God’s Loving Loyalty to All Creation

Listen to the sermon Joel Russell-MacLean

Learning for Life: 9:30

Worship Service: 11:00 am

Bulletin: October 27

Newsletter: October 2019 Newsletter

Scriptures: Jonah

Songs:

Joel Russell-MacLean

Jonah is medicine for us whenever we are infected with doubt in God’s mercy. Medicine can be a mix of sweet and bitter tastes.

The sweetness is the great story. It is a story for people with short attention spans! The action begins right away and pulls us down into unforgettable events. It is also wonderful to read a story about God pursuing someone, preserving someone, and saving someone from the bottom of the worst problems.

The harsh tang that catches in our throat is the abrupt and direct message to Jonah. While God is  indeed concerned about Jonah, his safety, and his wellbeing, God is also concerned about people known for their evil and cruel behaviour.

God’s mercy extends to everyone – even people written off by others.

Jonah is pushed to acknowledge that God’s prerogative is to show mercy to all. Jonah is also pushed to face his own hard heartedness, even after being saved himself by God’s mercy from a fate of his own making.

I Will Wait for God

Listen to the sermon Joel Russell-MacLean

Learning for Life: 9:30

Worship Service: 11:00 am

Bulletin: Bulletin October 20
Newsletter: October 2019 Newsletter

Scriptures: Micah 7.1-7, Psalm 37, Matthew 13.24-30

Songs:

Joel Russell-MacLean

Micah had lived a long life. Three kings in Jerusalem had come and gone. The Assyrian Empire had grown rapidly from having local influence to having direct control over the entire Middle East. Jerusalem was an island of relative independence surrounded by a sea of Assyrian military power. It had grown with the influx of refugees. Assyria had invaded Judah as well, besieged Jerusalem, but miraculously, the armies left Judah without the usual victory. God had saved Judah.

King Hezekiah had brought moral reform to Judah and had often listened to the prophets. But now Hezekiah was gone, Manasseh was King and things were deteriorating quickly.

Only a few years later, no one seemed to care what God had done. No one was paying attention to the prophets or worrying about right and wrong.

One would understand if Micah had became disillusioned and indifferent. Instead, Micah had hope:

“As for me, I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.”

Perhaps you can identify with Micah and are distressed as you look at our government or at our culture. Are you able to see all that is going wrong, and yet have hope that God will rebuild and restore the world? Are you able to believe that God will forgive? 

In Days to Come

Listen to the sermon Joel Russell-MacLean

Learning for Life: 9:30

Worship Service: 11:00 am

Bulletin: Bulletin October 13
Newsletter: October 2019 Newsletter

Scriptures: Micah 4.1-5, Psalm 46, Mark 6.34-44

Songs:

Joel Russell-MacLean

The prophet Micah described a world where war was no longer a consideration. He put it memorably,

“They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
 and their spears into pruning hooks.”

Micah was a prophet in Judah. He had witnessed the powerful Assyrian Empire obliterate several neighbouring nations including Israel. Assyria had also invaded Judah and besieged Jerusalem. Micah did not pray his poems for peace into being on lazy sunny afternoons in a commune. His vision of a new way of living arose out of the fire and blood left in wake of military violence. Even though he had seen such horrors, he boldly claimed a day was coming when war would come to an end, and everyone would have a place of their own and plenty of food.

Sometimes hunger leads to war, and almost always war leads to hunger. However, an abundance of food has not always meant the absence of war. Something much more profound is required.

“Come, let us go to the Lord, that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”

Micah used poetry to direct our imagination toward what the world could be if we would turn to God. Centuries later, Jesus acted out a picture of a new world. He sat a crowd of thousands down in groups, and fed them until all were full.

Jesus will return and bring an end to all war, and neighbourhoods, farms, and cities will thrive once more. As a church, we continue to act out a picture of what the world will be whenever we share, whenever we make peace, and whenever we turn to God to be taught.

Rebuild the Ruined Cities

Listen to the sermon Joel Russell-MacLean

Learning for Life: 9:30

Worship Service: 11:00 am

Bulletin: Bulletin October 6
Newsletter: October 2019 Newsletter

Scriptures: Amos 9.7-15Psalm 69Mark 10.28-31

Songs:

Joel Russell-MacLean

Teotihuacan

 

Woe to Those at Ease

Listen to the sermon Joel Russell-MacLean

Learning for Life: 9:30

Worship Service: 11:00 am

Come out! Lebanon Ministry Celebration luncheon following worship.

Bulletin: Bulletin September 29
Newsletter: October 2019 Newsletter

Scriptures: Amos scripture readingPsalm 10; Mark 10.41-45

Songs:

Joel Russell-MacLean

We have been treated this week to scenes of a sixteen year old passionately scolding national leaders and representatives on some of the largest public platforms. Being confronted on camera by a composed, well-spoken teenager from another country does not seem to be a situation a world leader would seek out. How to respond?

The prophet Amos had a similar impact. Amos was a farmer and rancher and came to Israel from their neighbouring country, Judah. He bluntly exposed the treatment of the most vulnerable and the injustice and corruption that infected everything. He warned Israel their wealth and security could not last given how they were living.

Few of the elite in Israel’s capital enjoyed listening to a farmer from another country telling them how things ought to be done.

Amos preached at the same time as Hosea. Hosea focused more on worship, international politics, and marriage and fidelity. Amos narrowed his attention to the impact wealth was having on how people were treating each other.

The problem was the way the people treated spirituality and worship was intertwined, interconnected with problems in the neighbourhoods, in national behaviour, and in their own lives. And these problems were going to lead to the collapse of the nation and to terrible suffering.

God back then and now is paying attention to how people use money and possessions. God is always likewise paying attention to how the most vulnerable are treated.

 
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