow that she didn’t even recognize Jesus when he was standing right next to her in the garden. Think of the other disciples, too scared or ashamed to stay with Jesus; too afraid of Jesus’ enemies to do anything but lock themselves away in a room and hope that no one would find them.
As you read through these moments of personal grief and pain, do you ever wonder why the Bible includes all of them? Do you ever wonder why God wanted us to know about these different people in their lowest moments?
There is one likely explanation.
God includes all these stories of personal pain because he wants you to be able to find yourself in his Word. He knew there would be times when you would feel like Peter, very guilty about something. Or like Mary when your heart is breaking because you lost someone you loved. He knew there would be times you would be paralyzed by fear or overwhelmed by guilt. God knew.
And he wanted you to know that, despite those powerful and painful feelings, “no one will take away your joy.” The joy of Jesus’ disciples did not at all depend on how well they reacted to Jesus’ suffering and death. It depended entirely on the fact that Jesus earned complete forgiveness for them by his death and on the certainty of his resurrection—just as it does for you.
No one will take away your joy: for Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
Lord Jesus, guide my emotions by the certainty of your completed work as my Savior. Amen.
Jesus wanted his disciples to know that he would soon be gone from their sight, and he knew this wouldn’t be easy for them. Jesus knew that most of them wouldn’t see him after they abandoned him in the garden. He knew that most of them would be too scared or sad to even show up at his crucifixion. He knew their hearts would be crushed with grief and guilt when they would see his dead body taken down from the cross and buried.
But he also knew that just three days after this conversation, he was going to be standing in front of them, fully alive after he had died as their Savior, and fully victorious over sin, death, and Satan. He knew exactly how long their “little while” would be—just as he knows yours.
He knows how long you’ll be sick. He knows how long you’ll suffer. He knows how long you’ll grieve. He knows how long your heart will ache. He knows how long before you finally get to heaven to see your loved ones again. He knows that it will be just “a little while.”
It’s hard to suffer, grieve, and carry guilt for even “a little while.” But, as it happened for Jesus’ first disciples, all our “little whiles” have an expiration date. After “a little while,” our eyes will also see the Jesus, whose innocent death and resurrection prepared our place in God’s family. And then, as Scripture says, “we will be with the Lord forever” (1 Thessalonians 4:17), and there will no longer be any “little whiles.”
Gracious Savior, keep my faith firmly focused on your work as my Savior until the day you return to take me home. Amen.
[Jesus said] “Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” John 16:20-22
Jesus statement that “a woman giving birth to a child has pain” needs no explanation for those who have given birth to a child. Childbirth is painful. His statement that “when her baby is born, she forgets the anguish” also needs no explanation for any new mother who has cradled her newborn in her arms for the very first time. It’s not that the labor pain didn’t happen. It’s not that the new mother’s body has healed in any way by the time the new child is delivered. Rather, the joy of holding her new child is so great it overwhelms all the immense pain.
Jesus promised the same type of experience for his disciples. “You will grieve,” he said, as he alluded to the grief that would consume them as they would soon witness Jesus’ arrest, suffering, crucifixion, and death. They would grieve in other ways as well, just as we do, living with sinful hearts in a sinful world that regularly rebels against God’s Word.
But though the circumstances of our lives in this world cause real grief, the victory of Jesus on our behalf is great enough to overwhelm it. One day, that will happen in eternity as God “will wipe every tear from [our] eyes” (Revelation 21:4). And, just as the woman in labor finds strength to endure her labor pains in the knowledge that her joy is coming, so also Christians find daily strength to endure our grief knowing our victory is coming; for Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins is completed and his victory over death is already won.
Lord Jesus, by your death and resurrection, give me daily strength to endure the hard circumstances of earthly life in anticipation of my final victory that is already won. Amen.