Category Archives: Sermons

What Truths Are You Willing to Die For?

A Look at the Tiny Book of Jude

What is truth? What are truths in your faith that you stand on?

Photo by author — personal Bible

Jude

Jude is the shortest book in the Bible — only 25 verses. I read it this morning in three versions. Then we studied it in church.

What a powerful little book it is.

Background

Jude was one of Jesus’ brothers along with three others. Stepbrothers actually, as Jesus was not born from Joseph. James, Joseph, Simon and Judas (Jude). [Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55–56] They were not following Jesus before His death.

But all the brothers became leaders in the first Jewish Christian communities.

Jude was a travelling missionary evangelist. And this book is written to a church in crisis. In his writing, he assumes that this church has a massive knowledge of Jewish scriptures as well as the Apocrypha. The Book of Enoch is found in that body of work.

Churches in crisis

Every church faces some sort of crisis. We have been in 4 churches and each one has had some type of crisis. Usually, the crises are based on financial matters, leadership or people vying for power.

Jude knew he had to speak to this church or group of churches with the power of Christ.

The first 4 verses and last verse are appeals to the church. The middle is filled with warnings.

Called

So we know we have been called. You didn’t find Jesus. He found you. You might have been searching as I had been. But in the end, Jesus came to me and revealed Who He is.

Kept for Jesus

I love this. We are kept as a gift for Jesus. God gave us to Him. He is the Bridegroom and the Church is His bride.

Jesus keeps me from stumbling, He keeps me on my feet.

What was God doing through Jude for His church?

Fighting for the faith

What truths are there worth dying for? There are many doctrines and ideas in the Church. But which ones are important to you? I think I agree with our pastor that these are the things most important to my faith.

  1. Jesus led a sinless life.
  2. Jesus died on the cross.
  3. Jesus rose — The resurrection
  4. Jesus is coming back.

Find out what is essential to your belief.

Modern-day “truths”

First, there were books, and now the Internet are full of “truths’’. What people believe to be true.

But when our faith is at stake, then our salvation is also at stake.

Watch out for books, even ones that have scripture in them. Be aware of whether they are biblical or not. Or are they pulling scripture to match their own thoughts? Are they adding worldly thoughts and ideas, such as astronomy?

The real truth

What is the real truth?

It’s all about Jesus. We need to fly the banner of Jesus.

When we gather under Jesus, all our differences disperse. Jesus pulls diverse people together.

How can we know the truth?

First of all, we know that the Holy Spirit will guide us in all truth.

Our faith has always been threatened from within the Church.

“I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.” (Acts 10:29, NIV)

How can we contend for the faith?

Learn how to feed yourselves on a daily basis.

Don’t count on a weekly sermon to feed you fully and satisfy you. You need to work out your faith in fear and trembling.

Work it out means to do something about it

We need to build spiritual muscle. If we don’t know the scriptures we can easily be led astray.

Let’s trust the Holy Spirit

Listening to God through the Holy Spirit will not lead you astray. We don’t want to rest on human wisdom but on God’s power.

Bible Art by Janis Cox.

Stuck on Jesus

Saturday I wrote about being stuck on Jesus. I talked about God’s Word being like a kaleidoscope. So many colours. So many ideas. Such power.

How Stuck Do You Want to Be to Jesus?
Day 30 in “Draw the Circle” by Mark Batterson — Abide in Me
medium.com

May I pray for you and me?

Help us, Lord Jesus, to contend for the faith. To learn more by being in Your Word and praying. Help us to help others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

From You Tube.


Creation Story – do you believe?

Creation Story – do you believe?

Today I look at the creation story. It amazes me how God puts circumstances into my path for me to follow and learn.

This is a reworking of a post I had from 2012.

Creation Story - Do you Believe?

When I first heard  the word “story” I thought of the story of my week at V.I.B.E. (Vacation Bible School). It was quite a story.

We had 23 children; lots of fun; great weather; wonderful leaders and volunteers. We talked about God and His story. We learned we are unique and loved by Him. We learned the Lord’s Prayer. We had fun with each other.

I survived!

Then on Sunday our minister, Harry Morgan, preached about the Creation Story.

Harry started with a great description of a giraffe and told us many interesting facts that I did not know:

        • a giraffe’s neck can be 500 pounds
        • a giraffe has a spring like thing connecting his head to his body, so he can lift his head quickly.
        • he does not get dizzy because of a system of veins and arteries with stop gates Here is the scientific wording:

  “But the giraffe was engineered with reinforced artery walls, anti-pooling valves, a web of small blood vessels and pressure-sensing nerves that assure an adequate blood flow to the brain at just the right pressure. Creation Ministry.

Later in the sermon he talked about honeycomb and bees.

Creation Story - Bumblebee

Bumblebee – taken by Janis Cox

Harry talked about the special dance that bees do to explain where to find the best nectar field.

“To identify the location of a food source too distant from the hive to be smelled or seen by the other bees, the scout does a dance on the honeycomb inside the hive” Creation Ministries .

Here are my take aways:

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Romans 1:20 NIV).

I know I can believe the creation story –  what the Bible says.

There is evidence of a wise Creator – a Designer and we need to answer to Him. May the Holy Spirit continue to show me more and more of God and Jesus.

Two Stories on the same day- both about life and God.

TWO INTERPRETATIONS OF MATTHEW 9:14-17 – Sermon

Two Interpretations of Matthew 9:14-17 – Sermon

based on a sermon by Harry Morgan.

prayer and fasting

Sunday’s sermon, based on Matthew 9:14-17, talks about fasting, and tells two parables.

Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”

Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.

“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse.  Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:14-17 NIV)

Harry first talked about the Pharisees, reviewing last week’s lesson that Jesus requires mercy not sacrifice.

He talked to us about the Pharisees’ tradition of fasting where they made a big show of this practice. He even had a picture of Pharisees with long faces showing how much pain they were in. He asked, “Would you want to join these guys?”

Instead, Jesus said to enjoy Him and feast with Him while He was on earth. There would be a time for mourning and fasting when He was gone.

Then Jesus tells us two parables:

        1. Putting new unshrunk cloth on old material
        2. Pouring new wine into old wine skins

Harry said there are two theological interpretations on these parables:

 Out with the Old and in with the New:

wineskin wikipedia

We resist change and innovation. We don’t like renovations. Some people like the “same old, same old” [my words].

From Charisma Magazine there are three painful steps to make this renovation:

  1. Fear of Change: If we don’t change we will be in bondage. “Don’t park when God is calling you forward.” (tweet this)
  2. Defy Traditions: To move forward we need to be willing to defy traditions. “God is with the courageous few who are willing to blaze a new path into unreached territory.”
  3. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal new strategies: “If the work of transforming the church is not totally led by the Holy Ghost, then our changes will be shallow and our impact will be pitiful.”

And the second interpretation is:

Mature the new gently so it can appreciate and renew the old:

Harry spoke of seeing value of the old traditions, hymns. We need to respect the past.

Then he left us to figure it out for ourselves. But he said he sees value in both interpretations. Today we had a contemporary service in which we also sang an old hymn. Harry showed us there is power of the Spirit in the past as well as in the present.

He left us with these words:

“We are Christ’s witnesses to reach the world around us. Let us be graceful in our approach.”

After reading the article from Charisma Magazine I like the J.L. Grady’s conclusion:

“I believe the Lord wants to unleash a gushing river of new wine into the church today, but He is directing us to prepare our wineskins. What is old must be renewed by the Spirit, what is outdated must be remodeled, and what is ineffective must be replaced. God wants to do a new thing. Don’t resist it.”

JanisCox-photo2web

Janis is the author of the award winning children’s book, Tadeo Turtle, published by Word Alive Press. Available in Kindle Format, in bookstores, online and from her website. Curriculum available upon request. Janis also is a contributor to Hope Stream Radio. Join her on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Tadeo-Turtle-Cover-large-web

You can find her on Facebook, and Twitter. Tadeo has his own Facebook Page.

 

 

 

How Can There Be Light? – Sermon

Let There Be Light – Sermon

given by guest, Noreen Ueberer

All Sorts of People

Noreen showed us people – all sorts of people from all parts of the world; all sorts of people – poor, rich, able-bodied, physically challenged; everyone and everybody.

Then she discussed God’s two commandments – to love God, and to love others.

She said is was simple – just do it.

But then she asked – how can we love everyone?

Noreen gave a few ways:

      • as we open up our churches to new technology we can transmit our services to shut-ins
      • we can transmit our funeral services for those who cannot attend
      • instead of condemning people we can talk instead
      • ministry to those in prison [I know of a wonderful ministry by Nikki Rosen – who is raising funds to give her book “In the Eye of Deception” to women inmates”]
      • help other countries [our church makes mats for Haiti; we collect milk bags for the project]
      • stop demanding things for ourselves and instead thank God and be blessed

She said it is not difficult to love if we choose to do so. But in order to love others we also have to love ourselves. Jesus said, “love your neighbour as yourself”.

She gave us a challenge:

Ask God to help you love a person who is unlovable. God loves us just the way we are. This certainly is the same theme as my new children’s book, Tadeo Turtle.

Here is the opening song at the Paralympics in London –  “I Am What I Am”.

 

WHAT IS GOD’S REQUIRED WORK? – sermon

What is God’s Required Work?

The work of God is this – to believe in the One He has sent.

A review of a sermon given by Harry Morgan

Based on John 6:28-48

People in the crowd were conducting a type of interview of Jesus. They were trying to give Him hard questions.

Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

Harry asked what we might have answered for Jesus.

        1. the 10 commandments
        2. love God and love others
        3. seek justice
        4. mercy
        5. forgiveness

But the answer:

Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

We ONLY have to believe that Jesus is God. That’s it.

As C.S. Lewis explained in Mere Christianity, there are only 3 possibilities for who Jesus really is:

        • A Lunatic
        • An Evil Man
        • He is Lord
Lewis says:
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say.
A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell.
You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

 

Those who say Jesus is a great human teacher – that is nonsense. A man would not say these things unless he were a lunatic or an evil man. So  – HE IS LORD.

Belief means more than just believing someone; it means actually putting our trust in someone.

To Believe in Jesus We Need to Know 3 Things:

  1. Jesus is Invisible so our trust must be that He is REAL, ALIVE. We believe in the Resurrection – the whole thing.
  2. It is all by the grace of God – it is a gift from God. God gave it to us.
  3. It is a CHOICE. It is our decision whether we follow Him or not – each day, each minute.

Our Work is this – TO BELIEVE IN JESUS

Why would we do this?

If we have deeper thoughts and questions such as:

        • What is Eternity?
        • Why am I here? Why do I exist? What is the point of life?
        • Is forgiveness needed in my life? By God?
        • Do I need deep healing for my soul?

Jesus said I am the bread of life. We can have eternal life – which is LIFE with GOD – we can have that – here on earth – right now.

Let’s taste and enjoy life with Jesus – Now and forever.

Hoping that you join me by subscribing to this blog. Please put your email into the box at the top right. You can also reach me at Janis Cox.

Love to hear your comments.

 

 

3 WAYS HOW TO GO AND LEARN MERCY – Sermon

3 Ways how to Go and Learn Mercy

by Harry Morgan

King Solomon - which baby?

What is mercy? Whose baby is this?

Harry started his sermon reminding us of the story of the argument over a baby – who was the rightful mother; how Solomon knew that the real mother would show mercy and not let her child die.

“The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!” (1 Kings 3:26 NIV).

Mercy is:

“compassionate or kindly forbearance towards an enemy or someone under one’s power”

In other words, mercy is “cutting you some slack”.

Jesus says:

“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9:12-13 NIV).

Then the message hit home with these words:

Do you say? “I am glad I am not like that Pharisee.”

Do you compare yourself to others? Do we compete? Jobs? Money? Homes? Do we like to feel better than others? Am I smarter? better behaved? have a higher education? understand Scripture better?

Oh I have – I do. Instead Harry said we need to all be in the same boat because we are all equal in God’s eyes.

Do we do the same at church? Are we mediators for God? Are we helping others into the mercy of God? Or do we say what is she doing in “my pew”? Or why is that baby crying? Or what is that long-haired kid doing in my church?

So Harry gave us 3 ways to Go and Learn mercy:

1. Review the Mercy of God:

      • we are fallen, needy and sinful
      • we have arrogance, selfishness and pride
      • God is love
      • Christ died for all of us so we could be totally forgiven
      • God hates the “sin” but loves the “sinner”

2. To Understand that we are not here to Control other People’s Lives:

      • there is a long history of this control in the church
      • we tend to put glory into our flesh (our power, our wisdom)
      • instead we need to worship the Spirit of God
      • we need to meditate on the mercy of our God

3. Pray that we might Discern the Difference between Mercy and Sacrifice:

      • this will help us not burn out
      • it will get us back to Jesus, the well of life – our Saviour
      • don’t get caught up in “busyness” – instead draw from the well of God and use mercy
      • pray you can “pay it forward”

 

 

HAVE YOU MADE A PLACE FOR GOD IN YOUR LIFE? – sermon

Have you Made a Place for God in Your Life?

Elisha Raises the Shunammite's Son

The boy lives.

Sermon by Doug Ross

Our ministerial for Haliburton held its 5th Sizzling Summer Service in the park – but this year we held it inside a church. Yes we had rain. And we were very grateful for the rain. No one complained when we met together – crowded, happy and joyful. Our churches joined together to praise and worship God.

With a wonderful band, our good singing and lots of worshippers we made a “joyful noise onto the Lord”.

Doug Ross from the Gospel Lighthouse gave the sermon. He is a new pastor to Haliburton and started by praising the ministerial for being “of one accord” and acting like the Acts 2 church. He said it was nice to see leaders putting aside “doctrinal statements and being hungry for God!”.

He based his sermon on a story from 2 Kings 4:8-37 – The story of Elisha meeting the Shunammite woman.

This woman was hungry for God. She even built a special room for Elisha so he would always stay with her when he visited the area. Elisha blessed her thoughtfulness with a son. But the son later died. The woman went to Elisha and told him he had to make the trip back to her house to save her son. “You must come with me,” she said. Elisha lay on the boy and he revived.

She had built a “place for God” in her home. Doug challenged us – Do we have a place for God? Do we look after it? Are you able to say: “It is well with my soul”?

As I spoke about in How Else Can Satan Distract Us?, we are an easily distracted people. I challenge you to make sure you make a place for God in your heart; that you look after that spot; care for it; nurture it; – so you can say those words with great meaning  – IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL.

 

HOW CAN WE USE 86 400 SECONDS IN A DAY WISELY? -sermon

Busy VS Fruitful

TIme

How Can we Use 86 004 seconds wisely?

So many things connected with me today in the sermon that I had to tell you about it. We had a guest lay preacher, Glenda Burk, speak to us on Busy Versus Fruitful.

I know I have been “busy” the past few weeks with VIBE (VBS) and getting ready for my trip to Poland. However, I have never felt stressed. I always took time to talk to God, see family, and go boating with my hubby and have our famous cribbage matches (which I have been losing most lately).

Today Glenda talked about “busyness” and how it might negatively affect our lives. But she also talked about being fruitful – that God expects us to draw on our talents to further His Kingdom on earth.

God gave us the gift of TIME. He gave the same amount to everyone. He encourages us to use it wisely. There are 86 400 seconds in every day. How are we using them?

How many seconds are there in a Day?

If you say you “have no time” – then it is time to look at your priorities and make choices that honour God. So eliminate something. Every moment we waste we won’t get back.

Here are her 5 ways to get back time:

Stop worrying

– that is useless thinking. It has been shown that worry makes us sick and even grouchy.

Stop reasoning

– Don’t ask those questions: Why God, why? When God, when? How God, how? Instead take Proverbs 3:5-6 to heart:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

Get rid of guilt

Guilt is totally useless.  Jesus has delivered us. So believe Him and drop the guilt.

Don’t be angry

Put anger aside. We only hurt ourselves more when we are angry. Bitterness prevents healing.

Forgive Others

Glenda gave us good advice. “Just get over it. And forgive”.

Don’t do Dead Works

Dead works produce no fruit. We only get frustrated and worn out if we try to do things when God is not in them. Instead, let God in – begin to pray – God will open doors. God said, “apart from me you can do nothing”.

“the Lord is our king;
it is he who will save us” (Isaiah 33:22 NIV).

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NIV).

How do we make the best use of our time? Have time to do three things:

      1. time with God
      2. relationship with ourselves – know ourselves and have balance
      3. time with others – serve them. Jesus never sat on the sidelines. Put an effort into relationships. Don’t put off for another time something we may not ever get time to do again.

Prayer:

Father, use me today and the next day. Help me to prioritize my time to work well for You. Help me to balance my day to make me the best equipped to spread the Good News. In Jesus’ name. AMEN

Please read What are Your Tin Gods?

HOW AND WHY DO WE CONSTRUCT COMMUNITY?

How and Why do we Construct Community?

Sermon for Sunday July 1, 2012 by Harry Morgan

Canada - Kanata - community

Canada means “community”.

 

Using Canada Day as a lead in, Harry asked us if we knew why Canada was named CANADA? Do you know?

Canada in the Iroquois tongue, “Kanata”, meant village, settlement or community.

We took at look at the reasons for needing a community.

      • The desire to live together for safety, security, and trade.
      • We needed laws or agreements to make sure we worked well together.

But besides needs we also want community. There is a deep desire in us to join with others.

God has built into our hearts a desire to be with people who have common causes. He named political associations, general associations, service clubs, band and teams as some examples.

Then there is the CHURCH.

Church as a Community

Church as a Community

Jesus came to rebuild the disconnect between God and His people. God is all about relationship – between Him and us. Jesus came as a human to identify with us, but also to pay the penalty for our sin so that we can be in a loving relationship with God.

When we get into this LOVE relationship with God we can’t help but want to love others.

Apostle John says:

“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen” (1 John 4:20, NIV).

The Church Community:

There is no community like a church community. Our common goal is Jesus – but we come with many differences. Nothing is as deep as a church community. It is a prototype of the Kingdom to come – but we still struggle here on earth. But in church we can learn to work through our differences for a common goal – Jesus.

Harry then unpacked our Scripture from Romans 12:9-13.

Love must be sincereHate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality” (Romans 12:9-13 NIV). [my bolding]

Here are some highlights:

Be sincere:

Jesus hated pretension – remember the “woe you Pharisees”. He wants us to be sincere and authentic.

Hate evil:

Sometimes as Canadians we are too tolerant of wrongs. We are to seek justice and make changes to our community promote that justice. And stop being negative unless you are willing to do something about it.

Be devoted:

Love does NOT insist on its own way.

Serve:

A community heals as well as builds up. We learn to serve one another.

Be joyful:

Have spiritual fervour. Be filled with the Holy Spirit

Share:

Practice hospitality.

These are radical principles for loving each other in community. This is what church could look like.

What are you doing to strengthen your church community? How is God leading you to serve others?

Another Scripture that I love, from Micah has the same idea – similar words.

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8 NIV).

You might like other posts. Community. A little Oil.

WHO IS THIS JESUS? – sermon

Who is this Jesus?

“Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” (Matthew 8:23-27 NIV)

Based on a sermon by Harry Morgan

Small fishing Boat

Fishing on the Sea of Galilee?

After Harry set us up in the Sea of Galilee by showing us pictures of the sea, the men in a small fishing boat and showing us how that sea is about the size of Lake Simcoe, I could feel the tension of the disciples in the small boat while they were in that storm.

The storm on the Sea of Galilee

“Lord, save us. We are going to drown.”

One day my husband and I went out on Lake Simcoe in our motorboat, after coming down the quiet, serene Trent canal. We entered the lake only to find that the winds and the waves were vicious. Not being a great sea person I wanted to turn back to the calm of the canal.

Not my hubby – he set out full speed when he saw a large yacht heading across. We caught up to that boat and spent the next couple of hours following in their wake while they headed across Lake Simcoe. Believe me … I prayed. But I did stay calm.  Not calm enough to take a picture, though.

The calm of the canal

The calm before the storm.

We had life jackets available and we had Jesus. The disciples had no life jackets and were not sure of the power of Jesus.

The disciples said, “Lord, save us. We are going to drown.” They called out to him but were unsure what He could do.

Jesus calmed the winds and the waves.

That day the disciples grew in their faith. They concluded, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

We can use this story as a parallel to our lives. The Lord allows storms to happen so we can grow in our faith. We face a variety of storms and they do happen without warning.

Personal storms of sickness, heartache, family problems, financial stresses, depression and jobs – all of these can bring stormy emotions.

Our society itself is in turmoil – the markets unsettled; the European countries challenged; the United States still suffering from the housing and debt crisis.

And even Christ’s church is facing a storm – there is a societal shift away from “church”. Back in the 60s people asked why we were not in church? Now they ask why we go to church?

Does that mean we give up? No – we press on. We do all that we can do and leave the rest to God.

Let’s marvel at how Christ can calm the winds and the waves – how we can find peace when we trust in Him.

You might also like Trust and Calm in the Midst of a Storm.

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.