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“the snow has arrived” edition

November 15, 2021


We knew it was coming. That it would be here eventually. And as promised, here it is . . . a bit of snow. Not Saskatchewan snow. Not Manitoba snow. Not even Georgian Bay snow. But snow none-the-less. It’s here. It may melt over the next few days. But we know that it will be back!

 

Also coming sooner than we may want is Christmas with all of its trappings: Black Friday and the push to buy buy buy . . . to make Christmas special. As if celebrating the birth of the Christ Child isn’t special as it is.

Perhaps we can consider what we talked about in yesterday’s message a “pre-Advent” sermon. After all, I did mention Christmas movies and “the war on Christmas” and Christmas shopping and Christmas debt.

However, our discussion went from Christmas and its trappings to life and its trappings. And sometimes . . . life traps us. Without our even realizing it. We get so caught up in the world in which we live and the bright lights and the “bling” that we forget Jesus’ call to awareness of what we have and what we want and what we need and what we should strive for. He says seek first the Kingdom of God . . . but the ways of man beguile us and distract us and turn our attentions from Him. We seek the kingdom . . . but then we wander from the path. Stuff distracts us. The stuff we have distracts us. The stuff we want distracts us. Our own busyness distracts us. And kingdom focus wanes.

I suggested that Jesus is not against us having stuff . . . but He is concerned that our stuff might have us. We talked about the call to “declutter” our lives from – to intentionally let go of or get rid of – anything that might distract us in our relationship with Jesus . . . to discover what stuff does have us    . . . and let go of it.

Simple living isn’t about owning less just for the sake of owning less. It’s about owning just the right amount of anything and everything. And the rest? Let it go. Then you will be able to continue on the path to being like Jesus.

Click here to read the Statistics on Clutter That Will Blow Your Mind that I mentioned in our message.

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). 

 

Oh yes . . . our feeds. The video. And our sound. The audio. Set up and looked after by Lisa and Glenn and David. The worship team (who I appreciate!) is seen and heard. The sound team is hidden at the back . . . making sure that portion of our services run smoothly, making sure the equipment and the software runs properly. Have you noticed a lack of “glitches” lately? It’s them – let them know you appreciate their work.

 

Prayer is an integral part of the life of the church . . . I’d go so far as to say that it’s our life-blood as we search for God’s direction and power as a congregation. We continue to meet Wednesday evenings for a time of prayer together through ZOOM: e-mail the church office for login information.

 

I was rooting around my files for an old picture of Matt . . . then I thought to myself he probably wouldn’t appreciate me posting one . . . so I stopped the search . . . but then I thought I can’t do nothing . . . so let me just remind you about him.

Matt has been part of Trinity Church for . . . for a number of years. He began attending our Children’s Friendship Club (if I recall correctly) soon after it began as an outreach ministry to the Riverview Park neighbourhood. He started attending services as a young teen, and was quickly “drafted” to play piano . . . then began to lead services . . . became youth director . . . a board member . . . and is now searching for His place as he follows God’s call to some form of pastoral ministry.

As a member of Trinity’s pastoral team, he has the opportunity to share the Sunday message on a regular basis . . . and will speak this coming Sunday as an “interlude” between our Keys to Kingdom Living series and . . .

 

Advent, which begins November 28. It is the “countdown to Christmas for Christians” . . . the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent (rather than the countdown to gift opening and too much turkey) . . . symbolizing “the spiritual journey of individuals and congregation as we affirm that Christ has come, that He is present in the world today, and that He will come again in power.”  

Each year during Advent I suggest a reading schedule from the Bible that we can follow together as we prepare our hearts for the celebration of the Christ-Child. This year rather than just looking at the passages that talk about the birth of Christ, let’s look at His life, reading through the book of Luke, one chapter a day beginning December 1. November 28 read John 1:1-14; November 29 read Matthew 1; and November 30 read Matthew 2.

 

Oh, COVID! You still limit us! Although . . . perhaps . . . we are nearing the end of gathering limitations. We haven’t planned a Festive Fellowship this year, even though restaurants are allowing more “guests”. And we are still being careful about Christmas gatherings. However, we are going to hold a Christmas Carol sing/Night of Christmas Music, with special song – and (of course!) carols – on December 5 at 7:00 pm. All who are comfortable are welcome to join the worship team in the sanctuary. The service will also be streamed on line.

 

It’s a bit early for Christmas music. Let me rephrase: I think that it’s a bit early for Christmas music. However, I know that there are those who disagree . . . so for those who do (and are, perhaps, already listening), may I suggest this Spotify play list (click here), created by the Advent Conspiracy.

 

Mark your calendar: JCL (Jesus Christ Living) will share a musical “concert” leading in music and worship the evening of January 9 – again, the sanctuary will be open for those who feel comfortable gathering, and the service will be streamed on our Facebook site and our YouTube channel.

 

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 trinityconnects@rogers.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.

                                                                                                 

As you give . . . thank you for supporting the work of your church locally and internationally. We continue to receive our tithes and offerings through e-transfer (ottawatrinity@rogers.com) and through the Canada Helps web site (click here); offerings given in the offering plate (which is on the back table for those who wish to use their regular tithe envelopes) are deposited every second week.

 

The overall theme of Nazarene Compassionate Ministries 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. The MacMillan family has asked that in lieu of flowers donations can be made in Pastor Al’s memory to NCMC.

 

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.

 

You might also want to think about a reverse advent calendar. Instead of opening a door to take a treat [mmm, Lindt chocolate!], place a non-perishable food item in a basket each day of Advent and at the end of Advent take the basket to a food bank. Or come up with your own unique idea to make Christmas more about compassionate giving than receiving.

 

I don’t want to take over our Musings newsletter and make it my own. However, I again point out that 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 support me in Movember (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 that you are raising money for a cause I’ll include it, too.

 

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.