are children really welcome? – Jesus says yes!

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Everytime people encounter Jesus they change in some way. The story of Jesus welcoming the children will obviously have an impact on the kids, their parents, and the disciples who acted as his security detail. But it also challenges the cultural attitude towards children. The Kingdom of God is just as Jesus demonstrates – welcoming, accepting, blessing. So who are you inviting and who are you blocking?

Oh – the photo attached is of three of our grandchilden taken just 10 days ago. Yvonne and I are looking forward to again introducing some of them to St. Andrew’s in August 2012. It will be exciting (& challenging & busy!) as they come to stay with us, all on their own!
 

the reset button

 

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Hey friends, I know that just a very small percentage of you reading this can actually be with us on Sunday to explore the Bible teaching – but the reality is that 100% of you have at some time or another desperately wanted a “do – over” – another chance to do better, to get it right. Whether it is the famously frustrating game of golf, a career choice, a moment of angry confrontation with a family member, a marriage, a speech, or an attempt to be a faithful follower of Jesus – we all have some part of our life that weighs us down, holds us back, and cries out for a new beginning. 

God is into “new”. The Bible speaks about new life, new hope, new birth, new mercies, a new earth and heaven, a new Jerusalem, new creation …. 

God clearly offers new opportunities and 2nd chances. This good news should lower the level of stress your perfectionist pursuit places on you; this good news should release you from the oppression of dissatisfaction that overwhelms you when the year-end report card reveals “room for improvement”. It is a new year – a time to begin again with God! 

God is an expert when it comes to new starts. Genesis 12 tells of a family that sets out on a new adventure, one that would be life changing, world changing. And 2 Corinthians 5:17 speaks of the radical change that begins when God moves into our lives. It is in his nature to bless, and bless again. In Luke 15 Jesus tells the story of a rebellious son who is festively welcomed back to the family. Peter, famous for his 3-fold denial of Christ, is subsequently re-deployed for ministry by the Lord he so recently refused to acknowledge.

 A few days ago I ‘archived’ years of unread and unanswered emails. The refreshing ‘new start feeling’ of an empty inbox was similar to the relief and expectation I feel when I start a new ministry or return from a restful vacation. I think God works at a much higher level. Have you experienced something similar on a spiritual level, when God is involved in transforming your heart, leading you into new blessings and growth? The new “lease on life” thing does not come from self-imposed resolutions; it comes from God-initiated “resets” in our life. 

I wish you a Happy New Year for sure. Even more, I wish you a blessed divine reset!

 – Doug 

The Reset Button – Sunday morning January 6 2013 at 10:30

Scriptures to get my soul primed = Genesis 12:1-9, Ecclesiates 3:1-14, 2 Corinthians 5:17

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time to remember

In Flanders Fields

by John McCrae, May 1915

Poppies (©greatwar.co.uk)

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Inspiration for the poem — In Flanders Fields

During the Second Battle of Ypres a Canadian artillery officer, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, was killed on 2 May, 1915 by an exploding shell. He was a friend of the Canadian military doctor Major John McCrae.

John was asked to conduct the burial service owing to the chaplain being called away on duty elsewhere. It is believed that later that evening John began the draft for his famous poem ‘In Flanders Fields’.

SEEN GOD LATELY?

SEEN GOD LATELY?

Well certainly! The divine paintbrush is out this time of year! I love the fall! Also, a couple of weekends ago when Ruth Graham came to Brockville and 1,000 people had their lives touched by the gracious Spirit of God showing us forgiveness and healing in Jesus. Surely it was a ‘God sighting’ when so many churches in our community came together to pull that event off. I see God on Monday mornings at our church as young moms in difficult places in their lives receive encouragement from caring volunteers they are learning to trust. And in the patient caring shown by other volunteers who creatively play and teach the children of these moms. God is visible in the long term service many of you give to our church/to other churches – God bless you for sitting through meetings, preparing coffee, cleaning up after someone else’s mess, planning programs, encouraging stewardship, generous offerings, teaching Sunday school, leading Bible studies, going to choir rehearsals…. Twice in the last 6 days Yvonne and I have personally seen God show up in an unexpected kind gift. God is sighted on Sunday mornings as people give each other hugs and a hearty welcome, and so clearly is the Lord present in the enthusiasm of our small group of children – I love them! I see God as God’s people write notes, make phone calls, bakes cookies, visit the sick and elderly …. 

That’s all good stuff though. I think we also can see God, through the eyes of faith, in our challenges, in our failures, in our ‘do – overs’.  I have been blessed as I have looked at the Jonah story again. God is there in Jonah’s rebellion, in Jonah’s predicament, in Jonah’s second chance, and even in his pouting. The outlines are posted right here http://sojustwhereisgod.blogspot.com/

 Take a look at Jonah, and at your own situation. You think God is hiding? I don’t think so!