Hallowe’en is over. I wonder . . . does that mean that we’ll start seeing Valentine’s Day adverting? And yes, I realize that I sound quite snarky when I say that . . . but if Christmas promotions begin in August it makes sense (to me, anyway) that holiday creep will . . . creep. I’m not ready to start preparing for Valentines . . . I’m not even ready to start preparing for Christmas . . . although we’d d better get ready for the ad onslaught!
Last Friday Garth Steele shared thoughts on the question “who is my neighbour?” at the Ottawa Civic Prayer Breakfast. The event was recorded and is available on YouTube: If you were not able to attend (either in person or on line) click here to watch it (or to watch it again!).
Garth was recently diagnosed with ALS and is sharing his journey through the blog Faith Over Fear. Click here to access it.
One of Garth’s challenges was for us not to ask people “How are you doing?”, as they – we – are not always honest in answering the question. A better question to ask, he suggests, is “Is there anything stopping you from enjoying life?” Instead of a routine answer, we have to stop and think when we hear that question. And if there is anything stopping us from enjoying life, think about what we can do to change the circumstance. Beginning, I think, by asking God what He wants for us and by asking Him to lead us there.
Watch the video – you’ll be blessed by it.
We are nearing the end of our study of the Keys to Kingdom Living. In yesterday’s service we looked at the key of Selfless Service . . . at the disciples, who it seems didn’t have a clue that (or to give them the benefit of the doubt, had not yet caught on to the idea that) the God-life isn’t all about me me me but is about you you you.
Me me me is the common, natural way of life: we try to climb over others for prestige, power, and place. You you you is the uncommon or extraordinary way of life and how we as people of God are to live: Jesus told the disciples – and says to us – to forget wanting to be in charge so we can be served. Be a servant. It’s not about you.
To download the message from our web page, click here. To re-watch our service visit our Facebook page (click here) or our YouTube channel (click here).
Our questions for reflection included these thoughts:
- Why is being a servant difficult?
- Why do people need a pat on the back after doing something (or incentive to do something)?
- How can we better serve?
This coming Sunday morning we are going to look at “the line”. Not “the line drawn in the sand” as much as “the line to be crossed”: where it is and if we should cross it . . . and how we should cross it! Remembering that there are fifty – fifty! – “conflicts” ongoing in our world right now:
- 4 major wars
- 19 wars (war is not major?)
- 23 minor conflicts (conflicts are minor?)
- 14 skirmishes
The lyrics to the old song “The Merry Minuet” come to my mind: The whole world is festering with unhappy souls . . . a list of “conflicted nations” follows with the end line and I don’t like anybody very much.
But that isn’t the reason there are conflicts in the world (conflicts such a benign word) – the problem is . . . back to last week’s message . . . me me me and mine mine mine (and it’s mine mine mine even if it’s yours yours yours). We want. That’s often why there are personal conflicts and that is why there are national conflicts (or conflicts between nations) still ongoing after “the war to end all wars”. We want. More than we have. Actually, we want what you have.
The line. The line in the sand. The line in our minds. Standing up for what is ours. Fighting for what is ours. Should we fight? How do we fight? Our key to kingdom living is the key of creative non-violence. Join us at 11:00 – don’t forget to set your clocks back one hour Saturday night!
As you join us . . . join us! You’ve been careful. You’ve been “good”. You have taken care to social distance. You have worn a face covering. You have been vaccinated – with two doses. You can now – if you feel comfortable doing so – come back to church . . . to our in-person service. I realize that some people are still hesitant to be with other people inside a building for an extended period of time. That’s OK. Our services will continue to be streamed on Facebook (click here) and on YouTube (click here). If you join us on-line be sure to drop a note to email@example.com and let us know that you are with us! But as you feel more comfortable, join those who are still social distancing while being actually together.
I realize that life is busy – that you are busy. And that while you might want to be part of our Together Tuesday book discussions, that it may not work for you to do so. However, if you do read the books that we would talk about in our discussions but can’t join us, you can always contact me, and we can set up a time to talk about the books together.
So far we have read Jesus Is by Judah Smith, and Blessed are the Misfits by Brant Hansen. This month I’d like to recommend you read The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. Yes, it is an “older” book (©1990) but it is pertinent today. Order it from Chapters – click here.
Think on this thought: Over the years I’ve seen Christians shaping God in their own image – in each case a dreadfully small God [page 42 – of my copy].
That idea alone could lead to an extended discussion! Get hold of the book – I think that it should be in everyone’s library.
We continue to meet Wednesday evenings for a time of prayer together, also through ZOOM. e-mail me at the church, and please feel free to join us as we unite our hearts to meet with God (and He with us).
Last Saturday Nazarene Compassionate Ministries Canada hosted a ZOOM webinar: An Introductory Conversation on Caring for Creation. Speakers were Keasha Green, who spoke on the Biblical and theological foundation for creation care; Milon Patwary (from Bangladesh), who shared on how caring for creation is a component of projects initiated and implemented by local churches as they serve needs in their communities;
Yara Cristales, who shared resources for caring for creation that have been created for supporters of NCM Canada and for local churches, missions groups, youth groups or other small groups; and on behalf of Trinity Church I shared how our church cares for creation and lives out love for our neighbours in the communities surrounding the church through our community garden.
The session was recorded: click here to watch the YouTube video.
Speaking of Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, the overall theme of the ministry is Compassion as a Lifestyle. 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 “International Compassionate Ministries” through Trinity Church is sent to NCMC. This year’s compassionate ministries offering is designated to the relief work in Haiti.
And our own compassionate ministries commitment: each November we receive a special offering for Eliezer Suarez, who was left an orphan when his parents were killed when Cubana de Aviación Flight 972 crashed in May of 2018. We as a church have committed to support him until he reaches 18 years old (3 more years). We also support children through NCMC sponsorship.
November is also Movember. I am part of the effort to raise money for men’s health – I do this in honour of Cindy’s father, who passed away of cancer at the age of 42. Click here if you wish to give to this cause – thanks to those who have. There are many other good causes to give to outside of the church as well, and if you let me know what you are raising money for I can include it in our Musings as well.
Mark December 5 and (tentatively) January 9 on your calendar. 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. January 9 JCL is “in concert”, sharing in music and leading in worship.
Our District SDMI (Sunday School and Discipleship Ministries International) has given our church a subscription to Right Now Media – said to be the world’s largest library of video-driven Bible study resources (click here to go to the web site and explore). This resource can be used for your personal devotional time . . . and we will be using it in some of our studies in the days ahead.
Click here to register to use the site; let me know if you give permission for me to put you on their sign-up/mailing list.
- Nov 7 Keys to Kingdom Living: creative non-violence
- Nov 14 Keys to Kingdom Living: simple living
- Nov 21 Interlude: Matt sharing
- Advent: Lost and Found
- Nov 28 Direction – Gabriel
- Dec 5 Lost – the Not-so-Wise Men
- Dec 12 Surprise Find – the Shepherds
- Dec 19 Visited – our District Superintendent shares
- Dec 24 Christmas Eve: Found – by Jesus
- Dec 26 Reflections . . . the year past
- Jan 2 Interlude: Matt sharing
- Jan 9 Winter Series: More from the Mount – Directives for Christian Living