Letters to the Editor, Volume 2
From our May 2022 Newsletter: “Often times I receive good theological questions via email, but unlike the good questions I get in Bible class, only the emailer has the benefit of the discussion. I plan to make an effort going forward to include in the newsletter these types of questions (or my summary of the question) that I receive, along with my reply—with the name of the sender redacted, of course…. If you have a question/topic that you’d like me to consider for a newsletter spot, please let me know.”
So, here is a question I received after Volume 1 in May, along with my reply:
“XXXXX online LCMS pastor said Matt 24:36-44 suggests that the unsaved will be swept away and the saved will be the ones “left behind” so to speak, to join Christ. Not that simply…but to say the left behind movement may be backward. Do you think this is what’s being said? I’m good with the “the Bible doesn’t tell us” answer, but just curious if this was a section we could share with our rapture believing friends.
[Mat 24:36-44 ESV] 36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. 42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
No, I don’t think that is what is being said. I see why XXXXX online LCMS pastor says it–they are swept away by the flood, and the ones left are the ones ‘left behind’. It’s cute to think this way, but it just says they were swept away and it doesn’t say that Noah and his family were “left behind.”
The general point of Matthew 24 is that the Last Day comes suddenly when it is least expected [even though it should be], just like the flood did. The ones in the ark are saved and the ones not [left behind] are condemned. Similarly, the next two examples of the two men in the field and two women at the mill really seem to go the other direction; in Greek, one is “taken and received” [by Jesus] the other “abandoned” or left behind. I think this direction fits with the ark, too; “received” into the ark vs. “abandoned” on the outside. This also is the direction of a lot of the other examples, e.g., the wise virgins are received into the wedding hall and the unwise are abandoned or left behind on the outside, etc.
Now, you could hold his view that the man in the field is taken for judgment and the one abandoned is abandoned to Jesus, or something, I suppose. I don’t think it fits, but it isn’t a false doctrine to hold this opinion. Again, the point is suddenness, like a thief, when you don’t expect it. I always tell people to go to chapter 25 with the sheep and the goats; this is the clearest description of how things will actually go. Jesus says clearly, “[Mat 25:31-33 ESV] 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.” There is no left behind in either direction, but an end and judgement day for both believers and unbelievers [or the man taken and the man in the field who is left behind].
So, no, I don’t think this is a good talking point to use with the Left Behind crowd. It is weak and a real stretch.
P.S. Members, keep the theological questions coming, as I enjoy engaging them.
Don’t forget to check the Church Calendar page on the website for up-to-date activities and times: http://www.stjohnfrisco.org/category/events/
Note: St. John/Pastor is using the email addresses email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org to send information and requests for information to the members. Please check your Spam or Junk mail folders for emails from this address.
Christian Education, Human Care & Evangelism
Audio of the sermon is available on our website. Homebound Communion: If you are unable to attend the Divine Service, you may always arrange communion with pastor.
Audio of Bible Class: No need to sign-up anymore. I will attach the previous week’s recording(s) to the eblast each week. If an eblast doesn’t have them attached, assume the recorder failed or I failed in some way😊
Sunday Bible Class: The Gospel according to St. Matthew started 9/27/20. We are in chapter 28!
Ladies Group finished Ruth in June and will look at other women of the Bible in the fall. Look for updates in the bulletin and via email. (Normally breaks Memorial Day through Labor Day)
Men’s Study Wednesday at 6:30 a.m. The Book of Concord 1580. (Breaks Memorial Day through Labor Day)
Midweek Bible Study: Mondays, 1:00 p.m. I Peter and following epistles. Will resume with 1 John 4 in the fall. (Breaks Memorial Day through Labor Day)
Sunday School (Breaks Sunday prior to Memorial Day through Labor Day)
Adult Catechesis: If you know someone who would like to learn more about what we as Lutherans believe, please have them contact Pastor. Current class is meeting Sundays from noon-1 p.m.
Private Confession and Absolution offered all week upon request.
For Information on Closed Communion, check out the brochure at church or see our website. You may always talk to me too. http://www.stjohnfrisco.org/holy-communion/ & http://www.stjohnfrisco.org/why-closed-communion/
Issues, Etc. is a radio talk show hosted by LCMS Pastor Todd Wilken and produced by Lutheran Public Radio in Collinsville, IL. You can listen at your convenience at https://www.issuesetc.org and on the Lutheran Public Radio mobile app. You can listen to Lutheran music at https://www.lutheranpublicradio.org
BIBLE STUDY: The Word of the Lord Endures Forever is a daily 15-minute verse-by-verse Bible study produced by Lutheran Public Radio in Collinsville, IL You can listen at your convenience at https://www.thewordendures.org, on your favorite podcast provider, or the LPR mobile app.
Children’s Bulletins Available: Lessons for Lambs is not meant to serve as a way to keep kids busy and quiet during the service, but rather to involve them in what’s going on in the service so they can begin thinking about it. The bulletins are geared toward kids in 2nd through 6th grades with varying degrees of independence. They could certainly be used with younger kids, in part, with help from their parents.
Got questions? What About Series: https://steadfastlutherans.org/whatabout/
Home Devotions Resources: Reminder that there are resources on the table in the Narthex. The “Lesson for Lambs” and “Lambs at Pasture” are great resources to use in the home during the week. There is even an answer guide. Also, additional resources are on our website. Home Devotional Resources: https://www.mlchouston.org/about-us/memorial-moments & http://www.steadfastlutherans.org/2017/02/lambs-at-pasture-daily-devotions-for-the-family/
Evangelism: Sharing our website with others is a great way to let others to learn about us. Church Business Cards still available for you to take. Let’s get our name out there and invite others to hear the sweet Gospel! Evangelism Tracts using the Small Catechism AVAILABLE! Also, tracts on the Explanation of the Church Service available now too!
Frisco Family Services is now known as Frisco Family Services Market. This rebranding reflects a heartfelt consideration for the health, safety, and respect for our neighbors during an unexpected crisis. Now, Frisco Family Services Market better portrays the experience families and individuals are used to when shopping in a grocery store.
In addition to in person client-choice shopping, they have added Market Express, an online shopping alternative for those who are ill, do not feel comfortable with in person shopping, or have limited time to shop due to their work schedule. Similar to retail curbside pickup, their clients access an online shopping list, make their selections and schedule a convenient pickup time. Clients arrive at their scheduled time and volunteers load their chosen items into their vehicle.
For seniors and those who are unable to drive or do not have transportation, their Mobile Market provides home delivery. Having these options will ensure the health, safety, and confidentiality of those needing to use Frisco Family Services Market while navigating their crisis.
Additionally, they have added a Fresh produce section for the shoppers, funded by a recent Leadership Frisco class.
As a church, St. John continues its support of Frisco Family Services Market with stable food item donations to their food pantry. A collection basket has been placed at church for your donations. Please consider donating any regular sized canned or boxed goods that are within the expiration date. They also need laundry and cleaning supplies. We will not be able to provide fresh produce through this collection basket. Thank you for helping!
Christian Stewardship -Time, Talent, and Treasure
Choir: Please lend your voice and come sing with us. See church calendar for rehearsal times.
Handchime Choir: On Sunday mornings the Handchime Choir will rehearsal from 8:30 till 9:15 (before Worship Services). If you are interested in ringing, please let me know. Becky Greer, 504-812-7951
Weekly Stewardship bulletin sentences from synod are in our bulletin most weeks—check them out.
Church Cleaning: Thank you to all who have served. Always looking for new volunteers. Bill or Denise Eggert if you have questions.
A flower chart for 2022 is posted on the wall by the coffee station. We have updated our Altar flower sign upprocedure. Flowers will be available for order to be displayed on the Sunday of your choice. The cost is $30 per vase. We encourage multiple families to sign up together (one for each vase) on the Sunday they would like to commemorate or give thanks in this way. As is needed, the elder board will purchase the second vase and distribute those flowers to our homebound members. Please sign up at least one week in advance, either on the sheet near the bulletin board or by sending your altar flower request to our volunteer church secretary email@example.com or text message to 214-425-9777.
Amazon Smile: Don’t forget you can support our church by designating St. John through Amazon Smile.
“Merchant Rewards Programs: In addition to Amazon Smile, St. John is now set up with Kroger.
1. Apply for a Kroger rewards card, if you don’t already have one.
2. Sign in, or create an account with Kroger at https://www.kroger.com
3. Go to the Savings & Rewards menu.
4. Select Community Rewards and enter “Saint John Lutheran Church” in the search window, and then search.
5. We should be the first entry in the search results. Our Organization Number is: YV240
6. Select “ENROLL” and hit enter. You’re set up.
Prayer: Please continue to pray for our congregation. Also, please take home your bulletin and pray during the week for those who have requested our prayers.
Interested in serving as a Church Greeter? Please speak to an elder.
Human Care Group: Want to be available to make a meal, give a ride, and such, to a fellow member in a time of need? Speak with an elder to sign-up to be on our human care group list.
Building Fund: If you would like to contribute to the fund, please write, “Building Fund” on your check. The Capital Campaign handout is in the narthex if you missed it.
Welcoming Committee: If you have an interest in welcoming and contacting first-time visitors with a call, card, or home visit to simply say, “We are glad you came. Hope you come again.”, please contact an elder.
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
The Ceremony of the Offertory
Have you ever noticed the subtle ceremony involved in receiving the offerings during the Divine Service? After all the offerings have been collected, they are brought forward and given to the pastor or one of his assistants. The pastor then turns toward the altar, and as he slightly bows his head, the collection plates with the offerings in them are raised slightly to the Lord and then placed either on the altar or a table for the offerings. Why do we do have this ceremony? And what does it teach us? For that is what ceremony does; it teaches, as the Augsburg Confession tells us, what we need to know about Christ (AC XXIV, 1–3).
Originally, this ceremony included more than simply bringing forward what was collected in the offering plates. The elements for the Holy Communion—the bread and the wine—were brought forward along with the offering plates. As the offering plates and the elements were lifted toward the Lord, and placed upon the altar, the elements would be put in the center and the altar, now made a table, would be set for the Lord’s Supper.
These gifts brought to the altar came from the sweat of the people’s brow. It is the bread and wine, the fruits of the peoples’ labor in this fallen world. After six days of labor and toil, the people would bring a generous proportion for the Lord’s work. It was set upon the altar and offered to the Lord for Him to take up and press into His service for His gracious work in and among them.
For what they offered to the Lord from the sweat of their brow, the bread of anxious toil, came back to them as the bread of life, the bread come down from heaven that whoever eats this bread and drinks this cup would receive life through the forgiveness of their sins.
This is not unlike what the Lord did for His people in the Old Testament:
You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year. And before the Lord your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always. And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, when the Lord your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which the Lord your God chooses, to set his name there, then you shall turn it into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that the Lord your God chooses and spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household.
What a blessing! God provides for us in all things. He provides bread from the sweat of our brows, and He receives this from us in the first fruits offerings we give to Him in thanksgiving and praise. He receives and turns it into spiritual bread, heavenly bread, the bread of eternal life and gives it back to us so that we might have joy. So, the next time you are in the Divine Service, watch this ceremony in wonder, that the Lord gives back to us, what we have given to Him so that we may rejoice in the salvation He has won upon the cross and gives to us in His supper.
– LCMS Stewardship Ministry
What should I be doing as a steward of the gifts the Lord has given me? Our Small Catechism, from Scripture, shows us our duties in our God-given vocations. Each month, I plan to cycle through parts of the Table of Duties:
Table of Duties Monthly Review: To Youth
Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. 1 Peter 5:5–6
Table of Duties Monthly Review: To Widows
The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. 1 Tim. 5:5–6
Table of Duties Monthly Review: To Everyone
The commandments … are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Rom. 13:9 I urge … that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone. 1Tim. 2:1
Let each his lesson learn with care,
and all the household well shall fare.
For current events, please visit our website and see the church calendar. You can sync our calendar to your computer or smartphone. http://www.stjohnfrisco.org/st-john-church-calendar/ Church events are shown at http://www.stjohnfrisco.org/category/events/ Also, if you do Facebook, check out our page.
Also, please see the two bulletin boards by the coffee cart for announcements that aren’t always in the bulletin and newsletter. A list of who is serving is also posted there.
We thank The Roy D. and Ingaborg G. Randolph Memorial Endowment Fund for its continued support. We received a generous gift of 10K, November, 2021. Praise the Lord!
Connecting the Dots: Before the service, try reading through the Gospel lesson and see if you can link it to the other lessons, Introit, Gradual, and Collect. (Hint: Start with the Collect as it usually summarizes the theme of the day)
Newsletter Deadline is the 20th of each month. Send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org