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

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Talking About Trouble

Scriptures: Job 2:11-13, Job 5:6-7, Psalm 139:23, Zechariah 13:9,
Psalm 46:1, Psalm 34:6, Job 19:25-26, 2 Tim 1:12

On Sunday, June 22nd, Pastor Lorne was back in the pulpit. He said he wanted to talk about trouble. He said trouble is something that follows us around. It doesn’t matter where you go, what you do or who you are. Trouble is always there.

Pastor Lorne said Job (pronounced jōb) in the Bible, is a good example of someone who had trouble. Job had everything and lost it all. His family. His livestock. His health. Even the respect of his wife.

Pastor Lorne said every time he thinks about Job, he thinks about those guys sitting there on the ground, day in and day out for a week. (Job 2:11-13) He said you’d have to be a pretty good friend and he didn’t know if he could that for a week without talking. (Laughter)

He asked us to turn to Job 5:6-7 which reads, ‘For hardship does not spring from the soil, nor does trouble sprout from the ground. Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward’. Pastor Lorne explained this to mean trouble doesn’t grow like wheat or oats. You can’t say, ‘Here’s hardship, let’s pull it up or spray it away’ like you would a weed. You can’t say, ‘Look! Here comes trouble.’ It’s not a tangible thing. You can’t touch it. Trouble isn’t something we can wrap in plastic and then point to it and say, ‘that’s my trouble for the year’ and unwrap it when it’s convenient.

There are some preachers who say if you’re a born again believer and know the Lord, then you should never have trouble. You should always have money in bank, be healthy, etc. Pastor Lorne said it sounds good and if we live in faith, it could be that way, yet as he studies, he’s read how some of the greatest men in the Bible suffered and experienced the most trouble of all:

  • Abraham – who had lots of servants and animals but could only keep half

  • David – who even though he was called a man after God’s own heart, spent most of his life as a fugitive, spurned by even his own family and all sorts of trouble in his life

  • Hosea – who faced trouble after taking back his prostitute wife

  • Jeremiah, and many more men who were called of God but who faced troubles.

  • And what about Paul? His life was full of trouble. He spent more time in prison than anywhere else. He was shipwrecked 3 times, got beaten, and yet he was a great man of God.

  • And of course Jesus who wasn’t accepted. He was ridiculed, mocked, and persecuted. Yet he was the Son of God.
These were heroes of faith and yet they experienced trouble in their life.

Pastor Lorne said the same holds true for most of us. He doesn’t know anyone who floats along without trouble.

So what happens when you get into trouble? Pastor Lorne said the 1st thing we should question is if there is sin in our life. He said sometimes God uses situations or circumstances to bring something to our attention. Something that He’s not pleased with.

When we get into trouble we should take stock of our lives and as David says in Psalm 139:23, we should pray, ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.’ And we should use this as an opportunity to fix whatever is wrong with our lives.

In the Old Testament, God let more things happen so that His people would come back to Him, but in the New Testament, it doesn’t seem to be as predominate due to God’s grace and Jesus.

But another reason for our troubles could be to strengthen us, refine us and make us more pure. Pastor Lorne asked us to turn to Zechariah 13:9 (2nd last book in the Old T) He said 2/3rds of the people had gone after their own ways, were struck down and perished. But in v9 God says, ‘This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, 'They are my people’, and they will say, 'The LORD is our God.' So, Pastor Lorne said, we go through trouble so God can develop us into something pure and clean. Like silver and gold that must be melted down so that the impurities are sifted out. It makes us stronger and a little tougher so we can stand the rigors of life over time.

To get back to Job, Pastor Lorne asked, do we wonder why him? The Bible says he not only feared God but he reverenced Him. He trusted Him. He even made sacrifices on his children’s behalf in case they sinned. God even bragged about Job to Satan. So why would Job have trouble? Pastor Lorne said God used Job as a witness to Satan and to the world of that day that Job served God not because of the things he had but he served God because he honored and revered God.

We know how well off Job was with a good family and then nothing, not even his health. And yet God brought him back to where he’d been but everything was better.

When we consider Satan, he looks for opportunities to cause trouble. Some people are like that, they do it just to cause a bit of fun. Then there’s others who stir things up to be conniving...like Satan. He does whatever he can to get in there and upsets things to cause trouble.

Pastor Lorne said sometimes we’re called to stand and not let Satan get in there. But God won’t leave you alone. In all situations, God is there to take you through it. Psalms 46:1 says, ‘God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.’ Remember that the next time you go to work and the back tractor tire is flat. Or you have no clean clothes for school and the washing machine is broken. Or your shoe lace breaks. Whatever it might be, remember the scripture that God is with you.

Psalms 34:6 says, ‘This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.’ When surrounded by troubles, David said he called to God and God heard him. When you run into trouble, know that you can run to God and He will deliver you.

Pastor Lorne said another scripture he really likes is Job 19:25, 26 which states, ‘I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.’ Now here’s Job in all his misery and yet he knows he’ll see God when all was said and done. He still trusted in Him. He had assurance that he’d see God in the end.

Pastor Lorne said the final scripture he wanted to bring to our attention was 2 Tim 1:12. He said, now here’s Paul who went through all sorts of trouble. He was beaten, stoned, and jailed, and yet he says here, ‘That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.’ Paul was convinced that he could trust God and God would see him through anything.

Pastor Lorne didn’t know why he chose this message for us. He said it’s not that he saw anyone in trouble. He said he’s not the type to see someone do something and then feel like he’s got to preach about it on Sunday. He just felt all week that he should bring this message to us. He wanted us to feel persuaded in our heart and in our soul that God is able to see anything that is entrusted to Him.

Don’t give up. Don’t despair. Remember what David said: God will deliver you from all evil. God will walk with you. He will give you the power of the Holy Spirit in your life so that you can go right through trouble. You can be down with a fever, have a big bill to pay with no money in the bank, family problems or relationship problems. Pastor Lorne said he wants you to know that Jesus will be right there with you.

Pastor Lorne’s encouragement was to know that God loves you and cares about you not just when everything’s going good in your life but also when you’re down, and in need, and nothing’s going good and when you really don’t have any faith, and you just can’t believe anymore. Remember that God is still with you. Just call on Him and He will keep you and take you through it and bring you out victorious in the end.

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

Comments are appreciated. If you’re not sure how, please click on ‘comments’ under 'Labels' in the right column.


Monday, June 23, 2008

YFC and A Father’s Love

Scriptures: Luke 8:1-3, Eph 6:6-9, Luke 15:11-31, Eph 5:22-27,
Matt 25:31-40, 1 Cor 13:1, 13

Sunday, Jun 15 was Father’s Day. Since the Keller’s were leading worship, Richard played guitar while Lorette started off the day by reading Psalm 71 which describes a perfect Father.

Pastor Lorne was giving the message at the Pilot Butte Rodeo on behalf of the Christian Cowboy’s Assoc and he’d taken Jessica to provide music for the service.

So back at COTH, our guest speaker was Mike Zorn from Grenfell who is the Director of the Kipling Youth Centre, which is affiliated with Youth For Christ (YFC).

He said he had two messages to pass on to us today.

The first was to talk about his recent sojourn into Ontario with YFC and how it affected him. Mike talked about how our thinking is changing with the times. People aren’t hearing what we say so we have to find other ways to tell them about Christ.

Mike said he’s always struggled with the idea that missionaries have to rely on other people for their needs. Mike comes from a farming background and although they had money, like most farmers they always needed it. But he said if you wanted something, you worked for it.

He said working at the Youth Centre for YFC is like being a missionary. That’s his job. And he’s not used to asking for money. Before he went to Ont, pride got in his way. But then God opened his eyes to what ‘support’ really means. There are biblical scriptures to back up the need to support missionaries. Mike told us to look at the first 3 verses of Luke 8 where we find Jesus and His disciples traveling from one town to another. Verse 3 says, ‘Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod's household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.’ So where does it leave Mike’s pride if Jesus, who has everything at His command, was accepting support from the women.

Mike said another thing opened his ‘missionary’ eyes. Churches across Canada are comfortable sending missionaries overseas and yet YFC is a mission for the youth of our nation here at home. He said when you think about it, you can go down to the mall and if you see a group of youth with their tattoos, crazy hair, etc, do you understand what they’re saying? What image are they trying to project? Why are they angry?

Mike said we don’t see the value in over missionaries to tribes in the jungles. We don’t see the end result. But we live in a country that needs missionaries to our people. In fact, other countries are sending missionaries to us. He said there are even some Korean missionaries living in Grenfell.

Mike said his calling is a missionary to the youth of Canada. He said our culture is changing so rapidly...the way we think...new technology...our language...our priorities. But he said, without spending time with teens, you can’t understand them. We need people to speak into their lives. So that’s what Mike is doing. He said he’s taking 10 hand picked kids from the Kipling Youth Centre to summer camp. But Mike said these kids can’t afford to go so if God is laying it on anyone’s heart to give support, he’ll accept it thankfully.

Mike then said the 2nd message he wanted to tell us was about our Father’s love.

He started by telling us a joke about a man taking a job as a gorilla’s caretaker. I was so engrossed listening, that I didn’t get it all down but it ended with the man in a gorilla costume falling into a lion’s cage and finding out that the lion was also just a man wearing a costume. The point of Mike’s story is that we wrap these things like costumes around us and it hides our true natures. No one is a hypocrite on purpose. But sometimes we are ‘in costume’ and sometimes we aren’t depending on who we’re talking to.

What does it mean to be a child of God? Mike said he tries to be loving and generous and yet he’s human and often fails. He gets down on himself. There are times the whole born again Christian thing is a lot of work and gets him down. But the other times when he’s running on 8 cylinders and he’s on a high are the times God has touched him.

Mike said the week in Ont was the best one in his life. God touched him and did some amazing things in his life. The whole Christian walk isn’t that hard in those times – it flows out of you. You love people. You love everyone. And that’s an exciting place to be. He said he thinks that’s a place God wants us to be. Life is hard...it’s not all cloud 9 but God wants us to minister out of Him...not out of us. That’s a trap we fall into.

What does the love of God entail? There are two loves in the bible:

Worldly love – the love of us: I do for you and you do for me. That’s a trap. We put expectations on people and if they act my way I’ll accept them and drop them if they don’t.

Mike said his first experience with love was when he was 8 years old. She was fair-haired, beautiful, cute and funny. But he was tongue-tied and couldn’t speak to her. So, Mike corralled a friend into speaking for him. Mike said he stared as his friend whispered in her ear. And he stood there as the fair-haired beauty walked up to him – and poured hot chocolate all over him. That’s worldly love.

Mike said in Greek, God’s love is agape – unconditional love. The love of a Creator for His creation. The love of a baby for his mother. Not - if you do this I’ll like you, but love with no strings attached.

God loves us 3 ways:

God loves us like a master: Look at Eph 6:6-9. In particular, v8 says, ‘...the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.’ What kind of a boss is God? Mike said for him, he’s had many jobs and many bosses. There was one that you just knew that as soon as a dirty job came Mike would have to do it. The boss would do the easy ones and Mike would get the gross ones. Mike said it bothered him. He didn’t like that boss because the boss didn’t care for his employee. And the result was that Mike gained a bad attitude toward bosses. Then, he worked for another boss who paid well and taught him what a good boss was. He was always there before the employees, stayed later than everyone and did the dangerous jobs himself. He didn’t get mad when things broke and expensive repairs needed to be fixed. He didn’t raise his voice, just got it fixed and carried on. He wouldn’t get mad if you were trying but he wouldn’t put up with wanton destruction or bad behaviour, either. Mike said it opened his eyes to the way God is a master to us. God doesn’t give us all the dirty jobs. He is a loving master. He’s so in love with us and He’s proud of us.

God loves us like a father. Mike said to look at the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-31. He said that many fathers love their sons but when they get into trouble, they say, ‘you made your bed, now lie in it’. But in the parable of the prodigal son, the father saw his son a long way off and he ran to him. Mike said you have to understand the culture. First, to have seen his son a long way off meant the father was watching for his return. Next, his father was a rich man. Rich men in those days wore robes. And they didn’t run in their robes. Mike also said it was hot and so the men wouldn’t wear anything under their robe. The slaves just wore a loincloth but the rich men wore these heavy robes and walked everywhere. But the father of the prodigal son, lifted his robe and ran! He was so passionate for his son he didn’t care about his position, pride or what he looked like – he lifted his robe and ran to his son. That’s the way God loves us!

God loves us like a lover. Mike said to look at Eph 5:22-27. He said these are the ‘powder keg’ verses...wives submit to you husbands...husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church. He said in the history of the church these verses have been abused especially by men toward women. And many times women have a hard time with these verses. And yet when you look in the context of the scripture, it shouldn’t be abusive. Mike told us that Christ was God and equal to God and yet He came to earth and served the church and died for the church. He said imagine finding a man that you knew would die for you in a second. That you were the apple of his eye. He would give up the riches of the world...anything...for you. Would you have a problem doing something for him, submitting to him if you knew he would never do anything to hurt you? That’s how God loves us...like lovers. It’s not a control issue.

How are we to love the world? Mike said, so often we say we need to show the world love but love isn’t a show. If we need to pretend to love or accept someone to show them love, it isn’t love. It has to be more than that...more than the programs in church.
Sometime, someone puts a burden on someone’s heart to do something but once the goal is met, you lose heart. He said especially for things like youth centres. It’s defined for kids that are hurting but after awhile it’s all about the program and raising money for the centre and sometimes the kids needs get lost.

God’s love is not a show. Mike said he’s heard it said that we may be the only Jesus the world ever sees. If that’s true then we’re in trouble because we’re not a very good Jesus most of the time. In fact, the opposite might be true. In Matt 25:31-40 Jesus is explaining that when you feed someone who’s hungry, offer clothes to someone who needs them, take care of the sick, visit someone in prison, etc, then you’re actually doing those things to him. Is that the Jesus people see in us?

Mike said that even in our current society, so often the church battles against culture but culture is culture. It’s the people and it’s what people think. We work with the people. He said in the past, you’d be expected to give a tract and walk away, letting the people find Jesus by themselves. You’d give some effort to bring Christ to the people but then the matter would be dropped. But the culture is changing. Now, people won’t even accept the tract. So, our focus needs to change – we need to get involved with people.

Are we actually moving towards Christ or away? Mike said the whole idea of friendship evangelists – that is becoming your neighbour’s friend so you can spring Christ on them at the right moment – well, he said – as soon as you steer a conversation , it’s no longer a conversation but a sales pitch. Consider the telemarketers pushing something at you. They don’t care about you, just the end result. Some people treat evangelism like that. Some people say they try and if someone doesn’t respond to the Word, they drop them. But imagine Jesus doing that. Imagine Jesus spending a few days with some prostitutes and if they don’t change, would he walk away saying I give up on you?

Mike said we need to be close to people so that Jesus’ love will overflow. To just love people and trust God to do the rest. Can we trust God to do the rest? Can we trust God to change and convert them? Is it our job? No, it’s God’s job. It’s just our job to love them. People are more in need of our presence than our knowledge.

Mike ended with these 2 scriptures: 1 cor 13:1 ‘If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.’ And then in v13 ‘And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.’

If you would like to speak to Mike Zorn about this msg or YFC, please email here and I'll pass your msg along.
Comments are appreciated. If you’re not sure how, please click on ‘comments’ under 'Labels' in the right column.


Monday, June 16, 2008

2008 COTH Picnic

Sat, Jun 14, was a fun night! We gathered at Church on the Hill (COTH) and had a picnic right on the grounds. As the pics will show, we are blessed to have abundant space around the church to play in.

Thank you to the following people for this night wouldn't have been as great if not for their work:
Rhonda & Theresa - The organizers
Scott (left) and Diane - The cooks (BBQ) (Scott also gave his testimony later at the fireside)
Dennis & Doris - The kitchen
Celine - The farm fresh eggs

This blog entry is now complete. Did I forget anyone?

The Golf Ball Toss

(Throw a ball to the line and closest wins)


The Bubble Blowing Contest

This was hard to take photos of! I kept hearing grunting noises as kids tried to get my attention for proof of their bubble. I tried to include as many kids that tried as I could here:

These photos are not necessarily in order.


Horseshoe Pitch - What form! What Style!

Now that's how you do it!


The Egg Toss


'Captured' Photos:

Ssssssshhhhhh -------------------------------------- Self-Portraits in Chalk