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Pastor's Weekly Devotions

July 2019


For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established” Proverbs 16:3

Friends and Members of St. Paul’s,

Over the years I have heard many a believer wonder about God’s direction or plan in their life. The scenario’s which cause such a question involve one’s work, family, schooling, service in the church, and the like. It is noteworthy that according to the above verses God plans/paths/ good works are in the plural and not the singular. Might it be that we are can get overly hung up on a specific route in life that we think God should take us, and then fail to see the many ways our gracious Savior is presently working and will continue to work in our lives for the sake of his kingdom? I am of the belief that his plans for our lives are so numerous they cannot be counted. Rather than concern ourselves with this or that plan, trust that your living, forgiving, and powerful Savior will continue to fulfill his will in this world through you, in spite of you, and in this world in which we live.

In our Savior’s Service,
Pastor Krenz

Our Summer Discipleship Journey Sermon Series: This weeks theme is titled “A Journey Lightly packed” based on Luke 10:1-12. Next week (July 14th) “A Journey with our neighbor in mind” Luke 10:25-37. Recent sermons can be found in the audio file http://stpauls-lcms.org/page25.html

National Youth Gathering: This year we have seven high school students, two college students, and two adults who will be attending the July 11th to 15th LCMS national youth gathering in Minneapolis, MN. Please keep these participants in your prayers. A free will offering will be taken following each service to help defray expenses at the gathering.

Missionary Visit this Wednesday: This past week I heard from Kip and Ivy Hoech, whom we have helped support as missionaries in Central Asia. They will be meeting me for dinner on Wednesday night, and then here at the church at 6:30 to discuss their missionary work in Africa. Please join us on Wednesday night (July 10th), and meet our missionaries.

Rise Against Hunger Fellowship Event: Sunday, August 18th after the 9am worship service. The goal of this event is to package 10,000 meals in an hour and a half in the fellowship hall at the church. We need at least 75 people to assist with this event (invite your friends and neighbors). We also need to raise 3800 to help pay for the meals which will feed 50 children overseas for a year. The Board of Christian Caring (The Food bank) is offering a 1,000 dollar for dollar match for this event. Please make checks out to “St. Paul’s Lutheran Church” and place in the memo line “Rise against Hunger” (or place this on a separate note). If you want to donate cash, do so on a separate envelope. Friends of the congregation are welcome to join us for this event.

One Sunday Service in August: By now you have heard of the one 9am Sunday worship service in August. Our tentative plan is to have the following “congregational” activities after the Sunday Service. On August 4th a missionary speaker Tek-lu Ke-tema from Ethiopia who is currently vicaring at Salem Lutheran Church in Afton will speak on outreach in Ethiopia

The Loss of a Spouse Seminar will be held Tuesday, July 23, from 2pm to 3:30pm, at Good Shepherd Lutheran, 1300 Beltline Rd, Collinsville, downstairs in the conference room. Anyone who has lost a spouse to death can attend. You will receive a booklet with over 30 short readings on how to live with grief and eventually rebuild your life. I hope you will consider attending. Call Jeanette at the church 344-3151 or email lcookparishnurse@charter.net to register or for more information.

Survey on the parsonage. The Board of Trustees is conducting a simple survey to help facilitate discussion on what to do with the parsonage. Please mark your preference as to whether the congregation should sell or keep the parsonage, and place these in the “ballot box” in the narthex.

Food Bank Update: On July 3rd 14 households were served including 29 adults and 12 children. The current needs include plastic shopping bags, tomato sauce, Favioli, Milk Products, Tea and Popcorn. Please bring items to the church office or the storage container on the lower stairwell near the fellowship hall.

Follow us on Facebook! Type "St. Paul's Lutheran - Columbia, IL" into your search bar and then click on "like" for this public group.

Portals of Prayer: The July-September daily devotional/prayer book is available for fee in the narthex (church entryway).

Church Web Site: http://stpauls-lcms.org/ Please contact Josh Colyer for any updates to web site. colyer.joshua@gmail.com. 618-334-4525  

June 2019

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name; he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14:26

Dear friends and members of St. Paul’s,

The major event for many reading this update is the sixth game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. A game where the Blues may take home the Cup 😊. However, there is another celebration which has a more profound and lasting impact on your life, and that is Pentecost or the sending of the Holy Spirit. In the above verse Jesus gives us the central purpose of the Holy Spirit which is to bring into our lives Christ and his word. Without the Holy Spirit, faith in Christ would not last a second. Without the Holy Spirit we could not bear the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatian s 5:22-23). Through the Holy Spirit God has called, gathered, and enlightened you with fellow believers in the church. When we get down on ourselves or maybe even frustrated with the church, remember the “Spirit Factor.” Where Christ’s words and promises are flowing, the Spirit is always at work. Now that is something to celebrate!!

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Krenz

“Does not wisdom call? Does not understanding raise her voice?” Proverbs 8:1

For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”. Colossians 2:1-3

Dear friends and members of St. Paul’s,

Recently I visited with a friend of mine who teaches religion and philosophy at a private school in the Washington D.C. area. In his particular setting, those who are in the “know” do not adhere to the Christian faith. In fact many of Christianity’s key teachings like the uniqueness of Christ, the errorless Scripture, the Resurrection of the Body, the moral law (especially as it relates to sexuality and our identity as male and female) are at times ridiculed or “highly” questioned. Sadly, the perception is that if you are going to have true wisdom and knowledge, you need to look beyond Christ and his word. There is an area of study called “apologetics”, where Christianity is defended on an intellectual level. I would encourage those with grandchildren or children entering into their college years or residing in an area where Christianity is on the wane to check out books like “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis, “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel, “The defense never Rests” by Craig A. Parton, “Making the Case for Christianity” by Adam Fransisco. I have access to other books, and would happy to share what I have. The apostle Paul claims that to have true wisdom and true knowledge, is to know Christ or be known by Christ. May the Lord help us “never” forget this great truth.

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Krenz

“Sing to the Lord, all the earth! Tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations” 1 Chronicles 16:23–24a

Dear friends and members of St. Paul’s,

Last week I attended the LWML (Lutheran Women’s in Mission) Convention in Mobile, Alabama as the Southern Illinois District junior pastoral counselor. This biennial event involved over 3000 women, and a few of us men….celebrating the Lord’s work of mission here and throughout the world. Even if one is not a member of a local LWML group, one can gain much through resources like mustard seed devotions, http://www.lwml.org/mustard-seed-devotions and the Lutherans Women’s Quarterly has some very encouraging/and timely material http://www.lwml.org/lutheran-womans-quarterly. One can also participate in helping missions around the world by placing your loose change in a little box we have here at church (see picture below). This convention was an encouraging event which included a good deal of singing, Bible Study, and information about mission activity through out the world. For many who have grown up in the Lutheran church, including yours truly, we have seen the LWML as a place of service for the chronologically gifted 😊….however for those younger in years (men and women), check out some of the material…it is quite inspirational and contemporary. When it comes to “mission emphasis”, I personally don’t think there is a better group in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. May the Lord help us individually and collectively declare his glory among the nations!!!

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Krenz 

May 2019

“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective (James 5:16)
“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
“I desire then that in every place you should pray, lifting holding hands without anger or quarreling”. (1 Timothy 2:8)

Dear Friends and Members of St. Paul's,

“As the storm raged, the captain realized his ship was sinking fast. He called out, “Anyone here know how to pray?” One man stepped forward, “Aye, Captain, I know how to pray.” “Good,” said the captain, “You pray while the rest of us put on our life jackets-we’re one short”. This Sunday in the Bible Class hour we are going to be looking at Prayer. We will be going over the why of prayer, the types of prayer, the importance of the God who hears our prayer, the privelege of prayer, and how God answers prayer. In addition I will be passing out note cards, so that people can write down any questions they may have on prayer. I truly think, much will be gained in studying and discussing this topic.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Krenz

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more…And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying. “Behold the dwelling place of God is with man…he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:1, 3b-4.

Dear friends and members of St. Paul’s,

“Joy is the business of Heaven”. This quote of C.S. Lewis reflects many sections of God’s Word including our Epistle reading this weekend (see above). It reminds us to take seriously life with Christ and his triumphant church after our death. What will this life be like? It will be a life without sin and the result of sin, death and everything surrounding it. We tend to think of heaven as a place where we get to indulge in our earthly joys. Those that love golf, will always shoot a 59. Those that find joy in quilting will have the best stitches and be able to create the most beautiful patterns. If you like to fish, there will never be the one that go away. It will be a place where the St. Louis Blue’s continually win, and the referees always make the right calls 😊. I don’t know, maybe there is some of that??? Yet, real joy comes from being loved by Christ, loving him back, and focusing on others. That is what we are created for and as the redeemed in heaven we will, by the grace of God, do that quite well. Oh, this text from Revelation is such a treasure….to hear more on it join us this weekend at St. Paul’s as yours truly will preach on “The Look of Heaven”.

Blessings,

Pastor Krenz 

“ If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Dear friends and members of St. Paul’s,

Through out the summer and into fall we are going to be learning the what’s and why’s of the worship service during each divine service. For example, last week before the Invocation, I read a paragraph on the significance of the Invocation. This week a paragraph will be read on confession and absolution. Divine forgiveness (absolution) is a great gift to Christ’s church. In it you have this call to honesty. Real, unabashed honesty before God and one another that we have failed God and neighbor in thought, word and deed. Followed by real unabashed honesty that the living Christ completely and joyfully cleanses us of our failures toward God and others. I pray that each of you will have a joyous Memorial Day Weekend, and I hope this weekend you will get a chance to take part in confession and absolution, God’s call to living an honest life!

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Krenz

 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Acts 1:1-11

Dear friends and members of Trinity,

Yesterday was the celebration of Christ’s ascension into heaven. A day that occurs forty days after the celebration of Easter. Why did Christ Ascend? While it may look like he ascended to get away from us, in reality he ascended to transform his presence among us. Rather than be with us in a visual way, he now comes to us through the power of his Holy Spirit and in his Word. Jesus said in John 16:7” Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you”. We do not have to go to Israel or somehow ascend to heaven to see what Jesus is up to. Instead, for almost 2000 years Jesus bridges time and space and comes among us through word, meal, and baptismal font. Yet, there is more….he promises to come again in the same way he left us. My hunch is most of those reading this message gave nary a thought to Christ’s ascension yesterday, but whether you did or didn’t….the reality of having an ascended Lord is quite grand. .

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Krenz 

April 2019

"Not That I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers I don consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14

Dear members and friends of St. Paul’s,

I have run in three marathons, and in each one I’ve gotten slower. This pattern is quite common when you start running marathons in your late forties. The last marathon I ran was The Las Vegas Rock and Roll Marathon in 2016 with my older sister (she was way ahead of me). Early on, the race was quite easy…there was even a good deal of casual conversation. However, once you hit mile 15 or 16 the conversations cease…and you just want to finish. I had of improving on my previous time of 4:12, but instead ended up for all practical purposes walking to the finish with a time of 4:35 or something like that… Sometimes our life this side off heaven is relatively smooth (the first 14 miles), but then in spite of our greatest effort our life becomes a slow painful slog. As Christians, we press on. Why? Christ is beside us and the upward call of God in Christ is in front of us. There are great advantages to running with Jesus. For one, we have the ability, through the cross of Christ, to forget what is behind. We can forget because Christ has forgotten our sins of “not training enough”, of “taking for granted those smooth sailing miles”, and for our failure to respond to those who could use our assistance in those difficult miles. I did finish that race in Vegas and even got light running jacket at the end. As I understand it, our heavenly prize will be much better 😊

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Krenz

“And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him….” Philippians 2:8-9a

Dear friends and members of St. Paul’s,

“Eat slow, and eat lots.” As a child, I often heard these words from my grandmother while I would hastily consume meals in her home. It was her way of saying, slow down little guy, eating here with me is more important than you realize….and the stuff you want to get to quickly are not as important as you think they are. The week of Jesus prior to his death on the cross (Holy Week), which covers about 1/4th of the four gospels, shows him slowing down. During this week difficult/painful details emerge slowly revealing that Jesus is taking the road never before traveled…the Calvary road. We live a frenetic life, and so when we encounter rejection, pain, grief, sorrow, guilt, and shame we want to hastily move past these realities to things more pleasant. Yet, we quickly realize that propelling past such things is easier said than done. Holy week gives us a chance to slow down and reflect on our Savior who didn’t skirt such unpleasant times. Instead, he slowly and purposely walked through them all the way to the end so that we are not abandoned as we slog through the unpleasantries of life. Easter is coming, that is for certain, but in the mean time slow down and fill up on your Jesus who walks with you every step of the way.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Krenz     

"He is not here, but he has risen"....but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves, and he went home marveling at what had happened " Luke 24:6a, 11-12.

Dear friends and members of St. Paul’s,

The three women who heard that Jesus had risen, initially responded that these words seemed to them an "Idle Tale" (nonsense). This is the only time in the New Testament that the word "idle tale" occurs. Prior to Jesus death and resurrection we have him taking part in up to 30 miracles but never once were they described by friend or foe as idle tales. Even in a time when fanciful stories of Roman and Greek gods and goddesses were all the rage, the resurrection of Christ was so extraordinary it seemed to be an idle tale. Later Peter goes to the empty tomb, sees the cloths, and his Holy Spirit induced reaction is not in seeing it as an idle tale, but rather he marveled (or became astonished out of ones senses) at the reality of Christ’s resurrection. Our old nature, the world, and the evil one would have us believe Easter is a nice story but in the end merely an idle tale. This Easter season, my prayer is that as you hear, sing, and confess that Christ is Risen, the Holy Spirit will allow you to marvel (become astonished out of your senses) that God would take such dramatic steps to love you!

A blessed Easter to all,

Pastor Krenz

“Whoever acknowledges Me before men. I will also acknowledge him before My Father in heaven. But whoever disowns Me before men, I will disown him before My Father in heaven” Matthew 10:32-33

Dear friends and members of St. Paul’s,

This Sunday five young people from this congregation will be participating in the rite of confirmation. Allow me to share a few thoughts. In baptism, we are given the Holy Spirit, who exists to reveal Jesus. Think of this as the foundation and key of our life. Yet, we need protection from the elements, so God brings his Word to us in family devotions, Sunday School, the sacraments and Christian conversations. In essence, he is building us a home. Why? To protect us from a multitude of dangers and allow us to enjoy life under his grace. I see confirmation, as God framing up the building. An important step…but the home is not done yet. As these young people mature the meaning and significance of the things they learn will change, and God willing, their faith will deepen. I hope this image helps us see that confirmation, while important, is one part of an ongoing construction project.

Many Blessings!

Pastor Krenz

Address

227 North Good Haven,
Columbia, IL; 62236

Service Hours

Sunday 8:00 AM
Sunday 10:30 AM
Monday 7:00 PM

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