St. John's Lutheran Church has in person Worship Services each Sunday at 10 am.  All are welcome!


Everyone is welcome to meet or speak with St. John's Pastor Designate, Pastor Michele Kaufman. If you would like to speak with her or learn more about her vision for our church, you may review her contact information below:

Monthly Message

Read "From the Pastor's Desk," Pastor Michele Kaufman's monthly message:


God Will Be There

When you think of God And all that is divine

Do you count your blessings And realize all is fine.

Look around and see the flowers and the trees

In them will appear All that is dear

You see, our faith Will lead us to that place

Where peace will be found

And you will find happy sounds

Never stop believing Never be scared of dying

As God will always be there No matter what your cares.

       That is the promise of Easter. Taking into consideration recent world events, we need to hold fast to the power and presence of God in the world today more than ever. The Christian church came into being because the miracle of Christ’s resurrection was duplicated in the lives of his disciples. The risen Christ raised his people to share his triumph. He transformed a band of frightened, trembling cowards into heroic witnesses and living examples of his resurrection power. This duplication of Easter has been from the beginning and through the ages the source from which Christian witness has derived its vitality. Why did Christianity take hold and spread and gain followers? Was it because a dozen men went out and told a story about a rabbi who had been crucified and rose from the dead? Nobody would have believed such a story if it were not for the fact that Christ’s resurrection power operated in and through the apostles. People believed the resurrection story because it was told by resurrected disciples. The resurrection experienced by the apostles was a change from weakness to strength, from despair to hope, and from doubt to certainty. He was the light of the world, but so are we. The Father sent him into the world, but he sends us. He did great works, but greater works shall his followers do. It’s possible when we "are raised with Christ," when "Christ is our life." The living Savior is adequate to all our needs in life and in death. He assures us that we will have eternal life. That is why we can never accept failure or defeat as final. Jesus Christ is the living Savior who is at work among us, rebuilding the lives of men and women. We are not left to our own cheap resources. We are not bound to our past nor should we fear the future. It is possible to win victory over the forces that cramp and seek to destroy us. But there is a big contrast between what an individual is and what he or she may, by the power of Christ, become. The victorious Christ can change our cynical and embittered outlook into one of hope and possibility. He enables us to marshal all the enemies of life, "tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, and sword," and say, "in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”


From Pastor Michele Kaufman
You can tell when the climax of a story is near. Time slows down so we can take it all in and feel the full effect. This mimics our own lives When we are in the midst of a numbing moment, our bodies seem to slow.  Our senses are heightened as we attempt to integrate what is happening.


Or Triduum slows down time as we move through the climax of the story of faith, Jesus’ betrayal, death and resurrection. Worship throughout the rest of the year skims the surface in some ways, whisking us through the story of Jesus’ life. But these days we linger. There is so much centered here. We have to take our time to be able to receive it.

 Worship over these three days will cover it all

-creation and redemption, death and life, fire and water, desolation and celebration. These days enact the great Christian drama, and the worship services are, in many ways, dramas that embody the story, the tensions, and the teachings of the very core of our faith.

 Maundy Thursday, April 6, 2023 – 7:00 p.m.

On Maundy Thursday, we reach back to the beginning of Lent to recall the confession we made on Ash Wednesday. The service does not follow the normal order- because we are both continuing and beginning an extraordinary worship experience. We are touched by words of forgiveness. It is only with a clear knowledge of being forgiven that we can engage the rest of the story.

      Forgiven, we learn of God’s new commandment. Foot washing, so intimate that it’s embarrassing in our culture, is the image Jesus chose to demonstrate the servant nature of our calling. We watch and we eat a last supper with Jesus. We hear him offer all of himself to us, even his body and blood.

      With the taste of wine still fresh in our mouths, the altar is stripped bare. It will be the consequence of Jesus’ love for us. Judas slips out to meet his conspirators. As the sanctuary is stripped bare, as the words of the psalm drift through the air, we are reminded of what this love will cost Jesus. We leave the sanctuary lingering-silence is observed. It is a holy time.

 GOOD FRIDAY, April 7, 2023 at 7:00 p.m.

      “Tenebrae” or Service of the Shadows, is one of the oldest traditional services of the Christian Church. Scripture readings and hymns focus our attention on our Lord’s crucifixion, death and final victory. Our visual center is the cross. There is nothing else to distract us. The pace is slow, as those final hours must have been for him. We move, relentlessly to the end. We are reminded that Jesus’ death was, paradoxically, the moment of his triumph. Through his death he defeated death.  We confess that this death is God’s glory, but it is also silent between now and tomorrow. Deadly silent…. Our hope and promise will sustain us.

 EASTER DAY - The Resurrection of Our Lord

     The morning light beckons us. We know where we have come from before we peek into the tomb with the women and Peter. When we hear the angel say, “He is not here, but has risen,” we know again that life is always God’s way with us. Death is defeated. He who was dead lives. The promise has been fulfilled. Flowers, which begin again the cycle of life, surround us. The aroma of bread and wine remind us that the holy meal is a celebration this day, for in it we confess that life is stronger than death under God’s reign and we have seen it with our own eyes. Christ is risen! Alleluia!

     Though the faithful claim to love Jesus, we fail to make the effort to journey with Christ. We wave our palms, but avoid the nails, wanting to lay claim to the spoils of his victory. We all need to travel Holy Week in the presence of our Savior. I invite you to experience the trials and tribulation, the pain and suffering to comprehend the inexplicable joys of Christ’s victory.

Continuation from Pastor Michele Kaufman…

It is that season of the Church's year
when we as Christians dwell on the Mystery of the Crucifixion.
And what the Crucifixion tells us is this:
God Himself died upon a cross,
to pour out His love for us,
to forgive us our sins,
to share His life with us now, and eternally.

     Too many people move from Palm Sunday's jubilation to Easter's victory and never take the excruciating walk through the Upper Room, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Trials, and Mount Calvary. But you must go through it all really to know the joy of the open tomb!

Let us examine what Our Lord went through
even physically in His love for us:
in His suffering,
His Passion,
and His crucifixion:
in His agony in the Garden,
in His scourging at the pillar,
in His crowning with thorns,

in His carrying the cross to Calvary,
in His crucifixion and death.
As we more deeply realize this,
what God went through in His love for us,
we will hopefully realize more deeply
the love that God has for us,
for you and for me.

  Look at the cross. Empty and unoccupied, it is simply an object of brass or the timbers of a tree; but, when the crucified and suffering body of Jesus Christ is placed on the historic cross of Calvary, it becomes a sword - a sword in the hand of God that can conquer everything in heaven and on earth. It can even destroy the very gates of hell. Alleluia! Rejoice! Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!



I came across a list entitled, "Satan's Beatitudes." They said if the devil were to write his Beatitudes they would probably go something like this: Blessed are those who are too tired, too busy, too distracted to spend an hour once a week with their fellow Christians—they are my best workers. Blessed are those Christians who wait to be asked, and expect to be thanked—I can use them. 

Blessed are the touchy. With a bit of luck they may stop going to church— they are my missionaries.

Blessed are the troublemakers—they shall be called my children.

Blessed are the complainers—I'm all ears to them. 

Blessed are they who are bored with the minister's mannerisms and mistakes—for they get nothing out of his sermons. 

Blessed is the church member who expects to be invited to his own church—for he is part of the problem instead of the solution.

Blessed are they who gossip—for they shall cause strife and divisions that please me. 

Blessed are they who are easily offended—for they will soon get angry and quit. 

Blessed are they who do not give their offering to carry on God's work—for they are my helpers. 

Blessed is he who professes to love God, but hates his brother and sister—for he shall be with me forever. 

Blessed are you when you hear this and think it is about other people and not yourself—I've got you.


      As I read thru that list, two things immediately struck me. I can honestly say I have pastored every one of those church members and what the church desperately needs are more members who simply love their church: not only love their church, but love their church the way God loves the church. You see, God loves the church sacrificially. He gave His Son for it. God loves the church unconditionally. There is a blessing that comes to every church member who really will loves their church. Do you love God's church? So many people only come to church three times in their life– when they're first born and baptized; when they get married and they come to church to have the wedding; and when they die and come to church to have their funeral. In other words, they come to church three times–when they're hatched, matched, and dispatched. The first time you throw water on them, the second time you throw rice, and the third time you throw dirt. I never cease to be amazed at the excuses that people give for not attending church. Someday I'm going to catalogue them and write a book. There are some people who neglect their church by not coming. They just don't show up. They want the benefits of membership at no cost. Even though we miss them, they really don't miss us. Then there are those who come but stop there. The only thing they do contribute to the church is their presence. They don't give, they don't work, they don't serve, they don't witness, they don't worship, some of them don't even sing; they just come. Then there are those who come to church and yet are so negative, so critical, their attitude is so bad that the church would be better off if they maybe stayed home. I believe if you're going to attend your church, you ought to defend your church; you ought to commend your church. That does not mean the church is not above good solid constructive criticism, but one should fully be aware of what's happened, been done or in the works. If you're not there, how can you share your insight? Do you love your church? Don't answer too quickly. Because I want to say to you gently, lovingly, but firmly; you have no right to say you love God's church, if you're not giving to it and supporting it financially. You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. No matter what you do, whether it is giving a tithe and an offering, teaching Sunday School, inviting folks to attend, or sitting in a pew on Sunday morning; do it because you love Jesus. I want to encourage you to be more diligent in terms of worship. I want you to pray and ask yourself how you might participate and support the work of the church. I encourage you to contemplate how we may find new ways to touch our community and address the needs of folks around us. Most importantly, we want you to be part of something that has a lasting effect on others as well as yourself.


   LENT IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER… “Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” Lent is the church's way of telling time. How much longer to Calvary? How much longer to Easter? It is the church's way of remembering the adult Jesus and how everything ended ... rather than the baby Jesus and how everything began. Once upon a time, Lent was a preparatory period ... a time of instruction ... getting candidates ready for Easter baptism. Today, it's much more than that. Or can be. For some, Lent is a disciplined effort at self-improvement. More than "forty days to thinner thighs," Lent might involve a conscious decision to better the self in ways deemed necessary or spiritually beneficial. Services rendered

                                 Habits reformed 

                                 Chapters read 

                                 Worship attended 

                                 Kindness rendered 

                                 Reconciliation extended ...

     While for others, Lent is the church's permission to look inward. 

                                To delve into our soul  

                                To deepen, rather than widen 

                                To replicate the forty days our Lord spent in the wilderness and stare down temptation ... step up our obligations ... saying, "this I mustn't do" ... countering with "this I ought to do" 

     It can also be a time to Listen for God; to meditate or pray or journal or merely make peace with silence.

     As for giving something up ... or taking something on be the judge. And as for doing better versus digging deeper ... well, you be the judge of that. Ask yourself a question: "Which needs more work, my behavior or my interior?" Only you can know.


  Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to 4 have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 12:13-14

      You know, there is something about New Year's Day that is a little bit like Judgment day. It is a time when we look back and ask ourselves if we feel good about what we did with the year just passed. Fortunately, for most of us, New Year's Day is the promise of another year -- another possibility -- a chance to do better. When old age or serious illness makes us wonder how many chances we have left, we may take the opportunity very seriously. We all should take it seriously. None of us know how many chances we have left to make the most of life.

     According to the top ten resolutions that Americans make every New Year’s Day are the following: Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions 1. Lose weight 2. Manage debt/save money 3. Get physically fit 4. Eat healthy 5. Learn something new 6. Drink less alcohol 7. Quit smoking 8. Reduce stress 9. Take a trip somewhere 10. Volunteer to help others. Those are all very good resolutions. The problem is 4-out-of-5 people who make them will break them. One-third of people who make resolutions won’t get past the end of January before they break them. That is why I believe what we need is not a New Year’s resolution, but what we need is a New Year’s revolution.

    What does God say to us? He has plenty to say about how we can maximize every year He gives us to reach our God-given potential to be what we ought to be, do what we ought to do, and become what we ought to become. Why do people fail in keeping New Year’s resolutions? Why is it so many of us come to the end of one year with the same baggage we carried the year before? We come to the end of the year and we are no further along in our spiritual, social, physical, or our vocational lives than we were the year before. The date changes, but the destination hasn’t. We are still stuck in the same place. A psychology professor at Florida State University did a study and came up with two reasons why people fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions are too general and there are too many.

      The first thing you need to do as you enter into a new season is put the old one behind you. You can’t focus on where you are going until you forget where you’ve been. You cannot sail the ship of your life into the seas of the future with joy and peace if your anchor is stuck in the mud of the past. You can’t run forward if you are always looking backward. Paul said the key to living a productive life is to focus. Anyone knows that concentration is the secret of power. If you take a river and make that river flow in one direction and one direction only and not overflow its banks it can become a tremendous source of electric energy. If you can take light and concentrate it and its power, you can make a laser that can cut through steel. I am absolutely convinced that the greatest single thing I do on a daily basis is to try and hear God speak to me through His Word. There is nothing that feeds my spirit, nothing that encourages my heart, nothing that motivates me to live for Jesus like reading His Word. I’m going to move forward into the New Year saying each and every day: “This is the day the Lord has made and with God’s help, I will rejoice and be glad in it by being more committed to kindness, more committed to encouraging others and more committed to Christ. And I hope you will join me in this.


And so it begins, the season of Advent, a time of preparation, a time of going toward the coming again of the Messiah, a time of great expectation and great anticipation. But exactly what is it that we anticipate? What are we getting ready for? What do we expect to happen? Do we anticipate the end of the world, as some religious cults always do at this time of the year? Are we preparing our hearts and spirits to receive again the coming, the coming of the Christ child into the world?

        Advent has nothing to do with the number of shopping days left until Xmas. With the hanging of the greens, the placement of the poinsettias, the lighting of the first Advent candle – all these invite us to dream dreams of a better world, to allow expectant visions that have nothing to do with sugar-plum fairies to dance in our heads. Advent invites us to fill the cup of today with a full measure of tomorrow.

     The way we see Advent and Christmas will determine our approach to the celebration. Is the essential work of Advent hanging decorations or is it more about opening our lives to the coming Christ and learning to live in peace? Will Christmas come only if we do all the right things to get ready for it? Or, is Christmas a gift from God that arrives whether we’re ready for it or not?

      We need to get our lives in order or we will miss the whole thing. The truth of the matter is that God’s entrance into our lives in the person of Jesus Christ occurs at God’s initiative and not ours. Christ arrives in our midst not as a reward for our careful preparation for his coming, but as a result of the love and compassion of God. Christ comes to us whether we’re ready or not. The truth of the matter is that God’s entrance into our lives in the person of Jesus Christ occurs at God’s initiative and not ours. Christ arrives in our midst not as a reward for our careful preparation for his coming, but as a result of the love and compassion of God. Christ comes to us whether we’re ready or not. Matthew describes the gift of the season of Advent with a single word, my personal favorite of all the "Christmas words" – Emmanuel, God with us. Not God HAS BEEN with us; not God WILL BE with us; but God WITH us, right now, TODAY!


Reformation Day isn't just an anniversary or just a remembrance of what God has done in the past. It is a reminder that God is working among us now, in the present; that God is calling us forward into the future. God is reforming us now, beckoning us back to the truth, back to hope and life and forgiveness we can never earn. God is sending us out to live and speak life. Through Jesus Christ, God forgives and re-forms you and calls you to be his body, his church. Through the Holy Spirit, God reforms and holds the church. And through the church, God announces the good news and reforms the world.

Most Protestant Christians observe Reformation Day in honor of Martin Luther and other Christians who removed false doctrine and destructive practices from the Christian church. Because the Roman Catholic Church was desperate to raise money to complete St. Peter's in Rome during the Middle Ages, many clergy used fear as a tool to obtain money from poor and unsophisticated people. They told the people that they had to pay money to the church so that their sins and the sins of their families might be forgiven. The people bought pieces of paper called pardons and indulgences from the church so that they could believe that they would go to heaven when they died.

 Luther was deeply disturbed by these and other abuses in the church. At the same time he was aware of his own sins and imperfections, and he tried very hard to make himself into a person that he thought God would like. The harder he tried, the worse he felt. He thought he was growing farther and farther away from God, and that it was becoming impossible for God to like him at all.

 In despair, he began a deep study of the Bible, especially the letters in the New Testament that were written by Paul, most of all the letter to the Romans, and he began to understand what Paul had told the early Christians over a thousand years before.

In his preaching and writing, Luther began to emphasize two main points: justification by faith and the priesthood of all believers.

Justification by faith means that Christians can never earn God's love or forgiveness. All that Christians must do is to accept God as God, and God will love and forgive and cherish them.

The priesthood of all believers means that every Christian has his or her own personal relationship with God, reading the Bible and worshiping in his or her own language, and praying directly to God without anyone's going in between.

So Protestant Christians give thanks to God on this day for the opportunity to lead lives of faith, instead of lives of fear.


       Each of us will face trials and tests, and as in this simplistic example, it is how we react to those difficulties that will determine our success and happiness. Each of us will face adversity no matter where we are. We are taught in the scriptures that there “must needs be … an opposition in all things.” We each face times of difficulty and the question is not when we will face them but how we face them.

       The Apostle Paul taught an interesting lesson only a few years before the saints in Rome were to face some of the most violent persecution of any Christian era. Paul reminded the saints that “all things work together for good to them that love God.” Our heavenly Father, who loves us, permits us to have experiences that will allow us to develop the traits and attributes we need to become more and more Christlike. Our trials come in many forms, but each one allows us to become more like the Savior as we learn to recognize the good that comes from each experience. As we understand this doctrine, we gain greater assurance of our heavenly Father’s love. We may never know in this life why we face what we do, but we can feel confident that we can grow from the experience.

      I realize that it is much easier to look back when difficulty is behind us and see what we have learned from our experience, but the challenge is to gain that eternal perspective while we are in the midst of our trials and tribulations. Knowing that Christ is with us gives us the strength and the fortitude to overcome all things.


     Jesus tells us that where we place our treasure, we will find our hearts. Whether we think of it as treasure, wealth, or just “our stuff,” Jesus is aware that the things in our lives have a way of becoming the center of our lives. We usually don’t mean for things to happen that way but the more we concentrate on something, the more important it becomes to us. The things that start out on the periphery of our lives have a way of working themselves onto center stage. Too often we have allowed the “stuff” of our lives to determine our sense of worth. That’s not the kingdom God calls us into. Jesus said that where our treasure is there our hearts will be also. I believe he was talking about the fundamental orientation of our lives. What is most important to us?

     Years ago, my mother-in-law would ask permission to make a purchase for my children. My response was often, “It’s your money.” She did it because of the joy it brought not only to the children but because she could do it. My mother-in-law grew up during the depression. She knew what it was to go without. But knowing she was in a position to be able to do and give brought her great joy. Now as a grandmother I understand the feeling. While we all need to pay the bills, things are not as important as the joy one sees in the giving of not only gifts, but time spent, memories made. Time and how I spend that time has become more precious than the money or things.

     God’s gift to us is a wondrous gift. It calls us back to the reality of who we were created to be so that we can live out of that reality instead a fantasy of material wealth. We are offered a place in God’s realm where we matter just because we do. God has said that we are precious and that makes it so. When we quit trying to earn our place in God’s world and just accept it as God’s gift, then we can begin to really live. We can know wholeness and joy that no one and nothing can ever take away.



Read 1 Kings 17:1-24    The Widow of Zarapeth

     When things are scarce, people tend to be more careful. When the economy is down, people spend less, and start fewer businesses. When income is down, people are slow to spend and tend to save more. We adopt a "wait and see" attitude based on our fear of the unknown. During seasons of scarcity, people are rarely focused on giving. But something happens when we're willing to give even in a season of scarcity.

     The widow of Zarapeth is featured in the story where she takes Elijah, a stranger, into her home. While he stays with her, God sustains them with a little flour and oil for nearly two years. What is remarkable about the story is that before the miracle she takes her last flour and oil and gives it to Elijah in obedience to God's word. This widow demonstrates what it means to be generous and practice generosity requesting nothing in return. We could very well understand her refusal under the circumstances, but she gives from the heart. She doesn't say sorry, my family comes first or sorry I can't help you, and go about her business, but instead goes about meeting his need trusting the word of God. He gives her a promise from the Lord: “The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land.”  She gives not expecting to receive in return. She also reminds us of another widow who gives her last two coins into the temple treasury in Luke 21:1-4. These generous women would be considered poor by the rest of the world, but by heaven's standards, they are wealthy beyond description and our comprehension. But both these women serve as an example to us, especially those of us who want for little that a generous heart is comprised of certain characteristics:

     A generous heart is a careful steward of their personal resources and skills which implies a circumspect attitude to giving, thinking, and expecting good return to giving. Giving is done with careful thought and not on the spur of the moment. They understand the difference between ownership and stewardship.

    They show kindness even when it is undeserved and grace to those who don't deserve it based on personal integrity and courage; they are persons of conviction.

    They also know how to suffer lack, without growing bitter. They have a personal integrity and a sense of purpose; an awareness of the bigger picture.

    They give quietly, sacrificially, and lovingly, exhibiting faith

    A generous heart is anchored in God's love. God pours his love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, giving us the ability to be truly generous. A generous heart is a lifestyle that permeates every area of our lives. Being a generous giver starts with working on the attitudes of your heart first. When our hearts are generous in our giving and trusting the word of God, we are in a position to see the miracles God will work in our lives and through us in the world.


Church Front

Cellphone: (570) 881-2371
Home Phone: (570) 443-0832
Office Phone: (570) 474-6616 (Saint Paul's)
She can also be found on Facebook under "Michele Kaufman."

Evangelical Lutheran Church In America