Wednesday, March 18, 2020


St. John’s Lutheran Church

109 Maple St. Burt, Iowa|Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

Pastor: Rev. Thomas Cowell                                  Secretary: Rosann Shipler

Pastor’s Cell: 319-464-5548                                     Church Office: 515-924-3344           

Pastor’s Email:             Church Email:            


March 22, 2020


Almighty God, our heavenly Father, Your mercies are new every morning; and though we deserve only punishment, You receive us as Your children and provide for all our needs of body and soul. Grant that we may heartily acknowledge Your merciful goodness, give thanks for all Your benefits, and serve You in willing obedience; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.




All services and activities at St. John’s are cancelled this week. 


Our next service will potentially be Sunday, April 5th.  We will

provide you with more details as they come. 




  March 25

    Feast of The Annunciation of our Lord





Stay connected during our time away - During our time away please be sure that the church has your current phone, cell phone, and email.  Also be sure that your Flocknote communication preferences are up to date.  You can call Pastor Cowell at 319-464-5548 if you need help with this.  Flocknote will be our means of communicating the most important details about our schedule in the weeks to come. 


Pastoral Care Available - Pastor Cowell continues to be available for pastoral care.  He is happy to hear your confession and absolve your sins or to give you Holy Communion at home or at church at any time.  If you are not comfortable visiting or being visited, he is happy to talk with you on the phone.  His cell phone is 319-464-5548.  If you have any bodily need in these next few weeks (like needing someone to pick you up groceries or medication, etc.) he is happy to help or to find you help. 


Resources for your faith at home - St. John’s is offering a variety of resources to feed your faith during our time away.  Here is a list of some of them:

  • There is a table in the back of church full of devotions, prayer services, Bible studies, and Lutheran magazines. Feel free to stop in at church any time and grab some.


  • Randy is doing a great job of keeping our website,, up to date these next few weeks.  Click the microphone on the homepage to listen to Scripture and sermons which will continue to be updated each Wednesday and Sunday.  Also click on the Youtube icon on the homepage to see live-streamed services from Trinity, Algona Wednesdays at 6:00 p.m. and Sundays at 9:00 a.m. as well as previously recorded sermons.


  • Follow @stjohnsburt on Facebook to receive daily online resources spanning many areas of your Christian faith. 


Offerings and alms during our time away - If it is within your financial means during this quarantine, consider continuing your regular pattern of giving your offering to the church - either by saving your offerings for when you return or by dropping it off at church.  Also consider planning for giving special offerings in the future for others in need as a result of this health emergency.  If this emergency has put your family in financial need, you should feel no shame in reducing your offering to the church during this time.  If your need becomes great, don’t hesitate to contact Pastor Cowell to see if our congregation can help in any way. 


Easter Lilies - If you would like to purchase an Easter Lily for the church to use on Easter Sunday, there is a sign-up sheet on the table at the back of the church. You may take your lily home after Easter services if you choose to. Please, pay Cheryl Batt $16 per lily by Sunday, April 5th.


The Giving Pew - This is a reminder that the season of Lent would be a great time to take a quilt or stuffed bear from the TLC Quilter’s giving pew by the east doors at St. John’s and deliver them to a friend in need of comfort or support. 




Trinity, Algona Schedule - All congregational activities at Trinity, Algona have been suspended effective immediately until further notice.  You can receive updates and resources from Trinity at:  


The TLC Quilters will again have a silent auction during Lent to benefit Camp Okoboji.  Bidding on the quilts will continue at a later date yet to be announced.     


Thrivent Choice Dollars for 2019 will be expiring on March 31! If you are a Thrivent member, you may be eligible to direct Thrivent Choice Dollars to St. John’s. Go to or call 800-847-4836 before March 31 and say “Thrivent Choice.”  Reminder: $250 Community Impact Gift Cards are also available (2 per member per year). 




Churches of Burt Volunteer Facebook Group - The Churches of Burt organization has created a Facebook group with the purpose of connecting people who need help with people who are willing to help.  It is our hope that this group will facilitate Christian mercy in our community.  You can search “Churches of Burt Volunteers/Help Wanted” to join the group.  Or, if you would like to offer a volunteer service or are in need of help but don’t have a Facebook account, contact Pastor Cowell and he will post your request for you. 

LECTIONARY SUMMARY (Fourth Sunday in Lent)


Isaiah 42:14–21; Ephesians 5:8–14; John 9:1–41


By His Word of the Gospel, Jesus Calls Us Out of the Darkness into His Marvelous Light

The Lord is grieved by the spiritual blindness of His people, yet in mercy He does not forsake them. He restrains His anger and keeps His peace, until He opens their ears and eyes to hear and see Him. “For His righteousness’ sake” He magnifies His Word and makes it glorious in the coming of Christ Jesus (Is. 42:21). Jesus turns “the darkness before them into light” (Is. 42:16), because He is “the Light of the world” (John 9:5). The incarnate Son of God works the works of His Father and displays the divine glory in His own flesh “while it is day” until that night “when no one can work” (John 9:4). By the washing of water with His Word He opens the eyes of the blind and grants rest to the weary. Therefore, though “at one time you were darkness,” now “you are light in the Lord” (Eph. 5:8). By our Baptism into Christ we live in the eternal day of His Resurrection, wherein He shines upon us. As often as we fall back into the darkness of sin, He calls us by the Gospel to “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead” (Eph. 5:14).



Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article II: Free Will, paragraphs 38-41

The Scriptures call natural man in spiritual and divine things darkness (Ephesians 5:8). John 1:5 says, "The light shines in the darkness" (that is, in the dark, blind world, which does not know or regard God), "and the darkness has not overcome it." Likewise, the Scriptures teach that a sinful person is not only weak, but also entirely dead (Ephesians 2:1-5; Colossians 2:13).


A person who is physically dead cannot from his own powers make himself come back to life again. So the person who is spiritually dead in sins cannot by his own strength make or apply himself to acquire spiritual and heavenly righteousness and life. This is true unless he is delivered and brought to life by God's Son from the death of sin.


The Scriptures deny to the intellect and will of natural man all capacity, and ability to undertake anything good and right in spiritual things.


The darkness has not overcome it [the light]. (John 1:5) "The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God" (1 Corinthians 2:14). This means he is not capable of spiritual things. For they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them. Much less will he truly believe the Gospel or agree with it and regard it as truth.


For the mind [of the natural man] that is set on the flesh is hostile to God. (Romans 8:7)