Midweek Message – May 22, 2020

Today’s Message is a short study and reflection on Psalm 27.

Questions for reflection:
    1. What verse (or verses) in the Psalm 27 speaks to most right now? What does it say to you?
    2. This Psalm ends with a statement of trust in God’s goodness and a call to wait for the Lord.What does the phrase “the goodness of the Lord” mean for you? What goodness have you known? What goodness are you still waiting for?
    3. How do you understand the call to “Wait for the Lord?” Is waiting something you find easy or difficult?
    4. What are some things we can do was we wait for the Lord?
Here are some other some other Psalms that touch on the subject of waiting for the Lord:
    • Psalm 25 (vs. 3-4, 20-22)
    • Psalm 31 (vs. 21-24)
    • Psalm 37 (vs. 7-9)
    • Psalm 40 (vs. 1-3)
    • Psalm 62 (vs. 1-6)
    • Psalm 69 (vs. 1-3)
I pray that you are well and able to enjoy the beautiful weather that we’ve been having the past few days.
Grace and Peace,
John

Home Worship – Sunday May 17, 2020

Good Morning Everyone,

 

This is the 6th Sunday of Easter, leading into the Ascension of Jesus. And if you’re not on church time, it’s also the Victoria Day long weekend. I hope that you’ve been able to enjoy the beautiful weather we’ve had so far.

 

I invite you to start your time of worship this morning by reading Psalm 130 out loud.

 

Hymns and Songs

 

Scriptures

New Testament Reading – Acts 1:1-11

Gospel Reading – John 3:1-16

 

Family Time – “The Waiting Game”

 

Message – “Waiting on the Lord”

Music for Reflection

 

Closing Prayers

In prayers we pray for God to strengthen us by his Spirit through this time of waiting, and pray for the following situations:

    • All those who are ill with COVID-19 and their families
    • Doctors, nurses and other health care workers as they serve in hospitals, public health and long-term care settings.
    • Wisdom for all levels of government as they continue to lead through this challenging situation.
    • For workers in essential services who must interact with the public.
    • For all who are unemployed or facing financial stress because of COVID.
    • For all who are feeling most isolated – for older seniors and those living in long-term care and retirement residences.
    • For children, families and teachers doing their best to teach and learn at home.
    • For all the members of our St. Andrew’s Church family.

News:

    • Next week we will continue through the book of Acts with worship by pre-recorded video at the usual time of 10:30am (and the message at 11:00am.
    • Session and the Board of Managers are upgrading the internet at the church, and we are hoping to have the worship service live-streamed by the end of May or in early June. This will also allow us to take steps to make worship more accessible to those without an internet connection.
    • Sunday June 7 will be a Home Communion service by Zoom at 10:30am. So, be sure to add grape juice and bread to your grocery list. We will also be having an special guest speaker joining us for worship. More details to come next week.

If you would like a phone call in the coming week or need some assistance with getting groceries or other necessities, please write me an email or give me a call at the number below. If you would like your name, or the name of someone you care about included in our prayers (or simply prayed for by myself or the elders) please let me know that as well.

 

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you now and always. Amen.

 

Best,

John

Midweek Message – May 14, 2020

Today’s midweek message is a short study & devotion based on John 21:15-25. This picks up from our worship service on Sunday where the Gospel reading was John 21:1-14.

I invite you to read the passage in both the NIV and then again in N. T. Wright’s translation. Wright’s translation brings out some of the nuances in the Greek text that are missed in most English Bibles.

Here are some questions that connect with the message.
    1. What verse in John 21 speaks to most right now? What does it say to you?
    2. Wright’s translation highlights the fact that in the first two exchanges between Jesus and Peter (in verses 15 & 16) they speaking about love in two different ways. Then in the third and final exchange (vs. 17) Jesus changes his question to use Peter’s way of speaking about love.
      • What might this say about God accepting us as we are?
      • What might the rest of the passage suggest about Jesus’ invitation to grow and be changed?
    3. Jesus tells Peter, that he and the Beloved Disciple will walk two different paths, but that both will be faithful (vs. 18-22).
      • What might this say about our paths in following Jesus?
      • Do you have a sense that God is guiding you on a particular path?
      • Is the idea of God guiding your path comforting, or like Peter is this something you question?
For a some more discussion of what the New Testament means by love you can check out this video from the Bible Project.

 

Grace and Peace,
John

Home Worship – Sunday May 10, 2020

Good Morning Everyone,

Today is Mother’s Day and the 5th Sunday of Easter.

I invite you to start your time of worship this morning by reading Psalm 30 out loud.

 

Hymns and Songs

    • Guide Me O thou Great Redeemer #651
    • I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say #671
    • Cornerstone
    • Now thank we all our God #457
      • I often include this hymn on Mother’s Day, but it feels especially appropriate now. It was written by a German pastor named Martin Rinkart as a table grace for his children in the 17th Century, during a time of plague and famine. Even though his children lost their mother to the sickness, he still felt the need to thank our God “who from our mother’s arms, has blessed us on our way with countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.”

 

Scriptures

New Testament Reading – Acts 16:6-15

Gospel Reading – John 21:1-14

 

Family Time – “Lydia and the Women of the New Testament”

Message – “Finding Our Way to a New Normal”

Music for Reflection

Here are two worship songs that reflect on how Jesus’ resurrection can give us strength to face whatever tomorrow brings. The first is a well loved Gaither anthem. The second is a more recent worship song by Matt Maher that was inspired by it.

 For Mother’s Day we pray and thank God for:

    • All mothers, those who wanted to be mothers but were not able to, and for those who fill the role of mother.
    • We pray especially for those mothers who cannot be with their children (and grandchildren) and children who cannot be with their mothers due to COVID-19.

In prayers we continue to pray for:

    • All those who are ill with COVID-19 and their families
    • Doctors, nurses and other health care workers as they serve in hospitals, public health and long-term care settings. For workers in essential services who must interact with the public.
    • Wisdom for all levels of government as they continue to lead through this challenging situation.
    • For all who are unemployed or facing financial stress because of COVID.
    • For all who are feeling most isolated – for older seniors and those living in long-term care and retirement residences.
    • For children, families and teachers doing their best to teach and learn at home.
    • For all the members of our St. Andrew’s Church family.

 

News:

    • Just a reminder that our weekly Zoom Gathering to connect and share a time of devotion will be on Wednesday at 1:30pm. If you’re on our email list you will receive the link on Tuesday. If you would like to be added to the email list please write to standrewsancaster@gmail.com.

 

If you would like a phone call in the coming week or need some assistance with getting groceries or other necessities, send an email to the church or call and leave a message at 905-648-6024. If you would like your name, or the name of someone you care about included in our prayers (or simply prayed for by myself or the elders) please let me know that as well.

 

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you now and always. Amen.

 

Best,

John

Midweek Message – May 7, 2020

Today’s Midweek Message is a reflection Psalms can help us be open and transparent with God – that we can bring whatever we are going through to the Lord in prayer. I also reflect a little on how this might also apply to how we respond when we’re asked how we are doing by our friends and others we trust – especially when how we’re doing is a little more complicated that ‘fine’ or ‘doing well’.

This reflection is based on Psalm 42

And if you weren’t able to take part in our Wednesday Zoom gathering you can still take some time and reflect on the questions I shared with the group:

    1. What verse (or verses) in the Psalm 42 speaks to most right now? What does it say to you?
    2. Notice that this prayer includes both praise and complaint – it addresses both the good and the bad. Are you able to bring up both these things in your prayers? Do you feel you can be open with your feelings in prayer?
    3. How easy or difficult is it for you to share your grief, pain, or trouble with other people? Are you able to be open with others about how your are really feeling? Or are you most likely to just say that you’re ‘fine’ or ‘good’?

I pray that you’re doing as well as possible, but if you need any help or just someone to talk you call the church or send an email to standrewsancaster@gmail.com and your message will be passed on to me.

 

Grace and Peace,

John

Home Worship – Sunday May 3, 2020

Gathering Hymns & Songs

You can listen to these songs to prepare yourself for worship.

Scriptures

Family Worship Video

Video of Zoom Worship Gathering

If you want to learn more about Men’s Street Ministry and Roger’s work with street affected people, you can follow Roger’s updates on his Facebook page
You can also support his work with a donation or by picking up some extra canned tuna and sandwich supplies the next time you go grocery shopping and dropping them off at his home here in Ancaster. All the details can be found at www.menstreetministry.ca

Home Communion & Mission Speaker – Sunday May 3, 2020

This Sunday May 3, we will be worshiping by Zoom video conference at 10:30am. Our service will include the celebration of communion and a message from Roger Boyd of Men’s Street Ministry.

If you aren’t on St. Andrew’s email list and would like to join our service please send an email to revjohnread@gmail.com by 10:00am Sunday. If you aren’t able to join us live, the first half of the service will be recorded and posted to YouTube by the early afternoon.

Midweek Message – April 30, 2020

Hi Everyone,

Today’s Midweek Message is an expanded and polished up version of the devotion I did for the Zoom gathering on Wednesday. In it I reflect on how the Psalms (and hymns and songs inspired by them) can help us praise God, even in difficult circumstances.

For reference here some links:

And if you weren’t able to take part in our Zoom gathering you can still take some time and reflect on the questions I shared with the group:

    1. What verse (or verses) in the Psalm 103 speaks to most right now? What does it say to you?
    2. Is there a particular verse in either the hymn or the song that speaks to you right now? What does it say to you?
    3. Have you been able to praise God in this difficult time, when we aren’t able to sing or recite the Psalms together? If so, what has helped you do this? If not, what might be helpful?

Just a reminder that Home Worship this Sunday will be by Zoom at 10:30am. I will be sending you the link by email on Saturday afternoon. If you aren’t on St. Andrew’s email list yet, you can write me at revjohnread@gmail.com.

If you are unable to take part on Sunday morning, I will be recording the Zoom gathering and posting it on YouTube later in the day.

 

Grace and Peace,

John

Home Worship – Sunday April 26, 2020

Good Morning Everyone,

 

This is the third Sunday in the season of Easter, and we continue our focus on the hope we have in Jesus’ resurrection.

 

Opening of Worship

I invite you to start your time of worship this morning by reading Psalm 116 out loud.

 

Hymns and Songs

The Day of Resurrection #249

What a Friend We Have in Jesus #746

Here’s a fun new version of the hymn by Matt Maher

Blessed Be Your Name

Come to Us, Beloved Stranger #262

    • You can find the words to both hymns in the document below, but I would particularly encourage you to read the words to this last hymn. It’s a prayer based on the Gospel reading, asking for Jesus to be with us through difficult times.  May it be a prayer for you today.
    • Hymns – April 26, 2020

 

Scriptures

New Testament Reading – 1 Peter 1:10-21

Gospel Reading – Luke 24:13-35

 

Family Time – “How are you feeling?”

Message – “We Do Not Walk Alone”

 

Music for Reflection:Weep With Me” – by Rend Collective

 

In our prayers we can bring to God everything that is on our hearts and minds. We can pray for:

    • The ongoing pandemic – for those who are suffering most because of it, and all the frontline health care workers who are doing their best to bring it under control and to care for the sick.
    • The people of Nova Scotia – for the family, friends and acquaintances of those who were killed, the community members who have been traumatized, and all the first responders who have been picking up the pieces.

 

News:

    • Worship Next Sunday May 3 will be through Zoom. We will be meeting at 10:30am. This will allow us to celebrate communion in our homes and will allow Roger Boyd from Men’s Street Ministry to join us for an update on his work with the homeless, and how those living on the street have been affected by the pandemic. Be sure to pick up some grape juice and bread when you do your shopping this week. You will get an email Sunday morning with the link to the meeting, and those without email will get a call with directions on how to connect by telephone.
    • We will be holding another Zoom Gathering this Wednesday April 29 at 1:30pm. You will be sent an email link on Tuesday afternoon. If you would like some help connecting to the gathering you can join a 5 or 10 minutes early, and I’ll be available to call for assistance.

 

If you would like a phone call in the coming week or need some assistance with getting groceries or other necessities, please send a message to standrewsancaster@gmail.com or call 905-648-6024. If you would like your name, or the name of someone you care about included in our prayers (or simply prayed for by myself or the elders) please let me know that as well.

 

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you now and always. Amen.

 

Best,

John

Apr 23 – Midweek Message

Our first attempt at a Zoom video gathering on Wednesday went well. 15 people took part, including 3 by telephone. So we will be meeting by Zoom again next Wednesday. I’ll be sending along a separate a message with details and a request for input tomorrow. If you would like to organize your own Zoom gathering please email me, or standrewsancaster@gmail.com.
Today’s Midweek Message is an expanded and polished up version of the devotion I did for the Zoom gathering. In it I share a short devotion from a book of sermons preached by the great Christian thinker Karl Barth to those in prison in Basel Switzerland. I also offer some of my own reflections on the hope and comfort offered in the words of Psalm 73:23. Many thanks to my friend Rev. Grant Johnston who introduced me to this little book of encouraging messages a number of years ago.

I’ve also also attached a full copy of Barth’s sermon Deliverance to the Captives – Nevertheless which even in full form (including some wonderful prayers) is quite short, yet quite powerful. If you find this message helpful and would like to read more, the book is called Deliverance to the Captives. It’s not the easiest book to obtain (it’s a bit of a hidden gem) but you can find Deliverance to the Captives – Nevertheless it in print on Amazon for less than $20.
In you prayers this week please remember the people of Nova Scotia. If it would be helpful you can use a prayer offered by the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, the Rev. Amanda Currie. You can find it here.

I pray that you are all well.
Grace and Peace,
John