Digital detox is now a thing. It used to be just a handful of cranks warning us that the constant use of mobile devices would break our brains, but now even power users are bearing witness to the dark powers of ubiquitous technology. In many ways, tech has changed our lives for the better, but like most innovations that promise to improve life, there are unintended consequences with which we must reckon.
Here are some of troubles people are experiencing (perhaps you are as well) as we try to come to terms with our digital reality.
My Story: Kristen Luettchau
This means “Good Health” in Slovak, and I remember my grandpa saying it all the time when I was growing up. It’s probably the only Slovak phrase I learned from him, but it’s a good one. He passed away in 2015 at the age of 99. I remember growing up and going to Zion Lutheran Church with him and my mom every Sunday. His father, my great-grandfather, was one of the founders of that church. Why am I telling you all of this information about my grandfather when the topic for this week is “My Story”?
Make Jesus Your Goal
This time of year, you can find a lot of expert advice on how to make goals and the plans required to achieve those goals over the course of the new year. Whatever goals and plans you choose to make for yourself in the coming year, remember to connect those dreams and visions to your relationship with Jesus so that as you work to improve how you live your life you also open yourself allow the Holy Spirit to strengthen your relationship with God.
The St. Paul's church calendar isn't just a schedule of worship times and events -- more things to do -- it's a schedule of events and resources to strengthen your faith in Christ, opportunities to love and serve your neighbor, and finally to grow more deeply into the covenant God made with you in baptism.
Hopes and Expectations
What are your best hopes for this Advent and Christmas season?
Imagine that its Epiphany (January 6), and you are reflecting on all that happened up till then ,,, what would have you expected to happen? What will it take on your part to make it all happen? Where did you expect to meet Jesus in this season? Where did God come to meet you in your daily life?
Almost from its beginning, money has been a significant source of stress in people’s lives. Many of us experience at least one significant bout of financial distress in our lifetime. Sometimes financial distress occurs at significant times in our lives, such as …
If you feel that you are experiencing financial distress, I want to invite you to participate in a research study I am conducting this fall at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church as part of a Doctor of Ministry Program at New Brunswick Theological Seminary. The goal of this study is to help you develop ways alleviate your financial stress by setting goals, identifying spiritual and community resources available to you, building on strengths you and your family already posses, identifying obstacles and exploring ways overcome those roadblocks, and strengthening your relationship to God.
Participants in this study will agree to a total of five meetings: two interviews -- one at the beginning of the program and one at the end – and your choice of either three small-group or three one-on-one meetings. Each session will last no more than one-hour. You may participate in these meetings as an individual, as a couple or as a family.
Call me at the church office or e-mail me confidentially at PastorJim2006@icloud.com
On Sunday, September 4, we counted down this community's favorite hymns (as voted on in worship throughout the month of August). In case you missed it, here are St. Paul's Top 6 favorite hymns in 2016.
6. The Church's One Foundation
5. On Eagle's Wings
4. A Mighty Fortress
3. Beautiful Savior
2. How Great Thou Art
1. Amazing Grace!
What's your favorite hymn and what makes that hymn so meaningful to you? Share your vote and your stories on our Facebook page or in the comment sections below.
Worship and Service Go Hand-in-Hand
On Sunday, September 11, the St. Paul's family will gather to serve people in our community, state and around the world, and we will celebrate God's mercy, love and forgiveness in Christ, the hope of the world.
At 9 a.m., we will gather in fellowship hall for a light breakfast and to assemble hygiene kits and welcome gifts for Lutheran World Relief and Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey. This is a perfect service project for children and parents to do together.
At 10 a.m., we gather for a back-to-school worship service with Holy Communion led by the St. Paul's band. As part of this service we will gather in prayer and blessing around students, teachers, administrators and support staff as our community begins another school year.
At the same time -- from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. -- some of our members will be partnering with the Edison Elks to offer free breakfast for Edison's police officers, firefighters and EMS workers, as we remember the sacrifice of those who lost their life in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, and thank God for the service of the men and women who guard and protect and care for our community.
This is a day of service and worship for our whole community, so invite your friends and neighbors to join you this week.
Family Worship, 6 p.m. This is a Christmas Eve service with Holy Communion designed for families with small children, but God's children of all ages can delight and celebrate the joy and mystery of Jesus' birth. We will tell the Christmas story, sing some great hymns and carols, and together light up the night as witness to the coming of the light of the world, Jesus Christ, as we sing Silent Night.
Candlelight Service, 10 p.m. A traditional festival service of Holy Communion for Christmas Eve, features carols and special music from St. Paul's choir. The whole congregation sings Silent Night by candlelight. A beautiful, peaceful and moving way to celebrate the birth of Jesus and the salvation God has provided for the whole world through God's only Son.
This year, Pastor Krombholz will lead a joint Christmas Day worship service at 10 a.m. with our ministry partners, St. Stephen Lutheran Church in Edison. This quiet service for Christmas Day leads us to meditate on the mystery of the incarnation -- God taking on human flesh, dwelling among us and living, dying and rising for us. Please note: This service will be held at St. Stephen's Lutheran Church, 120 Pleasant Ave. Edison NJ.
God Is Our Refuge
We have entered the Advent season, and the sanctuary looks a little different. There's a lot of blue in the sanctuary and an Advent Wreath has appeared. Our worship during Advent is slightly different, too.
On Sunday mornings at 10 a.m., we will sing the traditional "Lord have mercy," but instead of singing a hymn of praise, the children will lead us in lighting the candles of the Advent wreath, and Pastor will lead us all in praying that God stirs up the Holy Spirit in us and that Christ come soon. The hymns for the Advent season are some of the most beautiful and moving in our hymnal. With rich music and profound words, we sing about our deepest longings for God, God's coming kingdom and the joys of life in communion with our triune God.
On Saturday evenings at 5:30 p.m., we will worship using a spoken service of Evening Prayer with Holy Communion. This quiet service begins with a single light that symbolizes God's presence in our life through the one light, Jesus Christ. "Jesus Christ is the light of the world," we say. "The light no darkness can overcome." We receive Holy Communion each week on Saturdays during the Advent and the Christmas Season.
On Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m. we gather to worship and pray for the church, the world and all of God's creation using a sung service of evening prayer. This 30-minute service that features a meditation on the many ways God is our refuge in dark and troubling times, will serve as peaceful refuge for you in this busy season.
Monthly Prayer-Support Group
Next meeting: Wednesday, November 4, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
"Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life." Phil. 4:6-7, The Message
Sometimes, we just need to be with a small group of people who simply listen to us without judging or trying to fix anything. In a group like that, we may even find that others can empathize with us because they're facing similar struggles. Each month on a Wednesday night, the church lounge will be open and pastor will be there so that a small group of fellow believers can gather, share their struggles, questions, doubts, as well their joys and triumphs. For the last 20 minutes of the 90 minute session, we will gather what we shared into prayers. Think of it as part support group, part prayer group.
For more information, call the church office or e-mail Pastor Krombholz PastorJim2006@icloud.com
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