What are we searching for?
Today we once again come across John the Baptist. In today’s gospel lesson we clearly see John trying his best to be humble as he witnesses and testifies to Jesus. He tells the priests and the Levites that he is not the Messiah, he is not Elijah and he is not the prophet. He points away from himself to the one who is much greater than he is. This is our call as well as disciples of Christ. We too are called to testify and witness to the one who is soon to be born in a manger.
QUESTION: How are we to witness and testify to people who put their trust in other things? How can we point to Jesus when most people would rather talk about us?
ANSWER:………………in the December 17, 2017 Sermon
What are we searching for?
And here we are, first Sunday of the church year, and we are already encountering some pretty stark Scripture readings! We hear the words like “watch” warnings like: “But about that day or hour no one knows” . But what are we watching for, and what great event is about to take place, at an hour we least expect? We are watching , waiting, and preparing for our King! Advent invites us in, to celebrate His first coming, in the incarnation, and to continue our preparation of watching and waiting for when He will come again in glory. It sounds simple enough, but when we add in all the additions that make up our lives, it is challenging to wait or to watch. The temptations of the world, also, try their best to draw our seeking hearts away from Christ and towards temporal things. If only I had X than I’d be Y. But we still do not feel satisfied when we receive the X do we? Why is that? St Augustine, an early Church Father, I believe penned it right on the nose. We are created in the image of God, male and female, we are created. And so, deep inside us is a yearning for something more. St. Augustine believes we will never be satisfied until we seek out our Lord. In his book Confessions, he writes: “Thou hast made us for thyself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in thee.” As we seek, watch, and wait this Advent season, may our search lead us to the very One who came like child.
QUESTION: Who knows when the Son of God returns?
ANSWER:………………in the December 3, 2017 Sermon
This reading is one of the most avoided readings in the Bible. Many pastors don’t want to touch it as it tends to be hard to reconcile. Many people study it and immediately put themselves into the reading wondering if they have done enough to be a sheep, and worrying that they might be considered a goat on the day of judgement. But the gospel is a powerful thing and it can bring good news to us in the most surprising and unexpected of places.
QUESTION: Can there be good news in this reading that many people find terrifying? How can a might, all-powerful, judgmental king bring good news to us from this reading?
ANSWER:………………in the November 26, 2017 Sermon
Trust not Fear.
What are we to make of the Gospel for today, on the Penultimate Sunday of Pentecost? It is a parable about trusting in God, and not allowing our fears to paralyze us to the point that we take our God given gifts and bury them. Jesus is lovingly calling us to be faithful to His mission, by first trusting in Him, keeping our eyes on Him, even when the world around us is doing everything it can to make us give up, to make us scared. May we have faith, and take courage as we trust in Him, so that in the end, our mission of sharing the Gospel leads us to an even more wondrous “possession” full participation in our “Master’s joy.” Yes, the world is a scary place, but dare to embrace the wealth of life and talent, given to us by God, and dare to go out and spread the seeds of faith, hope, and charity.
QUESTION: What is the only thing that goes away if it is buried, but which gets greater if you use it?
ANSWER:………………in the November 19, 2017 Sermon
Guest Pastor: Walter Fast
Whose image do we bear?
Have you ever heard the song “signs” by the Five Man Electrical Band? Signs, signs, everywhere is signs…And now with social media, there are even more images and signs representing various things. With all these images, there is the risk that they will pull us away from God. In our Gospel for today, the pesky Pharisees are trying to trick Jesus by asking who should we pay homage to? Jesus, knowing their ways, teaches them that is it lawful to pay taxes, but ultimately, all is God’s, including you and I. We belong to God through Jesus. In fact, we are reminded of this in Genesis. That we are not only His, but we are created in His own image. We, in fact, bear the very stamp of God’s own self, and He claims all of us with His own image. But when we take a wrong turn, we become our own “Caesar”. But, the blessing, the amazing grace, is that when we do render to Caesar, instead to God, He continually comes again among us to claim us as His own, week after week, day after day. For such is the one who created us, and daily calls us by name. And for that, we give Him all the Glory!
QUESTION: What kind of images are we portraying?
ANSWER:………………in the October 22, 2017 Sermon
By now, the turkey is probably long gone. The family gatherings are finished for another year, and the fancy dishes are cleaned and put away. Just reading our Appointed Gospel May bring back memories of the abundance of food we’ve consumed over the last few days. But, our banquet today is no ordinary banquet, it’s a banquet that represents God’s eternal abundance that He pours out unconditionally for all His sons and daughters. This is what awaits the sons and daughters of the King at the end of time. It is a joyous event for those who persevere and run the race of faith. But the reality is, the race is not easy, Jesus reminds us today.. “many are called, few are chosen.” But, even though it can be difficult living out our faith, we can be reassured by our Gospel today that even in the midst of life, God is there ready to walk with us, and fill us with His abundance, that feeds and sustains us in this world and the next, where, as Psalm 23 reminds us, our cups will always overflow.
QUESTION: What does God’s abundance look like to you?
ANSWER:………………in the October 15, 2017 Sermon
ANSWER:………………in the October 8, 2017 Sermon
ANSWER:………………in the October 1, 2017 Sermon
ANSWER:………………in the Sept 24, 2017 Sermon
”The Art of Forgiveness and God’s grace”
We’ve all heard the saying “To err is human, to forgive is Divine.” To forgive is vital to our lives as Christians. But, forgiveness can also be so difficult. Because it involves letting go, letting go of that which is, in essence, holding us prisoner, and giving it over to Christ. But forgiveness is hard, and perhaps that is why the act of forgiving is a divine act. Nonetheless, as disciples, we are still called to live out radical forgiveness. Why? It is the way of the Kingdom, the way of the Cross. God first loved and forgave us, and we are called to forgive others, as we have been forgiven. When we forgive, we let go of all that is weighing us down, all that prevents us from being bound in God’s love, grace, and mercy. But, thanks be to God that, through Christ’s sacrifice, we have a just judge who graciously loves us, no matter how many times we have failed, who graciously forgives us each and every time we come to Him in need of His redeeming Love. Christ forgives us, and we are called to forgive others all the time. So, as we continue our journey, let us forgive others and leave the judging up to God. May we have the grace to forgive one another, as Christ has lovingly forgiven us.
QUESTION: What does forgiveness mean?
ANSWER:………………in the Sept 17, 2017 Sermon
In today’s gospel reading Jesus asks a well-known question to his disciples, “who do you say that I am?” This is a question that most church going folks will be familiar with. But there is a seemingly unimportant detail that we read about that occurs before Jesus asks the question to his disciples. We are told that they were in the district of Caesarea Philippi.
QUESTION: What does where they were have to do with the important question of “who do you say that I am?”
ANSWER:………………in the August 27, 2017 Sermon
The question has been asked millions of times by millions of people….. “if God made the world, why is there so much evil in it?” “Big” questions like this one have been pondered over the centuries and we are no closer to answering them now than we have been in the past. Today’s parable about the wheat and the tares tells us that good and evil must co-exist in our lives for now, even if we don’t understand why.
QUESTION: What then can we do as Christians in the face of such an overwhelming problem?
ANSWER:………………in the July 23, 2017 Sermon
Today we hear the final words of the resurrected Jesus to his disciples as recorded in the gospel of Matthew. We hear what we refer to as the “Great Commission”…..the command to go and make disciples of all nations. This command is a very serious one and if we are honest, one that has much room for improvement. Many people know this command…..they have known it since their Sunday school days, but they don’t really know how to be successful at it. It just all seems so difficult.
QUESTION: How can we make disciples of all nations in the name of the Holy Trinity when we don’t even know how the Holy Trinity works? How can we communicate with people who don’t understand the church? How can we explain the church when we don’t really understand it well ourselves?
ANSWER:………………in the June11, 2017 Sermon
Most people would define “eternal life” as an escape from the problems of this world into the bliss of being in heaven. While there is truth to this thought, Jesus gives us his thoughts on eternal life in today’s gospel reading. He says, “and this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” These are two very different ways of thinking about eternal life.
QUESTION: What does eternal life have to do with our everyday lives?
ANSWER:………………in the May 28, 2017 Sermon
”The Holy Spirit binds us in community with one another and to God”
Last week, we heard Jesus promise to “prepare a place for us” and His declaration… that He is the only way to the Father. Today, our message is about the care our Lord has for us, and what our response is to be. Jesus’ care is shown through His promise of sending the Holy Spirit to be among them, to empower them, to equip them. For the most part, the Holy Spirit is the forgotten member of the Trinity, but He is equally as important as God the Father, and God the Son because the Holy Spirit reminds us of the very nature of God is community and self-giving. The Holy Spirit is the band which links us, binds us together with God and with one another as members of Christ’s Body-the church.
Being a Christian is about being in community and giving thanks to God for His Grace by living grateful lives.
QUESTION: How does the Holy Spirit help us on our faith journeys?
ANSWER:………………in the May 21, 2017 Sermon
Some people ask questions naturally and others have a hard time asking. Some people don’t want to ask questions because they don’t want to admit their lack of knowledge. Others don’t ask because they are scared of asking stupid questions. In our gospel reading for today Philip asks Jesus to “show us the Father and they will be satisfied.” It is a statement that declares an underlying question, “what is God really like?”
QUESTION: When it comes to our faith how is it possible to believe in a God we can’t see?
ANSWER:………………in the May 14, 2017 Sermon
When people read familiar passages in the Bible they tend to look for what they know is going to be there. But sometimes, there are surprises waiting for us and we see things in scripture that we hadn’t noticed before. Today in our familiar reading we are told that Jesus is the shepherd and we, as the sheep, are to enter through him and follow his voice. We are told that whoever enters by him will be saved. Sheep, shepherds, voices, salvation…..these words and images don’t surprise us for we have all heard them before.
QUESTION: In a familiar passage such as the one about the shepherd and the sheep, how is it possible to be surprised or to learn anything new?
ANSWER:………………in the May 7, 2017 Sermon
The Road to Emmaus-Do we have eyes to see that Jesus is right beside us on our own journeys?
Not even twenty-four hours had passed, and the disciples are already beginning to make plans to get on with their lives. There are many emotions surrounding the events of the last few days, and there are more questions than answers. Perhaps we too, like disciples, find ourselves in difficult situations, with more questions than answers? So we too empathize with these travellers, as we too have walked miles and talked for hours on our personal roads to Emmaus, endeavouring to wrestle some sense of order out of the seeming chaos of our own lives.
We’ve all questioned: “where is God?” We’ve all been there; we’ve all been in very difficult situations, or in the midst of suffering and pain wondering why God is not acting. But the Road to Emmaus reminds us that, in the midst of our suffering and deep pain, God is with us! Jesus reassures the disciples today by showing He is with them in “the Body of Christ given for you,” “the Blood of Christ shed for you,” each phrase carrying the underlying message: “I am with you always.” That is HIS Promise!
May our Lord give us grace to recognize Him during the good times, and during the difficult times.
QUESTION: Where do we see the Risen Lord in our everyday lives?
ANSWER:………………in the April 30, 2017 Sermon
On this particular Sunday, the Sunday following the joyous, celebratory feeling of the resurrection, it may feel to some people as a bit of a let-down. It may feel like the joy of Easter Sunday is gone and we are now “back to the regular routine.” It may feel like life is back to its normal up and down self. We remember once again our fears, our doubts and those things that stress us out. We may be asking the same questions that the disciples were asking themselves as they sat behind locked doors shortly after their Lord was crucified…..what now?
QUESTION: On the Sunday after Easter, after life is back to “normal”, is it possible to have an Easter message that stands us up when we feel more like sitting?
ANSWER:………………in the April 23, 2017 Sermon
Christ is Risen! Death has no sting! Alleluia!!!!
The proclamation, by the women, of the empty tomb was too hard to believe for the disciples. “An idle tale” was their reaction. But, this is the difference between standing in the tomb, as the women had done, and standing outside. The view is different. The perspective is different. One sees different things. One sees differently. Easter is about celebration, and it is about transformation. The veil in the Temple has been torn in two, and see God in a new light, an eternal light. We are forgiven, loved, and set free. Let us celebrate!! Let us be like the women, who boldly tell the Good News of Victory! Jesus Christ is Risen indeed! Alleluia! This truly IS Good News! Let us celebrate and give thanks to Almighty God!
From the sermon of St John Chrysostom (400ad)
“Christ is risen, and you o Death, are annihilated! Christ is risen, an the evil ones are cast down! Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice! Christ is risen, and life is liberated! Christ is risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead; for Christ haven risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be Glory, and Power forever and ever! Amen!”
QUESTION: When we stand in the place where Peter stood, stooping low to look into the tomb, what will we see?
ANSWER:………………in the April 16, 2017 Sermon
Throughout the gospels Jesus consistently did things that didn’t seem to make much sense in regards to the norms of the world in which he lived. The Son of God, our Messiah and Lord said that “he didn’t come to be served, but to serve.” He said, “my power is made perfect in weakness.” In our modern minds this doesn’t compute…..it doesn’t make sense for someone who is important to act this way. We try hard to avoid being seen as weak. Weakness is frowned upon in our world today and it certainly isn’t something that we should seek out.
QUESTION: Is there any value to demonstrating things like weakness and meekness in our competitive, power hungry world?
ANSWER:………………in the April 5, 2017 Sermon
Today we encounter an amazing and familiar Biblical story. Mary and Martha’s brother Lazarus has died and his two sisters are, quite obviously, in mourning. Martha, in the midst of her grief, says to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” These words almost sound like an accusation or a rebuke. There are times when we speak, or at least think, words like these. “Lord, where were you?” “Why did this happen?” In the midst of this uncertainty, grief, hopelessness and despair Jesus also speaks words that draw us back to him. “Come out”, he says. Come out of your tombs of despair and darkness and come into hope, life and joy. As wonderful as this good news is and as good as it feels, Jesus still calls us as his disciples into the world to act on the words, “unbind him and let him go.”
QUESTION: What do Jesus’ words of “unbind him and let him go” have to do with my life as a disciple?
ANSWER:………………in the April 2, 2017 Sermon
Rejoice! Our Lenten journeys are halfway done, but that doesn’t mean we need to “lighten up” for the homestretch. If anything, we certainly need to hold fast, for the most difficult part of the journey is yet to come. But on this “Rose Sunday”, we are allowed to take a break, and rejoice in the Illuminating work of our Good Shepherd. Today, in the story of the man born blind, we witness how God’s love and grace brings about great body and soul transformation. As amazing as that sounds, and it surely is, we need to be mindful that transformation is not always an instant event. Take clarity of vision, it is a process in which those involved must attend to what is going on around them, and inside them. In order to do that, we must be aware of what is going on in us, and around us. For the blind man, this process involved at least three things: Obedience, humility and worship. We see all three steps flourish in the man born blind. And these three acts also help us to see God more clearly and Lent is a great time for us to seek out the things that will help us to have a deeper relationship with our Heavenly Father.
For God’s love and grace are so powerful that it raises up leaders and witnesses, like you in I, in a world that is characterized by darkness. Go shine your light!QUESTION: What is the aim of Lent?
ANSWER:………………in the March 26, 2017 Sermon
QUESTION: How exactly is having our most shameful sins brought before us supposed to make us feel any better?
ANSWER:………………in the March 19, 2017 Sermon
Have you ever been homesick? A strange question to ask during this Lenten Season, or is it? Well the fact is,like it or not, we are all on a journey of faith. Our purpose is to seek and find our spiritual home in Christ. St Augustine said that “our hearts are restless till they find their rest in thee.” Our souls are restless until they are home in Christ. But along the way, we end up being pulled in various directions. Doubt sets in and we begin to wonder if we are worthy of God’s gracious love. But then we hear the story of Abraham fully trusting in God. May we take courage in knowing that our Father is always faithful, and always quick to forgive, slow to anger, and rich in steadfast love. And when we doubt, may the story of Abraham, who even in the midst of deep impossibilities, trusted God, remind us to trust in God.
QUESTION: What is the story of the whole Bible?
ANSWER:………………in the March 12, 2017 Sermon
ANSWER:………………in the March 5, 2017 Sermon
Today is the final day of the Epiphany Season. To use Pastor Terry’s Words. The Feast of the Transfiguration is really a book end to the season of Epiphany. For we began this Holy Season with the Feast of the Epiphany-The Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles. And today we finish with another Theophany-the revelation of Christ’s divine glory, as the Son of God, on Mount Tabor.
QUESTION: Who are we becoming?
ANSWER:………………in the February 26, 2017 Sermon
QUESTION: How can our weaknesses be of any use in trying to be salt and light for the kingdom of God?
ANSWER:………………in the February 5, 2017 Sermon
QUESTION: What does the word “blessed” really mean?
ANSWER:………………in the January 29, 2017 Sermon
QUESTION: If we are expected to follow where Jesus is leading knowing that life will still be difficult, how are we to be of any help in his ministry?
ANSWER:………………in the January 22, 2017 Sermon
During this season of Epiphany, God reveals His Son to both Jews and Gentiles in various ways. Today, Jesus is revealed as the “Lamb of God.” What exactly does this reveal about His Kingdom?
The other side of the season of Epiphany is that it calls us to radical discipleship-by bringing His light into this dark world. But all the while knowing that we will be called out of our comfort zones into uncharted waters. For the way of the Cross sometimes can be uncomfortable, and it can be costly, but knowing that the Lamb of God walks with us bring us peace even in the midst of the most difficult situations.
Therefore, as we walk this season of Epiphany, let us be mindful of the times God reveals Himself to us, and how we are called to invite others to “come and see”.
QUESTION: How has God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, revealed Himself to you?
ANSWER:………………in the January 15, 2017 Sermon
QUESTION: Okay, I get it…..Jesus invites us into ministry, but how is it possible to do this when we ourselves feel inadequate, disillusioned, depressed and just plain stressed out? What can possibly make us want to accept this invitation when we feel overwhelmed by the stresses of the world?
ANSWER:………………in the January 8, 2017 Sermon