Pastor Jim offers a prayer and reflection from John 5:30-47.
Pastor Jim offers a prayer and reflection from John 5:30-47.
In this season of both Lent and COVID-19, we don’t want to lose sight of the true and much needed source of hope. Jesus is victorious over the worst this world can throw at us. When I (Pastor Jim) made Breaking New Ground the theme for 2020, I had no idea that we would be thrust into the fluid and frightening realities of a pandemic. I am therefore revising my preaching plans to focus on this sudden new event. Note that while we are no longer physically gathering together, we have not cancelled church – we are the church and we will continue to find expression in new ways. Please join us online.
May 31: Laughter (Psalm 126) Jesus is and calls us to be the light of the world. There are many ways for that to happen. Sometimes we can brighten and lighten the mood with a sense of humour. Don’t you enjoy a good laugh? We hope to bring a little levity into a heavy time.May 24: May Day (John 3:16-21 & 2 Peter 3) May day, may day is distress signal. Every day people and nations send out prayers and pleas for help. Jesus came and comes in response to these petitions. On this day in May, we are going listen and respond to the distress signals around us.
May 17: Groaning for a Better Day (Romans 8:18-39) The world is a magnificent and beautiful place. Well, almost. It has its flaws and troubles. It is the same with our lives. We are promised a better day – and it just can’t seem to come fast enough. In the wait, we groan, yes, but so much more. Can we live tomorrow, today?
May 10: Don’t Mess with My Mom (Isaiah 49:15) Happy Mother’s Day. I trust we are all grateful for our mothers. We are going to look at something rarely considered. We will look at the mothering qualities and images used in the Bible to describe God’s committed love. These images will be instructive and empowering.
May 3: Strange Land (Psalm 137 & Jeremiah 29:4-14) The consequences of persistent rebellion against God and chronic unfaithfulness was exile. The people found themselves forcibly displaced to a strange place – a foreign country. Psalm 137 captures their utter sense of being lost. The prophet Jeremiah receives and delivers his response to their prayer. It is instructive for us as we navigate our current crisis and the strange place we find ourselves.
April 26: Wilderness (select passages from Numbers, Deuteronomy 29:5-6) Bad enough with the pandemic, but the senseless mass murder spree in Nova Scotia this week has left us, in the words of someone close to the scene, “shattered”. Last weeks message on lament was happening in the midst of it and gives us a model for prayer in our own horror at this carnage and crisis. It is an uncomfortable wilderness into which we have been thrown. I hope today’s message will help us. We look at the 40-year Israelite wandering in a wilderness of their own. Learn how God made himself evident and present to them.
April 19: Spring (Lamentations 3: 10-26 & Isaiah 55:10-13) We are in the middle of spring and we are seeing the end of winter grey and the arrival of the green and colour of spring. These signs of new life should encourage us. They remind us of the promises of God realized and his renewing actions of grace.
April 12: Hope (Titus 2:11-14) In troubling times a light at the end of the tunnel helps. It points to the end of the trial and a brighter future. For some this can feel like wishful thinking but for the followers of Christ it is a sure thing. We have a hope rooted in the resurrection of Christ, his Kingdom come and his promised return. This has huge implications on how we live today.
April 10 – Good Friday: A Thorny Situation (John 19:1-16) We see just how far Jesus went, to enter and absorb the pain and brokenness of our world. Isaiah 53: 5 says, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” This is good news in a time of spreading pain.
April 5 – Palm Sunday: Faith over Fear (Luke 19:28-44) The day Christ rose into Jerusalem was a time of celebration, praise and prayer. It was also a time imminent danger and fear. In our time of disease and dis-ease. When uncertainty and crisis are the new normal, it is natural to be afraid. As people of faith, can we rise above the fear and put our faith in practice?
March 29: Lessons of the Desert Fathers and Mothers (Mark 10:17-31) In a time when people are called to and even forced into isolation, how do we grow and express our faith? We look back to some early Christians who chose lives of seclusion for prayer and faith development. These early pioneers of the secluded life of simplicity and faith were the start of the monastic movement. These were uniquely revered and influential individuals and communities that positively lit and flavoured their times. We will consider their practices.
March 22: Not the First Epidemic – Lessons of the Church in History (Matthew 25:34-40 & Luke 4:16-19) The Church over the centuries has faced epidemics many times before. There are lessons our brothers and sisters from the past can share that will help and inspire us now. We listen to the great cloud of witnesses as we respond to the call of Jesus to serve and not to flee. Finding the path between the avoidance of virus transmission and the practice of community care.
When your eyes are accustomed to the darkness, it can be quite painful when you are faced with the sudden brightness of light. Lent is a time of growing and gradual exposure to the light of Jesus as we move to the full illumination of Easter. In this Lenten season – a time of prayerful preparation – we ready ourselves for the glorious light of Christ – his life, death, burial and RESURRECTION.
Please join us over the coming weeks and brighten your days and ways. Jesus claimed to be the Light of the World. He is the Light of life, love and hope. Don’t be left in the dark.
All Sunday service times begins at 10:30 am (unless otherwise indicated).
March 1 – First Sunday in Lent – CBOQ Sunday: Lessons in Prayer – The early church grew in the midst of a hostile context. It was dangerous to live for Jesus. What shape do your prayers take when things get tough? This is CBOQ Sunday and we will celebrate the shared ministry of our larger family.
Devotional thought: How confident are you that prayer moves us and God?
March 8: Forward with Christ – In our centennial year, we have affirmed that this Church was founded on Christ.For one hundred years, Christ has been our foundation and the head of this congregation. As we proceed, our commitment is to go forward with Christ. Thank you Gary for bringing today’s message. We are grateful to Gary and Carla Nelson for their years of friendship, leadership and support in our church.
Devotional thought: What are the ways that you intentionally spend time with Christ?
March 15: Promise and Preparation (Joshua 1) The Lord readied the people to enter the Promised Land with significant words and actions. There were promises and preparations. As we seek to break new ground in our communities we will want to pay attention. How do we ready ourselves for such a venture?
Devotional thought: What resonates with you in Joshua 1:6-9?
SEASON OF LENT: During this season leading up to Easter, we will return to our journey through the Gospel of John.
Sunday February 18: Betrayed and Denied (John 13:18-38) Today is a special day for two reasons: it is both the first Sunday in Lent and the first Sunday of the Chinese new year. For our Lenten season we will continue our journey through the Gospel of John. At the beginning of the passion narrative, we have Jesus both betrayed and denied. Both these actions against Jesus are still happening but Jesus, then as now continues to reach out in love.
Devotional thought: Have you ever felt like Judas or Peter? Be grateful for the forgiving call of Christ.
Sunday February 25: Preparations for the Journey (John 14:1-14) It is helpful to know where you are going and how to get there in your journey of life. Jesus comforts his disciples and us with some vital information.
Devotional thought: What are your next steps?
Sunday March 4: Holy Spirit (John 14:15-31; & John 16:5-16) While Jesus warned he was leaving he also assured them he was not leaving them alone. He would send the Holy Spirit who would, come along side of the disciples as a reminder, a teacher, a guide and a light of truth. This same presence of God is at work within among and around us.
Devotional thought: Pray for the Spirit to have freedom to work in your life.
Sunday March 11: Connected (John 15:1-16:4) We have all kinds of ways to connect to one another – phones, texts, email, facebook, snapchat etc. But what are the ways we keep the all-important connection to our Lord? We hope to get some help from today’s text. Jesus invites us to remain in him. Jesus has provided ways for us to be in vital relationship with him.
Devotional thought: If Jesus is a vine, and you are a branch on that vine, how would you describe your fruitfulness?
Sunday March 18: Prayers for Troubled Times (John 16:17-17:26) Jesus is facing the cross and tells his disciples he is leaving them. In this troubling time, Jesus both teaches them about prayer and then offers prayers for them. There is much for us to learn from Jesus’s prayer. There is good news for us.
Devotional thought: Have you experienced the peace of Christ in a time of difficulty?
Sunday March 25 – Palm Sunday Jesus on Parade (John 12:12-19) There are many ideas about Jesus, and what he is about. Some are good and some are even goofy. It can be especially confusing when you look at the followers of Jesus. Have you ever felt embarrassed by the actions or words of Christians? In this text, Jesus is on parade and he intentionally communicates his identity through his actions. Let us learn some truth about Jesus.
Devotional thought: If someone was to learn of Jesus from your words and actions – what kind of a picture of Jesus would that person have?
Friday March 30, 10:30 am – Good Friday Service We will be hosting this joint service wit our area churches – Mimico Presbyterian, Mimico United and Cornerstone Christian Fellowship. This community event will bring us to the cross of Christ where we will reflect on the significance of his death.
Sunday April 1, 10:30 am: Easter Sunday Come join a joyous celebration of the Resurrection of Christ and his victory over sin and death. Our choir presents the Cantata.
See the Canata by clicking on this post.
Sunday April 8, 10:30 am: New World – Day 1 (John 20:1-18) The message of Easter cannot fit into one weekend. We look today at the resurrection account in John’s Gospel. The resurrection takes place on the first day of the week and of a new world. Into the chaos, he brings renewal and life.
Sunday April 15: That You May Believe (John 20:19-31) The Risen Jesus appears to his disciples and gifts them with peace, power and a mission. Thomas missed it all and questions the word of his colleagues. Jesus comes to the doubting Thomas, with a dramatic result. He challenges us to believe and find life.
Sunday April 29: Breakfast (John 21:1-14) In one of Jesus resurrection appearances, he provides a breakfast. The disciples had had an unsuccessful night of fishing until Jesus came with some advice. They thought they were going back to the way it was, Jesus points to a new way. Be reminded that Jesus is the voice we need to follow.
Continuing our journey through the Gospel of Luke, this series journeys through the five Sundays preceding Holy Week.