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 March 13, 2011
Drawn to the Cross: The Way to Read the Bible

Several months after his famous theses, Martin Luther began to articulate a critical understanding of the Bible in what would come to be known as the “theology of the cross.” His approach to a reading of the Bible modeled the words of the Apostle Paul.

“I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-2)

Luther admitted that we Christians approach the Bible with a bias. We interpret it, not on the basis of history, science, philosophy or mere human wisdom, but as God’s Word drawing us to the cross. “Christ and him crucified” is the focal point where everything is headed. The Bible is, cover to cover, Old Testament and New, all about the cross! Luther put it this way, “The cross of Christ is the only instruction in the Word of God there is, the purest theology.”

The Gospel of Matthew is our bible reading for this season. On every page, Matthew helps us see the cross from a variety of angles. There are infinite wonders to unpack when you read the bible “cross-eyed.” Preparing for the season has personally refreshed my faith and wiped the dust from the lens of my own reading glasses. Look through the lens of the cross and we’ll discover grace upon grace, once hidden, now revealed.

While the theology of the cross is a foundational principle reborn in the Reformation, it is more implied than overtly taught in our churches. I’m excited for us to go deeper together, intentionally adjusting our vision to a perspective shaped by the cross. I’m convinced that we’ll get a whole lot more out of the bible by doing so. We’ll meet Jesus in a fresh way; we’ll experience the support of a church by discussing these wonders together; and we’ll live as disciples who discover what it means to carry our cross and follow him.

Will you do Lent with us?
At St. John’s we “meet, experience and live” the message of the cross together. This year’s Lenten theme reinforces our conviction, “Drawn to the Cross.” Our three-fold Lenten commitment includes three core components to get us there: 1) daily devotions; 2) weekly home groups; and , 3) Sunday worship. These three components will help us grow closer to Jesus and to one another.

Daily Devotions: (
Our Lenten devotional booklet will draw us to the cross as we read the Gospel of Matthew together. Print copies are abundantly available through the church or you can pick up an online edition from our website.

Weekly Home Groups (
Our home groups are a new and significant addition to the Lenten journey at St. John’s this year. It’s not too late to join a home group. In fact, I’d urge you right now to check our web site and connect with one. There are group meetings offered six days a week, at different times during the day and evening. There are just five meetings to the Lenten experience. It will prepare you for a Holy Week to remember when we come together in April.

Lent is a time for personal and congregational renewal. If you’ve found yourself slipping from weekly worship, now is the perfect time to make that move to return. We want you here! Let’s make a weekly commitment to one another to assemble in the name of Jesus together. Let’s pray together with repentant hearts and ask God to inspire a revival of worship to come out of this congregation. Our 10:45 a.m. service this weekend will be particularly inspiring as it is led by children in our spring musical, “Bones.” Both the 8:00 and 10:45 a.m. services will draw us to the cross where Jesus takes his last breath, a breath that will exhale the fullness of his life into us. You’re going to feel it, as Ezekiel prophesied, “in your bones!” Jesus is, as the Lenten hymn so beautifully recalls, “Christ the life of all the living!”

We will also offer two weekly times for devotional services of prayer and singing around the cross during these weeks of Lent. These informal gatherings will be on Monday evenings at 7:00 p.m. and Wednesdays at noon.

It’s All About the Cross
As our home groups kick off this week, they will be looking at a brief paper I prepared which provides a very basic introduction to the “theology of the cross.” If you’d like to take a closer look at Luther’s theology of the cross and how his teaching opens us up to a fresh interpretation of the bible, take a sneak preview on my blog at



(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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