In a culture that tells us we can be anything we desire, this motivational slogan is meant to encourage, to reassure us that life won’t be too hard. There will be challenges, sure, but God knows my limits. He won’t overdo it.
The problem, however, is that God will give you more than you can handle. He’ll do it to make you lean on him. He’ll do it because he loves you.
Inspired by the best selling book Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved (see link) our new sermon series explores five lies that we are tempted to believe as Christians:
Thirty-five-year-old Kate Bowler had finally had a baby with her childhood sweetheart after years of trying, when she began to feel jabbing pains in her stomach. She lost thirty pounds, chugged antacid, and visited doctors for three months before she was finally diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. How can a good God exist, in the face of all the injustice and suffering in the world? This book describes, in a very honest way, her search for the answer to that question, as well as her experiences with doctors, relatives and her own thoughts whilst on her sickbed.
|28 April|| Lies I’ve Believed: Everything Happens For A Reason|
|5 May||Lies I’ve Believed: We Do Church The Right Way|
|12 May|| Lies I’ve Believed: |
God Won’t Give Me More Than I Can Handle
|19 May||Lies I’ve Believed: The Devil Made Me Do It|
|26 May||Lies I’ve Believed: A Decision Makes Me A Christian|
|Holy Week is the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday.|
It’s got a few moving parts. Here’s an overview:
On Palm Sunday, we remember Jesus’ triumphal entry into
Jerusalem (see Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-19).
The Days of Holy Week:
Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, and Spy (!) Wednesday
Let’s be honest. Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday,
Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday get the lion’s share of the
attention during Holy Week. However, Monday through
Wednesday ought not to be forgotten!
OK, so this is cool. Holy Wednesday has traditionally been called “Spy” Wednesday, as a reference to the “ambush” of Jesus by
Maundy Thursday commemorates the first “Last Supper”
(see Matt. 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-30; 1 Cor. 11:23-25) and Jesus’ washing of the disciples’ feet (see John 13:1-15). The
word “Maundy” most likely derives from mandatum, meaning
“mandate” or “commandment,” in reference to Jesus’ words: “A
new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34).
On Good Friday, we remember the events leading up to and
including the Crucifixion.
On Holy Saturday, we remember the time that Christ spent in the grave.
On Easter Sunday, we remember and celebrate the triumphal
Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! Easter Sunday then
kicks off a period of 50 days traditionally known as Eastertide –
ending with Pentecost Sunday.
Maundy Thursday Meal | 6pm | Parish Centre Prayer | Praise | Fellowship
You are invited to join us on Thursday night for a Maundy Thursday Communion Meal.
We will style this meal on a Seder or Passover. Having said that, we won’t go overboard on the Jewish-ness of the meal. Why? Because the truth is that we know very little about Jesus’ Passover meal and the Seder meal as we know it developed well after Jesus lived!
Maundy Thursday Menu
1. Matzah (or Wholewheat Unleavened Bread)
2. Lamb Dishes
3. Sprigs of lush green parsley
4. Juice of the vine (wine, grape juice, non-alcoholic wine)
5. Horseradish in dish (bitter herbs)
6. Chopped apples and raisins in dish (called Haroset)
7. Boiled eggs
8. Small dish of salted water
9. A goblet of wine (or juice of the vine) for the centre of the table
Good Friday | Friday 19th April
10.00am All Saints Kingston (Combined Churches)
Easter Sunday | Sunday 21st April
9.00am St. Barnabas Chapel (Holy Communion)
5.00pm All Saints Kingston (Evening Prayer)
A Holy Week Bible Reading Plan
- Matthew 21:18-19, 21:12-13 (Matthew does not record the events in chronological order)
- Mark 11:12-19
- Luke 19:45-46
- Matthew 21:20-25:46
- Mark 11:20-13:37
- Luke 20:1-21:36
- Matthew 26:3-5
- Mark 14:1-2
- Luke 21:37-22:2
- Matthew 26:17-46
- Mark 14:12-42
- Luke 22:7-46
- John 13:1-17:26
- Matthew 26:47-27:61
- Mark 14:43-15:47
- Luke 22:47-23:54
- John 18:2-19:42
- There’s no mention of Saturday in scripture. Meditate on the emptiness and fear the Disciples must have felt with the loss of their Lord.
- Matthew 28:1-20
- Mark 16:1-20
- Luke 24:1-53
- John 20:1-21:25
We do a funny thing at church.
Every week, roughly the same group of people (the congregation) come to hear the same person (the preacher) speak.
If the average preacher speaks 100 words a minute, that means you’ll hear 2,500 words a sermon – maybe around 130,000 words a year.
What difference does it all make?
At the beginning of any year most people tend to evaluate their priorities. This is a good thing. In fact, one of our problems is that we do not assess ourselves enough. Let me encourage you to evaluate the level at which you are involved in serving the Lord at church. In no particular order, here are some important things to consider:
1. Serving is the purpose of our salvation.
Sometimes when we emphasise that salvation is not by works, we fail to fully appreciate that we have been saved to do good works (Ephesians 2:10). To be stationary or sedentary is to neglect God’s purpose for your life.
2. I have been gifted to serve.
Several Bible passages help us to understand the concept of spiritual gifts. Among them are Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4. In these chapters we learn how God graciously and supernaturally gives to each believer their own distinct ministry gift!
What a privilege!
3. Serving demonstrates the reality of my faith.
Nobody has said it better than James when he taught us that faith is not about what we know (or have heard), and it’s not about what we say. Faith without works is dead.
4. The workers are few.
Our Lord Jesus said: “Pray for more workers for the harvest!” If you are not already serving, somebody somewhere is praying for you to get involved. The need is greater than ever. The harvest is ready. The workers are few.
5. Do it for the kids (they’re watching).
When Jesus selected His apostles, He chose them to be “with Him.” Ministry is more often “caught” than “taught.” What is the next generation learning about positive, heart-motivated ministry by watching us?
6. The commission is great.
Our master and commander, the Lord Jesus Christ has given us our marching orders!
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18
7. Ministry involvement enhances biblical understanding.
As we put the Word of God to practice in our lives, the Lord brings His purposes and His will into focus. At the wedding in Cana, the servants understood Jesus and His ways better than anyone else in the room: “the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew” (John 2:9).
Serving God enhances our knowledge of God.
8. Doing anonymous or little things for the Lord is like whispering, “I love You” in His ear.
We don’t do in order to measure up. We do because we measure up in Christ! God can’t love you any more than He already does! You are His treasure. He has redeemed you and called you by name. With this mindset, mundane duties became majestic acts of service. Serving becomes its own reward.
“Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart”. Ephesians 6:6
9. I will forge long-lasting and valuable friendships.
One of the major fringe benefits of serving the church is the building of genuine friendships. Those to whom we feel the closest in life are typically those with whom we work. Adam and Eve began their marriage side by side, working together – he the gardener and she his helper. Checkout Romans 16, where Paul takes time to assign value to his coworkers in ministry. Read it. Sense his heart. Ministry partners are the best lifetime friends and great sources of encouragement.
10. We will stand before the Lord.
He loves me. He died for me. He has given me purpose. Only what’s done for Him matters. I will meet Him face to face. Someday. Maybe today.
Involvement in ministry is living for Jesus, being like Jesus, and being with Jesus. If that doesn’t inceltivize us, I don’t know what will!
What would you add to this list?
I have been praying that you are sensing God’s presence during this difficult week for us all. Last night the Church board and I held an emergency meeting and I am writing to inform you that we have come to a difficult decision. Writing this email is one of the hardest things that I have had to do at my time here at Belmont Community Church. Before I tell you of our decision, I felt that it was only fair to explain how we as a Church leadership came to our decision and for me to share with you how I have been affected by your behaviour. In order to maintain clarity I will address the various issues regarding your employment as a pastor at our Church. Before I start I really want to say how difficult this has been for me and Alison, I am not above stating that I cried before I wrote this email. Things started so well when you came on staff, it was a joy to have you around the place and the congregation loved having you. I am still struggling to comprehend what went wrong. But here goes;
Behaviour During Church Services
I have communicated time and time again in our leadership meeting the idea that how we as leaders act, affects the whole congregation. Sundays are meant to be a fun, upbeat and inspiring time. We are trying to create an atmosphere that communicates the idea the gospel is good news and that those who put their faith in God will receive abundant life. Your constant habit of crying and weeping over the fate of our neighbourhood, completely works against this. I have been so confused by your mood swings, one minute you are full of joy – the next you will be weeping for the whole service. After talking to Dr Blackby I am more and more wondering if you suffering from a form of Bi Polar disorder or manic depression, I really encourage you to go and get this checked out. You can be so dark sometimes, which is not attractive to unchurched people and a totally different place to where we are going as a church.
Being a Good Example
I hear things about where and with whom you hang out. I really do hope that some of the stories that I am hearing are wrong and merely gossip. But I have to admit that some of the people who you bring to church do make me wonder what circles you are mixing in. I certainly hope the stories about the party at Matt’s place are not true. As a single guy it is never a good look to be hanging around with women who work in the adult industry. To turn up to leaders meets smelling of dope can only lead others into bad places. You need to get into an accountability group ASAP.
The Jewish Thing
I totally understand that you were raised in a Jewish home and in the Jewish faith. We loved the service that you put on during passover it was great to hear you sing the psalms so beautifully in Hebrew. The ladies at our Golden Gals ministry loved you teaching them Jewish Dancing. But I really do not understand why you continue to wear your prayer Shawl and yarmulke to church. At the interfaith city dinner Rabbi Rosen told me that you attend synagogue weekly??? He was under the impression that you were a practicing Jew and did not refer to yourself as Christian??? For goodness sake you need to work out where you stand, and who you identify with! Are you Jewish or are you Christian, what team are you playing on? Where do you loyalties lie??? Your behaviour just makes things confusing for people.
The Night at @tomic.
After ripping my hair out for months wondering where to place you, I finally thought that our emerging young adults congregation @tomic would be the best place for you. It is edgy, justice focused, andthey love conversation, it is in a bar, and filled with Christians who don’t like the vibe of our sunday services. But then the morning after you speak – I am inundated with emails from angry young adults telling me that you got all ‘hellfire and brimstone’ on them. They even started a facebook group to keep you away from the bar! Seriously what were you thinking telling them that ‘they will always have the poor with them’.??? Don’t you know that half that crew work for Christian aid organisations? I had to promise them that you would not come back! They said that you were too full on, too fundamentalist.
The Incident at Belmont Reformed Church
After the @tomic incident I was totally at my wits end of what to do with you. I mentioned the incident to my friend Rev Peterson and he said that he would love to have you come and spend a month preaching at his church and that he loved a young preacher who had the guts to talk directly about hell and eternal consequences. I thought all of my problems with you were solved. Then you go there and deliver a bunch of confusing stories that seem to skirt around the issues. Half the congregation walks out and you end up in the car park with the remainder explaining yourself. Rev Peterson is still rope-able, he not only thinks you are unable to preach the gospel he has serious concerns over your theology.
The Incident Last Sunday
And now to the straw that has broken the camel’s back. You know as well as I that it is so hard to get a Preacher like Pastor John Rosetti to speak at our church, he is world class. Ok even for me he can be a little ‘prosperity focused’ but he is such a gifted speaker and the Church was packed. When you overturned his merchandise tables I wanted the ground to eat me up. The damage that you caused to our ATM cash machine in the lobby will put the church back around $10,000. I can put up a with a lot, but vandalism I cannot. Your actions were a direct undermining of my leadership.
So I am writing to inform you that we will be making you redundant. I have with great difficulty convinced the Church board to not press charges and we will not be referring the matter to the police.
I am so heart broken, you are one of the most gifted young men I have met. I find you maddeningly frustrating. I have barely slept since last sunday, I keep wracking my brain trying to figure out why you are like this. I wonder if it is your age, 32 is pretty young for a pastor role at a church our size. I can’t help think that it must be mental health issues, probably the bi polar condition that Dr Blackby referred to.
We don’t want to turf you out on the street so we will be giving you a generous severance package, plus Jane has sent you a card that the staff has signed which includes a gift voucher to Brysons Christian Bookstore.
It will always perplex me why things did not work out. In your heart I know that you mean the best.
Sadly Jesus we must ask that you never come back to our Church.
Yours in him
Pastor Craig Clements
(A fictional email by Mark Sayers)
A series of no pressure, casual movie nights. Great films with inspiring messages about God, love, family, marriage, and more.
Wednesday 23rd January
6.15 pm | Courageous (M)
When tragedy hits home, four policemen are left wrestling with their hopes, fears, faith, and fathering. Can a newfound urgency help these dads draw closer to God … and to their children?
8.30 pm | Machine Gun Preacher (R) | ADULTS ONLY
When ex-biker-gang member Sam Childers makes the life-changing decision to go to Africa to help repair homes destroyed by civil war, he is outraged by the unspeakable horrors faced by the region’s vulnerable, especially the children. An inspirational movie about a rebel who found his cause. A genuine human drama that cuts you to the core with its heartbreaking, inspiring and action-packed story. Expect some scenes of graphic violence and bad language.
Sunday 27th January
6.15 pm | End Of The Spear (M)
Nate Saint is a pilot and Christian missionary who, with his family, lives and works in the jungles of South America near the Amazon. A meeting between Nate and the local tribesmen goes terribly wrong and Nate and four of his fellow missionaries are savagely murdered. In the final moments of his life, Nate is able to impart a message that bears fruit years later when Steve Saint, Nate’s son returns to continue the work his father started. End of the Spear is adapted from the true story.
Wednesday 30th January
6.15 pm | Fireproof (PG)
When he’s battling blazes, Fire Capt. Caleb Holt adheres to the old firefighter’s adage about never leaving your partner behind; back at home, it’s an altogether different story. Caleb and his wife Catherine have been married for seven years, but lately arguments over career, housework, finances, and outside interests have driven the once-happy couple hopelessly apart.
8.30 pm | Silence (R) | ADULTS ONLY
A religious epic set in the 17th century from Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese. It’s complex, difficult, and at times gory, but it’s also magnificent and masterful. Expect some scenes of very graphic violence (crucifixion and torture etc). The films complex message about faith and the faithful and Scorsese’s powerful imagery sticks to your ribs but the actual watching of the movie is a notably dour experience, and a test of disquieting (and often, yes, boring) cinema. A long-term passion project for Scorsese that you must be in the mood for.
Sunday 3rd February
6.15 pm | Selma (PG)
A film which chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition.
Need A Ride Out To The Parish Centre?
Call Dave on 22293 or 53040
Christians prepare for celebrating the birth of Jesus by remembering the longing of the Jews for a Messiah. In Advent, we’re reminded of how much we ourselves also need a Saviour, and we look forward to our Saviour’s second coming even as we prepare to celebrate his first coming at Christmas.
“Who among us will celebrate Christmas correctly? Whoever finally lays down all power, all honour, all reputation, all vanity, all arrogance, all individualism beside the manger; whoever remains lowly and lets God alone be high; whoever looks at the child in the manger and sees the glory of God precisely in his lowliness”.
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is In the Manger
“The Advent season is a season of waiting, but our whole life is an Advent season, that is, a season of waiting for the last Advent, for the time when there will be a new heaven and a new earth”.
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is In the Manger
“When you say, ‘Doctrine doesn’t matter; what matters is that you live a good life,’ that is a doctrine. It is called the doctrine of salvation by your works rather than by grace. It assumes that you are not so bad that you need a Saviour, that you are not so weak that you can’t pull yourself together and live as you should. You are actually espousing a whole set of doctrines about the nature of God, humanity, and sin. And the message of Christmas is that they are all wrong.”
― Tim Keller, The Truth About Christmas