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:

From Pastor Michele Kaufman

May 2024

 Ascension Day...what is it? The official ecclesiastical designation for this day is “The Feast of the Ascension.” In keeping with its name, it commemorates the day the risen Christ ascended into heaven. Saint Augustine contended this holy day was first observed in the apostolic era. That would make it one of the earliest Christian holidays. By tradition, the date was established as the 39 days after Easter. That means it should always fall on a Thursday. This year we celebrate the Ascension on May 9th.

   In many European nations, Ascension Thursday is widely celebrated as both a religious and a public holiday. It is religious in that the churches are open for a special time of worship. It is public in that Ascension Thursday is listed on national event calendars and government offices are closed. For that matter, banks and libraries are closed. There is no Ascension Thursday mail delivery and public transportation is likely to operate on a weekend schedule.

     Each European nation has its own way to observe the holiday. For instance, in France, people attend church in the morning and then they spend the rest of the day with their families, often outside enjoying the spring weather. In Portugal, in addition to attending church and spending time with family, the custom is to make wreaths of wheat, daisies, and olive branches. The wheat is said to symbolize an abundant harvest; the olives, a symbol of peace; the daisies are said to represent prosperity. They say that if you hang the wreath in your home, you can anticipate a year of peace, prosperity, and an abundant harvest.

       Around Devonshire, England, there lingers an ancient superstition that any egg laid on Ascension Day will never go bad. It is supposed to be good luck to put an Ascension Day egg on the roof of your house. In Sweden, men gather in the woods as early as 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. in order to hear birds singing at sunrise. For people whose metabolism spikes late in the evening, wandering around in the woods before dawn has minimal appeal. However, for those who call themselves “morning people,” just being in the forest when the sun comes up drips with possibilities of religious epiphany.

     For many, Ascension Thursday offers an opportunity for worship with ample time for rest and relaxation with family and friends. Many Europeans enjoy the holiday so much that they take Friday as a personal day and make it a four-day weekend.

     Obviously, that does not describe celebrating the Feast of the Ascension in the United States. Our local, state, and national governments do not declare it a public holiday. Our government agencies are open. Banks, courts, retail stores, manufacturing plants, and business offices run on a normal schedule. The restaurants not only continue to serve, I have never even heard of a restaurant having an “Ascension Day Special” on the menu. It is even difficult to make a case that Ascension Thursday is a major celebration in the churches of the United States. In fact, many American churches don’t even announce, let alone observe, the Feast of the Ascension. Even the American Roman Catholic church, which for centuries faithfully observed Ascension Thursday, has moved the observance to a Sunday.

     About seven weeks after the resurrection, Jesus took his followers to the top of a high hill in the village of Bethany, not far from Jerusalem. Jesus turned toward them, lifted up his hands, and prayed for them. The gospel of Luke then says, “While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven”.

    For a moment, consider the impact Jesus’ ascension had on his followers. In the blink of an eye, Jesus was gone and they were left with only a warm breeze blowing across the hilltop. Keep in mind these followers already knew what it was like to lose Jesus. They had been there on the day of his crucifixion. They had felt their self-confidence drain from their lives and leach into the soil around them. They knew what it was like to be overwhelmed by a sense of aloneness and an uncertainty about the future. At the ascension, the feelings they had at the crucifixion must have returned. “Oh no, Jesus is gone again. What are we going to do now? How will we get along without him?”

     In the first chapter of Acts, Luke tells us that before Jesus ascended into heaven he assured his followers that he was not abandoning them. The power of the Holy Spirit would come soon upon them. This power of God’s holy presence would sustain them. The gospel of the Ascension directs our thoughts to heaven, where our Lord has gone to prepare a place for us, so that where he is we may be also. But, he doesn't tell them to go out and tell everybody how they can get to heaven. He told them to go out and teach other people about the Jesus way of living in this world. And he promised to be with them every step of the way. the Lord's ascension makes it clear that we are not to rest on Christ's laurels, uncaring and uninvolved in the world we are called to live in for now. When Jesus ascended, all the work of the gospel was not done. There is a world to be won and there are people to be served and issues to be addressed. In short, Christianity is more than a religious philosophy. It brings to those who become disciples a practical responsibility. We are those disciples!

     An Ascension Day service will be held on Thursday, May 9th at 11:00 a.m. at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 316 S. Mountain Blvd in Mountaintop, Pa. All are welcome to join us….

April 2024

Easter dawns upon a world hidden in darkness. Easter awakens every sleeper with the news that Jesus Christ, the Prince of Power and the Lord of Love has appeared. Christianity is real. Christianity is alive. Christianity is anything but boring. Let us all wake up and smell the roses. Let us resolve to live our lives as if Jesus were a guest in our homes, workplaces and businesses. The truth is that the Lord is here and everywhere. He is alive. He is our Risen Lord to whom we offer our discipleship in response to his love. We sing, "and they'll know we are Christians by our love." Let us be about our Father's business as we serve him each and every day. The Chairman and CEO of Home Depot is reported to have said the following: Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up: It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning, the lion wakes up: It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle: When the sun comes up, you'd better be running. When your feet hit the floor running in the morning what motivates you? Fear or a sense of mission? In all that we do, let us show and tell others the good news of the gospel. Live the gospel!

March 2024

 Lent is a journey of six weeks, from Ash Wednesday to Good Friday and Easter. It is a pilgrimage for those who want to renew their lives. Lent is a time of fasting, penitence and self-examination. Lent is a time to remember what God has done, is doing, and will do for us. Lent is a time to remember what our lives would be if our Lord had not lived and died for us.

      Lent is not a time to regret our faults or to rehearse our failures as much as it is a time to renew our faith that God is at work creating a promising future out of the mess that we have made of his world and of our lives. Lent is not a time when we are to practice shallow fasting - giving up things we can easily do without. Lent is not a time to fast as it is a time to fasten our faith more tightly to the hope-filled promises of God.

      Lent is a time to turn to the Bible - a time to study God's word and commune with him in prayer. Lent is a time to lift up the cross - not as a pious whip to inflict self-punishment upon ourselves, or as a gavel of judgment to condemn the wrongdoings of others. Rather, Lent is a time for us to lift high the cross - lift it high enough to permit the first rays of Easter morn to reflect upon the surface so that the cross might become a beacon of light for all the hopeless, desolate, and despairing people of our world. The cross, without the resurrection, is a battle fought and lost. The resurrection, without the cross, is a meaningless victory without a battle fought. But, the crucifixion, plus the resurrection, is the redemptive act of God that turns the tides of history from the direction of ultimate defeat and death to the direction of eternal victory and everlasting life.

February 2024

Valentine’s Day occurs every February 14. Across the United States and in other places around the world, candy, flowers and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Still others insist that it was Saint Valentine of Terni, a bishop, who was the true namesake of the holiday. He, too, was beheaded by Claudius II outside Rome. And so Valentine’s Day has become a significant cultural, religious and commercial celebration of romance and love in many regions of the world.

     Love….what the world so desperately needs today is love.  It seems pretty obvious that the central teaching of Jesus is love. The kingdom of God is about love. Justice and righteousness are about love. It starts out with love. Love is the energy that keeps us alive, and love is the goal. If there is a God, it doesn't say God loves, but God is love. The essence of God is love. The prime mover, the creator, the mastermind behind all that we see and discover is love. The manifestation of that love came in the person of Jesus. God sent the one born of Mary to reveal, to let us see love. God wanted to love us in a tangible way, so Jesus was born. The Word of God which is love became flesh.

In the life of Jesus we see that love is a binding relationship, a caring, a willingness to sacrifice, to lay down one's life, to enter into the other person's situation. "Greater love has no one," says Jesus, "than to lay down one's life for others." Jesus' life is a demonstration of that love. God wants us to love one another. It's God's commandment to us. Love sums up all the commandments. It has authority behind it. It's not an option. It's not a theory, an idea, a philosophy to bounce around. It's not a question or suggestion as one possible route you may take. It's a command. This is my commandment that you love one another. Love is more than a feeling. It is an attitude from which we operate. It is a way of behaving toward others. We may not always feel love, but we can do the loving thing. Love is more than words. Love is sacrifice, obedience, partnership, turning the other cheek. We may sing "I love to tell the story of unseen things above," but what the world is looking for is not words or melodies, but love, love that manifests itself in the way we spend our money, the way we vote, the way we treat those who don't deserve our love, those whose skin color or beliefs are different than ours. "Mother, father, sister, brother, everybody sing and shout, 'cause that's what it's all about. It's about love."

January 2024

Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and to the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.  For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge— God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Since it is New Year's, what could be more appropriate than some New Year's resolutions? New Year's resolutions. Do you bother with them? "I'm going to quit smoking," or "I'm going to lose some weight," or "I'm going to spend more time with my family." Let’s look at 1 Corinthians. What is the first thing we run into? Paul's greeting to the church: "Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ". If we take those words and then consider the verses immediately following, we find some fruitful direction for resolution building.

     What is the very first word? Grace — good word — it is one around which we can, not only build a New Year's resolution, but an entire theology ... grace! "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound....". There is something extra special in knowing that the new year begins with grace ... God's unmerited favor. We have grown up in a society that tells us, "You get what you pay for. There is no such thing as a free lunch." But grace is never paid for, never earned. It is there for the taking.

     Next? "Grace to you and peace ..." (1 Corinthians 1:3). As we move into this special season when we think of "peace on earth," it would be most blessed if we could enjoy real peace, certainly in our violent world, but most especially within the fellowship of the church. We as individuals desire a true sense of peace- peace of heart, soul and mind.

   The apostle says, "You do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed". He says the church is not lacking in any spiritual gifts. We begin to get into something about which we can make a New Year's resolution. If we indeed do have all the spiritual gifts ... if there really is nothing we are incapable of doing spiritually ... then the resolution is to take those gifts and put them to work. One of the things Paul took pains to point out to the people in Corinth was that every individual did not have every gift. We only have them all as we come together as a worshiping community. For the church, the task is to seek out the spiritual gifts among its individual members; for you and me, the task is to make ourselves available so we can put those gifts that God has given to use in the name of Jesus Christ. That’s what it means to be a Christ-centered church.

     Our New Year's resolution: let us show grace to each other and the world at large; to seek peace by being as positive with one another as we can; to honor God by putting our spiritual gifts to use in God's service; and to be genuinely Christ-centered people, both as individuals and a church. God grant us the strength and the resolve to follow through.


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!

October & November:

Some of us, whether we admit it or not, are like Bart Simpson. In one episode of THE SIMPSONS, young Bart sits down with his family to a meal. When it's his turn to pray and give thanks, he says something to this effect: ‘Lord, my dad earned the money to pay for this food, and my mom worked for hours to cook it. What did you do? Thanks a lot for nothing.' Bart Simpson is only a cartoon character, but he says what a lot of us are tempted to think. How sad. But that's the way many people today think. We all hear from time to time humorous stories of people who, in a moment of frightful crisis, who make extravagant promises to God, and then when the crisis has subsided, they reduce the levels of their promises significantly or forget them entirely.

In Deuteronomy these stirring words: "For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land where you shall eat food without scarcity, in which you shall not lack anything; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you. Beware lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today; lest, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, then your heart becomes proud, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery."

We are called to remember to pause long enough to think about what God has done for us. It is so easy to lose track of our blessings in the helter-skelter environment in which we find ourselves. How often we forget to give God thanks for our daily bread, for the hands that prepared it, for the homes that shelter us as we take our daily bread. How often we forget that all we have is a gift from God.



“There is a time and purpose under heaven…”. All of us know that there are proper times to do and say certain things. For example, gardeners know that peas and lettuce should be planted in the early spring. If a family member is angry with us and thinks we don't care, it may be the time to put our arms around them and assure them of our love.

     Words and actions have their proper times, and that is part of the teaching that comes to us from the book of Ecclesiastes. There is an appropriate time to keep silence or to say just the right word. I think we all know of times when the right word said at the right time has lent enormous comfort to a troubled soul or even set someone's life on a better path. But we also know of times when someone has blurted out something at a party that never should have been said or a gossip has told a confidence that never should have been passed on. There is a time to speak and a time to keep silence.

     All throughout the Bible, God has set seasons and times for everything. From Genesis to Revelation, God shows us what He does, what He has done, and what will be done. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes, “I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. God does it, that we should fear him. That which is already been and what is to be has already been, and God requires an account of what is past.

     God gives us these seasons to build up and sanctify us. We all endure most of all of these seasons because God wills us to go through that which He has laid upon our lives. Whatever season you are in, it’s for a reason. We may never know these reasons, but as stated in Ecclesiastes the Bible states, I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives and that everyone should eat and drink and enjoy the good of their labor-it is the gift of God.

      In all circumstances, God sets forth season after season just as the flowers grow and the leaves fall. In Psalm 104, the Bible says, “he made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting.” God does what He does without us knowing the entire meaning of it all. God makes everything in season beautiful, even in the darkest of seasons. But as Galatians suggests,” Let us not grow weary of doing good. For in due season we will reap if we do not give up.” Do not give up, even in the circumstances that we get ourselves into. God makes a way for us to return to the path He has set before us.

     Perhaps at this time of year, we can all be mindful of God’s many blessings And so we should pray:

          Thank you for your unfailing love O Lord, for your blessings and goodness. Thank you for your faithfulness guiding me through times of uncertainty. Thank you for your word that comforts me and reminds me of your promises, plan, and provision. Thank you for taking away my fears and worries, the what-ifs, and reminding me that my help comes from You. In your name, we pray….amen.


Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.             Hebrews 10:25

 There are all kinds of reasons to go to church, and I would say good reasons. Some people go to church for the fellowship; some go for service; some go for the music; some go for the atmosphere; some go for the preaching. But if you come to church for any other primary reason than to worship God, you are coming for the wrong reason.

     The focus and foundation of worship is none other than God Himself. God speaks to us through his Word of blessing, forgiveness, and instruction. We speak to God in words and acts of confession, adoration and praise, commitment, and intercession. Together we celebrate the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. God is at the center of our worship, the focus of it all.

     We take our faith and our spiritual freedom for granted. We live our lives, squeezing everything else in, but leaving God out. We fail to find time for God, but expect him to be there when life comes crashing down around us. We concern ourselves with our physical well-being while failing to consider our spiritual well­­ being.

     Summer offers us the opportunity to sit back and relax; to enjoy a holiday away from the norm; it’s a time for outdoor gatherings and events, but it was never intended to take a break from God. If anything, it’s a wonderful time to reconnect with Him. Worship allows us to gather as a community of faith, to hear the Word of God, to share in His supper, but also be encouraged and challenged to think and act in a Christ-like fashion. The church serves as a conduit to channel our talents and resources into our community.

     I know we all have busy lives and crazy schedules, but in the midst of everything else, I encourage you to find time with God.


The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters,He restores my soul… I want you to imagine for a moment that you are in your favorite place –that place where you feel relaxed and calm and refreshed and happy. Is it at the ocean? In a garden? In the mountains? Maybe for you, it’s a real place, or maybe it’s a place you’ve always imagined. But I want you to take time and imagine that place right now (I’m serious…. take 2 minutes…close your eyes…. breathe in, breathe out…).

     If you followed my directions, you just experienced what might be called a psychological “rest stop.” A rest stop is a brief reprieve from the stresses and roller coaster of life. It’s a time of relaxation, refreshment, and joy in which for a brief time, you can put your troubles aside and breathe. We all need something that breaks our stress, interrupts our pain with a little bit of pleasure and joy, something that breaks our “fasting” with a little bit of peace. How many know what we’re talking about? You know, when you go traveling and you’re going by car, driving for hours, and you really need a pit stop? Maybe it’s a bathroom break you need, or a fresh bottle of water, or a snack, or a little nap. Or maybe you need to stretch your legs because you’ve been driving forever. Rest stops were created for this kind of necessary break. Day been long? Road been hard? Life been tough? Take a break. Pull over. Relax. And refresh.

     I know we all believe the summer months are for just that purpose. You see, we’ve kind of misconstrued that word in our culture today with the idea that taking a “rest” means taking time for ourselves just to do more stuff! Or sleeping in instead of going to church! But here’s the problem with that. That’s not the kind of “rest” that God intended. This is why Jesus told us, “Come to me, all you who are weary, and I will give you rest.” Jesus is our Sabbath. He IS our break. Sabbath is a time when we allow Jesus to refresh us, heal us, renew us, and rejuvenate us before sending us out to face the world again. Sabbath is not a time to “check out” of worship, but a need to “check into” worship! That’s where the refreshment “stand” is. That’s where the living water fountain flows. That’s where you eat the food of holy communion and are rejuvenated in the power of the Holy Spirit. Worship is where you gear up again for the road and the way and the journey still to come. Cause if you don’t refresh, you will burn out. We need to give ourselves a break, and a little downtime works well for almost everybody. It doesn’t really matter what the activity or inactivity is. The idea is to give your body, mind, and heart a chance to relax and recharge. If you keep going at full speed every day, it can be really hard on you, both physically and mentally. We were not designed to go 24/7/365. But also remember how important it is to maintain your relationship with God. Making time for God will allow all the pieces of your life’s puzzle to fall into place.


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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