October 15th, 2017 by Allen Webber
Have you ever stopped to consider, as you are reading Scripture, and especially in the Old Testament, how the Jews missed the message of the gospel; how they missed the Messiah? After all, the scribes and scholars who were studying and meditating on their Scriptures were brilliant minds. They had studied and learned the same Scriptures for multiple generations, for thousands of years. The documents they were using were God-inspired so there was not an issue there. Accuracy was critically important to them. These prophecies were studied so often and so well, they even knew where Jesus was going to be born. As well, over the final two thousand years, from the time of Moses to His birth, God was in regular contact with (and disciplining) these same Jews. He was constantly trying to hammer into their heads what kind of God He is. Even the Old Testament worship practices were forerunners of things to come. Consider the animal sacrifices, especially the Passover, and we can see the picture of Christ. Even then, they still rejected the Messiah. Even the rejection was prophesied. But why?
I think it was part of the plan. It was necessary that the Messiah be rejected so that the good news of the gospel could then be spread beyond the boundaries of Israel. Up until now, the faith, as it was, was limited to a race of people in a relatively small part of the world. But, with the Messiah, the good news was to be for all the world. It was necessary that Jesus experience what He did and how He did it so that He might have full sympathy with all. To be the perfect sacrifice He must be fully human. To be perfect, He must be fully God.
So, to bring this into a communion celebration for the Christian church today, we can contemplate the rejection of Christ on our behalf. The nation of Israel, the official leadership, rejected Him and are still waiting and watching for Him. Even His closest friends and followers – men He had taught and lived with for three years – abandoned Him as soon as the official oppression began.
But on the cross itself, we hear the cry of the greatest rejection of all, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). He, who knew no sin, became sin for us, and, rejected as sin, must be rejected by a holy God. So, these two emblems are to remind us that our Lord was rejected by heaven and earth – for us.”
October 8th, 2017 by Murray Markert
“Lynne and I had the opportunity to get away for a few days and the farthest east we got was the National Historic Site at Fort Louisbourg on Cape Breton. Fort Louisbourg was built by the king of France to protect his very lucrative fishing business and it held 600 soldiers and up to 10,000 people in the busy fishing season. It operated in the early 1600’s to 1658 – so about 400 years ago – when it was destroyed by the British. Throughout the museum, it had people dressed and acting parts of people who would have lived and worked at the fort during its years of operation. We booked a tour to walk us through the life of a soldier. That part of the tour was only short lived and then we were taken by the soldier to a large kitchen where we were hosted by a man playing the part of the priest of the day. He very much looked liked Friar Tuck and he played his part to perfection staying in character of the time. A lady on the tour asked him what he would have done. He responded immediately and with great enthusiasm and he went slightly out of character in his response. He responded, “To comfort the lonely, to assure those who are fearful and afraid, the same as I would to people today. I would talk to them to give them the assurance that the Lord cares for them and loves them. I would comfort them to help them overcome their fears.”
As this was played out before me, I could not help but realize the human condition has not changed. No matter what the backdrop, our needs have been, are, and will be always the same. As we come to the communion table and remember Jesus’ life and celebrate the fact that Jesus died and shed His blood for the assurance of our salvation, let us remember to give thanks to Him for that.”
October 1st, 2017 by Allen Webber
From Acts 4:8-12,
“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all of Israel, that the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead – by this name this man stands before you in good health. He is the stone rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief cornerstone, and there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
When I was young, we used to put up hay using small square bales. And until we got mechanical means that would make the job easier, sometimes that bale could be handled six or seven times before it was fed to a cow. Nonetheless, when the bales were brought back to the farm, and put into a stack, you needed to pay attention to how that stack was built. Quite a few times we would start plopping bales down without due care, only to have part of the stack sluff off because it was not tied together with the other bales. We always started a stack in the corners and followed the same principle of brick laying – overlaying the bale on two previous bales. But when you came to the corners you had an opportunity to overlap, going two different directions, hence the term – cornerstone. Using basic physics, a structure will collapse generally north, south, east or west. By adding the cornerstone, you strengthen the entire building again, in those four directions.
Peter said the Jews rejected Jesus, but now Christ had become the Cornerstone of the church. Without Him, there would be no church, because it wouldn’t be able to stand. Many people react negatively to the fact that there is no other name than that of Jesus to call on for salvation. Yet this is not something the church decided. It is not something that a pastor has decided, or a group of elders, or a board or a few in a congregation. It is the specific teaching of Jesus Himself (John 14:6). If God designated Jesus to be Saviour of the world, no one else can be His equal. As Christians, we are asked to be open minded on many issues, but not on how we are to be saved from our sin. No other religious leader could die for our sins, no other religious teacher came to earth as God’s only Son, no other religious teacher rose from the dead. Our focus in this communion should be on Jesus, Whom God offered as the way to have an eternal relationship with Himself. There is no other Name or Way.
September 17th, 2017 by Allen Webber
“The Temple Veil
In Hebrews 10:19-22, we read, “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
A couple of weeks ago, Pastor Dave was using this passage for a part of his sermon and the temple veil peaked my interest so I thought I would do a bit of research on it. You will recall when Jesus was crucified, the temple veil was torn in two, from top to bottom. What is the significance of that?
During the lifetime of Jesus, the holy temple was the centre of the Jewish religious life. The temple was where the Law of Moses was followed faithfully. The temple was designed with basically two parts. The front part was where the priests would sacrifice the animals, on a regular basis, for the sins of the people. But in the back section, which was separated from the rest of the temple by a veil or curtain, was the Holy of Holies, the earthly dwelling place of God’s presence. Only the high priest was permitted to pass beyond this veil, once each year, to enter into God’s presence for all of Israel.
This veil was a well constructed piece of work. Some early Jewish documents suggested that it could have been up to four inches thick but the Bible does not give us any indication as to that measurement, only the height and width and how it was to be built. But nonetheless, the it was very durable. The moment Jesus died, this veil was torn in two like it was tissue paper.
So what does this mean for us today? Above all, it symbolizes that His sacrifice, the shedding of His own blood, was a sufficient atonement for sin. Hence, Jesus’ last words, “It is finished.” Whereas the continual ritual of sacrificing animals was for sin, the sacrifice of Jesus addressed the nature behind the sin. The tearing of the veil also signified the way into the Holy of Holies – to God- was open for all people, for all time – both Jew and Gentile.
So, in a sense, the veil was symbolic of Jesus Christ Himself as the only way to the Father. This is indicated by the fact that the high priest had to enter into the Holy of Holies through the veil – through Jesus Christ. Now, Christ is the superior High Priest and as believers in His finished work, we can enter into the presence of God through Him. The things of the temple were shadows of things to come, and they all ultimately point us to Jesus Christ.”
September 10th, 2017 by Murray Markert
“A few weeks ago (for the first time in my life) I took a personality test to identify my strength and weaknesses and to assist in a better understanding in our farm’s transition planning. I thought I was a little on the complex side, but sixty-five relatively simple questions later, the person interpreting the results could read me like a book – or rather a very short story. One of the things that surprised me a little was the fact for me to understand and feel comfortable with something I need to see it or visualize it. In the context of today’s communion thought there arises the problem of putting my trust, my hope and my faith in something I cannot see. I am certain that I am not the only person here who has tried to visualize God – God the Father has never been seen, but we are created in His image and Jesus is sitting at His right hand side. With that information, I have tried to visualize God the Father. God the Son, Jesus, spent time on earth and was wholly God and wholly man so while on earth we do have a visual image of Jesus the man. God the Holy Spirit is just that – a spirit – and personally I have never tried to visualize Him.
Over the years I have come to appreciate God for the part He has played in my life and the guidance and direction He has given me. Just because I cannot visualize Him does not mean He is not working on my behalf. I now believe that if we could visualize God, ‘in our minds’, we would put more limitations on Him than we now do. God is without bounds and limitations and His abilities are incomprehensible for us to understand. He certainly cannot be understood in sixty-five questions. As we enter a new year of Sunday School and teaching, let us strive to understand that we can trust Him completely even when we cannot answer the question ‘why?’ Let us allow Him to change us spiritually on into eternity.”
September 3rd, 2017 by Brian Markert
“The inspiration for my communion thought came from a debate I had with a friend last night. She said something that I strongly disagreed with so I let her know what I thought. I presented my argument and she stood her ground. I knew I was right so I tried again. She then proceeded to re-explain herself and I realized I did not listen to her the first time and we actually agreed. I was wrong but if I hadn’t confronted her I would have thought she had some pretty screwed up views. She was then gracious enough to re-explain it to me only this time I listened to everything she was saying.
Now lets time warp back to ancient Egypt. We are all Israelites slaves to the Egyptians. We complain and grumble of our plight. God sends us Moses along with miracles for us, and plagues for our enemies. We praise God then we complain against him. He continues to lead us and provide for us. We wonder around for a generation then arrive at the Jordan River. We are now standing in the land Moses has promised to the Reubenites, Gadites and half tribe of Manasseh. We cross over the Jordan and, with God, conquer all the land God has promised us. All the land is divided amongst the tribes. It is now time for the Reubenites, Gadites and half tribe of Manasseh to cross back over to their inheritance.
But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
Eastsiders returned to the east side of the Jordan
10 When they came to Geliloth near the Jordan in the land of Canaan, the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh built an imposing altar there by the Jordan. 11 And when the Israelites heard that they had built the altar on the border of Canaan at Geliloth near the Jordan on the Israelite side, 12 the whole assembly of Israel gathered at Shiloh to go to war against them.
The Westsiders were ready to destroy the Eastsiders because they thought that they were disobeying God and destruction would befall all of them. The reason the Eastsiders built an alter was not to be used for sacrifices, but to act as a reminder to future generations of the shared history and shared God.
In the end “They were glad to hear the report and praised God. And they talked no more about going to war against them to devastate the country where the Reubenites and the Gadites lived.
Why do I bring this up at communion?
1 Corinthians 11:27-28 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup.
It is my opinion that God uses the vague term “unworthy manner” very intentionally. It is open for interpretation and allows God to personally convict us. That being said it is also my opinion that many “unworthy manners” stem from personal relationships. I’m not saying that we should prepare to destroy our neighbor because they are sinning like the Westsiders did. We should, however, examine ourselves and question our motives or issues. “Take the plank out of our own eye” so to speak. Then we should talk about it. Go to your neighbor and present your concerns. The worst that can happen is you find out you are right. The best, as happened to the Israelites and me last night, is find out you are wrong. Also remember how my friend and the Eastsiders responded when confronted. They weren’t offended or confrontational. They were Gracious and forgiving willing to help settle the issue.”
August 27th, 2017 by Allen Webber
“Who Am I?
I ran across an old song that I am going to read at the end of this communion thought but as an introduction to it, I thought I woud give you two quite contrasting events that happened to me yesterday that describe the highs and lows of our experience on earth and by celebrating communion, how we can keep rooted in the faith. Yesterday afternoon and evening, I attended a wedding reception for my nephew. So, there was all the fun and frivolity that goes along with such an event. There was a great setting, a good meal and the ever present ‘time warp slide show’. There were many people I reconnected with that I have not seen in anywhere from 20 to 40 years. And there were also new young couples and families and babies and kids. A good time was had by all as the saying goes.
Now contrast that with the text I received earlier in the day from the prayer chain. It listed so many issues that effect this church family as well as people in the community and their families. There are many health issues for many people right from young to old. And there are many people grieving for the loss of loved ones right from a very young child to an elderly stepmother. There are serious issues of family relations that are ever changing and need prayer constantly. There are internal struggles that people are having with loneliness and despair. Some people are having struggles keeping a roof over their heads and putting food on the table.
But it is not only the responsibility of the prayer chain to look after these prayer needs. As Christians, it is all our responsibility, whenever we can, to consider the needs of others and pray for them and whenever possible do what we can to address their battles. But, the question might arise – who am I? Who am I, that I might have the time or resources to help? Who am I that I can show God’s love to others that was first given to me? Who am I that I can even pray effectively for any of these issues? I think the words of this song will help put those questions in perspective.
When I think of how he came so far from glory,
Came to dwell among the lowly such as I,
To suffer shame and such disgrace, on Mount Calvary took my place,
Then I ask myself the question, who am I?
When I’m reminded of His words, I’ll leave you never.
If you’ll be true, I’ll give you life forever.
I wonder what I could have done to deserve God’s only Son
To fight my battles until they are won?
For who am I?
Who am I that a king would bleed and die for?
Who am I that He would pray – not my will but thine Lord?
The answer, I may never know, why He ever loved me so,
That to an old rugged cross He’d go for who am I.”
August 20th, 2017 by Murray Markert
“In First Corinthians Chapter 11, Paul points out that when we partake of these elements, the bread and the wine, we do so in remembrance of Jesus and that we proclaim His death until He comes again. For today’s communion thought, I would like to focus on remembering some of the choices that Jesus made.
Each and everyday we make many choices. Ranging from everyday essentials, to how we interact with others, to what are innermost thoughts are. The choices we make – what we say and do – add up over time and the sum of those choices defines who we are and what we stand for. As we walk with Jesus our ultimate goal is to be more Christ-like. Let’s examine just a few of the things Jesus said and did to see the sum we are trying to achieve.
Firstly, let’s look at the story of the adulterous woman brought to Jesus by the teachers of the day and the Pharisees to trap Him so they could have reason to kill Him. However Jesus turned the table when He said to them, “If any of you are without sin, let them be the first to throw a stone.” Here Jesus shows His desire to forgive and to change people’s hearts.
Next, after the last supper, Jesus went out into the garden and prayed to His Father “if it is possible may this cup be taken from me” knowing what was to come – the pain, anguish and separation He was about to face. Shortly after knowing the reasons for His upcoming crucifixion, He prays to His Father “may Your will be done”. Christ went through this brutal death for you and me and so some day we can enjoy eternity in His presence.
Finally, Christ is hanging on the cross, undoubtedly in excruciating pain, says “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing”. Right up to His death, Jesus’ main concern was not about Himself, but about us – who put Him on the cross. In our walk with Christ, we need not only focus on our needs, but those around us.”
August 13th, 2017 by Ken Hartung
I have a story to tell this morning. This summer when Julie was up visiting us, Julie and Debbie went out for a mother and daughter day and I was home alone. I was working in my yard with my tractor and my front-end loader doing a job. I looked up toward the house and there were two gentlemen at the door of my house. Within a fraction of a second, I knew three things – this was going to be a religious discussion, this was going to be very short and I knew exactly the point I was going to make in a very short time. I drove my tractor over there to where they were standing and I parked the tractor between their car and them so they would have to walk around my tractor to get to the car. But I am going to make the point. The first question I asked, “Are you Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness? And they said they were Jehovah’s Witness.
I said, “I can never be a Jehovah Witness, never in my lifetime will I or can I or ever will be a Jehovah’s Witness.
“Well, why not?”
“Because you believe that Jesus Christ is not God. You believe that Jesus Christ is Michael the Archangel and Jesus is not an archangel – He is God, He is the creator of all things and then I quoted John Chapter 1 verse 1 – “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God – Jesus is God.
They said, “We don’t translate it that way – We say He is a god”.
And I said “I know you do and you have very poor Greek translators who translated. True Greek translators will say that Jesus is God – that the Word was God”
And he said, “You know that it is a very popular belief”.
I said “Yes, the church has taught this for 2000 years. But I said there is one more point I want to make with you.
I said “After Jesus was crucified and died and was resurrected from the grave He appeared to the apostles, Thomas was absent. And they were excited that Jesus was alive and they said to Thomas ‘we have seen Jesus, He is alive’. Thomas said, ‘unless I can see his hands and unless I can see his side I will not believe’.
I said, “Jesus appeared to the disciples then a second time with Thomas present. And He said to Thomas, ‘Thomas behold My hands, Thomas behold My side’. Thomas got on his knees and said unto Him ‘My Lord and My God’.
And now I said, “Thomas can call Him my Lord and my God, therefore I must call Him, my Lord and my God and You must call him your Lord and your God.
But I said “You refuse to call him your Lord and your God and you do it to your peril, but I said, He is Lord and God.”
And at that point they walked around the tractor and went into the car.
As we are around the communion table this morning we recognize Jesus is God. That He is the great Jehovah of the old Testament Who was the Creator. He came as the Lamb of God. He suffered and died and He came to take away the sin of the world. And He was resurrected from the dead and He proved who He was by being resurrected from the dead. He is the only one who can do that – only God can do that. So, we are here this morning praising God for what He has done. That through Jesus Christ alone we have eternal life.”
August 6th, 2017 by Allen Webber
“A Grain of Wheat
In John 12:23-25, Jesus says, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world, will keep it to eternal life.” This is a picture of the necessary sacrifice of Jesus.
A grain of wheat in and of itself is just a grain of wheat, it will sit there for years and years not doing anything. But bury it in the ground and the purpose of that seed will cause it to germinate, grow the necessary foliage and stalks to produce more seed and then die. Within that seed is the genetic code that tells the seed what it must do to complete one life cycle. It is designed to flourish and succeed to guarantee a way of passing on that genetic code. But the moment it germinates, it is vulnerable to attack from all manner of forces that want to destroy it, from disease, to insects, and the ravages of weather. Consider these forces, if you will, as the sins of the world.
In the same way, Jesus had to die to pay the penalty of our sin, but also to show His power over sin. The moment Jesus came into this world, all manner of evil was already at work, to attack Him in any way to discredit Him, to diminish His accomplishments and to eventually kill Him. And they succeeded.
But His resurrection proves that He had the code to overcome the ultimate prize of that sinful influence, that being death, to bring forth a new life, eternal life. Jesus can and will give this same eternal life to all who believe in Him.
July 23rd, 2017 by Allen Webber
When I sit in a funeral and consider the person who has died and what their life has been, I am amazed at the volume of knowledge, wisdom and experience that dies with them. All the stories and anecdotes that they told from the experiences they had on their journey through life are, for the most part, gone. A few of the more colourful or poignant ones will be passed on to the next generation as words of wisdom or life lessons. But most of the everyday, seemingly mundane things that a person has done to ‘measure’ their existence on this earth just evaporates. They’re gone. For anyone sitting in that funeral service, they can recall different experiences they had with that person that caused them to come and pay their respects.
Having grown up in the same career as my parents, I experienced a lot of the same things they did, first hand, and I started to amass a history and experience of my own. But when they died it seemed like large volumes of this history died with them. And as I get older, most of what made up my early experience is starting to fade off into the sunset. I am starting to forget so much of my experience with my dad and all the things we did together to move our farm forward. But now a new history is being created with memories and stories and experiences with my children.
Now if I were to ask you to remember some of the things in your past, you will initially pick things that have a greater emotional attachment. Maybe it would be your first car, a new home, a newborn child or even the death of a loved one. But eventually even these experiences will fade and become part of your wisdom and knowledge and experience that die with you.
But now I want you to consider another ‘remember’. In 1st Corinthians 11:24-26 we read, “and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”
So this is a little different. To remember Jesus and the cross? We weren’t there. We didn’t experience it firsthand. At best we have stories from the Bible, from Sunday School, or maybe even paintings or statues. But when Jesus asked His disciples to ‘remember me’, when He asks us to ‘remember him’, He intended for them and He intends us, much more than to create a memory. The purpose of this remembrance is to evoke a response. To paraphrase Jesus, “You eat this bread, drink this cup. Remember what happened, what I did, and what I am asking you to do. Now, do it.” This remembrance, in a Biblical sense, should cause us to think differently. It must never fade into past history.”
July 9th, 2017 by Ken Hartung
“Genesis 3:6; 15(ESV) Fall of Mankind
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
This verse records the tragic story of the fall of mankind. There are four clearly defined steps that Eve took on the pathway to sin.
1. First, when the woman saw that the tree was good for food. Sin begins with the sight of sin. The sight of sin itself is not sin, but that is where the pathway that leads to sin begins.
2. When the woman looked at the tree, she saw that it was a tree to be desired. Her second step on the pathway to sin was desire. Sight alone is no crime; but to desire that which we have innocently seen, if it cannot be ours, is sin.
3. Eve’s third step on the pathway to sin occurred when she took of the fruit and ate. She had already sinned by coveting that which was not to be coveted; but she deepened her sin by indulging, by taking that which was not rightfully hers according to the prohibition of God.
Eve had now fallen into sin. She had followed the three inevitable steps that lead to sin: (1) sight; (2) desire; and (3) gratification.
4. It still would have been a great tragedy if these were the only three steps on the pathway to sin, but there is one more. After Eve saw the forbidden fruit, desired it, and took of it, she also gave some to her husband who was with her and he ate. Unfortunately, the final step on the path to sin is the involvement of others in our sin. There is no such thing as private sin; every sin affects someone else. Eve’s sin affected Adam; and consequently, Adam’s sin affected the entire race. The whole human race sinned in Adam, for “… death passed unto all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom 5:12). Our sin always involves others and thus becomes compounded
Genesis 3:15 (ESV)
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
Here is the initial Messianic prophecy of the Bible. “The traditional Christian interpretation … is that it is the first direct expression of the gospel. It recognizes the essential conflict between Satan and the Lord and indicates that this conflict also will involve the people of God and the followers of Satan. The seed of the woman is a clear reference to the Messiah, the Lord Jesus who came ‘to destroy the works of the devil. This verse prophesied that Christ would deliver a death blow to Satan but in so doing would suffer death himself. This is what this communion table represents.”
KJV Bible Commentary
July 2nd, 2017 Mark Adams – Redland Baptist Church read by Allen Webber
When we celebrate communion it allows us to do four things:
1. It allows us to look back. In 1 Corinthians 11:23-25, we find these words: “For I received from the Lord what I also passed onto you: the Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread – and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is my body which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same way, after supper He took the cup saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.'” These two verses allows us to look back to the cross. We look back to see Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin. Listen to the words of this old hymn, ‘Alas, and did my Saviour bleed? And did my Sovereign die? Would He devote that sacred head for such a worm as I? Was it for crimes I had done, He groaned upon the tree? Amazing pity, grace unknown, and love beyond degree.”
2. It allows us to look forward. In 1 Corinthians 11:26 we read, “For, whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” The first communion was the start of a journey. A journey that will one day end – the day Jesus comes to take us home. The Lord’s Supper helps us to look forward to this day – the day we will all be together in heaven – no more death – no more sin – no more pain – no more sorrow. But this forward look also reminds us to always live in such a way that we are ready for His return, for He could come at any moment. We need to live our lives in such a way that we will not be embarrassed or ashamed at our Lord’s sudden appearance.
3. It allows us to look inward. From 1 Corinthians 11:28-29, “But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he does not judge the body rightly.” This inward look is a time to take moral inventory of our lives. But our nature does not allow us to be objective. We cannot see our lives from God’s holy and perfect perspective. The sin and evil in this world has desensitized us and is more difficult in seeing sin as sin anymore. We need Psalm 19:12, “Who an detect my errors? God, clear me from hidden faults.” Through prayer and His word, we need to allow God to make known to us that which hinders our relationship with Him.
4. Communion allows us to look outward. The more we look towards Jesus and the more we see His act of love and sacrifice, the more we begin to see the world through His eyes. By God’s grace we have been given specific talents and abilities to take the gospel message to the people of the world who are hurting and in need. In John’s gospel, we read, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, bears much frutit.”
June 25th by Murray Markert
“What Jesus taught and what He did are tied inseparably to who He is. Jesus was fully human and fully God. Although Jesus took upon Himself full humanity and lived as a man He never ceased to be the eternal God who has always existed. He is the Creator and Sustainer of all things, and the Source of eternal life. This is the truth – This is the truth about Jesus and the foundation of all truth. If we cannot or do not believe this basic truth, we will not have enough faith to trust our eternal destiny to Him. Jesus Christ was and is the Son of God.
It is communion time, a time to be in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ to partake of these elements. The bread represents Jesus’ body and the wine represents Jesus’ blood which was poured out to enable the forgiveness of sin.
It is time to come to the Lord to share your innermost thoughts and concerns. It is time to ask Him those questions of why – why did this happen? – why me? -why did I get these gifts and how can I use them? It is time to have a conversation with the Son of God who was present at creation, was the center of the crucifixion, and is now sitting at the right hand of God the Father interceding on our behalf. It is time to give thanks to Him for His part in our lives and for paying the ultimate price; for dying on a cross and shedding His blood so we can spend eternity with Him.”
June 18th given by Pastor Dave
“Easter Morning written by Anna Sarsons (Pastor Dave’s grandmother)
Hail, hail the sweet dawn of Easter morn.
Hail with gladness!
Hail with sadness!
Hail with pity, for the one who lived for thee.
Hail with worship, love and anguish for one who died for thee.
For the one who lived and suffered
That we might from sin be free.
Hail, hail the sweetness dawn of day.
Open wide the curtains of the ages gone by.
See the holy human Saviour
That they dared to crucify.
Are you trying to be worthy
Of the love he holds for thee?
Are you trying to be worthy
Of the blood that flowed so free?
Friend of mine and sister, brother,
Dare you, dare you turn away?
Dare you face your Saviour saying
“Lord, I cannot try today.”
Friends of mine, and sister, brother,
Turn your faces to the right.
Strive again to become worthy
On this Easter morning bright.”
June 11th by Allen Webber
The world believes that we are born pure and innocent but are taught and learn and practice varying degrees of ‘evil or sin’ as we grow up. Which also implies that you will learn to do ‘good’ by being taught and guided from outside influences, whether it be family, society or maybe even environmental influences.
But Christianity teaches otherwise. Christianity teaches that we are born with a nature to sin and rebel and that we have within that nature a latent ability to wreak all kinds of evil that at times may seem imcomprehensible. The history books are filled and they are being added to daily with accounts of these evils and wrongdoings. And at times we just shake our heads in horror and disbelief. We may even thank God that our parents and family have made an effort in their wisdom and experience to teach us to keep that sin nature under control.
But is that enough? Quite frankly, no! Within that sin nature is also the inability to correct it. It takes an outside influence, a renewing of the mind. It can only come from an absolutely pure source, someone that is not blemished or tarnished with the slightest speck of dust or sin. And that is only from God.
But, our minds, being somewhat limited in scope and ability, could not comprehend this renewal from where God is at. So Jesus came to earth to live among us, to show and teach us of God’s nature and to show and teach us of our nature and how incompatible these two are. But through that, God provided the way to bridge that gap. And in these two emblems, we are reminded of the extreme cost that Jesus had to pay on our behalf to give us an understanding of what it took to break that hold that sin had on us. In Romans 12:2 we read, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you might prove what the will of God is, that which is good, and acceptable, and perfect.”
And as a bit of a side item to this – when Mary and Mary Magdalene went to the grave site on the resurrection morning, the tombstone was rolled away, the tomb was empty, and the only thing left behind was the burial wrappings that Jesus was buried in. How many times have we read these verses and dwell on the resurrection and maybe not read in between the lines? Those body wrappings are important. They are a metaphor for our sin nature. Jesus left them behind, telling us that our sin nature has been dealt with. He was clothed with a new robe which tells us we also have a new nature in Him.
In Colossians 2:13-14, “When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having cancelled out the certificate of debt, consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He had taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross”
May 21st by Allen Webber
“In Colossians 1:15-18, we read, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything”.
This is one of the strongest statements about the divine nature of Christ found anywhere in the Bible. Jesus is not only equal to God, but as the image of the invisible God, He is the exact representation of God. He not only reflects God, but He reveals God to us as the Firstborn over all creation, He has all the priority and authority of the firstborn prince in a king’s household. He came from heaven, not from the dust of the earth and He is Lord of all. He is completely holy and has the authority to judge the world. Therefore, Christ is supreme over all creation, including the spirit world. We, like the Colossian believers, must believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, in other words, that Jesus is God, or our Christian faith is hollow, misdirected, and meaningless. This is a central truth in Christianity. We must oppose those who say that Jesus was merely a prophet or a good teacher.
God is not only the Creator of the world, but He is also its Sustainer. In Him, everything is held together, protected, and prevented from disintegrating into chaos. Because Christ is the Sustainer of all life, none of us is independent from Him. We are all His servants who must daily trust Him for protecting us, caring for us, and sustaining us.
Christ is the “firstborn from the dead”. Jesus was raised from the dead, and His resurrection proves His Lordship over the material world. All who trust in Christ will also defeat death and rise again to live eternally with Him. Because of Christ’s death on the cross, He has been exalted and elevated to the status that was rightfully His.”
May 14th, Derrick Schiffner
“Communion to me is a time of remembering the implications of the Gospel. And to help us with that this morning, I’d like to read some select passages and ask some questions for us to think about in this time of reflection.
21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
So how justified are we? This is what I’d like to explore.
Propitiate has to do with satisfaction. Verse 25 says God set Jesus forth as a satisfactory payment on a debt we couldn’t pay. How many sins did Jesus propitiate for us with his cross work? And to answer this:
1 John 2:2 says
“And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
1 Peter 3:18 says
“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;”
When Christ died for sins, how many of those sins were all in the future? How many of your specific sins were in the future? What sin did the cross work of Jesus not take care of? If there were a sin that could condemn you God was not satisfied with The death of His Son on the cross. Here’s my point: this time of reflection on Christ’s work Is how sufficient it was. Today we don’t have a sin issue we have a Son issue.
1 John 5:11-13 (NASB)
“And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”
Do you have the son?
“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
1 Corinthians 11:24-27 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
“and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
I Corinthians 11:25 “In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
May 7, 2017 by Murray Markert
“Pastor Dave’s message on Easter Sunday presented a very strong case for Christ. In his closing summation, he chose these words “Do I love Him?” These words have been resonating in my mind ever since. If we look up the word “love” in the dictionary we will find in this application that the word is a verb and a verb is an action word. If we love our dog, we will take it for a walk; if we love pizza, we will eat it; if we love our truck, we will take it for a drive; if we love our job, we will go to work with anticipation and if we love our spouse, we will have intimate thoughts. If we love Jesus, what will we do? This is not so easy to articulate. Not only are we to love Him, we are to love Him with all our heart, soul and mind. The appropriate definition for each word is virtually indistinguishable – my best interpretation is to love with the heart is to show strong emotions and feelings. To love with the mind is to know what you think and feel. To love with the soul which is the spiritual side of the body, is all of the above, but it also puts our love into action. The footnote in my Bible says love is something best understood by the actions we take. Maybe the best way to understand how to love Christ is to look at how He loved us and then put that into action the best we can – an emulation of that love.
Jesus, after creating the universe out of nothing, left the Father and came to earth. He unselfishly left His place on High to come join us knowing He would be despised, spit upon and beaten. He came to earth to teach us about morality, about Godly values, and how to stand up for our convictions and justice. He taught us what it is to share with one another, to feel how other people feel without any concern from any ‘payback’ – all this coming from the heart. Finally, knowing that despite all of His teaching and love He poured out to us, we needed to be saved from our humanity. Knowingly, He allowed Himself to be sacrificed on the cross, His body broken, His blood shed, and then conquered death three days later so some day we can enjoy eternity with Him. That is amazing love in action.”
April 23rd, 2017 given by Allen Webber
“The first communion took place during the Jewish Passover. Passover is so named because the Angel of Death “passed over” the houses of the Israelites while destroying the firstborn of Egypt. The key feature was that any house to be passed over had to have the doorposts and lintels painted with blood from a sacrificed lamb. Note that this salvation from death was not achieved by merit, or by being born in the right tribe, or by achievement – it was simply a matter of claiming it. If you believed the Lord would deliver, and said so in the terms He prescribed, you would be passed over in death. Passover started with faith. This Lord’s Supper is a visible demonstration of our faith.
Passover involved sacrifice. A young lamb, in perfection condition, was to be slaughtered to provide the blood for the doorposts and the meal. A perfect sacrifice was required; the blood was the sign of salvation. Jesus is our perfect sacrifice; by His blood we are passed over in death.
Passover was a community ritual. The requirement was that the lamb be completely eaten, or the leftovers be burned. The Israelite was to assemble his family, and if that were not sufficient in numbers, bring in other members of the faith so that the lamb could be completely consumed. So it is with us, that the Lord’s Supper may not be taken alone, but in the presence of the family of God.
Passover was not an end, but a beginning. It meant that the Israelites were beginning a journey to the Promised Land. It was in many ways the beginning of the nation of Israel. It was for most of them the beginning of their relationship with God. So it is with us. The Lord’s Supper is not the end, but the beginning. We acknowledge our sojourn in this world. By it we are made one people, the people of God around the world. By the sacrifice it represents we have fellowship with God.
Passover was to be eaten in haste, dressed fro a journey. The Israelite was to be ready to go out and follow the Lord wherever He might lead, even though he was under a roof celebrating a feast. He was to have his garments belted for a journey, his sandals on his feet. Passover was to prepare him spiritually for the trip. So it is with us. The Lord’s Supper should cause us to examine our relationship with the Lord, to examine the tenets of our faith to make sure they are true to the word of God, and then resolve to use those tenets to spread the good news of salvation to wherever we may be.” author unknown
April 16th, 2017 by Pastor Dave
April 9th, 2017 by Allen Webber
“Sometimes it can be quite difficult to have a consistent walk of faith. Depending on where we are or what we are doing, we can experience times of strength or times of weakness. And it can happen quite quickly. For a long time, the Israelites had been expecting their Messiah to be arriving with a shield in one hand and a sword in the other hand, riding on a horse – a symbol of war. But in Zechariah 9:9, we are told “Your king is coming to you, riding on a donkey – no, a cold of a donkey” – a symbol of peace. Compare this to the Christmas story. Again, the Israelites were expecting a mature ruler,a king that would lead their nation to greatness – a symbol of strength. But He came as a baby – a symbol of frailty and weakness.
Now to bring this back to my original statement about having a consistent walk of faith. On that Palm Sunday, when Jesus rode into the streets on that colt of a donkey, the people were cheering and shouting, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” But just five days later, on Good Friday, the leaders had convinced them to shout, “Crucify him, Crucify him.” They were having issues with their faith.
We are every bit as human as those people and therefore we have times of victory and times of struggle. Having communion is one way to refocus our thoughts and strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ. Our consistency in faith is not only important for us but for the people we encounter daily.”
April 2nd, 2017 by Brian Markert
“While we prepare for communion I want to draw your attention to the words on this table. “Do this in remembrance of me.“ We are remembering Jesus dying on the cross for us to be forgiven of our sins and be reunited with a personal God. I ask you to think about this as a model for our relationships with others.
God did nothing wrong to create a divided between him and his creation. It is us that chose to sin against God and make ourselves unworthy to stand in his presence. He then sent his only son to die as a sacrifice to pay for our sins.
What right do we have to hold a grudge against others? Forgiveness in our personal lives usually requires sacrifice on both sides of the relationship. As we take Communion ask the Holy Spirit to help you to see what needs to be done to repair or start to repair a damaged relationship in your life and the strength to do it.”
March 26th, 2017 by Allen Webber
“One of the aspects of this communion whether it be a conscious process or not is trying to comprehend in the slightest degree the love of God towards us. We can try to use one or many adjectives to explain it but the moment we do we realize how inadequate they are. Over the years, and even centuries, many people from laymen to scholars, have tried to understand and explain this love but fall short. Consider for a moment a line in a hymn that we sing, ‘amazing love, how can it be that Thou my God, should die for me?’
In 1 John 4:10-11, we find this, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sin. Dear friends, since God loved us, we ought to also love one another.” God incarnate showed His love in His willingness to bear the shame, endure the cross, and be the bridge that brings us back into relationship with Him. These three things illustrate His indescribable love.
One of the first verses we learn from Scripture is John 3:16. There is probably no one here who can’t recite it. We have probably said it so many times that we give it scant notice. And by the time we complete it we have glossed over the third word – ‘so’. “For God so loved the world…”
As we partake of this communion, we must sit in quiet awe as we mediate on God’s grace and mercy toward us.”
March 19th, 2017 by Murray Markert
“This past weekend Dat and Dave led us through our church history and the influence that those founding fathers have impacted lives from 90 years ago to the present not only within our church community but throughout the world. They shared with us how the world around us is changing and the need to adjust the way the gospel is presented. They guided us through the process of developing a vision statement to deal with a changing world and to help us better understand our love for Christ and to project that to the world around us. Change is not something we all accept readily but in the bigger picture, after we have adjusted, change is usually good.
Speaking of change, at one of my daughter’s graduation exercise, the speaker giving the address was a young tv anchor from CTV. She told them that their class was going to face something that would be unique to their class. That was change. Even though she did a skillful job on her presentation, I remember thinking at the time this isn’t something new. My parent’s generation had seen the change from horse and buggy to landing a man on the moon. More recently I have thought about the change the religious community went through when Christ entered the world and claimed to be the Son of the living God. The world around us is constantly transforming its views and opinions, as a result, the way we interact and communicate needs to transform as well.
The good news is through all this turbulence there is one constant and that truth is captured in the lyric of a famous hymn “On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand”. Christ was the same 90 years ago as He is today He is the same today that He will be 90 years from now. He offers us His love, His eternal wisdom, His compassion and His forgiveness. His death on the cross was done once for all until His return so that someday we can sit in the presence of our Triune God; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.”
March 12th, 2017 Excerpt from NASB study Bible delivered by Allen Webber
“It is easy to overlook the fact that Jesus chose Judas to be his disciple. We may also forget that while Judas betrayed Jesus, all the disciples abandoned him. With the other disciples, Judas shared a persistent misunderstanding of Jesus’ mission. They all expected Jesus to make the right political moves. When he kept talking about dying, they all felt varying degrees of anger, fear, and disappointment. They didn’t understand why they had been chosen if Jesus’ mission was doomed to fail.
We do not know the exact motivation behind Judas’s betrayal. What is clear is that Judas allowed his desires to place him in a position where Satan could manipulate him. Judas accepted payment to set Jesus up for the religious leaders. He identified Jesus for the guards in the dimly lit Garden of Gethsemane. It is possible that he was trying to force the hand of Jesus – would Jesus or would Jesus not rebel against Rome and set up a new political government?
Whatever the plan though, at some point Judas realized he didn’t like the ways things were turning out. He tried to undo the evil he had done by returning the money to the priests, but it was too late. The wheels of God’s sovereign plan had been set into motion. How sad that Judas ended his life in despair without ever experiencing the gift of reconciliation God could give to him through Jesus Christ.
In betraying Jesus, Judas made the greatest mistake in history. But the fact that Jesus knew Judas would betray him doesn’t mean that Judas was a puppet of God’s will. Judas made the choice. God knew what that choice would be and confirmed it. Judas didn’t lose his relationship with Jesus; rather, he never found Jesus in the first place. He is called the ‘son of perdition’ because he was never saved.
But Judas does us a favour. He makes us think long and hard about our relationship with God through Jesus Christ and to the presence of the Holy Spirit within us. Are we true disciples and followers, or uncommitted pretenders? We can choose despair and death, or we can choose repentence, forgiveness, hope and eternal life. Judas’s betrayal sent Jesus to the cross to guarantee that second choice, our only chance. Will we accept Jesus’ free gift, or, like Judas, betray him?”
March 5th, 2017 by Brian Markert
“Logic and God’s Will
45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.
“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”
Some Jews saw a miracle for what it was and they believed in Jesus. Some of the other Jews saw it as an opportunity to give the leaders of the day, the Pharisees, what they were looking for, a reason to eliminate Jesus as a threat to their leadership.
Whenever I read the bible, especially the gospels, I try not to judge the naysayers to quickly. I try to put myself into the situation. You know what happens more frequently then you would guess; I understand where they’re coming from. Let me read the next two verses.
49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”
Now that seems like sound logic. Doesn’t it make sense that one crazy man die then we let the Americans, Chinese or Russians take over Canada. Here’s the rub though. This man isn’t crazy. He is Jesus and God will do His Will whether we want to be part of it or not.
As we are making decisions in our lives, remember, a popular or logical decision is not always the right one. It’s easy to feel good about doing what everyone else is doing but if you haven’t checked it by God you might want to hold up a bit. Pray about it. Sometimes a quick “Hey God what do you think about this?” is enough and you know what the right decision is. Other times you pray for days, months, or even years and you end up more unsure then you did when you started. That can be an answer in itself or it can mean you need to completely rethink the way that you are looking at something.”
February 26th, 2017 by Murray Markert
“This morning’s thought is based on Mark 8:27-36. I will need your participation this morning. We are going back in time to around 31 AD and I need you to play the part of an apostle. I will ask and question as Jesus would have and I would like your response as an apostle who had been travelling with Him. Here are some of the events that you would have seen prior to this conversation you would have witnessed: – the sick have been healed
– the lame have walked again
– you have seen Jesus preach to thousands and feed them all with a few baskets of food
– you have seen Him being questioned by the religious leaders of the day and at the end they were speechless
– you have seen possessed people fall down before Him saying He is the Son of God
– you have seen Him calm a storm
– you have seen Him walk on water and the list goes on.
As the apostles and Jesus were walking from one of the villages to another, Jesus said to them, “Who do people say I am?” (Mark 8:27-29). Then Jesus goes on and this will be the first time He tells them that He must suffer (Mark 8:31). Then Jesus goes on to say “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and for the gospel will save it. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?…” (Mark 8:34-36).
Christ very clearly pointed out to His disciples what was going to take place. He must suffer, die, and rise three days later. This is what we are celebrating here at the communion table. Christ told us to partake of these elements remembering Him until He returns again.”
February 19th, 2017 by Dale Doner
- He is here
- It’s going to be okay
- He knows what to do
Galatians 5:6 “For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love.”
John 17:24 “Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!”
February 12th, 2017 by Allen Webber
“‘To Do’ List
How many have a bucket list or a ‘to do’ list? A bucket list generally consists of things that one would like to accomplish or do, but not necessarily getting them done. They can be a bit ‘loftier’ in scope, with more planning, resources and time involved to complete them. But with a suggestion of, “Boy, I would like to do that someday.”
But a ‘to do’ list implies that what is to be accomplished is definitely attainable and with a sense of will and purpose to see it through. More along the lines of ‘this needs to be done’. But in both cases there is a common thread – the sense of accomplishment and the satisfaction one gets from completing the task.
When Jesus came to earth, He had only one thing on His ‘to do’ list. And that was to restore mankind to his relationship with God. Right from the start there was a purpose and resolve to see the task through to the end. And there was a definite timeline in which it was to be accomplished.
In the Gospel of John, chapter 2, verse 4, Jesus told His mother at the wedding feast in Cana that “my hour has not yet come.” But later on in chapter 17, Jesus began His prayer with these words, “Father, the hour has come”. That might seem an odd ways to start a prayer, but not if you are about to accomplish the most important mission in history. And Jesus continued His prayer by saying, “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do”.
Which brings us to John 19:30. Jesus said, “It is finished”. With that, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
Whenever we take communion and remember the cross, lets bow our heads and give thanks that Jesus completed His ‘to do’ list on which the name of every human being was written. Every time we remember Jesus Christ in a communion, we affirm ‘mission accomplished’.”
February 5th, 2017 by Allen Webber
A believer’s life and an unbeliever’s life should look different. God has a great deal to say about the distinction between the two. On several occasions in the Scriptures, He uses salt and its qualities to describe what the attributes of a Christian are.
At one time salt was valuable enough that it was used as a trading currency. But anymore, it has been reduced to a flavouring condiment for food. We have salt in abundance and therefore it has become very inexpensive. But whether it is valuable or inexpensive, its inherent qualities remain the same.
Salt is used the world over for its ability to enhance the flavour of food. It changes the taste of food to make food more appealing. In the same way we are to change the flavour of what is happening in our world around us. We are to bring a Biblical perspective to any aspect of life that we become involved in.
We know all too well that when we consume junk food it is not too long before we also need something to drink. So, salt also creates thirst. But you can’t stay at 1 potato chip or 1 peanut. The salt entices the person to eat more and thirst more. That is how we are to work in the lives of the people around us. If they can see in us joy and contentment, which is one of the fruits of the Spirit, they will desire to have that for themselves.
Salt also has unique healing properties. Is there anyone here who has not gargled with salt water to sooth a sore throat? We too, can be soothing influence in the lives of our neighbors when they are going through a difficult time of their life – both physically and/or spiritually.
Salt also has qualities of preservation. Before refrigeration came along, much food was preserved with salt to prevent deterioration. In much the same way, we are to preserve the Word of God and live by it so that people can see a clean delineation between the philosophies of this world and their consequences, and the principles and precepts that are taught in Scripture.
You have heard of the phrase “putting salt in ones wounds”. What comes to mind is the pain that we feel when we put salt on a cut, but the value of salt in this instance is for its disinfecting qualities. Salt was used to prevent infections and to keep the wound clean. We too are to live a clean life so that people can see a distinct and desirable difference between Christians and non-Christians.
However salt loses its qualities and value when it is mixed with impurities. Our lives, as well, are less effective when we allow sin to gain a foothold in our lives. We then lessen the validity and strength of our witness.
But the saltiness we might possess does not come from within. It is given from outside. It is only given to us from God. When we are working with Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour relying on the Holy Spirit to guide us, we will have a salty influence on the world. If someone asked, what does a Christian look like, could they point to you and say, they look just like that person?”
January 29th, 2017 by Brian Markert
“When I was 6,7 or 8 we were learning about prayer in Sunday school. Trina Wickstrom was m teacher at the time. She told us it didn’t matter when or what we talked to God about, he just wanted us to talk to him. We could pray to God about anything. There seemed to be one caveat, however. That Sunday’s story made it pretty clear we shouldn’t expect a brand new bike just because we prayed for one.
Luke 11:9-10 9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Monday I went to the dentist. They always had a draw that kids could enter if they were cavity free. I didn’t have many cavity free visits but I did this time and the draw prize was a teddy bear that I couldn’t live without. This wasn’t a new bike so it was fair game. I prayed for that teddy bear every time it crossed my mind. It seemed like it was hourly that I would remind God how much I needed that teddy bear. Two weeks had gone by and I came home from school. The dentist’s office had called and guess who won that teddy bear…. My sister.
I didn’t understand. Trina had told me that if I prayed and I believed, God would grant me what I asked for. The more I thought about it, though, the more I began to understand what the original Sunday school lesson was trying to teach us. Since then that two week period in from my childhood has been a platform that God has used as a teaching tool for two other major lessons in my adult life.
Luke 11:11-13 11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
When you pray God provides you with what you actually need, not necessarily what you think you need. The key to seeing fruit in your prayer life is to not think that you know better than God.
The other thing that I can see now that I couldn’t see then is that God has a very grand and purposeful plan for his creation and a very personal and purposeful plan for me and the two are so intertwined it blows me away. Trina planned a lesson for us every Sunday and did her best to try and keep a class full of boys focused on something then God used a Sunday school lesson, a cavity free visit and a teddy bear to teach a child about prayer and a little of his character. Sometimes in life we feel lost and discouraged because what we are doing seems humdrum but you never know what part of your day God will use to impact others. Whatever you do every day do it to the best of your abilities and leave the rest up to God.”
January 22nd, 2017 by Murray Markert
“My communion thought this morning is just that, a “thought”. It focuses on Matthew 22:37 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.” This verse probably most of us here try to achieve. But unless, everyone here is different than me, we start to coast some time and our hearts, soul and mind start prioritizing other things and we can even have a dark moment. A moment that we question God as to why He would allow this or that to happen. People will say and rightfully so – ‘let God be God’ – but still we are questioning God.
I would like to leave this just for a moment. When we first accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and have become aware of who He is and the price the Son of God paid for us so we can sit in His presence some day. We are truly in awe of Him. Hold that thought for a moment.
I would like to use an analogy now of what I have been talking about. It does fall short but we are going to use it this morning. When couples first get married they are in awe of each other. That awe can dissipate pretty fast unless they learn to talk to each other, to communicate their feelings for each other,to share their love and to stay committed.
Our relationship with our God is very similar. To maintain our awe for our heavenly Father throughout our lives we need to remember who He is at all times, we need to stay committed to Him, we need to talk to Him, and we need to share our innermost feelings with Him. We need to talk and walk with Him all week.
Communion is a special time when we remember He allowed His body to be broken for us, His blood to be shed for us and three days later He conquered death. It is a time to give thanks and stay in awe of Him.
January 15th, 2017 by Allen Webber
“On the front of this table is the inscription “In Remembrance of Me”. It is a constant reminder that when we partake of this communion we are to make a concerted effort in our meditations. Firstly, it should cause our minds to block out our worldly cares and concerns and then totally focus on the message of the cross. What does that message mean to me? What does that message mean to you? In the bread I am reminded of Christ’s broken body. Not broken in the sense of broken bones but in the sense of beatings, the humiliation, the defilement that Christ had to endure on our behalf. He was not an ordinary man. He was the Son of God – He was perfect. All that He endured was unmerited – yet He was willing to take it all upon Himself to spare us from the horror of having to defend ourselves in God’s court.
In the cup I am reminded of the shed blood of Christ. In the Old Testament the shedding of blood was necessary for the atonement of sin. But since it had to be done individually for each one, many thousands of animals had to be sacrificed on a regular basis. But when Jesus Christ died on the cross, He was one sacrifice for all. Nothing more had to be added to it or subtracted from it. It was finished.
The communion is a time of personal meditation for each and every one of us. It can be a time of unparalleled gratitude in realizing God’s love for us and what He has done for us in Christ. It can also cause us to reflect on who God is – and who we are not. But it is a personal meditation, just as our relationship with Jesus Christ is personal. So as you partake, just sit there for a few moments in prayer and meditation, think of Jesus Christ and remember His comman from Luke 22:19, “Do this in Remembrance of Me”.
January 8th, 2017 by Ken Hartung
“Marveled at What He Said
“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law…”
Simeon…who by the Holy Spirit was in the temple when the Lord Jesus was brought in to fulfill the Mosaic Law. God had promised Simeon that he would see the salvation of God. What did he see? He saw a little Baby. Salvation is a Person, and not something that you do. Salvation is a Person and that Person is the Lord Jesus Christ. You either have Him, or you don’t have Him. You either trust Him, or you don’t trust Him.
“then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said, “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation, Which You have prepared in the presence of all people, A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, And the glory of Your people Israel.”
This is a remarkable statement coming from a man who was limited in his outlook upon life-that is, he was limited to a particular area geographically. Yet he saw the One who was to be the Savior of the world. This is to me one of the amazing things about the Word of God, especially the New Testament. Although given to a certain people, it is certainly directed to the world. No other religion pointed that way. You will notice that the religions of the world are generally localized for a peculiar people, generally a race or nation. But Christianity has been from the outset for all people everywhere.
“And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed – and a sword will pierce even your own soul – to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
If one wonders why they marvelled at Simeon’s words after what they had heard from Gabriel, Elisabeth, and the Shepherds, he should bear in mind that every parent is astonished and pleased at the fine things others see in the child. How did this man know the mystery of the child? How did he single out their babe? More than that, their wonder was this that he should say such astounding things about the child. Simeon’s words went beyond Israel…Simeon included all the Gentiles nations in the salvation that this child was bringing – reason, indeed, for astonishment at this new revelation!
The cross of Christ has moved many people – artists have painted the picture, songwriters have written music about it, and authors and preachers have sketched those moments with words. There is a danger of dwelling on His death in a sympathetic way. Christ did not die to elicit anyone’s sympathy. He does not want your sympathy, He wants your faith.
However, when Mary stood beneath that cross and watched Jesus die, it was a broken heart. She was suffering as His mother. And at that time the prophecy of Simeon was fulfilled – the sword pierced through her soul also.
“that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
This expresses God’s purpose in the mission of the Messiah. He is to test men’s thoughts and purposes. They will be compelled to take a stand for Christ or against him. This is true today.
Again…He does not want your sympathy. Jesus Christ wants your faith.”*
*Through the Bible – J Vernon McGee
Word Pictures of the New Testament – A.T. Robertson
January 1st, 2017 by Allen Webber
One of the things we tend to do at the start of the New Year is to take stock of what has been in the past year and what might be in the New Year. We introspectively look at ourselves and our lives and ask, “Are we better off or worse off than at this time last year?” And human nature, being what it is, tends to use tangible things to measure progress from one year to another. And these tangible things tend to be things that measure our health or our wealth.
But how often do we take stock of our spiritual walk with Christ? Are we better off this year than last year? Have we studied the Scriptures more than last year? Have we prayed more? And have we prayed more for our fellow man and his needs as opposed to us and our needs? Have we been a better witness to all our neighbours or just a select few? Have we given more of our time and treasures to the glory of God and less to the indulgences of man?
As we partake of this communion, we should ask God’s forgiveness for the times of this past year when we consciously or subconsciously denied Jesus Christ. We need to pray to God to show us areas of our lives that are lacking and where we could improve. We can always improve our prayer life and our study life. We can resolve to take these steps so that at the end of this year, we can look back and say with the confidence of Paul that “Yes, we are spiritually better of this year than last year”. Paul was nearing the end of his ministry and life when he wrote to Timothy proclaiming, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”. Paul didn’t just leave the starting gate and arrive at the finish line. There was the progression of time, day in and day out, year in and year out. The same opportunities obstacles were before him – just as we have today. Our relationship with Jesus Christ should be at ever progressing journey that takes hard work and patience. We should be able to say at the end of this year that , “Yes, we are still fighting the good fight, we are still running the race, and we are still keeping the faith.””
December 4th, 2016 by Allen Webber
In many places in Scripture, we are given a sense of urgency for our salvation, since we do not know when the coming of the Lord will be. Although our salvation is about a personal relationship with the Lord, it is by no means meant to be a selfish relationship with the Lord, in the sense that we are to keep it to ourselves and not share it with others. Indeed, we are to go…throughout, and let our speech and actions be an example of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. But sometimes it may be a little difficult in knowing how to share the Gospel. We can find instruction on how to do this in the book of Romans.
Firstly, recognition of the human condition is found in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.” This verse is not exclusive to anyone, no matter what nationality or circumstance. Everyone must come to realize that we are born sinners and must be transformed by the blood of Christ – not born basically good and then being impacted by some external forces that make us sin.
Secondly, we find in Romans 6:23, what the penalty for that sin is, as well as the hope offered in Christ: “For wages of sin is death, but the free Gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Third, the method by which one may receive Jesus as their personal Saviour is found in Romans 10:9: “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” It is as simple as that. You don’t have to jump through a series of hoops or follow some sort of initiation rite.
And lastly, Romans 10:13 offers hope to those seeking the Lord: “For ‘Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.'”
November 20th, 2016 by Allen Webber
“Heal Our Land
2 Chronicles 7:13-14 says this, “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain or commmand locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their land.”
I think there is a tendency for modern Christians to conduct their lives using the New Testament with lesser regard for the Old Testament and its knowledge and precepts. But there are very important principles that can be gleaned from that part of the Bible. We may think that because we are under grace, God is a god of love and forgiveness. But He is also a god of judgment.
This passage from 2 Chronicles reveals that judgment could in fact befall God’s people. This verse concerns, “my people“, not some pagan nation that follows a man-made god or gods, but a fellowship of believers that profess God as sovereign and holy. It suggests too, that turning away from God could result in pestilence and drought. Now we, living in an agricultural area know all too well what a plague of grasshoppers or a drought can do to a community. But the conditions of pestilence or drought can happen to our spiritual lives as well. If we get our eyes off God, and rely less and less on Him and more and more on the things of the world, our Christian witness will be diminished. We will blend in with the world and not be the light shining in the darkness that God desires. We will also be in a spiritual drought whereby there is no growth in our lives.
But God wants to heal our ‘land’ (in a spiritual sense). He wants closer and closer fellowship with us, so we mature and understand more clearly His will for our lives.
As believers, we are to humble ourselves. We must acknowledge who God is and who we are not. We are to pray. This describes heartfelt crying out to the Lord rather than simply bringing requests before Him. We also need to seek His face. This is to have a longing in our hearts to know God’s will for our lives, our families, our community and our nation. And we are to turn from our wicked ways. If our lives are not for God, they are against God and this is wickedness. If we join hands with the wicked, whether by action or inaction, we ourselves are guilty before God.
So, this communion reminds us of where our faith starts, where the healing begins. We are reminded of the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made on our behalf to bring us back into right relationship with God It reminds us that the healing comes from God through Christ.”
November 13th, 2016 by Murray Markert
One of my all time favorite movies is Braveheart. A movie about a legendary Scotsman, William Wallace. He led a rebellion against England in the late 13th century because of persecution and suppression of basic human rights. After many successes, he was finally captured and was publicly tortured to force him to admit treason against England. In one of the final scenes the head henchman thought Wallace was about to plead guilty and was allowed to speak. With every ounce of life left in him, Wallace shouts his last word ‘Freedom’.
Freedom is something mankind has sought and is still seeking. From Exodus where the Israelite nation wanted freedom from enslavement and persecution of the Egyptians to the Scots rebelling against England to the Western world united against Hilter and his thugs to fight anarchy against humanity and to preserve the freedoms they enjoyed. Freedom came at great costs; thousands of men and women lost their lives and thousands more lives were changed for what they did and saw. They did all this to preserve the freedoms we still enjoy today.
With all the freedoms mankind has been given, from the Israelites to us presently, we have proven with all these freedoms we do not make very good choices. We tend to make choices in the midst of all this freedom that enslaves us to sin. We see at the communion table here this morning to remember Christ and what did Christ have to say about freedom? John 8:31-32 “If you hold to my teaching you are really my disciples. Then you know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
My thoughts: ‘Know the boundaries that Christ has set for us and live a life within them full of love and forgiveness and if you stray outside those boundaries, confess and repent and Jesus will open the gates and allow us back in, to live our lives in true Freedom‘.”
November 6th, 2016 by Allen Webber
“The Purpose of Life
The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams or ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by His purpose and for His purpose.
The search for the purpose of life has puzzled people for thousands of years. That’s because we typically begin at the wrong starting point – ourselves. What do I want to be? What should I do with my life? What are my goals, my ambitions, and my dreams for the future?
You cannot arrive at life’s purpose by starting to focus on yourself. You must begin with God, your Creator. You exist only because God wills that you exist. You were made by God and for God. In Job 12:10 we read, “It is God who directs the lives of his creatures, everyone’s life is in his power.” It is only in God that we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny. Every other path leads to a dead end.
When you go into a bookstore, there is usually a section on discovering your purpose in life. It is called, appropriately so, a self-help section, coming from a self-centered view or a worldly concept of the purpose of life. And generally, that concept is defined as success-being rich, being powerful or being influential. Now each of these results can be a good thing, but if their primary purpose is to serve oneself, then they are futile and against God’s purpose. The Message Paraphrase of Matthew 16:25 says, “Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.”
But God has not left us without any resources in discerning our purpose in life. The Bible is our instruction manual, explaining why we are alive, how life works, what to avoid, and what to expect in the future. It explains what no self-help book or philosophy book could know. God is not just the starting point of our lives; He is the source of it. To discover our purpose in life, we must turn to God’s Word, not the world’s wisdom. Ephesians 1:11 says, “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.”
October 23rd, 2016 by Allen Webber
If I were to ask you what you thought would be the most significant verses in your Bible, I would probably receive back a number of different responses and for a number of different reasons. But I think we can agree that the whole or sum total of our Christian experience can be found in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Sopn, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”
But if I were to ask you what you thought would be the most significant one, two, or three words that convey a single thought, that might prove to be a little more challenging – only because we might not have given it much consideration. One choice might be – “In the beginning” – the first three words in the Bible. All of Genesis 1 deals with the beginning of God’s creation – the start of His master plan – indeed a most significant event. Another choice might be “Amen” – the last word in the Bible. With this amen, there is a finality that brings the Bible to a close with the satisfaction of knowing that there does not need to be anything more said or done to help us understand God’s will. A third choice might be “It is finished” – the last three words that Jesus spoke at His crucifixion, signifying the completion of the work of Jesus on earth.
In addition to these choices, I would like to add another. I think two works that would pass the test of significance would be “But God“. When we think of the word but, it conveys a sense of something else to follow or an exception to what has been previous And when we place it next to the word God, it tells us that there will be something very significant or extraordinary taking place. Let us look at a few examples. In the beginning there was nothing, absolutely nothing – but God, in His perfect and sovereign will, created the universe and all that is in it. When the Israelites were leaving Egypt in the exodus, they were guided along a path that brought them to the Red Sea. Only to discover that they were being followed by the army of Pharaoh. They were trapped, by the virtually uncrossable Red Sea in front of them and the Egyptian army in back of them. They faced certain death – but God – again to proved His sovereignty, parted the Red Sea and allowed the Israelites to cross in safety but totally destroying the Egyptian army when they tried to cross. Daniel would have been devoured by the lions – but God. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would have been burned to a crisp in the fiery furnace – but God. Saul (who later changed his name to Paul) on the road to Damascus, eargerly and zealously on a trip of persecution and murder –but God.
And then there is you and me – created in God’s image to worship Him, but with a will of our own and inborn nature to sin. That inspite of ourselves, there is nothing we can do, no good works that we can do that is good enough to be worthy in His eyes to overcome that sin nature. Left to ourselves, we sin at will and the result rightly deserved, is to spend eternity in hell – but God. But God loved us so much that He provided a way – one way to allow us to be absolutely clean, absolutely pure, absolutely sinless enough to be in His presence. And that was is Jesus Christ. We were created primarily to worship God, and to be in His presence requires us to be perfectly holy. At our first heartbeat we failed that requirement. But through Christ, God sees us as holy.
This bread reminds us of Christ’s body, sacrificed to God on our behalf. And with His death, there is a finality to God’s plan of salvation, in that, there is nothing more that needs to be said or done for our redemption. And with the cup, we are reminded of the covenant or promise that God made, whereby if we believe God is who He says He is and Jesus Christ is His only begotten Son and died for our souls, then we can ultimately be in God’s presence and worship Him.”
October 16th, 2016 by Brian Markert
“Joshua 2:9-11 God’s ways are different than ours
It really is incredible all the different methods or forms that God uses to capture our attention or carry out his will. One common theme though; God doesn’t use common or worldly logic to make individuals or groups to stand up and pay attention. The light really does stand out in the darkness.
I want to read Joshua 2:9-11
Joshua had taken over leadership of the Israelites after Moses died. He had sent two men to spy on the land west of the Jordan before the Israelites crossed over. They were hiding in Rahab the prostitute’s house.
Rahab recognized who God was by hearing of his miracles as he led the Israelites out of Egypt. She chose to act against the norms of her culture and serve God in the only tangible way she could. She hid the Israelite spies. As such she escaped the destruction that befell the rest of Jericho.
We are no different. Once we recognize who God is we have a choice. We can choose to continue living for ourselves which usually hurts in the short term but always hurts in the long term, or we can choose to be used by God and experience his blessings.
Now God shows us his will in a lot of different ways; observations, conversations, visions, leaders and most importantly prayerfully reading the bible. It’s almost impossible to decipher any other direction without reading the bible.
The point I want you to think about as we partake of the communion is we know who God is. He is a God that so loved the world that he sent his only son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. Now we have a choice. Do we let him use us and what does that look like in your life.”
October 9th, 2016 “Thanksgiving Harvest” by Allen Webber
“This is Thanksgiving Sunday and we tend to reflect on being thankful more at this time of year than at any other time of the year. Thanksgiving Day was originally set in the autumn of the year because of the tangible results of God’s providence that people could see, as the harvest was being brought in. In 1620, the Pilgrims sailed from England on the Mayflower and had to endure a very harsh winter in which more than half of the people died from sickness and starvation. But 1621 was a very good year for crops and when the harvest was finished, there was more than enough food for all to last the entire winter. They decided to have a celebration giving thanks to God for their crops and survival. Even today an example of God’s grace can be seen in the harvesting of our crops and the bounty of what the land produces. We farmers, know full well that the success or failure of our farms comes not from our own hands, but from the hands of God. We can put the seed in the ground, fertilize it, spray it, nurture it, and harvest it, but if we do not get moisture, the results will not be there. We must rely on God for timely rains to ensure there will be a harvest.
As we read in Scripture, our attention is drawn to another harvest. In all of the Gospels, a harvest of souls is talked about. We are to draw a parallel between an unharvested field of grain and the vast number of people who do not have a relationship with the Lord but need to know of His great mercy. We can plant the seeds of salvation, nurture it with Scripture and teaching and prayer, but only the Holy Spirit can water that seed and bring to life the inner soul of man.
Christ died on the cross so that we may be in that harvest. He died so that our sin would be forgiven and that we could be justified before God. He died so that we might have eternal and abundant life. As we partake of this communion and as we enjoy our fellowship with our families, but all means be thankful for the material needs we have, but over and above that, thank God for the awakening of your spirit to respond to His calling.”
October 2nd, 2016 by Brian Markert
36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews.
39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.[a]”
43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
“Truly it is this simple. What we deserve is struggles and suffering because we make choices that hurt us and those around us. The reality is we are forgiven no matter what. Murderer, theft, lies, selfishness, anger. It doesn’t’ matter
Let the Holy Spirit work and show what is between you and God. It doesn’t matter how big or small. Take the free gift of forgiveness and watch how God will use your confession and start to change your life.”
September 11th, 2016 by Allen Webber
“The first communion took place during the Passover feast. We might tend to think this was just a coincidence or just a convenient way to bring the disciples together, to inform them of the events that were to unfold in the next few hours But there are hints within the Passover that we can consider as forerunners to Jesus’ sacrifice. We have learned from Scripture that the Passover as so named because the angel of death passed over the homes of the Israelites while destroying the firstborn of Egypt. The key element of this was the lintels and doorposts of the home were to be painted (as it were) with the blood of a young lamb. This salvation from the angel of death was not achieved by merit, or by being born into the right family, or by some manner of achievement. It was simply a matter of claiming it. If you believed God would deliver and said so in visible terms as ‘He’ prescribed, you would be passed over in death. Communion therefore is a visible demonstration of our faith.
Passover also involves sacrifice. This young lamb which provided the blood for the doorposts had to be in perfect condition with no flaws. Jesus ws our own perfect sacrifice. By his blood, we are passed over in death.
Passover was also a community ritual. One of the requirements was that the Israelites were to completely consume the lamb and if there were any leftovers, they were to be burned. The Israelite was to assemble his family and if there weren’t enough members, he was to bring in others so the lamb would be completely consumed. The communion was never intended to be consumed alone but in the presence of the family of God.
Passover was not the end but the beginning. The Israelites were beginning a journey to the Promised Land. It was for most of them the beginning of a relationship with God. And so it is with us. Our steps on this ‘wilderness’ we call earth are not our ultimate goal, but rather to reach the Promised Land, an eternity with God.
The communion is not a remembrance of the end but of the beginning. By it we are made one people, not just within the walls of this church, but around the world. By the sacrifice these two emblems represent, we have eternal fellowship with God in the Promised Land.”
September 18th, 2016 by Allen Webber
“Nicodemus was a Pharisee-a learned man of the law and a member of the Sanhedrin. He was very knowledgeable with every minute detail of the religious system that governed the lies of the orthodox Jewish nation. That he was a member of the Sanhedrin is also an indication of the stature and esteem that was accorded him by the Pharisees.
But God was working on the heart of Nicodemus. In spite of his knowledge and wisdom, and believing that following the law was what was required for salvation, he could see there was something quite extraordinary about Jesus. The evidence of His teachings and miracles could not be refuted and Nicodemus, therefore felt an urgency to seek out and meet with Jesus. But because of his position in the Sanhedrin, he met with Jesus in the middle of the night.
Nicodemus could not understand when Jesus insisted that one must be born again. He believed that if one conducted his life according to the law and to the best of his ability, he would surely gain entrance into heaven. Many people today are like that. Like Nicodemus, they are moral, they do good works, they compare themselves to others, and as a result feel pretty good. They reason, somehow this living, gracious, wonderful God will make it possible for all of us to go to heaven. But, this is entirely false. Jesus made it very clear to Nicodemus that one must be born again. To be born again is to ultimately answer the question that God would ask of you, “What have you done with my Son, Jesus?”
Our sin separates us from God. Being good cannot ever begin to close that gap. No matter how hard we try, we will have that sin nature to contend with. We can change physical habits and tendencies but the sin nature is a spiritual thing that can only be changed by God. We can never perform well enough to be acceptable to God.
It is only when we accept that Jesus was the son of God, that he came to earth as a man, that he took our sin nature and all its consequences and paid the penalty for those consequences, and was resurrected and ascended to heaven to rule with God can we understand being born again. Then the soul and spirit are radically changed forever. We experience a regeneration, a giving of divine life to our spirit.”
August 28th, 2016 by Murray Markert
Quote from footnotes of the Living Life Bible
“‘What Jesus taught and what He did are tied inseperably to who He is. Jesus was fully human and fully God. Although Jesus took upon Himself full humanity and lived as a man, He never ceased to be the eternal God who has always existed, the creator and sustainer of all things, and the source of eternal life. This is the truth about Jesus, and the foundation of all truth. If we cannot or do not believe this basic truth, we will not have enough faith to trust our eternal destiny to Him. Jesus Christ was and is the Son of God.’
It is communion time; a time to be in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ to partake of these elements. The bread which represents Jesus’ body and the wine (juice) which represents Jesus’ blood was poured out to enable the forgiveness of sin. It is time to come to the Lord to share your inner most thoughts and concerns. It is time to ask Him those questions of why – why did this happen? -why me? – and what can I do? It is time to have a conversation with the Son of God who was present at creation. It is time to give thanks to Him for His part in our lives and for paying the ultimate price. For dying on the cross and shedding His blood so we can spend eternity with HIm.”
August 21st, 2016 by Ken Hartung
John 5:23 “…“Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed. 21For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.
“Here in John 5:23 we have the reason God has given authority to His Son to raise the dead and to judge the world. The reason is so that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. This is a most important statement, and one of the clearest proofs in the Bible of the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Throughout the Bible we are taught that God alone is to be worshiped. In the Ten Commandments, the people were forbidden to have any god but the one true God. Now we are taught that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. The only conclusion we can come to from this verse is that Jesus Christ is God.
Many people claim to worship God, but deny that Jesus Christ is God. They say that He was a good man or more godlike than any other man who every lived. But this verse puts Him on an absolute equality with God, and requires that men should give Him the same honor which they give to God the Father. If a person does not honor the Son, then he does not honor the Father. It is useless to claim a love for God if one does not have the same love for Lord Jesus Christ. If you have never realized before who Jesus Christ is, then ponder this verse carefully. Remember that this is the Word of God, and accept the glorious truth that Jesus Christ is God manifest in the flesh.” (MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. (1997). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments (Jn 5:23). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.)
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. 25Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.
28“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.30By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”
August 14th, 2016 by Allen Webber
“Last week Ken was using the 46th Psalm to preach a message on the ever present help the Lord can provide in a time of need. He used an example of a personal experience in his life concerning a bad financial decision he had made and the comfort he got from this Psalm. One of the most common sources of trouble and grief in our lives tends to be centred around money but paradoxically, we need money to carry on commerce. In many places in Scripture, there are examples of how the pursuit of money can cloud your vision if God is not involved.
So I found it interesting the parallels I could draw between the experience Ken had and a situation I had concerning a bad financial decision I made. It caused similar amounts of grief, stress and sleepless nights. I also found solace in the Psalms but it was Psalm 91 that brought me release. So I am going to read a portion of that Psalm for communion.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust!” For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper and from the deadly pestilence. He wll cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and a bulwark.
For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, that you do not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you will trample down.
This next part is in quotations indicating it is a response from God. “Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name. He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honour him. With a long life I will satisfy him and let him see my salvation.”
July 31st, 2016 given by Ken Hartung
“Grace at the Communion Table
And the man did as Joseph bade; and the man brought the men into Joseph’s house. And the men were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph’s house; and they said, Because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time are we brought in; that he may seek occasion against us, and all upon us, and take us for bondmen, and our donkeys. Genesis 43:17-18
“Oh, no!” said Joseph’s brothers. “He’s calling us to his table because he wants to send us away as prisoners-and take our donkeys, too.”
People still have this view of the Greater than Joseph, Jesus Christ. People still say, “I’ve blown it so badly; I’ve erred so greatly; I know the Lord will yet at me, put chains around me, and take my donkey from me if I come to His house.”
Not true! Even though these guys had sinned greatly, they will discover incredible grace and unbelievable mercy because Joseph is a picture of Jesus, and where sin abounds His grace abounds more (Romans 5:20). When you are aware of your failings, your weakness, your inconsistencies, your stubbornness, rebellion, and sin, there’s a tendency to say, “I can’t go to church because I know Jesus is mad at me. If I go, I’ll be bound with rules and regulations; I’ll be sent away to the prison of condemnation; and on top of all that, I’ll lose my donkey.”
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8,9
Through Isaiah, God says, “When someone offends you, is mean or nasty to you, I know your ways and your thoughts center on one thing: Revenge. But I don’t think like you do. Therefore, I don’t work like you do,” declares God.
We need to realize how much different the Lord is than we are in our fallen condition, in our depraved nature. God is good, declares the psalmist (Psalm 73:1). He’s just flat out, plain old good-looking for ways not to blast, but to bless.
Some people are afraid to go to the Lord’s Table. On the basis of 1 Corinthians 11:29, they’ve been wrongly taught that if there’s sin in their life and they partake of the elements of Communion, they will do so to their own damnation But that’s like saying to someone who’s sick, “Before you go to the doctor, get well. Before you go to the hospital, make sure there are no germs within you.” No, we go to the doctor because we’re sick. We go to the hospital because we have a problem. So, too, we go to the Lord’s Table because we realize we’re sinners-for it is at the Lord’s Table that we are reminded of the work Jesus did on our behalf when He shed His blood to cleanse us from our sin.
Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians regarding Communion speaks volumes about how the early churdh viewed the Lord’s Table. They didn’t view it with the somber, heavy, fearful, introspective mentality that has crept into Protestant theology. They viewed it as a celebration to such a degree that Paul had to caution against drunkenness (1 Corinthians 11:21).
Even though his brothers had blown it incredibly, Joseph says, “Get the meat ready! It’s time to feast with my family!”
Courson Application Commentary, Old Testament Volume 1 (Genesis-Job)
July 17th, 2016 by Murray Markert
“They say that the salvage value of the human body is only worth about seven dollars and change and if we adjust that we might make $10 Canadian. Of course that will greatly depend on the number of gold fillings you have. In all seriousness, that is from a morbid human perspective and we are here to talk about eternal things this morning. The Communion Thought this morning is based on John 4:13-15; the Samaritan Women at the Well.
Humans are an unique combination of dust and spirit. Our bodies need to the physical nourishment of food and water and so our soul needs to be nourished as well. At the heart of Christianity is the story of Jesus taking on flesh and blood, coming to live with us, offering physical healing as well as spiritual restoration.
We tend to be like the Samaritan woman at the well-somewhat lost-focusing more on our physical needs and desires while at the same time our souls are yearning to be fed. This can lead to committing physical sin and we cannot commit physical sin without damaging our souls. Feeding our physical body is only temporary; feeding our souls with living water-which can only be offered by Jesus-leads to an eternal foundations, a spring, a flowing well of understanding, of contentment, of where our physical life is leading.
“This is not to say that Christ came to take away our challenges but rather to empower us to deal with problems from God’s perspective!”
Christ came to us flesh and blood to sacrifice Himself on the cross so even though we will commit sin-through our faith in Him, we will be presentable to God the Father.
When we eat and drink of these emblems, let us remember the living water He has offered us to satisfy our souls. Because Jesus conquered death, our souls will be satisfied for eternity.”
July 10th, 2016 by Allen Webber
“I am going to use part of a verse from Proverbs, chapter 30 and it starts out like this, “There are three things that are never satisfied, four that never say, ‘Enough!'” One of these examples happen to be, “land, which is never satisfied with water.”
I think farmers can appreciate the most the effects of the relationship between moisture and drought. We tend to watch this process on a daily basis right from planting through to harvest and to a lesser degree beyond that. Some of us have been through these cycles of feast and famine a few times in our careers. So when you are watching one of these drought cycles you are aware of abnormal characteristics in so many things. Grass tends to curl up and have a faded bluish green hew. Tree leaves are not as large and also curl up. Cows are trying to find something to eat but tend to lay down more trying to conserve energy. The sky has a brownish blue appearance to it. Even when you drive down the road there seems to be two or three times the dust necessary to get the job done. Everything has this dirty, filthy quality about it.
About two weeks ago I was in the shop which is somewhat of a sanctuary for me and there was a forecast for a reasonable amount of rain. And in about a half hour duration we received.4″. When it was finished and I walked out of the shop I think the first thing that hit me was the smell. The air is crisp and clean and it feels good to take a deep breath. There is a rainbow in the east. The leaves on the trees have started to shimmer and shine. The birds are noisier as they preen and play in the puddles. You take a panoramic view of what is before you and say, “Man that was sure nice!” So we went from what seemed like a life threatening drought to a life sustaining abundance.
And then it struck me. This is how grace works. We are born in a drought with this sin nature. We wallow and languish in the things this world has to offer, all the while thinking and believing it is nourishment, but always feeling short of expectations, much like a drought.
And then, one day, the Holy Spirit, at His choosing, gave us a gift, a life sustaining gift, that broke the drought and gave us abundance. That gift came by way of Jesus Christ. And we celebrate that gift in this communion.”
July 3rd, 2016 by Ken Hartung
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the comic powers overs this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12
Is Islam Compatible with Christianity?
” As with all world religions, there are tremendous differences between the Biblical Christianity and Islam. A close examination of the two faiths will find their beliefs to be incompatible.
Mohammed claimed that the revelations given him by God were infallible, thus making the Quran the standard by which the other Scriptures are to be tested. However, the mere claim to revelations is meaningless unless backed up by some kind of adequate evidence.
The evidence for the inspiration and historical reliability of the Bible is overwhelming, while evidence for the infallibility of the Quran is lacking.
Mohammed also asserted that the Gospel portrait of Jesus is incorrect, while the proper view was revealed to him by God. The Moselm thus believes the report in the Quran of the life of Jesus, rather than the New Testament account.
The Jesus who is revealed in the Quran is not the same Jesus who is portrayed in the Gospels. Both accounts cannot be true at the same time.
In any event, the teachings of Christianity and Islam cannot be reconciled. The Quran is in direct conflict with the Scriptures on the character of Jesus Christ. “Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, was no more than an apostle of God” (Sura 19:92).
Furthermore, the Quran states that Jesus is a prophet only to the nation of Israel, while Mohammed is the last and greatest prophet to the whole world.
Contrast that with the Biblical view of Jesus Christ, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1, KJV), “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9, RSV), “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Matthew 16:16, MLVB), “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3, NASB).
The Quran, speaking of the death of Christ, states, “They neither killed nor crucified him; it had only the appearance of it.”
The New Testament, however, makes the mode of Jesus’ death very clear: “And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him” (Luke 23:33, KJV), “and when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost” (Luke 23:46, KJV).
The Bible teaches that Jesus was the virgin-born Son of Mary, God in human flesh. “And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus'” (Luke 1:30, 31, RSV); “And the angel answered and said to her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore that holy Offspring will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35, MLVB).
Islam teaches that Jesus was born miraculously from Mary but they do not believe in the Biblical virgin birth. They believe that, as Adam was created from the earth, Jesus was created by God in the womb of Mary. They say He is not a god or the Son of God. Although this would be a miraculous conception, it is not the same as the Biblical virgin birth.
Islam teaches salvation by works: “They whose balances shall be heavy shall be blest. But they whose balances shall be light, they shall lose their soul, abiding in hell forever” (Sura 13:102-140). Thus if the scale tips in favor of good works, the Moslem will reach paradise, but if this is not the case then he will be banished to hell.
The Bible teaches a salvation by grace, through faith and not of works. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that no of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast” (Ephesians 2:8, 9 NASB), “Not by works of righteousness which have been done, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:5, KJV).
A major problem with accepting Mohammed’s account is that his testimony is 600 years after the events occurred, while the New Testament contains eyewitness of first hand testimony of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Jesus made the distinction very clear, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him who he has sent” (John 6:29, RSV).” (Answers to Tough Questions Josh McDowell and Don Stewart; 1993)
June 19th, 2016 by Allen Webber
“We hear on a daily basis about things that are happening in the world that cause us to shake our heads in disbelief, disgust, terror and even resignation. One day we hear how brutal and horrific mankind can be only to wake up the next morning to find these limits have been exceeded and new one have been established. We need only to research off the well beaten path of mainstream media to find examples of this.
On the home front we tend to have an air of complacency that says it won’t happen here. But in fact it is. In the big cities of Calgary or Edmonton or right down to Vulcan, we are constantly dealing with what boils down to issues of morality that keep pushing the limits of what we believe. And every group wants their day in the sun. When one is accomodated, another jumps into the spotlight demanding equality.
And I fear we are only going to see these atrocities increase in volume and degree.
So I thought as a respite from the barrage and onslaught from what the world has to offer, I would read a passage from Colossians about what we celebrate when we partake of communion. We read about Jesus Christ, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”
“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation-if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.””
June 12th, 2016 Allen Webber based on Jon Morissette’s May 12, 2002 message on Lakeside Christian Church
“If you look up the word communion in a thesaurus you will also see other synonyms – empathy, close association, union and relationship. The Lord’s Supper is synonymous with relationship. It is all about having empathy with our Lord and Saviour, understanding his passionate love for us, understanding his sacrifice, his forgiveness, his life, and his death. The Lord’s Supper is all about our close association with Jesus Christ. We are God’s children. Jesus is our life, our identity, our hope, our future, our destiny, and our purpose. The Lord’s Supper is also about our union. We have become united with him in his death, burial, and resurrection. Communion reminds us that we have been united with someone eternal who transcends life, who has conquered death, and who promises us an eternal hope.
The Lord’s Supper is not playtime for the Christian believer. It is not a time for traditionalism or blind ritualism. Communion is not a religious formality that we subject ourselves to in order to appease God or to fulfill some obligation or duty. The Lord’s Supper is not an isolated act of worship that constitutes the full requirement of all God’s desires for our lives.
When we look at the cross, we are aware of a vertical piece and a horizontal piece. The vertical piece should cause us to consider our relationship with Jesus Christ. Am I saved by faith in Jesus Christ’s work on the cross? Am I a believer? Have I repented of sin and turned to God? Do I confess him as Lord and Saviour from my heart? Am I living in obedience by his Holy Spirit? Do I know Christ’s forgiveness, his unconditional love, his mercy and his grace?
The horizontal piece should cause us to consider our relationship with the physical body of Jesus Christ on earth – the church. Am I forsaking his body by skipping times of worship, by neglecting times of fellowship, or by avoiding my brothers and sisters in Christ? Am I injecting disunity in the body through gossip, malicious slander, idle chatter, etc.? Am I being inconsiderate or considerate of others? Am I being judgmental of others or am I judging myself?
There is a great list of questions you can ask yourself concerning what you are or aren’t doing for the body of Christ, but it all boils down to this fundamental question. Do I show the same love and forgiveness, grace and mercy to others that Jesus Christ has shown to me?”
June 5, 2016 Murray Markert
“Listening to an after game interview of a Stanley cup playoff game with a defenceman who had just scored the winning goal. He said he didn’t have to worry about leading a rush because his defensive partner “had his back”. Quite often watching police shows on TV one partner will tell the other partner in a difficult situation “I have your back”. Even in our daily lives someone might say “I’ve got your back” or you just know someone is there when the going gets tough. As reassuring as this is at the time, we all know these situations are only temporary.
At the end of the Great Commission, Jesus tells us that He will be with us always to the very end of the age. He also says He will be with us in all situations. We could say that Jesus has our back, but it goes beyond that. He has our right, our left, our bottom and our top. Sometimes we might question whether He has our front because He places difficult situations in front of us that are not always easy to navigate. But this is only done to help us get to our end goal of sitting in the presence of our Lord and Savior. Besides all of this and probably most important of all, Christ has our inner most being. He has our soul!
Throughout Scripture, it tells us that Christ is sitting at the right hand of God the Father, interceding on our behalf. Through His broken body and His shed blood that washes us white a snow, we will be presentable to God the Father as we enter eternity.”
May 29th, 2016 lead by Pastor Dave: Matthew 26:26-29
26While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” 27And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. 29“But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
May 22nd, 2016 by Allen Webber ” A Thorn in the Flesh”
“Every once in a while, in conversation, the topic of Paul’s thorn in the flesh has come up. In 2 Corinthians, he calls it a “messenger of Satan” that has a purpose of torment. Many explanations have been put forward, many sermons have been preached, many documents have been written on what that thorn in the flesh could have been. It doesn’t seem logical that it was a literal thorn in the flesh as that would always be subject to infection and disease. Some of the more popular theories include temptations, a chronic eye problem, malaria, migraines, epilepsy, and even a speech disability. No one can say for sure but it was a source of real pain.
But Paul does give us a hint as to its purpose Further in Corinthians, we read, “To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given a thorn in my flesh…” Now Paul had good reason to be conceited. He was a brilliant scholar. He was a Pharisee’s Pharisee. He knew the Old Testament inside and out, frontwards and backwards with all the twists and nuances. He knew the letter of the law. At his conversion on the road to Damascus, he would not have lost any of that head knowledge, and I believe that God would start to give him special revelations into the gospel of Jesus Christ. He also wrote a large portion of the New Testament. These sort of things could allow one to become conceited and puffed up.
Paul pleaded with the Lord three times to remove it. After all, no one likes pain. But Go said, “No, My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in your weakness.” Just think of what Paul’s ministry could have been like without pain. He could have had a more effective ministry, he could have reached more people, and he could have glorified God even more. But the Lord was more concerned with building Paul’s character and preventing pride And in the end, Paul’s ministry was exactly what God had in mind.
The exact nature of Paul’s thorn in the flesh is uncertain. And that is for a very good reason. God wanted it described in general enough terms to apply to any difficulty we might have today. Whether the thorn we struggle with today is physical, emotional or spiritual, we can know that God has a purpose and that His grace is all-sufficient.
Now what does all this have to do with communion? Communion is most assuredly not from Satan and it is in no means painful. But it can serve as a “thorn in the flesh”, a constant reminder that always brings us to Jesus Christ in humility, understanding grace and mercy, understanding the hold that sin nature has on mankind and the price that was paid to remove that curse. It is very easy to get conceited and puffed up in what we do and what we know and for me, communion is one reality check that I need in my journey with God.”
May 15th, 2016 by Brian Markert
Jacob, the son of Isaac who was the son of Abraham, had twelve sons. The youngest of the twelve was Joseph, whom Jacob loved more than the rest, and made it quite obvious. This made the rest of the brothers jealous and they plotted against him. Joseph’s brothers wanted to kill him but instead sold him into slavery, and tricked their father into thinking that a beast killed him.
Joseph was sold as a slave to Potiphar, an official of Pharaoh. God’s blessing was on everything Joseph touched and soon he was put in charge of Potiphar’s household. Then Potiphar’s wife wanted Joseph but he wouldn’t have anything to do with it. She accused him of attempting to rape her and he got thrown into prison.
While in prison he was still blessed and he was put in charge of the prison. God gave him the gift to interpret dreams and eventually this gift put him working for Pharaoh and in charge of the countries food supply. There was a famine in all of the areas around Egypt. The only food available was under Joseph’s control. Joseph’s brothers were forced to travel to Egypt to buy food. They didn’t know they were buying it from their youngest brother that they sold into slavery.
This became a pattern in Joseph’s life. A person of prominence favored him but because of other’s selfishness he would fall from that point and have to climb back to the top. Now Joseph had every reason to be bitter and those who hurt him through his life. The list was long. Instead, every time he fell from his position he worked hard where he was, trusted in God and as a result allowed God to work through him
Joseph responded with forgiveness and mercy to his brothers who probably deserved enslavement.
Jesus descended from heaven to a world full of sin. The only reason was to give us eternal life in heaven through the forgiveness of our sins because of his sacrificial death.
May 8th, 2016 by Allen Webber “Mother’s Day”
“On Mother’s Day, we proudly embrace our mothers and say, “This is the one who gave me life. This is the one without whom I would exist. This is the one who has nurtured and cared for me, who loves me, who sacrificed so much, and who always wanted the best for me”.
In the very least, Mother’s Day gives us a point of reference of understanding what it means to be vitally linked or indebted to the life of another. Without our mothers, none of us could enjoy the life we live. But without Jesus, none of us could have or enjoy eternal life with God in His kingdom. Without our mother’s sacrifice, we could not exist in this life. We’d have nothing. Without Jesus’ sacrifice, we could not exist in eternity. We would be lost. Through our mother’s nurturing and love, we’ve become what we are today. Through Christ’s love and nurturing, we are becoming all that God intends us to become.
In communion, we become acutely aware of our relationship with Jesus Christ. In communion, Jesus Christ’s presence becomes very real to us. In communion, precious and vivid memories are conjured up of a life that was sacrificed on our behalf, in another place, some 2000 years ago. As much as we pick this day to honour our mothers, it is critically more important to pick every day, every second, every breath to praise and honour God through Jesus Christ.”
May 1st, 2016 by Murray Markert “I Saw God this Week!”
“My lawn is desperately trying to turn green this week with the moisture that was provided. Our two Canadian geese have been guided back and are flying patrol over our yard. Landing on roof tops making sure that we all know they have returned. Our crab apple trees are on the verge of full bloom declaring that spring is upon us. All this is orchestrated by God’s hand.
I was under the weather this week but some how the body knows how to fight off what is making us ill and some how restores us to good health. By chance this happens? I don’t think so. By design by our Creator is where I would bet my life.
This week I saw my children through my eyes become adults and my grandchildren turn into little people just as God has planned for things to transfer from generation to generation. Seeing God’s hand in my life this week – He continues to give me assurance of His plan for me, His love for me and the gracious gift of His Son Jesus Christ who died on a cross and shed His blood so some day I will be able to sit in His presence with all who proclaim Him Lord and Savior.
When we partake of this bread, we are reminded of His death. When we drink of this cup, we think of the blood He shed so we could be cleansed of our sins.”
April 17th by Brian Markert “Seeing God Beyond our Troubles”
God had just led the Israelites out of Egypt. They had witnessed the plagues brought down on Egypt, been led by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. God then split the Red Sea so that they could cross safely on dry ground only to swallow up and destroy the Egyptians that were pursuing them.
Right then and there it would be pretty easy to know God has a plan for you. They praised God.
In your unfailing love you will lead
the people you have redeemed.
In your strength you will guide them
to your holy dwelling.
The Israelites lost their focus pretty quickly when they were thirsty and hungry
3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”
If they had stayed in Egypt where they had enough food, they never would have seen the awesome power and splendor of their God.
As we prepare for communion pray to God that we aren’t so focused on our daily problems that we can’t stand in awe of God’s awesome plan for his people. Pray like David
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
April 10th, 2016 by Murray Markert
“Pastor Dave mentioned Bill 10 last week and that people have concerns over it. In talking to a lot of people about it, my take on Bill 10 is that people are fearful of the outcome on the next generation of kids going through the school system and the fact the government is trying to impose questionable regulations on our educators. The end result is that people are fearful of what is to come – they are fearful of the future.
Let’s go back in time 40-50 years. The world was in the midst of a nuclear arms build up which coincided with the escalating cold war. As well, the Vietnam War was raging as well. Some of you here are probably too young to remember the Archie Bunker Show. It was a satirical comedy series that incorporated the events of the day into its program. In one of the episodes, Archie was badgering his son-in-law Mike and his daughter Gloria about not giving him a granchild. It came out that Mike and Gloria were fearful of bringing a child into the world that seemed intent on destroying itself. This was not an uncommon thought at the time.
Now let’s go back to 79 AD and what was happening back then. Christ had been crucified 46 years prior. Rome was destroyed by fire in 64 AD. Nero had managed to pass the blame for the fire onto the Christians of the day and was having them dipped in oil and and burnt on lamp posts to light his gardens in the evening. During this upheaval, the apostles Peter and Paul were put to death. In Rome, the apostle John was still alive.
In 79 AD with the erruption of Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii was covered by 20′ of volcanic ash. I was in Montreal for meetings a few weeks back and we had an afternoon off, so we happened to go to the Museum of Fine Arts and the exhibit of Pompeii happened to be on display. It was incredible – like walking back in time 2000 years. Paintings and sculptures that looked like they had just been completed depicted what life was like. I could go on about what I saw but to summarize quickly even Archie Bunker himself would have been fearful of having a child had he lived in Pompeii in 79 AD.
All those years since the time of Christ, the man, walked the earth to the present. There have been fearful situations to be faced. We will continue to face hardships into the future. We can overcome our fears when we remember who God is, what He has done, what He can do and who we are because of the love of Jesus Christ. So when we partake of these elements, let’s remember that Christ has assured us He will never leave us.”
April 3rd, 2016 read by Allen Webber
“The Eyes of Jesus by Tom Claibourne
Jesus’ eyes would have been the same as ours, but He wouldn’t have always seens things as we do. He could see things from an eternal perspective. So, when Jesus walked ot of Nazareth to begin his ministry, He would see things that we do not see. He could see the Spiritual battle that rages between God’s angelic hosts and satan’s demonic forces. Jesus could see people’s hearts, along with their needs and potential.
At the well, when others saw a filthy sinful woman, Jesus saw a woman who had taken some wrong turns in life who needed grace and guidance. He lovingly called her to repentance.
When others saw a brash, wealthy young man, Jesus saw a man who could be greatly used by God if he rearranged his priorities. Mark 10:21 records that “Jesus looked at him and loved him.”
When other people looked at Simon Peter, they saw a mouthy fisherman, but Jesus saw a man who could become a “rock”.
At His last Passover supper, Jesus looked at the simple bread and wine and saw a representation of His own sacrificial death less than 24 hours later.
His eyes looked with pity, conviction, and compassion on those who played a part in His arrest, abuse, and excruciating death – Judas, the soldiers, Pilate, the fickle crowd, even the hypocritical religious leaders. His eyes filled with disappointment when He looked into Peter’s tearful eyes following the three denials.
His eyes were filled with tenderness as He looked down from the cross at His mother and His friend John.
Still, Jesus’ eyes saw far beyond the darkness of Calvary to what His death and resurrection would accomplish for those who choose to see things His way and follow Him. A contemporary Christian song expresses this thought. “When He was on the cross, we were on His mind.” Jesus saw us and He still died for us!”
So as we partake of this communion, “let us fix our eyes on Jesus,, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
March 20, 2016 by Murray Markert
“My morning communion thought is not really a thought. It is a lot of facts pieced together to give us knowledge to better undertand phrases like: washed in the blood of Jesus; the lamb of God; justified by His blood; and there is a song “There is Power in the Blood” and the list goes on.
To fully understand all these phrases we need to have the knowledge of why they are used and how they came to be used. Blood carries food and oxygen to all parts of the body and brings back waste material. It’s above all other parts of the body; it is vital to life. We can lose a limb, lose our sight or our hearing, we can break bones, puncture a lung, we can be brain dead and still be alive, but if we lose our blood, life as we know it ends.
God is the sovereign Judge of the universe and He is absolutely holy. As the Holy Judge of all, He condemns sin and judges it worthy of death. In the Old Testament, God accepted the death of an animal as the substitute for the sinner’s. Then animals’ shed blood was that; one life had been given for another. So on one hand, blood symbolized the death of the animal, but on the other hand it symbolized the life that was spared as a result. God’s forgiveness was based on the faith of the person doing the sacrificing.
We move forward to the Passover. The last plague that God inflicted on Pharaoh and the Egyptians before the Israelites fled Egypt was the plague of the first born. The first born child and the first born animal would die. For the Jews to prevent that from happening to them, they had to put the blood of an unblemished lamb around the door frame of their houses on the night of the Passover. In killing the lamb, the Israelites shed innocent blood. The lamb was a sacrifice, a substitute for the person who would have died in the plague. From this point on the Hebrew people would clearly understand that for them to be spared from death, an innocent life had to be sacrificed in their place. This was the foreshadow of the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God who have His blood for the sins of His people.
Move forward to the new covenant. Jesus went to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover with His disciples which turned out to be the last supper. Jesus was betrayed by Judas and ended up being sacrificed on a cross and shedding His blood for all mankind. Jesus is the sinless Lamb of God and all sufficient sacrifice for sin. His blood was shed once on a cross in a never to be repeated act for man’s redemption. Jesus is our Passover Lamb.
March 13, 2016 by Brian Markert
John 4:11-12 “‘Sir,’ the woman said, ‘you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our Father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?'”
“…We limit the Holy One by remembering what we have allowed Him to do for us in the past, and by saying, “Of course I cannot expect God to do this thing.” The thing that taxes almightiness is the very thing which we as disciples of Jesus ought to believe He will do. We impoverish His ministry the moment we forget He is Almighty. We will come to Jesus as Comforter or as Sympathizer, but we will not come to Him as Almighty.” (Oswald Chambers “My Utmost for His Highest, February 27)
March 6, 2016 Unscheduled Love
February 28, 2016 by Allen Webber
How many times have we heard,how many books have been written, how many talks have been given on the subject of why do bad things happen to good people? The question suggests that if we believe the right things, if we say the right things, if we do the right things-bascially conduct our lives according to good works, it is incomprehensible to think that anything other than good should ever happen to us. But, in fact, that is not the case. Bad things can and do happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. It is a result of the nature of mankind being at enmity with the nature of God. The world would have us believe that we are born basically good, but only through circumstances in our birth, our environment, and our experience, bad things befall us or we cause bad things to happen.
But Scripture paints a completely different picture of the nature of mankind. In Mark 10:18 Jesus says, “No one is good – except God alone.” And in Romans 3:23, we find, “all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.”
So, how do we get to the Glory of God? Is there something we can say, or do, or boast about that will garner us favour with the Lord? Absolutely not! Only through a relationship with Jesus Christ can ‘man’s nature’, that we are born with, be covered over and a true fellowship with God happen. And that is the purpose of our communion – to remember Jesus Christ and the price He paid to bring us to God.
February 21, 2016 by Murray Markert
What a wonderful opportunity we have this morning to come to the Lord’s table and partake in these elements; the bread and the wine. Behind me is a cross which represents the cross Christ was crucified on. If you would imagine for a moment Christ hanging there just having breathed His last breath and a Roman soldier taking his lance and piercing Jesus’ side, would be a terrible thought to hold but we know that Christ conquered death three days later. Though not a bone was broken on Jesus’ body, the bread we are about to partake in represents Christ’s body which was given for us; each one of us as a sacrifice for our sins once and for all. The cup which we are about to drink from represents Christ’s blood which was shed to wash our sins away.
When we eat this bread and drink this cup, it reminds us of Jesus’ sacrifice and through that sacrifice we can come directly to God and He will hear us, through our faith in Him. It also reminds us that our friendship with Jesus will continue through the work of the Holy Spirit.
So as we come to the communion table this morning, it is a time to have an intimate conversation with God. A time to give thanks to Jesus for His sacrfiice and to tell Him of our gratitude for what He has done, is doing, and will do. It is time to ask for forgiveness of our transgressions. It is a time to talk about concerns and problems we have encountered. It is time to talk to Him about the joy He has given us by giving us meaning and purpose in our lives. Because it is an intimate conversation between you and the Lord it is really up to you what you commune with the living Lord about. As we prepare for communion as a body of believers, let us say the Lord’s Prayer together.
February 14, 2016 by Allen Webber
So, today is Valentine’s Day. A day that is third, behind Christmas and Mother’s Day/Father’s Day in spending for gifts. It is unclear the exact origin of Valentine’s Day. Some say it is a pagan holiday. Some say it can be traced to a St. Valentine. The first Valentine card was made in 1415 by a British duke writing to his wife while he was imprisoned in the tower of London. It has gradually evolved from very humble beginnings nonetheless, into a full blown festival of giving and celebration in the expression of love. Many millions have been spent on cards, flowers, chocolate, jewelry, trips, and on and on, all to express the love bond that one has to their spouse or loved one. But Valentine’s Day should just be a reminder of what needs to be done daily, not just once a year.
So what is love. Love cannot be defined by the same parameters as you would if you were describing a rock or a pencil or a book-things that you can see, touch, or measure. Love is an expression from the inner soul of man. The first expression of love was from God Himself. Out of love He created the heavens and earth, seasons, time and gravitational waves that we have heard about this week. But most importantly, out of love, He created you and me, in His image. And, with that He gave us love and the ability to express love.
We need to go to I Corinthians 13:4-7 to learn how God’s Word relates to love and the expression of love. Many of you might have used these words at your wedding. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perserves.”
I believe that a successful marriage can only be strong when there is three parts to the relationship-two spouses and Jesus Christ. So I would like to issue a challenge to the married couples here, to go home and read to your spouse two verses from the Bible as your expression of love and commitment to your relationship. Those two verses are Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Jesus Christ our Lord.
January 24, 2016 by Murray Markert
When you stop to think about it, a marriage and our relationship with Christ have a lot of similarities. In a marriage, there is a constant change from the time you say ‘I do’, to its present stage. From learning to live together and sharing your life, to raising kids, to sending the kids out on their own, to changing financial situations, to changing perspectives on how you view the world to changing spiritual perspectives and to plans for your golden years. To deal with these changes, we are on a constant learning curve and there will be a time along the way when you have thought that you have learned enough.
When you say for the first time ‘I do’ accept Christ as my Lord and Savior, if you were anything like me, you had no idea about the door you were opening. From learning the depths of who God is, to learning about God’s grace, to learning about forgiveness, and to comprehend God’s love and trying to apply it in our lives. To deal with these changes is just like in a marriage, you are on a constant learning curve. There will also be times when you feel you have just learned enough. Lynne will tease me when I pray for wisdom; about just getting another problem to solve.
Our relationship with Jesus is something that is ongoing and constantly changing. If we look at the lives of His disciples, it is apparent the way things can change and that change is not always what we would call comfortable. However, throughout everything that is going on around us, God is constant. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Yet God expects change deep down inside us and He waits patiently for it to occur as we learn to be more Christ like. Whatever pathway we are on, God knows we will never totally get to the end to be Christ like. So in His patience and grace, He sent His Son to be crucified. His body was broken and His blood was shed and three days later He had conquered death. So, on our first change, when our mortal life ends, He will send us to eternity in His presence.
January 17, 2016 by Allen Webber
Last week Pastor Dave started a series of messages on the Holy Spirit. I thought it would be appropriate to bring in some aspects of the Holy Spirit to the communion. I want to start by reading from the Gospel of John, chapter 14, verses 16 and 17. “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you.” And again in verse 26, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you.”
At communion we remember and celebrate what Jesus Christ did on the cross on our behalves. But we can also take time to remember the role of the Holy Spirit as well. I am going to use some of Pastor Dave’s notes from last week to bring out some points. In John 3:5 we see, in part “the Spirit gives birth to the spirit”. It is the Holy Spirit that first awakens our hearts and minds to God and His qualities as well as to our relationship to God and our sin. One aspect of our nature that we are born with is the notion that we are our own god. Do you remember the verse back in Genesis where Satan is telling Adam and Eve that if you eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, you can become like God? The Holy Spirit helps us understand that God is the creator and we are created.
We have scriptures that to some are foolish words on a page. But through the Holy Spirit, they come alive with knowledge and wisdom.
Every day we hear news from all corners of the world that makes us wonder about the future of civilization But the Holy Spirit can give us a sense of assurance that God has things in control.
It is the Holy Spirit that helps us to conduct our lives in a manner that is worthy of being called a Christian. And it is the Holy Spirit that convicts us of any action that would be against God and most likely not in our best interest.
To be able to worship God in a manner that would be pleasing to Him is impossible. But the Holy Spirit can and will and does teach us how to do that.
To fully understand what Jesus Christ did on our behalf will take a lifetime but the Holy Spirit will help us with that too. These two little items that we are about to consume are practically worthless in and of themselves. But at the last supper Jesus used them to remind us of what He was doing and has done for mankind.
I just want to close with this I recently read a ‘fridge magnet’ philosophy on the difference between grace and mercy. Grace is getting something we don’t deserve-mercy is not getting something we do deserve.
December 27th, 2015 by Allen Webber
The Lamb of God
The gospel of Luke gives the most descriptive account of the birth of Jesus Christ. It has since evolved from 20 verses of Scripture about very humble and barren beginnings to varying degrees of pageantry and ceremony – some quite humble as we see in small churches to others that are rather lavish with their ceremony and pageantry.
But Scripture only mentions sheep and shepherds. No cows, horses, camels or donkeys. So why only sheep? Most sheep were raised for their wool and for meat. But many scholars agree that around Jerusalem, the flocks of sheep had a third more important purpose. And that was for sacrifice.
Every day, two one year old ram lambs were offered in temple worship, one in the morning and one in the evening. Also, many special occasions required the offering of a ram or a lamb. Most significant of all though, was the Passover Feast. During this time, every family sacrificed a lamb. It has been suggested that over 200,000 lambs were offered at Passover every year.
So where did these lambs come from? Probably flocks closer to Jerusalem and then branching out to various towns surrounding Jerusalem – Bethlehem being one of them. Many of these flocks were probably property of the priests and therefore were destined to be used for sacrifice. They were born to die. They were born to shed their blood on the temple altar, as a symbol of atonement for the sins of the people of Israel.
How appropriate then when we consider the baby Jesus, born in sheep country, in a barn, and laid in a feed trough for a bed. This gives new meaning to the phrase ‘Jesus is the Lamb of God’. For this is the very reason He was born. He was born to die – to die on an altar in the form of the cross, to take upon Him the sins of the whole world. He was born to be the ultimate Passover Lamb.
November 29th, 2015 by Allen Webber
“Matthew 26:20-22 says, “When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, He said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.” They were very sad and began to say to Him one after the other, “surely not I, Lord?”” Scripture following tells us that this phrase, ‘surely not I, Lord’ made its way around the entire table. They were probably quite stunned that Jesus would say such a thing. And innocently enough for these disciples, they were quite sad that they might do something to betray Jesus.
Scripture doesn’t say definitively whether or not Judas had any knowledge of the betrayal at this point. The shock and dismay displayed by the disciples seems to be equal for all. There are two possible scenarios. Judas might have been completely innocent of the betrayal conspiracy at this point and those events still had time to unfold in the remaining few hours of Jesus’ life. Or this could have been planned out for the most part ahead of the last supper and Judas was a good liar.
In either case, the point I would like to bring out is this. Can you imagine the broken heart of Jesus, the sadness, when He pointed His finger at Judas an said, “Judas, it is you”? There wasn’t any hate or malice in Jesus’ heart, but hurt and sorrow. After all, Judas was part of this group of men – a friend of Jesus.
It has been said that the saddest words in the Bible are, “and they crucified Him” (Matthew 27:35). I would like to offer a close second choice might be “surely, not I, Lord?” (Matthew 26:22) As part of the research for this communion thought, I came across these few sentences. The cruelest nails ever driven were not those driven into His hands and feet, but those driven into His heart by His friends. That still goes for His followers today. That upper room question is still appropriate for us to ask today in this communion. “Surely, not I, Lord?”
November 15th, 2015 by Allen Webber
“I have borrowed this communion thought from a fellow by the name of Jon Morrissette. I have not used his entire message but only excerpts.
The Lord’s Supper or communion is synonymous with relationship. It is all about having empathy with our Lord and Saviour, understanding His passionate love for us, understanding His sacrifice, His forgiveness, His life and His death. The Lord’s Supper is all about our close association with Jesus Christ. Jesus is our life, our identity, our hope, our future, our destiny, and our purpose. Communion is about being proud of the name we bear. It is about our union. It reminds us that we have become united with Him in His death, burial and resurrection. We have been united with someone eternal who transcends life, who has conquered death, and who promises us eternal hope.
1 Corinthians 11:23-25 says, “For I have received from the Lord what I also passed onto you: the Lord Jesus Christ, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, ‘this is the new covenant in My blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.'”
The Lord’s Supper reminds us that we are vitally linked in relationship to Jesus Christ. He is our Lord. He is our Saviour. Without Him, eternal life is impossible.”
November 8th, 2015 by Pastor Dave
November 1st, 2015 by Ken Hartung
“From Hank Hanegraaff
What does it mean for you that the Lord said, “Behold I am coming soon! My reward is with Me” (Rev. 22:12)?
What happened as a result of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ was unprecedented in human history. As a Christian, I’m sure you feel its impact today. But think back to its impact 2000 years ago. In a relatively brief span, a small band of seemingly insignificant believers, living in the center of a Caesar Cult turned the empire upside down.
Why the radical transformation? What caused frightened and fragmented followers to become fearless fighters for the faith “once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). The answer: they had seen the resurrected Christ and knew for certain that they, like their Master, would rise immortal, imperishable, incorruptible.
So, they turned away from earthly vanities and put their focus on eternal values. From fleeting riches to forever rewards.
“Rewards”. What does that mean? For the early Christian and for you and I today, the enduring rewards of a life of perseverance include “the crown of righteousness” (2 Timothy 4:8)…”the crown of glory” (1 Peter 5:4)…and “the crown of life” (James 1:12).
But there’s more! Jesus explicitly points to varying degrees of rewards that will be given for faithful service, self-sacrifice, and suffering. This is precisely why He exhorted His followers: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth”. Instead, He said, “store up treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal”. (Matt. 6:19-20)
The early Christian church suffered persecution. The church today suffers persecution in this world as well. As the Master Himself puts it: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you”. (Matt. 5:11-12)
While we are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone, we are saved unto good works. Put another way, what we do now counts for all eternity.
During Jesus’ crucifixion, two thieves were crucified with Him. The thief on the right said to the thief on the left:
“We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong. Then he said, “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 23:41-43)
October 25th, 2015 by Murray Markert
“Before I start my communion thought this morning, I would like to point out just because you have the title as an elder does not mean you cannot have weak moments and moments in time when you need to be retaught or reinforced things you already know. When Paul stated in Ephesians 3:8 “….I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people” I can relate very well to that.
Last week Dave in his message talked about filling backpacks for homeless kids on the street if the affluent city of Calgary. I have to admit the first thought that went through my mind was most of those kids have totally rejected just about all things society has to offer, rejected their parents, rejected schook, and probably rejected all authority in their lives. Probably most of them have turned to substance abuse of one kind or the other to cope with their circumstances. What are the chances…..Then Pastor Dave reminded me of the most basic Christian principle. Christ died on the cross and shed His blood for everyone no matter who we are or no matter were we stand in the pecking order of society. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 3:8-9). Sometimes our faith can become quite fragile and our lenses can be tinted by the world around us. And we-especially I-need to daily put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18):
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, 15and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; 16in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
October 18th, 2015 by Allen Webber on H. Lynn Gardner’s “When We Partake”
“Partaking of the Lord’s Supper is not a meaningless routine ritual. We must partake thoughtfully, and with our minds engaged. Communion should be one of the richest and most meaningful experiences of our week.
1. We remember Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. “Do this in remembrance of me” (I Corinthians 11:24). Lest we think we deserve God’s favor, lest we forget what Christ did for us, we are regularly reminded of the price paid for our salvation. The cross of Christ is not an insignificant fact from the storeroom of history. We are remembering and savoring the meaning of the most pivotal event in human history.
2. We participate in the benefits of His blood shed for us. “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” (I Corinthians 10:16). In the Lord’s Supper, Christ shares the meal with us, and we have fellowship with Him because we share the new life His death achieved.
3. We proclaim our faith in the saving benefit of our Lord’s death and in His coming again. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (I Corinthians 11:26). Making it a priority to gather around the Lord’s table each Lord’s Day declares to all that we believe Christ died for our sins and that He is coming again.
4. We affirm our unity and solidarity with fellow believers in the body of Christ. We “come together (I Corinthians 11:20). “We all partake of the one bread” (I Corinthians 10:17). Meals can bring poeple into closer relationships. Partaking of the Lord’s Supper reminds us we belong to Christ and we belong to one another as fellow believers in Christ’s worldwide community.
5. We give thanks for Christ being our substitute sacrifice. Communion is not a repeat of His sacrifice. Christ was “offered once to bear the sins of many” (Hebrews 9:28). The offering that occurs in Communion is our offering of thanks. We express our appreciation for Christ’s sacrifice.
6. We examine ourselves so we can purify our motives and direct our thoughts to meaningfully commune with our Lord. “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup” (I Corinthians 11:27, 28). ”
October 4th, 2015 by Allen Webber
“(Isaiah 53:5) “The punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed”.
Every once in a while we will come across a word or group of words that at first glance appear rather odd. While I was preparing this communion thought I came across the phrase ‘whipping boy’. And that set me off on a little tangent of discovery.
It seems that this term came about in sixteenth century England, a time when kings believed they were appointed by God and could do no wrong. A king and only a king was allowed to discipline his son, the prince. However, a king had to be away from home for extended periods of time and quite often the prince was spoiled or got into trouble. So the solution was to hire a ‘whipping boy’, someone to take the beatings the prince really deserve. This boy would be the same age as the prince and would live in the castle, be educated, and would always be around the prince so a bond could develop. In time they would become like brothers.
So whenever the prince would misbehave, the whipping boy would receive a beating. The prince was required to be close at hand to observe the punishment. This punishment could be rather severe depending on the seriousness of the sin. The whipping boy would often be stripped to the waist and caned to the point of bleeding.
At first the prince probably thought, hey this is a pretty cool deal, but as the boys grew and their relationship grew it started to grieve the prince to see his friend suffering. Gradually the prince decided to grow up to spare his friend more anguish.
Now here is an interesting twist to the whole story. It was a great honour to become a whipping boy. Because when he grew up he would be rewarded with a title, a territory, or a statue of himself on the palace grounds.
Jesus was our whipping boy, and because of His sufferings He has been honoured. In Philippians we read “God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name”.”
September 20th, 2015 by Brian Markert
“Life is like a loaf of bread
When I make bread there are certain ingredients that are essential and others that are optional. Yeast, flour, and water are the essentials. Salt, eggs, sugar, and oil are the optional ones that alter the flavor of the end product. There are several factors that change the outcome as well. Warm water activates the yeast faster then cold so the bread will rise faster but hot water will kill the yeast and the bread won’t rise. You have to knead the dough sufficiently so that the proteins in the flour combine to make gluten, which gives the bread its light fluffy texture. There is a bunch of ways to tweak a bread recipe to get a different end product but there are bunch a ways to mess it up as well. Life is like a loaf of bread. God has given us a recipe for life that would make us into a pretty good loaf of bread.
We have a lot of choices as to what ingredients do or don’t go into the dough. Always remember that after something is added to a mixing bowl it’s really hard to get it back out. Likewise we have choices as to what we do and do not put in our lives. Our sins of today and yesterday will change who we become tomorrow and our obedience to God yesterday and today will also change who we are tomorrow. We get to choose what ingredients we put in our lives and the ones we don’t let anywhere near our lives.
Now for the beautiful thing about God, no matter what ingredients we’ve put in our lives He can make good from it. Have you ever had a spicy pepperoni stick covered with cheese bread, or a delicious sourdough bread, or my favorite, maybe He will push us into a deepfryer instead of the oven because his plans for us was to be a doughnut.”
September 6th, 2015 by Ken Hartung
John the Baptist at the Jordan preached the coming of the Lord
Baptizing everyone who would believe
Among the crowd that gathered, they’re a watching from the shore
I’d imagine there were scribes and Pharisees
I can see John pointing toward Jerusalem that day, to the place of temple sacrifice
Saying through the years those lambs have never washed our sins away
But hope is here, behold the Lamb of God
Put out the fire, here comes the glory
Your sacrifice is not as worthy
He’s come to die, to make us holy
We’ve found the perfect lamb
Put out the fire
The smoke up at the temple sent a message to the world, that every sin of man would have a price
Daily as the priest prepared an offering for the Lord, the purist of all lambs would have to die
But when John saw the promise walking down ol’ Jordan’s banks
The answer to the cries of all the lost
He knew up at the temple, things were soon about the change, the altar would forever be the cross
He was prophesied to rise out of the seed of Abraham
Coming by a virgin down in lowly Bethlehem
The one who angels worshipped since before the world began
Has stepped into the Jordan as the spotless lamb
Your sacrifice is not as worthy
We’ve found the perfect lamb, put out the fire
We’ve found the perfect lamb, we’ve found the Great I Am
We’ve found the perfect lamb
Put out the fire
August 30th, 2015 by Murray Markert
“This morning’s communion thought is based on John 3:16,
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
I would like to focus on two words in that verse: loved and perish. The word love is used today to include many things; we can love our cat, our peers, we can love our music and even Canadians might say that we love our hockey. But God set the standard when He said, He so loved the world. God’s love is not static or self-centered; it draws others in. He went to the point of giving up His Son who He held dearly so that through His sacrifice, we have the opportunity of eternal life.
To perish means to come to an end, to be destroyed or die. If we look at life from the point that it ends upon our physical death here on earth, we might think possibly that life is not what it is cracked up to be, then our perspective on how we live our life dramatically changes. God, through His love – allowing His Son Jesus to be sacrificed on the cross, cleansing us of our sin, allows for a totally different meaning to the end of life. Rather than a doom and gloom perspective – feeling of no purpose, we have the promise of a place to go beyond our wildest imagination. Rather than a finite life, we have infinite years beyond. Rather than there being an ending to life here on earth, it is just the first act with no ending to come.
As we partake of these elements this morning, the bread and the wine, we need to be grateful and eternally thankful that our God would allow His Son to be crucified on the cross so we do not have to perish, but rather have eternal life. For our part, we need to put our trust and confidence in Jesus, that through our faith Jesus will change our lives.”
August 9th, 2015 by Ken Hartung
“But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered throught the greater and perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation” Hebrews 9:11
“Once again, keep in mind this epistle was written to Hebrew Christians who were being drawn back to the sacrificial system. And here again, the author is saying, “Don’t go back. Why would you want to return to rules and regulations when the work of salvation has been completed by Jesus Christ, the only perfect Lamb of God?
When a Jewish person went to the temple to worship, he would bring a lamb to offer on the altar. After careful examination by the priest, if the lamb was found to be without spot or blemish, the worshiper could worship confidently. You see, the priest never inspected the person – only the lamb.
Satan will try to whisper in your ear, “You’re blemished. You’ve dropped the ball. You haven’t been a woman of prayer. You haven’t been a man of integrity. You can’t worship. You can’t talk to the Father. You can’t be blessed.”
But he’s wrong. At the temple, the priests didn’t inspect the worshiper. They inspected the lamb. The same is true of you and me. “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” declared John the Baptist – which is why three days before His crucifixion, Jesus Himself was scrutinized as the scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, and Greeks questioned His theology, His morality, and His integrity (Matthew 22). Pilate’s declaration that he found no fault in Jesus meant He passed even their inspection perfectly.
So what does the Enemy do? Revelation 12:10 says he accuses us day and night. “You blew it. You didn’t do that. You should’ve done this. You dropped the ball again.” But when you really understand the idea of God becoming a man and dying in your place, you don’t go around with the baggage of a guilty conscience because when Satan reminds you of your shortcomings, your past failings, or your present weaknesses, you can say, “That’s only half the story, Satan. I’m a worse sinner than you even know. But your reminding me of these things only makes me all the more amazed by what Jesus did on my behalf”.
On August 9th, AD 70…1945 years ago today, the Romans under Titus destroyed the temple in Jerusalem. It was no longer needed. Because a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands exists in heaven. This tabernacle is nothing that man has built down here. The better tabernacle does not belong to this natural creation as to materials or builders. We need to recognize that there is a real tabernacle in heaven; there is a real High Priest there, and there is spiritual worship. You can worship Him anywhere, and it is wonderful when people can come together in a church and really worship God. We can come to the Father confidently and talk to Him freely based not upon our righteousness, but soley on the perfection of the Lamb.
The Bible teaches that “The soul that sins shall surely die” (Ezekiel 18:20). Although ashes of heifers and blood of goats and bulls could cover sin, they coud not pay for it because payment required the death of a man. Jesus came on the scene and died for me. Yes, I’ve sinned. Indeed, I’ve blown it. But I’m free-not because of some technicality but because God Himself became a Man and died in my place.”
August 2, 2015 by Murray Markert
“If you ever stop to think about the story of Jesus Christ, you might say to yourself – ‘this is too good to be true!’ If we follow the story from the immaculate conception, His birth in a stable, His escape to Egypt, and His baptism. At His baptism, the heavens opened up and a voice said, “This is my Son whom I love, with Him I am well pleased”. If we also consider His forty days of fasting, which ended by Jesus being tempted by the devil. His teachings, His obedience to the cross and finally His conquering death, we see that all of this was so we could have eternal life in the presence of our Creator.
If you ever think this is too good to be true, or your faith needs reaffirming, I would ask you to consider only the following miracles that take place everyday:
1) Take a blanket or sleeping bag and lay on the grass on a clear night. Behold the universe; the number of stars that are suspended in the air while our planet floats around are seen.
2) Harvest is upon us. Consider all that has to take place for that to happen. The changing seasons; winter, spring, summer and fall; the germination of the seeds, the growth of the plant roots to absorb the nutrients and the moisture that comes from the sky, the sunshine to enable photosynthesis, and the time clock in the plants themselves that tells them it is time to mature and that harvest is at hand.
3) Life itself. If we watch a child’s development from the time of birth, being brought home in a small cradle, to their gradual comprehension of the environment around them, the growth and development of their motor skills, the ability to fight off diseases, their ability to communicate and finally to reason.
Through all this we are reminded of our Creator. These are only a few things of the everyday miracles that happen around us and we tend to take them for granted. Our God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit orchestrated life around us and it is because of the free will offered to us, we can decide how we will move to the music. For me, whenever I start to believe this story of Jesus is too good to be true, all I have to do is to remember the everyday miracles that occur around me and WHO is the orchestrator of them.”
July 19, 2015 by Ken Hartung
“Fifty years ago the most popular verse in the Bible was John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life”.
Today the most quoted verse is Matthew 7:1, “Judge not that you be not judged”. The Lord ‘s point is not to judge hypocritically. This verse is often misunderstood and often used to bully and shame people into submission in order to accept some ungodly and sinful behavior. “Judge Not”.
The Greek word translated “judge’ is krino, which means “to judge to the place of condemnation“. It’s when you’re in someone’s face, so to speak, pointing your finger at them, and condemning them, sharp or unjust criticism.
But we need to know right and wrong based on the authority of Holy Scripture. In Galatians 1:8, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed”.
So there is a need to judge, but not to the place of condemnation. Rather, we are to judge for identification and for restoration. I am to love people enough that when I see them erring, I am to say to them lovingly, “Because I care about you, I want you to know that you’re going in the wrong direction”.
Quoting Galatians 6:1, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted”.
According to Scripture, I must make some judgments and identification. But I am not to have an attitude of condemnation. How do I know if I’m condemning people? If I am NOT willing to partake in restoration, then I am probably practicing condemnation. When Jesus walked into the Upper Room where His disciples were sitting for the last supper before He was crucified, He noticed they had dirty feet. Did He point His finger and say, “You guys, why don’t you wash your stinky feet? It’s getting pretty rank up here”. No. John 13 says He rose from supper, girded Himself with a towel, and began to wash their feet Himself. So, too, I do not believe I have the right to point out someone’s dirty feet unless I’m willing to kneel down and wash them.
We will see more Christians being persecuted and bullied and shamed and called bigoted because of the stand they are taking on social issues. Christians make judgments based on what the Holy Spirit has revealed in Scripture. The judgments are not based on personal preference or prejudice. The Christian church upholds a standard of right and wrong that is based on the authority of Holy Scripture which is based on the very nature of God Himself.
There is a store in the book of Acts, the disciples were teaching in the name of Jesus. That Jesus died on the cross and shed His blood for the sins of the world and the redemption of mankind. They were arrested. Acts 5:40-42, “and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go”. What did the apostles do? Acts 5:41-42, “Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus”.
These apostles were marvelous men. They were rejoicing that they could suffer for the Lord Jesus. They continued to teach and preach Jesus Christ. What is the gospel? It is a Person! It is Jesus Christ.”
July 5, 2015 by Brian Markert
James 2:14, 17-18 “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?””In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.”
“James goes on to contrast Abraham and Rahab. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son and it was credited to him as righteousness. Rahab helped two of Joshua’s spies and it was credited to her as righteousness. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done in the past, God will ask you to do specific things in your life. They may be bold like Abraham or they may be less dramatic, but no less important, like teaching Sunday School or coaching soccer.
Righteousness is being obedient to what God asks you to do. This will result good deeds because I guarantee God isn’t asking you to do nothing.”
June 28, 2015 by Ken Hartung (adapted from Josh McDowell)
“In the Old Testament during the days of the prophet Jeremiah, Israel had very poor leadership. So this reflected in the behavior of how the nation lived. “In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes”. Jeremiah 17:6
An every growing problem in our society and the church, we are losing a sense of what is right and what is wrong…everyone does what is right in his own eyes. We have church leaders in North America who are moving towards a secular progressive agenda who say the resurrection is irrelevant and insignficant. The teaching that there is an absolute truth is being replaced with do what seems right to you…to redefine the absolute principles of God.
Jesus Christ offers real hope. He gives mankind the opportunity to become right with God and his fellow man.
John 8:32 Jesus says, “you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”
What is truth…there are those who think right and wrong are old fashioned ideas and that people have the right to decide right and wrong for themselves. People who say there is no such thing as right and wrong expect you to treat them fairly. They may say, “you have to choose what is right for you and I have to choose what is right for me. But if you try and cheat them or hurt them in any way, they will tell you your behavior is not right! You know why? Because in their hearts they know the truth.
How do you choose? If God says something is wrong, then it is wrong. Some people decide what is right and wrong based on how they feel. Some decide what is right and wrong based on what everyone else is doing.
If the Wright brothers had not paid attention to the laws of physics like gravity, force and velocity, then their airplane would not have lifted off the ground. It was truth that set them free to fly. If we go through life ignoring God’s truth, then we’ll never know real freedom. If we know the mind of God and pay attention to it and obey it, then we will be free-free from sin and free from the consequences of wrong choices. That is what Jesus meant when He said, “the truth shall set you free.”
The emphasis we see to develop in our church is to offer to our community a hope, a purpose and meaning to life…and to teach and uphold principles and lifestyles of what is right and wrong. We must shed a light of truth as an alternative to the principles and lifestyles of this dark world. We need to uphold a Biblical view against a worldview of Secularism. John 10:10, Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
In a changing world, there exists an unchanging God whose Word lasts forever. Isaiah 40:8 says, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” Jesus never changes…Hebrews 13:8 tell us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Jesus says…“I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life”. John 11:25-26, Jesus says…“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die”.