Welcome to a Community of Life and Hope!
St. John's is a community that is "Connecting People to Jesus!" We honor God's call when we, as a community, walk alongside of you as you experience God's love and forgiveness. It is our desire that you learn to fear, love and trust in the God who made you and has great things planned for you. Living and working together in faith builds community. Gathered around God's Word, we learn that we are called to be a people of hope and agents of transformation in our community. Our goal is not to get people to just "come" to church, but rather to BE the church in their daily lives.
Baptism is a washing, a sacred act commanded by Jesus Himself. It is God’s gift to us that brings us into His family as His adopted children. When we obey Jesus’ command to baptize, God extends His grace in many ways. The baptized person begins a new relationship with God, receives forgiveness of sins and is blessed with gifts of the Holy Spirit. Baptism is God at work in human lives! It’s primarily about grace, not faith. Baptism is given to us in God’s name, we do not give it to ourselves. It is not the sign of our response to God, it is the sign and seal of what God has done for us. By the power and working of the Holy Spirit, we learn to live out our baptism everyday and in everything we do! Baptism rests upon Scripture. When God’s Word of promise and salvation is spoken at baptism, ordinary water becomes a means of grace to sinners. God uses ordinary water to do something most extraordinary: call us to be His people, invite us into His family and live in His eternal promises! Baptism is not a "get it done" experience, it is a "now we have begun" reality. Baptism is God's daily calling for us to live out the faith and life He has entrusted to us.
The Lord's supper is effective–it does something. This is strange language to most of us. We understand how we do something, take the bread and break it and the cup and drink it, but we may not see how God does anything. We do not come to the table to learn something with just our minds: we come to meet God. God and people meet here and something happens. Here we touch eternity. Here God gives love, forgiveness, acceptance and we receive. He acts, and we adore. In prayer we go to God. In the Lord's Supper he comes to us. We are not learning something, or remembering something, but doing something–we are meeting God.
In this marverlous meal Jesus says to us, "This is my body. This cup is the New Covenant in my blood." Remember that these are His promises delivered to you! As we receive His presence we find that He is able to do for us all that his disciples found He could do for them. He brings forgiveness to us, and he renews us; he teaches us what his will is what we should do, and he makes us strong to do it; he heals the wounds and comforts the sorrows of our life: he brings us back to our Father and gives us our place again in our Father's house.
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the activator of our faith! We affirm the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and his gifts as God's empowerment to his people until Jesus returns (Matt. 28:16-20; Acts 2:17; 1 Cor. 1:5-7; 13:8-9). The Holy Spirit not only works to bring us to faith in Christ but also preserves us in the faith, gives the office of the ministry and empowers and guides his people through a variety of ways, at his initiative and disposal, including gifts of the Spirit for mission and ministry (Eph. 4:11; 1 Cor. 12:1-11, 18, 28; Rom. 12:4-8). We affirm that it is "our Lord's will that the diversities of gifts should be for the common profit." (1 Cor. 12:4-31)
We affirm that God making us holy (sanctification) is a work of God, received by faith. It is a process and series of experiences in the life of the believer in and through which God works by His Word and Spirit to restore His image in the life of the believer (2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 4:24). Sanctification follows justification (that by God's grace we are saved) and is not complete until Christ's return. Therefore, continual Christian growth through the Spirit is to be sought and desired by every Christian (Rom. 12:1-2; Gal. 5:22-25; Eph. 4:11-16; Phil. 3:12-16; 2 Pet. 1:5-11; Heb. 6:1-3).
Lutheran = Grace
Lutherans trace their roots back to the sixteenth century when Martin Luther, an Augustinian Roman Catholic monk, challenged some of the teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1517 Luther attached ninety-five theses (or propositions) to the front door of the church in Wittenburg, Germany. Luther's bold actions were the spark that ignited the Protestant Reformation throughout Europe. In many recent surveys celebrating the new millennium, Luther has been chosen as one of the most influential thinkers and leaders of the last thousand years.
Luther initially wanted the Roman Catholic Church to reform itself from within, but after several tumultuous years of heated debates, the "reformers" decided it was time to start a new church denomination. Luther wanted this new denomination to be called the Evangelical (“Good News”) Church, but over time, Lutheran became the common name for the denomination.
If you were to boil down Lutheran beliefs to one word, a strong candidate for that word would be grace. Grace is a word that describes God's unconditional and steadfast love. If mercy is not getting what you deserve (punishment), then grace is getting what you don't deserve (love and forgiveness). This grace is shown in countless ways, but most clearly of all in the good news that we are freely saved through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The mission of this church body, the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is: In grateful response to God’s grace and empowered by the Holy Spirit through Word and Sacraments, the mission of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is vigorously to make known the love of Christ by word and deed within our churches, communities and the world.
The Five "Solas" (Latin for "Alones")
The foundation of the Lutheran Christian Faith is found in five short, but meaningful phrases: "Grace Alone. Faith Alone. Scripture Alone. Christ Alone. God's Glory Alone." The first two of these thoughts come from Ephesians 2:8-9: “for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourself, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” We believe that salvation and eternal life come to us solely as a gift from God because of His grace and love for us. It is totally undeserved by us. It is all God’s doing. Faith, which enables us to receive this gift and trust in it, is also a gift from God. To this, “Scripture Alone” is added, for it is through the revelation of God to us through His Word that faith is created to receive this gift. Human wisdom or knowledge apart from God’s Word may serve the purposes of God, but must never be the basis for our lives. God’s Word is the foundation of what we believe and what we do. Lastly, we believe that is faith in Christ alone which saves, and everything we do should be to God's Glory.