Mar13WedMarch 13, 2019
Jan18FriJanuary 18, 2019 Rev. Ed Hoekstra
As we start the new year, we ask the question, “What is new?” Of course so the year is new and we wonder what new experiences await us this year. Do you view the new year with fear or with wonder about what is ahead?
I want you to imagine for a moment. Theologian Henri Nouwen asks us to Imagine that each day, each hour...
Dec8SatDecember 8, 2018
Sep11TueSeptember 11, 2018
Good News People
A number of years ago I was in a lumber yard buying some building material. On the wall was a sign that read: Rules for doing business:
Rule #1: The customer is always right
Rule #2: If the customer is wrong, refer back to Rule #1. In other words, the customer is always right! Jesus also gives us a rule of life to follow:
One of the teachers of the law came to Jesus and asked him this: “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this, "You shall love your neighbour as yourself" There is no other commandment greater than these." Mark 12: 28b-32
When we learn to love God through Worship and prayer, and allow the Holy Spirit to move our hearts closer to Jesus, we will more naturally desire to love our neighbour. These commands (rules) of Jesus could also be read like this:
Rule #1: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this, "You shall love your neighbour as yourself."
Rule #2: If your neighbour is not your type; or makes you uncomfortable, or is irritating, refer back to #1.
Too often our love is conditional.
Buying an extra burger and fries to share with a homeless person, helping someone change a flat tire on their car, offering a ride to someone from work who needs one—in these ways and more, God often gives us opportunities to show kindness for someone who has a need.
As I sometimes meet people who are not part of a church, it saddens me when they describe Christians as unkind people. Sometimes I hear in conversations that the Christians they know are selective with their love. They have experienced Christians as judgmental. Of course, it is easy to be critical of the church if you focus on the negative. However, many people see church buildings in their communities as little more than social clubs. In their opinion, they hear church people speak out mostly about what they oppose, and not so much about what they are doing to bring hope and healing to their neighbours in the community and in the world. In a culture which is less Christian oriented than the previous generation, the church is under more scrutiny and therefore it is even more necessary to be the church as Jesus Christ intended.
The world needs to see Christians as people of kindness, compassion—good-news people who act like Jesus. That will move forward when we are intentional about nurturing a habit of practicing love for God and for our neighbours.
As we are starting a new church year this September, let us resolve to take our Lord seriously in learning to love him more and love our neighbours more with kindness and compassion.
Certainly we have a positive, loving and friendly church. However, if we stop there and do not go beyond our comfort zone as Jesus did, we can easily fall back to merely looking after ourselves and our preferences (refer back to rule #1 - Love God and love your neighbour). Being Good News people is not only good news for those who witness you in action, but also good news for yourself as you grow in love for God and neighbour!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to love you more, and open our eyes today to see our neighbours around us. Show me how to receive them as people you love. Amen.
May31ThuMay 31, 2018
Apr4WedApril 4, 2018
Feb19MonFebruary 19, 2018
Jan10WedJanuary 10, 2018
Dec8FriDecember 8, 2017 Pastor Ed
Replacing anxiety with thanks this Christmas.
Isaiah 9:6 New International Version (NIV)
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
This year my family and I already have it done before the 23rd of December! We have purchased our Christmas tree! Usually we wait until everyone is home for the Christmas break (around the 23rd), we go out amid the frantic traffic and sometimes snowy weather and try to find a lot that still has some Christmas trees. We finally find a tree and quickly get it home to decorate it while other preparations still need to be done and time is running out.
This year we decided to change ‘our tradition’ from a frantic ‘let’s get it done’ approach to a more relaxed approach where we have lots of time to choose the tree, and create a special time where we could trim the trunk and branches where necessary, decorate it and share the memories of years past. I have to say that I ‘pushed back’ a little to the change, but when we were doing it, I was convinced that this change was good. It was relaxed - not stressful. I was better able to reflect on the experience and reflect on the gift of the Christ child to the world. My experience was that thanksgiving replaced anxiety.
We too often hear that people are stressed out at Christmas because of all the busyness, the expectations of others, and the focus on consumerism. Jesus, on the other hand, came to bring peace to the world and to our everyday lives. This advent/Christmas season consider making changes to decrease the anxiety and increase your thanks for the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ your Saviour. You will notice the difference.