Fifth Sunday after Easter

Forgiveness is the Return of Splendour in the World

­­­­­­­­­Luke 17:3-10

Forgiveness is the Return of Splendour in the World8f5d0040f261ddb1b3f281e00e1385f0
Do you find it easy to say “I am sorry” to someone you’ve hurt?These three powerful words enable us to have smooth relationships with others. “Always apologise more than you think you need to” is advice worth practising as long as you live.

Expressing regret for hurting someone or sinning against them is the first step to healing a damaged relationship with others. The reason many relationships aren’t as good and loving as they could be is because we’ve failed to apologise when we’ve hurt and offended someone. Jesus points out to us in today’s text that love can involve having to apologise seven times in one day, if that’s what’s necessary for domestic harmony or harmony within a church community. This will also involve free and unconditional forgiveness of each other seven times or more in one day if necessary.

Our problem is that we’re quick to excuse ourselves, and we find it easier to criticize the other person rather than forgive them. Love is thrilled to say “sorry” to those whom we’ve hurt.  Where there are no apologies, anger grows and creates in us a desire to hit back.

Jesus’ call to forgive a sister or brother seven times a day if necessary made His disciples only too aware of their inadequate faith. That’s why they pray to Jesus, “Increase our faith”. They’re only too aware that they need the help only our Saviour can give them. By asking Jesus to increase our faith regularly, we are praying that our Lord will enable us to do things for Him that seem to be humanly impossible. He means we should use the faith God has already given us to ask Him for a more effective, life-transforming faith. Faith that grows like a mustard seed is faith that’s said its prayers.

Jesus links faith, prayer and forgiveness inseparably together when He says, “So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. ‘Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses’ (Mark11:24-25).”

No other act in the universe is as glorious and beautiful as God’s forgiveness of us. No other antidote brings such complete healing and peace as does forgiveness. Nothing in our sinful world bears the imprint of Christ, the Son of God, as surely as does forgiveness.

God forgives you like a mother forgives her child when she kisses the offence into eternal forgetfulness. His forgiveness of you is stronger than all your sins. Forgiveness is His barrier-breaking, future-opening gift to you.

Forgiveness meets our longing to make a fresh start in our relationships with God and each other. God’s forgiveness of you means you can live as His new creation, as if your life has just begun. Forgiveness is God’s most characteristic quality as our heavenly Father. He pleads with each one of us to be forgiven and forget; forget all the past sins of which God has already forgiven you and all the sins other people have committed against you.

The Bible tells us that ultimately all sin is against God and must be confessed to Him. King David confesses to God: “Against You, You alone, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified in Your sentence and blameless when You pass judgement (Psalm 51:4).” Because Jesus has taken the blame for all our sins in place of us, God no longer condemns those who plead for His forgiveness. “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).”

We show appreciation of God’s undeserved forgiveness of us by our eagerness to forgive one another.

A young man had a sharp disagreement with another church member. As he’d been a Christian for a longer time than the other person, his pastor asked him to initiate the process of reconciliation. The youth said to his pastor: “He is the one who started all this. I have done nothing wrong. Why should I go to him? He should be the one to make the first move, not me.” Forgiveness involves making the first move. To be a Christian involves forgiving what I think is unforgiveable. We are most like God when we forgive others.

If you cannot forgive others, you break the bridge over which you must pass; for everyone needs to be forgiven. Every Christian needs to be a good forgiver. Nothing stops prayer more than an unforgiving spirit.

To forgive someone is to slice away the wrong from the offender and see her or him in a new light. By living as God’s forgiven and forgiving people, you can make a tremendous difference at home, at work, at sport and at church.

The servant in today’s Gospel reading couldn’t expect any special treatment for simply doing his daily duty. Servants employed in the time of Jesus were grateful for the security of a job and worked for their masters out of a sense of loyalty. In ordinary life in the time of the New Testament, a master never waited on or served a servant.

 As our Master, Jesus, however, did something unique and unheard of before. He came not to be served, but to serve us in amazingly wonderful, down to earth ways. In Holy Communion, Jesus serves us with sacred food in this sacred meal so that we can serve others in all sorts of down to earth ways, like He serves us. Love knows its duty is never done. Love’s only reward is to have the privilege of serving others.

Serving our Saviour Jesus makes our lives full of meaning, because what we do for Him is eternally worthwhile with results seen only in heaven. We serve Jesus, and look forward to that day when in heaven Jesus will come and serve us. “It will be good for those servants whose Master finds them watching when He comes … He will dress Himself to serve, He will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them (Luke 12:37).” What a wonderful honour that will be!

Amen.

Your Sunday Bulletin : October.

crosstalk

                   

                                   2nd October 2022
                                      Pentecost 17
 
                    Today’s service will be held @ 9am240_F_76080180_liQGKxJWSP7v8T8VjQObFV8OCVG9RLU3
         If you are in Port Macquarie you are very welcome.
        Service will be lead by:Pastor Mark Worthing

                               The theme
 
Forgiveness is the Return of Splendour in the World.

Next Sunday 2nd October
Pentecost 17
Worship Service led by: Pastor Mark Worthingpastorm
Holy Communion: Pastor Mark Worthing
Communion Assistant: Joan Rayward
Communion Prep.: David Thompson
Bible Readings: David Thompson
1st Reading: Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4 The righteous will live by faith
2nd Reading: 2 Timothy 1:1-14 Encouragement to be Faithful
Gospel: Luke 17:5-10 Faith and dutymark2
Prayers led by: Dr. Gordon Watson
Stewards: Joan Watson and Dale Ampt
Music: Daryll
Audio/ Computer: Garth Schultz

download

Next Sunday 9th October
Pentecost 18pastorm
Worship Service led by: Pastor Mark Worthing
Holy Communion: Pastor Mark Worthing
Communion Assistant: Jenelle Francis
Communion Prep.: David Thompson
Bible Readings: Jenelle Francis
1st Reading: 2 Kings 5:1-3,7-15c Naaman is cured
2nd Reading: 2 Timothy 2:8-15 A call to endurancemark2
Gospel: Luke 17:11-19 Jesus heals ten lepers
Prayers led by: David Thompson
Stewards: Rosemary Conran and Sherry Thompson
Music: Narelle
Audio/ Computer: Sue Smith

In our thoughts and Prayers:praying
John McLean,
Rosemary Conran,
Kathy Mitchell,
Renate Radmacher,
Jenny Montgomery,
Tony Koch,
Aileen Huf,
Bob Rayward,
Helga Mathies,
Carole Rogers.
Christine Kurteff
Sherry Thompson.
Roger Reichelt

bible

Bible Study:
7.30 pm Wednesday 
@ Kemp St


Stay connected with : Lutheran Media Livestreaming.
https://www.livestream.com/luthworship

Church Council Executive:
Chairperson: David Pfeiffer 0428 667 754
Vice Chairperson: Roy Herbig 0417 041 325
Secretary: Sue Smith 0403 397 214
Treasurer: Garth Schultz 0412 487 466
Contact: Treasurer Garth Schultz at stpeterspmq.treasurer@gmail.com

Pastoral Carers:
Rev. David Thompson 0414521661
Joan Rayward 65820898
Jenelle Francis 0407391534
Pr. Mark Worthing. Ph 65833444. Mobile 0428557663
St. Peters Lutheran Church. 13 Kemp St. Port Macquarie. 2444. P.O. Box 5655

Below is a link for the interview with Pastor Mark on our local Christian
broadcast station Radio Rhema 99.9
https://www.dropbox.com/s/k5qetup4a0v5b83/Worthing.mp3?dl=0

Below is a link or the interview with Pastor Mark on Life FM (Adelaide)
that also aired this past weekend about the ethics of Martin Luther and
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
https://soundcloud.com/lifefmadelaide-1/sets/sunday-nights-with-lynn-arnoldaug-7?
utm_source=clipboard&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=social_sharing


Roster:vavuum
Church Cleaning:

October: Sherry and David Thompson

 

 

Morning tea:cuppa
IT’S ON AGAIN AFTER SERVICE
Morning Tea:
2 October Corrine McLean
9 October Juta Cooley 

 

FREE! FREE! FREE!
Check out the tract and greeting card display in the foyer for that special
person or loved one who could use a special message.

Monthly Luncheon:
Our Fellowship Lunch will be Friday 30th September 12pm. At The Blue
Asian Eatery,4/4 Flynn St. Port. There are approx. 20 steps to get access and
there is no lift. Please RSVP to Sherry 0404913065 if you would like to attend.

Ladies Fellowship:
Meeting Wednesday 5th October (one week earlier) at Jenelle Francis’ home at
4/18 Burrawan St, Harbourwatch, at 12pm. Everyone is asked to bring a plate
of savoury to share. Cake will be provided for dessert.


Volunteers:
Scripture Union is looking for volunteers to assist with running an after school
kids club at Westport Primary. Please see Pastor Mark for a flier if interested.

Catch-Up Coffee:snip41
Friday, 14th October 10 am. at Seasalt, 7/18 Park St. Port Macquarie.
Interested people please contact Carol McLean 0427832156

Name tags:
Please contact David Thompson if you have lost or need a name tag.

LCA Stamps for Mission
Don’t forget to save your used postage stamps and bring them to church and
put them in the box provided in the entryway. These used stamps will be sent
away to be cleaned to support LCA International mission programs and
projects.

LCA Tract Mission:
The Ladies Fellowship has generously selected and purchased a variety of
tracts for all occasions that can be used as an outreach resource for all our
members, friends and family. Please take a minute and peruse the display
and pick up some of these inspirational messages and notes for whatever
circumstances you or your loved ones may be facing or going thru at the
moment. We plan to keep the display stocked as new themes are announced.
 

Sermons:8f5d0040f261ddb1b3f281e00e1385f0
All past sermons are available to read on our web page.
stpetersptmacquarie.com
Stay connected with : Lutheran Media Livest reaming.
 October
 Birthdays:birthday
1 Rosemary Conran
2 Christine Kurteff
6 Michelle Hughes
8 Dr. Gordon Watson
14 Don McLean
14 Lynne Michelle
15 Riley Reichelt
19 Louise Mirtschin
22 Ben Reichelt

 

Web page. 
People who visited the website in the last week, including
 27 Aust.
9 USA.
3 Nigeria.
2 Canada.

 

We now have 96 followers.globe

2018:  2,515
2019:  1,864
2020: 2,496
2021:  2,036
2022:  2,002


Statistic:sitting

Sunday Service 25th September. Attendance was 44

 

Notice:
Please send all information, comments, devotions, prayers to be included in the news letter to rherbig@tpg.com.au by Thursday in order to publish on Friday Thank you , Roy.
St. Peters Lutheran Church. 13 Kemp St. Port Macquarie. 2444. P.O. Box 5655.
stpetersptmacquarie.com

The Church and the Privacy Act:
1 The Church collects personal information about you before and during the course of your membership of the church
2 We may include your contact details in membership lists or other church publications. If you do not agree to this
You must advise us immediately.
3 Some of the information we collect is to satisfy the church’s legal obligation, and thereby to enable it to discharge It’s
duty of care.
St Peters Chess Club:chess

Thursday from 6 – 7.30 pm.
Everyone welcome
All ages and playing levels welcome.

 

Weekly Devotion:

And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt (Matthew 18:27).
Read Matthew 18:21–35
The parable of the two indebted servants answers the spirit of Peter’s question about forgiveness: ‘how many times should I forgive?’ (Matthew
18:21). Jesus’ answer – ‘not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven
times’– was not meant to be a greater numerical response to a meagre
‘seven’, but it illustrates a completely different spirit.
Peter’s question was legalistic. Jesus’ answer is sheer grace. It’s a parable of
‘the kingdom of heaven’, whose operative principles are entirely alien to us.
Its economy and coinage are nothing like ours.
The parable hinges on the fact that neither servant could repay his debt. An
irremediable debt is irretrievable, no matter the size. In the case of the unforgiving servant, that debt was extreme. A Roman ‘talent’ was a measure of
weight, which translates to about 32 kilograms, most likely (in this instance)
32 kilograms of silver. And the servant owed 10,000 times that! To put that
into perspective, it would take a typical worker (on a silver denarius for a
day) 15 years to earn one talents’ worth, which equates to 150,000 years to
repay the amount.
His plea, ‘have patience, and I will repay you everything’ (Matthew 18:26),
was confabulation on the grandest scale. It was an impossible commitment
in the face of an immeasurable debt; the promise was as empty as his purse.
Though receiving immeasurable mercy for an impossible debt, he seized another servant who owed him only 100 denarii ‘by the throat’ (Matthew
18:28). When he pled for mercy, the unforgiving servant refused and (in an
act as irrational as his own confabulation) threw him into prison ‘until he
could pay’ (Matthew 18:30).
Jesus is saying that Peter’s legalistic approach was of the same spirit. If Peter (and we) understood the utter impossibility of the debt we owe and the
incalculability of the mercy we’ve received, we wouldn’t withhold the forgiveness we are asked to extend. Neither we – nor those who sin against us 
can pay anything. The mercy of God is the motive and power by which we
extend mercy to one another.


Lets Pray;

Dear Father, thank you for your mercy, which is boundless, rich and free
Thank you for not treating us how the unforgiving servant treated his fellow servant. Deliver us from any legalistic spirit. May we forgive one another as you have forgiven us. Amen.

 

                 think

 
 
Something to think about:

 

He who loses money loses much, He who loses a friend loses more, But he
who loses faith loses all.
A small boy in Sunday school was asked what a lie was. He said, “A lie is an
abomination in the eyes of God.” Then he added, “And our very present help
in times of trouble!”

My grandfather once told me that there are two kinds of people: those who do
the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first
group; there was less competition there
The world’s best antidepressant has 4 legs, a wagging tail and comes with
unconditional love.

John Wesley was an incredible servant of God. His motto was “Do all the
good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the
places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as
you ever can.”
Once we assuage our conscience by calling something a “necessary evil”, it
begins to look more and more necessary and less evil.

Don’t always assume the other person has equal intelligence — They might
have more.
It has been estimated that in spite of all the combined efforts of all the
churches and missionary agencies put together, it is taking 1,000 Christians
an average of 365 days to win one person to Christ. This is not good
enough.

How can you remind yourself that nothing can separate you from Jesus’ love?
How can knowing this truth change the way you respond to life’s challenges?
“Courage is the finest of human qualities because it guarantees all the others.”
Winston Churchill.
Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves
on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is to small to be made into a
burden.
Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future.
Worry is a cycle of inefficient thoughts whirling around a centre of fear.
No matter what the circumstances, we always have
something -to be- thankful for.

Wi-fi went down for five minutes, so I had to talk to my family.
They seem like nice people.

A preacher made a statement in Hyde Park, “You must love the Lord with all
your heart.” A Heckler relied. “That’s rubbish. Science has proved that the
human heart is just a pump.” The preacher asked, “Are you married?” The
man said. “yes.” “Then go home and tell your wife you love her with all your
pump!”


The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

What do you mean we don’t communicate? Just yesterday I faxed you a
reply to the recorded message you left on my answerphone.

In the midst of your darkest moments, how do you typically respond?
Why is it so difficult to be honest about your struggles?
God writes with a pen that never blots, speaks with a tongue that never slips,
and acts with a hand that never fails.
When God measures a man, he puts the tape around the heart instead of the
head.
God is more interested in making us what he wants us to be than giving us
what we think we ought to have
.

History is littered with examples of men who would become gods,
but only one example of God becoming man.
Genius has limits. Stupidity has no limits.
The test of first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in
the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.
Curious people ask questions. Determined people find answers.

Some people succeed because they are destined to, But most people succeed
because they are determined to.
Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most pick themselves up and
hurry off as if nothing had happened.
God doesn’t command sinners to go to church, but he does command the
church to go to sinners.

For every problem under the sun there’s a solution or there is none.
If there’s a solution go and find it. If there isn’t never mind it.
A commitment is doing what you said you would do, long after the feeling
you said it in has passed.

Evangelism:
Jesus was born in a borrowed manager. He preached from a borrowed boat.
He entered Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey, he ate the Last Supper in a
borrowed upper room and he was buried in a borrowed tomb. Now he asks
to borrow the lives of Christians to reach the rest of the world.
If we do not speak, then he is dumb and silent.

A missionary called John Vassar knocked on the door of a person’s home and
asked if she knew Christ. She said, “It’s none of your business!” and slammed
the door in his face. He stood on the doorstep and wept and wept. She was
looking out of her window at him weeping. The next Sunday she presented
herself for church membership. She said it was those tears.

Great faith is a product of great fights. Great testimonies are the outcome of
great tests. Great triumphs can only come after great trials.
A belief is something you hold. A conviction is something that holds you.
People generally have too many opinions and not enough convictions.
Don’t criticise too quickly.
Even a clock that doesn’t work is right twice a day.

The most aggravating thing about the younger generation is that I no longer
belong to it. (Albert Einstein)
I finally got my head together. Now my body’s falling apart.

A preacher was completing a temperance sermon:
With great expression he said, “If I had all the beer in the world. I’d take it
and throw it into the river.” With even greater emphasis he said, “And if I
had all the wine in the world, I’d take it and throw it into the river.” And
finally, he said, “and if I had all the whisky in the world, I’d take it and throw
it into the river.” He sat down. The song leader then stood very cautiously
and announced with a smile, “For our closing song, let us sing Hymn 365:
“Shall we gather at the river?”

We can never fully impact others to change if there is no evidence of change
in our lives.
The real problem of your leisure is how to keep other people from using it.
The best thing for grey hair is a sensible head.
God without man is still God. Man without God is nothing.
A steering committee is a group of four people trying to park a car.

 
A women was at work when she received a phone call telling her that her
daughter was ill. She left work and went to the pharmacist to buy some flu
medicine. Unfortunately, having done so, she returned to discover She’d
locked her car keys in the car.
She looked around for a rusty coat hanger, found one, but didn’t know how to
use it. So she bowed her head and prayed for help. Within seconds a scruffy
man appeared. She was so desperate she told him her plite and asked him, ”Do
you know how to break into a car with one of these?”
“Sure” said the man, and within a minute had opened the car door.
The woman hugged him and thanked him profusely. “Thank you so much,”
she said, “You are a nice man.” The man replied, “Lady, I am not a very nice
man. I just got out of prison today. I was in prison for car theft and have only
been out for one hour.”
“Thank you, Lord,” shouted the woman, “for sending me a professional!”
 
It’s what we do when we don’t succeed that determines whether we
will succeed.
Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things
turn out.
You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice
you have.
 
Measure wealth not by the things you have, but by the things you have for
which you would not take money
“I have disposed of all my property to my family. There is one thing more I
wish I could give them and that is faith in Jesus Christ. If they had that and I
had not given them a single cent, they would have been rich; and if they had
not that, and I had given them all the world, they would be poor indeed.

 

The greatest undeveloped territory in the world lies under your hat.

A newly converted hippie was intently reading the Bible while waiting for
transportation and every now and then he would exclaim, “Alleluia, praise the
Lord, Amen” as he read on. A skeptic heard him and came and asked what he
was reading. He answered, “I am reading how God parted the Red Sea and let
the Israelites go through — that is a miracle!” The skeptic said, “Do not
believe everything the Bible tells you. The truth of the matter is that the body
of water was really only six inches deep — so it was no miracle.” The hippie
nodded in disappointment but kept on reading as the skeptic was walking away
feeling proud that he had set the hippie straight. All of a sudden the skeptic
heard the hippie let out a big “Alleluia, Praise the Lord.” At this the skeptic
came back to him and asked, “What is it this time?” The hippie said excitedly
in one breath, “ This one is a real miracle, God drowned the whole Egyptian
army in six inches of water!”
 
A renowned rabbi was travelling on a train. Three impudent youths decided
to intimidate the Jew. They each made fun of the rabbi.
“Good morning , Father Abraham!”
“Good morning, Father Isaac!”
“Good morning, Father Jacob!”

 

But to their surprise, the rabbi replied:
“I am none of these. I am, however, Saul, the son of Kish, who was in a
three-day search for the lost donkeys, and I am glad I’ve finally found them!”

“A mother’s love is everything. It is what brings a child into this world. It is
what molds their entire being. When a mother sees her child in danger, she is
literally capable of anything. Mothers have lifted cars off of their children and
destroyed entire dynasties. A mother’s love is the strongest energy known to
man.”
“When your mother asks, ‘Do you want a piece of advice?’ it’s a mere formality. It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.”
 
It is better to know some of the questions than to know all of the answers
The sad thing about trouble is that it often starts out as fun
Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for your enemy to die.
Conflict: A friend of mine who is a pastor said this: “Whenever the conflict
gets too much in my church I go and visit the local kennels. There’s a whole
group there that’s always pleased to see me!”
 
A boy asked his father, “Dad, what is the size of God?”
The father looked up at the sky and saw a plane. He asked his son, “What is the size of this plane?”
The boy replied, “It is very small. I can hardly see it.”
Then the father took him to the airport. As they approached a plane, he asked, “Now son, how big is this plane?”
The boy replied, “Wow Dad, it’s huge”
The father then said, “God’s size to you depends on how close or far you are to Him. The closer you are to Him, the greater He will be in your life!”

 

plane


You can’t control the length of you life—

but you can control the width and depth.
You can’t control the contour of your face—
but you can control it’s expression.
You can’t control the weather—
but you can control the atmosphere of your mind.
Why worry about the things you can’t control when you can keep yourself
busy controlling the things that depend on you.

A Christian leader told a group of laymen who came to see him one day for
some advice. They wanted to know of a diplomatic way to get rid of their
pastor. The man sensing that they were not being fair, gave them some
suggestions:
1 Look your pastor straight in the eye while he is preaching and say amen once
in a while. He’ll preach himself to death.
2 Pat him on the back and tell him his good points. Before you know it,
He’ll work himself to death.
3 Rededicate your own life to Christ and ask your pastor for a job to do.
He’ll die of heart failure.
4 Get your church to unite in prayer for him. Soon he’ll become so effective
that a larger church will take him off your hands.
If your pastor faithfully preaches God’s Word and tries to live an exemplary
life, do all you can to support and encourage him. Of course, no pastor is perfect and sometimes a careful rebuke may be needed (1 Tim.5:20), but pastor
carries a big responsibility(Heb.13:17), and a faithful man of God is worthy of
loving respect and generous financial support (1 Tim.3:1; 5:17-18.
By the way, when did you last say to your pastor, “I’m grateful for you and all
you’ve done for me”?

But My Child
Lord, they don’t appreciate us!
But my child, who ever told you they would?
All the work we do, they just don’t understand what this job involves!
But my child, for whom are you working
There’s not enough money!
But my child, are you hungry? Have you nothing to wear?
There’s just not enough time to get everything done!
But my child, who is making out your work schedule?
I’m tired Lord, help me to keep going!
But my Child, will you never learn to rest in me?
Too many of those who bear your name no longer feel any urgency to serve!
But my Child, do I require you to carry their load or do their work?
Lord the lost don’t want to hear! They want to be left alone!
But my Child, what if you were yet lost and did not want to hear?
Lord, will you help me through the day?
But my Child, have I not helped you through all the days since you became
mine?
Did you not expect me to be here today?
My Child, all things are mine to give and all things are yours in me.

Ten people talked three million Israelites out of entering the Promise Land —
That’s how dangerous a vocal minority can be.
“I hope you didn’t take it personally, Reverend,” an embarrassed woman said
after a church service, “when my husband walked out during your sermon.”
“I did find it rather disconcerting,” the minister replied. “ It’s not a reflection
on you, sir,” insisted the churchgoer. “Ralph has been walking in his sleep
ever since he was a child.”

Take time to THINK…It is the source of power.
Take time to PLAY…It is the secret of perpetual youth.
Take time to READ…It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY…It is the greatest power on earth.
Take time to LOVE and BE LOVED…It is a God-given privilege.
Take time to BE FRIENDLY…It is the road to happiness.
Take time to LAUGH…It is the music of the soul.
Take time to GIVE…It is too short a day to be selfish.
Take time to WORK…It is the price of success’
Take time to DO CHARITY…It is the KEY TO HEAVEN.

Resiliency is an important factor in living. The winds of life may bend us,
but if we have resilience of Spirit, they cannot break us. To courageously
straighten again after our heads have been bowed by defeat, disappointment
and suffering, is the supreme test of character.

Perseverance is the most overrated of traits: if it is unaccompanied by talent,
beating your head against a wall is more likely to produce a concussion in
the head than a hole in the wall.
When you talk, you repeat what you already know. When you listen,
you often learn something.
The grace of listening is lost if the listener’s attention is demanded,
not as a favour, but as a right

It’s not how much of my money I give to God, but how much of his money I
keep for myself.
Or as sometimes put more bluntly, It’s all right to give God credit,
but He can use cash too.
You know, they say you can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead,
and have it waiting to your credit when you get there. (R.G.LeTourneau)
There is always free cheese in the mouse trap.

When you go to church this Sunday and you feel that old temptation to point
out what’s wrong with the place: the coffee’s luke warm, the lights are too
bright, the temperature is wrong, the music is too loud and, of course, you
don’t know the songs.
Remember in that moment, there’s a Ukrainian church gathering in subway
tunnels to worship while bombs blast overhead. No coffee, no instruments, no
leader pushing them to worship, they’re down there in real time and in real
life worshiping the King above Kings as their world is crumbling down.

A minister waited in line to have his car filled with fuel just before a long
holiday weekend. The attendant worked quickly, but there were many cars
ahead of him in front of the service station. Finally the attendant motioned
him toward a vacant pump. “Reverend,” said the young man, “Sorry about
the delay. It seems as if everyone waits until the last minute to get ready for a
long trip.” The minister chuckled. “I know what you mean.
It’s the same in my business.”


If the request is wrong, God says, “No.”

If the timing is wrong, God says, “Slow.”
If you are wrong, God says, “Grow.”
But if the request is right, the timing is right and you are right ,
God says, “GO.”
Anyone can make a mistake; only a fool will persist in it.
The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will
make one.

Think about this;trust
How does the thief on the cross fit into your theology? No baptism, no
communion, no confirmation, no speaking in tongues, no mission trip, no
volunteerism, and no church clothes.
He couldn’t even bend his knees to pray.
He didn’t say the sinner’s prayer and among other things, he was a thief.
Jesus didn’t take away his pain, heal his body, or smite the scoffers. Yet it
was a thief who walked into heaven the same hour as Jesus simply by believing.
He had nothing more to offer other than his belief that Jesus was who he
said he was.
No spin from brilliant theologians.
No ego or arrogance.
No Shiny lights, skinny jeans, or crafty words.
No haze machine, donuts, or coffee in the entrance.
Just a naked dying man on a cross unable to even fold his hands to pray.”
For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son so that whosoever believed in him would not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16
I read this today and was reminded of the simplicity of the Gospel.

John McLean.

As has often been said, ‘The grass is not greener on the other side of the fence
– it is greener where we water it.’ In fact, ‘If the grass looks greener, it’s
probably AstroTurf!

The good opinion of honest men, wherever they may be born or happen to
reside, is the only kind of reputation a wise man would ever desire.
A thing moderately good is not so good as it ought to be. Moderation in
temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice.
Our grand business in life is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do
what lies ahead.
The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.

Just because you are doing a lot more doesn’t mean you are getting a lot
done. Don’t confuse movement with progress!
The driver is safer when the roads are dry,
The roads are safer when the driver is dry.
Two women were discussing the virtues of their mates. “Yes, my Harry is
just the best,” said Louise. “I remember before we were married he said he
liked a cigar after a good meal, but he hasn’t smoked in years

 

But just as quantity wins respect and honour for a church, it is qualitythat provides a church with safety and Protection.

He who chops his own wood warms himself twice

A minister parked his car in a no-parking zone in a large city because he was
short of time and couldn’t find a space with a meter. So he put a note under
the windshield wiper that read: If I don’t park here, I’ll miss my appointment,
FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES.
When he returned, he found a citation from a police officer along with this
note. I’ve circled this block for 10 years. If I don’t give you a ticket, I’ll lose
my job. LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION.
If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you;
that is the principal difference between a dog and a man.

A six-year old girl had been so naughty that her mother decided to teach her a
lesson. She told her she couldn’t go to the school fair.
Then when the day came, her mother felt she had been to harsh and changed
her mind. When she told the girl she could go to the school fair, the child’s
reaction was one of gloom and disappointment. “What’s the matter? I thought
you’d be glad to go to the school fair,” her mother said. “It’s too late!” the
little girl said. “I’ve already prayed for rain, storms and thunder!”

Knowing that the pastor was very fond of cherry brandy, one of the Church
Elders offered to present him with a bottle on one consideration — that the
pastor acknowledge receipt of the gift in the church paper.
“Gladly” responded the good man.
When the church magazine came out a few days later, the elder turned at once
to the “appreciation” column.
There he read: “ the pastor extends his thanks to Elder Brown for his gift of
fruit and for the spirit in which it was given.”

After service one Sunday morning a mother commented, “The choir was awful this morning.”
The father commented, “The sermon was too long.” Their seven year old
daughter added,
“But you’ve got to admit it was a pretty good show for 20c”
Brains and beauty are God’s gift; Character is your own achievement.

I can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because the thorn
bush has a rose. — It’s all up to me.
Children have never been very good at listening to their elders,
but they have never failed to imitate them.
Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the
temperature of the heart.

Jesus:
It has been said that Socrates and Aristotle each taught for 40 years, Plato for
50 years, but Jesus for only three. Yet his influence far surpasses the combined
130 years of teaching by these men who are acknowledged as the greatest philosophers of all antiquity. He painted no pictures, yet the finest paintings of
Raphael, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci received their illumination
from Him. He wrote no poetry, yet Dante, Milton and others of the world’s
greatest poets were inspired by him. He composed no music, yet Haydn, Handel, Beethoven and Bach reached their highest perfection in hymns, symphonies and oratorios composed in His honour. Jesus is quite simply the greatest
teacher who ever lived.

Bible:
They lie on the table side by side. The Holy Bible and the TV guide.
One is well worn and cherished with pride. Not the Bible, but the TV guide.
One is used daily to help folks decide. No, not the Bible, but the TV guide.
As the pages are turned, what shall we see?
Oh, what does it matter, turn on the TV.
So they open the book in which they confide. No, not the Bible, but the TV
guide.
The word of God is seldom read. Maybe a verse before they fall into bed.
Exhausted and sleepy and tired as can be. Not from reading the Bible,
from watching TV.
So then back to the table side by side, Lie the Holy Bible and the TV guide.
No time for prayer, no time for the word, The plan of Salvation is seldom
heard.
But forgiveness of sin, so full and free. Is found in the Bible, not on TV.

Overwork.
For a couple of years I’ve been blaming it on lack of sleep and too much
pressure from my job, but now I’ve found out the real reason:
I am tired because I am overworked.
The population of this country is 58 million. 24 million are retired. That
leaves 34 million to do the work.
There are 20 million at school, which leaves 14 million to do the work. Of
this there are 7.5 million employed by the government, leaving 6.5 million to
do the work. 2.7 million are in the armed forces, which leaves 3.8 million to
do the work.
Take from the total the 3,770,000 people who work for local authorities and
that leaves 30,000 to do the work. At any given time there are 20,000 people
in hospital, leaving 10,000 to do the work.
Now there are 9,998 people in prison. That leaves just two people to do the
work. You and me.
And you’re sitting here reading jokes.

The hinge of history is to be found on the door of a Bethlehem stable.
It was Christmas and the judge was in a merry mood as he asked the
prisoner, “What are you charged with?”
“Doing my Christmas shopping early,” replied the defendant.
“That’s no offence,” said the judge. “ How early were you Shopping?”
“Before the store opened,” answered the defendant.

Men and Women are able creatures; we have made over 32million laws and
haven’t yet improved on the Ten Commandments.
Guidance means I can count on God.
Commitment means God can count on me.
Intentions may be written in pencil, commitments should be carved in stone.

When we learn Something new, the connections between our brain cells are
increased.

The principal hindrance to the advancement of the kingdom of God is greed.
It is the chief obstacle to heaven sent revival. It seems that when the back of
greed is broken, your human spirit soars in regions of unselfishness. I believe
it is safe to say there can be no continuous revival without `hilarious` giving.
And the I fear no contradiction; wherever there is `hilarious` giving there will
be continuous revival. (O S Hawkins)
Biblical charity is more than giving that which we could afford to do without.

Never stop learning how to learn.

The ultimate measure of a
person is not where they stand
in moments of comfort and
convenience, but where they
stand in times of challenge
and controversy.
The first half of our lives
we’re romantic. The second
half we’re rheumatic.
The most significant achievement of our age is not that man stood on the
moon, but rather that God in Christ stood upon this earth.

Father was approached by his small son, who told him proudly,
“I know what the Bible means!”
His father smiled and replied, “What do you mean, you ‘know’ what the
Bible means?”
The son replied, “I do know!” “Ok,” said his father. “So, son, what does the Bible mean?”
That’s easy, Daddy. It stands for ‘Basic Information Before Leaving Earth’.”

 

Three vicars were having lunch together. One said, “You know since summer started I’ve been having trouble with bats at church. I’ve tried everything — noise, spray, cats — nothing seems to scare them away.” Another said, “Yes, me to. I’ve got hundreds living in my belfry. I’ve even had the place fumigat-ed, and they still won’t go away.”
The third said, “I baptised all mine, and made them members of the church…. Haven’t seen one back since!”

A friend was in front of me coming out of church one day, and the preacher was standing at the door as he always is to shake hands. He grabbed my friend by the hand and pulled him aside.
The pastor said to him, “You need to join the army of the Lord!”
My friend replied, “I’m already in the army of the Lord, pastor.” The pastor questioned, “How come I don’t see you except at Christmas and Easter?”
He whispered back, “ I’m in the secret service.”

Do you know the difference between education and experience? Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don’t.
Robert Frost wrote. “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.”
What road are you on?
A gang of eight year old boys found a dead bird. Feeling that a proper burial should be performed, they secured a small box, then dug a hole and made ready for the disposal of the deceased. The minister’s son was chosen to say the appropriate prayers and with dignity intoned his version of what he thought his father always said, “Glory be unto the Faaaather, and unto the Sonnn…and into the hole you goooo.”

think

Change the way you think of things and the things you think of will change.
The best vitamin for making friends is…..B1
Humility is to receive praise and to pass it on to God untouched.
Humility is like underwear. We should all have it but not let it show.
God created the world out of nothing, and as long as we are nothing, he can make something out of us. (Martin Luther.)

Humility is to receive praise and to pass it on to God untouched.
It is not a great thing to be humble when you are brought low, but to be
humble when you are praised is a great and rare attainment
Two men are being chased by a bear when one stops to put on his trainers.
The other man yells, “You idiot! You can’t outrun a bear!” The first man gasps, “I don’t have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you!:

A woman approached the minister after the sermon, and thanked him for his talk. “I found it so helpful,” she said.
The minister replied: “I hope it will not prove as helpful as the last sermon you heard me preach.”
“Why, what do you mean?” asked the astonished woman.
“Well,” said the minister, “ that sermon lasted you three months.”

One summer evening during a violent thunderstorm a mother was tucking her son into bed. She was about to turn off the light when he asked with a tremor in his voice, “Mummy, will you sleep in my bed tonight?” His mother smiled and gave him a reassuring hug. “I can’t dear,” she said. “I have to sleep in Daddy’s room.”
A long silence was broken at last by his shaky little voice. “The big sissy.”
The new father, beside himself with excitement over the birth of his son, was determined to follow all the rules to the letter. “So, tell me, nurse,” he said. “what time should we wake the little guy in the morning?”

When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in a manner so that when you die the world cries and you rejoice.
While on a long car journey, a couple stopped at a roadside restaurant for lunch. The woman unfortunately left her sunglasses on the table, but didn’t miss them until they were back on the motorway. By then, they had to travel to the next junction before they could turn around.
The man fussed and complained all the way back to the restaurant.
When they finally arrived, as the woman got out of the car to find her sun-glasses, the man said, “While you’re in there, you may as well get my hat,too.”

The wheel was man’s greatest invention… until he got behind it.
A small boy is sent to bed by his father.
Five minutes later… “Da-ad…” “What?”
“I’m thirsty. Can you bring me a drink of water?”
“No. You had your chance, Lights out.”
Five minutes later: “Da-aaad…” “What?”
“I’m THIRSTY. Can I have a drink of water?”
“I told you NO! If you ask again, I’ll have to discipline!” you!”
Five minutes later… “Daaa-aaad…” “What!”
“When you come in to discipline me, can you bring a drink of water?”

There was a preacher who entered his pulpit one Sunday morning and said:
“Oh Lord, give thy servant this mornin’ the eyes of the eagle and the wisdom of the owl; connect his soul with the gospel telephone in the skies; illuminate his brow with the Sun of Heaven; possess his mind with love for the people; turpentine his imagination; grease his lips with possum oil; electrify his brain with lightnin’ of the Word; put perpetual motion in his arms; fill him plumb full of dynamite of Thy glory; anoint him all over with kerosene of salvation, and set him on fire. Amen!”

If you are suffering from tooth decay you should consult your dentist.
If you are suffering from truth decay, you should consult your Bible.

If you had a bank that credited your account with $86,000, that carried over no balance from day to day, allowed you to keep no cash in your account, and every evening cancelled whatever part of the amount you failed to use during the day, what would you do?
Draw out every dollar every day, of course, and use it to your advantage! Well, you have such a bank, and its name is TIME!
Every morning it credits you with 86,000 seconds. Every night it rules off as lost whatever of this you failed to invest to good purpose. It carries over no balances, it allows no overdrafts. Each day it opens a new account with you. If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no drawing against tomorrow.

Martin Luther King said,
‘On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?”
Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?” And
Vanity comes along and asks the question, “Is it popular?”
But Conscience asks the question, “Is it right?”

When criticised, try to remember an important truth from John Bunyan:
“ If my life is fruitless, it doesn’t matter who praises me, and
If my life is fruitful, it doesn’t matter who criticises me.”
Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish one’s growth without destroying one’s roots

When life seems dark, choose joy. Let your smile be a win-dow of hope reflecting God’s love and the light of his pres-ence in your life.

If we discovered that we had five minutes left to say all we wanted to say,
every telephone line would be occupied by people calling other people to
stammer that they love them.
Why wait until the last five minutes

Discussion is an exchange of knowledge;
Argument is an exchange of ignorance.
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak;
Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
A young man said to his father at breakfast one morning, “Dad, I’m going to get married.” “How do you know you’re ready to get married?” asked the
Father. “Are you in love?” “I sure am,” said the son. “How do you know you’re in love?” asked the father. “Last night as I was kissing my girlfriend goodnight, her dog bit me and I didn’t feel the pain until I got home.”

A local priest and rabbi were fishing by the side of the road. After some discussion they thoughtfully made a sign saying, “The End is Near! Turn yourself around now before it’s to late!” and showed it to each passing car.
One driver that drove by didn’t appreciate the sign and shouted at them: “Leave us alone, you religious nuts!” Shortly afterwards they heard a big splash. They looked at each other and the priest said to the rabbi, “You think we should just put up a sign that says ‘Bridge Out’instead?”

The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic school for lunch. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples. The nun made a note, and posted it on the tray, “Take only one. God is watching.” Moving further along the lunch line was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies. One child whispered to another, “Take all you want, God is watching the apples.”
A Rabbi said to a precocious six year old boy: “So your mother says your prayers for you each night? Very commendable . What does she say?” The little boy replied, “Thank God he’s in bed!”

The only ones among you who will be really happy arethink
those who will have sought and found how to serve.
A teenage boy has just passed his driving test and asked his father when they could discuss his use of the car? His father says he’ll make a deal: “You bring your grades up from C to a B average, study your Bible a little, and get your hair cut. Then we’ll talk about the car.” Done! After about six weeks, his father says: “Son, you’ve brought your grades up and I’ve observed that you have been studying your Bible, but I’m disappointed you haven’t had your hair cut.” The boy says, “You know, Dad, I’ve been thinking about that, and I’ve noticed in my studies of the Bible that Samson had long hair, John the Baptist had long hair, Moses had long hair, and there’s strong evidence that Jesus had long hair.”
“Yes,” replies his father. “But did you also notice they all walked everywhere
they went

 

A minister was being constantly criticized by a member of his congregation.
After six months of this the poor man could stand it no more. He went out on a hot summer’s afternoon for a drive in the countryside. He wound down the window and after about an hour of driving began to feel much better. Driving down a narrow country lane, however, he was horrified to see a car careering towards him out of control. As it approached, he realized with even greater horror that the lady driving the car was the very woman who had been
harassing him.
As they passed within an inch of each other, the woman shouted the word “PIG!”
Months of built-up tension got the better of the minister and he shouted back, “COW!” Then he drove around the corner and hit the pig.

A new bishop was visiting the homes in the village. At one house it seemed obvious that someone was at home, but no answer came to his repeated knocks on the door.
Therefore, he took out a business card and wrote “Revelation 3:20” on the back and stuck it under the door.
The following Sunday he found that his card had been returned to his office door. Added to it was this cryptic message, “Genesis3:10.”
Reaching for his Bible to check out the verse, he broke up in gales of laughter
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked: so I hid.”

Let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a
harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up. Galatians 6:9
Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.
Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.

Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t, and the other half is composed of those who have nothing to say and keep on saying it

During the minister’s prayer one Sunday, there was a loud whistle from one of the back pews. Gary’s mother was horrified. She pinched him into silence, and after church, asked: “Gary, whatever made you do such a thing?” Gary answered soberly: “I asked God to teach me to whistle…And He just did!”

Yesterday is gone. Today is here. Tomorrow isn’t promised.
Enjoy the blessings that God has already provided and prepare yourself for what He has planned for you.

If you’re grateful for what you have and you focus on the positives, it has
tremendous benefits for heart health, mental health, and reducing stress.


Stories of Life is an annual writing competition that calls on Australian writers to share a personal story of faith in one of three categories: under 18 years of age, open category under 500 words, and open category under 1500 words. The best 50 stories are published each year in an anthology and many are also recorded and read on different Christian radio stations. The deadline for this year is the end of July. If you have a story to tell, ask Pastor Mark about
Stories of Life, as he is on the steering committee and is one of the editors. He would be happy to help you get started.

Two elderly couples were chatting together. One of the men asked the other. “Fred, how was your visit to the memory clinic last month?”
“Outstanding. They taught us some of the latest techniques for remembering things. It was great.”
“What was the name of the clinic?” asked the other man.
Fred’s mind went blank. Then he smiled and asked, “What do you call that flower with the long stem and thorns?” “A Rose?” “Yes!”
He turned to his wife: “Rose, what was the name of that memory clinic?”

M-O-T-H-E-R
“M” is for the million things she gave me,
“O” means only that she’s growing old,
“T” is for the tears she shed to save me,
“H” is for her heart of purest gold,
“E” is for her eyes, with love-light shining,
“R” means right, and right she’ll always be,
Put them all together, they spell
MOTHER A word that means the world to me

covid

Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of
Ice cream fall from the cone

Ever notice that anyone driving slower than you is an idiot,
but anyone going faster than you is a maniac
Action:
Did is a word of achievement Won’t is a word of retreat
Might is a word of bereavement Can’t is a word of defeat
Ought is a word of duty Try is a word for each hour
Will is a word of beauty Can is a word of power.

“I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How?
because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it.
Everyone was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison.
They would not have endured that if it weren’t true.
Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world-and they couldn’t keep a lie for three weeks.
You’re telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years?
Absolutely impossible.” Charles Colson.

If a matter is not serious enough to pray about, then it is not serious enough to worry about; and if it is serious enough to pray about, and we have prayed about it, then there is no need to worry about it.

When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was diffi-cult to change the world, so I tried to change the nation. When I found I couldn’t change the nation. I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realise the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realise that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town, Their im-pact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.

What You Give to God, He Multiplies
Hattie May Wiatt, a six-year-old girl, lived near Grace Baptist Church in Phil-adelphia, USA. The Sunday school was very crowded. Russell H. Conwell, the minister, told her that one day they would have buildings big enough to allow everyone to attend. She said, ‘I hope you will. It is so crowded I am afraid to go there alone.’ He replied, ‘When we get the money we will construct one large enough to get all the children in.’
Two years later, in 1886, Hattie May died. After the funeral Hattie’s mother gave the minister a little bag they had found under their daughter’s pillow con-taining 57 cents in change that she had saved up. Alongside it was a note in her handwriting: ‘To help build bigger building so that more children can go to Sunday school.’
The minister changed all the money into pennies and offered each one for sale. He received $250 – and 54 of the cents were given back. The $250 was itself changed into pennies and sold by the newly formed ‘Wiatt Mite Society’. In this way, her 57 cents kept on multiplying.
Twenty-six years later, in a talk entitled, ‘The history of the 57 cents’, the min-ister explained the results of her 57-cent donation: a church with a membership of over 5,600 people, a hospital where tens of thousands of people had been treated, 80,000 young people going through university, 2,000 people going out to preach the gospel – all this happened ‘because Hattie May Wiatt invested her 57 cents’.
The theme of multiplication runs throughout the Bible. What cannot be achieved by addition, God does by multiplication. You reap what you sow, only many times more. What you give to the Lord, he multiplies.

A couple was invited to dinner by their elderly neighbours. The old gentle-man endearingly preceded every request to his wife with “Honey”, “Darling”, “Sweetheart”, “Pumpkin”, etc.
The neighbours were impressed since the couple had been married for almost 70 years.
While the wife was off in the kitchen, the neighbour said to the gentleman,
“I think it’s wonderful that after all the years you’ve been married, you still refer to your wife in those terms.” The elderly gentleman hung his head. “Actually, forgot the old lady’s name about ten years ago.”

Compassion:
A little boy about ten years old was standing before a shoe store on the road-way, barefooted, peering through the window, and shivering with cold. A lady approached the boy and said, “My little fellow, why are you looking so earnestly in the window?” “I was asking God to give me a pair of shoes,” was the boy’s reply.
The lady took him by the hand and went into the store and asked the assistant to get half a dozen pairs of socks for the boy. She then asked if he could get her a basin of water and a towel.
He brought them to her. She took the little boy to the back part of the store and, removing her gloves, knelt down, washed his little feet, and dried with a towel. By this time the assistant had returned with the socks
Placing a pair on the boy’s feet, she bought him a pair of shoes. She tied up the remaining pairs of socks and gave them to him. She patted him on the head and said, “No doubt. My little fellow, you feel more comfortable now?”
As she turned to go, the astonished lad caught her by the hand, and looking up in her face, with tears in his eyes, answered the question with these words: “Are you God’s wife?”

A kindergarten teacher was walking around observing her classroom of children while they were drawing pictures. As she got to one girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was.
The girl replied, “I’m drawing God.”
The teacher paused and said, “But no one knows what God looks like.”
Without looking up from her drawing, the girl replied,
“They will in a minute.”

A smile is a light in the window of a face which shows that the heart is at home.

Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future.

Life:
Perhaps when we grow very old, our bodies get worn out, or certain parts break down, like … an old car.
None of us can be sure of how long we live… I think we should try not to think too much about dying but
Think about all the nice things around us that make life so precious to us all.

A vision without a task is a dream. A task without a vision is drudgery.
But the two together are the hope of the world.
A young and foolish pilot wanted to sound cool and show who was boss on the aviation frequencies.
So, the first time he approached an airfield at night, instead of making his
official request to the tower, he said: “Guess who?”
The controller switched the field lights off and replied: “Guess where!”

 

Two boys were walking home from church after hearing a strong preach-ing on the devil. One said to the oth-er, “What do you think about all this Satan Stuff?”
The other boy replied, “Well, you know how Santa Claus turned out. It’s Probably just your dad.”

Home is where the heart is….
Because of the shortage near a military base where he was stationed, a young doctor and his wife and three children had to live in cramped quarters in a
hotel. A friend said to the doctor’s six year old daughter, “Isn’t it too bad that you don’t have a home?”
“Oh we have a home,” the youngster quickly replied, “We just don’t have a house to put it in.”

When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You
sit still and trust the engineer.
You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have.

Do you know what hurts so very much? It’s love.
Love is the strongest force in the world, and when it is blocked
that means pain.
There are two things we can do when this happens.
We can kill that love so that it stops hurting.
But then of course part of us dies, too.
Or we can ask God to open up another route for that love to travel.

‘Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength – carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time.’
Trust God and learn to live one day at a time.

An old dollar bill and an even older $20 arrived at a Federal Reserve Bank to be retired.
“I’ve had a pretty good life,” the $20 says. “I’ve been to Vegas, the finest restaurants in New York, and even on a Caribbean cruise.”
“You did have an exciting life!” the dollar says.
“Where have you been?” the $20 asks.
“Oh, I’ve been to the Methodist church, the Baptist church, spent some time with the Lutherans…”
“Wait,” the $20 interrupts. “What’s a church?”

“Do not resist growing old— many are denied the privilege.”
“One of the pleasures of old age is giving things up”
Abraham waited for 25 years. Joseph waited 13 years.
Moses waited 40 years. Jesus waited 30 years.

If God makes you wait, you are in good company.!!!!

If you’re ever headed the wrong way in life, remember the road to Heaven allows U-turns

Known by the Almighty:
Though you are one of the teeming millions in this world, and though the world would have you believe that you don’t count and that you are but a speck in the mass,
God says, “I know you.”

Our lives as Books:
There are people in the world around us who have never opened or read a
Bible. — But are they reading us.
Are they able to say of us to others “That man, that woman reminds me of Jesus?”
Do we let our light so shine that men may see, not us, but our Father in
Heaven?
This is the real test.

Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
(James 3:18)
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1.)

Something to think about:
Mr. Smith,
I am pleased to inform you that I have made arrangements to pay off all your debts in full. I cannot proceed without your consent, however, and I ask that you contact me as soon as possible to receive your gift.
Your loving Servant. Jesus

Kindness:
You never really know the true impact you have on those around you.
You never know how much someone needed that smile you gave them.
You never know how much your kindness turned someone’s entire life around.
You never know how much someone needed that long hug or deep talk.
So! Don’t wait to be kind, don’t wait for better circumstances or for someone to change.
Just be kind. Because you never know how much someone needed it.

Time:
We don’t need to fear that there is not enough time, but we only need to remember to appreciate the time God gives us.

Sacrifice.
In 1937, a man by the name of John Griffiths found a job tending one of the railroad bridges that crossed the Mississippi River. Every day he would control the gears of the bridge to allow barges and ships through.
One day John decided to allow his eight-year-old son Greg to help him. He and his boy packed their lunches with great excitement and hopes for the fu-ture and went to work. The morning went quickly and at noon they headed off for lunch, down a narrow catwalk onto an observation platform about 50 feet above the Mississippi. John told his son stories about the ships as they passed by. Suddenly, they were jolted back to reality by the shrill sound of an engine’s whistle.
Looking at his watch, John realized to his horror that it was 1.07 pm, that the Memphis Express was due any time and that the bridge was still raised.
He calmly told Greg to stay put and then ran back to the controls.
Once there he looked beneath the bridge to make sure there was nothing
below. As his eyes moved downwards he saw something so terrible that he froze. For there, lying on the gears, was his beloved son.
Greg had tried to follow his dad but had fallen off the catwalk. Immediately, John realized the horrifying choice before him: either to lower the bridge and kill his son, or keep the bridge raised and kill everyone on board the train.
As 400 people moved closer to the bridge, John realized what he had to do. Burying his face under his arm, he plunged down the lever. The cries of his son were instantly drowned out by the noise of the bridge grinding slowly into position.
John wiped the tears from his eyes as the train passed by. A Conductor was collecting tickets in his usual way. A Businessman was casually reading the newspaper. Ladies were drinking afternoon tea. Children were playing. Most of the passengers were engaged in idle chatter.
No one heard the cries of a heartbroken father.

A LITTLE EXTRA FROM THE PAST.

paul

change

Never Argue with Children.
A little girl was talking to her teacher about whales. The teacher said it was physically impossible for a whale to swallow a human because even though it was a very large mammal its throat was very small. The little girl stated that Jonah was swallowed by a whale. Irritated, the teacher reiterated that a whale could not swallow a human; it is physically impossible. The little girl said, “When I get to heaven I will ask Jonah.” The teacher asked. “What if Jonah went to hell?” The little girl replied, “Then you ask him.”

Storms
Did you know that an Eagle knows when a storm is approaching long before
it breaks?
The Eagle will fly to some high spot and wait for the winds to come.
When the storm hits, it sets its wings so that the wind will pick it up and lift it above the storm. While the storm rages below, the Eagle is soaring above it. The Eagle does not escape the storm. It simply uses the storm to lift it higher. It rises on the winds that bring the storm.
When the storms of life come upon us – and all of us will experience them – we can rise above them setting our minds and our belief toward God.
The storms do not have to overcome us. We can allow God’s power to lift us above them. God enables us to ride the winds of the storm that bring sickness, tragedy, failure and disappointment in our lives. We can soar above the storm.
Remember, it is not the burdens of life that weigh us down, it is how we han-dle them.
“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like Eagles” Isaiah 40:31

Beginnings:
Begin difficult things while they are easy, Do great things when they are small,
The difficult things of the world must have once been easy:
The great things must have been small ..,
A thousand mile journey begins with one step.

This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.
There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Some-body would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.
Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job.
Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that
Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

Goliath

hope2

Now that’s rediculious!!

pipes

crosstalk

                   

                           7th November 2021
                    24th Sunday after Pentecost 
                    Todays service will be held @ 9am240_F_76080180_liQGKxJWSP7v8T8VjQObFV8OCVG9RLU3
         If you are in Port Macquarie you are very welcome.
               Service will be lead by: Dr. Gordon Watson
                                       The theme;
“If

 

              Sunday 7th November
              Pentecost 24
Worship Service led by: Dr. Gordon Watsongordon5
Holy Communion: Dr. Gordon Watson
Communion Assistant: David Thompson
Communion Prep.: David Thompson
Bible Readings: David Thompson
1st Reading: 1King 17:8-16 Elijah and the widow of Zarephath
2nd Reading: Hebrews 9:24-28 Christ’s sacrifice takes away sins
Gospel: Mark 12:38-44 The widow’s generous offering
Prayers lead by: Derryl Huf
Stewards: Joan Watson and Dale Ampt
Music: Narelle
Audio/ Computer: Tayte Schultz

                    Next Sunday 14th November
                     Pentecost 25
Worship Service led by: John McLeanjohnmac
Holy Communion: David Pfeiffer
Communion Assistant: Dr. Gordon Watson
Communion Prep.: David Thompson
Bible Readings: Jenelle Frances
1st Reading: Daniel 12:1-3 The time of the end
2nd Reading: Hebrews 10:11-14(15-18)19-25 Let us confidently draw near to God
Gospel: Mark 13:1-8 Signs of the end of the age
Prayers lead by: Dr. Gordon Watson
Stewards: Don and Carol Mclean
Music: Daryll and Lloyd
Audio/ Computer: David Pfeiffer

Notice:

syringe2

                  

                           St Peters Lutheran Church:
Condition of entry.pipes
The Use of QR COVID Safe Check-in is a requirement.
Masks must be worn at all times.
COVID Marshal 12-09-2021

                        

 

In our thoughts and Prayers:praying
John McLean,
Rosemary Conran,
Kathy Mitchell,
Renate Radmacher,
Jenny Montgomery,
Tony Koch,
Aileen Huf,
Bob Rayward,
Helga Mathies,
Clive Reeve.
Carole Rogers.
Christine Kurteff.

bible

 

Bible Study:
7.30 Tuesday night @ Kemp St.
Stay connected with : Lutheran Media Livestreaming.
https://www.livestream.com/luthworship

Church Stewards:
Please make sure all attendees sanitise, sign-in and supervise 1.5 m rule.
Roster:
Church Cleaning:
November: Corrine McLean
Cleaners please wash hands before and after cleaning and wear gloves.

Roster: Morning tea:cuppa
NO MORNING TEA DUE TO C19

Catch-Up Coffee:
Friday, 12th November, 10 am.at Rivermark
Interested people please contact Carol McLean 0427832156

Ladies fellowship:
Meeting Wednesday 10th November. 12pm at the Church.
Please note the AGM will be held with this meeting.
BYO lunch and drink and don’t forget your mask.


Sermons
:8f5d0040f261ddb1b3f281e00e1385f0

All past sermons are available to read on our web page.
stpetersptmacquarie.com
Stay connected with : Lutheran Media Livest reaming.


October/November Birthdays:
birthday
24 Lloyd Reichelt
24 Jasper Schultz
29 Ben Clarke

 

Web page. 
People who visited the website in the last week, including
32 Aust
globe19 USA
2 UK
2 Canada
1 Austria 1
1 Ecuador
4 Phillipines.
We now have 87 followers.

2018:  2,515
2019:  1,864
2020:  2,496
2021:  1,735


Statistic:

Sunday Service 31st October Attendance was 29
sitting

 

Notice:

Memorial Rite for Those Who Have Died In the Faith of Christ
(You are invited to come forward at the beginning of Sundays worship service and light a candle from the Baptismal candle remem-bering those dear to you with whom you are now united in Christ in the church triumphant.)

 

Living Waters:
Please remember to bring your Living Waters Art for display on this Sunday

Notice:
Please send all information, comments, devotions, prayers to be included in the news letter to rherbig@tpg.com.au by Thursday in order to publish on Friday Thank you , Roy.
St. Peters Lutheran Church. 13 Kemp St. Port Macquarie. 2444. P.O. Box 5655.
stpetersptmacquarie.com

Responding to Sexual Abuse Complaints:
A confidential service for responding to complaints of sexual abuse/harassment by church employees has been set up. Trained advisors are available to help.
Write to the Supervisor P.O. Box 519. Marden SA. 5070, or use the free call number 1800644628
The Church and the Privacy Act:
1 The Church collects personal information about you before and during the course of your membership of the church
2 We may include your contact details in membership lists or other church publications. If you do not agree to this
You must advise us immediately.
3 Some of the information we collect is to satisfy the church’s legal obligation, and thereby to enable it to discharge It’s duty of care.

 

 

Stories of Life 2021 Book Launch:
When Pastor Mark was visiting us back in June, he encouraged all of us tothe lab write our story of faith and submit them for the chance of being selected for publication. This book is being launched on Thursday evening, 4 November via Zoom from SA.
Five members from our congregation took up the challenge and submitted their sto-ries and ALL five stories have been selected for the book! Congratulations to Aileen Huf, Jenelle Francis, Ivan Francis, Tony Koch, and Sherry Thompson. The 2021 Stories of Life, Labyrinth, will be available to purchase for $20 and has over 50 stories to inspire and encourage our faith.
To save postage, Pastor Mark has offered to bring them with him when he visit in January. If you require the book before then, you can order and pay $8 per book postage (if same address, $8 first book and $2 thereafter). Please advise David Pfeiffer if you wish to purchase a copy or copies and want to wait for the January delivery.

 

St Peters Chess Club:chess

Thursday from 6 – 7.30 pm.
Everyone welcome

Weekly Devotion:

Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees! (Psalm 119:5).
Read Psalm 119:1–8
Are you everything you would like to be? More importantly, are you every-thing God would like you to be? It’s frustrating, isn’t it? Most of us long to be better, to be as God wants us to be, and we are so aware of our shortcom-ings. Can we be blessed by God when we keep failing to measure up?
The opening verses of Psalm 119 have two parts. The first describes those who are blessed. They ‘walk according to the law of the Lord’ (verse 1b); ‘they do nothing wrong’ (verse 3a). Do such people actually exist? If they do, the psalmist says in the second part, ‘I wish I was one of them’. He acknowl-edges that he falls short. ‘Oh, that my ways were steadfast’ (verse 5) is the aspiration he expresses. I don’t know about you, but I identify with that sec-ond part. I long to be blessed.
It’s hard to read the Old Testament without reading it through a ‘Jesus lens’. Jesus says that these are blessed: the poor in spirit, the mourners needing comfort, the meek, the ones hungry and thirsty for righteousness, the merci-ful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers and those who are persecuted because of righteousness (Matthew 5:1–10). The Jesus lens tells us more. It tells us that he gave his life to pay for all shortcomings, even for the very worst. To you and me, he says that he loves us unconditionally. And because of that, we are blessed. That’s the essence of the Reformation message on which we re-flect tomorrow. We are blessed; now, we are called and equipped to live the blessed life.
The psalmist knew the two-part battle. I’m sure you do too. You are a child of God, so you are blessed. Live as a blessed one!
Prayer:

Bless me, Lord God. Shine the cross of Jesus before my eyes. Help me to

                 Something to think about:think

A father was approached by his small son, who told him proudly,

“I know what the Bible means!”
His father smiled and replied, “What do you mean, you ‘know’ what the
Bible means?”
The son replied, “I do know!” “Ok,” said his father. “So, son, what does the Bible mean?”
That’s easy, Daddy. It stands for ‘Basic Information Before Leaving Earth’.”

A woman was mailing an old family Bible to her brother in another part of the country.
“Is there anything breakable in here?” asked the postal clerk.
“Only the Ten Commandments,” answered the woman.

Can you say today that you have learned to be content in whatever state you find yourself? If you cannot, ask yourself, “What am I doing and why am I doing it?”
Are you able to say, “I’m doing it because the Lord has called me and because of the love and relationship I have with him. Whether it succeeds or fails is of no consequence to me. What is important to me is that I’m doing what the Lord has called me to do.”
That is the secret of contentment.

Deadlines and Second Chances

Luke 16:19-31

Deadlines and Second Chances20180311_103505 (1)

Most people these days are used to working to deadlines – ‘due dates’ to pay our bills or complete tax returns, Business Activity Statements or school assignments. There are ‘closing dates’ for entering competitions or buying tickets.  Although there can be disadvantages or disappointments if we miss those deadlines, there is usually some sort of second chance or a way around our misfortune.  Even angry football fans that miss out on grand final tickets are still able to watch the game on TV.

There is one thing in life though for which there is a final deadline, after which there is no turning back.  That has to do with whether we accept the gift of God’s grace in Jesus Christ and live for him, or whether we choose instead to live for ourselves, worldly wealth and material possessions.

Jesus talks about that deadline in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.  First, we are told about the enormous difference between the material wealth of these two people: There was once a rich man who dressed in the most expensive clothes and lived in great luxury.  There was also a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who used to be brought to the rich man’s door, hoping to eat the bits of food that fell from the rich man’s table.  Even the dogs would come and lick his sores (v.19-21).

Next, Jesus tells us about the enormous difference between the spiritual wealth of these two people.  Lazarus was the one who was spiritually rich and the ‘rich man’ was the one who was spiritually poor.  The evidence of that is what Jesus said about them when it came to the final deadline.  Their roles were reversed at the point of death: The poor man died and was carried by the angels to sit beside Abraham at the feast in heaven.  The rich man died and was buried, and in Hell where he was in great pain, he looked up and saw Abraham, far away, with Lazarus at his side (v.22, 23). 

The one who enjoyed comfort and pleasure on earth was now in torment and pain because, with all his earthly riches, he had neglected the greatest riches of all – the riches of God’s grace.  The one who endured torment and pain on earth was now enjoying comfort and pleasure because, in all his earthly poverty, he had found the greatest riches of all – his faith in God, and in God’s promises.

Both men had reached the deadline where their eternal fate would be decided forever.  There would be no second chance now, no way around the dilemma.  Their decision was now irreversible.

Suddenly the rich man thought of four things he should have done while on earth.

First, he lifted his eyes up to heaven.  He looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus at his side (v. 23).  He focused on the Father’s house above and the comfort, which believers receive there.  He had opportunity to do that during his earthly life, like David who said: “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple, for he will hide me in his shelter”  (Ps.27: 4,5).  He could have done that instead of focusing on himself, his own wealth and enjoyment.  Now it was too late!

Second the rich man prayed for God’s mercy.  He called out, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me” (v.24a).  He became aware of his real condition before God.  He was not worthy to stand before God on his own.  He was spiritually bankrupt, separated from God forever because of his sin.  He needed God and his mercy.  He could have received God’s mercy and salvation beforehand if only he had realized his own condition and prayed for mercy while he was living life on earth.  Now it was too late!

Third, the rich man began to think of Lazarus.  He called out, “Send Lazarus to dip his finger in some water and cool off my tongue, because I am in great pain in this fire” (v.24b).  Lazarus had been in pain on earth but the rich man had thought only of himself.  The scraps that Lazarus received were not given; they “fell”.  Now the rich man became aware of the need for compassion – when he was the one who needed it!  Now he noticed Lazarus.  But the gap that he had created between himself and others was as wide and “unbridgeable” as the gap between heaven and hell (v.26).  Abraham reminds him that he once had an opportunity to bridge that gap.  Now it was too late!

Fourth, the rich man had a ‘burning’ desire for evangelism.  The rich man said, “Then I beg you, father Abraham, send Lazarus to my Father’s house, where I have five brothers. Let him go and warn them so that they, at least, will not come to this place of pain” (v.27, 28).  In his life he had the Word of God, the warnings of Moses and the Prophets and the words of eternal life to share with them then, but he didn’t.  Now it was too late!  One of the greatest torments of Hell will be that people there will suddenly have a ‘burning’ desire to do all those things they should have done on earth, but will not be able to do them.  Christ’s warning is that we have only one lifetime to ‘get it right’ with God.

But isn’t God ‘a God of second chances’?  Doesn’t he want everyone in heaven and no one in hell?  That’s true!  That’s why he sent Jesus as our Saviour.  In Christ, God has provided a second chance for every human being who will receive it.  He has provided a much better alternative to the life that is lived to self and worldly pleasures and possessions.

Through Christ, God has offered us a fresh opportunity to focus on the father’s house above. We know that Jesus’ death has paved the way to the Father’s house for us, and that if we trust in him we need never be worried because, as he assures his faithful people, he has gone to prepare a place for us.  We have ample opportunity to renew that focus now through God’s Word and worship.

Through Christ, God has already bridged the gap that could have separated us from him eternally.  His amazing grace has given us the cross of Jesus as a secure bridge across that gap and Jesus’ resurrection as an assurance of his eternal victory over death and hell for all believers.  Every person has the opportunity to pray the ‘Sinners Prayer’ for mercy and to receive his free gift of eternal life.

Through Christ, God has given us the power and motivation to show love and compassion for others.  Jesus said: “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34), and  “As much as you have done it to the least of one of these, my brothers, you have done it to me” (Matt. 25:40).

Through Christ, God has given us the hope of having our families share God’s place of eternal happiness instead of the place of eternal pain.  Someone has risen from the dead and come to us to help us turn from our sins.  We have the Word of God – Moses and the Prophets as well as the word of Christ and his Apostles – to share God’s good news with our families and friends.

The fact is that, for us, God is providing the riches of his grace – and his second chance – right now.  What are the priorities in our lives at the moment?  What sort of riches are we really interested in – material or spiritual?  Are there some things we ought to look at changing now, before it is too late for ourselves and our families? 

When it comes to the deadline, when our life is over and we stand before God in judgement, there will be no more second chances.  God has given us our second chance, in Jesus.  Let’s not forget to put our trust in Him alone!  Amen.

And may the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Your favourite fairy tale.

Luke 16:1-13

The Merciful Master and His Shrewd Manager

What’s been your favourite fairy tale? What was it that grabbed your20180311_103505 (1) attention? Were you fascinated to watch the bad guy in action being eventually defeated by the hero of the story? Just as in real life, fairy tales contain bad guys as well as good ones. What fascinates us, I think, is the conflict between good and evil, with the hope that good will triumph.

The stories Jesus tells are not simply nice ones with only nice people in them. Rather, Jesus tells stories true to life with people of questionable character, like we find in real life. Our Lord tells us stories with the kinds of people we hear about each day, in order to grasp our attention. Have you been let down by someone you trusted? It’s a painful experience, isn’t it? Life isn’t always a rose garden. Jesus doesn’t depict life as better or worse than it is. Today’s parable has all the marks of something that really happened.

In the parable which Jesus tells us just before this one, the parable of the Prodigal Son, after wasting his father’s property, his son returns home and throws himself on his father’s mercy, just as in today’s parable the wasteful manager throws himself on his master’s mercy. This morning’s parable is about more than the wasteful use of someone else’s property. Its focus is rather on showing mercy on someone who doesn’t deserve it.

Having hit rock-bottom, the bad manager acts with amazing decisiveness and shrewdness to secure his future. It isn’t his dishonesty that’s commended, but rather, his shrewdness in using whatever opportunity is available to him to secure his future and make friends with those indebted to him. The fact that Jesus shares this parable with us is an act of grace and mercy. It invites us, yes even urges us, to prepare for our eternal future while we still can.

We have an advantage the wasteful manager didn’t have – as those who listen to and treasure Jesus our Saviour, and live in the light of the good news He brings us, our future is assured. Jesus reassures us: “My sheep hear My voice. I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of My hand (John 10:27-28).” The wasteful manager doesn’t reap what he sowed or get what he deserved. Grace, which God freely bestows on us, is God treating us so much better than we could ever deserve! Never forget that!

This parable is all about the amazing mercy of the manager’s merciful master who doesn’t punish or throw his wasteful manager into prison. The manager backs his whole future on his master’s reputation for showing mercy. By sacrificing his own commission, he invests in friendship, realising that to have friends that welcome you and care for you is much more important than being wealthy. He now realises that other people aren’t for our exploitation and personal advancement.

As soon as his master calls him to account, he doesn’t waste time on self-pity or trying to defend his actions. Instead, he maintains a cool head in the crisis and promptly does all he can to secure his future. “I have decided what to do so that when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes (v4).” Already he can see the welcome mats being laid down for him. While he still has the finance books, he will alter the accounts so that both he and his master will be commended by the debtors.

He now invites the debtors to alter in their own hand, the figures on the contracts he has access to, thus lessening their debt. The debtors will now be indebted to him. His shrewd insight is that he sees that the solution to a good future must come from outside. His entire plan is based on the assumption that his master is an honourable person who will respond again with mercy, as he has done in the past. The manager must act in haste in order that the debtors will think that the diminishing of their debts have come from the master’s mercy rather than the manager’s desperation to save his own skin. For the master to now repudiate these alterations would reveal him as mean and hard-hearted. To maintain his good reputation, the master can do nothing but endorse his manager’s actions. His master now commends his manager’s shrewdness, rather than the morality of his actions.

What’s more, Jesus suggests that we, His followers, can learn from worldly men like this manager; how to wisely prepare for our eternal future. Jesus says, “The people of this world are much more shrewd in handling their affairs than the people who belong to the Light (v8).” This means we’re to love God with our minds as well as our hearts, and use all our intelligence and wisdom to lay up treasures for ourselves in heaven. We’re to use our brains to reflect on the meaning of life and death, time and eternity. Jesus’ parables are brain-teasers that hold a mirror to ourselves, so that we’re aware if we’re avoiding thinking about life’s most important questions in a flurry of secular activity. The better we understand the deep questions of our Christian faith, the more it will motivate us to grow in love for our Creator and eagerness to help others.

Jesus wants us to be as passionate and enthusiastic about the practice of our faith in God as the non-religious men and women around us are about their sport, their hobbies and entertainment activities. We learn from them about dedication and commitment. The non-religious folk around us often make huge sacrifices to achieve their earthly goals. How much more shouldn’t we do the same for something that will last forever? In the face of all the good things that God has in store for those who love God, there can be no room for a half-hearted faith. Instead of just possessing a faith in God, we want a faith that posses us, hook, line and sinker!

This week, God is giving you another chance, another opportunity to put God first, to love God above all things and discover the great and unexpected blessings that flow from doing so. When Jesus says, “No servant can serve two masters; for a servant will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and wealth”, He is stating the First Commandment in different words. Treasure God above everything else because your God treasures you so much more than you could imagine.

This morning’s parable doesn’t threaten; it encourages. Here’s someone without hope who has got himself into an unholy pickle. If he’s so shrewd in dealing with his own interest, how much more reason have you, “the people of the Light”, to draw the consequence of the happy situation into which your Lord Jesus has placed you. Your interests are looked after. Your future is assured. You have the best possible hope.

God isn’t going to sack you! God will not let you down although you may have let God down. Your life is in loving hands and your God surrounds you with His protecting and supporting hands. Since Jesus Christ died for you, that’s assured. Your future is good. How much more reason have you to act and live discovering the joys of God’s life! You don’t have to compete with others anymore. You don’t have to be afraid of dying anymore, for you have God’s life now. Your life is worthwhile now. You needn’t act as if the weight of the whole world is resting on your shoulders. Because of the mercies of the Lord that are new every day, you are worth a great deal more in God’s sight than your non-Christian neighbours and friends could ever have an inkling of.

“Listen! This is the hour to receive God’s favour; today is the day to be saved! (2 Corinthians 6:2)” Don’t delay! Embrace God’s grace and mercy today. For “according to God’s great mercy, we have been born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and to an inheritance that is imperishable (1 Peter 1:3-4).”

We thank God for that. Amen.

Vernon P Kleinig

I have found my lost sheep.

The Grace and Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

david3
David:0414521661

‘Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.’  Every time a lost soul turns to Jesus Christ with faith, I am convinced, that Jesus beams with joy as he says ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’   Let’s join in a word of prayer: O God our loving Father, the Lord of our lives, today we are filled with the wonder of your presence in our worship and in our lives.  We celebrate that we are never lost to you, no matter how far we feel from your presence.  We give thanks for the gift of salvation received through the sacrifice of your Son.   Guide our time together this morning and give us a vision of your glory that will strengthen us in our walk together through this broken world. Gracious heavenly Father, hear our prayer for the sake of our risen Lord,  Amen.

The elder of a large congregation was contacted in the middle of the night for a special visit to the bedside of a prominent member at the hospital. The elder immediately dialled the pastor’s home telephone number.  To his surprise, he was greeted with little Venessa’s whispered, “Hello?”

Feeling a bit irritated at the inconvenience of having to talk to a youngster, the elder asked, “Venessa, is your Daddy home?” “Yes,” whispered the small voice.  “May I talk with him?” the elder asked. To his surprise, the small voice whispered, “No.”  The elder then asked, “Is your Mommy there?” “Yes,” came the answer. “May I talk with her?” Again, the small voice whispered, “No.”

Knowing that it was not likely that Venessa would be left home alone, the elder decided he would just leave a message with whomever was there watching over the child. “Is there anyone there besides you?” the elder asked Venessa. “Yes,” whispered the child, “a policeman.”

Wondering what a constable would be doing at the pastor’s home in the middle of the night, the elder asked, “May I speak with the policeman?”

“No, he’s busy,” whispered Venessa. “Busy doing what?” asked the elder. “Talking to Daddy and Mommy and the Fireman,” came the whispered answer.   Growing concerned and even worried as he heard what sounded like a siren in the background, the elder asked, “What is that noise?” “Another police car,” answered the whispering voice.   “What is going on there?” asked the elder, now alarmed. 

In an awed whispering voice, the child answered, “I heard someone say they are bringing some special puppies to my house.”  Now fully alarmed, and frustrated, the elder asked, “Why are they there?”   Still whispering, the young voice replied (along with a muffled giggle), “They’re looking for me!”   (adapted from  Christian Cheong)

It is a wonderful reality that our Father in heaven doesn’t need to send out search parties to find us.  He knows every location of every person, and he has a plan for every child of God who receives his outstretched arm that offers us salvation by faith in his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. As Paul writes to Timothy, ‘God our Saviour wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.’ (1 Ti 2:3–4 NIV)
And, as Christ said, all of heaven rejoices over each repentant sinner who confesses their faith in our living Saviour. 

God’s Holy Spirit is the lamp that searches the hearts and spirits of every person, like the woman in the parable of Jesus.  And under his watchful gaze, the Word of God, and the Sacrament of Holy Baptism lights the way for faith to find its way into hearts that were once cold and unrepentant.  Our Lord Jesus Christ welcomes everyone with love.    

All of heaven rejoiced over even Paul, who wrote that, ‘Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.  The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.’ 

So, we should not give up hope for the neighbours around us who seem to live without faith.  We should not stop praying for a family member who seems to be living without hope.  We should not stop loving those around us who seem so reluctant to trust in Jesus Christ.  Because, as Paul says, ‘Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’.

The good news is that Christ Jesus entered our humanity with a plan to touch the lives of every person.  To save sinners, and that means you and me.  Paul experienced the mercy, grace, love, and faith from the righteousness of Christ Jesus and that drove his ministry.  This conviction is the same reality that drives each of us as we care for each other and witness the work of the Gospel in our lives.

God is active among us, and He can make all the difference in our worshipping community.  I believe this with all my heart! No challenge is beyond God’s amazing grace.  But we are called to be active as we wait for God’s providence to reveal itself.  Active in prayer, active in the word, active in fellowship, active in love.  Active in witnessing the grace and love of our Saviour, Christ Jesus with our attitudes, our actions and our words.  Unlike the example of the Hebrew people in our reading from Exodus today. 

God called Moses to return to Mount Sinai, to receive instruction for the people.  For forty days, Moses remained on the mountain. During these forty days, the people just waited idly, receiving their manna, their quail, and being tested to see if they would remain faithful.  We see from the reading, that the people couldn’t just wait.  Instead of praising God for all that he provided in his care for them, their hearts turned to fear and doubt. 

They responded by making a golden calf to become the object of their worship. 

With the pleadings of Moses, God had mercy on them.  The end of our reading in Exodus brings us to the words, ‘Then the LORD relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.’ 

God has also shown us his mercy and grace.   God, the Son. entered humanity himself, to eat with us, talk with us, and journey with us.  He took all our mistakes and all our failures, and all our sin upon himself.  He sacrificed himself to receive the punishment that we deserve, and He led the way to a new relationship with the fullness of God our Father, by our faith in God the Son.
Jesus came into the world carrying the reality of the  good news that God loves each one of us, individually, without limits.  But sometimes it’s really hard for us to feel God’s love through the confusion and challenge of living.  Just like the Israelites at the foot of the mountain.  Especially when this broken world strives to tell us the lie – that God is distant, arbitrary, angry and judgemental.  That God doesn’t love us, doesn’t care about us, and doesn’t hear us.

From Scripture, we understand that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and God’s ways are not our ways.  But through Scripture, we can also know God’s love for us, and we can know the devil’s hatred.  The devil uses the world to speak discouraging words to us in his effort to destroy our faith, to corrupt our relationship with God.  To draw us into sin. 

But God uses the Gospel to strengthen us, to encourage us, and to preserve faith in us.       Jesus came into the world to defeat the devil’s effort to make us all captive of the self-doubt that he tries to put between us and God.  In the Gospel today, we discover Jesus sharing the good news with those who needed it most.  The tax collectors and sinners that were kept from worship in the temple and were separated from a welcoming relationship with God by their guilt and the rejection from others.

We don’t find anything about lost sinners that makes Jesus want to be with them.  We do find something about Jesus himself. His nature, as God’s Son.  And the Holy Spirit draws those to Jesus who need Him.  That’s wonderful news for all of us, believers and nonbelievers alike.

Wonderful news because it means that as much as people try to avoid that offer of love and acceptance, as much as people insist on trying to get along by themselves, God will not rest until we receive him.   He will not leave us nor forsake us.     That’s why Christ Jesus is the way he is.  That’s why he will give us, the Children of God by our faith, the intuition to encourage someone who needs to know that God loves them. 

That’s why Jesus will use us to show his love to our neighbour, to our friend, to the stranger we meet  Jesus wants us to understand that each of us is valued by a loving and caring God in Christ Jesus.  And together, we can make a difference in our broken world, by simply living our faith with our attitudes, actions and encouraging words.

Jesus never gives up on us.  He never gives up on those we love who seem to be lost and hidden by the broken world around us. So let’s never give up on God.  Even when life seems to overwhelm us. 

After all, in our baptism we are united with Jesus Christ into his death and resurrection.  And Jesus didn’t give up – even when facing the cross. 

One Christian church was striving for a way forward to reach out to people, both unbelievers and casual believers alike.  In her book, ‘Reclaiming the L Word’, Pastor Kelly Fryer provides five guiding principles that enabled that Congregation to follow our Saviour Jesus Christ.

That Jesus is Lord;  that Everyone is Welcome; that Love Changes People; that Everybody has something to offer; and that the world needs what we have.  To which I would add another guiding principle, that faith is the key to everything we do.

Principles that I find so evident as a natural outflow of the love we share here at St Peter’s.  Principles that we can engage with more purposefully as we  journey together in the love of Christ Jesus our Saviour.

It is no hollow prayer when we ask the Holy Spirit to set our hearts and lives ablaze for Christ Jesus to the glory of God our Father.  And we continue to Inspire people to LIVE a purposeful LIFE, growing TOGETHER in JESUS CHRIST.  May the grace and peace of God keep our hearts and minds in the calm assurance of salvation we have in our living Lord.
Amen. 

Pastor David Thompson.

Hard To Hate.

Text: Luke 14:25-33, Psalm 1:5-6, Philemon

“Hard To Hate”

 Hate is a hard word to hear. Especially in20180311_103505 (1) the context of the Gospel reading where we hear Jesus say a person must hate his or her very own life, hate father and mother, or hate sister and brother. Hearing ‘to hate’ startles the senses, yet Jesus goes on to shake us even more.

If you don’t perfectly hate like this, then Jesus says you cannot be his disciple. Added to this he says, “…any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:33 ESV)

What does God require of you? He wants you to lay down everything and take up your cross and follow him. Anything less and you cannot be his disciple. Without this hate of self and family, without the bearing of your cross, you and I are seen as flavourless salt… and salt that’s not salty is good for nothing!

A simple test of your hatred of self and family in favour of God can be best observed by your focus on your birthday over against your baptism birthday. Which of these two days gets your greater celebration?

Does the brighter spotlight fall on the day you were born, or rather, do you rejoice more over the anniversary of your day of birth into the eternal kingdom of God. Do you celebrate and commemorate the day you were born into your sinfulness or the day you were crucified and buried with Christ, the day you were baptised into his death, the day your sinfulness was defeated and you received eternal life?

Unless you hate your birthday more than the day your cross became Christ’s cross, and pick it up and follow him, you cannot be Jesus’ disciple!

In light of his word here, we start to see the shocking insufficiency of our existence. In fact, some of you are hard up remembering just what date it was when you were baptised, while some of you are questioning his word, trying to side step it, ignore it, or perhaps trying to justify yourself.

What is revealed here is we’re not what we’re meant to be! Humanity has lost its way! Our thinking has become confused and contradicted against the truth of the situation and our real position in this world and with God.

Most of us have come to accept a benign type of Christianity, devoid of anything which might seem offensive to our postmodern ears. However, what might seem to be benign is in fact malignant if you allow the word of God to dig beneath the surface and expose the reality of your human existence.

Is your quest for your idea of life the very thing that’s cutting you off from the life God wants to give you?

You know, it’s not meant to be this way!

In Psalm One, we’re told, “…the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” (Psalm 1:5-6 ESV)

So what is it for you? Are you righteous; one in God’s congregation? Or, are you a perishing sinner?

There’s a number of ways you might respond. First there’s the way of pride. We might look at ourselves all puffed up thinking we’re not doing too badly! Then, there’s the way of brokenness. We might see deep within the darkness of our sin and in shame seek to flee further from God’s presence.

Both of these responses are flawed! They are both equally wrong because answers are sought from within you.

However, there’s another way! The third way! By this path you can be honest! And answer both questions… YES! Yes, I am righteous; I am one in God’s congregation! And yes, I am a sinner! There is a part of me perishing! Thank God it’s being done away with!

Why is this different from a righteous pride that comes from within, or, equally from within, a humiliation that leads to the giving up of hope? It’s different because the twofold yes comes from outside. It allows you to be completely honest knowing yourself as God knows you!

In fact, God knows you better than you know yourself. He knew you before you were born. He knew you before your baptism into Christ’s death on your cross! He even knew you before this world existed. As we’ve heard in Psalm One, the Lord knows the way of the righteous.

Now God calls you to know yourself! Know your nature; be honest with yourself and him. Know you’re dying, but not despair! Rather because of the eternal joy that awaits you, endure the cross of dying, the killing of your sinful nature, and look forward with hope; fully convinced of the future.

To see yourself clothed the way you were meant to be before sin entered the lives of humanity! To see with God given faith, when God looks at you he sees Jesus! To see you covered with the righteousness of Christ. Believing and trusting Christ’s righteousness is the only way of righteousness.

When this happens we will hate what we are, but love what we have become, what we’re becoming, and what we will become in Christ!

We will realise this life is more about death than life and regret and detest it’s like this. But we’ll also see in death what has begun in baptism will be finished and done away with, so true life can begin. We will grow in love in the knowledge Jesus is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. And we will yearn, more and more, to be the same as him.

Today we also hear about Paul, Philemon (fill-ee-mon), and Onesimus (O-ness-ee-mus). Onesimus was Philemon’s slave, and after escaping and being found by Paul, Paul sends Onesimus back to Philemon. But Onesimus is different from what he once was. He’s no longer a slave to sin but is now bound by the Gospel. He had become the same as Saint Paul.

Although we know little about what it’s like to live in a social setting of slavery, we in fact, like Onesimus, were slaves to sinfulness but are being freed from that old bondage.

If we look into ourselves we might seek to flee our slavery like Onesimus, in despair or arrogance. But Onesimus then relied on Paul to win favour with his master, Philemon. Likewise, Christ has won the victory for us and we can rely on him to put us right with God.

We could imagine Onesimus hated his old life as a slave. We too who trust Christ to put us right will detest our old life too. We will hate the way things have become in this world. We will hate who we’ve become, slaves of sin. And because of it long for something much better and trust God is bringing it to fruition in our lives.

In hating ourselves we might learn to truly love who God is re-creating us to be. And then with this Christ-centred love we might love our neighbour as ourselves. We might love and serve one another as Christ loves and serves us. Amen.

 

Pastor Heath Pukallus

Table manners in the kingdom

The Text: Luke 14:1,7-14

Have you ever been involved in planning a wedding? If you have, you would8f5d0040f261ddb1b3f281e00e1385f0 not doubt understand the challenge of sorting out the seating plan. This would have to be one of the most delicate tasks! Who do you seat where? Will this person and that person be okay on the same table? Will this uncle and that cousin be upset by their place? And so on. Together with working out the guest list itself, the seating plan is often the cause of many arguments and sleepless nights!’

Which are the two issues Jesus addresses today, although not deciding where others sit, but deciding where you sit. Which seats to take, and which people to invite, these are Jesus’ two main points of teaching in this text.

But let’s be clear, Jesus’ purpose is not simply to teach the table manners and etiquette of this world, but to teach us about the etiquette of the kingdom of God, to teach us the table manners of the heavenly banquet.

Today we’ll look at this text in three sections: 

First is the word to the invited guests – which focuses on humility.

Second is the word to the inviter, the host – which focuses on hospitality.

And third is to consider the one who speaks these words, Jesus himself.

So first is the word to the invited guests, calling for humility with an eye to God.  

Jesus is at a meal with the religious leaders on the Sabbath, and there was something he saw there which presented a teaching moment.

What he saw, was that at this meal the guests chose the places of honour’.

 So imagine a table, a host and his seat, and certain seats are more distinguished than others, and there’s a bit of maneuvering to get to these seats.

Now this was evidently a favorite past time with the religious leaders, and something Jesus saw as a very serious problem.

Because earlier in this Gospel he had already denounced them for something similar, saying ‘Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces…’ (Luke 11:43)

Then later on in the Gospel he’s going to say it again,

‘Beware of the Scribes… who love the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at feasts…’ (Luke 20:46).

This is a recurring theme of Jesus, something very important.

So on this occasion Jesus uses what he sees as a springboard for a parable.

The parable is of being invited to a wedding banquet.

But at this wedding, the bride and groom don’t arrange place seatings like I said before, but the tables and seats are open, and yet there’s an expectation that people will arrange themselves into the socially appropriate order.

 And in this situation Jesus gives what would seem some fairly common-sense advice, seemingly built on that wisdom we heard from Proverbs 25 today.

He says in that situation don’t take the best seat, because imagine how embarrassing it will be if you need to get moved down.

Have you ever tried to sneak into better seats at the movies or the football or cricket and been asked to move?

It’s terrible, or so I’ve heard!

You pretend you’re all confused and this sort of thing to try and cover it up!

So Jesus says, take a low seat, so that the host can move you up when he comes,

and then you’ll receive real honour, rather than shame.

Have you reflected on how much we still think where we sit when we enter a room?

You know what it’s like, we walk in to some function, we scan around, where should I sit?

And we think, well I’d rather not find myself sitting with that person, oh and I don’t want to get left sitting by myself, oh and if I wait to see where that person sits maybe I can get a seat near them?

We do this sort of thing don’t we?

Jesus has hit on something deep within us here. As the religious leaders jostle for the best seats at the table, and as we recognize this same impulse in us, Jesus doesn’t just see bad manners, he sees the symptom of a spiritual problem.

 The problem is that we think our status, our honour, all depends on us and what we can do to bring it about.

We have this desire to be honoured, to have a certain status in this world

And we worry it’s not going to happen for us, that we’re going to be left behind, and so we want to take matters into our own hands and make sure we get ourselves up to where we need to be?

But Jesus would have us do the opposite, to humble ourselves, to take the lower place.

But notice the incredible end to the parable. Jesus doesn’t finish just by talking about earthly meals, but he speaks expansively showing he’s talking about life in his kingdom.

‘For all who exalt themselves, will be humbled,

And those who humble themselves will be exalted’.

Who’s doing the humbling and exalting here? It’s God.

You could say,

‘All who exalt themselves, God will humble,

All who humble themselves, God will exalt.’

This is very important to see Jesus’ promise attached to his command.

 Jesus doesn’t say, just take the lowly places and be content with that, just humble yourselves and stay down there.

He doesn’t say that.

He doesn’t so much eradicate our desire to be honoured and exalted,

but he redirects it, from human beings to God.

He says I know you want to be honoured, I know you desire a certain status,

but don’t seek it from human beings and don’t try and get it by your own strength,

trust that God will do it for you.

God will move you up higher,

God will exalt you,

God will honour you,

Perhaps even in this life, but especially when it comes to the eternal life with God in never-ending glory.  

 

One of the reasons Jesus teaches us this is that we naturally look at others and where our place is, then we hear the call to be humble, and before you know it instead of looking around at others and our place we begin to look only at our own humility.

But Jesus encourages us to be humble, but all the while looking to God.

So that’s the first word to those invited.

Next Jesus speaks to the inviter, the host, and the focus here is hospitality,

Again with an eye to God.

When Jesus was speaking to those invited about clamouring for seats and that sort of things, I wonder if the host was feeling a bit relieved because he seemed to be off the hook.

He was pretty much the only one there who the parable wasn’t directly aimed at. But then Jesus turns to him and shows how the same problem can present itself from that end too.

Here it’s not about where you sit when invited, it’s about who you invite in the first place. So he says,

‘When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbours, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid.’ 

13But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.’

So what Jesus is speaking to here is how social interactions and invitations to meals can work as a sort of ‘social currency’ if you like.

I have the right people to a party at my place, they invite me in return, and I get to be seen at the right sort of parties at the right sort of people’s places.

I scratch your back, you scratch mine.

Jesus can evidently see this is what his host was doing with this meal, and he encourages him, and us, in another way.

Instead, invite the outcasts, invite those who won’t normally be invited, invite those who you may even have to go and pick up because they can’t get there themselves.

Invite those who, humanly speaking, have nothing to trade with in this social currency.

Now I don’t think Jesus is forbidding ever having family and friends for meals,

but he doesn’t want it to only ever be that.

 

Let’s think, is there someone on your street, who have never been asked over for a cup of coffee?

Are there people in our own congregation, who may have never been invited to someone’s house for a meal?

Jesus encourages us, to think about our social interactions very differently here.

In the first part of Jesus teaching, the guests look for status by getting the right seats. In this part the host looks for status by having the right guests there, and so getting invited back to be a honoured guest himself by people who know how to return a favour.

But notice again the surprise, that Jesus doesn’t forbid this desire to be repaid.

Instead again, he redirects it to God. He says, 

‘for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.’

So Jesus answer to our problem, is not to say you should just invite the poor and know that that is good enough in itself, that’s what we may expect him to say.

But instead he calls us again to do these things with an eye to God, knowing that he will repay you.

So that when the people you invite show up late, they don’t bring that nice bottle of wine, or when they don’t bring anything at all, when they don’t make great conversation, when they leave mud on the carpet, when they overstay their welcome, and you think why on earth did we do this?

Jesus says no don’t worry about that, know that the repayment is not in this life,

God will repay you in the resurrection, in the heavenly banquet that never ends.

Now I know we can get a bit nervous when we hear this talk of repayment in the resurrection, because we treasure the truth that we are only ever saved by grace.

But one way to help us think about it is just to consider human family life. If my child does something kind for another child who doesn’t have many friends, because she knows I’ll be pleased, is that a bad thing? I don’t think so, it’s actually a beautiful thing.

Not only that, but if she’s the worse off for doing this kindness, I will be delighted to make it up to her and more.

Something like this happens with God our Father. 

 So we’ve considered those two main parts of Jesus’ teaching today,


His word to the invited guests,

His word to the host,

now to finish off let’s consider the one who give the teaching.

Where does Jesus fit in here?

Well, as if so often the case, Jesus fulfils his own teaching.

Jesus teaches here on humility.

And this is the same Jesus who said, ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart…’ Matt 11:28.

Jesus, the teacher of humility, is himself the only true humble one.

This is the same Jesus St Paul writes about in Philippians saying,

he ‘humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him’. 

Jesus was entitled to the place of greatest honour in all the universe, yet took the place of ultimate shame, he humbled himself for you, he died for you, even died on a cross, for you.

And as he humbled himself, God exalted him.

In his resurrection and ascension God exalted him, so that as you are in him, you too may be exalted to the right hand of God, to take your seat in the heavenly places.

Jesus calls to humility, and he fulfils his own teaching by being humble unto death.  

Jesus also instructs here on hospitality, on inviting and welcoming the outcasts.

And again, he fulfils his own teaching.

Because this is the same Jesus who ate and drank with sinners, who called to himself those who could not repay him.

And Jesus has welcomed you, Jesus has called you, Jesus has become your host at his banquet, even though there is nothing with which you could ever repay him.

As you repent and turn away from your sins, you humble yourself, and as you believe in Jesus,

In him you are exalted, in him you are blessed, in him you are righteous,in him you have your resurrection,  in him and because of him, you will have your reward.

The one who gives this teaching today on humility and hospitality, ultimately fulfils his own teaching.

So if you’re ever involved in planning a wedding, ‘watch out for the seating plan’, be prepared for some challenges over the guest list.

But more importantly let every meal you are invited to or consider inviting others to, remind you of Jesus’ teaching, not just on earthly table manners and etiquette in this life, but what life is like in his kingdom.

That humility and hospitality are marks of those who live in his kingdom, that we do not need to be concerned about gaining status in this world, by gaining status through our own strength and social maneuvering, for in Jesus God will exalt you, in Jesus God repays you, so in all the earthly banquets, live with an eye to the heavenly banquet to which you are called.

Today you are invited to a foretaste of that feast to come.

Amen.

Honour the Sabbath

The Text: Isaiah 58:13-14.

(Isa 58:13-14) “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from8f5d0040f261ddb1b3f281e00e1385f0 doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honourable, and if you honour it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, {14} then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” The mouth of the LORD has spoken.

(Heb 12:28-29) Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, {29} for our “God is a consuming fire.”

(Luke 13:14-15) Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.” {15} The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water?

 

Today our readings throw out a challenge to us all with regard to our Sunday worship. More to the point, we are called on to reflect on what is our attitude towards Sundays and what and why we do what we do? And on reflecting on these readings this morning we see that we all fall into the dangers that God is making us aware of here. But even more significant is the fact that we are denying God the opportunities that he wants for us.

In light of attendances across the churches, we would do well to reflect on what God has to say to us here. I recognise that there is sickness and many other issues for a number of people, but at the same time the devil and our sinful nature is at work as well. Unless we take these things seriously we too will find ourselves in serious trouble; and we will be denying God the opportunity to bring the blessings that he wants, to us and our nation. He may well level at us the term hypocrite.

As we reflect on this issue then, we see that there are three keys problems that we regularly find at work in our lives and which the devil feeds.

The first one is that we don’t need to take what God has to say with regard to the Sabbath seriously. I’ve heard many comments over the years that go along the lines of: ‘You don’t have to go to church to be a Christian? I can miss a Sunday here and there and it is not going to affect my faith! I have to do this or that on Sunday. Worship is boring. I don’t get on with the people there.’ And the list could go on. Underlying many of these comments is the attitude that we have more important things to do on Sunday, or that we decide what is good and right for ourselves.

The other problem that so often arises and which our Gospel reading places before us, is the legalism that all too often becomes associated with the Lord’s day. ‘You can’t do this or that on the Sabbath! We can only do it this way. It has to be hymns out of the hymn book or it is no good. Or the opposite, ‘We have to move with the society and the times and change everything.’ As long as I … Or, ‘As long as I keep doing [insert pet sin], then I cannot commune because I’m too sinful’ And again, the list could go on. Here underlying it all is the attitude that we must do things just the right way or else we will not receive God’s blessing.

But overarching these problems is that much deeper and more pervasive issue of the fact that we see ourselves as the centre of what the Sabbath is all about. Worship is what we do for God, not first and foremost we he does for us. It is we determining if and when, where and how, we worship, and everything else that has to do with this day. Even right down to what we think is important and what needs to be in our worship services. Or more to the point today, what we can discard and not have. Therein lies the sin of each one of us. We want to be like God and we want to decide for ourselves what we think is good and important. We want to be our own gods. And it is that attitude which brings death. And maybe there is a good indicator as to why the church today is dying in the western world.

However here it is that Jesus reminded the Pharisees of his day, as well as us today, that there is a far more central issue involved here, than what we do and how we do it. This day has to do with us being freed from that which binds us and grinds us into the ground. He speaks of being freed from Satan. It has to do with forgiveness of sins, life and salvation.

It has to do with our Lord and who he is and what he does. It has to do with, as Paul says to the Hebrews:

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

Yes, that is what God has in mind for you and me here this morning and every time we gather here in his presence. He wants to meet with you here, together with all the saints, and he wants to reassure you that you are part of a new covenant where we can have that guarantee that we are forgiven for all our selfishness and sin, and that he has many blessings surrounding that for you and me. God and what he has to offer is what is essential for this life and the next. He is here to do just that and along with that, he gives us the directives that we need for our worship and for life.

Here also remember that he was the one who set aside the Sabbath so that he could allow us to rest in his presence and receive all the good that he has in mind for us. He commands us to ‘Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” That means as Luther says; ‘we should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and his Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.’ We are to use the form of worship that he has set down for us since the early days of the Church.

Here also listen to what he says in our Old Testament reading today.

“If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honourable, and if you honour it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” The mouth of the LORD has spoken.

This is just as important for us today as it was back then. So we use this as an opportunity to turn away from doing that which “I” want to do and instead look to him and receive what he has to give. Following his Word, rather than the word of our sinful selves and the world around us. We take on board the fact that he is the “Lord of the Sabbath.” He is the one who is important, and he has much to give us as we live in a world full of temptations and troubles.

So as Paul said to the Hebrews:

See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. [That is Jesus and his word of forgiveness] If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken–that is, created things–so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”

We have a great, awesome, and loving God who calls us week by week into his day of rest and receiving of all the good things that he has in mind for us. Through Word and Sacrament, he seeks to richly bless us. Who then are we to deny him this opportunity? Or do we think that we are greater, stronger and wiser than God almighty, himself? No let us be challenged and encouraged to see the Sabbath as God’s gift to us for our welfare and good. And through it, may all glory and honour go to our great God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

AMEN.

All good things must come to an end.

The Texts: Luke 12:49-56
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“All Good Things Are Yet To Come!” 

All good things must come to an end. This is the way we view much of our lives.

As children we all look forward to birthdays, and Christmas celebrations with family. But when it’s time to go home sadness, tears, and tantrums take over because the fun is finished, and all the good things have come to an end.

We part company with our cousins, and the festivities, to return to the mundane everyday motions of life. The division causes distress, the fun never seems to last. It’s takes so long to arrive and then in a flash it’s over. Mum and dad are the agents of division and the destroyers of delight. It’s at this time children would rather be separated from mum and dad and reunited in celebration with their cousins.

This type of sentiment doesn’t end in childhood. We carry on through life looking to live for the moment, or we reminisce over the past. We long for things to be the way they were. We get distressed about what the future might bring – failing bodies, loss of loved ones, loss of our independence, and finally loss of life. Are you anxious, uneasy, or distressed about what you are becoming over time?

Jesus was anxious too! He was distressed but not in the way we are about the future. Rather Jesus’ distress occurred because of the present, and all the while his hope was in what the end of his ministry on earth would bring.

So, Jesus laments in a way which is different to us, he says, “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.” (Luke 12:49-51)

Jesus looks forward to finishing what needs to happen. He is torn to the core of his being; he is distressed, until the result is complete. While a quasi-superficial peace exists he is distressed. Until the things we perceive to be good come to an end, there is no peace in Jesus’ heart.

Just like a parent taking distressed kids home after a fun filled day, Jesus knows no peace until God’s children are laid to rest, so we might be rested and refreshed through his rest at the cross and in the grave.

See the problem here is as old as there have been parents and children. There is the constant struggle between those who have age, experience, and wisdom on their side verses the young who lack wisdom but have a whole bundle of energy to burn.

We put recreation before both groups asking, “What is recreation?” and get two very different answers. For some the idea of recreation is to go, go, go! Experiencing action is what recreation is all about! But for others recreation takes on a more subdued event of relaxing, sleeping, and resting the body.

For Jesus recreation is somewhere in between! He was distressed and wanted to go, go, go, but this is so he could get to the place where he was placed in perfect rest, completing his work of recreation.

Now this might seem all a bit confusing to us who live in an age where recreation and holidays have lost their original purpose. And we do well to take the word recreation and stick a hyphen in so we hear recreation as re-creation. Our recreation is a time to be recreated or re-created. So too for holidays! Holidays were once holy-days set apart for a very different purpose than what they’ve become today.

To find the function of holidays and days of recreation, the commandment “Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy” is as good a place as any to begin. After all the Sabbath is where God rested when he finished creation, and it’s where we’re re-created as we rest in God’s presence. And if it’s good enough for God to rest, perhaps we can enjoy the work God gives us in creation, and rest in him to be re-created and made holy as he is holy.

In the Old Testament the Sabbath begun at sundown on Friday and finished at sundown on Saturday. The Sabbath was a day to be re-created, and it was done by resting in the hearing of God’s Word. And so recreation and holidays flow on in the same vein. We are called to enjoy our work while we have it, and look forward to the holidays and days of recreation, not to glorify ourselves and neglect his Word, but to learn and hear it through teaching and preaching, regarding it as holy and therefore bringing glory to God.

How mixed up we have become in these things today! We lament and are distressed by the work God gives us and then when times come for us to be re-created and made holy, we choose to busy ourselves to the point of exhaustion and distress.

When we need re-creation and holiness, we are blinded by our desire for recreation and happiness, and the holidays and days of recreation become difficult days of uneasiness — and dis-ease!

Recreation is meant to lessen our dis-ease, yet for many their pursuit of recreational activities has become a disease! In fact, our distress from the unholiness and chaos of our search for fulfilment exposes the greatest disease of humanity – our sinfulness.

So as life seems to ebb away we become more and more like children at the end of a day of celebration. We become distressed over what is passing away, rather than being distressed over the fact we have become addicted to death and transient things around us. We want to stay and play, wearing ourselves out to the point where we’re so delirious we’ve lost all sight of what God truly intends for us.

Jesus says his coming has brought fire to the earth rather than peace. And this fire comes not only to the world but to us as well. There’s a division within us; a struggle between who you once were, and into whom you are being re-created.

The Holy Spirit delivers the fiery Holy Word of God into our hearts and the battle begins. Jesus seeks to conquer our unbelief, restlessness, and idolatry. Our hearts are receiving the will of God, and subsequently the distress of Jesus dwells in us until our baptism is made complete at the day of our resurrection after our earthly death.

But the old nature doesn’t die easily; it fights and assails us because Christ is in us. Our human nature would have us believe life is about selfishness now! That peace comes from me being number one! We would be at peace if conflict didn’t occur in us. But the reality is we are not living but dying, and for those who allow God to re-create them in Jesus Christ, they are being made his new creations. But it causes distress within as it divides sinner from saint. Like Jesus we are looking forward distressed until the fire of Christ’s fiery baptism of blood on the cross finishes its work of refinement in us. Then life will really being and death will be a thing of the past.

Jesus’ work of recreation divides not only the new believer from the old Adam within. Jesus also says it divides families and communities. Our sin separated Jesus from his Heavenly Father’s love on the cross. He experienced the full gamut of God’s wrath as a result of taking our addiction to death on himself, so we might be joined with the Father.

There are no shades of grey at the cross, Jesus was completely cut off from life, and experienced death in all its viciousness. And so the division continues to this day. We wrestle and struggle with those who choose the opposite from us. The question is this: Am I upholding God’s holiness and re-creation won for me in Jesus’ death, where one day I will be living in eternal peace? Or am I choosing to chase re-creation in unholy things, forsaking Christ’s work on the cross? There’s no halfway here! Either there’s surrender to Christ or surrender to eternal death. And between the divisions there will be an impenetrable void, impassable for all eternity.

So the reality for you is not that all good things are coming to an end but the truly good things are yet to come! Until death is a thing of the past, there will be times of distress, but at the second coming of Christ, we look forward to perfection and joy. Therefore, we’re encouraged as God’s children not to resist him but to be encouraged by all those who have gone before us bearing the forgiveness and faith of God. And so we hear…

…since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. (Hebrews 12:1-4)

Amen.

Your Most Precious Treasure

The Text: Hebrews 11:1-6, 8-16

Your Faith in God Is Your Most Precious Treasure

There is a lot written in our newspapers these days about trust. Our politicalgarth leaders are calling on us to trust them even though many people feel they have betrayed our trust. Perhaps that’s why God’s Word says, “It is better to trust the Lord for protection than to trust anyone else, including strong leaders (Psalm 118:8).” So much of life is a matter of trust. If you don’t have faith in the safety of aeroplanes, you’d be reluctant to fly on them, just as it’s important to trust our doctors for our health’s sake. The playwright G.B. Shaw believes “We have not lost faith, but we have transferred it from God to the medical profession.”

Yet the remarkable thing is that so many people still see their faith in God as their most precious possession. What you believe is the most important thing about you, will make all the difference both for this life and for all eternity. The kind of faith today’s text speaks about is something we can be sure of. We are assured that “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (v1).” Faith in God is defined as a conviction that inspires confidence in God and leads to God-pleasing actions. The first example of God-pleasing faith in Hebrews 11 is that of Abel’s faith-inspired worship of God. The desire to worship God is in itself a significant form of faith. The truest expression of trust in God will always be worship.

A faith that loves to worship God pleases God immensely. One of the best ways of showing our love for someone dear to us is by praising them a lot. We show our love for God by our praise, thanks and adoration of our Creator. We say that actions speak louder than words. Worship is faith in action for the benefit and blessing of both ourselves and those around us. We can worship God on behalf of absent family members, relatives and friends, as we plead with God to be as merciful to them as God has been to us. Our worship of God together seeks to get us thinking more about others than about ourselves. Worship is education in unselfishness. Worship seeks to make us other-centred in our thinking and our actions.

This is what made Abraham’s faith so praiseworthy. His whole life was one great adventure in faith as he obeyed God and left his homeland for Canaan. Although Abraham engaged in lies and deceit on more than one occasion, his faith enabled him to think of others and put their needs ahead of his own. Abraham let his nephew Lot choose the better land for his flocks and herds. When God informed Abraham that He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham interceded on their behalf and pleaded with God to spare them. God encouraged Abraham to listen to his wife Sarah and heed what she said. “Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for it is through Isaac that offspring shall be named for you (Genesis 21:12).”

Sarah’s faith in God enabled her to make great sacrifices. She had to wait a long, long time before she became a mother. At first she laughed at the impossibility of becoming a parent in her old age. But when God said, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”, her misgivings turned into faith as she looked forward to God fulfilling His promise. We’re told that she received strength to conceive because “she judged that God who has promised would keep faith (v11).” When her son Isaac was born, Sarah confesses, “God has brought laughter for me (Genesis 21:6).”

The heroes of faith celebrated in Hebrews 11 are less models for us than they are part of that great “cloud of witnesses” already in our Lord’s presence, urging us on to run the race of faith with diligence and single-mindedness. “And what of ourselves? With all these witnesses to faith around us like a cloud, we must throw off every encumbrance, every sin to which we cling, and run with resolution the race for which we are entered, our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom faith depends from start to finish: Jesus who, for the sake of the joy that lay ahead of Him, endured the cross, making light of its disgrace, and has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:1-2).”

Abraham is mentioned seventy two times in the New Testament. The writers of the New Testament believed that Christ’s coming into our world has made it possible to recapture the pristine faith of Abraham, a faith that continually pleases God. God’s Son, Jesus Christ, made it easier for us to believe by becoming one of us. The God we believe in, love and trust, is a Christlike God. Jesus Christ is God with a human face and a human heart, overflowing with a love for you that is both human and divine.

Faith in our Lord expects great things from Him. Expect little from your Saviour and you will receive little, but if you come with eager expectation, you will be blessed beyond all your expectations. In the Gospels, our Lord honours the faith of all who come to Him for mercy and help. When two blind people come to our Lord asking Him to have mercy on them, Jesus asks them, “Do you expect that I am able to do this?” After they say, “Yes, Lord”, Jesus responds, “According to your faith let it be done to you.”

The first thing that Jesus seeks from those who come to Him is faith. Faith in Christ alone is so powerful it suffices initially in the absence of other virtues. Often Jesus first wants faith, before He performs a miracle. Faith in Jesus needs to be constantly fed if it isn’t going to shrivel up and die. God’s Word says, “Faith comes from what is heard and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ (Romans 10:17).”

Christ-centred preaching strengthens our convictions about our Lord and all He has done for us and seeks to still do for us. Faith enables us to view life differently from those with no faith. Faith in our Lord gives us both insight and super-sight. Jesus said to Martha, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see God’s glory (John 11:40)?” In other words, “believing is seeing”. Faith enables us to see God all around us where we didn’t see Him before. Faith involves believing in advance what often only makes sense in hindsight. We cannot rely on our feelings, but we rely on God’s promises to sustain our faith in our Lord. We can trust God to keep His promises. Our prospects for the future are as bright as the promises of God.

One Monday a man went to his pastor to complain: “Yesterday I was filled with joy in the service but now all is gone and I do not know what to do. All is dark as night.”

His pastor replied, “I’m glad!”

“Glad?” asked the astonished man, “Glad! What do you mean?”

His pastor continued, “Yesterday, God gave you joy, and today He sees you are resting on your emotions instead of on the promises of Christ.”

You see, our feelings are like the weather; they change from time to time. They’re not necessarily reliable indicators of the state of our faith. When we feel depressed about our faith, we must focus on our Lord’s promises like John 10:27-28:”My sheep hear My voice. I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of My hand.”

For the person stressed and worried about how she’s going to care for her elderly parents, God gives a promise: “I can do all things through him who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).”

For the parents fearful about where their wayward child is, worried about whom he is with and what he is doing, He gives a promise: “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you (Hebrewws13:5).”

For the out-of-work person desperate to get a job, God offers a promise: “For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).”

William James, a great psychologist, described a time in his early life when he was in the grip of a deep despair. “Fear was so incisive and powerful that if I had not clung to Scripture texts like “The eternal God is my refuge”, and “Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden”, and “I am the resurrection and the life”, I think I should really have gone insane.”

Our faith is sustained and strengthened by constant exposure to God’s Word, on which we can fully rely and completely trust. At present we walk by faith and not by sight. But one day soon, faith will give way to sight.

“So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).”


“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).” Amen.