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Monthly message

“Christ’s Church
Built upon You”

Jesus said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven, and I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ. Matt 16:15-20 (ESV)

Recent research on Americans shows we continue to be “very religious.” Most of us believe in God. Many of us pray every day, and yet church (Jesus’ community of believers in the world) is in decline if we use attendance and membership numbers as our bench mark. The numbers indicate: We are “religious” without being organizationally, participatory religious. Or as Martin Marty Lutheran writer and scholar said some time ago, “Americans are believers, but not joiners.”

Jesus speaks of what he is going to do to found the church, but he does all this in a rather surprising way. He asks a direct question to the disciples: “But who do you say that I am?”

Peter gets it right, making the most explicit, specific confession of faith in all the Gospels up to this point, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus praises Peter for his belief and then says to Peter “On this rock, I will build my church.”
In other words, Jesus moves Peter very quickly from confession of faith “You are the Christ,” to vocation, and assignment, “On you, I will build my community (the church).” Of course, we believe that Jesus is the cornerstone, the very foundation of the church. Here Jesus says that he will build a church upon Peter’s faith rather than upon himself.

Jesus moves Peter from a declaration of belief to a life of action. In effect, Jesus says to us today “You will move from one who makes a statement of faith to one who embodies, and enacts faith.” Jesus builds his church upon people moving his disciples from the font out into the world in order to enact their faith though proclamation and deed for the entire world to see.

Jesus never asked, “Do you agree ?” or “Doesn’t this make sense to you?” He did say, “Follow me.” Jesus is more than a philosopher. Christianity is more than a philosophy of life. Christianity is a way of life.

If we confess that Jesus is the Christ, the very Son of God, is as much of God as we ever hope to see, then we must conform to Christ. It’s quite a claim to believe that this Jew from Nazareth who lived briefly, died violently, and after three days was raised from the dead, was and is the Christ the long awaited Messiah, the Son of God. Yet we sometimes make that claim questionable by the way we live our lives, saying that we believe Jesus Christ is Lord, but living as if we don’t.

Even so Jesus moves us from affirming faith to lives that embody the faith. He forms his church, his answer to what’s wrong with the world, upon us, making us into the “rocks” on which he builds a grand edifice that blesses the world in his name.



In Christ,

—Pastor Ernie

news & events

October 2Food, Frescos & Fun ~ Day Trip

October 2, 2014 at 8:00 am sharp, the bus is departing from the back parking lot of St John’s for a day of great food, fellowship, and viewing of inspirational frescos.First stop is the Shatley Springs Inn for a family style country breakfast then to West Jefferson to experience the inspirational work of artist Ben Long’s Mystery of Faith fresco, then to the only cheese factory in North Carolina, Ash County Cheese. Glendale Springs is the next stop to see the Last Super fresco by Ben Long. Time permitting we will stop at an apple orchard on the way back to Statesville. Cost for this wonderful fall day in the mountains is only $45 per person. This is all-inclusive: the breakfast at Shatley Springs, frescos, cheese factory, apple orchard, bus transportation, and refreshments on the bus. We only have 36 seats on the bus so see Pastor Ernie or Janine to reserve your seat today. Cash payment or check required to guarantee your seat. Make checks payable to St. Johns, memo: bus trip.

October 9Men’s Prayer Breakfast

Thursday at 7:00 AM at Gregg's BBQ in Statesville.

October 11Community Breakfast

Saturday 8:00 AM — 10 AM at St. John's.
Come & bring your neighbor—Donations accepted to benefit Iredell Christian & 5th Street Ministries

October 31Golf Tournament Benefit for 2015 Youth Mission Trip

Saturday Golf Tournament—Friday, October 31 at River Oaks Golf Club. Shotgun start at 1 PM. Format is Four Man Captain Choice, entry fee is $45 which includes cart, green fees, dinner and beverages. Proceeds to benefit the youth 2015 mission trip. Call George Campbell (704-873-5785) to sign up or for more information.
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services

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Sunday, September 28

9:30 am Sunday School
10:30 am Worship

Tuesday, September 30

1:30 pm Ladies study on Esther
6:00 pm Young Life—Scout Hut

Wednesday, October 1

1:00 pm Rebekah Circle
4:45 pm Older Youth to 5th Street
6:00 pm Youth
6:30 pm Handbells
7:30 pm Chancel Choir

Thursday, October 2

8:00 am Mountain Day Trip
7:00 pm Boy Scouts

Sunday, October 5

9:30 am Sunday School
10:30 am Worship

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