Don’t we all need hope? Hope is a vision for better days. There's something up ahead, around the corner, in sight, and it's good. But that good future isn't just abstract, because it reaches in and transforms us in the present. Jeremiah was a man who had hope for God’s people even though they would experience a hard time of exile that was to come. Hope for Jeremiah was what kept him motivated to live in the present knowing that God would keep his promise. On this first Sunday of Advent, I invite you to a journey of better days, a journey of real and lasting hope
Tell Me A Story: The Parable of The Good Samaritan
Join us for our Remembrance day service on Sunday, Pastor Ian will lead us in worship and reflect on how we can support others in need, as the Good Samaritan did in Jesus’ parable.
(thank you to Douglas Taylor for the poppy picture, in memory of his dad)
we welcome John and Krys Cassels from African Inland Mission. Over the past number of years John and Krys have been working in Uganda partnering with pastors and congregations in some of the more remote areas of Uganda. It will be good to have them with us once again. All proceeds from Muffins for Missions will go to the Cassels from African Inland Mission
Tell Me A Story: The Parable Of The Rich Man and Lazarus
Jesus was familiar with popular folktales of his time, including those that told about those who go to heaven and hell. Jesus retells an Egyptian folktale and inserts new names but also a new meaning. He shifts the meaning from a moral and ethical lesson on the rich and the poor and speculation about the after life, suggesting that if we only have eyes for the rich man and remain blind to Lazarus…then maybe we need to open our eyes to the realization that the resurrection is taking place all around Jesus…and your story/life is a testimony to that fact.
Tell Me A Story: The Parable Of The Door Keeper
It is not until something happens that we sometimes wished we had been ready. Today’s parable reminds us that we are to be prepared for the Lord’s coming. The watching door-keeper represents the responsibility for us to watch for our own souls, keeping ourselves ready for the Lord's return at all times. How prepared are we?
Tell me a story: The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
Jesus’ parable of the unforgiving servant is a story about being forgiven and being a forgiver. It is a reminder that we have been completely forgiven by God even though we have deserved nothing less than God’s complete justice. It is also a reminder that when we do not forgive others , then we in essence have not included ourselves in the community of sinners and as a result have excluded ourselves from God’s grace. Being forgiven is a miracle. Being a forgiver is immense.
Tell Me A Story: The Parable Of The Lost Son
The two brothers represent the two basic ways people try to make life work. The younger son pursues "self-discovery"—he's on a quest to find and fulfill himself, even if a few people have to get hurt along the way. The older brother is committed to a program of “self-salvation”, earning the approval of his community and the favour of his father. Both are “lost” and yet both are loved by the Father. Maybe the party was for both sons? What does this story tell us about God’s love for you and how you live your life?
For Such A Time As This: Remember When...
“Community is not explained in historical terms, it is not analyzed in sociological terms, it is enjoyed in the language the rituals and food and laughter of a festival." -Eugene Peterson
The story of Esther and the celebration of Purim are remembered by the Jewish people today because of the great saving act of God from their utter destruction. Remembering would help them keep their perspective as to God’s work in their lives as a people and would strengthen them in the face of other trials. As Christians we celebrate Communion as an opportunity to remember as a community of faith God’s saving act through Jesus Christ and his continuing strengthening presence with us by the Holy Spirit as we journey through life.
For Such A Time As This: The Big Reveal
God loves and defends those with the least economic and social power, and so should we. That is what it means to “do justice”. - Tim Keller
Everything comes out in the open. Esther’s nationality is revealed. Haman’s evil plans are exposed. King Xerxes needs to act with justice. Evil is punished and good is rewarded. Yet sometimes in our experience we might not witness justice in this life. When we are frustrated with a lack of justice, we can ask God for his grace to help us gain perspective and motivation to do what is right whether or not justice is served. In what area of your life do you long to see justice occur? Do you “cry out day and night”? (Luke 18:7) The good news is that God’s justice will be done.
For Such A Time As This: What Goes Around
It is a good thing to ask God to strengthen, encourage and help us to do well in life. But there are times that we can (like Haman) get so focused on getting ahead in life/work/achievements that we start to think we are better than others and we belittle and criticize. “Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less” (C.S. Lewis). Mordecai demonstrated humility as a characteristic he cultivated in his life. He served God and he severed others even after being honoured by the king. We can ask God to help us cultivate the humility of Jesus.
(Philippians 2:8/ Luke 14:11)
FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS: THE HEART OF THE MATTER
Join us this Sunday as Pastor Ian continues his series with "For such a time as this: the heart of the matter"
Some people and situations are very difficult to handle. Some people rub you the wrong way but they act as if it is the right way. Some people know how to push your buttons and you detest that they have such a negative impact on you. What do you do? Maybe like Esther when it comes to Haman the first thing she did was to pray and got others to pray. It protected her from personal bitterness and she trusted God with the outcome. As Christ followers we may not like some people but maybe we can ask God to help us at least to realize that Jesus died for them too.
For Such A Time as This: The Divine Conspiracy
"A realization that there is in fact an enemy forces a reassessment of priorities. The moment Haman surfaced, Esther began to move from being a beauty queen to becoming a Jewish Saint."
- Eugene Peterson
Sermon Thought For Reflection
Though the name of God is not mentioned in the book of Esther, the presence of God is detected as if God is conspiring how own plan behind the scenes. In Esther 4:4 Mordecai asserts that deliverance for the Jews will come from "another place" if not from Esther. Whether she acts or does not act, she will not keep God's plan from happening, The question is - will she choose to do the right thing?
Think of circumstances in which God has placed you to do his will. What did/will you do? Ask God for the courage to do the right thing.
Join us on Sunday for Pastor Ian's sermon titled "For Such A Time As This: And The Winner is...."
Some thoughts for reflection:
The Book of Esther provided the ancient Jewish people with a theological narrative of hope, because it assured them that God was with them and that even though they were exiled, marginalized and searching for an identity. God’s name is never mentioned in the Book of Esther yet God was a hidden presence in both the positive and negative circumstances of Esther’s life and her people in exile. They needed to trust that God was with them.
Do you trust God’s hidden hand working in your circumstances? Like Esther, maybe God is preparing you for something God wants to do through you.
SIN IS PROGRESSIVE
We welcome Debora Rolls as a returning guest speaker. Debora is in her final year at Knox College in Toronto.
"Sin is progressive. It will take you further than you want to go and cost more than you are willing to pay". - Author Unknown
Questions For Reflection
1) what are some of the sins we might unconsciously label as "acceptable"?
2) Although none of us likes to think about the reality, power and consequences of sin, why is it important that we take time to look closely at sin and acknowledge its presence and power in our lives?
3) What are some of the seasons and experiences in life that can create an atmosphere for a drifting heart to grow?
"Our soul is like a stream of water, which gives strength, direction, and harmony to every other area of our life. The stream is your soul. And you are the Keeper."
- John Ortberg Soul Keeping
There is a "soul-fatigue" that attacks the body, mind, and will such that we feel that we need to "do-something" that makes us feel significant, earn acceptance, and continually seek to please others. It can rob us of our joy. Sound familiar? Yet there is a grace that God gives us which is a gift that when we receive it we can find true acceptance, significance and joy. When we give our soul a rest we can open it to the joy Jesus intends for us.
"Our Soul is like a stream of water, which gives strength, direction, and harmony to other areas of our life. The stream is your soul. And you are the Keeper."
John Ortberg Soul Keeping
This week's message will be based on a video "Soul Keeping: What is the Soul?" introduced by a short video by Pastor Ian.
Calling all Superheros and Heroines, on July 13th 2018 at 7:00 pm there will be a screening of an INCREDIBLE superhero movie for all of you to enjoy! There will be GAMES, SNACKS and of course a movie to watch. And the best part? It’s a PAJAMA PARTY. It will be a SUPER fun time. We hope to see all of you there
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds".
We are happy to have Willian Min joining us today. William was our Knox College Seminar student in 2016-2017. William has just graduated and has received and accepted a call to be the pastor of First Presbyterian Church Penetanguishine Ontario.
"Do we ever come to God for the "pay-off" not His presence? Do we anxiously seek gifts, giving, little attention to the Giver? Are we more interested in our good and not His glory?"
- Greg Herrick
Questions for Reflection:
1. What are the most treasured "gifts" in your life? How would you feel if God demanded them from you today?
2. Have you ever felt that you are wanted for what you can give, and not for who you are? Do you think God ever feels that way about you?
"Be on guard for all kinds of greed; for one's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions".
The Famous businessman John Rockefeller was asked, "How much money does it take to satisfy a man?" He replied, "Just a little bit more." His answer was insightful - not only about how a lot of people think about money, but about how a lot of people think about life in general. "If only I had better clothes, or a nicer house, or was more popular, or had better grades," they think 'then everything would be perfect'. The distraction of "more is more" can make life more complicated and make us more content. What or who brings you deep satisfaction?