Monday, March 31, 2008
Col 2:11-12, 1 Cor 10:14-22, Col 2:15
Scripture available at glenavonchurch.googlepages.com/library
On Sunday, Pastor Lorne said he felt compelled to talk about what constitutes the sacraments in our church constitution. The sacraments are baptism and communion.
Pastor Lorne started by explaining that baptism is an integral part of the church. He referred us to the Great Commission in Matt 28:18 where Jesus told His disciples to go out into all the nations of the world, ‘..baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...’
So then some questions are: Who can be baptized? and Do I need to be baptized to be sure of salvation?
Pastor Lorne told us to look up Mark 16:16 which says, ‘whoever believes and is baptized will be saved...’ So, he said, first you must believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and you must have a personal relationship with Him. According to Acts 10:44-48, baptism follows the believing: ‘...“Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.’
Pastor Lorne said to notice in the above scripture, that there was no waiting period between the time they accepted Christ and were filled with the Holy Spirit and the time they were baptized with water.
1 Cor 12:13 says ‘For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body...’ regardless of our race, skin colour, financial account, etc.
So, back to the question – Do you need to be baptized? Pastor Lorne said it’s part of a Believer’s responsibility and testimony to receive water baptism. He referred us to Col 2:12. The Israelites believed that circumcision was a sign that the individual stood in a covenant relationship with God. Put in this light, it would seem that water baptism is also a sign of a covenant relationship with God. By confessing our faith and asking forgiveness for our sins, we become clean. We die to our sins. When we are baptized, we burst from the water a new person, our bodies have been purified – as if we’d drowned and been raised from the dead.
Receiving water baptism is a public testimony that we’ve accepted Christ and will follow Him. It’s a commitment to the Lord that He is our God and we will follow only Him. You’re more apt to walk with the Lord if you’ve taken that final public step and surrendered to Him in this way. Baptism seems to give you an extra boost of strength to live in God’s light. And you identify more with Christ who died on the cross and then rose again. But along with all those reasons, is that wanting to be baptized is being obedient to Christ because in His Great Commission mentioned earlier (Matt 28:18), Christ commanded his disciples to go out and baptize.
So, baptism isn’t a requirement to have a personal relationship with Christ. But, you’ll experience a richer life with more of God’s blessings if you do.
Pastor Lorne then spoke on the other sacrament of our faith – communion. He referred us to Matt 26:26 which records the 1st communion: ‘While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body”.’ This is also referred to as the Lord’s Supper. It’s the partaking of the bread and cup as symbols of the broken body and shed blood of our Lord. By taking communion, we identify with His sacrifice for us and we acknowledge our relationship with each other in God’s family.
In 1 Cor 10:14-22, Paul is speaking about communion. He says that you can’t be part of the world and the Lord. You can’t partake in communion and then go out into the world and party. You can’t accept Christ as your Lord and Savior by taking communion and then go out and serve worldly idols. You just can’t have it both ways!
Pastor Lorne said to look at yourself. Look in your own heart. If you find something there that you know God wouldn’t like, it doesn’t mean you need to be saved and get baptized again. No, it just means you have to make yourself right with God first then you can take communion. How do you do that? By having a personal conversation with Him! Ask Him to search your heart and if it’s not right, ask for His forgiveness. He will always forgive you. Then you can take the sacrament with a clean heart.
Years ago I attended a large church in another province. I remember one particular Sunday when the minister said before we could take communion, we had to search our heart and if there was anything that needed taking care of, to do it. He gave us some examples of not being right with the Lord but the one that stuck in my mind was when he said that if we had bad feelings about another member of the congregation, he expected us to get up and make it right and then he waited. I still remember the half dozen people who got up to walk across the room and shake hands with someone else. That was a powerful lesson for me.
Back to yesterday’s message, Pastor Lorne said that when Jesus died on the cross, He made an open show that He defeated Satan and his power over darkness. (Col 2:15)
Baptism is a commitment to Christ. It’s a public announcement that you’re turning away from Satan and his world.
Taking communion shows that you’ve accepted Christ as your Saviour and your spirit is right with Him.
If you would like to speak to Pastor Lorne about this or any matter, his contact info is at the bottom of the right column.
Comments are appreciated. If you’re not sure how, please click on ‘comments’ under the label section in the right column.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
1 Cor 15:50-56, 1 Cor 15:19-20, John 11:25-26
Scripture available at glenavonchurch.googlepages.com/library
Sunday was Easter – The day we commemorate the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour. Hallelujah!
Pastor Lorne started the message by mentioning the movie from a few years ago, The Passion. It was a violent movie and it portrayed Jesus covered in wounds and blood, struggling down a Jerusalem street with a cross. I know some critics said it was too violent and wasn’t realistic. Pastor Lorne said it was a bad time considering the beatings that Jesus endured that day. He asked what you would do if you were a disciple, watching the person you believed to be the Son of God suffer at the hands of mere mortals. How would you feel as you watch them nail Him to a cross and plant Him on a hill between two thieves? What would you think when Jesus died on that cross and the world turned to darkness?
Pastor Lorne said in the last few weeks we’ve discussed Jesus’ miracles. About how he had power over sickness and life’s struggles. How he had the power to control the environmental forces and change the natural behavior of animals. Of how even the demons acknowledged and obeyed him.
And, today, being Easter, we hear of how Jesus had power over death. That’s a big one, Pastor Lorne said. He went on to say that he’s stood over many a coffin and known that the life for that body was over. Have you ever looked in a coffin? Did you think that person would rise and live again? But, if you have faith, you know that life isn’t over.
He brought out attention to John 20:1-9. Can you picture Mary Magdalene looking into the empty tomb? She expected to see a body, wrapped in funeral cloths but only the linens remained. Simon Peter and another disciple walked into the tomb. They saw the linen strips and the burial cloth and they believed.
Pastor Lorne said that if you opened the tomb or final burial site of any former world leader, you’ll find a body or bones or something. But not for Jesus. The Bible says that although the disciples believed, (v9) “They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.”) That not even death could hold Him.
Scriptures say that Jesus brought 3 people back to life while during His ministry.
John 11:38-44 – The story of Lazarus who was dead for four days when Jesus brought him back to life.
Mark 5:35-42 – The story of synagogue leader, Jarius, who was told his daughter had died. Jesus refuted that fact saying the girl was only sleeping. Jesus went to where the girl lay. Taking her by the hand, he told her to get up and walk, and she did.
Luke 7:12-15 – Jesus watched a funeral procession. Filled with compassion for the widow whose only son had just died, Jesus placed His hand upon the coffin and told the young man to get up. Verse 15 says, “The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.”
According to 1 Cor 15:50-56, we don’t know when Christ will come back but when he does, he’ll use His power to raise the dead. 1 Cor 15:19-20 testifies that “...Christ has indeed been raised from the dead...” Pastor Lorne said he’s so glad that because of Easter...because Jesus arose from the dead...there’s coming a day when we will be reunited with those loved ones who went before us. On that day, the dead will rise – some to eternal life in heaven – others to eternal darkness.
What would it mean if Jesus hadn’t risen from death? It would mean that once our lives were over on this earth, we’d die. So what? There’s great things in store for us! He’s waiting for us! John 11:25-26 says, “Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" If you want to be part of that resurrection, believe in Him.
We need to be close to Jesus. We need His miracles. We need Him as a friend. We need to be part of the Resurrection! Believe in Him, that he died on the cross. Then you will be a part.
Pastor Lorne wondered if anyone wanted to accept Christ into their hearts and lives. He said they didn’t have to stand or go to the front of the church, but just bow their head wherever they were sitting and pray along with Him. He then led a prayer asking Christ into our hearts because we believed in Him and His power over death and that we wanted to have a personal relationship with Him.
The grave isn’t the end. It’s all possible because Jesus triumphed over death. He’s alive today!
If you would like to speak to Pastor Lorne about this or any other topic, please find his contact info at the bottom of the right column.
Your comments are invited. If you’re not sure how to leave a comment, please look for the list of labels in the right column and click on the word “comments”.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Scripture available at glenavonchurch.googlepages.com/library
Yesterday’s Sunday morning service was wonderful!
It was Palm Sunday. Do you know that I keep wanting to write Psalm Sunday? In fact, for a few days, the coming events portion on the right side of this page even said Psalm Sunday.
Palm Sunday is always the last Sunday before Easter and commemorates Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem when the inhabitants of the city sang hosannas to Him, the King. That always reminds me of the Book of Psalms which was written by David, a musician. According to the dictionary that comes with my laptop, the definition of a psalm is ‘a sacred song or poem of praise’. Bingo! Yes, I know it sounds weird because the ‘p’ is silent in the word psalm so in actuality you’re saying, “Salm Sunday,” but still, I like that it reminds me of singing Hosanna. So, in future, if I misspell Palm Sunday as Psalm Sunday, it’s your guess if I did on purpose or not.
Okay, back to yesterday’s service. During the break between music segments when Sunday School is dismissed, announcements are read and the offering is collected, Pastor Lorne ‘warned’ us he would be asking for testimonies, so that gave us fifteen minutes or so to think about what we wanted to say.
After the singing was done, Pastor Lorne ascended the dais and asked for testimonies. Laughing, he held up a piece of paper and assured us he did have a message but he felt compelled to ask for some testimonies first.
And so they started. You know, it’s amazing how unconditional God’s love is when people reveal the path they followed on the way to salvation. I’m not going to repeat them all here, but two things struck me as I sat listening to the heartfelt stories.
First, almost every testimony included the words that ‘God was always there’. Regardless of what people were doing to/with their lives, they knew that God was standing by waiting for them to turn to Him.
Second were the stories from people raised in Christian homes but who had backslid, or ignored God, for a time. Ultimately, these people realized that having a personal one-on-one relationship with Jesus Christ surpassed anything they could find on earth. It reminded me of the words of Prov 22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it”.
When everyone who wished to had testified, Pastor Lorne said he felt blessed just from listening to everyone. He added, “I noticed that Christians cry a lot.” I’m not the only one who laughed through my tears at that statement.
Pastor Lorne said he had a whole list of scripture for us but we were already over time, so he’d just refer to one. It was John 1:29-30 which talks about the sin of the world and that Jesus is the One who takes the sin away. He said no matter what we’ve done, no matter how the world perceives us, Jesus has the power to take away the guilt and all the ugly things that we carry around from this world.
Pastor Lorne wanted to impress upon us that we have a Saviour. Once Jesus takes away our sins, they’re gone. We won’t be able to find them anymore. Jesus forgets all about them.
One of the songs we sang during worship was “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me. Pastor Lorne referred to the chorus where it asks what we will do when we see Jesus face-to-face. And to think that just by asking Him to take away our sin, He will make us pure and guarantee us a place in heaven where we can look upon His face.
Jesus can take away your sin and give you a new life.
If you would like to take about this or any other blog to Pastor Lorne, please look at the bottom of the right column for his info.
Comments on this or any other blog are welcome. Not sure how to leave a comment? Find the ‘Labels’ in the right column and click on ‘Comments’.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Pastor Lorne started Sunday’s message by reminding us of the old western films and TV shows – the ones where the good guys wear white hats and the bad guys wear black hats. Too bad you can’t tell someone’s character just by the colour of their hat! But nowadays, he reminded us, all the cowboys seem to wear black hats! He should know because he’s a director in the Sask chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Cowboys - you know - those pastors that go around to the summer rodeos and puts on a Sunday service for those hard-working cowgirls and cowboys.
Pastor Lorne said that’s because Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit and withstanding the evil one’s temptations came naturally to Him. Along with the other miracles Jesus performed and which we spoke about in previous blogs, Jesus also had power over Satan and the power to cast out Satan’s demons wherever they were hiding. (Matt 4:24)
In Matt 28:18, the Bible says that Jesus admitted, “...All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” That statement alone says that no matter how much power Satan seems to have, Jesus has more.
In Matt 17:15-18, We read about father concerned for his son. The boy suffered from seizures and seemed bent on self-destruction. V18 says, “Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment.”
Pastor Lorne asked us to turn to Mark 5 where we read about Legion, the man who had lost all semblance of civilization because of the demons that possessed him. Pastor Lorne said people were afraid to go near him. They could hear him crying out all day and all during night as well. V5 says he’d even been chained but he broke through his chains. He was an uncontrollable wild man. But when Legion saw Jesus, he recognized Him as the Son of God (V7). Jesus told the demons to leave the man and jump into a herd of pigs. They did and then ran straight into a lake and drowned themselves. What happened to Legion? Well, when the pig owners told everyone what had happened, people came to see for themselves. V15 says, “When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.”
Pastor Lorne says that it’s quite a thing to know that as a child of God, Satan has no power over you. Whatever stress you’re under, if you know Jesus, He will help you withstand temptation. Jesus is the answer when you feel the darkness of Satan closing in around you.
When everything comes at you and you wonder what will happen and it seems like Satan is tightening the noose – believe that your testimony will keep Satan at bay. Jesus knows our demons but the demons also know Jesus.
If you have Jesus, even though you feel the darkness like a blanket around you, you have power over all the enemy’s power. 1 Peter 2:10 says we’re the people of God. And the people of God can resist Satan. Because of the cross, Satan has no power over us.
Pastor Lorne would like to encourage you. With Jesus and the Holy Spirit in your life, even in your weakest moments, you have the power of Jesus to withstand against sin.
Luke 4:13 says that when the devil couldn’t tempt Jesus any longer, “he left Him until an opportune time”. What does that mean? Pastor Lorne says Satan comes at your weakest moment – when he knows you’ve reached a low point – when he knows you will fall. But will you?
Paul said in Eph 6:13 “....after you have done everything, to stand.” Stand on God’s promises. Stand on the word of your testimony and on the blood of the Lamb.
Pastor Lorne reminded us that there is a time coming when the power of darkness will be totally defeated. And all we have to do is to stand.
If you would like to speak to Pastor Lorne, his contact information is on the bottom of the right column.
Comments on any blog post are welcome.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
This is probably the sixth one I've been to since starting the youth group and they keep getting better and better. It was a little bit different this year because they had more guest speakers and musicians instead of just using people from the college. That was good because it gave people a fresh perspective on things. The theme this year was ‘Truth Justice Freedom’.
A lot of the speakers were people who worked for different social justice groups or missions. One speaker, Dan, from Calgary, works for the ‘Jesus Loves You’ Society. They operate a mission in downtown Calgary. He spoke openly and honestly about what it means to reach people and go to where they are, not expect them to come to us. He shared his faith by helping those in need and becoming their friend.
Another speaker, Jamie was a representative for ‘International Justice Mission’. They are a group of Christian lawyers and investigators who work to free slaves - mostly young girls caught in the sex trade. His message really inspired people to live out the verse that tells us to "seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God”. It was truly inspiring.
Another focus of the weekend was hearing God's Voice and finding your own. There were many opportunities for the students to express themselves through art, poetry, dance etc. The gallery was amazing to walk through and see the different talents from woodworking to painting, drawing and writing. They also had a prayer room set up where people were encouraged to spend time during the day. In the room there were different stations to help you focus your prayers and also room to write, draw, or play music. The room was open 24 hours a day and the hope was to have constant prayer going throughout the entire weekend. That goal was accomplished.
I attended part of the youth workers’ seminar which is always so encouraging and a great place to meet with other youth workers. We discussed different issues and watched a DVD about growing the Kingdom, not our church. It was amazing and fit in perfectly with the theme of the weekend. It is so hard to condense a very full and busy weekend into just a few paragraphs. It was a great weekend and gave us all lots to think about.
For more information check out:
Eston College or ‘Encounter Weekend’ at http://www.fgbi.sk.ca/
International Justice Mission at http://www.blogger.com/www.ijm.ca
There are more links on the Eston College website.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Matt 14:32-33, Matt 21:19, Luke 19:30-38, John 12:13
It’s always a wonderful treat for the Keller Family to lead us in worship. Sunday morning, Curtis (guitar) and Karen (keyboard) were back home and joined their dad, Richard (not in pic) and Clayton (drums) on the dais. Their mom, Lorette, who usually sings with them, joined the rest of us in the pews. The evidence of the Keller kids time spent in practicing proved a blessing for our ears. What a joy to hear the youngsters raise their voices in this way!
If you're wondering what Pastor Lorne looks like, he's the one sitting in the pew although you only see the back of him at this time.
Sunday School started a bit later than usual since Clayton was needed to lead worship, but once all the kids went downstairs (1/3 of the congregation), we settled down for the message.
Pastor Lorne reminded us of his previous messages about the miracles of Jesus and how they changed people’s lives. He said he wanted to take a different approach this time and show us some of the miracles Jesus performed that showed God’s strength and awesome power.
He referred us to Luke 5:4-8. The preceding verses tell of how Jesus was teaching from the shore of the lake and people were crowding Him. He saw 2 boats floating nearby. Jesus asked Simon, the owner of one of the boats, to put out a bit from the shore. From there, Jesus continued His teachings. Pastor Lorne guessed that one reason for this was possibly the acoustics. Voices don’t go far without a modern microphone or megaphone, but on the water, His voice would have carried farther.
Anyway, Luke 5:4 says: “When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch." Pastor Lorne reminded us that they didn’t have 'Fish Finders' back then but as a commercial fisherman, Simon would’ve known where the fishing spots were. Simon told Jesus that he’d been at it all night and couldn’t find the fish, but because Jesus told him to, he’d let down the nets. The Bible says they caught such a large amount of fish, the net began to break. They even signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help. When Simon Peter saw both boats so full of fish that they were beginning to sink, he realized who Jesus was and sank to his knees before Him.
Pastor Lorne asked us to turn to Matt 17:24-27. This is such a small miracle, I didn’t even recall it, but it is so wonderful! A tax collector asked Peter if Jesus paid the two-drachma temple tax. Peter answered that He did and went to find Him. Jesus asked a question about whether a king’s son pays the tax. When Simon answered that others paid instead, Jesus said in v27: "But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.” This verse confirms that as the Son of a King, Jesus should’ve had the exemption of paying taxes. But instead of making an issue out of it, He sent His disciple out to find the exact coins needed from the mouth of a fish! Wow!
We turned in our Bibles to John 21:3-11, and found another fishing miracle but this one stands out because Jesus had died and rose again by this time. Being fishermen, the disciples had decided to go out and catch some fish. They were out all night but didn’t catch anything. In the early morning, a man they didn’t recognize as Jesus, was standing on the shore and questioned their catch. Verse 6: “He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some." Of course, this action made them realize it was Jesus standing there for who else could wield such awesome power to make fish appear out of nowhere?
Pastor Lorne said Jesus performed these miracles where the people lived – where they needed a miracle and He did it when they needed it!
Jesus even had power over the weather! On 2 separate occasions, Jesus controlled the storm:
1 – Luke 8:22-25 shows Jesus sleeping in the boat. When the storm became too fearsome for His disciples, they woke Him up and He calmed the storm.
2 – Matt 14:32-33 covered here tells the account of the storm ceasing the exact moment Jesus climbed into the boat.
Pastor Lorne brought our attention to another small miracle – that of the withering fig tree. We read in Matt 21:19 - “Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, "May you never bear fruit again!" Immediately the tree withered.” Being a farmer himself, Pastor Lorne said, “Wouldn’t gardeners and farmers like to be able to do that!”
Remember the small donkey that was chosen for Jesus’ triumphant entry in Jerusalem (Psalm Sunday). I always knew it was a young one – a colt is what Luke 19:30-38 says, but again, being a farmer, Pastor Lorne brought up a point which I’d never considered...the donkey was untrained (v30). “So what?” you ask. Well, an untrained animal – especially of the equine persuasion – has been known to rear, kick and bolt when scared. Talk to any horse owner about having to ‘bomb proof’ the animal before taking it out into the public. But they put Jesus on this untrained colt and led it through the streets of Jerusalem. Pastor Lorne reminded us people threw cloaks down in front of the animal (v36), people where waving palm branches (John 12:13), and the cheering noise of the crowd must have been stupendous. And this untrained colt meekly walked along, bearing Jesus. How? Because the Son of God has the power to change the dispositions of animals, even.
Pastor Lorne encouraged us to get close and personal with Jesus in our lives. To think of Jesus as someone who can provide us with fish, pay our taxes, and even change the disposition of our animals.
Stay close to Jesus because when you have Him with you, all your problems can crumble away and He will provide the answers.
Do you have a fig tree you want to get rid of? Bills to pay? Groceries to buy? Pastor Lorne said Jesus can perform miracles in your life, home and work. It’s a good habit to set a few mins aside each morning to bring your concerns to the Lord and He will work things out by performing miracles for you throughout the day. All these little miracles that don’t mean anything to anyone else will be exactly what you need.
If you would like to contact Pastor Lorne about this post or any concerns you have, please check out the contact info at the bottom of the right column. Comments are welcome.
Monday, March 3, 2008
Sunday at 9:30 am, a brilliant sun belied the fact that the temp was -11C/+12F. If you look at the photo, it doesn’t look like the sun was shining, but it was. The wind was whipping from the northwest at 50 km/h (31 mph), mostly low to the ground, but every once in awhile I would drive through a whiteout situation. This photo was taken south of Glenavon on Hwy 709 heading east.
Two hrs later, I took the next photo. Because I was standing on the southeast corner of the church, I wasn’t getting snow whipped at me but my fingers were tingling after just 6 photos. I love this photo. I’ve seen this view since December but didn’t think about it until last week. Frank, a member of our church, is blessed with artistic skills and made the bulrushes and tulips from metal and wood to dress up the barren church yard. Last fall, by the time anyone remembered to pull them up, they were stuck in the frozen ground. Then the wooden nativity scene, also made by Frank, was ‘planted’ in Dec in the optimum spot for our viewing pleasure. Everyone passes this scene heading into church and the area is lit at night.
When I look at this scene, I am filled with peace. An apt title would be ‘Birth & Rebirth’ because you have the birth of Jesus and the return of spring.
This photo was taken at 6 pm Sunday. My boys went down to the barn to do chores. Then the youngest came running back to tell me a sundog made it look like there were 3 suns in the sky. He was right. I took the photo from my steps, facing west. It’s one of those sights that make a person believe in the amazing power of God.