Who Am I? Victorious!

Life is a battle.
Who among us has not muttered that under our breath at one time or another?
We’ve said it, and felt it. And it’s true.
Life IS a battle. But not a battle we need fear. Those who have committed their lives to Jesus, following and trusting him can rest in the assurance that they will win. |
In the end, they will be VICTORIOUS!!
So, that raises some questions – like, “Who is the enemy?” “Are there strategies we need to follow in order to find that victory?” “Do we get spiritual gear and armor to fight the battle?”
And that all is the focus of this, the last of our winter teaching series here at KCRC, “Who Am I?”.
We’re going to dig into Ephesians 6:10-24 helps us understand that.
Who Am I? Victorious!

Go ahead and find a bible, either print version or online or app. Flip to Ephesians 6:10-24. Then download the podcast and the study guide and dig in.

Please note – those of you using a mobile device may have to set your browser to “desktop mode” to access the download button (a glitch with our site – sorry about that).

Here’s the podcast……..

Who Am I – Victorious!

And here’s the study guide:

Victorious: The Study Guide

As always, feel free to pass this stuff around.  You can also find this, and other messages online at the KCRC website under the tab “Sermons And Stuff.”

We’d also love to have you join us live for worship.
We gather each Sunday at 10am.
Don’t worry about getting all gussied up.  Just come as you are – we’re a church full of imperfect people.
And we’d be glad to have other imperfect people, like you, along for the ride!

Who Am I? Suffering!

“Dear God, she is such a good person.
She’s such a good person.
Why does she have to suffer so much?
IT’S NOT FAIR!!”

Ever found yourself saying or praying something like that?
Most of us probably have, somewhere along the way.
Suffering – it’s something that sticks in our throat.
We can’t accept it as normal or right.
We fight against it.
And that’s a good thing to do.
But – the reality is, suffering is all around us. None of us make it through life without some experience of suffering.
In fact, those who ground their spiritual identity in Jesus ought to EXPECT suffering to be part of the deal.
It simply is.
Ephesians 3:1-13 helps us understand that.
The message from March 31 explores how suffering fits into our lives, and how we can keep (or lose) focus in the middle of battling suffering.

Join us as we explore this difficult teaching.

Go ahead and find a bible, either print version or online or app. Flip to Ephesians 3:1-13. Then download the podcast and the study guide and dig in.

Please note – those of you using a mobile device may have to set your browser to “desktop mode” to access the download button (a glitch with our site – sorry about that).

Here’s the podcast……..

Who Am I – Suffering!

And here’s the study guide:

Suffering: The Study Guide

As always, feel free to pass this stuff around.  You can also find this, and other messages online at the KCRC website under the tab “Sermons And Stuff.”

We’d also love to have you join us live for worship.
We gather each Sunday at 10am.
Don’t worry about getting all gussied up.  Just come as you are – we’re a church full of imperfect people.
And we’d be glad to have other imperfect people, like you, along for the ride!

On Task: Noticing

“Never even saw you!”

So I had to admit after someone nudged me in the grocery store aisle, wondering why I wasn’t saying “Hi.”
Honest – I had blanked right out, totally focused on my search for….. well, can’t even remember the product I wanted at the time.  Whatever-it-wuz seemed so important at the time that everything else was just a blur.

Ever done that?

I wonder if we do that, spiritually?  We get so busy with our own lives, and even our own collective church life that everything else around us blurs out.  The broader community is just fuzz on the screen, so to speak.

Jesus paid enough attention to notice people – like see beyond their exteriors to their inner lives: their joys, their struggles, their needs, their desires.  And he responded accordingly.

What would things be like if we, as Church of Jesus, would make the effort to notice those around us, and seek to connect with them on that real level?

That’s the question for this past Sunday’s sermon at Kemptville Christian Reformed Church.
Part three in our series On Task, where we are examining the core mandate of the Church – why we exist.
You’re invited to track with us –

Download the message and study guide, grab a bible, and follow along.

On Task: Noticing

You are also invited to download the study guide…..

On Task: Noticing – Study Guide

As always, feel free to pass this stuff around.

Imperfect Faith In A Messy World (2): Messy Salvation – a sermon podcast

So we just shared  week 2 in our sermon series that faces some of the not-so-easy-or-simple realities of life and faith….. like the mess of life, and the times (more than we care to remember) when we do a spectacular spiritual face-plant, really screwing it up – with LOTS of people watching.  Oh, come on – yes you did!  😉

This week we looked at how some of the people in Scripture responded when their life came unglued.
And what parts of Scripture might be helpful to us when OUR life comes apart at the seams.

What might Jesus do by way of response?
How well does he relate to such slobbery, messy lives?

And what HOPE, what possible little pin prick of light, can we find as we think about all this?

Imperfect Faith In A Messy World (2): Messy Salvation

You are also invited to download the study guide…..

Messy Salvation – Study Guide

As always, feel free to pass this stuff around.

Imperfect Faith In A Messy World (1): Can We Find Peace?

Do we even have to say it?”
Perhaps we do – acknowledge out loud that our world is a messy place.
And part of the reason, at least part, for that mess is us.
Because we live imperfect lives.
And imperfect lives litter the world with mess.

Over the coming weeks we’ll be exploring how we can possibly live out of our belief in Jesus, even while we’re imperfect believers, and while the world is so messed-up.

Hope you can track along for the series.
Beginning with this week, where we wonder about how possible it is to experience peace, a least a bit of peace, in our messy lives.

Right-click on the title, and choose “save link as”  to download the podcast to your mp3 player or ipod.

Imperfect Faith In A Messy World (1): Can I Find Peace?

Or use the built-in web audio player below:

 

You are also invited to download the study guide…..

Imperfect Faith In A Messy World (1) – Study Guide

As always, feel free to pass this stuff around.

The Lights Went On – And I Don’t Know “Why”

So, guess what?
I turned on a light switch.  Yup, just reached over and gave ‘er a flick.
And you won’t believe it – the lights came ON!
Just like that – poof! – on they went.
You’re probably thinking, “Of course they did, dummy.  They always do.
But wait, I don’t think you get it.
You see, I don’t understand very much about the physics and chemistry of deuterium or U-235 & U-238 atoms, and how they work together inside the Candu reactors that power so much of the electricity in our province.
I used to – but that was many years ago when I was an engineering student at University Of Toronto.
Most of that understanding has vaporized.
I don’t get it – and yet it happens anyway.
And I’m OK with that.  Don’t need to understand everything before using it.
Like the car – used to think that I understood vehicles pretty well, but with all the fancy computers and chips and boards on these suckers today…. not so much.
Anyway, the key turns, the engine hums, and the wheels turn.
Brings me where I need to go, and home even.
All good.
There are all sorts of things in life, come to think of it, where I haven’t a sweet clue of what all goes on behind the scenes and yet I’ll be part of it, use it, live it.
And that includes my faith life.
There is SO, SO, SO much that I don’t understand of how and why things work the way they do.
Beautiful stuff.
And the not-so-much stuff.
Blessings.
And pains.
Every once in a while I find myself asking, “Why?”
        WHY do I deserve to experience such a wonderful blessing?
        WHY do I have to go through such a rough patch?
        WHY does so-and-so have to experience what they do?
Rarely does a clear answer show up.
Mostly what comes is just the inner strength to get through whatever, or the blessed presence of others whose strength makes facing the struggles possible, and makes sharing the joys far richer.
It’s as if God has determined that what he wants is for me to flick the switch, and turn the key, and live my life as best I can during whatever few years he gives to me here on earth.
To live it:
        a/ loving him with all I’ve got.
        b/ caring for and loving those he places in my life as best I can.
        c/ when I’m done a & b, repeat.
And leaving all the behind the scenes stuff to his ultimate power and wisdom.
In the Old Testament story of Job, there are all sorts of words spilled where the suffering man and a bunch of his friends battle round and round trying to make sense of the horrible disasters that invade Job’s life.  Some of what they say is plainly dumb.  Some sounds pretty wise.  It goes on and on.  And then, right at the end of it all, God speaks up.  Not with an explanation, though.  All he does is convince Job’s smarty-pants friends to stop blabbing, and Job, too.
        In the case of Job’s story, we the readers get a little peek at the “WHY” – though even then, we are left with all sorts of questions.
        Job NEVER gets a peek.  He is just asked to keep living, and to trust the final outcome to God.
In the New Testament there is an epic chapter – Hebrews 11 (you can read it here).  That chapter lists name after name after name of people who had all sorts of experiences in their lives — some of them really awful — that could have had them questioning “WHY” again and again.  And I’m sure some of them did.
Many most of them did, at least somewhere along the way.
Like most of us do, at least somewhere along the way.
But at the very end, verse 39-40 of Hebrews 11, the Good Book tells us that they all hung on to their faith, and kept putting one foot in front of the other because they knew, they really knew, they deep down trusted and knew that what we all see and feel and experience in this trip through life is just CHAPTER ONE of our existence.  After death comes CHAPTER TWO.
And that’s the bigger chapter.  The better chapter.  The beautiful chapter.
        What we do and live now in chapter one is just prep for chapter two.
Precisely how it all connects and works is totally beyond us.  Like nuclear fission.
        But it IS connected.
        Trust that it is so.
        And keep living.
        And keep your faith that the outcome remains in the hands of a Great God – even when the stuff of chapter one seems to be going all up in smoke the way Fort McMurray is right now.
Just because you don’t understand, don’t see the logic, don’t experience the answer to “Why”….
    Please don’t quit.
        Don’t quit on life.
        Don’t quit on God.
        Don’t quit on each other.
Pray for strength.
Lean on each other.
Trust that the better day, chapter two, IS coming.
And when you’re not sure if any of that makes sense, or could possibly be true, look to the empty grave of Jesus.
Jesus – who faced some of the absolute WORST that could be thrown at someone.
Including torture and death.
And came through.
Our recent Easter celebrations of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead remind us:
“Remember, death doesn’t have the last word.  Jesus does.”
And he, the Living and Eternal Son of the Creator, the One with the last word, is preparing chapter two for us right now.  And promises to give us eternal life with him.
Trust that it is so.
And keep living.  And loving.

Hooked On Christ – A Sermon Podcast

What are you hooked on?
What is there in your life that’d you ABSOLUTELY make room for in your calendar?
Everything else can be cancelled – but NOT this thing or person.
What would that be?
Perhaps there are a number of such.
I’ve got them – and in this podcast I share them.

You might find them odd, but I’m right into this stuff.
Well, to a point I am.  Even I have my limits.  And I’ll share them, too.

You’re invited to compare my list to yours, and my limits to your limits by downloading and listening.
Right-click on the title, and choose “save link as”  to download the podcast to your mp3 player or ipod.

Hooked On Jesus

Or use the built-in web audio player below:

 

“Regrets, I’ve had….” – wait, only a FEW?

“Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again too few to mention.”
And so begins the song “I Did It My Way“, written by Ottawa’s Paul Anka back in the late 1960’s – recorded by all sorts of people beside Anka, including Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Sid Vicious,  and the Three Tenors (how’s THAT for variety?).
It’s one of the most popular songs ever – and, so they say, is one of the most popular to be chosen for playing at peoples’ funerals.
One of the most popular – and, I am convinced, one of the dumbest.
Only a few regrets?
Really?
I wonder that all these singers could honestly say that.
I wonder that ANYONE would be able to say that.
Most of us carry some sort of regret around – there’s been something in our life that, looking back, we wish were otherwise.  If only we hadn’t said / done / missed / seen / been……   We can’t change it.  Can’t do a thing about the effects that this less-than-stellar moment in our lives brought on.  It remains just THERE.   A negative mark.
When I sit with people at their deathbed, and listen to their poignant rememberings, often there is a lot of regret that comes out.
Ah – WHAT to do with them?

Let them fester, and it can pose a problem.
So, do…. well, what?

This Sunday we’ll be continuing our sermon series that peeks in at some of the major characters in the time of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection.  And we’ll land at the doorstep of  Judas Iscariot.
Regret?  You bet he had his.
We’ll think about how a very ordinary, average sort of guy ended up in the very dark place he did.
And how easily we could end up there.
And how close Judas was to getting things deeply right in his life…… but  how desperately wrong it all turned out.
Because of regret.
Hope you can join us for worship – Sunday at 10am at KCRC.
If not in person, then via the podcast which will go online Monday morning.

“God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle” – Does The Bible Really Say That?

“I remember when you said….”
That’s what she told me.
Except that, no, as a matter of fact I DIDN’T remember saying that.
It totally didn’t sound like something I would  say.
Ever.

Somehow she’d probably got me mixed up with someone else.
Or somehow rolled two conversations into one.
Or simply got things twisted around in her recollection.

Which happens. We all do it – attributing something to someone that we are sure they said or did.
Except they didn’t.

We’re going on a journey at Kemptville Christian Reformed Church to explore a few phrases or teachings that people sometimes think are found in the Bible.  Except that they are not.

Beginning with this gem:  “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”
Ever had it thrown at you?
Or perhaps even found yourself saying it?

I want to start a campaign to rid the world of that phrase.
You’re invited to listen to the podcast of yesterday’s sermon at KCRC, and hopefully it’ll explain why.

Right-click on the sermon title, and choose “save link as”  to download the podcast to your mp3 player or ipod.

“God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle” – Does The Bible Really Say That?

Or use the built-in web audio player below:

 

You can also download the study guide that accompanies this message:

“GWGYMTYCH – study guide”

Angels & Advent: In His Shadow – a sermon podcast

What does it take for you to throw a full-blown hissy fit – like an all out, frothing at the mouth temper tantrum?
Oops, sorry! Forgot that you were all grown up, and WAY beyond such things.
But just suppose for the moment you’d be tempted, just tempted to throw one – what would really push your buttons to get good and mad at God?

If he sent his angel messenger to cause chaos in your life, what might be the thing that would put you over the top?
Like make you want to run away from the Lord, slamming the door on the way out…..

So, the Advent journey continues at Kemptville CRC, wondering at a young woman who faced what I think would be pretty good grounds for having such a reaction.  Only she doesn’t.  She struggles – yes, she does.  But ends up in a very accepting posture.  Total surrender to the will of God as it has a huge impact on her life.

We’re watching Mary receive the news that she’s going to be the mother of God’s Son.

Leading  us to wonder about surrender – how we get there, and what it means for our lives today.

You’re invited to track with us…
Right-click on the sermon title, and choose “save link as”  to download the podcast to your mp3 player or ipod.

Angels & Advent: In His Shadow

Or use the built-in web audio player below:

 

You’re also invited to download the pdf of the study guide:

Angels & Advent: In His Shadow (study guide)