St John Evangelical Lutheran Church

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~ Joe Natwick, Associate Pastor


It was my 14th birthday. It was a great day. That morning my mom took me to the DMV where I got my driver’s permit. Afterward, we bought some fireworks to shoot off at our lake cabin during the days

leading up to the 4th of July. It was a great day.


Later that afternoon I was shooting my new bottle rockets with a buddy. We would stick them in the gravel road, watch them shoot into the sky, and wait for them to POP! After a few successful launches, I thought I would be clever and light two bottle rockets—at one time! However, I was in such a hurry to light them I didn’t have time to stick them in the ground deep enough. Right before take-off they both fell down, pointing directly at a hayfield. Moments later, terror seized my entire body as I heard the crackling of a fresh fire. Uh oh!  


I ran inside, frantically trying to find a bucket. There was no bucket! So I did what any logical person would do...I grabbed a cup, filled it with water, and ran outside to douse the fire. Except there wasn’t just one fire, there were now two fires, and they were both the size of a putting green. I threw the glass of water at the fire and sprinted to find my mom. Black smoke billowed out onto the blue lake water.


Fast forward about 30 minutes ... the crisis was over. Thanks to the quick thinking of a neighbor with a garden hose and the volunteer firefighters of Vergas, MN, nobody’s lake homes burned down that day. When it was all over, a very large firefighter towered over me – a skinny, scared, shoeless, and shirtless boy – and all he said was, “fireworks.”


It was not a great day.


That was a low moment for me. I felt embarrassed and ashamed. I was a total failure who left two big black holes in some guy’s nice hayfield because I couldn’t even shoot two stinkin’ bottle rockets.


Well wouldn’t you know, that come next spring those two black holes turned out to be the greenest plots of land in the whole field? Now, I’m no farmer, but something about that fire created the right conditions for those plants to grow back bigger and healthier than ever!


I am reminded of that fateful day every 4th of July when the weather gets hot and the fields begin to get dry. But when I remember that day 13 years ago, I mostly remember those big green circles of new life.

I am reminded that God can take our mess ups, our failures, and our moments when we feel like we let everyone down, and God can turn right around and create something new and beautiful. God can and does use us (yes, even you!) in ways we could never imagine, to accomplish things we never dreamed of. As you experience the renewing fires of summer, open yourself to imagine where God might use you this fall in the mission of the church. You might be amazed to find there is green in places you never expected. 


ALL HANDS IN! Drumming Wednesday, Sep 28 @ 6:30 PM
Church School - Omega class Wednesday, Sep 28 @ 6:30 PM
Seasonal Choirs Wednesday, Sep 28 @ 7:00 PM
9th gr. Mentor Groups -Faith Statement Wednesday, Sep 28 @ 7:00 PM
Handbell Choir rehearsal Thursday, Sep 29 @ 5:30 PM

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SUNDAYS 8:00 am & 9:30 am

9:30 am is also available on

Facebook Livestream &

broadcast on KDIX radio

 WEDNESDAYS:  6:00 pm

Church School Family Worship

 THURSDAYS: 7:00 pm











St John Lutheran Church
146 6th AVE W
Dickinson, ND 58601

Phone: (701) 225-6747
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