Sermon recording: “How to Smarten Up,” James 1:5

Like Premier Rankin said yesterday, “Stay home!” 148 new COVID cases reported in NS today, and an exposure notice at NGRHS.
And while you’re home, spend some time focusing on the Lord.
Tomorrow’s sermon is called “How to Smarten Up” from James 1:5.

  • The video is here.
  • You can listen to the audio on Dropbox here or Soundcloud here.
  • The sermon notes are here.
  • Earlier sermons are on crosspreach.com here.
  • Last week’s singing and praying is here.


Let me know if there is anything I can do for any of you.

Sam

Stay home on Sunday

Because of the province-wide lock-down that started on April 28, faith gatherings are not permitted. (https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/restriction-updates/) So there will be no in-person church service this Sunday, and probably the one after, and we’ll see after that..

Please also note that there was an exposure notice at Bridgewater Superstore. See https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/possible-covid-19-exposures-in-nova-scotia-1.5803594  It’s from over a week ago. The contact tracers are getting so stretched that exposure warnings are going to be coming with big delays like that. Best to stay home.

I will send out the sermon recording tomorrow (Saturday) for you to listen to at home on Sunday.

And please do go for a nice walk. And keep your eyes peeled: people have been finding cash in the ditches.

God bless you, and do let me know if I can do anything for any of you.

Sam

Announcements, recordings, etc., April 24, 2021

  • Case numbers are alarmingly high in NS, but not right around us. The government has not directed us to stop gathering for church, so with prayer and much consideration we will go ahead and have our church service tomorrow, with the following advice…
    • Please don’t feel any pressure to attend. If it is a smaller handful of us than usual present, that is fine.
    • We will not allow anyone to take masks off during the service for a break. If you need a break from having your mask on, please feel very free to step outside.
  • For the sake of being transparent, I should also report that my family and I spent Sunday and Monday nights at a friend’s AirBnB in Halifax. We were not at any known exposure sites, and I have an asymptomatic test scheduled for tomorow afternoon, just to be careful.
  • As we continue to watch the case numbers and exposures, if you feel strongly one way or another about continuing to have church services, please speak to myself or a deacon about it. We are certainly open to stopping services if needed and will take people’s concerns, in whatever direction, seriously.

Other announcements:

  • Last week’s clean-up of the cemetery and church yard were postponed due to weather. We are aiming for Tuesday evening now.
  • Bible Study is Wednesday nights at 6:45. We keep seeing a little trickle of new people coming, and glad to have them. If you have not attended yet and think you might this week, please let me know ahead of time, so that I will know who to notify if we cancel.
  • We will be doing the roadside cleanup (ditches) at various times on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday this week. If you want to take part, let me know, so I can get you a waiver to sign.

Recordings:

  • This week’s sermon is from 2 Kings 4:1-7, “How to Borrow Jars.” You can watch the video here, or listen on Soundcloud here or Dropbox here. The sermon notes are here.
  • Previous weeks’ sermons are here.

announcements, recordings, April 17, 2021

  • There will be a cleanup of the cemetery and church yard Thursday, April 22 in the evening. Rain date a week later.
  • Bible Study is Wednesday from 6:45 to 7:45. We would love to have you join us.
  • We have been approved for the $100 per km roadside cleanup. Aiming to cover from Mader’s store to the ball field, plus some of the Ramey Rd. and Morton Rd. Thank you to those who’ve said they’re interested in helping, I will be in touch soon about a date etc. Anyone else interested, please let me know.
  • As cases of COVID variants soar in other provinces, there is bound to be more danger of spread. Let’s be careful about our distancing, mask wearing, etc.

Recordings:

  • Tomorrow’s sermon is on “Where to Find a Humble Person,” from James 4:10. If you are not able to come hear it in person, then you can watch the video here, or listen on Soundcloud here or Dropbox here. The sermon notes are here. Earlier sermons are on Crosspreach here. Last week’s worship and prayer time (with Silas playing all the hymns) are here.
  • The recording of Clinton Haines’ funeral is here.

On the web: if your internet is good enough, and if the offer hasn’t expired already, you can watch the powerful movie At the End of the Spear for free here.

Clinton Haines funeral recording

The audio recording of Clinton Haines’ funeral, April 12, 2021, is here.

announcements, recordings, etc., April 10, 2021

  • Clinton Haines died suddenly at home Thursday afternoon. His funeral will be Monday at the church here in Barss Corner. His obituary is here. As the obituary states, please let Diane know if you will be attending the funeral, as physically distanced space will be limited. I also need one volunteer to take people’s names and phone numbers at the door, please. Leona says I can put the recording of his funeral up on the website afterwards, for all the people not able to be there. May God comfort Leona and the whole family as they grieve.
  • We will have a short business meeting before or after the service tomorrow to discuss replacing the church oil tank.
  • Bible Study is every Wednesday evening from 6:45 to 7:45 in the church sanctuary. Come once or come every week; come prepared or come on the spur of the moment… I try to have things planned so that everyone can gain something from it. If you want to know the Bible passage, topic, book chapters, audio lessons, etc.. you can find them here. Or like I said, just come. We’d love to have you.
  • Marlean Rhodenizer informed me that she is finishing the 4th edition of her “Around the Corner” book. Let her know if you will want a copy, 902 644 2395 or email marlean@wallbedsns.com
  • The municipality is offering money to charitable organization that do roadside cleanups, $100 per km, up to 5 km’s. I plan to apply for our church. Please let me know if you want to help.
  • Parliament will be voting next week to adopt a law against “conversion therapy.” The original purpose of the law is good, but its definitions have become very broad, and I can picture myself going to jail because of it in the not too distant future for telling people what God says in his word. (But maybe good things will come from going to jail.) You can learn the details about Bill C-6 here and here.

Recordings: Tomorrow’s sermon is “A Weak and Foolish Message” from 1 Corinthians 1:20-25. If you can’t come hear it in person, then you can watch the video here, or listen on Soundcloud here or on Dropbox here. Previous weeks’ sermons are on Crosspreach here. Last week’s worship time in Barss Corner is here.
   Angela Stewart shared a powerful testimony in church in Parkdale last Sunday. You should hear it here. The book she reads from is here. Sounds like a great book.

On the web:

  • I’ve been reading a book by a Christian doctor about his experiences with people in the ER. It is a fascinating book, full of God’s grace and mysteries, and I finished it this week. Then I heard on the news yesterday morning that the author was shot dead in his home Thursday by a former patient. You can order it inter-library loan through the public library here, or the e-book is at Indigo here (or if you ask me really nice, I might lend you my paperback). The  news report about his death is here.
  •   Last year Connie attended an online women’s conference that was hosted by a church planting network in Scotland. She got a lot from it. There is another one coming up on April 22, if any of you ladies are interested. It costs 3 pounds to attend, which I think is about $5. More info here.

announcements, recordings, Happy Easter!

  • Christ is Risen! That changes everything.
  • We will celebrate the Lord’s supper tomorrow. Pick up your cup on the way in.
  • Our special Easter Offering Envelopes will go to support churches among the Mising Tribe in Northern India, through Canadian Baptist Ministries, as they reach out to tribes around them.
  • Long Lake Camp’s update and summer schedule are here and here.
  • Our Wednesday Night Bible Study will begin this Wednesday, 6:45 to 7:45 in the church sanctuary.
  • There will be at short business meeting at the start or end of the worship service on March 11 to decide about replacing the church oil tank.

Recordings:

  • Tomorrow’s sermon is titled “Willing Spirit, Weak Flesh, Risen Saviour” from Romans 7:21 – 8:11. If you can’t come hear it in person tomorrow, the video is here, or you can hear it on Soundcloud here, or on Dropbox here. The sermon notes are here.
  • I shared a short message online yesterday for Good Friday, about “The Lord’s Death and the Lord’s Prayer.” You can read or listen to it here.
  • Past sermons are here, and last week’s worship and prayer time are here.

Music:

  • Gail Hewitt of Maplewood recorded herself singing and playing her harp. You can hear her here.
  • Someone shared with me a video and some background about a beautiful Easter song some sisters in Ontario have sung. Watch the video and read the backstory here.

The Lord’s Death and the Lord’s Prayer

How Christ’s death puts flesh onto the prayer he taught his disciples to pray.

(A special online message for Good Friday. Available in audio at Soundcloud here or Dropbox here.)

Many of us learned the Lord’s prayer as children, long before we understood much about Christ’s death. The disciples, too, learned this prayer from Jesus a long time before his death – perhaps as much as 3 years before (Matthew 6:9-13). They must have chewed on those lines throughout those years, wondering exactly how to pray them, wondering what they meant.

Then on Christ’s last night, and on the day of his death, lines from this prayer kept echoing. I don’t know if the disciples thought about it much right then. But it probably shaped the heart of their prayers forever afterwards. May these thoughts make our prayers clear and bold, like theirs.

When he prayed with them in the garden, he told them “pray so that you will not fall into temptation” (Mark 14:38). All around this, the disciples were trying to figure out what is going on, trying to find ways to help their Master. But instead he just wants them to pray against temptation. When we are in times of crisis, do we ever pray this? Have you prayed like this during the pandemic? May we learn to seek this from God more urgently.

There in the garden, he was struggling in prayer, saying “thy will be done” to his Father. Matthew 26:36-44 says that he prayed that prayer 3 times. Interesting that he fell with his face on the ground to pray this. Literally, his face was “on the earth” (Mark 14:35) as he prayed “thy will be done.” That is quite an image of how to pray “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” From heaven God can see the end from the beginning, can see how good the end result will be. With his face on the earth in agony, the Son of God could see just how hard the next step would be, could feel how hard it is to pray that the Father’s good will be done on that earth.

Jesus taught us to pray “Thy Kingdom Come.” When he entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, people had images in their minds of King David’s kingdom being restored to Israel. But Jesus wanted us to learn to pray for something even better:(1) He would rule his Kingdom with the mighty power of God.When the chief priest asked him if he is the Christ (i.e., the messianic king), Jesus answered, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right and of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Mark 14:62). And so they crucified him, thinking that it would stop him from becoming any kind of king. Instead it made him a king like no other. (2) He would establish his Kingdom by dying for sinners. Somehow, one of the criminals dying next to Jesus caught sight of this. Even though he knew Jesus would soon die, and even though he knew himself to be a sinner, he asked with faith, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:42-43). May Christ’s kingdom come to us even today as sinners call on him for a place in his kingdom.

Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” I don’t think Jesus ate anything on his last day. He died on an empty stomach. The last taste of bread that he had was from the supper where he broke the loaf and gave it to his disciples, saying that it was his body, given for them (Luke 22:19).

There was another time that he went hungry. In John 4, when he was busy doing God’s work, he said, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work” (John 4:34). Empty as his stomach may have been during his flogging and crucifixion, he must have also felt a wonderful fullness to know that he was doing what his Father wanted, and that he would soon be able to say “it is finished!” (John 19:30).

Jesus taught us to pray to “our Father.” This might not stand out as much as other parts of the Lord’s prayer in that dreadful crisis, but it is the most important. Of all the names of God, Christ could have addressed him as “the Almighty” or the “Judge of all the Earth” or any number of ominous sounding things, as doom approached. But in his struggle in the garden, Christ calls him the most intimate Abba Father (Mark 14:36). At the hour of his death, even when Christ is crying out to God about being abandoned by him (Mark 15:34), the darkness and weight of our sins upon him still did not stop him from addressing God as his Father, and entrusting his spirit into the Father’s hands (Luke 23:46). He had taught us to trust that the Father is good, and gives good gifts to his children (Matthew 7:9-11). He never stopped believing that, even when he was under all of God’s wrath.

Notice also that Jesus taught us to pray to “our Father,” not to “my Father.” To pray the Lord’s prayer is to pray with God’s family, whether we are apart or together. Jesus felt so terribly alone in the garden, longing for support and fellowship, as the disciples kept falling asleep. Yet in spite of their failings (and ours) he did what he did so that we could call God our father with him. He prays and longs for us to be with him and with the Father in heaven (John 17:24). And then one of the first things he says to a believer after the resurrection is, “I am returning to my Father and your Father” (John 20:17). What sweet satisfaction we hear in his voice there, that his Father is now so much more fully our Father.

Jesus also taught us to pray that the Father’s name be hallowed, that is, treated as holy. When we are in anguish, it is hard to address God as holy. But have you noticed that in all of his struggle, and in all of his heartbreak, Jesus did not express frustration toward God. I am haunted often by the story of Moses’ greatest failure in Numbers 20:12. Moses is frustrated with the people’s grumbling, so instead of doing exactly as God commands him, he grumbles back at the people and strikes the rock for water to come out, instead of speaking to it as God had instructed him. Many Christian leaders can understand Moses’ frustration. But God’s rebuke to Moses is, “You did not honor me as holy in their sight.” So Moses would not be allowed to enter the promised land. But Christ would honor his Father as completely holy, and would go ahead of his people into heaven and into the coming age.

Jesus taught us to pray, “forgive us our trespasses.” This part stands out for its silence. Christ never prays it. As much as Christ prays the other parts of the Lord’s prayer, he never prays for God to forgive him, because he never sinned. Sometimes that makes him seem distant from us. But there on the cross, when he bore our sins, he could have spoken about “our” trespasses, because what was ours became his (see 1 Peter 2:22-24). Yet, when he bore our sins, when they became his, even then he didn’t pray for them to be forgiven. Instead he received the full wrath of punishment for them. Whenever something is forgiven, the burden gets shifted and there is always someone who has to pay. That is how it is in human life, and the Bible teaches that is how it is with God too. On the cross, the payment was made. That is why we can pray, “Forgive us our trespasses.”

Jesus also taught us to pray, “as we forgive those who trespass against us.” So even when he had endured brutality and mockery from the soldiers who crucified him, he prayed “Father, forgiven them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

Jesus taught us to pray that God would “deliver us from evil.” Here, too, Jesus is silent. He wants us to pray that we will be rescued from evil, but on Good Friday he knew that it was not for him to pray such a thing, because he knew that it was time for evil to take him (see John 12:27). The flood and waves of evil, hate and darkness swallowed him, and he was dead, he was gone.

And yet there is another sense in which evil did not get him, in how it did not get into him. On the cross he was surrounded by hate, but he didn’t hate back. With his disciples, he was surrounded by faithlessness, but he remained faithful to them. He even endured being abandoned by his God, but he did not “curse God and die” as Job was encouraged to do (Job 2:9). So, when Jesus saw the flood of evil coming for him, he said, “The prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me,” or literally, “He has nothing in me” (John 14:30).

And so Christ overcame the evil of this world. So he purchased the souls of sinners for God. So he delivered us from evil. So when we pray for God to “deliver us from evil,” may we trust that Christ’s work on the cross has had and will have its full effect, to destroy the hold that evil has on our souls, and to present us spotless and righteous before God.

Maybe you’ve known the Lord’s prayer for many years. Maybe God has been letting it soak into your soul over those years, getting you ready for a time when you would more fully know the Lord who taught it to us. Maybe that day is today. May today be the day when you see just what it is that Jesus did for you on the cross. May today be the day when you trust him, when you experience total deliverance from sin and evil, and when Christ’s Holy Spirit and resurrection life come into you and makes you new. Amen.

Announcements, recordings, etc. March 27, 2021

Announcements:

  • Tomorrow is Palm Sunday. May it be a day that prepares us to see our King coming again, this time on the clouds, in glory and forever.
  • This year’s special Easter Envelope offering will go to help churches among the Mising Tribe in northern India, to reach out to people around them (administered through Canadian Baptist Ministries).
  • The Bible Study on “Praying with Paul” will take place Wednesdays from 6:45 to 7:45 at the Barss Corner church, starting April 7.
  • Someone found a tick this week. Time to start checking for them again, if you or your pet spends any time outdoors.

Recordings:

  • Tomorrow’s sermon is about “The Man Who Saw Hell, and Cowered,” from Matthew 26:36-46. If you can’t come hear it in person, then you can see the video here, or listen on Soundcloud here or on Dropbox here. The sermon notes are here. Previous weeks’ sermons are here.
  • Most of the thinking behind this week’s sermon is from a sermon Jonathan Edwards preached 300 years ago. You can read it here, or listen to it, part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here.
  • The story about John Huss saying “You can cook this goose…” is dramatically presented in a podcast about Martin Luther here.

Recordings, announcements for March 20, 2021

Tomorrow’s sermon is called “Pray like it’s Not Your Fault” from Psalm 44. If you can’t come hear it in person, then you can watch the video here, or listen on Dropbox here, or on Soundcloud here. The notes are here. Previous sermons are on Crosspreach here. Last Sunday’s singing and prayer time is here.

Announcements:

  • Our Mexican brother Felix has arrived in PEI for another season. Pray for God’s presence to be with him while he isolates.
  • We will start an evening Bible study in April. The subject will be “Praying with Paul” based on Don Carson’s study of what Paul says he is praying for the churches he writes to. Stay tuned for exact time and start date. If you want to get ahead, you can order the book (paperback here, kobo here) or listen (for free) to the original talks it was based on here. I will prepare handouts for participants, so there is no need to purchase material unless you choose to.