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Pastor's Weekly Devotions

September 2019

10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11

Dear friends and members of St. Paul’s,

Last week I flew to Florida to visit my in laws and bring back a vehicle they have for our daughter. I left for Florida two days early because Hurricane Dorian was predicted to make landfall last Monday. While hurricane Dorian’s landfall in Florida did not happen, the mere prediction of a category 4 or 5 hurricane caused disaster response teams to pour into the state. As I was driving north out of the state on I-75 I saw over 1000 utility/tree trimming trucks traveling south into what they thought would be the heart of hurricane damage. It looked to me like a modern cavalry, going into danger to “restore” electricity and clean up communities from the predicted hurricane. Individually these trucks could probably do very little, but combine them with others and it is a whole different story. Even together, it may not look like much headway could be made after a category 5 hurricane. The word of Christ proclaimed, heard, read, poured out in baptism, and received in the Lord’s Supper does not seem all that powerful in a world filled with brokenness and tragedy. Yet don’t be fooled, God uses it to bring Christ’s rescuing work in our lives. This is what we do at this congregation, dispense his Word….and because of that God is doing much restoring.

Blessings,
Pastor Krenz


Monday night worship: time will change to 6:30pm starting Mon. Sept. 9.

Rally Day: This celebration of Christian education will take place after the 8am service (September 8th) . Join us for cookies and refreshments in the narthex, a book swap (bring a faith inspired book you no longer want or need and bring a new one), and finally the children and youth will be attending the first 10 minutes of adult bible class for a brief Bible lesson which will lead afterwards in their activities in the classrooms upstairs.

Adult Confirmation Class: On Sun., Sept. 15 at 6:30pm membership classes will begin for those interested in learning more about what the Lutheran church teaches. These classes take around 10 weeks. Contact me if you or someone you know is interested in the class. (618-363-0121). Pastor Krenz

FALL CLEANING DAY: Next Saturday, Sept. 14th 8AM - ?? . Outdoor chores – yard work; Indoor chores – dusting, wiping tables, window sills, general tidying up. BYO tools and supplies. Refreshments will be provided.

Sunday Morning Bible Class: Please join us on Sunday mornings at 9:15am in the fellowship hall as we look at the topic of vocation. Each week we will discuss the various vocations God has granted us in our life. For example, his call to be part of a family, work, citizenship, and the church.

Confirmation Starts this week: as fifteen middle school/junior high students begin their confirmation instruction. The weekly classes are scheduled for Tuesday from 3:30pm-4:30pm, and Wednesday from 5:45pm-6:45pm (same class/two times). Please keep these students in your prayers, as they continue to learn the content and significance of Christian/Lutheran doctrine. 

“And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.” Luke 15:5-6

Dear friends and members of St. Paul’s,

At the heart of many of our fears, is the fear of being alone or lost in the world. We want to live a life that has some lasting significance, and if we are lost/alone we wonder if that can happen. In Luke 15, Jesus tells us three parables, the parable of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son. They are masterful stories that convey the depth of our separation from God and others (felt or unfelt separation), and the determined love of the Savior to find and bring the lost back to himself and the Christian community. The theme for this weekend’s services is the “Surprising joy of being found” based on the lost and found sheep parable (Luke 15:1-10). I hope to see you this weekend!!

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Krenz

Service in the Park: Next Sunday, September 22nd at 10:30am (picnic to follow). The service will be held in the City Park behind the Columbia High School at the large pavilion across from the tennis courts. You may bring lawn chairs or sit at the picnic tables. Meat, tableware and drinks are furnished. Bring a dish to share. We will also have an 8am service at the church on that day.

Monday Night Service Time Change: This service is now at 6:30pm.

Vocation: Sunday’s Adult Bible Class on Christian vocation will look at the Christian calling to family as it relates to marriage. All are welcome to join us in the fellowship hall at 9:15am.

Nominating Committee: Volunteers are requested to help with the nominating committee for the election of officers for 2020. Please call Toby Search at 618-719-6094. He is looking for three interested people to assist.

Portals of Prayer for October-December are available in the narthex.

Adult Confirmation Class: Starts Sun., Sept. 15 at 6:30pm membership classes will begin for those interested in learning more about what the Lutheran church teaches. These classes take around 10 weeks. Contact me if you or someone you know is interested in the class. (618-363-0121) Pastor Krenz

Re-Vitality- Is a program by the Synod intended to assist congregations in their long range planning. In our most recent Voter’s and Elders meeting it was decided to move forward with this planning process. The process takes about nine months, and involves a congregational survey, small and large representative groups. In October, a congregational survey will start the process…watch bulletin for more details.

Audio Sermons: You can listen on line to St. Paul’s weekly sermons by going to our website.http://stpauls-lcms.org/page25.html

Kidsway: The Wednesday classes are for those in grades 1-4. Each week they learn a different Biblical account. Contact Mary Colyer at 618-334-2321 if interested.

Sunday School: The lesson for N - 8th grade today is: The Fall and a Promise. Students will learn that although with sin comes just punishment, our heavenly Father does not leave humankind without hope, but instead, He promises One who will come to rescue His people. Helen Nowak will be filling in for Christina Schmitt in the N-K class, Karen Mueller will be teaching grades 1-3, and Kevin Koenigstein will be teaching grades 4-7. The high school class will be taught by Carleigh Ottwell.

Life Network of Southern Illinois 2019 Walk-Run-Ride Saturday, September 21st. 722 Market Street, Waterloo, Il 618-939-4224 

August 2019

“Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity…. Ecclesiastes 1:2

Dear friends and members of St. Paul’s,

If I remember correctly, it was between my first and second year of college that I began to read and comprehend the book of Ecclesiastes. I found it to be a very insightful and refreshingly truth filled book which explained why the pursuit of wealth, success, building projects, education, happiness outside of Christ is so empty, or as the writer of Ecclesiastes states vanity of vanities. King Solomon, the author of the book, had wealth, honor, relationships (700 wives, and 300 concubines) and “wordly” wisdom. The world was his to conquer…and yet he looks back and sees all this as an “empty or vain pursuit”. While there are not clear Messianic promises in this book, he does come to the conclusion in chapter 12 that the big things and the daily things (eat, drink, and enjoyment), have their significance when seen as “coming from God”. The apostle Paul sums up this up well when he says in Philippians 3:1 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ, Yes indeed life is really life when connected to Christ.

Yours in Christ,
Pastor

ONE 9AM SERVICE THIS SUNDAY- The sermon theme this Sunday is “Identifying and enjoying the True Riches of Christ” based on Luke 12:13-21. We are asking all members to wear their nametags during the August services. These nametags will be set out in the entryway/narthex. We will still have the Monday night 9am service. Our Fellowship events are as follows.

August 4th: Missionary Speaker Tek-Lu Ke-tema from Ethiopia

August 11th: Intergenerational Sunday School

August 18th: “Rise Against Hunger” Food Assembly

August 25th: Potluck Fellowship Meal


Missionary Speaker: After this Sunday’s worship service there will be a presentation by an Ethiopian missionary, Tek-Lu Ke-tema. He was born and raised in an educated Christian family in Ethiopia. He is presently finishing his vicarage year at Salem, Affton and will return to Concordia Seminary this fall to finish his pastoral training. He hopes to receive a pastoral call next spring. His wife, Zion, is a nurse at Barnes Jewish; their two children, Jonah and Selah, attend Word of Life Lutheran School. While the cost of Teklu's seminary tuition is covered by several sponsors and sponsoring congregations, they are dependent on his wife's income and his limited employment as a full-time student, so a generous free-will offering and our ongoing prayers during the coming year or more would be greatly appreciated. Vicar Tek-Lu will be helping out with the readings and in the worship service this Sunday.

Rise Against 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 $3,800 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. So far $850 has been received or pledged for this endeavor. With the match that means we have $1,700 – only $2,100 to go!! Please make checks out to “St. Paul’s Lutheran Church” and place in envelope marked “Rise against Hunger”. If you want to donate cash, do so in a separate envelope marked “Rise against Hunger” and give your name. Friends of the congregation are welcome to join us for this event.

What to do with the parsonage? The Board of Trustees is going to leave the “voting/comment” forms out in the narthex (entryway) on whether to sell or keep the parsonage until August 18th. It is hoped that in September, a special meeting will be called for the congregation to discuss this one issue.

Lutheran World Relief Backpacks: The Ladies League is collecting items to fill school kits to be sent to Lutheran World Relief. We will be gathering the following items - new items only: notebooks, crayons, rulers, pencil sharpeners, scissors, #2 pencils, ballpoint pens, and erasers. If you are willing to donate, please pick up the slips for the items you want to donate (located on the bulletin board in the Narthex). You can bring the items and place in the baskets on the table in the Narthex. Thank you for helping! Any questions, call Wanda at 618-281-4691.

The Columbia Daze Parade is Aug. 17th. This year we want to participate and more importantly, increase community awareness of all the wonderful things St. Paul's has to offer. Ideally, we would like to have an interactive, small themed float to include members who are able to help pass out candy and church information. All are welcome to join in on the fun! If you are available Aug. 17th and interested in participating, please contact Christina Schmitt Email: cmgarfield4@gmail.com; Call or Text: 314-807-2200. You can also sign the “parade sign up sheet” in the narthex.

Youth Events:

Middle School-August 9th at Epic 6 Sports. Meet at church at 7:15pm., lower parking lot. Contact Melissa to RSVP: 314-852-0161 email: luv2run94@yahoo.com.

High School Bible Study: Will take a break until 9/1 from High School Bible class. Classes will resume 9/8/19.

Membership Secretary: St. Paul’s Lutheran (this congregation) is looking for a six hour a week Church Membership Secretary. Need to work in afternoon and can be divided up in two or three days. Computer skills are essential. Call the church office for job description.

Confirmation Meeting: For all parents and students in 5th through 7th grade (and above if the child has yet to be confirmed) is tentatively scheduled for Sun., August 18th at 4pm. The present plan is to start confirmation on Wed., Sept 11th at 5:45pm. This could change depending on student schedules

We need your help! Contributions to the Building Fund have been short for several months this year and we have been supplementing the mortgage payment from the General Fund. Please prayerfully consider what you can do to help!

Annual T-3 Men’s Retreat Mark Twain State Park in Hannibal, MO, sponsored by St. Charles Lutheran Men’s Ministry. Dates are Sept. 27-29. Rev. Dr. Greg Seltz will be featured speaker. Visit www.t3mensretreat.org. for more information. at You also can pick up a flyer in the narthex if you have an interest in this event.

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” Hebrews 11:1

Friends and members of St. Paul’s,

Can you be sure of your salvation/connection to Christ? Some would say that to be absolutely certain of anything concerning God, and that includes our salvation, is the height of hubris. The devil, the world, and at times even our consciences are quick to point out our inconsistent life when compared with the ideal of Christian living. Yet, the Word of God locates certainty of salvation/connection to Christ in things God does for us, and not in our abilities, and that includes our ability to believe. For example in Jude 23-24 it states 2” Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time[a] and now and forever. Amen.” Then there are these verses from Ephesians 2:8-9 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Your assurance is not going to come from looking at your life, or even how strongly you believe when compared to other times in your life. Your assurance, your salvation, your faith, is located in a God who joyfully promises and gives you what you cannot and could not earn…salvation/connection to Christ. So go ahead, be absolutely certain concerning Christ and his salvation that has come your way. This isn’t hubris, it is simply acknowledging that what God says is right on!!!

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Krenz


The 9am Services Continue: This week we continue with our Sunday 9am services. Last week we had 133 people join us for the 9am service, and it was wonderful to receive God’s gifts and praise his name together. This Sunday’s theme is titled “Identifying and Enjoying God’s gift of Contentment” based on Luke 12:22-34. The other weekly readings are Genesis 15:1-6 & Hebrews 11:1-16.

Intergenerational Sunday School: Young, old, and everyone in between will gather together this Sunday at 10:15am in the basement for an intergenerational Sunday School. We are going to sing songs together, and learn about two Luke 15 parables “The Lost and Found Sheep”, and “The Lost and Found Coin”. In addition we will be putting cards together for those members who are not able to come to come to church because of their health status (shut ins). It will be good for the young people to join with the adults of the congregation learning what it means to be lost and more importantly found. Also, a free book will be given to every child who participates.

Columbia Daze parade: Our congregation will have a presence at this year’s parade. Contact Christian Schmitt via email cmgarfield@gmail.com or call or text at 314-807-2200 if you are interested in participating…

Rise Against Hunger Fellowship Event: This event will take place next week after the 9am service in the fellowship hall. Since we will be standing most of the time and filling bags for an hour and a half, please bring comfortable clothing attire. Also, feel free to invite friends and neighbors of all ages to this event and to the 9am worship service. We need at least 75 people to assist at this event. As of last week $2375 has been raised ($1375 from the congregation plus $1000 in matching funds from the Board of Christian Caring) which means only $1,425 is need to reach the goal of 3,800. The money raised and the work done on that day will help feed 5O children overseas for a year.

Wednesday Nigh Religion Classes for Grades 1-4: We are looking for those who would like to assist with the Wednesday school of religion classes in September. If you are interested please contact the church office a board of education member or Pastor Krenz

Worship at the Historic Church: On Monday, August 19th and 26th at 7pm we will be having the services at the Historic Church (114 Liberty Street). While there is a parking next to the school, it is requested that all those coming to these services park on the street.

The Monday night worship: will change times from 7pm to 6:30pm starting Monday, September 9th. There is no Monday night service on September 2nd.

Voter’s Meeting Summary: See the attached for a summary of the July 28th congregational voter’s meeting.

Membership Secretary: We are looking for a six hour a week Church Membership Secreatary. Need to work in afternoon and can be divided up in two or three days. Computer skills are essential. Call the church office for a job description.

Confirmation Meeting: For all parents and students in 5th through 7th grade (and above if not yet confirmed) is scheduled for Sunday August 18th at 4pm.

High School Bible Study: Will break and resume on 9/8/19.

School Kits- The Ladies League is Collecting items to fill school kids to be sent to Lutheran World Relief. The following items are being gathered (new only) notebooks, crayons, rulers, pencil sharpeners, scissors, #2 pencils, ballpoint pens, and erasers. If you are willing to donate, please pick up the slips for the items you want to donate (located on the bulletin board in the Narthex). Call Wanda at 618-281-4691 if you have questions.

Dear friends and members of St. Paul’s,

The above verse from 2 Peter 3 calls us to grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. With that in mind, for the next several weeks I will be sharing various ways we can grow in our walk with Christ. This week “Receiving God’s gifts in regular/weekly public worship.” There are many benefits to weekly worship including the opportunity to hear God’s Word which the Holy Spirit uses to show us our need for the Savior and to strengthen our faith in Christ. In public worship we are continually assured of Christ’s forgiveness and everlasting salvation. In worshiping together we receive the strength and blessings of the Lord’s Supper. As we gather around Word and Sacrament we get to bring our petitions of prayer and praise to the God who has created and redeemed us. Worshiping with fellow believers also gives us the opportunity encourage them in their walk with Christ and figure out ways we can carry God’s mission into our community and to the world. There are many reasons stated or unstated that keep us from worshiping together on a regular/weekly basis. Take those reasons and compare them to the above reasons for gathering together and see which viewpoint is most compelling. “ Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God” Colossians 3:16. See you in worship!!

Yours in Christ,
Pastor


Weekend Service theme: Identifying and Enjoying the Race of Faith Hebrews 12:1-3. The other Scripture readings are Jeremiah 23:16-29, and Luke 12:49-53.

St. Paul’s is walking in Columbia Daze Parade (August 17th): Please meet Christina Schmitt and Robin Phelps between 3:15 and 3:40pm in the city park (1200 North Evergreen Lane) near the bath and tennis courts. Our assigned number is 46. It is suggested that you park at Eagleview Elementary side lot or Columbia High School. Please wear your grey Thrivent t-shirt. If you do not own one, there will be a variety of sizes available. Feel free to come even if you don’t have a t-shirt. We will have a decorated pick truck with banners , candy, church flyers, and pencils to hand out. Umbrella’s or poncho’s may be necessary. Please make arrangements to get back to your vehicle as space in the truck will be limited. Come one, come all! Call Christina at 314-807-2200 if you have questions.

Rise Against Hunger: Thank you to all who donated to this “servant event” where 10,000 food packets will be assembled here at St. Paul’s this Sunday morning from 10:30am-12:15pm. These assembled food packets will be distributed to needy places around the world. Thank you to many individuals and groups within the congregation who made donations that have fully covered the $3800 dollars that were needed to pay for the food packets. Please venture down to the fellowship hall for this service project, and enjoy the refreshments while you wait for the 10:30-10:45 start of this event. To God be the Glory!

Worship at the Historic Church: On Monday, August 19th and 26th at 7pm we will be having the services at the Historic Church (114 Liberty Street). While there is parking next to the school it is requested that all those coming to these services park on the street. The Monday night worship time will change from 7pm to 6:30pm starting Monday, September 9th. There is no Monday night service on September 2nd.

Food Pantry On August 7th 17 households were served which included 43 adults and 15 children. Thank you for your support!

Fellowship Meal: Next week following the service we will have a congregational potluck meal. Please join us even if you are not able to provide any food for this event.

Confirmation Meeting: For all parents and students in 5th through 7th grade (and above if the child has yet to be confirmed) will be held today, August 18th at 4pm. The present plan is to start confirmation on Wed., Sept 11th at 5:45pm. This could change depending on student schedules.

School kits The Ladies League is collecting items to fill to be sent to Lutheran World Relief. We will be gathering the following items - new items only: notebooks, crayons, rulers, pencil sharpeners, scissors, #2 pencils, ballpoint pens, and erasers. If you are willing to donate, please pick up the slips for the items you want to donate (located on the bulletin board in the Narthex). You can bring the items and place in the baskets on the table in the Narthex. Thank you for helping! Any questions, call Wanda at 618-281-4691.

Church Membership Secretary-This position is available here at St. Paul’s. We are looking for a six hour a week Need to work in afternoon and can be divided up in two or three days. Computer skills are essential. Call the church office for job description. Let the office know by August 25 if you are interested.

What does God want me to do in my life? If this question has ever been on your mind, you will benefit from the below Sunday morning Bible classes on “Vocation”.

September 1st: Vocation- Our call to faith

September 8th: Vocation- Our call to family

September 15th- Vocation- Our call to work

September 22nd- Vocation- Our call to be citizens

September 29th- Vocation- Our call to the church.


SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, September 14th is Fall Cleaning Day around our church and parsonage. Both inside and outside projects are available. More details to follow.

High School Bible Study will break and will resume 9/8/19. And no Sunday School for younger grades during the month of August.

“….from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:15

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” Romans 15:4 .

Dear friends and members of St. Paul’s,

Last week I wrote about the great benefits of weekly/regular worship in our walk with Christ. Another way to grow in our walk with Jesus is a regular devotional/prayer life. I’ve noticed through the years, that many of our members seventy years of age and above have a daily/routine with their devotional life (Usually Portals of Prayer). I have a hunch that a regular reading of one’s Bible and even praying written prayers was emphasized more in the past than it is today. This is interesting, because never before have their been so many options in regards to one’s personal devotional life. For example, there are phone aps, podcasts, audio online sermons, online devotionals, and numerous books available today to assist us in our devotional/prayer life. I think many get frustrated, by our “starts and stops” in our devotional routine. We make ourselves a promise to read the Bible in a year, and then either get hung up in Leviticus or other things crowd out this activity. Even if you have experienced many of these “stops and starts” in your devotional routine…and you may have the same in the future…..keep on giving it a go. Why? According to the above verses they make us wise for salvation, and they give us hope. Here are some Lutheran devotional/Bible study sites that may be of assistance to you.

Lutheran Hour Ministries: https://www.lhm.org/dailydevotions/default.asp?date=20190823

KFUO Radio: https://www.kfuo.org/category/thy-strong-word/ (A daily Bible Study)

LWML Mustard Seed Devotions: http://www.lwml.org/mustard-seed-devotions

The Meyer Minute: https://themeyerminute.typepad.com/meyerminute/ (Daily Devotional Thoughts from Dr. Dale Meyer)

Lutheran Charites http://devotions.lccharities.org/

Portals of Prayer Online: https://www.cph.org/portals/ (There is a small subscription fee to get this on a daily basis)

Blessings,
Pastor Krenz


Sunday Worship Service Time/Theme: Our last 9am August worship service will take place this Sunday. This Sunday’s theme “Identifying and Enjoying the Narrow Door” Luke 13:22-30. The other readings include Isaiah 66:18-23, and Hebrews 12:4-24.


Pot Luck Meal: All are invited to a pot luck meal which will follow the Sunday service. Even if you are not able to bring something, we encourage you to attend this fellowship event which will take place in the fellowship hall.


Monday Worship at the Historic Church: The 7pm Monday worship service will take place at the Historic Church (114 Liberty Street). Please park on the street, and not in the parking lot next to the Historic School. The Monday night worship times will change to 6:30pm starting Monday, September 9th.


Signing a Card for our Firefighters: In appreciation for the firefighters in town, the congregation is asked to sign a card in the narthex following the Sunday service. This card will be accompanied by some desserts to express our appreciation for all that they do. The Board of Outreach.


Welcome: This Sunday we welcome Andrea Mastrantuono into our fellowship here at St. Paul’s. Andrea recently transferred her membership from St. John’s Lutheran in Red Bud. Andrea works at Allsup in Belleville and she resides in Waterloo with her husband Marc. They are expecting their first child in September.


Rise Against Hunger: Thank you to the 87 people who helped assemble the 10,000 plus food packets last Sunday, and to those who donated to this cause. You can see the impact of these meals by going to https://www.riseagainsthunger.org/global-reach/ & https://www.riseagainsthunger.org/our-impact/nourishing-lives/


Choir Help Needed: Jeanine Consolino our organist is asking congregational members and choir members to help the congregation learn Divine Service 2 in our Lutheran Service Book. The rehearsals will take place at 7pm on September 4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th. Please gather in the balcony. If you have questions call her at 314-892-6170.


Pre School Director and Assistant Installation: This Sunday Shelly Augustine and April Shrader will be installed as our pre-school director for the 2019-20 pre school year during the Sunday Service. After the service members of the congregation are invited to go down and look at the preschool, and meet our pre school staff.


What does God want me to do in my life? We will begin addressing this question in a series of five Sunday morning September Bible classes on vocation. Our first class on September first covers God’s call to faith.


Youth/Parent information meeting and Ice Cream Social: Sunday, September 8th at 6pm. This includes Middle School and High School youth.


Food Pantry: They served 19 households on August 21st. Their current needs are tea, breakfast cereal, canned fruits (except for applesauce).


Adult Information Class: The next membership class to learn what the Lutheran Church teaches will take place on Sunday, September 15th at 6:30pm.


Thank You: To Bob and Gail Thoma who provided new candles for the altar area in memory of his daughter Stacie.


Sunday School Teachers Meeting: This Tuesday, August 27th at 7pm.  

Dear friends and members of St. Paul’s,

As you may know we are pausing for a few minutes in each worship service to explain “Why we do what we do in worship”. Every week someone reads this information, and then the following week we place it in the back of the bulletin. Here is last weeks note on “Why we have an offering”.

“The Offering isn’t a momentary pause in the Divine Service in order to collect the mandatory admission price. Neither is it a required payment of your membership dues in the congregation. The Offering is a time of worship like the hymns and prayers. There are important attitudes that make Christian giving worshipful, such as first fruits giving, cheerful giving, thoughtful giving, and giving in response to God’s blessings Behind Christian giving is also this crucial understanding–everything that we have is God’s. We merely manage what God already owns. The question often arises.. “How much do I have to give?” or “How much should I give?”. It is better to ask a different question “How much can I give?” In the end, the exact amount is between you and your Lord. What a privilege and blessing it is that God allows us to take part in this act of giving.”

Many Blessings,
Pastor Krenz

Weekend Sermon/Service theme: “The Surprising Look of Exaltation” based on Luke 14:1-14.

Sunday School: Starts this week at 9:15am.

Rally Day: Join us for this occasion when we celebrate the opportunity to participate together in Christgian Ecucation. (See above attachment)

What does God want me to do in my life? If this question has ever been on your mind you will benefit from the September Sunday morning Bible Classes on Vocation. This week we will be looking at our call to faith. Other weeks will look at our call to family, our call to work, our call to be citizens, and our call to the church. Come one, come all!

September Youth Information Meeting/Ice Cream Social: This event for middle school and High School students and their families will take place on Sunday, September 8th at 6pm here at church.

We need Singers: To assist the congregation in learning Divine Service 2. We will practice on Wednesdays in September, starting this week at 7-8pm. Please meet in the balcony.

Couples Bible Class: Pastor Sievers is leading a couples Bible class once a month starting Friday, September 13th at 6:30pm. The title for this class is “Immegrants Among Us” based on a 2012 Synodical study of this topic.

Sunday Worship Times: return back to 8am and 10:30am this Weekend!

No Monday Night Services this week. All of the following Monday night services will start at 6:30pm rather than 8pm.

Adult Information/Membership Class: This will start on Sunday, September 15th at 6:30pm. If you know of someone interested in this class, please contact the church office at 281-4600.

Junior Confirmation: This begins Tuesday, September 10th (3:30-4:30pm) and Wednesday September 11th (5:45-6:45) (same class/two times) If you know of someone who would like to participate please contact me at 618-363-0121.



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  

“I have said these things to you; that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart: I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Dear friends and members of St. Paul’s,

“There has to be a reason or a purpose for going through what I’m going through.” We are Christians, and for that reason we know that our loving God is in charge, and that nothing happens outside of his understanding. When we go through life’s challenges, inevitably we inquire concerning the “why”, and try to envision something positive God is bringing in this midst of these difficulties. I’m not saying this isn’t so, and that you cannot find Scripture passages that express this very thing. However, often this side of heaven, figuring out God’s specific purpose in the midst of our challenges is rather illusive. For that reason, I think we are better off focusing on God’s gracious presence in Christ, and his promises through the Savior. Let me suggest that the next time you go through one of those difficult times and think “there has got to be a reason”, hear and read God’s Word and soak in the promises and gracious presence of your loving Savior (See above verse) . Presence and promise living verses purpose living…….the former just might be a better way to go!

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Krenz

Sermon Theme: This weekend we are continuing our “Summer Discipleship Journey” under the theme “A journey with His Word at our side” based on Luke 10:38-42. The other Scripture passages are Genesis 18:1-10a, and Colossians 1:21-29.

Youth Assistance: The youth will be helping out with Greeting and Ushering this Sunday, and a trio will be playing their Clarinet during the offering at the l0:30am service.

Youth Update on the National Youth Gathering: The youth will be giving a presentation about their time during the National Youth Gathering at the 7/28 potluck (11:45am). We invite you to bring your favorite dish and join us in the fellowship hall to hear their presentation.

Romans 6: This chapter will be the focus of this Sunday’s Bible class (9:15am in the Fellowship Hall)

Food Pantry: On July 17th they served 24 households, which included 60 adults and 17 children. Their current needs are: Jelly/jam, instant mashed potatoes, canned tomatoes and beef broth.

Rise against Hunger Fellowship Event: Approximately $1200 has been pledged from groups in the congregation for this event. We will need $2600 to pay for the supplies that will make 10,000 meals, which will pay for approximately 50 children in a year. This event takes place on Sunday, August 18th. If you are donating for this event please make checks out to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, and place them in an envelope marked ”Rise against Hunger.” Cash can be donated in a similar type of envelope. Friends of the congregation are invited to this event.

Flyer Handout: This Sunday/Monday everyone will receive two flyers, with at least one encouraging friends/neighbors to attend the 9am August services and the fellowship events that will follow.

Voter’s Meeting: Sunday, July 28th at 12:15pm following the congregational potluck dinner.  

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing……….24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:18-19,24-25

Dear friends and members of St. Paul’s,

All of us have an addiction problem called sin, and that addiction is directed toward ourselves. This self-addiction can manifest itself in pride, or on the other end of the spectrum, in despair. In both situations “we” are what is central in this world. Harold Senkbeil wrote in his book Dying to Live, the Power of Forgiveness, “like every addict we believe the lie, that we need the sin to survive.” The scriptural solution to this addiction is not to reform or remold the self, but rather to get rid of it and start new again. Colossians 3:3-4 says 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your[a] life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Galatians 2:20 says “ I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” A life that trusts in Christ, and not in self, is the solution to the insidious nature of our self-addiction. This Sunday in Bible Class we will be studying Romans chapter seven. In this chapter Paul speaks about wanting to do what is right, but not being able to carry it out. The solution to Paul’s dilemma (and ours too) is found at the end of this chapter…where he thanks God for Jesus Christ our Lord. He expands on what this in Romans 8:1 where he states “there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus”. If you get a chance in the next week or two, read through chapters seven and eight of Romans. These chapters explain clearly our predicament as “self-addicted” sinners, and the wondrous freeing solution found in Jesus Christ our Lord. Have a blessed weekend!!

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Krenz

Weekend Service Theme: “A Journey of Confident Prayer” Luke 11:1-13. The other readings are Genesis 18:20-33, and Colossians 2:6-15.

Adult Bible Study: Sunday at 9:15am “Romans 7” in the Fellowship Hall.

The Youth will be speaking about their recent trip to the National Youth Gathering in Minneapolis at the Potluck meal in the fellowship hall (11:30am this Sunday)

Congregational Voters Meeting This Sunday, July 28th at 12:15pm following the congregational potluck dinner.

9am Sunday Service in August: Every week in August we will have one 9am Sunday Service. We are asking all members to wear their nametags at this service. Following each service all are invited to the fellowship hall for the following fellowship activities: The last two Mondays of the month will have 7pm worship services at the Historic Church (114 West Liberty Street)

August 4th: Missionary Speaker Tek-Lu Ke-tema from Ethiopia

August 11th: Intergenerational Sunday School (All ages will meet together)

August 18th: “Rise Against Hunger” Food Assembly

August 25th: Potluck Fellowship Meal

Mission Speaker Next Week: After our church service on Aug. 4th, there will be a presentation by an Ethiopian missionary, Tek-Lu Ke-tema. He was born and raised in an educated Christian family in Ethiopia. He is presently finishing his vicarage year at Salem, Affton and will return to Concordia Seminary this fall to finish his pastoral training. He hopes to receive a pastoral call next spring. His wife, Zion, is a nurse at Barnes Jewish; their two children, Jonah and Selah, attend Word of Life Lutheran School. While the cost of Teklu's seminary tuition is covered by several sponsors and sponsoring congregations, they are dependent on his wife's income and his limited employment as a full-time student, so a generous free-will offering and our ongoing prayers during the coming year or more would be greatly appreciated.

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 $3,800 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. So far $550 has been received or pledged for this endeavor. With the match that means we have $1,100 – only $2,700 to go!! Please make checks out to “St. Paul’s Lutheran Church” and place in envelope marked “Rise against Hunger”. If you want to donate cash, do so in a separate envelope marked “Rise against Hunger” and give your name. Friends of the congregation are welcome to join us for this event. Below are two videos that help explain both the event and who it helps.

This video shows how our meals go from the hands of our volunteers to the bellies of our beneficiaries.

This video shows the process by which volunteers package meals for our beneficiaries.

The Columbia Daze Parade is coming soon in August! This year we are looking to actively participate and more importantly, increase community awareness of all the wonderful things St. Paul's has to offer. Ideally, we would like to have an interactive, small themed float to include members who are able to help pass out candy/giveaways and church information. All are welcomed to join in on the fun! If you are available August 17th and interested in participating, please reach out to Christina Schmitt by August 1st so that a plan can be put into place. Contact information: Email: cmgarfield4@gmail.com; Call or Text: 314-807-2200

Food Pantry on July 17 served 24 households, including 60 adults and 17 children. THANK YOU for the grocery bags! We asked and certainly received. We have an entire shopping cart full of bags now. We will let you know when we need more in the future. Current needs: jelly/jam, instant mashed potatoes, canned tomatoes and beef broth. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT

The High School Bible Study will break from 7/28/19 - 9/1/19, we will resume 9/8/19.

Teaching Position available: LASE Specialized Education is seeking part-time Special Education Teachers for the 2019-20 school year. Candidates must be certified in one or more areas of special education and have at least three years of experience in teaching special education. Candidates should be individuals who love God, love children and have a passion for Christian education. Please send a cover letter and resume to info@lutheranspecialed.org

Confirmation Meeting: For all parents and students in 5th through 7th grade (and above if the child has yet to be confirmed) is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, August 18th at 4pm. The present plan is to start confirmation on Wednesday, September 11th at 5:45pm, though this could change depending on student schedules.

Contributions to the Building Fund have been short for several months this year and we have been supplementing the mortgage payment from the General Fund. Please prayerfully consider what you can do to help!

Mid-year contribution statements will not be automatically printed. Members who wish to have one should call the church office or Lisa Schmidt (281-8413).

Middle School Youth Event (5th through 8th Grade) : 8/9/19 meet 7:15pm church lower parking lot Epic 6 Sports Arena includes Trampolines, Laser Tag, Rock Climbing, Ninja Warrior, Dodgeball and an Arcade. Join us for some fun and fellowship and invite a friend! We will attend the late night special which includes 90 minutes of play, $5.00 of arcade play, a soft drink and your choice of nachos or jumbo soft pretzel. Cost is $10.00 per person. An EPIC 6 waiver form is required so be sure to RSVP to Melissa Upson if you plan to attend. She has the waiver forms to complete.

Contact Melissa with any questions or to RSVP - 314-852-0161 (text) or email luv2run94@yahoo.com

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