St John's Lutheran Church, La Grange IL 60525 (LCMS)

St. John's Lutheran Church and School
47th Street and Brainard Avenue, La Grange, Illinois 60525


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Week of January 9, 2010

Traffic. It’s unavoidable in urban living. I am impressed, however, by our ingenious strategies to beat it. From frequent lane changes to unconventional alternates, we will go to great lengths to carve off a few minutes from our travel times. Sometimes it works. Often we just add to our frustration. Without eyes on the big picture much of what we do to avoid traffic isn’t very dependable. GPS technology is changing that. Now the traveler has access to that big picture and the computing power to quickly calculate alternate routes.

“And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.” (Matthew 2:12)

First Century Magi navigated by a globally positioned star to meet Jesus. Their return trip, however, was complicated by the villain of Christmas, Evil King Herod. They didn’t know the big picture, but higher authorities did. God positioned himself into their story. He messaged them in a dream and rerouted their trip home, avoiding a disastrous collision with Herod.

Every day we face another kind of “traffic” that produces delays and obstacles which frustrate our ability to follow God’s will and purpose for our lives. Like the Magi, we have experienced great joy in the presence of Jesus. Like Mary, we treasure and ponder those times where God seemed so close and the road was so peaceful. But it didn’t take long before our experience was interrupted. Perhaps someone bumped into us, or we ran into detour signs, or traffic halted our journey.

Just as there were first century villains out to destroy those returning home from Christmas with Jesus, so in the present there are forces at work to derail our return trip from the manger. We’re in the second week of the new year and just barely two weeks beyond Christmas.

  • How has this Christmas meeting with Jesus changed us?

  • How has the journey blessed us?

  • How we will navigate the traffic ahead of us?

These are important questions for wise travelers to consider.

For me, New Year’s resolutions are more than attempts at self improvement. My best resolutions are GPS­‑like exercises. They are “resolves” that help me see my life’s Navigator. They help me see the big picture beyond the obstacles. They are grace positioning systems, disciplines to help me ride on the road we all pray to live on, “Hallow Your name… Your will be done… Your kingdom come.”

The traffic report for the road home is guaranteed to have its share of tie-ups, pile-ups and mix-ups. That’s true in the vehicles of our personal mission and in the carpool that is St. John’s congregation traveling together. In my personal journey and in my service as a pastor, I find that most of us have less difficulty with discerning a godly destination and purpose for our lives as we do with mapping the route to actually get there. All too often we divert, sabotage or even abandon our calling because of poor routing. When we get caught in life’s traffic, it’s so tempting to believe in our own trip planning and ingenious schemes. Mapping our own route, however, has great limitations and dangers. “In his heart a man plans his course,” says the Bible, “but the LORD determines his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

Over the next few weeks our web site will begin to take on a new look. It is being redesigned along with our publications with the desire to communicate more clearly and effectively. Our destination remains the same. We aim to a community where we Meet Jesus, Experience the Support of a Church and Live as Disciples. And regardless of the road of God’s choosing, we’re going to do this together. If 2010 has taught us just one thing about the big picture on God’s GPS, it is this, “We’re Better Together!”

The news I share here is our weekly travel report. I can guarantee that we’ll be making course corrections along the way as we seek to honor God’s name, do his will and fulfill our purpose in his Kingdom. This weekly publication is a critical part of our conversation in this journey together. We hope you will take it home, read it, pray over the ministries discussed in its pages and share our ministries with others beyond St. John’s.

There are significant challenges for us in the year 2011; but I am more confident than ever that the discernment of our calling and purpose is aligned with God’s will. The challenge will be in our resolve to seek, listen and follow his navigation. Will we be open to God’s Positioning for St. John’s in 2011? Can we return from the manger by another route?



(c)2011 St. John's Lutheran Church and School | 505 S Park RD | La Grange IL 60525 |
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Pastor's Blogs

Bill Geis has led a variety of missional ministries for over 20 years. He has served as senior pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church in La Grange, Illinois since 2004. He is the proud father of teenage daughters, Erica and Monica. His partner in ministry and in marriage, Sandi Geis, serves with him on the team at St. John's as prayer ministry leader, devotional writer and music teacher. He has a passion and calling to rally Christian communities and disciples to help people Meet Jesus in authentic and life changing ways.

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