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the colours-are-a’changin’ edition

October 04, 2021

Last week I pointed out that autumn is my favourite time of the year because of the colours . . . the smells . . . the general feel in the air. I’m not looking forward to the season that follows this one, but I’m not going to worry about or think about that (much) for a while.

The end of September/beginning of October would normally mean (and what does . . . what will normal even mean in the days ahead?) – would normally mean that I would be at conference with other denominational district secretaries. Last week I was away-but-here at the meetings. Instead of flying to Kansas City early Monday morning and returning late Thursday evening, I was able to take in the seminars from my office. It definitely had a different feel . . . being together to chat/compare notes/network is more easily done in persona and over meals than through ZOOM . . . but we are learning to use technology . . . and that’s a good thing. It was a good week of discussion and learning – and better, not only did I not spend all that time travelling, I ate well at home!

Thursday past was the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, set aside as a day for all Canadians to give attention to our history and relationships with First Nations/indigenous people. Unfortunately, the day itself has been overshadowed by partisanship, with finger-pointing at our Prime Minister’s activities of the day and at the flags flying on Parliament Hill (among other things).

Perhaps our leaders should focus less on trying to score political points and more on the healing and reconciliation that is needed? The day is over . . . the work continues.

And that leads us to yesterday’s emphasis on extravagant forgiveness . . . the kind of forgiveness we want others to give to us . . . the kind of forgiveness we may not be as willing to give to others. Peter thought that he was being gracious to be willing to forgive someone “up to” seven times. Jesus shocked him by saying “that’s not enough”. He said up to seventy times seven (the Pastor Frank paraphrase: don’t count!).

Forgiveness. We looked at Matthew 18 and the parable of the unforgiving servant (click here to download the message manuscript). I think that by not forgiving we chose broken relationships over restored relationships. We say this relationship is not worth repairing. This event in our lives has destroyed something good . . . and I’m good with that. However, as Tim Keller notes, forgiveness is essential when we claim to follow Christ. (Click here for an article on “myths” of forgiveness).

Jesus said whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses [Mark 11:25].

Questions for reflection:

  • Has what Jesus said ever stopped you from praying?
  • Who has hurt you? Who do you need to forgive?
  • What if people don’t ask forgiveness, is it ok not to forgive them?
  • If we in the church can’t get along/forgive why would those outside the church?

C.S. Lewis said Everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea until he has something to forgive.

  • Why is it so hard to forgive?
  • Why is it so hard to ask forgiveness?
  • You’ve apologized; I’ve accepted the apology . . . why is that not enough at times?

What is the next step, after forgiveness is asked and granted?

  • Is unconditional forgiveness possible?
  • Are you willing to forgive?

Reminder one: last week we talked about lavish generosity and were given an opportunity to put being generous into practice. September’s special giving emphasis was the Alabaster Offering. Based on the selfless giving of the woman who broke a flask of expensive perfume and poured it on Jesus [Matthew 26], we received an offering which will be used for the work of the Kingdom world-wide.

Money raised through the Alabaster offering is used to purchase land and to build churches, schools, medical facilities, and homes for missionaries and national workers. Thank you for giving.

Reminder two: next Sunday . . . Thanksgiving Sunday . . . we will receive an offering to support those who have gone into an uncomfortable world to share the good news of Jesus – a “thank offering”. This special offering (which we give on top of our regular giving) goes to support our mission of sharing the Good News of Jesus – to make Christlike disciples in the world.

I did not share our goal for the offering in our service yesterday. Over the next few weeks we hope to receive $1,550 in support of our mission work. Thank you for your prayerful support.

Speaking of Thanksgiving . . . this coming Sunday’s service of worship and praise will centre on our giving of thanks! We’ll meet – in the sanctuary and on-line – to sing and to pray and to praise and to learn together. Join us at 11:00 for a great time of celebration. This week we will pause our study of Keys to Kingdom Living to look at Giving Thanks.

COVID protocols are still, of course, in effect. We (all churches) are still restricted to attendance of no more than 30% of building capacity (we have not come close to that mark yet here, so feel free to join us in the building if you feel comfortable doing so). On the other hand, vaccination certificates are not yet required either. I am looking forward to the day when we are granted permission to allow up to 50% of capacity to attend – and then to a time of no restrictions!  

Tomorrow evening – Together Tuesday – is our Young Adult Question and Answer evening. We will investigate and discuss C. S. Lewis’ Trilemma seeking an answer to who is this Jesus that people follow? E-mail the church office for information on how to join the ZOOM discussion.

We continue to meet Wednesday evenings for a time of prayer together, though ZOOM. Please feel free to join us as we unite our hearts to meet with God (and He with us). E-mail the church office for information on how to join the prayer time.

We will look at Brant Hansen’s Blessed are the Misfits in our October book study. Starting with a chapter titled It’s Not Just You, Hansen reminds us that God is for and with us all . . . not just with the spiritually perfect (what great news!) but for all those who struggle, who question, who doubt, and who wonder. Order your copy from Chapters (click here) or from your favourite book store . . . and join us for a great evening of discussion.  

Mark the following two dates on your calendar: December 5 and (tentatively) January 9. The January date would be JCL “in concert”, sharing in music again as they did last night. December 5 is a Christmas Carol sing – or, if we can’t “legally sing”, a Night of Christmas Music, with special song – and (of course!) carols. Our music celebration will begin both evenings at 7:00.

An Introductory Conversation on Caring for Creation

Saturday October 30 Nazarene Compassionate Ministries Canada will host a Zoom webinar titled An Introductory Conversation on Caring for Creation, beginning at 11:00 am. Speakers are:

  • Keasha Green, a graduate of Tyndale Seminary, who was contracted by NCM Canada to research the Biblical and theological foundation for creation care and to work with NCM Canada to incorporate care for creation as a theme across our ministry.
  • Milon Patwary, a long-time partner of NCM Canada in Bangladesh, who will share how caring for creation is a component of projects (funded by NCM Canada) initiated and implemented by local churches as they serve needs in their communities.
  • Yara Cristales, who will share resources created for supporters of NCM Canada and for local churches, missions groups, youth groups or other small groups that will inform, challenge, and motivate to action – to care for creation.
  • Trinity Church has been asked about sharing how our church cares for creation and lives out love for their neighbours in the communities surrounding the church through our community garden. It has fallen to me to speak.

All are welcome to “attend” the webinar. Click here to register in advance for this meeting.

The theme of Nazarene Compassionate Ministries is Compassion as a Lifestyle. As followers of Jesus we do not want to be known for our compassionate acts as much as we want to be known for being compassionate and caring people . . . a somewhat circular discussion, as because we are compassionate and caring people we will be involved in compassionate acts and actions!

Jesus said whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me  [Matthew 25:40, NIV]. Nazarene Compassionate Ministries Canada gives many opportunities to compassionate involvement, including providing a “compassionate giving catalogue” for Christmas. Print copies are available; an on-line catalogue can be found by clicking here; giving designated “Compassionate Ministries” through Trinity Church is sent to NCMC. This year’s compassionate ministries offering is designated to the relief work in Haiti.

The Sharing Place (an inner city mission in Toronto) runs a food bank and is seeking donations of cash and food.

We are looking for winter clothing, especially a pair of men’s winter gloves.