St. Luke’s Church Announces Theme for VBS 2019

Save the Dates!

Save the Dates for St. Luke’s Lutheran Church Bible School!

Miraculous Mission Jesus Saves the World is the theme for 
Vacation Bible School 2019 at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church
215 N. Second Street, North Baltimore, Ohio
 
The annual event will be held from Sunday July 21  through Thursday, July 25,2019. The time each evening will be 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
 
 

“Jesus Loves Me”

A devotion from Pastor Ralph J. Mineo….

Charlie Brown, the well-known comic strip character, always seems to get the short end of the stick. Life is often unfair for poor Charlie Brown.

One day, he and Peppermint Patty were having a conversation. Patty was lamenting: “I need to talk to someone who knows what it’s like to feel like a fool, someone who knows what it’s like to be humiliated, someone who’s been disgraced, and degraded, someone who’s been there.”

In the final panel of the comic strip, there are no words. Charlie Brown simply had his arm around Patty’s shoulder. He’s been there. He understands.

The New Testament letter to the Hebrews teaches: “Jesus can help us in our sufferings, because of what he suffered.” Many religious leaders and average people of his day considered Jesus to be a complete fool, a blasphemer. Eventually, he was humiliated, disgraced, degraded, and crucified as a common criminal.

Jesus was always connected to the Father, even in suffering (especially in suffering). In the letter to the Hebrews, Jesus is called “the pioneer of our faith.” Not only did he endure the worst for us, he paved the way for us in dealing with suffering, by holding fast to faith.

In comparison to our sufferings, we can, with certainty, say about Jesus: he’s been there! Jesus understands.

We need never be alone in our suffering. Jesus offers a loving arm around our shoulder, no matter how bad life gets. Jesus offers grace, healing, forgiveness, love for our heart, body, mind, soul.

Do you need some comfort today? Do you someone to lean on? Do you need someone who’s been there?

If so, turn to Jesus Christ, the one who is already turning to you! You can always count on him to be there. Nothing can separate you from his love. Jesus is there right now for you!

Let us proclaim this truth every day: Jesus loves me! Jesus loves me! Jesus loves me!


“Render Unto God”

A devotion written by Ralph J Mineo……

I can’t TELL you the number of times I’ve heard the complaint over the years: “the church is always asking for money.” A local church certainly can’t operate without money (for building maintenance, staff salaries, insurance, utilities, various ministries), but the church has far greater and more important expectations of people.

Fortunately, I’ve never heard complaints like: “The church is always asking me to PRAY.” Or “The church is always asking me to READ THE BIBLE.” or “The church is always asking me to come to BIBLE STUDY.” Or “The church is always asking me to GIVE MY HEART AND SOUL TO GOD.” I’ve certainly never heard a complaint: “The church is always asking me to STOP SINNING!” (Speaking of sin, a Sunday School teacher was teaching that God created everything for a purpose. The teacher asked, “So what do you think the purpose of poison ivy is?” One student answered: “God wants us to keep our cotton-pickin’ hands off of some things!”)

During his earthly ministry, some leaders were trying to trap Jesus concerning money, specifically about paying taxes. He asked them for a coin used to pay the tax, asking whose image and title were on the coin. (It was the Emperor’s.) Then he said something that is a well-known statement even today: “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.”

It seems to me that Jesus is asking us to examine our hearts and souls with a question, “Whose inscription and name are there?” Created in the image of God, we’ll find that God is written on our hearts. This Jesus can say to us, “Render unto God the things that are God’s. Render unto God your life!”

For example, we’re called to render unto God our TIME, to give ourselves to God in service, prayer, Bible reading and study, quiet time, and Sabbath (weekly rest and worship).

Render unto God your RELATIONSHIPS. Desmond Tutu (the South African bishop) once gave a sermon about traditions in the church. He spoke about bowing to the cross, saying we should be bowing to each other! When our relationships are God-given, render them unto God.

Render unto God your GRATITUDE. God has given us so much! In gratitude to God, we give to others. We serve others because God has first given to us.

Render unto God your TEMPTATIONS and SINS. But, do our sins belong to God? Yes, by the Cross of Jesus Christ! He took upon himself our sins! So, we’re called to give our sins to God and let God do with them what God wants (that would be repentance and forgiveness!)

So yes, my friends, render unto God your EVERYTHING.



St Luke’s Church Offers Wednesday Evening Lenten Worship

A Fellowship Meal of soup & sandwiches is served @ 6:15 p.m. with worship following at 7 p.m.

St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, North Baltimore,Wednesday, April 10, 2019,
7:00 p.m.

Pastor Ralph Mineo will offer a message titled Doing the Will of God, based on Matthew 7:24-27.  The message is based on “The Sermon on the Mount.” 

A Fellowship Meal of soup & sandwiches is served @ 6:15 p.m. with worship following at 7 p.m. 

Lenten worship begins at 7:00 pm

Please join us as we continue our journey through Lent together.

Sunday Worship News for St. Luke’s Church

Pastor Ralph Mineo will offer a message titled I’m a Blessed Child of God….

St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, North Baltimore, Sunday, April 7, 2019, 10:15 a.m.

On this Fifth Sunday in Lent Pastor Ralph Mineo will offer a message titled I’m a Blessed Child of God, based on John 12:1-8.


Please join us as we continue our journey through Lent together.

Lutheran Church News

Pastor Ralph Mineo will offer a message titled “The Mercy of God”

St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, North Baltimore
This Sunday, February 24, Pastor Ralph Mineo will offer a message titled “The Mercy of God” based on Luke 6:27-38 at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in North Baltimore at 10:15 a.m.  Sunday School for all ages begins at 9:00 a.m.  St. Luke’s Church Women are offering a soup and bake sale fundraiser following worship. Come and eat and fellowship with us.   

St. John’s Lutheran Church, McComb
“The Mercy of God” based on Luke 6:27-38 is the topic of Pastor Ralph Mineo’s sermon for February 24, at St. John ‘s Lutheran in McComb at 8:00 a.m. A joint adult Sunday School with the McComb United Methodist Church begins at 9:15 a.m.  We hope you will worship with us.

Lutheran Church News for St Luke’s and St John’s

December 23, “Endings and Beginnings” based on Luke 1:39-55 is the topic of Pastor Ralph Mineo’s sermon…..

St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, North Baltimore
“Endings and Beginnings” based on Luke 1:39-55 is the topic of Pastor Ralph Mineo’s sermon on Sunday, December 23,  at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in North Baltimore at 10:15 a.m.  The fourth candle of the Advent Wreath will be lit at the opening of worship to celebrate the Fourth Sunday in Advent.  Please join us.  Sunday School for all ages begins at 9:00 a.m. Plan now to join us on Christmas Eve at 9:15 p.m. for our Candlelight/Communion Worship Service.  

St. John’s Lutheran Church, McComb
On the Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 23, “Endings and Beginnings” based on Luke 1:39-55 is the topic of Pastor Ralph Mineo’s sermon.  The fourth candle of the Advent Wreath will be lit at the opening of worship to celebrate this Fourth Sunday in Advent. A joint adult Sunday School with the McComb United Methodist Church begins at 9:15 a.m.  Christmas Eve Worship at St. John’s is at 7:00 p.m.

“And the WORD Became Flesh”

When our souls whimper and whine, when we’re needy to the depths of our being, when we’re afraid of the darkness, God has given us someone to turn to…..

A devotion by Pastor Ralph J Mineo

There’s an old short story I think about every Christmas.

One night, a young child was afraid of the dark. “Mommy, Mommy,” the child called out. The mother quickly went to the child’s room. She tried to comfort her child, and eventually said, “Remember this: God is with you.” The child whimpered and whined: “But… but… but I want someone with skin on.”

The child wanted, even needed, a real person!

God knows our fears and struggles. God knows all the needs of the human heart. God knows our need to be cared for and loved by someone with skin on!

So, God sent his Son, Jesus! This is the foundation of the Christmas message, the annual celebration we’re so close to.

Jesus is God with skin on! Jesus is one of us. Jesus left his heavenly throne of glory and power to become human, eventually to sacrifice his life for our salvation.

At the beginning of John’s Gospel account, we hear: “The Word became flesh.” The foundation of our faith is that Jesus is truly divine and truly human. Jesus is God with flesh. Jesus is God with skin on.

So, when our souls whimper and whine, when we’re needy to the depths of our being, when we’re afraid of the darkness, God has given us someone to turn to: God with skin on, Jesus.



Christians are called to be the “Body of Christ” in the world around us. Christians are called to embody the presence of God. Together, as disciples of Jesus, we are God with skin on.

We do that by the way we live, by serving others, by bringing God’s love to others. Our calling as believers is to comfort others in their times of darkness. This comfort isn’t always having answers or advice. Very often it means being present with others in their darkness. Sometimes it’s called the “ministry of presence.” We could also call it “the work of God, with skin on.”

This kind of ministry, being there for others, often takes planning. It always takes energy. Why not plan today to be God with skin on for someone in darkness!

What a holy thing to remember this Christmas and always: God planned for us. God’s eternal energy and love became flesh for us and for our salvation. Rejoice! Spread this joy – to the world!

Lutheran Church News

Sunday, July 15, Pastor Ralph Mineo will share a message “Every Spiritual Blessing”..

St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, North Baltimore
Sunday, July 15, Pastor Ralph Mineo will share a message “Every Spiritual Blessing” based on Ephesians 1:3-14 at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in North Baltimore at 10:15 a.m.  Please join us.  Sunday School for all ages begins at 9:00 a.m.
Register NOW for our “Splash Canyon” Vacation Bible School, July 22-26, 5-8 pm.  Online at www.myvbs.org/stlukesnb or call the church office 419-257-3253 and leave a message.
St. John’s Lutheran Church, McComb
Sunday, July 15, Pastor Ralph Mineo will share a message “Every Spirtual Blessing” based on Ephesians 1:3-14 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in McComb at 8:00 a.m.  A joint adult Sunday School class with the McComb United Methodist Church begins at 9:15 a.m.

“Your Name: Christian” a Devotion from Pastor Ralph J. Mineo

“Soldier, either change your behavior, or change your name.”…………………….

There’s a story about Alexander the Great, who lived in the 4th century B.C. On one of his campaigns, he learned that one of his soldiers was acting seriously out of line. The soldier’s name was also Alexander.

The commander decided to speak to the soldier in person. After reviewing the bad behavior, Alexander the Great asked, “Soldier, what is your name?” The soldier replied, “Alexander, sir.”

The general then said: “Soldier, either change your behavior, or change your name.” Alexander the Great couldn’t bear to have someone with his name behaving badly.

There’s an important lesson for us here: we call ourselves “CHRISTIAN.” We identify with Christ. We take his name and apply it to our identity. Therefore, our behavior and our actions need to be compatible with the name of Christ.

I made a quick list of 10 basic ways Christians are supposed to behave. Some of them are obviously easier than others.

1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind — and your neighbor as yourself.

2. Treat others with kindness.

3. Be forgiving, even when “they know not what they do” (as Jesus did on the cross).

4. Turn the other cheek.

5. Do good.

6. Be generous.

7. Don’t judge.

8. Read Scripture.

9. Worship and pray

10. Remember: Jesus died for your eternal redemption!

Around 200 A.D. the Christian author Tertullian described how outsiders see Christians: “See how they love one another and how they are ready to die for each other.”

Do you call yourself a “Christian?” Remember that there are many who are looking at the way you live, as individuals, and in churches, forming an understanding of what it means to be a Christian. More importantly than that, we are the Body of Christ. We are Christ Jesus to others by the way we speak and live.

Instead of changing our names, let’s live giving glory to God and witnessing to Jesus Christ.

“Traveling In Circles”

An NBXpress Devotion from Pastor Ralph J. Mineo………

John Henry Fabre, a French naturalist, conducted an unusual experiment. He carefully arranged some “Pine Processionary Caterpillars” in a continuous circle around the rim of a flower pot. Fabre put pine needles (their food) in the center of the flower pot. The caterpillars traveled around the pot, hour after hour, day after day, night after night, for seven full days and nights! With enough food less than six inches away, they starved to death. WHY? Because they would not break out of their routine.

Our lives can get like that, if we’re not in tune with God. We can travel around in circles, ignoring the “food” we need for our souls.

Jesus taught us that our food is not “bread alone.” He said that our food is “to do the will of God.” Doing what God wants us to do, living the way God wants us to live, is our food, our nourishment. This always involves love, because “God is love.”

Our best food is experiencing the presence of God, experiencing divine love. Our best food is knowing Jesus Christ, the one crucified and raised, so that we, too, might live unto eternal life.

I personally follow several kinds of routines, from “to-do lists” to watching a favorite television show. But it’s important, from time to time, to break out of some routines. Breaking out of routines can be uplifting, both spiritually and emotionally. They can give a fresh start. But breaking out of routines can also cause problems, such as not getting needed tasks done, or failing to return to healthy routines. When I break away from good eating habits, for example, it’s not easy to return.

I believe that attending worship on a weekly basis is a routine lifted up in the scriptures for our well-being. Worship in community is food for our souls. It takes spiritual maturity to know when to follow in procession, and when to break out.

There are countless ways to break out of busyness of the world to receive the food that God provides for us. Important ones are reading the Bible, engaging in devotional reading, daily prayer and meditation. The most important food is doing God’s will, living the way God wants us to live, doing the right thing.

Not a day goes by that we don’t need spiritual food. The gifts of God, real food, are available to us and provided for us daily. When we eat this food, we won’t starve. We won’t die.

Let us do what God wants. Let us live. Let us love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.