Midweek Message – May 28, 2020

Today’s Message is a short study and reflection on Jeremiah 29:1-14. Verse 11 is fairly well known in many Christian circles, and is often used for encouragement.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

However, when we look at the full context of Jeremiah 29, I think we find a message that speaks quite powerfully to the challenging situation we’re all living through right now

Here are some questions for reflection:

    1. Do you find the language of ‘Exile” a helpful way to think of our current situation – both as a church as well as individuals and families?
    2. What might prosperity (‘plans to prosper’) look like for us in this time? Other Bible translations phrase this expression bit differently – ‘plans for your welfare’ (NRSV) or ‘plans for your good’ (NLT). What good would you like to see as we move forward? What would support your welfare or well being?
    3. What do you think of the idea of applying verses 4-7 to our current situation? Can you see yourself trying to settle into this period of exile and making the most of it? How might you seek the peace and prosperity of your town, city or neighbourhood? How might we do this as a church?

If you would like to learn more about the Book of Jeremiah the Bible Project is a great place to start. The idea of Exile is a major theme throughout the Bible, and the Bible Project has two excellent short videos (they’re about 5 minutes each) that take a look on how we can understand this today.

The Book of Jeremiah: https://bibleproject.com/explore/jeremiah/

 

The Exile: https://bibleproject.com/explore/exile/

 

The Way of Exile: https://bibleproject.com/explore/way-of-the-exile/

Worship materials will be circulated by email at 10:30am this Sunday May 31, with the sermon available at 11:00am.

Grace and Peace,

John

Home Worship – Sunday May 24, 2020

Good Morning Everyone,

 

Welcome to worship on Sunday May 24. This is Ascension Sunday where we celebrate and reflect on the good news that the Jesus who lived as one of us, who suffered and died and was raised for us, reigns in heaven as this world’s true king.

 

I invite you to start your time of worship this morning by reading Psalm 93 out loud.

 

Hymns and Songs

 

Scriptures

New Testament Reading – Acts 1:12-17, 20-26

Gospel Reading – Luke 24:36-52

 

Family Time – “Captain to the Bridge”

 

Message – “Waiting & Living Within Limits”

 

Music for Reflection

Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery” – by Matt Boswell, Matt Papa & Michael Bleecker

 

Closing Prayers

In our prayers we pray for God to show us how to live well, fruitfully, and safely within the limits of this time. As we do, we pray also for:

    • For everyone to act with care and for the safety of others as Ontario takes the first steps towards reopening.
    • 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.

 

In our prayers we remember especially: Tom, Paul & Glenna Drinkeld, Chelsey Zylla, Mildred Johnson, Eric & Eleanor Pridmore, Deirdre Moore, Steve Potter, Bill & Donna Dobson, Paul and Veronica Watson, Janet Remias & Family, the Kim family, the Officer family and the Paterson family.

 

News:

    • Next week we will continue through the book of Acts as we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit to all who follow Jesus at Pentecost.
    • 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 a Melanie Barlow from Ancaster Community Services as our mission speaker. We’ll learn more about how ACS is responding the needs created by COVID-19 and how we can help them in their service to our local community.

 

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 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