Weekly News 14 Dec 2017

This Week’s Holy Slogan is ‘Don’t be Afraid!’
(Luke 1:26-38)
“Do not be afraid” is repeated more often than any commandment in the Bible. Time and time again God’s people need to hear him say “Do not be afraid,” and these days are no different. We find all kinds of reasons to be afraid but there are at least three very powerful reasons not to be afraid that should override any of our reasons for fear.

These three reasons not to be afraid are found in the Angel’s message to Mary, and through faith in Jesus we can receive these as our very own reasons not to be afraid. First, the angel says to Mary “God is with you”. Through faith in Jesus we can know the peace that comes with the presence of God. Second, the angel tells Mary that her son Jesus will be the ruler and protector of God’s people forever, “and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” And thirdly, when we fear we face impossible odds we can hear the angel say to us as he said to Mary “nothing is impossible with God.”

I hope you can join on this, the 3rd Sunday of Advent as we learn more about how we can trade in our fear for faith.

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St Paul’s News 10 Dec 2017

This Week’s Holy Slogan is ‘Prepare!’

(Mark 1:1-8)

In some ways John the Baptist would have been difficult to miss. He was wild and eccentric and crowds from all over Judea and from Jerusalem flocked to him. Many others, however, completely overlooked John the Baptist and/or dismissed him because of how odd he was. Even some of those who did come to be baptised by John never really understood what he was up to.

When we ‘Keep Awake’ the way Jesus encourages us to in Mark 13:24-37 we are more receptive to receive what God has for us, even if it means coming to an odd character like John the Baptist. John’s message to the people of his day, and to us, is “Prepare!” Prepare for God to come to you in a whole new way in Jesus, and prepare for Jesus to completely immerse you in the creative and lifegiving power of the Spirit of God. I hope you can join us this Sunday morning as we explore further what it looks like to prepare for something like this.

We’d also like to invite everyone this Sunday, Dec. 10 between 2pm and 5pm to the Rectory (59 Raymond Street, Hampton) for our Advent Open House. Everyone is invited, so bring your friends, bring your families and we wouldn’t even mind if you brought some of your favourite festive refreshments to share.

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Weekly News Dec 03, 2017

Everywhere we go this time of year we see holiday slogans on banners, signs, coffee cups and cards offering “Seasons Greetings,” and “#WarmWishes” and telling us to be “merry” and “jolly.” All of this is fine, but surely there’s more to this time of year than these slogans can really say.

For Christians this time of year is meant to inspire us to get ready to welcome Jesus and his kingdom, but most holiday slogans don’t inspire. At best they kind of just pacify.  That’s why this Advent we are going to look at some very different slogans. I’m calling them “Holy Slogans.”

These Holy Slogans are words that have come to us from the Scriptures, that is from Jesus and the prophets and from the story of Jesus’ life. My prayer is that as we explore God’s message to us in these Holy Slogans that they will inspire and encourage us as we look forward, not merely to Christmas, but to everything that God has in store for us in this life, and in the life to come.

This week’s Holy Slogan is ‘Keep Awake!’

(Mark 13:24-37)

Things can happen very suddenly in this life and people of faith can very quickly find their faith put to the test. But it’s also true that God often acts when we least expect it, not to test our faith, but to confirm it and to vindicate our hope in ways that we may have never anticipated.

Jesus says, “Keep awake, for you do not know when the master will come.” He wants his followers to be ready for the unexpected and not to miss out on the ways that God will finally confirm their faith and vindicate their hope in him.

 

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Weekly News 26 Nov 2017

Worship is not just what we do when we gather on Sunday morning or at other times to praise God.  True worship involves the whole of our lives and, as we’ll see in this week’s gospel passage from Matthew 25:31-46, worship includes how we treat one another, and in particular how we treat those in need.

This Sunday is also ‘Christ the King’ or ‘Reign of Christ’ Sunday. It’s a special day for Christians around the world to celebrate the truth that, regardless of what the leaders of the world say or do, ultimately Jesus is in charge, and that even now we can experience the goodness of his reign as we wait for the fulfilment of his kingdom.  In fact, worship can be one of the most poignant ways that we can experience his kingdom now.

 

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Weekly News 19 Nov 2017

People often say, “I don’t have to go to Church to be a good Christian,” and they’re absolutely right. Being a “good Christian,” by which I mean being someone whose life actually demonstrates the difference that following Jesus makes, is not about attendance. It’s a about participation.

The Church isn’t a place where people go to watch some kind of religious performance, at least it’s not supposed to be. The Church is the community of those who actively follow Jesus and who participate in the mission that he has given to his followers (We’ll get to what that mission is in a moment). So, while church attendance may be optional for followers of Jesus, active participation is not.

The mission of the Church is to make the reality, goodness, and love of God known in the world and to invite people into a new and growing relationship with God through Jesus Christ. That’s the mission, and with it are the ministries we perform to serve that mission.

The word ‘ministry’ literally means ‘service.’ The ministry of worship, for example, serves the mission, so do prayer, proclamation and gathering as a community of Jesus followers. When done faithfully these ministries help demonstrate the reality, goodness and love of God and present an opportunity for people to start a new and growing relationship with him. Other important ministries include outreach and service to our neighbours, pursuing peace and justice and caring for creation. These are all ministries because they serve the mission.

Regularly gathering with other Christians to actively worship, pray and hear God’s word is ministry, because doing these things serves the mission. Merely attending church, however, isn’t because it doesn’t. This week we are going to look at Jesus’ call to move people from attendance to ministry and how our “7 Steps” might just help us do that.

 

 

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