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!

Imperfect Faith In A Messy World: It’s About Power

It’s a word that makes many of us hesitate – power.
Probably because we’ve seen it do so much harm to so many SO often.

So…. how ought we respond when we come to a part of the Bible where the writer is praying FOR power to show up in the lives of his friends?
And – what about parts of the Bible where we read about Jesus’ power – strong, crushing, battling power?
What do we do with all that?

Power – good power, and power that crushes…. power in our hands, power in Jesus’ hands.

These are the issues we tossed around last Sunday at KCRC.

You’re invited to follow along as we explore Ephesians 3:14-21, especially verse 10.
Download the message and study guide, grab a bible, and follow along…

Imperfect Faith In A Messy World (7): It’s About Power

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

It’s About Power – Study Guide

As always, feel free to pass this stuff around.

Imperfect Faith In A Messy World (3): It’s Beyond Me (A sermon podcast)

“God is great. God is good.  Let us thank him for our food. Amen.”
Many of us may have learned that prayer as a child.
And it’s easy to do – easy to offer thanks and praise to God when things are going well in our lives.
Like, when we’ve got lots of yummy things to eat.  And a warm bed to sleep in.  And we’re healthy.

BUT – don’t you find it harder to give praise and thanks when life is full of pot holes?
Indeed, I’ve met lots of people who way preferred to slam the door in God’s face, instead.
A harsh option, but part of me really gets why someone would want to do that.
Probably because I’ve been tempted to do it, too.

So, here’s a sermon podcast that wonders about that dilemma, and offers a suggested alternative.

 

Imperfect Faith In A Messy World (3): It’s Beyond Me

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

It’s Beyond Me – Study Guide

As always, feel free to pass this stuff around.

Getting Past Saturday – a sermon podcast

So, what difference does it make ANYWAY?
The fact that Jesus suffered, was tortured, murdered and laid in a tomb…..
And the fact that he, on the third day, ROSE from that tomb FULLY ALIVE…..
…what difference does that make anyway?  For you and me, in the middle of struggling and sometimes bumbling our way through day-after-day living – who cares if Jesus beat death or not?  WHY should I pay attention to that?

That’s the core question we’re asking in the post-Easter series at KCRC called “Resurrection Implications.”
This podcast is part of that series – and deals with the time between Jesus’ burial and resurrection.
We’ll wonder together at what his friends felt and thought – and how that may (or may not) line up with what we feel and think during some of the rough patches of our life’s journey.

The message is based on the story of Jesus’ life as recorded in John 19:38-20:10.
You are invited to listen, and to review the study notes.
Right-click on the title, and choose “save link as”  to download the podcast to your mp3 player or ipod.

Getting Past Saturday

Or use the built-in web audio player below:

 

The study guide is here:

Getting Past Saturday – Study Guide

 

Weeping With Those Who Weep

Romans 12:15 calls us to “weep with those who weep.”
And that’s what we’ll be doing on Sunday.
Standing beside a mom who has to watch her child die.
That’s something a number of you have personally experienced.  Or you’ve been close to someone who experienced this horror.
They are experiences we cannot, simply cannot, understand.
They just ARE.
Hard.
Dark.
Jagged.
Puzzling.
Painful.
When God’s Son came into the world, his becoming fully one with us in it includes this huge piece of suffering.
We’ll stop on Sunday and feel that.
Without any sort of great logical discussion about the why’s and what’s of it all.
Just stop.
Sharing the moment.
And praying for those whose lives continue to be impacted by such chapters of pain.
We will ALSO take a little peek forward – to something that Mary couldn’t see from her vantage point at the foot of the cross.  We’ll go forward three days.  To an event that changed absolutely everything!   And gives hope to all who struggle.  To Mary.  And to us.
Psalm 30 says, “Weeping may last for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”
It comes on Easter Morning most of all.
But the journey to Easter begins at the cross.
With the weeping.
And  only BECAUSE of that, could Easter happen.
And only THEN could it be possible for the words of Romans 8  to be written:
If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?… 
…Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?…. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
And only with THAT hope can we possibly face the hard struggles that life may have thrown, and may well yet throw, in our direction on this side of Heaven.
Please pray with with for those who grieve, and rage against the pain and scars in their life.  And join us at KCRC this Sunday as we journey to the cross – with Mary (see John 19:16-27).

“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”

Faithbusters: Broken Bodies

At KCRC we’ve been doing some thinking about stuff in our lives that can be spiritually damaging.  We named that stuff  “Faithbusters.”

This past Sunday we dealt with one that a few of you named…..

One person said, “I find that the biggest challenge for faith for me is biological. Lack of sleep, exercise, low-pressure systems triggering migraines – these are often the times when I experience doubt or some sense of existential crisis.
Another said, “When my depression gets bad, I can’t pray. Feels like God is a million miles away.

What happens when our bodies suffer, either mentally, emotionally or physically?
Why is it that in those times we can find faith busting?
You are asking questions about the relationship between our bodies and our faith.
But coming at it exactly backwards from virtually any other time I’ve ever heard anyone raise this topic — so, those of you who raised it: extra points for creative effort!!!

So…..What’s going on?
Is it our fault? Are we guilty of something?
Is there anything we, or people around us, can do about it?

Here’s the sermon podcast that explores some responses.
You’re invited to listen in and join the conversation.
Right-click on the sermon title, and choose “save link as”  to download the podcast to your mp3 player or ipod.

Faithbusters: Broken Bodies

Or use the built-in web audio player below:

 

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

Faithbusters: Broken Bodies (study guide)

Faithbusters: When Bad Things Happen….. a sermon podcast

So, we’re into a sermon series called “Faithbusters.”
Many of you helped to contribute to its shape by sharing what experiences, circumstances and situations have proved most damaging to your faith.
Yesterday we shared the second in the series – “When Bad Things Happen.”

Pain and struggle can leave deep bruises on our soul.
And perhaps even leave us cynical.
Maybe to the point of wanting to throw our faith away.

What can we possibly do when faced with such deep and painful times in our lives?
I suggest four possible responses…..

You’re invited to listen in and join the conversation –

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

Faithbusters (2):  When Bad Things Happen

Or use the built-in web audio player below:

 

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

Faithbusters (2): When Bad Things Happen (study guide)

Suffering…. and the Lord’s Table

These weeks I’m thinking a lot about the sorts of things that have the potential to damage or cripple a person’s faith. Or even the faith of an entire community.

Like:
– When it seems like one bit of bad news after another keeps coming from the doctor.
– When we watch a gentle, innocent person victimized in some way.
– When we’re stuck in a trap of poverty – really stuck. And the bills keep flooding in at a rate greater than our ability to deal with them.
– Or living with fallout from the accident.
– Or a family member who is, for whatever reason, such a challenge to live with.

And we wonder – “Why?”
“Why, Lord, does it have to be so?”
“Why so hard?”
“Why no relief?”

When we are truly getting bashed around by the bad things of life, our faith can be busted up pretty badly, too.

It’s something that we continually wonder about.
This Sunday we’ll be digging into the topic at KCRC with
Faithbusters #2…. When Bad Things Happen.

Hope you can join us.

In the meantime, let me say that I am deeply grateful that we’ll be able to tackle the topic in the context of a worship service where we celebrate Holy Communion.
At the table we’ll remember Jesus come to earth as man – his body broken, his blood shed to take away the sin of this world that groans as in childbirth (Romans 8:22).
He is the One who will, one day, make everything new (Revelation 21:5).

And THAT, for me, is the focus I need to keep when thinking about injustice, pain, and so much unexplainable suffering in life.

I want to keep that focus, rather than throwing away my faith.
I want to cling even tighter to a faith that trusts in a God who loves this broken world SO much that he descended into it, becoming part of it, to set in motion eternal heavenly events that will one day set the Cosmos totally free of sin & decay.

And so, whatever else I think and do, I try to remind myself – and want to encourage you, dear reader – that we take our pain, our hard experiences, our struggles – to the cross of Jesus.
Bring them to the place where God became human, and where he experienced the very worst of injustice, of suffering, of weakness, and of death.
It is here, at the Communion Table, where we take part in Christ’s broken body and shed blood that we are deeply confronted with the reality that pain, evil and suffering are so strong, and the hold they have are so deep, that God himself needs to come to deal with it.
Personally.

Don’t ever say God doesn’t care about pain or suffering or death.
He cared enough to die for it.

When we waver, let’s run as fast as we can to the Table of the Lord.
And there, at the Table, remember:
with the cross comes the resurrection.

Remember what we say at the end of every single worship service?
Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.

I totally believe that suffering needs an eternal perspective to find a true answer.
And I encourage you to think that way.
Think big picture.
Think eternity.

We’ll not ever fully get it figured out.
Not on this side of glory.
But we can trust that, somehow, he will. And does.

God’s grace and peace be with you.