Each week during Advent, Scripture introduces us to the people who have said “yes” to God and His plan of salvation. And even though His plan of salvation involves normal human beings, it is still not easy for those involved. Today we are reminded that God’s plans are never smooth. His Salvation plan involves more than a poor lowly couple having a baby, much more than that. Today, we witness this through the life of Joseph. Joseph was a righteous man, engaged to be wed, finds out his soon to be wife is with child, wants to dismiss her quietly for her own safety sake. An angel comes to Joseph in a dream, and at that moment, Joseph understood that he had a role to play, so he risked it all for God. He trusted in God’s plan by being obedient to God and willing to do whatever the Lord asked of him, even if it meant he would lose his honour in the village. You see, it’s more than a poor lowly couple having a baby. It is about putting our full trust in God, even when we doubt, or when things look impossible.
On this Advent IV when God comes knocking on our door, may we have the courage to be, like Joseph, willing to do whatever the Lord asked of us.
QUESTION: what is it we can learn from the examples of Joseph?
ANSWER:………………in the December 18, 2016 Sermon
ANSWER:………………in the December 11, 2016 Sermon
ANSWER:………………in the December 4, 2016 Sermon
Advent begins with a wake-up call to a slumbering church. Wake up, get out of your pj’s, and put on the working clothes of the Christian life. But it is difficult to do, especially when it is much easier to just stay inside our warm houses. Perhaps we forget that being a Christian is not easy.
Advent reminds us that even in the darkest times of our lives, Christ is always with us!
CLAY /Youth lead service
How do we approach the throne of Grace in prayer? Do we approach it, seeing ourselves, like the Pharisee; better than everyone else? Coming before God with a list of all that we are doing “right”. Or do we see ourselves coming before God, like the lowly Tax Collector, with emptiness, hands wide open, begging for mercy, crying out “have mercy on me the sinner.”
The fact is we are a fusion of both characters, but the Good News is that God, in His mercy and grace, welcomes all of us sinners; and did you know that God is not the only one who can show mercy? Jesus tells this story, of the Pharisee and Tax Collector, so that we can “GO” and do likewise. Our challenge is to have mercy on those who we might think deserve a stricter justice.
May He give us the strength to see “others” as people just like us, sinners who rely on God’s mercy to be healed.
QUESTION: What dangers lie ahead when we measure ourselves against others?
QUESTION: Is the gospel message for us today to keep pestering God until he finally grants us our requests? Is this it…..or is there more?
Sermon Summary: God’s Word overflows with touchstones of grace. And on this Thanksgiving Weekend it is only fitting that we encounter His grace through the lives of ten unclean outcasts. Ten people shunned from society, but only one was so thoroughly overwhelmed that our Lord should invite him to cross the border from being unclean to being clean, and all he could do is fall on his knees and give thanks. Was he worth it? Are we worth it? The message of the Gospel that says God loves each of us, that He meets us where we are, no matter how stained with sin we may be. Jesus comes to us, and we do not have to do anything to deserve His healing power and Grace. All we can do is be open to His Love and His Grace and Forgiveness, and in return, we give thanks! Let us be thankful at all times for what He has done!
QUESTION: If Jesus tells the disciples that an increase in faith is not necessary, then how can they be good and faithful disciples?
QUESTION:How does Jesus show his concern for the rich in a parable where the rich man ends up in Hades?
QUESTION: What does how we view God have to do with the way we use our money?
Have you ever wondered why are prayer are going unanswered? I think it’s safe to say we’ve all wondered this at some point. Have you ever thought that perhaps it was because we misunderstood Biblical prayer? Today, Jesus takes on a contemplative journey of what prayer really is. His disciples, seeing what marvelous things Jesus had been doing, and they wanted a part in it. “Teach us how to do what you’re doing!” We yearn for the same, what follows is a profound lesson from our Lord on prayer. He teaches them to pray, using the communal universal prayer which Christians have been praying for two thousand years- “The Lord’s Prayer.” There is a catch to this, Jesus is not just teaching us to pray the words, but He is inviting us to make those words our own. When we make His prayer our own, it becomes a part of who we are, and in turn changes us. “Prayer changes things” we’ve heard this before, but it is not God who changes, it is us. Prayer is not designed to change or persuade God; it is designed by God to change us! Prayer, ultimately, is a spiritual discipline through which we are formed into disciples of Christ. And as we move closer to our Heavenly Father in prayer, we discover that we do not always get what we want from Him, we get something far better—we get what we need. So whatever your request is today, know that God’s answer will always involve your heart being changed by his love. Trust in Him!
So we have all heard the expression you’re being like a Martha! In fact, where would the church be without its “Marthas,” those faithful folk who perform the tasks of hospitality and service so vital to making the church a welcoming and well-functioning community? And yet if all our activities leave us with no time to be still in the Lord’s presence and hear God’s Word, we are likely to end up anxious and troubled, with a kind of service that is devoid of love and joy and is resentful of others. In her dutiful efforts to be responsible and hospitable Martha has lost herself. She has forgotten that ultimately she is valued and loved not because of what she does, but because of who she is. There is nothing wrong with doing, but amid all our doing we can get distracted, lured into thinking that we only find our true value and purpose in and through what we do, which is where this story has so much to offer. Our story today calls us to be still, to abide in our Lord, so that we can hear what He has to say. It’s a timely message during the summer months were many folks take vacation, while others want to slow down but cant because the honey-do list keeps getting bigger and bigger. Jesus invites all of us who are worried and distracted by many things to sit and rest in his presence, to hear his words of grace and truth, to know that we are loved and valued as children of God, to be renewed in faith and strengthened for service. May you find time to rest in Him this summer.
In it, Jesus teaches us the importance of how we are to respond to God’s love poured into our hearts. We are to Love God with our whole being, and we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. On these two Commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets. That’s it! That’s the crux of our lives as Christians, but it isn’t as easy as it sounds. We live in a world where we choose our friends by using certain standards. These standards may be influenced by race, religion, and popularity. So when Jesus asks “who is my neighbor?” Most likely, our “neighbors” are the ones we get along with, the ones we can tolerate.
But Jesus is inviting us to see with His eyes, to see all of His beloved children as our neighbors. The Gospel today reminds us that if our hearts are full of grace, mercy, compassion, and love for God and everyone else, then we do not need to ask “who is my neighbor?” because it won’t matter, for all of God’s children are our neighbors, and we are called to love them. May you lead lives worthy of the Lord … as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God.”
When we sit back and think about our own faith lives, s it safe to say that out of the three, perhaps we have more difficulty with the telling part. Why? As humans, we tell stories every day. When describing a person, we resort to telling a story about them. The stories of our families easily roll off our tongues. But why is it that when we have an opportunity to share how God is miraculously working in our lives, we go silent? Our readings today encourage us to go in peace to seek the Lord, to thank Him for all he has done, and to tell others about the amazing things He is doing in our lives, and the lives of our loved ones.
May our readings for today inspire us to go into the world, and share our stories of faith.
QUESTION: In what ways can we humbly share our faith stories?
ANSWER: ………….in the May 8, 2016 sermon
ANSWER: ………….in the May 1, 2016 sermon
With the weather FINALLY “spring like,” we are more than anxious to catch signs of the newness which the season of spring brings about. Newness is what we are continually celebrating throughout our church year. It is not coincidence that Easter falls during the “spring” season. The newness we witness in nature reminds us of the new and beautiful relationship we have in our risen Lord, which begins at our Baptisms.
This Easter Season reminds us that God, through Christ, is creating something new, now! Everyday! And intertwined in this newness is radical living and radical loving. It is a love that goes beyond ourselves, and cares for others. What kind of love is this? It is God’s Love shown on the Cross. It is a Love that knows no bounds. God’s love is so amazing, and so powerful, that it becomes the defining feature in the disciples.
As we reflect upon our scriptures for today, let us reflect upon our own discipleship. Do we show Christ to others by how we live? And how we love? Putting it another way…If Christianity was illegal in Steinbach, would the RCMP have enough evidence to convict you or me?
Knowing that God’s great love comes crashing down to earth and into our lives, and can work great wonders through us as His instruments. Take Peter and Paul, pillars in our faith, and like us not perfect, but look how God worked through them! Grace calls us to be fed in Word and Sacrament and than to GO into the world to feed His children with the message of truth and Grace. This Easter Season, it is truly about a Gospel exuberance rooted in Love.
Reading: Luke 23:1-49
Our readings, on this Palm Sunday, prepare us for the torturous and difficult journey we are about to take with Jesus as we enter Holy Week. It is a very emotional week of ups and downs. And it begins on this very day. A day, where our palm branches are waving symbolizing our loud “Hosannas.” Soon our branches will be turned into crosses, and we too will turn our hearts with the hearts of the crowds and no longer will there be worship, but condemnation as we join the throng of voices shouting “crucify him!” Holy Week symbolizes our lives as Christians. Daily, we live in the “in between” we live in the midst of tension and paradox on the journey of life, and it is there that we meet our dear Lord. And it is there that He walks with us through the calm and through the storms of life. He walks with us reminding us that His passion is the one that proclaims “I forgive you” . His love is shown on the Cross, and death does not have the last word. Thanks be to God for through the Cross the chains of death have been broken, once and for all!
Reading: John 12:1-8
Reading: Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32
Reading: Luke 13:1-9
QUESTION: Where is the good news in this scary comment?
Reading: Luke 13:13-35
During this season of Lent, we are encouraged to give something up, or take something on, in order to help us better prepare spiritually for what is to come. But Lent is much more than just wondering what to shrive oneself of. We are also called to slow down, wait, and take a good hard look at our own spiritual lives. To discern and take note of how we react when we face temptations, which try their best to turn us away from both the cross, and our Lord’s mission.
Combating temptations alone takes courage, but for Christians, take heart, for we do not face these temptations alone. Our Lord, who walked among us as fully human and fully divine, knows what it is like to face Temptation, and leaves us examples in Holy Scripture. As we pause on this day, may the Gospel speak to us the principles our Lord used to get through temptation.
Reading: Luke 9:28-36
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord which brings the season of Epiphany (the manifestation of Christ) to a close.
Hearing God’s voice; seeing Elijah and Moses; and witnessing Jesus being transformed. This was certainly a mountaintop experience for the disciples.
There are many different instances that we could name as mountaintop experiences. But, have you ever thought of worship as being one of them?
There are many similarities between what Peter, James, and John experienced and what each one of us experiences when we gather for worship. Mountaintop experiences happen in worship! And worship never ends, only the service does. We are called out of that sacred space back into our daily lives where we reflect God’s rays around us in our day to day discipleship.
We, like Jesus, are called to set our face towards Jerusalem, towards the difficult mission He is about to undertake for you and me. Wednesday begins the Lenten season, may we have the courage to walk with Him every step of the way-even to the cross.
Reading: Luke 4:21-30
ANSWER…..in January 31, 2016 sermon
Reading: Luke 2:14-21
Sermon Summary: This sermon we see Jesus gives us his first words spoken in public after his baptism and his time of temptation in the wilderness. In the synagogue, after quoting from Isaiah 61 he says, “today, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.
ANSWER…..in January 24, 2016 sermon
Reading: John 2:1-11
Sermon Summary: We are still in the season of Epiphany. Epiphanies are defined as embodied revelations. They are manifestations of God’s presence that we should be able to sense — with every single one of our senses. The wedding at Cana reveals that epiphanies of God are experiences of His love, so abundant that you can sense it in every part of your body. Epiphanies are embodied into signs, and signs point to God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Our sign today is the miracle at Cana. The symbol of new wine in old wineskins. Jesus is calling us into being here is part of something altogether new, and yet so old. In this season of Epiphany, may we rejoice in knowing that we too have gifts that point others to God, who is the one of Eternity, but yet is daily revealed to us in new and awesome ways.
Reading: Luke 3:15-17, 21-22