May 19th, 2017 by Pastor Pete Panitzke

The LORD is with you, mighty warrior!

I love these words from the account of Gideon (Judges 6:1-24). “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

The Angel of the LORD finds Gideon hiding in a winepress.

He is not a warrior! He is a worrier!

Yet in the next four weeks we shall see how God changed him into a warrior who rescued God’s people.

Are you worried by the challenges your family and God’s church face today? Will you be a worrier or a Warrior?

The God who changed Gideon can change us!

Join us as we begin this study this weekend.
Traditional Services: Sat @ 5 pm, Sun @ 7:45 & 9:15 am, Wed @ 7 pm
Contemporary Service: Sun @ 10:45 am
The Bridge: Sun @ 10:15 am

If you can’t join us live, join our growing online family of worshippers. Watch The Bridge live here on Sunday at 10:15 am. Or watch one of our archived messages here.

Easter Every Sunday

We had 2071 people worship with us on Sunday. Wouldn’t it be great if 2071 people were given the hope of Easter every Sunday at St. Paul’s? Wouldn’t it be great if you always saw friends and family worship every Sunday just like on Easter? That is our prayer!

Our “Easter Every Sunday” requests of you…

  • Commit to worship every week this summer, either at our weekend services, at our 7 pm Wednesday service, or online.
  • Invite family and friends to join you in this commitment.
  • Pray that the Lord of the Church would pour out his Holy Spirit upon us so that we see worship attendance climb throughout the summer, culminating in an August 6 Picnic Sunday that sees worship attendance rival our Easter attendance.

Am I worried? When I see Satan’s power raging in people’s lives and homes, it is hard not to worry. That’s why I’m looking forward to worship this weekend. I need a miracle. I need this worrier to be changed into God’s Warrior. Come and experience that miracle with me.

“The LORD is with you, mighty warrior!”

God’s mighty warrior,
Pastor Pete

Posted in Weekly Message
May 17th, 2017 by Pastor Pete Panitzke

Missed Church Last Weekend? Attend tonight!

Dear friend,

Remember that our 7 pm Wednesday service is the “last service of the weekend.” So if you missed last week, join us tonight as we see how Empty Homes are Filled at the Empty Tomb. If you can’t join us in person, watch the message from this last weekend here. 

The Annual Voters Meeting is Thursday evening, May 18 at 7 pm. The agenda for the meeting is on the last page of the Messenger which is available here. Key decisions: Elect Ministry Board members, approve annual ministry plan and approve distributions from the Legacy and Gift Trust Funds.

New Membership Bible Study starts on Tuesday, May 23 at 7 pm. The schedule is available here. Whom could you invite to come and learn with you? Register by reply email.

Through the Bible is a study that Pastor Panitzke hopes to lead next fall. The schedule is available here. The goal is to read chronological portions out of your own Bible so that you can mark it up to help you in a life time of Bible reading. There is a 40 member minimum and 70 maximum enrollment. Register now by reply email.

Theology of the Cross: Mr. Jon Eiche is leading a study of The Theology of the Cross on Sundays at 9:15 am in the Grace Room. Jon has spent many hours to help you understand and apply the truths of this book that is certain to become a Christian classic. Come and learn from him and with him.

Easter Every Sunday prayer team. God has placed on our heart the understanding that our Easter attendance (2071) indicates the potential reach of our congregation for the gospel. We’ve started praying about it on staff. Could we break out of our 1000 attendance plateau and double our reach for Christ? Would you be willing to join us in praying for this miracle? Reply to this email to be added to a prayer chain for this specific purpose.

God bless!

Pastor Pete

Posted in Weekly Message
May 12th, 2017 by Pastor Pete Panitzke

Mother’s Day – The Faith Handed-Down to Us

Mother’s Day is a time to thank God for all the gifts he has given us through our moms. For many of us, those gifts include the faith that has been handed down to us.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been so encouraged by the confessions of faith people have shared with me.

Amanda sent me this picture that perfectly fits with our message this weekend based on John 14:1-6. There is one way an eternal home filled with love.

Ken sent me this devotional thought on our “Empty” series:

We are all like children compared to God. Think about a child who wants candy. The adult says no because the child has not eaten her lunch. The child continues to ask and gets more and more upset. The adult does not give in because he knows that the child cannot survive on candy alone. The adult is doing what is best for the child. The adult has wisdom and experience that the child does not have. Nevertheless, the child thinks she is right. The adult is not being fair. The adult does not care about them.

The point is that God has different goals from us. He has a different agenda than we do. In order to “learn the secret of being content,”  we need to stop pouting and think like he does. “I resolved to know nothing but Christ crucified.” 

The reason we feel empty is because we want the wrong things. We want health and wealth and a trouble free life. Jesus promises us trouble. We should welcome problems like James says.There is something wrong with wanting the things of the world when those things pull us away from God. We all have to be willing to sacrifice Isaac on the altar. Every minute of every day.

In addition, I see the incredible gifts that God gives his people. I so enjoyed the video that Mike and some of his students developed about a young man named Elliot.   It is 15 minutes, but incredibly well done! God is glorified! (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Would any one of these confessions been made without the help of moms along the way? Join us this weekend as we celebrate the gift of home and the gift of moms!

Worship Schedule

Traditional Services: Sat @ 5 pm, Sun @ 7:45 & 9:15 am, Wed @ 7 pm
Contemporary Service: Sun @ 10:45 am
The Bridge: Sun @ 10:15 am (Communion service at 9:45 am)

Childcare available at all Sunday services except 7:45 am.

Kids Club

Kids Club wraps up for the spring on May 21st. If your child hasn’t been involved yet, give them just a taste by joining us for these last two weekends.  Learn more here.

School Enrollment Open

We are accepting enrollment for our 3K – 8th grade school for the fall. Click here to schedule a time to visit with our Principal Seth Fitzsimmons.

God grant you a blessed weekend.

Pastor Pete

Posted in Weekly Message
May 5th, 2017 by Pastor Pete Panitzke

Baptism and the Eight-pointed Star

Our baptismal font has an eight-pointed star. Why?

In the Old Testament, little boys were circumcised on the eighth day. Circumcision was the outward sign that the promises given to Abraham also applied to this child (Genesis 17:11).

In his letter to the Colossians, the Apostle Paul links circumcision and baptism (Colossians 2). Baptism is God’s sign that all the promises given to us in Christ are given to this child who is baptized. All of us who are baptized can always go back to our baptisms and see that we have all that we need, “fullness,” in Christ.

The eight-pointed Star is the Symbol of Baptism to remind us that it is the New Testament equivalent of circumcision.

St. Augustine (about 400 A.D.) in his Easter Octave sermon also connects the eighth day to Easter and Jesus’ resurrection. He wrote: “When the Lord rose from the dead, he put off the mortality of the flesh; his risen body was still the same body, but it was no longer subject to death. By his resurrection he consecrated Sunday, or the Lord’s day. Though the third after his passion, this day is the eighth after the Sabbath, and thus also the first day of the week.”

The eight-pointed star links our baptism to Jesus’ resurrection on the “eighth day.” Just as Jesus rose on the eighth day, we are to rise to a new life of service to Christ (Romans 6:4)

Just as Jesus rose on the eighth day, baptism is God’s promise that our bodies washed in the waters of baptism shall also rise victorious from the grave.

This week, the eight-pointed star can also invite you to celebrate six baptisms in just 8 days!

A baby was baptized on Sunday at the 10:45 service. Tuesday evening a brother and sister from our school were baptized in a private ceremony. Next Monday three siblings from our school will be baptized as part of an adoption celebration. The legal adoption process will be complete and they will celebrate their adoption into God’s family in Holy Baptism. Amazing what our God is doing in just 8 days!

In addition, 35 young people will celebrate their eighth-day in the Rite of Confirmation. They will stand before God’s altar this Sunday and confirm (confess again) the faith into which they were baptized. We join them in celebrating their eighth day!

Serving Our Youth Beyond Confirmation

As part of our desire to continue to serve our youth beyond confirmation, we are seeking feedback from teens in a survey here and their parents in a survey here. Please take a few minutes to help us serve our teens better by completing this survey.

Join us in worship

All our services this weekend will celebrate a life filled with purpose in Christ. That’s what Jesus came for… that we might have “life to the full” (John 10:10). Hope you can join us.

Confirmation Services: Sun @ 9:15 & 10:45 am

Traditional Services: Sat @ 5 pm, Sun @ 7:45 & 9:15 am, Wed @ 7 pm
Contemporary Services: Sun @ 10:45 am
The Bridge: Sun @ 10:15 am (Communion service at 9:45 am)

If you can’t make it person, our traditional service message is on our website by Monday and The Bridge is lived streamed on Sunday at 10:15. Archived Bridge services are there as well.

Finally, the Quarterly Messenger with reports from staff and plans for the new fiscal year is available. There is an open forum to learn more Saturday evening at 6 pm after the worship service.

I pray you are able to enjoy this beautiful weekend!

Pastor Pete

Posted in Weekly Message
April 28th, 2017 by Pastor Pete Panitzke

Amazing and Insolvable

A 22 x 22 Rubik’s Cube with 2691 pieces and 4.3×101795 possible combinations. That is amazing and insolvable. You can learn about it in a 2 minute video here.

Even more amazing and even more insolvable is the Bible’s teaching on election. That’s what we will be studying this weekend at St. Paul’s. It is amazing and simple to think that God knew you personally before the world began and decided to adopt you into his family. But once we start to think about it as a puzzle that we want to understand… it becomes amazingly complex and insolvable.

Prepare for the study by reading Ephesians 1:3-14 and Romans 8:28-30.

Our Worship Schedule

Traditional Services: Sat @ 5 pm, Sun @ 7:45 & 9:15 am, Wed @ 7 pm
Contemporary Service: Sun @ 10:45 am
The Bridge: Sun @ 10:15 am – Livestream here.

Childcare is available at all Sunday services except 7:45 am.
Kids Club & Boost for 3 years old – 8th grade Sun @ 9:15 am in the school. New participants always welcome.

New Bible Studies

Following the Promise is a 15 week study following the promise of the Savior from the Garden of Eden up to the present time. Join Pastor Panitzke in this study of major Biblical themes beginning Tuesday, May 23 at 7 pm. Click here for a schedule. Express interest by reply email. Also reply if you are interested by Tuesdays won’t work for you.

Through the Bible in a Year: For the last several years we have used The Story to read the entire Bible account in chronological order. Pastor Panitzke is interested in a similar study next fall, but allowing us to use our Bibles to read selected chapters to better prepare for a lifetime of Bible reading. Click here for a tentative schedule. Enrollment minimum is 40 participants.

The Theology of the Cross: Jon Eiche will be leading a study of this book in the 9:15 Sunday morning study in the Grace Room beginning May 14. This book will change the way you look at the troubles of this life.

Planning for Next Year

Our school enrollment is projected to be the highest ever – 315 in 3K-8th grade (We are still accepting applications. Click here to schedule a tour.) We will call a fourth pastor to bring more people closer to Christ. We are even discussing the possibility of a second site for our congregation. Learn more and join us in praying for God’s blessings by reading the Quarterly Messenger.

See you this weekend, God willing!

Pastor Pete

Posted in Weekly Message
April 25th, 2017 by Pastor Pete Panitzke

Missed Church? Two Solutions…

If you weren’t able to attend a worship service this weekend, two solutions come to mind…

1. Wednesday Service at 7 pm
This week we resume our Wednesday evening worship services. Remember the Wednesday service is “the last service of the weekend.” The smaller attendance allows for a more casual worship. Hope you can join us!

2. Watch/Listen online
You can watch the message or download an MP3 to hear on your commute here.

Our apologies to those who were watching The Bridge live this weekend. The connection dropped entirely about half way through the message. Our volunteers are working with our live streaming company to determine the cause. But you can watch the entire Bridge service by here and click on the archives tab. Just the message is available here.

The Little Mermaid, our school’s musical, is also being produced this week in the Centennial Gym. There is a Wednesday matinee at 1 pm and shows on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 6:30 pm. I hope to see many of you there as well.

Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed! Hallelujah!

Celebrating the empty tomb that fills our hearts,

Pastor Pete

Posted in Weekly Message
April 22nd, 2017 by Pastor Pete Panitzke

A beautiful day to celebrate the empty tomb

A beautiful day at St. Paul’s…

It is a beautiful day at St. Paul’s. By the looks of it, everything is perfect in the world. That’s the way we can feel when we walk into church too. We look around and it seems everyone else’s life is perfect, and we are the only ones who feel an empty place in our hearts.

The reality is that we all struggle with that “emptiness.” Trials come to our faith that we don’t let many people know about.

This weekend we are going to see how the Apostle Peter (1 Peter 1:3-9) points us to the empty tomb to fill our hearts when the trials of life threaten to leave us empty. Hope you can join us!

Traditional Services: Sat @ 5 pm, Sun @ 7:45 & 9:15 am, Wed @ 7 pm
Contemporary Service: Sun @ 10:45 am
The Bridge: Sun @ 10:15 am

Childcare available at 9:15, 10:15 & 10:45 services.

Kids Club & Boost for children 3K to 8th grade. Register Sunday morning in the Trinity Cafe.

Holy Week Services Online

“Awesome” is the way many people spoke of our Holy Week services. If you weren’t able to join us, or just want to experience them again, the services are online. Click on the service below to watch.

Maundy Thursday Sermon

Good Friday Tenebrae Entire Service

Easter Festival Entire Service

Hope to see you many of you this weekend! If you can’t join us here, you can watch us live at The Bridge on Sunday at 10:15 am. 

Pastor Pete

Posted in Weekly Message
April 12th, 2017 by Pastor Pete Panitzke

Our Holy Week Service Schedule

I just wanted to remind you of our Holy Week schedule and encourage you to pass on this information to your friends who may not have a church home for this Easter season:

Maundy Thursday, April 13 
Communion Services at 3:30 and 7:00 pm

Good Friday, April 14
Tenebrae Services (Services of Darkness) at 1:00, 3:30 and 7:00 pm.
The 1 pm service was full in the past, so we added the 3:30 service. If possible you may want to attend one of the later services.

Easter Vigil, Saturday, April 15 at 5 pm
This service and the sunrise service will be identical

Easter Sunrise, Sunday, April 16 at 6 am

Easter Festival Services at 7:45, 9:15 and 10:45 am 
The 10:45 service will be very similar to the first two services, but will close with contemporary songs celebrating our Savior’s resurrection.

Easter at The Bridge at 10:15 am
Communion will be at 9:45 am on Easter morning as usual.
Set up for the Bridge will take place on Saturday morning at 9 am. Join us and see the great work that volunteers do for us every week!

Adult Staffed Childcare will be available at 9:15, 10:15 and 10:45 services. Ask a worship host for directions. There will be no Kids Club on Easter Sunday.

If you can’t join us in person, join us online. 

Traditional Message will be available online approximately 24 hours after the Easter services.

The Bridge service is live streamed Sundays at 10:15 am. Click here for live or archived services. 

May God bless us as we walk through the darkness of Good Friday and into the glorious light of Easter morning.

Pastor Pete
for the Ministerial Team

Posted in Weekly Message
March 31st, 2017 by Pastor Pete Panitzke

Two Funerals and a Wedding

It sounds like a movie title. But in the next 24 hours, God will use two funerals and a wedding to prepare me for worship this weekend. Our weekend message is based on the account of John 11:1-45. Read it here.

  • It is a sad story, a story filled with tears and heavy emotions.
  • It is a love story, a story filled with tears of joy and family celebration.

As I attend the wedding, I’ll be reminded of the sadness of John 11. In the wedding vows we acknowledge the reality of death… “as long as we both shall live.” Flowers on the altar will be present in honor of loved ones who have died. Love means that someday this young couple will shed tears of sorrow. Death will someday tear a loved one away.

As I attend the funerals, I’ll celebrate the love of John 11. Appearances would say, “God has withdrawn his love from these families.” But that wasn’t true in John 11. It isn’t true today. The deceased and their families… they are loved by God. I can say that with confidence because “God so loved the world,” including these two grieving families.

Love in the midst of tears. That’s what I see in my Savior this weekend: He is Like Us in Every Way.

Traditional Services: Sat @ 5 pm, Sun @ 7:45 & 9:15 am
Contemporary Service: Sun @ 10:45 am
The Bridge: Sun @ 10:15 am (Live streaming available here.)

Childcare available at all Sunday services except 7:45 am.

Easter Invitations

Share the attached invitation with a friend. Too many people are running on empty! May we, our friends and our family be filled with hope this Easter season.

Easter for Kids, Sat. Apr. 8 @ 9:15 am

Register here for this program for children 3 to 12 years old. Invite your children’s friends to join them.

Teen Ministry

If you are graduating from high school, please email Dr. Nelson at with the following information: 1) What school are you graduating from? 2) What are your plans for fall 2017 (what college, branch of service, work area)? We as a congregation want to join you in celebrating this significant life event!

We also want to know how best to serve our teens in the future. Please take time to complete a short survey. Teens use this link. Parents use this link. Thanks for your cooperation!

School Enrollment

We continue to receive enrollment requests for 3K – 8th grade elementary school. If you or someone you know might be interested, please let Mr. Fitzsimmons know. Email him at

I am Built

Our staff learned about each other’s strengths at a recent retreat. Attached is an article about the retreat entitled I am Built. Enjoy and give thanks to God for the team he has assembled to help us fulfill our mission: By every possible means we bring every person within our area of influence closer to Christ.

God bless your weekend!

Pastor Pete


Posted in Weekly Message
March 24th, 2017 by Pastor Pete Panitzke

Choose Wisely

This weekend’s message reminds me of the 1989 movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Near the end of the movie, Indie has found the Holy Grail, the cup Jesus used in the Lord’s Supper. The only trouble is that there are dozens of cups to choose from. The ancient crusader guarding the Holy Grail says, “You must choose… but choose wisely.” You can see what happens by watching the movie clip here.

In the message this week, we hear Jesus talk about drinking a cup as well. But what cup would you choose to drink? Will you choose wisely… or poorly? Prepare for the message by reading Matthew 20:17-28.

Enroll Now!

This week we received another inquiry from a parent wanting to enroll her child in our school. If you or someone you know might be interested in our 3K – 8th grade Christian school, click here to schedule a tour. By participating in the Parental School Choice programs and through tuition assistance provided by generous members of St. Paul’s, we want to make our school available to any parent who would like their children to benefit from this ministry.

Easter for Kids

On Saturday, April  8, we will host an “Easter for Kids” program, a one-day event similar to a summer Vacation Bible School. Encourage your children to invite their friends. Share this link with your friends on Facebook.

Holy Week Services

Do you know someone who doesn’t worship regularly anywhere? One of the best invitation targets is coming up soon… our Holy Week services. Invite them to join us.

April 13 – Maundy Thursday with Holy Communion 3:30 and 7:00 pm
April 14 – Good Friday 1:00, 3:30, and 7:00 pm
April 15 – Easter Vigil 5:00 pm
April 16 – Easter Sunrise 6:00 am
April 16 – Easter Festival  7:45, 9:15 and 10:45 am
April 16 – Easter at The Bridge 10:15 am

Worship Online

Our thanks to our video crew for making it possible to join us online for worship! Click here for Live Streaming of the Bridge, Sunday at 10:15 am. Archived services are also available there. Click here for a library of past video messages and click here for podcasts.

Call News

Mr. Jeffrey Wetzel, our fifth grade teacher, has received a call to St. Paul’s in Howard’s Grove, Wisconsin. Click here to read his letter announcing receipt of the call.

Thank You for Your Support!

Thank you for your generous support of our ministry… just this week a member of our community stopped by because he worshiped with us at Christmas years ago and now is seeking spiritual guidance. Your gifts, prayers and volunteer hours make this kind of miracle happen over and over again. Thank you! If you would like to begin to use our online giving option, click here and  you will find the “Online Giving” button on the right column.

Help Us Serve Teens Better

We invite our teens to take a short survey here.
We invite parents of teens to take a similar survey here.

God grant you joy today as you drink the cup that the Savior has given you. May he use you to bring glory to Him!

Your brother in Christ,

Pastor Pete

Posted in Weekly Message