Wednesday, September 24, 2014

REMINDER -- The Police say ...

"10 Things Every Police Officer Wants Parents To Know - NOW!"

Thursday, October 9th - 7:00-8:15 pm at Riverside Christian Childcare in Allouez. 
Thursday, October 16th - 7:00-8:15 pm at the St. Mark De Pere site in the Hillside room 

Capt. Todd Thomas will discuss what you can do to keep your children safe.  Some of the subjects that will be discussed are signs of drug/alcohol use, dangers lurking on the internet, home security, gangs, and smart phone issues.  Childcare will be provided.  Bring your friends!  MARK your calendars now.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

2014 Fall Activities at St. Mark!

"Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him" (Colossians 3:17).

No matter what we do as a congregation it is our goal to impact our community in a positive way in the name of Jesus through relevant teaching, engaging worship, servant leadership, honest friendships, fervent prayer, and expressions of compassion.

We have a lot of ways to get involved in making a difference in our own lives and the lives of others, always giving thanks to God for the opportunities we have.  You may be asking yourself, what exactly is going on at St. Mark?  How can I get involved?  Great questions.

Here are some suggestions for you to explore!

New to St. Mark?  If you are not a partner at St. Mark and want to find out more about why we do what we do, then join us for our next Christian Life and Service Seminar (CLASS) series starting Monday, October 6, 7:30-8:30pm.  For more information go to

Want to explore a Small Group Bible study (Oasis Group)?  Life is best done in circles of other people.  Want to connect on a deeper level?  Get plugged into one of our Oasis groups.  We have something for just about everyone.  Go to

How Do I Share My Faith?  Join Pastor Chris in a practical and biblical discussion about engaging in spiritual conversations with people far from Jesus.  Sunday, September 21, 10:30am-11:30am.  Childcare provided.  For more information go to

Divorced or Going Through a Divorce?  Our Divorce Care group runs from 9am-10am Sunday mornings at our De Pere campus.  For more details contact us at

Family Matters Parenting Seminars  All parents are welcome to join us for these excellent opportunities to hear from the experts!  

Thursday, September 18 at our Riverside Campus (3235 Riverside Drive, Green Bay) “The Do’s and Don’ts of the first 10 Years.”  This presentation will be held from 7:00-8:15pm on these evenings and will offer a physician’s advice for parents.  No registration needed.

Thursday, October 9 at our Riverside Campus and Thursday, October 16 at our De Pere campus “10 Things a Police-Officer Wants Parents to Know Now!”  These presentations will be held from 7:00-8:15pm on these evenings and will offer great advice from police officers as to how to protect your children online and elsewhere.  No registration needed.

Mission Builder Seminar  Do you wish you felt more fulfilled in life?  Join us for this seminar that will help you grow your understanding of who you are and how you can best use your abilities to make a difference in this world!  Saturday, September 27, 9:00am-12noon at our De Pere campus.  Register by Sept. 24 by e-mailing Pastor Chris at

SMiLe for PreK-4 and Kindergarteners  It’s held every Sunday morning during the 9am and 10:30am worship so that children can have God’s Word brought to their level.  To  register, e-mail Mr. Tad at

Intergenerational Gatherings  Gather with a small group of people and talk about being a Christ follower in today’s world.  The inter-generational idea is for our adults to model to our teens what a maturing Christ follower acts like.  Go to for more information or call Mr. Tad at 920-336-2485.

Girl Talk—1st & 3rd Sundays of the month, 6:00-8:00pm

Guy Talk—2nd Sunday of the month, 6:00-8:00pm

Guys Night Out—4th Thursday of the month, 5:00-7:30pm

Mentor Training Workshop’s all about connections.  We need strong Christians to help connect today’s young people as well as our new partners to God and to others.  We need mentors.  Join us for this training opportunity on Saturday, October 4, 8:00am-12noon at our De Pere campus.  For more information e-mail Mr. Tad at

"An Excellent Marriage" Marriage Seminar  This is for all married or engaged couples.  On Saturday, October 25, 9am to 1pm, Pastor Mark Jeske will be presenting better communication methods and how to appreciate each other's uniqueness.  Register before October 1 for the early bird price of $40/couple!  
Go to to register.

Faith in Action Service Opportunities  We have many volunteer opportunities from our worship service support such as greeters, ushers, little lambs nursery childcare, soul cafĂ© servers and so on to our Food Pantry which serves many people in our area.

Coming up on Sunday, November 2, from 1-4pm, we will have a special opportunity to reach out to the community with Jesus' love!  If you want to get involved, go to for more information and to sign up.  We need your efforts and abilities!

These are just a snap shot of all that is going on!  There's more!  Go to for more events on our calendar!

I'd be interested in hearing from you what you have been doing in your neighborhood or community to share the love of Jesus!

- Pastor Chris

Monday, September 8, 2014

Spiritual Growth Falls on the Adults

Five percent versus 41 percent. Back when I was growing up in the era when basketball shorts were, well … short, only 5 percent of the children were born out of wedlock. Now more than 41 percent of children in America are born out of wedlock; that percentage is even greater is some communities. Due in part to divorce rates being painfully high, many American adults have chosen to jettison "marriage," creating a new non-marital underclass that passes on disastrous consequences that will harm generations to come. In some American neighborhoods, children and teenagers have never even been to a wedding, since marriage has simply ceased to exist as an expectation in their culture.

The "family" has drastically changed. The dynamics of single-parent families, blended families, the impact of new technology and social networking, not to mention overloaded schedules, have presented parents and even the church with a whole new set of challenges. In the wake of all this cultural change, the church has too often been content to pretend they are boldly leading people into the 1950s. The key question is: How can the local church help the families of today? The answer is: Focus on adults, not children!

We need to learn from our past … mistakes. In the past decades, the Christian church has spent far more time teaching and entertaining children than growing healthier adults and equipping parents. In an effort to help families, the church has offered confirmation classes, Sunday school programs, youth ministries, Vacation Bible Schools, Christian day schools, Christian daycares, etc. Originally, such programs were in large part to be tools designed to help parents disciple their own children in the faith, but too often these well-meaning programs morphed into "ecclesiastical crutches" and "substitutionary parents." Regardless of the approach chosen, the problem was parents were clearly given the secondary role of the discipling of their own children and the primary role was given to the "church professionals." This was in direct contrast to what the Bible taught and reformers like Martin Luther emphasized on the first page of his Catechism: "As the head of the family should teach them in the simplest way to those in his household." If your child or teen knows more about the Christian faith than you do, if she can answer basic questions like "Why did Jesus have to be true God and true man?", "Why is Good Friday called 'good'?", or "What really happens to a person when he dies?", "What's my purpose on this earth?" and Dad or Mom can't answer, the local church has not helped that family. The tragic truth is, today, very few parents are actively involved in discipling their own children, which has brought about a plethora of unintended consequences. That's not healthy, and the local church doesn't help the family if it continues to perpetuate such a debilitating practice.

So what can the church do to help the family? The church needs to return to the priority of adult spiritual growth. We, in Christ's church, need to remember children grow best when adults are spiritually well-fed. The importance of adult spiritual growth is critical to the nurture of children. That's the biblical model that needs to be recaptured. Continual spiritual adult growth is not an option but a biblical expectation. The Apostle Paul said, "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to 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. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things" (Philippians 3:12-15). "All" of us need to be straining and pressing on. And you thought after just a few years of being involved in a small group Bible study, maybe three years of volunteering in the Sunday morning children's program and after a mission trip to Mexico, you could put a check in the spiritually mature box. Apparently not. Apparently, according to the Bible, the quest for spiritual maturity is a lifelong endeavor.

And it is this lifelong endeavor that benefits the family! When children see Mom and Dad taking their faith seriously, growing in it, intentionally practicing it, they often will, too. No one has a greater impact on a child's faith life than a parent. "Churches, on average, have about 40 hours per year to influence the family vs. parents, who have 3,000 hours of influence per year." (Reggie Joiner, "Think Orange") The local church that makes the spiritual growth of adults a top priority accelerates the effectiveness of its ministry to marriages, families and … the community. Remember, adults who haven't grown in their faith or have forgotten much of what they once learned, not only will they not teach their faith to their children but they will not share it with others! That is one of the main reasons the local church has little to no impact in the community. We can do better!

Christians are rightly concerned about the family crisis in our society. There are many contributing factors in the breakdown of the family today, and the church needs to be honest about its contribution. One thing the local church, in an effort to help families, can do is staff, budget and plan around this biblical maxim: The family is stronger and children grow best when adults are spiritually well-fed. It's about the adults!

Dr. John Parlow is pastor at St. Mark Lutheran Church, 2066 Lawrence Drive, De Pere.

**Column courtesy of Green Bay Press-Gazette - Friday, September 5, 2014

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Something that really matters Acts 16:16-25

God wired us with an internal desire for more. The satisfaction for this desire is only found in Him. This is why I'm devoted to something that really matters - God and finding out his desire for my life. With this in mind I'm reading the Bible. Join me at the beginning of each month I'll post a portion of what I'm studying. With the Lord's blessing we will continue to uncover what really matters -- God's will for our lives.

I'm using a real simple system to focus in on the text. I'll read and listen to the text and ask what God might be leading me to Be thankful for, Confess, Ask, or Do. I'll journal out what's on my heart and mind. I invite you to do the same.

Our Bible reading continues...(Acts 16:16-25)
"Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.

When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”

The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them."

When I read through this section I hear Paul and the other believers doing what Christians do, gather together for encouragement and prayer. The girl with a demon speaks out the truth but Paul is annoyed by it. Perhaps because everyone knew she was demon possessed and that would give the wrong impression of who Jesus is and what he stands for. Paul drives that demon out and perhaps this servant girl becomes the 2nd named person to be converted in Philippi. Interestingly enough Lydia most likely rich from her title and this servant girl are the people mentioned. God doesn’t play favorites based on social/economic status. What a crazy beginning for this Church at Philippi!
Paul did what was right by driving out that servant girl. The men who were using her were filled with anger over their earthly loss of money. They drag Paul and Silas to the magistrate with trumped up charges. (Not to mention a bit of racism, "these… Jews".) It's hard to imagine how unfair it must have felt for Paul and Silas, having done the right thing, to be severely flogged and locked in prison. Yet they were, praying and singing hymns to God. Awesome! I want some of the boldness and faith that God gave to Paul and Silas.

This text leads me to
Be thankful for...
God reaches out to all different kinds of social statuses - the rich and poor alike. I'm also thankful that our country doesn't currently persecute Christians to the extant as was seen in this text.
It is far too easy for me to complain or get angry when things don't work out or the kids do something wrong. I spend more time whining than being thankful for a God who loves me and has heaven waiting for me.
Give me boldness like Paul and Silas so that in the face of injustice I would have a level head and be grounded and safe in you. Lord, I also pray for those Christians in other parts of the world that are suffering at the hands of ISIS and other groups. Give them boldness to stand firm. Protect them that they would continue to live and be a testimony to the power of your grace.
Lord lead me to do what I know needs to be done, not just what is comfortable to do.

Those are my thoughts. Please read through the text one more time and let me know if you notice anything else.