Sunday, June 28, 2020

This Week @ Charter Oak Lutheran Churches

  • Saturday 6pm worship at St. Paul
  • Next Sunday 9am worship at St. John

Upcoming Events 

  • Sunday, July 5      Holy Communion at St. John
  • Sunday, July 12    Baccalaureate for High School Seniors at St. John
  • Sunday, July 19    Confirmation at St. John

                   *Dates subject to change due to public health concerns

'Let the children come to me'

OPEN Iowa-District West's June 2020 'Lutheran Witness' District News supplement

By Rev. Richard Merrill
Pastor, St. John, St. Paul and Immanuel, Charter Oak

At St. John Lutheran Church, Charter Oak, they’ve been coming!

A few years ago, church leaders noticed that several new families with children had moved into the neighborhood. The children were attracted to the church’s playground, which was built when St. John had a preschool. A committee was formed to look into improving the playground and adding some options for older children.

Members of St. John responded. Trustees sanded and painted the old equipment to give it a fresh look. The teens of Lutheran Youth Fellowship painted lines on the basketball court and added space for hopscotch and four-square. Members built a swing-set in the shape of a cross, a jungle gym in the shape of Noah’s ark, a colorful teeter-totter and a climbing wall that resembles the two tables of stone on which Moses received the Ten Commandments.

The new playground equipment was dedicated on Rally Sunday 2016. The congregation served hot dogs and root beer floats. The children of the neighborhood were invited for games and fun. A slide was added in 2017 as a memorial from the family of a faithful St. John member who had passed away in November 2016.

Neighborhood children soon became regular visitors to the playground. I and other members would visit with and invite them to vacation Bible school. The children even took VBS fliers to their neighbors and friends. Soon, one family was sending their children to Sunday school and confirmation classes. Others have continued to come to VBS and have occasionally visited for worship. Members of St. John saw the playground as a real outreach opportunity. It seemed almost as if God was bringing unchurched families into our neighborhood so the children would have a chance to hear about Jesus.

Sometimes the children will come into the church for a drink of water and ask to go up into the sanctuary. Some of them have never been inside a church before, and they have a lot of questions.We talk about the stained-glass windows and the artwork in the sanctuary and teach them about what Jesus did for them.

On Jan. 12, St. John baptized seven children from two neighborhood families All but the youngest had their first contact with the church through the playground. Elder Ralph Dorale, a member of the playground committee, was the elder for the baptism of the seven children.

“I think it was really neat that something so simple could help bring people into the church,” Ralph said, noting that the church has rarely seen so many souls received in faith at one time. The playground ministry continues to produce fruit, as the parents of the children who were baptized are also beginning to become involved with the church.

Patience has been key. The Holy Spirit has been working as these children learn about Jesus. When He’s ready, we’re ready to welcome these children and their families, as Jesus did.

Friday, June 26, 2020

2020 JUN 28 | Romans 7:1-13 "Released for Service"
Click on the link above for this Sunday's Online Bulletin

June 28, 2020
Hymn of Invocation: "This Is the Day the Lord Has Made" LSB 903 Invocation Confession & Absolution Salutation and Collect of the Day Epistle Romans 7:1–13 Holy Gospel Matthew
10:34–42 Apostles’ Creed Hymn of the Day: 'Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus" LSB 685 Sermon Romans 7:1-13 "Released for Service" Prayer of the Church Lord’s Prayer Benediction Page 202 Hymn to Depart: "Blest Be the Tie That Binds" LSB 649

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Cubs' Week Camp Songs

Pastor Richard Merrill and Camp Okoboji Youth Counselor Ellen Mallory sing fun worship songs for Cubs Week Campers who can't attend camp this year due to the Covid-19 epidemic. Recorded in June, 2020 in the Fellowship Hall of St. John Lutheran Church in Charter Oak, Iowa.


Sunday, June 21, 2020

2020 JUNE 21 | Father's Day

Hymn of Invocation: "Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty"LSB 901
Confession & Absolution
Salutation and Collect of the Day
Epistle Romans 6:12–23
Holy Gospel Matthew 10:5a, 21–33
Hymn of the Day: "Have No Fear, Little Flock" LSB 735
Sermon Ezra 3:10-13 "Joy Mingled with Sadness"
Prayer of the Church
Lord’s Prayer
Benediction Page 202

Hymn to Depart: "O God, Our Help in Ages Past" LSB

Friday, June 19, 2020

Thank You

Thank you to the following people who made it possible to have Drive-in Services and prepared the church for inside service:


City of Charter Oak                          Vogt Trucking                                     Ted Mallory

Ty Rosburg Trucking                        Gary Schau                                          Bonsall TV & Appliance

Brady Goslar                                      Dwight Goslar                                    Steve Beeck

Jim Henschen                                    Paula Harris                                        Ellen Mallory

Roger Kunze                                      Marge Neddermeyer                         Brad Bramley

Alex Dorale                                         Ralph Dorale                                      Brent Friedrichs

Jason Kuhlmann                               Grayson Wilcox                                 Braxtyn Wilcox

Kennedy Goslar                                Emerson Goslar                                Easton Goslar

Pastor Merrill                                     Our Good & Gracious God         

This week at the Charter Oak Lutheran Churches


  • Saturday 6pm worship at St. Paul with Communion
  • Next Sunday 9am worship at St. John


  • Sunday, July 5         Holy Communion at St. John
  •  Sunday, July 12    Baccalaureate for High School Seniors at St. John
  • Sunday, July 19    Confirmation at St. John

Dates subject to change due to public health concerns

Thursday, June 18, 2020

June 21, 2020 Worship Bulletin


June 21, 2020



Hymn of Invocation:  "Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty" LSB 901

1 Open now thy gates of beauty;
    Zion, let me enter there,
Where my soul in joyful duty
    Waits for Him who answers prayer.
Oh, how bless├Ęd is this place,
Filled with solace, light, and grace!

2 Gracious God, I come before Thee;
    Come Thou also unto me.
Where we find Thee and adore Thee,
    There a heav’n on earth must be.
To my heart, O enter Thou;
Let it be Thy temple now!

3 Here Thy praise is gladly chanted;
    Here Thy seed is duly sown.
Let my soul, where it is planted,
    Bring forth precious sheaves alone,
So that all I hear may be
Fruitful unto life in me.

4 Thou my faith increase and quicken;
    Let me keep Thy gift divine,
Howsoe’er temptations thicken;
    May Thy Word still o’er me shine
As my guiding star through life,
As my comfort in all strife.

5 Speak, O God, and I will hear Thee;
    Let Thy will be done indeed.
May I undisturbed draw near Thee
    While Thou dost Thy people feed.
Here of life the fountain flows;
Here is balm for all our woes.

Public domain



All responses for today's liturgy are spoken 

The sign of the cross may be made by all in remembrance of their Baptism.

P In the name of the Father and of the T Son and of the Holy Spirit.

C Amen.

P Beloved in the Lord! Let us draw near with a true heart and confess our sins unto God our Father, beseeching Him in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to grant us forgiveness.

P Our help is in the name of the Lord,

C who made heaven and earth.

P I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord,

C and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.

Silence for reflection on God’s Word and for self-examination.

P Almighty God, our maker and redeemer, we poor sinners confess unto You that we are by nature sinful and unclean and that we have sinned against You by thought, word, and deed.  Wherefore we flee for refuge to Your infinite mercy, seeking and imploring Your grace for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ.

C O most merciful God, who has given Your only-begotten Son to die for us, have mercy upon us and for His sake grant us remission of all our sins; and by Your Holy Spirit increase in us true knowledge of You and of Your will and true obedience to Your Word, to the end that by Your grace we may come to everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

P Almighty God, our heavenly Father, has had mercy upon us and has given His only Son to die for us and for His sake forgives us all our sins. To those who believe on His name He gives power to become the children of God and has promised them His Holy Spirit. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved.
Grant this, Lord, unto us all.

C Amen.

Salutation and Collect of the Day

P The Lord be with you.

C And with thy spirit.


P Let us pray.

O God, because Your abiding presence always goes with us, keep us aware of Your daily mercies that we may live secure and content in Your eternal love; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

C Amen.


Epistle Romans 6:12–23

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? The end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.


P This is the Word of the Lord.

C Thanks be to God.


Holy Gospel Matthew 10:5a, 21–33

P The Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew, the tenth chapter.

C (spoken) Glory be to Thee, O Lord.


These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.

“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.


P This is the Gospel of the Lord.

C (spoken)  Praise be to Thee, O Christ.

Apostles’ Creed

C I believe in God, the Father Almighty,

     maker of heaven and earth.

 And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,

     who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

     born of the virgin Mary,

     suffered under Pontius Pilate,

     was crucified, died and was buried.

     He descended into hell.

     The third day He rose again from the dead.

     He ascended into heaven

     and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.

     From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

     the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints,

     the forgiveness of sins,

     the resurrection of the body,

     and the life T everlasting. Amen.


Hymn of the Day:  "Have No Fear, Little Flock" LSB 735

1 Have no fear, little flock;
Have no fear, little flock,
    For the Father has chosen
    To give you the Kingdom;
Have no fear, little flock!

2 Have good cheer, little flock;
Have good cheer, little flock,
    For the Father will keep you
    In His love forever;
Have good cheer, little flock!

3 Praise the Lord high above;
Praise the Lord high above,
    For He stoops down to heal you,
    Uplift and restore you;
Praise the Lord high above!

4 Thankful hearts raise to God;
Thankful hearts raise to God,
    For He stays close beside you,
    In all things works with you;
Thankful hearts raise to God!

© 1973 Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission: LSB Hymn License .NET, no. 100011139.

Sermon Ezra 3:10-13

"Joy Mingled with Sadness"


Prayer of the Church

Lord’s Prayer

C Our Father who art in heaven,

     hallowed be Thy name,

     Thy kingdom come,

     Thy will be done on earth

          as it is in heaven;

     give us this day our daily bread;

     and forgive us our trespasses

          as we forgive those

          who trespass against us;

     and lead us not into temptation,

     but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom

     and the power and the glory

     forever and ever. Amen.

Benediction Page  202

P The Lord bless you and keep you.

The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you.

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and T give you peace.

C (spoken)  Amen.

Hymn to Depart:  "O God, Our Help in Ages Past" LSB 733

1 O God, our help in ages past,
    Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
    And our eternal home:

2 Under the shadow of Thy throne
    Thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is Thine arm alone,
    And our defense is sure.

3 Before the hills in order stood
    Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting Thou art God,
    To endless years the same.

4 A thousand ages in Thy sight
    Are like an evening gone,
Short as the watch that ends the night
    Before the rising sun.

5 Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
    Soon bears us all away;
We fly forgotten as a dream
    Dies at the op’ning day.

6 O God, our help in ages past,
    Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while troubles last
    And our eternal home!

Public domain


Divine Service, Setting Three from Lutheran Service Book

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Created by Lutheran Service Builder © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.