Cultivate, Irrigate, Nourish and Reap.

March 14, 2021 – Tony’s message

Greeting:
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glory of God and the power of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Scripture Reading: The Parable of the Lost Sheep

The Gospel According to Luke, Chapter 15, Verses 1 to 7
(New Revised Standard Version)

v. 1 – Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him.
v. 2 – And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
v. 3 – So he told them this parable:
v. 4 – “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it?
v. 5 – When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices.
v. 6 – And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’
v. 7 – Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

This first parable in Chapter 15 tries to explain Jesus’ association with despised groups, something which the Pharisees and the scribes found to be at the very least, misguided. It is interesting to note that the parables in Luke are not found in any other books of the Gospels. The scribes and the Pharisees did not feel that they needed to repent because they were not lost!

Sermonette: No Exemptions

Today’s Thought:
“Man is born broken,
He lives by mending.
The grace of God is glue.”
Eugene O’Neill.

We do not grow physically by standing on tiptoe and stretching ourselves or by anxiously exercising our muscles. Neither do we grow in grace by troubling ourselves with rules and anxiously observing traditions. The gardener puts a plant into the ground hoping to reap a beautiful rose. But he does not grab the plant and stretch it up to make it grow. Rather, he attends to the conditions surrounding the plant, conditions which are normally conducive to the health of the plant and which seem to encourage growth. He cultivates, irrigates, and nourishes the plant; and he prunes it. By the mysterious processes of nature, God gives the growth and a beautiful rose appears. Our growth in grace is like that. We do not grow in Godliness by groaning within ourselves and anxiously keeping the commandments outwardly. We only attend to the conditions of growth, and God through the mysterious ministries of His Spirit gives the blessing, and in time, a beautiful character unfolds.

This point is not just a nice story; it is the Gospel in miniature – a gospel extensive enough to include both the most despised and the most respected … and all the rest of us in between!

Amen.

And now let us close by repeating the Lord’s Prayer, either in our hearts or out loud:

The Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory,
For ever and ever.
Amen.

Lent Meditation (3)

March 10, 2021 – Sonja’s Message

Knowing How Not To Tip.

February 21, 2021 – Tony’s Message

First Sunday of Lent

Greeting:
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glory of God and the power of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Scripture Reading: It is Written

The Gospel According to Matthew, Chapter 4, Verses 1 to 4
(New Revised Standard Version)

v. 1 – Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
v. 2 – He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished.
v. 3 – The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”
v. 4 – But he answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”

The main thing to draw on from this scripture passage about the temptation of Christ in the wilderness is that Satan did not lead Jesus into the place of temptation, the Holy Spirit did. Perhaps part of the reason for this was to show us how to deal with temptation. Jesus quoted the “Word of God”, showing the power of scripture in battling with the evil one!

Satan is not dispatched easily. The only way we can remain victorious in temptation is through the blood and authority of Jesus Christ.

Sermonette: Two Breeding Grounds for Temptation

“It is better to shun the bait, than struggle in the snare.”

There seems to be two areas of life where temptations are the strongest: when we’re up and when we are down. When we are on top of the world, and have enough money and power, we can fall easily to the temptations of arrogance and pride. When we are down and out, having little and feeling powerless, we are vulnerable to the temptation of desperation, trying to get what we need by whatever means possible! During these two polarities of life is when temptation strikes with tremendous force.

In the days of the old stage-coach, companies had a hard time getting good drivers for the hairpin curves of the Rocky Mountains. They were losing too many of their coaches so they sent out a call to the Eastern part of the country – Send us some good drivers!
Several men came and applied, saying how near the edge they could drive without going over.

One man said, “I withdraw my application. I can’t drive like that and if I could, I wouldn’t.”
The owner said, “How would you drive, son?”
He replied, “Mister, I’d see how far away from the edge I could stay and keep the coach from turning over!”
The owner said, “You’re the man I’ve been looking for. You’ve got the job!”

The “edge” of life is either the depths or the heights and the avoidance of temptation is realized when one stays as far away as possible from those two extremes. Godly wisdom is not seeing how closely you can brush shoulders with temptation and still hold on to Christ, but how far away from the dark you can live.

Amen.

And now let us close by repeating the Lord’s Prayer, either aloud or in our hearts:

The Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory,
For ever and ever.
Amen.