Welcome to Church on the Hill, Glenavon, Sask, Canada

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Christmas Play

On Monday, Dec 22nd, Church on the Hill presented a play called, It's A Boy.

The story involved many members of our church including the children from Sunday School, the Youth Group and other adult members of the congregation.

It started with a young girl asking her father to read the Christmas story:

Angels announced the coming of the Saviour as a small child in Bethlehem.

Shepherds were watching over their flocks when a heavenly host of angels appeared and told them of the birth of Jesus.

Mary and Joseph laid the baby Jesus in a manger in swaddling clothes.

At this point in the play, a Biblical teacher and her students speculate on whether the young Mary would have allowed her precious baby to be held by the shepherds and others who visited him.

A young girl in Japanese costume heralds the arrival of the 3 Kings, also known as Wisemen, from the East.

The play continued with readings as represented by a modern day teacher an her students...

...as well as by adult members of our congregation.

The complete cast of It's A Boy:

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Program Monday Night!

You are invited to the Church on the Hill Christmas program:

'It's a Boy'

on Monday, Dec 22 at 7 pm.

The cast of characters are the Sunday School children, Youth Group, and adults from the congregation.

Here's a sneak preview of the set...just ignore the guys hanging up the palm tree...

We'll also have a couple special songs by the newly formed COTH ladies choir. I heard them practice today, and they sing wonderfully together.

After the program, we'll head downstairs for food and fellowship.

So please join us.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Special Flute Music

Last Sunday, Nikita provided offertory music on her flute.

Her friend Desiree attended her by turning her music book pages.

Thank you, girls.

Friday, December 12, 2008

He Came Because the World Needed a Saviour

Scripture: Isaiah 53:1-6, Luke 2:11, Luke 19:9 &10, John 3:17, Acts 5:38-39, Heb 7:25

Pastor Lorne started his message by saying Christmas was just over 2 weeks away and he hadn’t completed his shopping yet. He’d only bought one gift so far. Then he added, he was doing much better than other years! (Laugher)

He said with Christmas coming, he wants to talk abut the Lord’s coming to earth so he directed us to read Isaiah 53:1-6 with him. Pastor Lorne said he had some questions in his mind so he was going to answer them out loud so we all could here his answers. He said he wondered why this all had to happen. Wasn’t there some other way, or something else that could’ve been done?

He said when Nelson prayed during the communion, he said ‘You didn’t have to come to earth but you did’. The Bible says Jesus’ death was in God’s great plan, right from the beginning...that Jesus was going to come to redeem the world. We needed a Saviour.

In Luke 2:11, the angels came to the shepherds. This was the first announcement of the birth of Christ and the angels said, ‘Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.’

Pastor Lorne said there’s a few things he found interesting there. First of all, the fact that the angels came to shepherds. He said when they were visiting in Hungary, shepherds weren’t highly respected members of society. They were generally poor, made the most minimum wage and lived in a caravan or trailer for months at a time. Once in a while, the owner would bring out groceries, necessities and wine to keep them there. Shepherds are loners. And yet, these are the ones the angels announced Jesus’ birth to – of all people. If the angels had gone into the city, they would have reached a lot more people.

And in Jesus’ time, the shepherds were so poor and they wouldn’t even have had the caravans they do now, yet the angels when to them. In all there life, this would be the greatest thing that every happened. Pastor Lorne said in his lifetime, this would be the greatest thing to happen if angels came down with music to announce such a thing.

Jesus came into this world because the world needed a Saviour...someone to deliver them from all the troubles of this world. In Luke 19:9 and 10 we find Jesus is growing and has begun his ministry. The story behind these verses is that Zacchaeus was a tax collector who was hated because he took too much taxes because he was the kind of man who took whatever he could get and he wasn’t very popular. Starting in v9, it says, 'Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." So, Jesus came to save the lost. In another place in the Bible, Jesus said those that are well don’t need a doctor.

Pastor Lorne said to turn to John 3:17. He said he really likes this Scripture for it’s message of assurance and hope: ‘For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.’ So, Jesus didn’t come as a prosecutor to condemn us, but the Bible says he came to save the world through Him. So, Jesus didn’t come to show us how bad we were and all the awful things we’ve done, but the Bible says he came into this world to save it.

He didn’t come to bring condemnation. Jesus came to bring salvation. He came to bring hope where there was no hope. He came to bring forgiveness where people could not find it. This is a message that’s been going forward through the ages and men have tried to stop it. The devil has done everything he can to bring it to naught but still, the message Is prevalent and continues to go out

If you look back at the story of Paul and Silas, they were in prison. And yet when they went to bring them to court, Paul and Silas weren’t still in jail, they had escaped and were preaching in the temple. So they brought them in but this wise man in said - Acts 5:38-39: ‘Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.’ Wise words we can take with us today.

So, this message that Jesus came into the world as a Saviour is so powerful, that the greatest forces in this world tried but couldn’t stamp it out. Men over the ages have tried without success.

Heb 7:25 says, ‘Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.’ So again, you find the same word – He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him. A Saviour.

Jesus came as a Saviour for anybody in this world. It doesn’t matter if they’re Jews or Gentiles. It doesn’t matter what’s happening in their lives. Anyone can come to Jesus and in his love and mercy, He can save them. Again, ‘Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.’

Pastor Lorne said as we approach Christmas Day, we prepare for it. He said if we don’t and the day just arrives, we’re disappointed. He said it’s doing all those things that prepare for it. And when we come to it, we realize it’s all about a Saviour comng into the world.

He said you might think you’re doing all right, but there are people in this world, in Canada and even in this province, who really need a Saviour. People who need a touch of the Holy Spirit to lift them up and deliver them from whatever situation they’re in today. He said he thinks of children and teens who are born into homes of drugs, alcohol and abuse. They need a Saviour to deliver them...give them hope...touch their hearts...give them an understanding that they are loved. That the God of creation loves and cares for them.

The reason Jesus came to this world was to bring hope, understanding and love. And to let people know that in God’s eyes, they are special. And that he loved them enough to send his Son Jesus into this world to die for us and then rise again.

Pastor Lorne said his friends were down in California on a visit and came back to the wind and snow of our Canadian winter and the winter’s just starting. We have 2 or 3 months left. But that wasn’t even close to what Jesus had to endure. Jesus left a glorious and beautiful heaven to come into this sin-ridden world and He lived here as a man and died and rose again because we needed a Saviour.

And so this Christmas, when you consider that baby in the manger, Pastor Lorne wants us to think that He came as a Saviour because we needed a Saviour. We can rest in faith and trust in Him knowing we have a Saviour who takes away the sins of the world and can make it right so that one day we stand before Him.

If you would like to speak to Pastor Lorne about this, please email .

Who is Jesus? Find answers at: http://www.who-jesus-is.com/


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Are You a Good Christian?

Pastor Lorne started his message on Sunday, Nov 23rd by talking about the apostle Paul. He said Paul had travelled all over and had seen many things and yet, of all the things he’d seen, he only wanted to know Christ.

He said we are members of the Pentecostal Assembly of Canada. But, are we good Pentecostals or Christians? Is he, as our pastor a good Pentecostal? Are you a good Pentecostal?

What is the actual requirement to be a good Pentecostal or Christian?

Rose called out ‘a good steward’. (laughter)

Pastor Lorne said, ‘Rose has been to bible Study!’ (more laughter)

But, he continued, what does it require to be a good Christian or a good child of God?

John 14:15-17 says, 15’If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.’ So, we have to be a person of God’s Holy Spirit.

Rom 8:9 9’You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.’ And so, again, it emphasizes the Son of God lives in us. That’s what makes the difference in our lives. We aren’t controlled by our sinful nature but by God’s Holy Spirit.

Acts 1:8 Before Jesus was taken into heaven, He instructed his disciples to wait and this is the statement He made: 8‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’

We know being a Pentecostal or a good Christian means the Son of God has come into your life to be a power of strength and witness to Him. The Son of God is a big part of our Christian life. He leads and directs us. You might be in a situation where you’re drawing a blank. You can’t think of any appropriate words to say to someone. And then a certain scripture or certain words come into your mind. Do you believe it’s the Son of God?

The Holy Spirit can be there to direct you and lead you and give you the knowledge you need at that certain time. The disciples were called to give a reason for their faith. You don’t have to worry about it because the Holy Spirit will give you the words to say when you need to say them. As a good Pentecostal, as a good Christian – when you are confronted in a situation you don’t have the resources for, the Holy Spirit will be there to give you the right words to say.

Pastor Lorne said he believes the Holy Spirit will come into our lives at the time we need him.

It is so important for people of God who desire to be ‘a good Christian’ to know that God and His Son and the Holy Spirit are there to live with you, to direct your life and lead your life.

A good Christian or a good Pentecostal – is also a person of faith. We’ve heard testimonies of faith.

Heb 11:6 says 6‘And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.’ We, as children of God, need to have that trust. Without faith it is impossible to please God.

1 John 5:4 says 4‘For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.’ And so again, the scripture talks about how we can overcome the things of this world. It gives us the power and strength to stand above these things. It says we can experience victory that overcomes the world. To be a good Christian, we need to be people of faith.

Romans 5: 1-2 says, ‘1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.’ Grace is received from God. We don’t buy it. We don’t earn it. We can’t work for it. But, by faith, we receive it.

To be the person God wants us to be, we need to step out in faith.

Because of faith, things have happened. People have been healed. People have been helped. A person who is a good Christian is saved by grace. By grace alone. Pastor Lorne said he’s so thankful for that. He said you’ve all experienced it before. He said everything he’s talking about here today, you’re already doing it and he knows you’ll continue to do it.

Ephesians 2:4-5 says 4‘But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.’ Grace is a gift of God. Our salvation and to be a good Christian, we need to be saved by grace.

Titus 3: 5 5‘He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.’ Because of His mercy. Because of his grace.

So, to be a good Pentecostal or a good Christian, we need to be people of the Holy Spirit and people of faith - totally trusting Him above all else. We also need to realize that we are saved by grace through faith.

Pastor Lorne said he believes someday you are going to hear the words - ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant' - when you stand before the Lord.

We don’t know when it is. He’s coming back a lot sooner than we might think and he’s coming back for those who trust in Him. Are you ready?

If you would like to speak to Pastor Lorne about this, please email .

Who is Jesus? Find answers at: http://www.who-jesus-is.com/

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Youth Report - Wrecked

Last Sunday, Pastor Lorne invited 3 members of the Youth Group to give a report on what they were up to the week before when they attended Wrecked at the Regina Youth Retreat. (Jason, a 4th mbr also went but wasn’t at church on Sunday.)

This was going to just be a small part at the top of the blog but as I transcribed it, I realized Jessica’s report was enough for a post alone, so this will be the Youth Report and the next post will be Pastor Lorne’s message.

Nick said he was involved with the Evangelism workshop. He said the leader told them how they go to different houses sharing their faith. He also showed them videos and a commercial. Nick said they watched a Daffy Duck cartoon. It showed that things don’t always go your way. Another video he remembered was something about Germans (I believe he meant Hitler) and how things aren’t always what they appeared to be. Apparently, the video showed a normal vehicle but it had springs underneath. Boing.

Next, Samantha spoke about attending a workshop on art. She was told to draw what God put on her heart to draw and then to interpret it in a ‘God’ way. She showed us a picture with what looked like a dark frame around the outside. Sam said we are like that when we try not to let God in. The middle of the picture was a collage of colors. Sam said God wants us to be happy when we believe in Him.

Finally, Jessica spoke about ‘A Glimpse of Street Invaders’ which is a micro-version of the Youth Missions program, Street Invaders based out of Eston where our youth group attend a retreat each Spring. For the actual Street Invaders program, youth attend a one week training session before hitting the streets, in communities across Canada and share their faith.

For this micro-version, however, they condensed a three week program into a 4 hr workshop. The first hour on Fri night was spent getting to know about Street Invaders, listening to the leaders share their faith, and taking part in practical exercises. The leaders stressed you had to keep praying for each other.

On Sat, the youth broke into 5 teams and went out to work the Street Invaders program.

Jessica said:

One team went to Sobey’s, the grocery store, to bag and carry people’s groceries and they also handed out free hotdogs. They said this was really interesting because they were aiming people who weren’t really that poor and everyone was saying, ‘Well, why are you giving me free food? I don’t need it’ and stuff. And they (the team) were working that way.

There was one team that went to Victoria Park and they had a sign that said, ‘Free Hot Chocolate, Free Donuts, Free Prayer’. So, they were handing out free hot chocolate, free donuts, and they had a really good opportunity—there was one man who was drunk and he was talking to them about God and how he used to be a Christian but then his son died. They (the team) were really ministering to him.

The 3rd team went to the University and they had a survey. The guy who was leading this team goes to the University a lot and really has a heart for the University ministry and he uses the surveys to get people talking about God and aware of their faith.

The 4th team was the one Jason was a part of and they went to a church in North Central Regina where they have a youth program where every Sat. The youth come and they give them a free meal and play all these games with them. After, the leader of that team said Jason was really shy at first but in the end, he was the one going to the other kids and getting them to participate and was building friendships with them. And he (Jason) was really excited about them and was telling me after, that he was playing basketball and competing with them and how they were asking him about God, and he seemed to enjoy that.

My team was called The Love Bus. I don’t remember the name of the church, but they have a program every Sat (* see below) where they take the bus and go to all these different houses in Regina where these kids live. These kids are living under impoverished conditions and are really poor. They pick them up and bring them to a park in Regina, give them all a free lunch, play with them for an hour, pray with them, then they go back.

But, because this was on the Sat of the Rider game, they didn’t have enough volunteers to do what they usually do, because they all had season tickets. This jived with our schedule so it ended up working really well. So, we did what they call house visits. We took the van because we didn’t have enough people for the Love Bus, and we went to the church first and we helped them make these lunches. We made 48 lunches and each one had a sandwich, a juice box and cookies and candy. So, we made all these lunches and then went out to all these different houses. We’d go there and Donna, the woman running it, would get these kids to come out. We’d stand in the yard because their parents were in the house and they didn’t really feel comfortable with us going in. So, we’d stand in the yard and just play games with them and get to know them. One girl loved to sing so she was telling us about all these songs she’d written about God. We played tag with them, and catch with one kid and this one guy was showing us his stuff and we really got to know them. We’d give them their lunch and pray with them before going on to the next house.

And, it was really crazy because I was with 5 other girls on my team. We were with out leader, Craig. It was really funny because every single girl on my team absolutely loved to sing so, in the vehicle between the houses, we were all singing these songs and Craig was laughing because he doesn’t really like to sing at all, but he enjoyed listening to us. And we’d go to these houses and the kids like to sing, too and we were singing songs with them.

The Love Bus program doesn’t always have enough volunteers to pick up the kids every Sat, but they make sure that every Sunday, they use the bus to pick up all the kids and bring them to church for Sunday School. So, they (the kids) know all these children’s church songs we were singing with them.

Craig is a Bible school student and he’s been on mission trips to Africa and all over the world and he was saying these kids in Regina were in the worst condition he’s ever seen. Even worse than Africa. Like, you’d go to their houses and there was garbage all over the yard and the windows were boarded up because they didn’t have any glass in them. In this one house, they were missing a pane of glass in the middle of the door and the kids didn’t open the door, they’d just run through the pane of glass because there was nothing there. Every house we’d go to, the kids would be bursting out the door as soon as we got there and they didn’t have shoes or proper coats or whatever, so, they’d be bursting out the door and they’d be so excited to see us and just wanted to get to know us.

And, it was really awesome and really encouraging because these people in the program make sure—every time they’re there—they tell them about the word of God and pray for them and these kids were really growing. And, some of them—like there were two 12 yr olds we went to and they are set to become leaders in their church and they grew up in horrible conditions—their mothers are prostitutes or on drugs and these kids are growing up and learning about God.

So yup, that’s what I did.

Pastor Lorne thanked the youth for their reports and we showed our appreciation by applause to these kids who are young ambassadors for our church. Lori led us in a prayer for the youth and teenagers who serve God and witness for Him.

* Just Kidding - This outreach is for inner city children who are picked up on a bus on Saturdays. They are treated to snacks, singing, games and the gospel. They need volunteers to drive the bus (class 2 license), donations of treats and Christmas gifts. For more info, go here http://www.loveliveshereregina.com/

If you’d like more info on Street Invaders, go here http://www.streetinvaders.ca/index.html


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Words for Life: My Times are in Your Hands

Dianne Bonk is guest blogging today with her Words for Life column :

This past month we have been given the opportunity to vote. We are fortunate enough to live in a democracy where we have the right to choose our government. Sometimes we feel that we are inundated with all kinds of political views and promises, trying to persuade us to their way of thinking. We have just had our Federal election, and this week we are listening to the results of the American election. We can get caught up in the debate, become strongly emotional over specific issues, or become nonchalant and not give any care to the event. We can have our own opinions, but ultimately the persuasion of political preference we choose will deal with the issues.

So, why bother to vote? It is our right and responsibility to voice our choice. But how can we know whom to choose? And how does my faith in God apply to my vote?

David said in Psalms 31 that he had put his trust in God. He affirmed that God was indeed His God, and that his times are in His hands. When David become King of Israel, he reaffirmed that commitment, and even though he stumbled along the way, God was always near, ready to help him in times of trouble.

Now, how does this apply to us? Well, individually, we can commit our times into God’s hands. And we can choose to pray for the leaders of our governments. In fact, we are encouraged to pray for the leaders of our country. All the complaining in the world will not have as much effect on conditions around us as will a quarter hour of prayer! God is mindful that we are men, that we need his care, and his wisdom.

Religion and Politics? Some say they don’t mix. But, yes they do if we commit our times into God’s hands, pray for our leaders, live lives that are exemplify good values, and affirm that God is in control.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Your Father is Waiting With Open Arms

Scripture: Luke 15

Sunday, Nov 9th was Pastor Appreciation Day.

On behalf of the congregation, Murray thanked Pastor Lorne and Dianne for their faithful service.

Maurice Giroux delivered the message so Pastor Lorne could sit in the pew, relax and enjoy a much deserved day off.

Maurice started by thanking Pastor Lorne for giving him the opportunity to spread his wings. He said we were sort of his guinea pigs. (laughter)
He said we may have guessed from the Scripture reading that today’s message was on the parable of the Prodigal Son. Here is Maurice’s message:

Luke chapter 15 has a theme of lost things. There’s the story of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son, more commonly known as the Prodigal Son.

Luke 15:1 and 2 says, ‘Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."

That really bothered the Pharisees. As far as they were concerned, they could tell a lot from an individual from the company that person kept. The Pharisees considered tax collectors to be religiously unclean, disloyal, dishonest and disreputable. As agents working for the Roman Emperor, they were equal to pariah. But the Pharisees considered themselves to be very diligent observers of the law. As religious leaders, they claimed to know God and were offended by the kind of people Jesus attracted.

It is precisely these types of people Jesus wants to address. He tells these 3 parables in an attempt for the Pharisees to see themselves in these stories by metaphorically putting a mirror before them.

The Pharisees, in fact, know far less about themselves and God than they really think they do. I want to focus mainly on the 3rd story Jesus tells the Pharisees: The Story of the Prodigal Son. The previous 2 stories of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin cannot even be compared to the anguish of a parent’s heart when a child goes missing. And a very different yet real panic when a grown child wanders morally or spiritually.

So, we get back to the story of the prodigal son asking his father for his share of his inheritance. Some experts in Middle Eastern culture said the young man is really expressing a wish for his father to die. A father could initiate a discussion about inheritance, but never a son. No doubt a tense discussion would have taken place—each one producing reasons and arguments to back up his wishes. The father finally relented and agreed to divide his estate. Two thirds going to the older brother and one third to the younger one, as was required of Jewish law up to that date.

And so, the younger son leaves home determined to be totally independent. His intention at that point was to cut all ties with his family and past. When the reference to a distant country is made, it can only mean Gentile country characterized by pagan values. The story goes on to say that he squandered his wealth on wild living. He might have been living a fairytale life but his real life choices brought consequences. Furthermore, bad choices usually bring bad consequences. His money runs out and the reality of real life drives him to desperation. By now he’s hungry and he’s willing to hire himself out to work on a hog farm.

Can you see the irony here? Jewish law forbids him to eat pork, yet here he is willing to eat anything put out for the pigs and even compete with them for something to eat.

As far as the Pharisees were concerned, the story could have ended right there. They would’ve said, ‘Well, that’s what happens to a sinner’. Or, they might have said, ‘He’s getting what he deserves’. Or, they might also have said, ‘He should’ve stayed there until he comes to his senses.

But Jesus is the one telling the story and he’s only half done telling it. He tells the second half of the story in such a way because he wants the Pharisees to see themselves in the older son who stayed home. And to see the parallel that the father represents Almighty God – The Father.

So, we pick up the story of the young man competing with the pigs for some food to put in his empty stomach. The story says the son does come to his senses. He was beginning to understand the glories of his father’s house. He desperately wanted to be back home even if he had to be a hired servant. In his heart of hearts, he knew he could claim nothing more. And, he was okay with that. He knew he was going to be talked about, criticized, and made fun of by the local community. But, if that was the price, he was more than willing to pay it.

But, we know from the story that this father is no ordinary figure who disowned his son and shoved him out of his heart because when the boy is a long way off, the father sees him coming home. This is where the story takes a sharp turn. The Pharisees are not ready for this part – nor do they agree with it.

Here is a father who is not only willing to receive his son, he has been looking for him. He runs down the road to greet him: he has a special robe for him, a ring for his finger, and sandals for his feet. ‘Bring the fattened calf’ he said for this is indeed a special occasion ‘For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' (v23,24)

The Pharisees really had a problem with this part of the story. This boy should not win his father’s approval so easily. And it would be reasonable for this boy to do a period of penance before any celebration should take place. But as Jesus tells the story, the father is God the Father and he just painted a word picture describing grace. God celebrates over the child who has come to life. He doesn’t just accept the prodigal son, he rejoices with him. This is a god the Pharisees do not know.

Quite often, the story ends here, but there’s another character in the story you don’t often hear too much about and that’s the older son. He’s out working in the field and when his workday comes to an end and he heads back home, he hears music and dancing. After asking a servant, he finds out his younger brother is back home, safe and sound. He becomes quite angered. His father comes out to plead with him to join in the celebration, but he absolutely refuses. This older son has a duty here as a special occasion and that is to act as his father’s special assistant as a co-host but he has no intention of playing such a role. He makes it quite clear he disapproves of his father’s actions. In a nutshell, this son would rather not have the fellowship with his father than accept his father’s treatment of his younger brother.

This is how it’s revealed in the story: The Pharisees would not have fellowship with Jesus because of his treatment to people the Pharisees considered to be lowlife. By taking this approach, they were putting themselves outside the Father’s house.

I just want to read to you a brief passage from a book that really gave a lot of insights to this whole story. It’s by Gary Inrig:

'But there was a fascinating omission in the story – there is no ending. Did the older brother enter or not? We are not told because that is precisely the issue the Lord set before the Pharisees. And, before us. To reject the Father’s gracious treatment of the most unworthy of Him is to deceive ourselves about our need for grace and to forfeit the fellowship with God that is based on grace alone.

As long as the Pharisees stayed angry at the grace shown to sinners, they stood outside the Father’s house.

The awful possibility is that we too can be in the Father’s field as servants but not really in His house as sons or that we daughters. We may be moral and respectable, but because we have never truly known the Father, who is loving, gracious and welcoming, we are like the older brother. To such, the Father’s appeal is, ‘Come in’.

Or, we may be in a far country, scattering the resources to which He is ultimately the giver. Perhaps the money has run out, the famine has come in, and we have reached the pig pen. We despair of ever being accepted in the Father’s house. To all such, the Lord’s story shouts, ‘Come home’.

The bottom line is this – what we know of God is seeing in how we view ourselves as lost and how we view others as lost.

God’s heart aches over those who are lost. God’s heart rejoices over those who are found. How well you know Him is revealed by whether or not we ache and rejoice as He does.'

If you'd like to speak to Maurice about this topic, please email.

Who is Jesus? Find answers at: http://www.who-jesus-is.com/

Friday, November 7, 2008

Are You a Good Samaritan?

Scripture: Luke 30:25-37

Next Sunday – Nov 12th, is Pastor Appreciation Day and Pastor Lorne said he wanted us to know it was his privilege to be our Pastor. He said there are challenges but it’s his and Dianne’s privilege to be able to walk through those times with us.

He also said the church is blessed to have people willing to lead worship and teach Sunday School and to step in whenever there’s a need. He said when you listen to the words in the songs of praise and worship, you realize what a privilege it is to be able to live for and serve Him.

He said the message was meant to encourage you and he wanted to start by telling a little story. It’s about a minister who told his congregation his topic for the next week’s sermon was going to be ‘lying’. In preparation, he wanted everyone to read the 14th chapter of Hebrews. So the next Sunday, he asked who read Hebrews 14 and a lot of people put up their hands. That set up his message on ‘Liars’ real good because Hebrews only has 13 chapters. (chuckles)

Pastor Lorne said in Luke 10 we find the story of the ‘Good Samaritan’. Verse 25 says, ‘On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" "What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?" He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind' and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself’." "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live." But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Pastor Lorne said we might ask that question, too.

Then, Jesus went into the story of The Good Samaritan.

Pastor Lorne said you know this story: This man was going from Jerusalem to Jericho – he imagined him to be a Jewish man – and along the way, some thieves—robbers—jumped out, knocked him down, beat him up, took everything he had and the Bible says, left him half dead on the side of the road.

Pastor Lorne said he’s just paraphrasing it but a priest came along and the Bible says he walked around the man and kept going. And then a Levite did the same thing: walked around the man and kept going. And then a Samaritan came. Now, the Samaritans and the Jews didn’t get along very well. The Samaritans were despised by the Jews. He said this happens in many countries where aboriginals are sometimes treated as second class citizens. That’s what was happening here but the Bible says the Samaritan stopped and picked him up.

He said we’ll pick it up here in v33: ‘But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.’ So, the Samaritan say the man, saw the need, and felt pity for him. He felt like he had to do something for him.

Have you ever had that happen? Pastor Lorne reminded us of the time he was having coffee and saw a man who looked like he might be in need and out of nowhere, a pastor (whom PL new) stepped forward and offered the man help, said he’d get him a room for the night and a ride in the morning. This pastor was being a Good Samaritan – he looked after the man’s needs. That’s important.

Pastor Lorne said a man went into a town, much the size of Glenavon, and drove around and there were 4 churches in that town. And you could tell the churches were having a hard time; the buildings weren’t been kept up and there weren’t that many cars in the parking lot on Sunday morning. So, he asked a lady from one of the churches, ‘How’s your church doing?’ And the lady replied, ‘Not very good...but thank God not of the other churches are either.’ (Groans)

But, he continued, this wasn’t the Good Samaritan’s idea. He stopped, had pity on the man, then did something about it. Even though it cost him, he poured oil and wine on the man, tied us his wounds, put him on his donkey and took him to an inn. Overnight, he cared for this man. Probably brought him water, changed his dressing, made him comfortable, did whatever he needed. Pastor Lorne said, “If you’ve looked after someone who was sick, you know what I’m talking about.”

When morning came, the Good Samaritan had to leave. So, he went to the innkeeper, gave him 2 silver coins and told him to look after the wounded man. He said when he returned, he would reimburse him for any extra expense he may have had.

Pastor Lorne said this is really going the extra mile. He could’ve just got the bleeding stopped, bandaged him up, and left him on the side of the road to wait for someone else to come along - maybe with a wagon to take him in. But no, he didn’t say, I’ve done my part now someone else can take over. Instead, he looked after him all night, and did what he could the next day even.

Pastor Lorne said he read that passge over and over and it struck him that this man really new what it was to give. He didn’t just throw a cheque out because he had a big bank account and it wouldn’t make much difference to him. Instead, he became involved and gave of his time as well as his money.

Pastor Lorne said he had a chance to meet the new General Superintendant of our church and his big thing is relationships. He doesn’t look at the Fellowship as a big blanket, but he looks at you as individuals and how we need to make relationships with people and be there to bless and to help and in cases, to lead to the Lord.

And, that’s what this Samaritan was all about. It was a relationship with him. It wasn’t throwing money at the problem, or going to tell someone else about the problem. It was becoming involved and developing a relationship with this wounded man. We don’t know if the man was unconscious or could communicate, but the Samaritan did all those things to help this man who most likely, if the tide was turned the other way around, wouldn’t have helped him because he was a despised Samaritan. Pastor Lorne said that, to him, was real giving and real generosity.

In v36, Jesus asks, ‘Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?’ The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."

Pastor Lorne says there are people in our own congregation who do things like that. People who will stop and help someone... become involved in their life for a little while. He said it’s a great thing to have people giving and showing the love of Christ.

He mentioned a man he knew who’d sit in his living room and watch the highway, about a quarter of a mile away. If he saw a hitchhiker, he’d go pick him up, bring him home, give him a meal. More often than not, he’d buy him a bus ticket, put him on the bus and send him to where he was going.

Acts of generosity and kindness that make a big difference in people’s lives. Maybe talk to them about the Lord. Maybe pray with them. And, it would make such a big difference in lives of people to know that this person has a real relationship with God

Pastor Lorne said he just wanted to leave you with this because he knows you are already doing it and not to be afraid to become involved in being a Good Samaritan because he knows God will bless you and what you’ll receive will be a lot more than what you give out.

He said he knows some people whose whole purpose is to get whatever they can out of live. They are like octopuses with their hands out and they’re just taking and taking. And the more they take, it seems, the more they have to take. And it’s because there’s no satisfaction. There’s this big hole and they keep sucking and sucking. He said he actually feels sorry for these people. There whole lives are spent seeing how much money they can make. If they need to run over somebody to do it, they will. They’ll just grab and take yet there’s no satisfaction there.

The Bible talks about putting money in a bag with holes. Or the wind just blowing it away.

Pastor Lorne said when we realize the goodness of God and know that He has everything—Scripture says he has cattle on a thousand hills—that our acts of generosity aren’t going to be bleak. We’re His resource, His children. And, He can just pour down His blessings upon you until you can’t contain them – until they’re almost too much.

Pastor Lorne said awhile back, a lady from the spa in Moose Jaw phoned him and said he and Dianne had a room all paid for whenever they wanted. Pastor Lorne said that was pretty nice. He asked if she could tell him who paid for it and she said she’d better not. (chuckles) He said it was Dianne’s birthday in a couple days, so he brought her down and they were given one of the nice, new rooms – a huge room with a balcony. He said they had a great time but he still has no idea who paid for it. He said he even tried to ask at the front desk who did it but the clerk wouldn’t tell him, either. Pastor Lorne said it was a blessing from God and it was just great.

He said the blessings from God are great...how he works in our lives and does things. He said the other day he was trying to break up clumps of hay and he turned a corner and a wheel fell off the cultivator. He said he was so close to being done...so he went up and picked the wheel up and there lying beside the wheel was this long pry bar that he’d lost about 6 yrs ago. He said he’d thought he’d broke the axle, but just a nut had fallen off – not a hard thing to fix but because of it, he found his tool.

Pastor Lorne said God has a way of blessing us and making things happen in our lives. He said he doesn’t think we can ever ‘out-gift’ God and that if you open up your heart and show God that you can be a witness for Him, He’ll give you the opportunity to show His goodness to others...that Jesus died for you – loved you so much that He gave his life for you.

The cross was the ultimate sacrifice. God couldn’t have given any more. He sent heaven’s best to this earth. Not only to live among us, teach us and heal our sick, but to give His life so that you and I could have a personal relationship with God. And one day, spend eternity with Him.

If you would like to speak to Pastor Lorne about this, please email .

Monday, October 13, 2008

Enter His Gates With Thanksgiving

Scriptures: Psalm 100, Phil 4:4-7

A new banner was waiting for us at church today. Thank you Kathy for the time and effort you put forth in the beautiful banners that grace the church.

Thank you Noelle for taking the photos of our Thanksgiving decor.

Here is Pastor Lorne’s Thanksgiving message:

Psalm 100 is where I’d like to talk to you for a little bit this morning. The more I read it, the more I grasped the excitement. The writer was really excited about this whole situation he found himself in.

I just looked out the window and I’m not really excited about what’s happening out there, (snowing) but we have lived here long enough to know it does go away sometime. Anyway, this bypasses all the external stuff and gets into something real exciting.

Here’s what the writer of this Psalm says:
1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Worship the LORD with gladness;

come before him with joyful songs.

So he sounds real happy, doesn’t he? It sounds like he has something bubbling inside him. And we were singing songs of His goodness and love this morning. And here’s the reason why we can give thanks. Why we can have a thankful heart:
3a Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
This is quite a statement if you stop and think about it – to know that He is God and God is elevators above anyone else. God created us and we are His. We’re His handiwork if you want to say it that way.
3b we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

That signifies to me that we belong to Him. And because we belong to Him, we are looked after by Him. Now, I never asked Blair if I could use him as an example and I hope he won’t be too offended by it but I know that Blair’s cows are probably glad they’re owned by him and not somebody else. (laughter) Because they are his and they get looked after. They are in his pasture. They don’t run short of grass. They don’t run short of feed in the winter. He really looks after them.

And you belong to God and God will look after you. He will care for you. And that is a reason that we can just shout for joy. We can give thanks because we are the sheep of His pasture and we know that pasture is always going to be good. And we know we’re going to be looked after because we belong to Him.

This is kind of a different way this Psalm was written, but because of all that:
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;

So when we come into the church and worship the Lord and you don’t just have to do that in church – you can worship in your vehicle or at home or outside when you see the beauty that God has created all around us. When we went to Swan River a couple weeks ago, coming home through that north country, and all the coloured leaves and everything, you see the beauty of God’s handiwork.

‘Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.’

And so if we come to church with dirty coveralls and boots, we take them off like you do in someone’s house when you don’t want to disturb the housekeeper. You take them off and leave them on the outside step or something. I visit different people and they get into something and so it stays there. We can come into the house of God and leave it out on the step...we have a big cement pad out there and lots of room for it...leave it out there and you can come into His house and give thanks to Him and praise His name.

Why? Because:
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Last night Dianne and I went to a 65th birthday of one of my cousins. I have a lot of cousins. I have 48 or 49 cousins just on my dad’s side and not nearly as many on my mother’s side. But anyway, after the stories I wondered how he even made 65 but at one point he said how God stepped in and took over his life. Now, I don’t know if any of you...well, I’m sure most guys have done this...when you come to a nice hill especially with a standard vehicle, you slip it out of gear just to see how...anybody do this?...(chuckles)...just to see how it will go. Well, he had his tractor and he had been picking stones. This tractor is about 45 hp maybe....and if any of you have gone into the valley (Qu’Appelle) – north of Sintaluta – most of the valley curves but this is a long straight hill. And he came along with the tractor and he looked at that hill...and you know where this story’s going...and he said, ‘this will be a perfect place to see how much speed I can get on the tractor’. So, he pulled it out of gear and he said he couldn’t believe how fast it gained speed. He said he was going so fast that he kinda lost control and then he had that heavy stone picker on the back and he tried to keep that tractor straight and he said every time he tried to move the steering that stone picker would move. He said he was going maybe 50 or 60 mile an hour it was hard to say how fast but the next thing he knew he was going sideways down the road and he didn’t have time for a long pastoral prayer so he said, “Lord, help me!” (laughter) And he said he went into the ditch and the stone picker dug into the dirt and he said he shot back onto the road. And when he got back onto the road, he said he was going about 5 miles an hour. (Ooohs and laughter)

I mean, something that could have been a total disaster, just a little prayer to the Lord, just Lord, help me!’ and everything turned out good. Yet, he could’ve lost his life easily with something like that. And it’s so amazing – we have so much to thank God for. It only took those words – ‘Lord, save me’ and God came through and everything just turned out perfectly. And besides that, he has a good story to tell. (laughter)

But do you know that it’s just a great thing to serve and live for God? To know that you can call unto Him and He’ll hear you? You don’t need to get away somewhere and bow down and crawl on your knees to Him unless the situation allows it. But you can cry out to Him and He’s right there because you are the sheep of His pasture. He cares what happens to you. And that is something that can cause your heart to well up in praise and worship to Him

And I know you can look around to see what vehicles your neighbors drive, the money they’re making, what kind of house they live in or what vacations they take, but it’s great to know we can have a thankful spirit in our hearts and our lives in spite of the things we don’t have. In spite of the problems we face every day.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;

his faithfulness continues through all generations.

I like that word (generations) because I have a granddaughter and the Scripture says His faithfulness will be there for her, too. God’s faithfulness and His watchfulness will look after your family and your children and your grandchildren. He is faithful to generations and that’s something you can’t buy with money. That’s something that only faith and trust in the Lord and a realization of this: that God will be faithful to you and your children and all the generations that follow...God will be faithful to them. That’s what His word says

I have one more scripture I’d like to share with you. I suppose what I’m trying to get across to you today is that we need to live in a spirit of thankfulness, not looking at what we haven’t got or what hasn’t happened yet...what we haven’t done...what we can’t do...but rather to live in a spirit of thankfulness to God for what He has given us and what He means to us, for we are the sheep of his pasture.

Phill 4:4-7: 4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

You can be thankful to God and know that His peace will come into your heart and your life. And it will guard it. God will guard your heart and your life. He will put a wall of protection around it. The peace of God will guard your heart. Don’t be anxious. Don’t worry about anything. If you need something, bring it before the Lord. With thanksgiving, bring your petitions...your needs...before Him. He wants you to do that. And His peace will guard your hearts and your lives.

I’ve come to the end of the message today, so even though it’s snowing outside and you think of all the work you didn’t get done – and I’m the same, there’s a fence I’m trying to build and I just can’t seem to get done – but we can still be thankful. We can still praise and worship the Lord because we are the sheep of His pasture. He’ll love us, He’ll care for us, and He’ll guard your heart and your mind and your soul and you’re spirit, so we can just praise Him and give Him thanks for that.

If you would like to speak to Pastor Lorne about this, please email .


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Is it God's Fault?

Dianne, wife of Pastor Lorne, is guest blogging here today:

Have you ever looked up at the sky and asked, “God how could you let this happen?”

Sometimes, we are so bewildered at our circumstances that we just want to shake our head, wring our hands and walk away from the whole mess. We sigh, and we want to put on a smile, but the burdens of life can sometimes be overwhelming. That’s when we need to turn to the One who is above all circumstances, all troubles, and all burdens that we bear.

This summer one of my family members experienced a strange illness. Thinking that it was just a 24 hr flu, we weren’t too concerned at first, but as it dragged on to one week, then two, we realized that we were dealing with something more serious. Yes, we went to the doctor, but tests take a while to come back from the city, so in the mean time, the sickness got worse. It was then that we called the leaders of the church to pray. That night brought the first night of sound sleep in two weeks, and the next day was the beginning of healing and restoration to health.

Was it God’s fault?


We only can know that He allows us to be tempted no more than we can bear. And sometimes, He wants to show His glory to us in our greatest need.

How could God let this happen?

I only know that He is a loving Father, and He will give us grace for every day. Sometimes, the answer isn’t what I would like, but most likely it is what I need.

In Proverbs, it says that He sends the rain to the righteous and the unrighteous alike. He gives all of us good things, but because we live in an imperfect world we also experience the bad.

But God loves all of us alike, and He cares about us, and He will sustain us if we turn to Him.

If you would like to speak to Pastor Lorne or Dianne about this, please email .

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Worship at the ACFW Conference

Okay, I'm back and I'll update the church pages after I get to church this Sunday. If you have something to add prior to that, please email me.

So, where did I go?

To start with, I attended the American Christian Fiction Writer's conference in Minneapolis, MN. It was a fantastic conference. In attendance were about 600 people from the Christian publishing industry.

Each day started early with breakfast at 0730. That was followed by worship and devotions. I cannot explain how emotional I became standing in that room with all those other Christians, our voices raised in praise, knowing we all had the common goal of bringing Christ to a secular world.

The worship team was made up of volunteers from the industry - mostly authors. I don't know all them except for these: Cassie Campbell (acoustic guitar), author Rachel Hauck (keyboards), author Gail Sattler (bass guitar).

On Friday night, I attended the Harp and Bowl. The room wasn't crowded at all since many groups used this 'time-out' night to go out for their yearly dinner/visit. All I'd been told about the Harp and Bowl: - it was a worship and prayer session and - bring a box of kleenex and a shoulder to cry on.

Rachel and Cassie led the singing and then invited anyone who felt the urge to go forward and pray with a 2 min time limit. So, one by one, people went up to the microphone and offered up prayers while the worship team played in the background. This went on for an hour. I ran out of kleenex but found more than enough shoulders. I was thoroughly humbled and blessed by the experience.

Classes went until 10 pm each night except Sat when the Banquet was held and awards were given out for the best Christian fiction books on the market.

The conference ended Sunday at noon after a final worship and devotion session as well as a closing message from author Angela Hunt, the key-note speaker.

I then headed up to Thunder Bay, Ontario, to spend a week with my mom and finally arrived back home at 8 AM Tues, Sep 30th.

One thing that stuck to me was a song we sang at all the worship and devotion sessions at the conference. I'd never heard it before and yet it was familiar because of the words. It stayed with me long after the singing was over. It was the Revelation Song.

Then on Sunday while in Thunder Bay, Mom took me to a church that both started and ended the service with the Revelation Song. The words and music reasonated through my mind during the afternoon. I've found YouTube videos of a couple people singing this song as well as the lyrics and chords and I'm presenting them to Jessica. Of course, she might decide not to bring this song before the church during our praise and worship, but I'll be praying that she does. And then again, many of you are probably familiar with it so that'll be just great.

You can go to my personal blog if you want to read more about the conference, my trip or see the photos.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Behind the Tapestry

Scriptures: Rom 8:28, 1 Peter 4:12, John 13:7, Gen 37 onward

Pastor Lorne welcomed the guest speaker, Anita Pearce from Margo, Sask. She travels all over the world speaking and he said it was a pleasure for her to be here today.

Anita brought an assortment of her CD’s and books which were set up in the foyer. She said she’s had a new book out since she was here last. She went on to say her upcoming schedule was taking her to Alberta, Belgium, and Switzerland for the next 3 months but she was thankful she could make it down to see us. She then delighted us by singing a couple songs: And I know, Yes, I know, The Best Friend We Can Ever Know, and then she invited us to join her singing What a Friend We have in Jesus and Oh, How I Love Jesus.

Anita’s message:

Please turn with me to the Rom 8:28. I don’t have anything new and earth-shattering for you this morning, but I do have something that I believe will encourage you and help you in whatever you may be experiencing. If you have the King James version, read together with me. ‘And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose ‘ Amen, that’s a wonderful scripture and I know some of you know that off by heart.

I want to bring you something that is very real to me personally. As some of you may know, I just lost one of my brothers 2 ½ wks ago. (This is posted on the prayer list) There’s lots of talk about life and God’s promises and these questions in life. And so, I have to speak from my heart, as some of these things are very precious to me at this moment, and I know they can be precious to you.

Now, you have a couple magnificent tapestries here, and I don’t know exactly how these tapestries are made, and I don’t know how some of the great wall hangings I’ve seen in Europe and other places are made. Nowadays, it’s all in factories, but there was a time, when it was like my mother used to make – needlework. My mother used to take a piece of cloth on which a design would’ve been ironed or printed, then she would put it in a small circular kind of a clamp, and she had a whole bunch of colored silk threads. Beautiful threads. And, she’d follow the pattern pulling these colors through, following the design on the cloth and in a little pattern book on how it was supposed to have been done. But while she worked, she always worked on the bad side. You know the one where you made the knots and the tangles and or the extra long stitches...how many of you know what I’m talking about? How many don’t have a clue? (laughter) So, it’s as though you could only see the good side when it was finished.

Now those huge tapestries and maybe even some of these, (Anita peeked behind the one hanging behind her) were as big as a wall, and it was framed and they worked on them for years. When it was finished, it was turned and then you’d see all the beauty of the finished product. But you didn’t get to see the good side until it was all done.

As a little girl, I can remember getting down as my mother sat working on this needlework. I’d be down on my knees and I would try to peek underneath to see the good side. And it was beautiful. No knots, no straggly threads. There was no long stitches crossing. Everything was perfect. It was the finished picture.

And Corrie Ten boon said that’s what life is like: ‘While on earth, we’re only seeing earth’s side of things. We only get to see things in the light of human reality. We don’t get to see the end. Therefore, we often have puzzles and questions about the knots and the tangles of life. Those ugly patches by which we pass through. It doesn’t make sense. Why? How come? Don’t you ask questions like that? About stuff that happens in life?

I just want to take this Scripture and apply it as God’s promise that this world’s not spinning out of control, and that God has a design, a method, a pattern and a plan for every detail of our lives. If that were not true, then this Scripture could not be true. If this Scripture is not true, then the Word of God is not true.

But, because God is who He is - with the pattern and design for even the difficult scars, knots and tangles of life - that means that out of the darkest tangles, He is able to bring something that will bring glory to Himself.

And ultimately, the greatest human purpose...even above the working God and knowing God...the greatest human purpose...I am convinced...is to bring glory to God. If He is glorified, then everything makes sense. And that means that God is able to make something beautiful out of the most difficult circumstances and tragedies by which we pass. No, they’re not beautiful or good in themselves any more than one puzzle piece has very much value or very much beauty, but when you put it all together, it makes a very beautiful picture.

I’ve worked on a few puzzles and there’s nothing so annoying as to get that picture finished except for one measly piece. (laughter) A beautiful picture right there and then there’s one piece missing. That one piece...when it is found, it makes all the difference and turns something ugly into something beautiful.

There is no place where God has offered total explanations for all of our questions. That’s not His purpose. Yes, he give us explanations now and then when we can take it. He gives us promises. And like a child, we must have trust in His promises.

Now, I don’t know what knots or tangles, or questions of confusion are the black scars in your life. But I know enough about myself to know that every one of you has some. If you haven’t, you’ll get some soon. Get ready. (laughter) It’s just a fact of life. If you’re going to weave a tapestry, you’re going to have knots. If you’re going to paint a picture...if you’re going to do anything...there’s going to be corners that need to be fixed. There’s going to be questions. There’s going to be puzzles in life. But, I don’t know, maybe you have family difficulties, maybe it’s rained on your crop. (laughter due to all the rain on our crops). Maybe you got your combine all ready to go and it started raining, again. Maybe it’s a difficult circumstance. Just as the weather turns nice, and just as you’re ready to put the combine into gear, it breaks down.

I don’t know what it’s like in your life. I don’t know your problems. Maybe it’s problems with your home, children, parents, school, your job or lack of a job, maybe its problems with the big truck. Maybe it’s problems with conflicts in the past – things that have happened a long time ago that you’ve never been able to resolve. Situations that come again and again like a black knot or an angry scar in your past and every time it comes up, you say, ‘How can anything good come out of this?’ What is the purpose of this? God, where were you? Why has this happened?

I would just like to remind you of a couple of little things. Turn to 1 Peter 4:12 ‘Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.’ It’s a beautiful Scripture – Don’t be surprised if there’s problems in life, but rejoice. Even the apostle Peter said don’t be surprised – there are going to be knots and tangles in life.

Then I’d like you to turn to John 13:7 – a magnificent Scripture. Jesus was washing the disciples’ feet in John 13 and He came to Peter. And Peter said, ‘You’re not gonna wash my feet.’ I don’t know why he said that. Did you ever wonder why he said that? Jesus was washing the others’ feet. Jesus had previously explained very clearly that He was going to be crucified, that he was going to be resurrected. And all these disciples sitting there didn’t hear a thing. Dead as a doorknob, didn’t understand a word He said, they didn’t hear a thing He said. And now, as He’s going to wash Peter’s feet, Peter says, you can’t wash my feet. Then Jesus says, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me." Then Peter says, ‘Well then, I’ll just crawl right in the basin’. (laughter)In v7, Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand."

I wonder how many times I’m just like Peter. I want an explanation of how this happened, why is it happening, and how is it going to turn out. I really want to understand what’s going. And the Lord says, ‘Anita, there’s really no point in explaining it now...you’re so thick you wouldn’t get it anyway...just trust me and some day, you’ll catch it.’ Now, in that context, I just want to remind you that problems are going to happen in life.

When I was in high school a couple years ago (laughter) I remember in chemistry them telling us where diamonds come from. In Europe, there is coal but the movement of the earth with the heat and pressure rubbing against the coal creates pure elemental carbon and it begins to crystallize and it is this which becomes diamonds. Isn’t that fantastic? That’s why up north near our way, they’re finding huge places full of diamonds. You know, you could be sitting on a diamond mine down here. Under this beautiful prairie, they say it’s full of coal. A diamond is just a chunk of coal that made good under pressure. (laughter)....God’s in the business of making diamonds out of you.

I just want to take the story of Joseph. In Genesis, there are 11 chapters devoted to Joseph. This story is amazing. Let’s review the story starting in chap 37: He’s having these dreams and his brothers were filled with envy and jealousy and they made a plan to kill him then they planned to sell him. So they sold him to Egypt where he became a servant to Potiphar, was falsely accused by that wicked woman, was thrown into prison and forgotten.

Finally, Joseph was brought out to translate the dream of the king and as he stands before Pharoah, Pharoah is so impressed with the gift God has given Joseph, that he says to Joseph, ‘I want you to be the prime minister of Egypt’. So suddenly, from the dungeon to the throne, Joseph becomes the 2nd most powerful man in Egypt in that society.

So, here is Joseph, the years have gone by...20 yrs at least, full of questions. On the backside of the tapestry of Joseph’s life, all he sees are the knots and the tangles. It doesn’t even make sense: Why did I even have those dreams? What do the dreams mean? Why do my brothers hate me enough to kill me? They sold me. And then I tried to live a life with integrity and I’m falsely accused of rape. Then I’m thrown in a dungeon and they forget me. Then why have I become the 2nd most powerful man in the world. Why?

If Joseph could look at the tapestry of his life from the wrong side, there would be so many knots, scars, wonderings, and so much confusion, don’t you think?

But why? How come? Just like the little kids aged 2-4: But why? But why? And after you give them the very best explanation – but how come? (laughter) And I’m sure, that’s how it was for Joseph. If he’d argued, he could’ve become so disheartened simply because of all the knots, tangles and questions in his life. But he just kept on walking with the Lord.

Then one day in Gen 45, Joseph finally got all 11 of his brothers bowing on their knees in front of him and it’s exactly like his dream of 20 yrs ago. As they are bowing, he tells the Egyptians to go away and probably for the first in 20 yrs, he speaks Hebrew in v3: ‘Joseph said to his brothers, "I am Joseph!’ It was an earth-shattering moment. Then Joseph goes on to ask, ‘“Is my father still living?" But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence.’

They were terrified. This powerful prince is their little brother who they sold and took the money and bought goodies with it...this powerful person standing if front on them... and they know their very lives hang in his fingertips. Just one word from Joseph and they could all lose their heads or dangle from ropes for weeks. It was a terrifying moment.

And look what it says in v7 & 8: ‘But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.’ Just for a picture’s sake, could it be at that moment, that God has turned the tapestry and Joseph can see what God sees.

Do you get what I’m saying? It was not you guys, it was God. And in God’s big plan, he’s arranged this whole thing so I can be at this place at the right time in history at the right moment to save your lives.

God made a promise to Adam that He will send a Messiah...then God goes ahead 20 yrs and sends Joseph ahead to prepare the way, speaking the right language, the right culture at the right moment in history to prepare a way to save the promise He made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob...a promise that affected the coming of Jesus Christ through the house of Judah, 1500 hrs later.

The promise is true. All things work together for the good – not only in that little moment in time that we see, but in the big scheme of things. Some of the knots in our life are downright ugly and painful but somehow, they can work together for good to them who love God.

Now, you can understand Joseph at this moment. I want to show you something now from the others side. I want to tell you the rest of the story (laughter)

Look in Gen 46 for Jacob’s story. Joseph was Jacob’s favorite son. Jacob has sent Joseph to check on his brothers. The brothers take Joseph, strip him and sell him. They take his coat of many colors, dip it in blood, bring it back to their father and say, ‘Well, it looks like an animal ate him’. Jacob is devastated. ‘Joseph, my son!’ And the years of questions begin. Why did I send him out to his brothers? I’m not sure of their story...I don’t trust them. Why did I let him out of my sight? All the introspection...

And the Bible says, Jacob refused to be comforted. He mourned and grieved for his son, Joseph. His hair turned gray and he cried buckets of tears every morning until sunset as he grieved for his son. Twenty years of mourning and grieving and praying. Then one day, the 11 brothers come trotting back from Egypt with these fancy wagons and say, ‘Guess what we found in Egypt? Joseph is alive in Egypt!’
Jacob can’t believe it! He just spent 20 yrs grieving the loss of his son and now they’re saying he’s alive in Egypt.

I don’t think the brothers went into any great detail explaining how Joseph ended up in Egypt. Jacob would not believe until he saw the wagons and then he said, "I'm convinced my son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die." V27 & 28. Then Jacob packed up the whole family and moved to Egypt because there would be 7 more years of famine.

And the first night of the trip God comes to Jacob with a dream/vision and says starting in Gen 46:3 ‘I am God, the God of your father," He said. "Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again...’ Oh, and by the way, you’ll get to see Joseph again, isn’t that neat. Now, my question is: Why didn’t God give that dream to Jacob 20 yrs previous ago? It would’ve saved 20 barrels of tears never mind the waste of Kleenex! (laughter) Why didn’t God explain it 20 yrs ago? Why? Why didn’t you tell me. I could’ve enjoyed 20 yrs of joys and blessings, sunsets and roses.

I believe this explains why Jesus said to Peter. ‘You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand." I think Jacob was enough like you and me that if he’d known his favorite son, Joseph, was alive and well in Egypt, he would’ve hopped onto the first camel, trotted right down there, got Joseph, and trotted them all back and got them all in a heaping mess.

But God couldn’t tell Jacob not one minute sooner. I think for the same reason Jesus couldn’t tell Peter. We’d like to get into Gods plan. We’d like to make the design of our own tapestry to our own will. But, God’s design is so far superior to ours. And we know we have God’s promise that all things work together for good.

How many of you have read the book, The Missing Piece by Lee Ezell? She became a Christian at 17 yrs at a gospel service and grew to love the Lord. One night walking home from work, she was attacked by a man and as a result, was going to have a baby. Huge questions: God, where were you? Why did you let this happen? With no means of support, she gave her baby up for adoption. When here baby was born, she held it for a while then gave it away. The years went by and she was married and had other children but she’d wake in the night, think of her missing child, and pray that her little girl would come to know Jesus. And the questions. Why? Ugly, dark nightmares and scars of her past. Then 20 yrs later she was reunited with her daughter – a mirror image of herself 20 yrs earlier. What do you say to each other? Finally Lee, the mother burst out, ‘Why did you try to find me?’ And her young 20 yr old daughter said, ‘Just a few yrs ago, somebody told me about a Friend who’d never leave me. I gave my life to Jesus and at that moment, something happened inside me. I just had to find my birth mother and tell her about Jesus.’

They gave testimony together that God can make something beautiful out of the ugliest tragedy of our life. And sometimes we get to see other tapestries - just little glimpses - while we’re still here. Sometimes we’re gonna have to wait til we see the other side of the picture. If you’ve every done any type of needlework, when you’ve made the finest stitches, the ugliest knots are made because of the finest stitches in the picture.

We don’t have explanations, but we have His promise. There is one condition to this promise: ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him who are called according to his purpose.’ That’s the one condition – that we are loving God and following his path.

What about you this morning? Many of you follow Jesus, but what about the ones who’s faith have fallen by the way because of all the questions in your life? This morning, let’s make a commitment to hold His hand, even if we don’t have the explanations. Even if we don’t understand. Even though the knots and the tangles are so long, some day we’ll understand.

Can we make that engagement with Jesus today?

You can find out more about Anita’s music and books at www.inspirationministries.net/ E-mail: inspiration@sasktel.net


Thursday, September 4, 2008

COTH Baptismal Service

On Sunday Aug 24th, 2008 Pastor Lorne's message was on why we were holding a Baptismal service that afternoon. He used scriptural references including Jesus being baptized in the Jordan River. His message explained why a person would want to get baptized. He told us that 'Baptism is an outward example to people who witness it that the person has decided to follow Christ in their life and they’re going to dedicate their life to him and whatever direction in life He will lead them.'

After the morning service concluded, the congregation went out to Wes and Lori's farm for the  Baptismal Service where six members would take the plunge for Christ.

Here, Pastor Lorne explains that getting baptized is following Christ's direction and the only criteria for baptism is that you believe Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins and ask Him into your heart.

Preparing for the Plunge, COTH Baptismal Service 2008

The physical act of being baptized is when the pastor lowers you in the water, holds you under for several moments, and then brings you up. It sounds like a weird thing to do, but it symbolizes that you are yielding to Christ and are going to live your life for Him.

Who's First?, COTH  Baptismal Service 2008

Lori Leads in Prayer, COTH Baptismal Service 2008

JJ Being Baptized, COTH Baptismal Service 2008

Nick Before, COTH Baptismal Service 2008

Nick Being Baptized, COTH Baptismal Service 2008

Nick After Baptism, COTH Baptismal Service 2008

Maurice Before, COTH Baptismal Service 2008

Maurice Being Baptized, COTH Baptismal Service 2008

Celine Being Baptized, COTH Baptismal Service 2008

Sam Before, COTH Baptismal Service 2008

Sam Being Baptized, COTH Baptismal Service 2008

Tammy Before, COTH Baptismal Service 2008

Tammy After, COTH Baptismal Service 2008

As you can see from these images, there is no age requirement for water baptism, merely an understanding of what it symbolizes and an agreement to comply. On this day, 10 yr old JJ was the youngest to take the plunge. He told me before the event that he'd been practicing holding his head under water. Clearly, he was ready for this momentous occasion in his young life.

Are you?