Tag Archives: church

Door – Scribble Picnic

The prompt this week is door for #ScribblePicnic. I hadn’t picked up a paint brush and my watercolour for a long time. Not since I finished the last picture for I Remember – The Seasons. It was good to get back into it. I enjoyed the process again.

Now I should be ready to start on our next book in the series. I needed this boost.

Interestingly enough while my sister-in-law visited us in Arizona she showed us pictures of her travels to Europe. She is fascinated with doors and door knobs. She has sent me some of the pictures. This one is from Tier, Germany and she is sure it is a door to a church.

I noticed many doors in Germany were arched like this one.

Here is the original picture.door

Here is my process. I started using wet on wet and this photo below was still wet when I took the picture.





Trying to be true to the photo I darkened the door – but I think I like the one above before I darkened it. Too bad – can’t get it back. But I might try lightening it if I can – highlights always help. What do you think?


This exercise reminds me of a door we entered in Rome. We climbed up the back steps – it looked as if it might be a church but there was nothing outstanding – very white, no adornments. We walked in – and my goodness – it was stunning. The ceilings were very high, painted and the colour in the room was beautiful.

So we never know what is behind a door. (tweet this)

And we can think about that with people. Do we really know who they are? Is their door open or shut? Sometimes when we say, “Hi, how are you doing?” do we mean it? Have you really taken the time lately to ask someone how they really are?

I do hope everyone has someone to open up to.

Can you let your door open to another person? (Tweet this)

I am willing to listen. You can email me anytime. Email Janis.

Today is #Scribble Picnic. Visit more creations at Dottyhill.


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Sitting Among Friends

Heart Message 3 – Heart for Church

My Heart for Church and a Linkup

I started to think about church this morning and all the different questions of why we attend church and how God speaks to me through church involvement. I want to show you my heart for Church.

My church experiences haven’t been without heartache and frustration. But during it all I never stopped going to church and God has been faithful to show me that indeed church is essential to my growth in Him.

My Home Church – Haliburton Unitedheart for church

In Haliburton, Ontario where we live, we attend a small church  (maybe 150 people total) in the village. It is a three pastoral charge which means that most Sundays our minister does three services starting at 8:30 am until about 1pm. We are the last stop on his Morgathon – yes that’s what we call it. Our minister’s name is Rev. Harry Morgan. Only if you have supplied for him would you know the energy it takes to do those services. As I followed Ali Matthews one Sunday when she supplied for Harry, although I didn’t do any preaching – I just greeted and set up and drove, I felt exhausted by 1pm.

Heart for church

Celebrating Communion and Canadian Thanksgiving

heart for church

Stained Glass Windows

Heart for church

Rev. Harry singing with the kids

heart for church

Contemporary Service

heart for church

Decorated Christmas tree

As you can see in the pictures above our church loves to decorate when we celebrate a season.

Once a month we have a contemporary service. Harry plays the guitar so it falls well into his gifts to do this. My hubby and I like the contemporary service. I am an upbeat person and the guitar (and sometimes drums) makes me feel alive. I sing the words and remember them. Our songs have many words taken from Scriptures and this is a good way to memorize God’s Word.

We have attended Haliburton United since 2004 after we moved to the village. As a Bible-based church we focus on God’s Word and our motto is “To Know Christ and Make Him Known”.  My knowledge of the Bible has increased exponentially since we have been going there. Harry encourages us to read and study God’s Word daily – and I do.

What else do I like about our church?

We are community based – we house an Adult Day Care; an Outreach program for moms; we have community dinners, and choirs practice under our roof. We run 2 Bible studies as well.

Our minister holds “Bible Beer and Burgers – BBB” once a month in a restaurant in town bringing people in who won’t necessarily attend church, to ask questions and talk on a certain topic. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Harry also tapes his sermons. You can listen to them here.

Our New Church In Arizona – Via Church

heart for church

Then we leave town in October and head to Arizona. We have attended a number of churches down here over the past 6 years. We haven’t found the “right” one yet. But we are attending a lovely church that might be the “right” one. It is called Via Church. This Sunday we will join a group called Merge to find out more about this church. We enjoy the music and the teachings have been very thorough and pointed about reading God’s Word every day. This church’s goal focuses on reaching out to the community and getting Christ into the community. They are a much bigger church than we are used to in Canada, so it’s hard, as Snowbirds, to get connected. I will be working on it this winter – to actually get connected.

The Pastor also tapes his services. You can see and hear them here.

I attend church regularly because I have a heart for church (tweet this)

In both churches I love the praise and worship time. As we sing to God I feel that I can see Him smiling and saying, “Well done”.

It was Jesus’ habit to attend the synagogue regularly so I know that it must be important.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13, NIV).

What are your feelings about church? Does church warm your heart? Do you have a heart for church? (tweet this)

Today is Word of God Speak – LINKUP

Watchful Wednesdays – Who Is Your Gang?

Watchful Wednesdays – Who is Your Gang?


The other day I came across a speech by Mr. Rogers on Emily Freeman’s blog. My kids were regular viewers of Mr. Rogers and his Neighbourhood.

In 1997 Fred Rogers received a Life Time Achievement Award. Here is the acceptance speech.

In one part of his speech he asks the audience for 10 seconds of silence in which to remember those who made a difference in their lives.

Today I am calling those people your “gang”.

Who are those people who have made a difference in who you are? Take 10- 20- 30 or more seconds to quietly thank God for these people.

God wants us in community. (tweet this)

God wants us in a community with Himself. That is why He sent His Son, Jesus, to bring us back into community with Him.

God wants us in community.

God wants us in a community with others. Jesus wants us to build His Church so we can be part of this community.

But we need to work on it. It can be messy.

I am reading a book called Community is Messy by Heather Zempel. She states:

Community is the very essence of his [Jesus’] character. The complex doctrine of the Trinity demonstrates to us that God exists in community with himself. And ultimately that’s what he was dying for. To restore community. Between humankind and God. And within the mess of humankind itself (page 18, Community is Messy).


Thank You, Lord for the gang you have given me. Thank You for building a strong bond of faithful fellowship between us. Thank You for allowing me to enter into fellowship with You. Thank You for Jesus in whose Name I pray. AMEN.

Join us on Sunday for Sunday Stillness – where we are building a new strong faithful online community – a Gang for Jesus.




We have a guest post today from Laura Davis, who writes at Learning from the Master.

Are You Praying the Right Way?

by Laura Davis

“What is causing all the quarrels and fights among you? Isn’t it your desires battling inside you? You desire things and don’t have them. You kill, and you are jealous, and you still can’t get them. So you fight and quarrel. The reason you don’t have is that you don’t pray!Or you pray and don’t receive, because you pray with the wrong motive, that of wanting to indulge your own desires”  (James 4:1-3 NIV).

In my last post, Are You Qualified to Lead, it was clear that James was dealing with many problems in the early church. Everyone wanted to be in charge. In chapter four he continues to address his concerns over all the quarrels and fights.

He gets right to the point too. These early Christians were far too worldly and far too childish! They sounded like they wanted to have one foot in the world and one foot out. Everyone seemed to be complaining about something and no one was satisfied. So they got jealous and fought and quarrelled with each other.

Hmm…sounds familiar doesn’t it? People want something, perhaps a change in how things are run and who it is run by and before you know it there is division in the church.

How many of you today are having problems within your own church community? What about the emergent church and the division it has caused?

It started innocently enough, but now they are so far away from teaching the Word of God that they are leading thousands astray. And all because of people who wanted their way and not God’s.

It all seems to start the same way too. The older folk can’t stand the loud rock ‘n roll music in the church and the younger folk can’t stand the old boring hymns. The old folk insist the hymns aren’t boring and have more substance to them than the repeated refrains that they hear in the newer songs. The younger ones disagree.

So what happens? The leaders of the church decide it is time to step into the future and they cater to the young folk. Unfortunately, by catering to one group, the other group is neglected and what happens then? They leave – by the droves.

Unfortunately, now many churches are suffering horribly. Why? Because it is the elderly who were faithfully supporting the church financially. In the end everybody loses.

But what does James say? The reason you don’t have is that you don’t pray! And the reason they don’t get what they ask for when they pray, is because they ask with wrong motives.

If you are praying for a revival in your church what are your motives? To change the hearts of the young or the old toward your way of thinking? If you are praying for the right leadership in your church, what are your motives? To get your own way, or to glorify God?

If  you are wondering why your prayers aren’t being answered, examine your motives. What do you really want? Is it in line with God’s Word and His will? If you are causing division within your church then you know you are not at the centre of God’s will. This is not the way of the Lord or His people.

Why are you praying and what are you praying for?


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.


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


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.

DO YOU DANCE? – Five-Minute Friday

Do You Dance?

“Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might” (2 Samuel 6:14 NIV).

David Dances

David Dances

Never has there been a time that I have not wanted to move to music. I love to let my body find its release as it hears the beat.

But in church when I grew up and as a young mom it was expected that we would maintain “decorum”. Not until 2000 when I attended my first contemporary service did I feel allowed to be ME  – to worship fully my way.

I may be one of the very few in my small country church to dance, clap and raise my hands but I do it freely – knowing I am praising God the way I need to.

David danced for joy – and so do

I dance to show God how pleased I am that He made me – to say how much I love Him.

Jan Cox

Yes I can dance, clap and raise my hands in worship.

Do you dance in church to show your joy? I am not saying all people have to worship this way. But if you want to I think you should be able to do so in freedom.

If you do not worship this way, do you accept those who want to be free to worship this way?

I would love to hear your comments.


I am linking to the Gypsy Mama again this week.  The word this week is DANCE.

Five MInute Fridays

Five Minute Friday from the Gypsy MamaDance


“Ascencial” Truth – Sermon

by Rev. Harold Morgan

This weekend was the 24th of May Weekend – celebrating Queen Victoria’s birthday in Canada. Our minister, Harry, spoke about kingship, and ascension to the throne. In the secular world there is much pomp given to the ascension of a king/queen. Gifts are given and received.

The Ascension of Jesus is the crowning of our Lord, Jesus Christ. In Acts 1 we get a different picture of His royalty. He lived as a carpenter, had no armies and spent his ministry in servanthood. He died for all of us. He rose from the grave. Then He returned to earth to reveal Himself for 40 days. Then He ascended. Then at Pentecost, He gave his disciples a gift – the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus had said, while on earth:

 “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”” (Matthew 28:20 NIV).

Then He withdrew His visible presence. He went back to where He had started – with a view of humanity that connected us to God.

“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8 NIV)!

In His ascension He took back what He originally had. And He went back with more.

That was the theological part – which I hope I got right.

Here are the real implications of the Ascension:

Jesus is now not limited to time or space.

While on earth He did have limits of time and space.

Jesus receives our prayers.

On Ascension, He took back the prerogative of God. He IS God! But now we can pray to Him.

“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13 NIV).

Here is the Ascencial Truth (Harry made up the word ascencial) – Jesus opened the gates of Heaven – so we might enter in. (I love the song by Robin Mark. See it at the end of this post)

“But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.” (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe” (Ephesians 4:7-10 NIV).

We were captives of Satan but Jesus freed us to be captivated by Him. We are His. We need to know Him and love Him. And He even took us to Heaven with Him.

“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6 NIV).

How cool is that! Wow! We are seated with Jesus. We are yet to see the whole fullness of this but we do get glimpses, don’t we?

Jesus Gave Gifts to Men

Just as in the temporal world when a new king is crowned there are new jobs opened to those who know the king. So, too, Jesus apportioned jobs to each of us. Paul lists some of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in Ephesians. We are to serve the body of Christ by using the gifts given to each of us.

Here is a list of the ones from Ephesians:

Apostles – those who have vision and entrepreneurial spirit for God.

Prophets – those who call us to account and are the balancers. They ask questions like, “are we right doing this?”

Evangelists – those whose love for Jesus makes them want to spread the Good News.

Pastors – shepherds who show concern and comfort for others. They are the encouragers.

Teachers – those who explain what is said in the Bible.

All of these only operate under the Holy Spirit. We cannot be followers of Christ without the Holy Spirit in us. It is impossible.

And that is the “Ascencial” Truth – Jesus’ Ascension is important. Video Podcasts – Part 1 and Part 2


Prayer for our Churches

by Jan Cox








A prickly subject – pastoral abuse! Too many times have I heard stories of churches being torn apart by exploding and imploding church boards. Everyone is hurt, especially the pastor.

Can we see it coming?

In hindsight yes. Most often not as it happens because it seeps into our congregations bit by bit.

How can we help?


Yes, we need to be in constant prayer for our churches, pastors, and leaders. They are the frontline.

They are the ones who will be most in Satan’s sight and line of fire. When a church starts to grow or look outward toward a community. Watch out! Satan will try every means to close doors or add frustrations.

Each one of us has a job to do. And that is to pray. Pray for the member of your team that you don’t agree with. Pray not for them to change but for God to work in both your lives.

Don’t nag and complain about something – pray for God’s wisdom in how to deal with it. And get over yourself. I am the worst offender here. I am learning to watch, look and listen – praying constantly for “the knowledge of His will, through all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Col 1:9 NIV).

I recently finished reading a book called My Fanatical, Regrettable Tour of Ministry by Ron Mahler. Ron opens our eyes to what can happen when church leaders bicker.

A most eye-opening and interesting read.



Father, we know we need to pray for our church leaders. Remind us. Encourage us. Help us to look to You for answers. Jesus – You are the Head of the church. Help us to help our leaders. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

My Gratitude List for this week: Counting up to 1000 – I am at 588.

  • A washer and dryer to keep clothes clean
  • Yummy leftovers – a quick meal
  • Praying for a wonderful friend and her family
  • A piano keyboard to relearn how to play
  • Toes not as sore as last year in tap dance
  • Connections via the Internet
  • Prayer – can’t say enough
  • Rain in the desert
  • Building up muscles in my legs from tap dance
  • Hearing from my 90 year old Arizona friend
  • Oswald Chambers – God can hear me even when I don’t consciously pray

Jan Cox

Jan, a former school teacher and small business owner, found a new passion in writing in her retirement. She has published two devotionals and a number of articles for magazines and a Bible study. She is owner of Under the Cover of Prayer and moderates the site. She also writes at A Better Way. Jan has written a children’s book in which she is also the watercolour illustrator. She hopes to publish it some day.