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

Friday, July 31, 2009

Youth Mission Team

As of last Sunday, 7 members of the COTH youth group headed out on Street Invaders mission trips.

L to R:




Jason (behind)



Noelle, Jessica and Samantha are flying over to Scotland.

Nastassja, Jason and Nick are ministering here in Saskatchewan.

Please pray for these young people as they bring God's Word to others, that He puts words in their mouths when the time comes so they boldly step forward in His name.

Please pray for the youth so they may keep their ears attuned to God and carry out God's will with obedience.

Please pray for a hedge of protection around these young people and their leader that God keeps them safe as they travel far from their families.

Friday, July 24, 2009

How Do We Please God?

Scripture: I Sam 9:27 to 10:13, Heb 8:10-12, Micah 6: 6-8

Mike Zorn from Grenfell was our guest speaker on Sunday as Pastor Lorne and his family ministered with the Fellowship of Christian Cowboys Assoc.

The message was based on I Samuel 9:27 to 10:13
Mike started the message by giving an apology. He said, as a Christian leader, he advises not to drink, swear, smoke, have pre-marital sex, etc. And he advises to pray, read the Bible, worship God and do all the things which we know will please god. But, he said, quite often even the preachers do some of those things. This fact has divided some churches.

He said there are different types of churches. Some churches are squeaky clean where you’re frowned upon if you drink alcohol, smoke tobacco products, attend movie theatres or participate in dances, etc.

He said if you’re a member of a Pentecostal church you probably go to the odd movie that Jesus wouldn’t like, or even have a bottle of liquor in the house. At least hidden from the pastor. (chuckles). Other religions allow you to be out drinking and swearing even with the pastor.

But how do the kids see us? We preach God values but we don’t live them. Mike said he wants to be honest as a Christian leader but he spends most of his life telling the youth in the centre not to do this and that. He wants perfect kids so people will send in lots of money to support the youth centre. They won’t support the centre if kids are drunk, stoned, or walk around swearing.

But is this how we please God? Mike said sometimes he puts conditions for the kids to please him as the centre leader, or for the pastors or even the town elders.

But how do you please God? Way back when, cavemen saw thunder and thought the gods were angry. They attributed crop failures, lack of deer for hunting, disease, etc to the gods being angry with them. Even in the Old Testament, we read that if someone did this, God would be happy. Yet the Bible is filled with people who didn’t do what God would have liked.

You can’t do enough for God. In the New Testament we live in grace. Jesus paid our way. His blessing is complete. Yet we’ve traded one set of rules for another.

What do we do to please God? If things go bad, what do we do not to displease God?

What is sin? Sin is different for everyone. For Mike, sin is anything that displeases God.

So what displeases God? Mike said anything we do that hurts ourselves, others or God displeases God. That is sin in the simplest of definitions. He said as humans we want simple steps. We say, ‘Tell me what to do so I won’t sin any more.’ We need someone to tell us what to do. We watch commercials and believe what they tell us. That if we buy Tide laundry detergent, we’ll have perfectly clean children. If we shave with a Gillette shaver women will want to touch our face. If we drive a Pontiac vehicle, we’ll live an exciting life.

We want God to give us 3 simple rules we can follow for the rest of our lives. But 2 hrs after a sermon, if you ask the average person, they can’t remember the message. Yet, the same people will watch a movie and 2 months later, they’ll remember some of the scenes and maybe even some lines.

The Bible is 90 % stories and 10 teachings. The Bible is filled with fallen people. Yet we expect our lives to be different. We learn by experience. By falling and getting up again. That’s how we learn. The Bible is filled with people who had a heart after God and yet they struggled through life. Other people didn’t have a heart after God and their life showed it. Our life is meant to be lived as a story and there are no easy steps. God wants us to live from the place in our heart.

Mike said he likes live entertainment like concerts. The best speakers or entertainers don’t need to be good but need to speak or sing from their heart. He knows 2 people who sing. One sings with symphonies and is a perfect singer, with an amazing voice that sounds good to the ear but she sings from her head. But another friend has no training except piano and sings from her heart. She isn’t as polished but when she sits down to sing, something is going through the audience. She has a connection with them. A good entertainer speaks through the heart. People latch onto that.

In the Bible, we have a group of people who had a heart for God and yet they struggled with life.

- David was called a man after God’s own heart and yet he committed adultery and murder.
- Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived yet he spent his life seeking material possessions.
- Peter was a peace loving disciple and a hero of the bible and yet he lopped off a man’s ear.
- Samson was the strongest man ever and yet he chose a woman over God.

And still, we think we have to be perfect to please God. Mike said it dawned on him one day as he read the Creation account in Genesis. God created light and dark on first day. But he didn’t create the sun and stars until the 3rd day. Our light and darkness isn’t the same as God’s idea. Our thinking is backwards to God’s thinking. So often we think we’ll do this and this to please God and He’ll be happy. People with kids – you place rules out of love. You care for them and you want them to turn out good, but when they break the conditions, do you hate them? No. Your love is unconditional as far as human love goes.

Yet when it comes to God, we think it‘s conditional on what we do or think. That’s so far from the truth. Unconditional. The only condition to God’s love is: Will you accept His love? He wants to shower it on you. Yes, He gives us rules, but it’s so we don’t hurt ourselves.

So what about I Samuel 9:27 to 10:13? Mike says it struck him this week that the times he has a heart after God…to seek God, running after him… it’s during those times he doesn’t want to say anything bad abut his neighbours. His heart rejects it. When he’s close to God, he wants to bless them . Help them. When he’s close to God, there’s no temptation to sin. When he’s not seeking God, the temptation is still there and sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn’t.

Is our heart seeking God? How’s our personal relationship with Him? Don’t worry about the outcome – it will flow naturally if you are with God.

Remember Saul? His heart started to turn from God. Mike said he realized it was his pride that led to Saul’s downfall. At the beginning, he was head and shoulders above every one else. He was the chosen one. Annointed even. Saul met Samuel and Samuel said come with me. God sent you for a different purpose (v9) And God gave Saul another heart and he started prophesying with the prophets. And v11 says everyone who knew him wondered what was going on because he was acting so differently.

God’s Spirit wants to dwell in us. We need to ask God to give us a new heart. As we live out of that place, the rest of our lives will be perfect. If you look back in the Bible, Joseph’s dream wasn’t fulfilled for decades. Yet God’s hand was on Joseph as his heart was after God.

You will struggle but God will be with you. As you live for God, people will notice. As we live out of that place with a heart hungry for God, we’ll make a difference in people’s lives.

Heb 8:10-12 says, ‘10 This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 11No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. 12For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."

Remember the parable of the 2 men who built their houses on rock and sand? They did the same work on their houses but one man heard the voice of the Lord and listened. His house was like Him and it stood. The other man heard God and didn’t pay attention. His house crumbled.

That’s the key to success in your life. Listen when God speaks. Run after God and listen. Don’t worry about what we do all the time.

Micah 6: 6-8 asks what pleases the Lord and the answer in 8b is, ‘To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.’ That’s what God desires most – a relationship with Him. And He’ll walk with you through the good times and bad.

Mike is Operations Director of the Kipling Youth Centre. If you would like to speak with him about this post or his youth ministry, please email him.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Blessed By Bluegrass Concert

Music is such a blessing and it flowed from Church on the Hill Saturday night as we welcomed 2 bluegrass bands on the eve of their Craven Country Jamboree appearance.

Pictured here is Endless Train from Winkler, Manitoba.

Left - Joe Teichroeb on the acoustic guitar.

Middle - Calvin Klassen on the bass.

Right - Raymond Klassen on the resonator/dobro guitar.

Here's a close-up of Raymond with his Rayco Resophonic guitar.

Joe said he remembers back when he and Calvin were members of the Dry River Band and Raymond used to hang around and use a butter knife on an acoustic guitar to simulate a steel guitar. And now, here he is playing with skill.

Rayco guitars are handcrafted by Mark Thibeault and
Jason Friesen in Smithers, BC.

After Endless Train played a set, The Willie Sons from Clavet, Sask took the stage.

Left - Alf Epp on mandolin

Middle - Reed Willison on guitar

Right - Brendan Varcoe on electric stand-up bass and banjo.

For some numbers, Joe joined the Willie Sons and for others, the two bands played together. We were really blessed to have these skilled musicians glorify God with their music ministry.

Thank you Endless Train and The Willie Sons for spending a few hours in our little country church.

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Miracle: The Widow's Oil

Scriptures: 2 Kings 4:1-7, Prov 3:5-12, Exodus 4, John 14:12-14, 1 john 5:14-15, Isaiah 43

Pastor Dave Hepburn of Whitewood, SK gave the message on Sunday while Pastor Lorne ministered with the Fellowship of Christian Cowboys.

Pastor Dave based his message on 2 Kings 4:1-7 which is the story about the widow’s oil. He said the lady was in dire need when she came to the prophet Elisha. She had come to the end of herself. Her husband was dead and she had a debt she owed and the creditor was about to take her sons as slaves. Back in those days, there was no social insurance, no welfare. In fact, no one who could come and help her out. She only had her 2 sons to pay the debt yet as they grew older, they had become her helpers.

In our country, our needs aren’t as substantial as many people in other parts of the world. When we’re sick, we go to a doctor.
When our cupboards are bare, we go to the grocery store. Many places in the world don’t have doctors or grocery stores available to them.

Pastor Dave asked us to look at Prov 3:5-12 which states, ‘Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. 9 Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. 11 My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, 12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.’

Pastor Dave said this woman came to the end of herself. She knew what was coming. She was coming to the beginning of God’s ability. When we come to the end of our self, we come to God’s abilities. We need to trust Him with all our heart not only in the tough times, but in all times.

Instead of asking what she wanted him to do, Elisha asked what she had in the house. What she had was a jar of oil. Not a huge jar for cooking but according to Hebrew tradition, a small flask used for anointing. She had no money and no livestock for food.

Pastor Dave said there are times when we feel we don’t have much to offer God. He says he can’t sing, can’t speak well, and he’s too shy to visit the neighbours, so what can he offer the Lord? He referred to Exodus 4 when God is calling Moses to the task of leading the Israelites. God had greater plans for Moses than what Moses wanted to do. Moses questioned God’s judgment. God used the miracles of a rod turning into a snake, a hand turning leprous, and fresh water from the Nile turning into blood to show Moses that He was all-powerful and would be with Moses as he faced the people. Moses still had his misgivings about his speech and eloquence but v11-12, says, ‘The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD ? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say." '

Pastor Dave said there is a lesson in these words that God will not call you to do something you don’t have the ability to do. He wanted to encourage us that the Lord is willing to offer to you that which you need to fulfill your task. God will be with us until the ends of the earth. He won’t leave us helpless.

John 14:12-14 says, ’12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.’

The same writer of the Gospel of John also wrote 1 john 5:14-15 which says, ‘14This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.’

Do you know that He hears us? Pastor Dave said we can have confidence that God listens to us when we go before Him in His throne room. When the veil of the temple was torn in two, it meant we could now go into the very presence of the almighty God – bypassing the priests – and lay our concerns before Him.

Now back to the widow, Pastor Dave said, 2 things are a key to this miracle:
- She believed in God enough to be obedient
- She gathered the vessels and sent her sons to gather more

When they brought the first vessel, she filled it, set it aside and filled the next, and the next, and the next, until there were no more to fill. The Bible says the oil was stopped when the last empty vessel was filled. This lady could have gone home and done nothing. The creditors would have taken her sons and her debt would have been paid. But she trusted God enough to be obedient. And her sons needed to trust God as well otherwise they would become the payment.

Pastor Dave said the Bible never says we’re not going to go through bad times – it just says God will be with us when we do.

He referred to Isaiah 43 and said there are times we wonder if God will answer our prayers when we have trials. Pastor Dave said he had a trial last spring. He had bulls for sale in the paper, but no one phoned about them. From a farmer’s perspective, no phone calls equates to no sales. He had bills due at the end of June but no money to pay them. So, he decided to start hauling bulls to the auction. When the time came, he got a phone call from a guy who wanted to see the bulls. He brought a neighbour and together, they bought 2. The next guy looked and left. Next guy bought 2. The second guy came back and bought 2.

Pastor Dave said God answered when the time was needed. He said he even sold more than he needed to pay the bills. And yet another farmer didn’t even get any phone calls. Pastor Dave said he praised God for opening the doors when they seemed closed. He said God isn’t just Jehovah Jireh up on the mountain with Abraham. God will provide always.

He said we need to be like this woman. Be obedient to Him. And we need to do something with the miracle He provides. God provided the miracle to the widow. She had the oil. That was nice. All those barrels. What will she do? The creditors are still coming for her sons. The jars are full. God did His part. What’s going to happen? She asks the prophet and Elisha tells her to sell the oil and pay the creditor.

Pastor Dave said sometimes we’re given a miracle and don’t do anything with it. He said we believe the greatest miracle of all – salvation – and yet we hide it under a basket. The Father in heaven is the one that makes the miracles in our lives but we must do something with those miracles so the people can glorify God.

Let’s not hide our light under a basket. Let the people see the glory of God. You may think it’s a stretch but if that widow had an infinite number of jars, she could still be filling them today.

God’s power is infinite. There’s no measure to His grace. And the same God who filled the jars for that lady in Biblical times and gave her enough so she had money left over after her debt was paid is the very same God who knows your needs and your hardships. He still has the ability today to meet those needs. He still knows our needs. He still cares for us.

Do we believe God can meet our needs today as He met that woman’s long ago?
We need to be obedient and surrender our lives to Him completely and wholly.

Pastor Dave doesn’t have much to offer the Lord and yet God met the woman’s need with the little flask of oil. The oil represents God’s Spirit – so His love and Spirit can overflow into our lives and into other people’s lives.

He said God is here to meet your needs. We need to know the difference between needs and greeds so we don’t get them mixed up. God is here to meet our needs. The Bible says if we ask Him anything according to His will, He hears us. If we pray for boldness, God will not say no.

Whatever it may be, the Lord is here. And He wants to meet us and hear our prayers.

If you wish to talk to Pastor Dave about this message, please send an email.