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

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Nikki Goes Back to Australia

Nikki, a delightful exchange student, will be flying home to Australia at 10:30 am on Thurs, Jan 31st. We ask that you pray for her safe journey home.

Pastor Lorne mentioned that she's going back to her school of 600 students where she is President of the Student Council.

While here, she is a member of Pastor Lorne and Dianne's family where she 'cooks tea'. Pastor Lorne explained with a smile that it means she makes supper.

Nikki's goal is to become a medical doctor.

She attended Church on the Hill for the final time on Sunday. On behalf of the church, Rose presented Nikki with a quilt and she will also receive a Bible.

Nikki graciously accepted the quilt. She thanked the church for being her 'adopted family' and said she'll be back.

I talked to Nikki tonight, on the eve of her leaving. She was having some friends over for a last goodbye party but took time to answer some questions.

Anita: How long were you in Canada?
Nikki: 2 mos. It’s my summer vacation.

Anita: Was it what you expected?
Nikki: Not really, no. It was different from what I expected because I didn’t realize that Saskatchewan was so rural. I thought it would have more big cities.

Anita: Was it easy to make friends?
Nikki: Yes, through the church youth group.

Anita: What about school?
Nikki: Lovely people but I had a value clash with others.

Anita: What is the biggest difference between Can and Aust?
Nikki: The food! We don’t have bagels, poutine or perogies in Aust and I’ll miss them. Also, there is a 90 deg C temp difference. It’s +40C in Aust today. (Note – the temp here yesterday was -51C/-56.8F with the wind chill.)

Anita: Is the money that different?
Nikki: I kept having trouble with the coins because I’d never had a penny before. I found it funny that you can rip your money because our bills are made of plastic.

Nikki, we pray that God will shower you with blessings. We are very sad to see you leave.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Are you Overwhelmed?

Sunday’s Reading: Romans 8:28-39

Refs used in Sunday’s message: John 6:5-13, Luke 9:13-15, Psalm 34, Psalm 91


Pastor Lorne’s message on Sunday was about being overwhelmed. The biblical example he used was that of Jesus feeding the crowd of 5,000. Of how overwhelming it must have been for the 12 disciples when they realized they were expected to feed that huge crowd.

Pastor Lorne said the crowd was probably larger than 5,000 because both John and Luke speak of the crowd of 5,000 men and don’t mention anything about the women and children that also followed wherever Jesus went.

To put this in perspective, I’ve just googled the internet and if the info is correct, Wikipedia lists the Brandt Centre in Regina as having a seating capacity of 7,000. Wow. (And Jesus didn’t get to use their microphones, either.)

Pastor Lorne says to pretend you are one of the disciples. Jesus asks you to feed the people. Well, you can’t run to the corner store, and even if you could, you don’t have any money to buy anything. What do you do?

Would you be like Philip? John 6:7 shows Philip as saying: "Eight months' wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!" Okay, so he was a realist.

Andrew knows it won’t feed everyone but being an optimist, he brings forward a young boy and his lunch of 5 small barley loaves and 2 small fish. (John 6:9) Then Andrew looks at Jesus and says, “but how far will they go among so many?"

And what of the other disciples? What an overwhelming task!

If you look at Luke’s version (Luke 9:14), Jesus told the disciples to divide the crowd into groups of 50 each. So, the ratio would be approx 1 disciple*** for each group. Pastor Lorne reminded us that they didn’t have buffets back then either. (While writing this blog entry from my notes taken on Sun, I got to thinking about the Glenavon Bakery. Again, for perspective, I phoned and asked how many they can feed at one sitting - 64. Can you imagine if you had to serve them all by yourself? I mean, we’re not talking about the buffet style they do on Sunday mornings, but actually hand feeding each of them? When I called the Bakery, I spoke to Amber, one of the servers. I asked how she’d feel if she had to hand serve a meal by herself. Her quick answer was, “Tired!”) ***Feb 11: there would have been approx 100 groups with around 50 people in each group for the 12 disciples to handfeed. And yes, that would have been overwhelming! (Sorry - it seems I can't add.)

Still putting yourself in the sandals of the disciples, while you’re handing out the food to your group, wouldn’t you dwell on the fact that there wasn’t enough food for everyone? Wouldn’t that be overwhelming?

Pastor Lorne mentioned events in our modern world. Like those TV commercials about the starving children in 3rd world countries: have you been so overwhelmed thinking that your few dollars won’t make a difference? What about those homeless people in the inner cities – there are so many … what can you do? Would giving them a few dollars really make a difference?

Pastor Lorne referred back to John 6:11 – it says the crowd was given to eat “as much as they wanted”. That means they ate until they were full and could’ve had seconds! Not only that, but when they were done eating, Jesus told his disciples to gather up the leftovers. Leftovers? John 6:12-13 says they “filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten”. So, they ended up with more than they started with after 5000 men had their fill!

What made the difference? One young boy’s lunch and Jesus giving the blessing (John 6:11).

Are you overwhelmed with things in your own life? Are you in so deep you just can’t seem to get anywhere? Do you have a task that you should be doing but you keep putting off because it’s so overwhelming?

Whatever situation you’re in, take it to Jesus. He’s able to lift you out of anything, no matter how depressing, hopeless, or trivial it seems.

Jesus already knows what He’s going to do to help you, so why put off asking him? He’s waiting for you to bring it to Him.

If you would like to talk to Pastor Lorne about this or any other matter, his contact info is on the bottom right of this screen.

Your comments are invited.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

It’s An Awesome Task!

Sunday’s Reading: John 7:37-39, Eph 5:18-20, Gal 5:16-17, 22-25

Bible text used in Sunday’s message: Rom 12:9-31, Heb 13:1-2,
Rom 13:4, Rom 15:5-6, Luke 14:8-9
( glenavonchurch.googlepages.com/library )

Pastor Lorne’s msg on Sunday was about the awesome task Paul laid on us:
To show Jesus to the world by letting everyone see how we live. Do people see Jesus when they look at you?

The Bible says to honour someone else before yourself. Pastor Lorne said that’s kind of radical thinking in this day and age. I guess he has a point because that would certainly make you stand out in some crowds!

The Bible says practice hospitality. When Pastor Lorne paraphrased that as being friendly to strangers, I thought of how meek I am walking into a roomful of people. I have a tendency to ignore the whole bunch instead of looking them in the eye in a friendly manner. I guess Jesus wouldn’t ignore them, eh?

Pastor Lorne broke into my reverie by saying we shouldn’t retaliate. That made me think of Matt 7:12 – otherwise known as the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I remember going home to help Mom clear out the old place and we came upon some stuff that belonged to my brothers. We opened one scribbler and written on the inside cover was, “Do unto others and then split!” My mom expressed a negative reaction about “those boys”. I only waited a few seconds before admitting that I’d written that. She didn’t believe me (grin). Of course, I never did anything like that … just writing those words were about as delinquent as I got … but I wonder how many people have that mentality and carry it out?

There, my mind was wandering again! Pastor Lorne was telling us to show empathy and not be too proud to associate with those less fortunate than us. It made me think about the homeless and how I try to ignore some people looking for spare change in downtown Regina. Pastor Lorne also mentioned the Bible passage about the banquet table, which explains about putting too much importance on yourself. (Luke 14:8,9)

He mentioned that Paul’s list of directives is tough, revolutionary and some even go against human nature. But that’s what we have to do to mirror Christ.

Angels. Pastor Lorne mentioned that you never know if a stranger is really an angel. (Heb 13:2) How many times have you avoided a misfortune because of an unexplained piece of luck? Think about it.

He further went on to say: “Paul wants to give us a spirit of unity so we can be as one with the world”.

I thought of the upcoming Service of Unity on Tues night when the 3 local churches would gather here at Church on the Hill.

That’s when I realized I’d missed Pastor Lorne’s closing comment. It sounded good but I was only half-listening so my mind hadn’t grasped it. I did hear that we were to mirror God.

If you want to know more about this message, contact Pastor Lorne at the phone/email listed on the bottom right of this blog.

Okay, so now you know what I was doing in church … what about you? I invite you to leave a comment.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Circle Square Symbol

I emailed Wolf Creek Circle Square Ranch asking if they could explain what their take is on the circle/square symbol mentioned in my last entry.

Ranch Director Robin Exner (The Sheriff) was kind enough to email back with this explanation:

The symbol was designed from our foundational verse located in Luke 2:52: Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. The verse talks about four areas of life in which Jesus grew - intellectual, physical, spiritual, and social. The four sides of the square (and the pieces they form inside the circle) represent these four areas of life. The square represents Jesus, and when He is at the center of our life, He brings balance to these four areas. The Circle represents God's unending love, just as a circle goes around and around without ending. His love holds everything together in our life.
That's it in a nutshell!
Thanks Robin.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Don't Worry - Just Fit the Puzzle Pieces

The is my understanding of Sunday's sermon.

References: Luke 12:22-31, Ecc 3:11-14 and John 3:15-17, Psalm 23 http://glenavonchurch.googlepages.com/library

God created us. As His children, we aren't to worry about physical things of this world, for He will take care of us as long as we trust Him to do it. "But seek His kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well." Luke 12:31

Although we need food and shelter for our physical health, we also need the emotional, social and spiritual health that comes from being happy and at peace with our families, friends, and the rest of the world.

Pastor Lorne used the example of the symbol for the nearby Wolf Creek Circle Square Ranch. The symbol is a circle with a square in the centre to show the relationship we have with God. The four parts of the circle represent the 4 areas of our lives. The square reminds us that we need God's presence equally in all 4 areas to lead a balanced life while on this earth.

Again, the 4 areas are: spiritually, mentally, socially and physically.

Pastor Lorne likened the areas of our lives to puzzle pieces. Each part has a specific place that it tucks into nicely, but only when you add God does the puzzle become complete.

To find out more at about Wolf Creek Circle Square Ranch, click here: http://www.csranch.ca/wolf_creek/index.html

Please post a comment. I'd be interested to hear your opinion.