Springfield Baptist Church
The congregation continued the February tradition of attempting to Warm Up Winter with coffee, muffins, and fellowship prior to the Sunday School hour. After a warm greeting from Terry Thiessen, and his daughters Sophia and Lilah, Noel McMaster led the congregation in songs of worship and reflection prior to Pastor John Twinem's sermon from Mark 10:35-45.
Pastor John began with the disclaimer that we weren't experiencing deja vu and he wasn't recycling a sermon, despite the similarities in the material from a sermon from Mark 9 just weeks ago. The passage is similar and this was a result of the lack of understanding or taking to heart on the part of the disciples. This offers us both hope and a warning. The disciples were spiritually slow learners in light of the time they spent with Jesus day after day. We have hope though, knowing that Christ, in grace, persists and they grew, redeemed and shaped, according to His will. It is a warning as well as of how frequently we are obtuse and unaware. We were challenge to consider whether these blind spots were about our choices rather than a true lack of awareness.
James and John approached Jesus with selfish, arrogant, and immature attitudes and requests. We are taught through the example of their frailties and shortcomings. We are reminded that the God who loves us is willing to work with those who are frail and blind and lacking. The innate tendency of human hearts, in our brokenness, is that we are the centre of our universe. We, like James and John, are looking for glory, pushing to be first, and to be ahead of others. They lacked understanding of what they were asking and approached Jesus in an attitude of manipulation, trying to lead Him rather than follow Him.
Jesus' reply was, in essence, "are you ready to go through the necessary training process required to lead the coming Kingdom?" Were they willing to suffer? Were they willing to accept death? Were they willing to do those things for the cause of the Kingdom? Last week we saw that the cross was Jesus' coronation and that, in His sacrifice, He sealed the right to be our king. A leader is one who is fully committed to the wellbeing of His followers and Jesus loved the lost and broken around Him to the extent that He was willing to die for them, and to do so by their hands.
In the church in North America today there exists an enormous distance between what we are called to and what is actually going on. Many see church as a niche market, a status giver, a power basis, an opportunity to generate income or political influence, and pursue a parasitic existence. "Christians" are using the kingdom of God to their own advantage rather than serving. We hear the masses saying that "church isn't meet my needs," "I'm not being fed," and "they're not my kind of people." Church isn't about these things. We need to question our questions: "am I meeting the needs of the body? Am I edifying the believers around me? Am I giving of myself for the good of the church?”
We need to seek to show the follow the example of the One who died for us. Our leadership, modeled on Jesus, will involve suffering and sacrifice. If we are committed to Christ, we will reflect sacrifice for others in love and the willingness to suffer as reflected on the cross.
Avondale United Church
The congregation met for worship at 10:30 a.m. Thanks to Don and Linda Newman for setting up the coffee and treats for all to enjoy. Worship began with Bruce Fleming reading a message about listening from the Prophet Micah. Ryan Peever lit the Christ candle and Shout to the Lord and Shout to the North were sung. Lay Reader Joanne Long welcomed everyone and gave the announcements. Rev. Fred Hagle spoke to the children about being happy. Since the groundhog saw his shadow, we can expect six more weeks of winter. We may or may not be happy about that but we can remember that God loves us and we are all bound together in God's love.
In the Stewardship Minute, Dan Rasokas read "The Pastor's Perspective" on tithing. Ushers Jack Whitmore and Sandy Buchner took up the offering. The scripture read was taken from Matthew 5 The Beatitudes. The message for adults was "Living the Blessed Life." Blessedness is God's gift to us. Being blessed is where true happiness can be found. According to Micah if we want to act justly, then we must walk humbly with our God. We need to accept all people as equals and seek the Kingdom of God. We are called to live a life that is faithful and become better humans lifting others up to a better life here and around the world. The choir's anthem was Blessed Be Your Name.
Why not join this Sunday at 10:30 a.m. when Rev. Hagle will speak on Salt and Light? The scripture will be Matthew 5:13-20. Come at 10 a.m. for coffee and fellowship. Our church's annual meeting will be in Cuthbertson Hall following worship. Our congregation welcomes Patty Pearce as our newly-hired treasurer.
Kids Connect Night will be every Wednesday from 6 to 7 p.m. starting Feb. 12. Mommy Connect Group will be every Friday at 10 a.m. beginning Feb. 14. Mark your calendar for Avondale's Beef Supper on Sunday, March 2 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $7 for children 6 to 12. Our UCW will meet for lunch at noon on Thurs., Feb. 20 with worship, budget planning and a Bring and Buy Crazy Auction following.
St. Paul’s Port Burwell/Vienna United Church
The congregation met at 11 a.m. with Rev. Cordell Parsons leading the service. Port Burwell and Straffordville churches met jointly in Port Burwell for the first Sunday of the month.
Music was provided by Courtney Porch.
Service opened with a sung response called Jesus Stand Among Us.
Rev Parsons opened the call to worship and the congregations responded followed by an opening prayer.
The first hymn was This Is The Day.
Announcements were made by Rev. Parsons who then had the youth of the congregations come forward for a story for them followed by the Lord’s Prayer.
The joint choirs sang a song called When Hands Reach Out Beyond Divides.
The hymn of preparation was called Jesus You Have Come To The Lakeshore.
The meditation was called The Gift of Presence.
The scripture reading was taken from 1st Corinthians 1:8-31 in which Paul speaks about the tension between the ways of the world and the ways of God. Paul’s words to the church in Corinth confirm that God turns the ways of the world upside down and encourages us to be present to one another.
The next hymn was Praise the Lord with the Sound of Trumpet.
There was a choral call to prayer led by Rev. Parsons and responded to by the congregations.
The final hymn was Oh Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go.
There was a message of Sending Forth led by Rev. Parsons and responded to by the congregations.
Service was followed by a lunch for all present in the basement of the church.
Next Sunday is Straffordville United Church’s annual meeting and Rev. Parsons will be there so Port Burwell church will be led in worship by lay people. Everyone is invited to attend and worship.
Langton Baptist Church
Rev. Keith Sutherland opened the church service at 1 a.m.
His message was on ‘The challenge to worldly wisdom, or worldly wisdom was turned upside down by God. Consider what we want to do with the Beatitudes, but what the Beatitudes do to us. Jesus wants us to see the world as God sees it, as we are seeing the church, the way of God and following God’s way. Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. God reveals Himself to us, through Christ, as he came to us for us, dying on the cross. Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God.’ Prayer followed.
The children’s story was on ‘When we read the scripture we see the prophets as well as Jesus. Jesus uses humour with words to get peoples’ attention. Let us pray that God will get our attention to see what God has done for us today.’
Hymns sung, were: Take My Life and Let It Be, Give Thanks, Guide Me Oh Thou Great Jehovah, and Just A Closer Walk With Thee.
Scripture readings, were: Psalm 15, Micah 6:10-8, Matthew 5:1-12 and 1Corinthians 1.
Prayers of supplication and praise were given by Rev. Sutherland.
Offering was received by Carol Overbaugh and Kim Fasseel.
Communion service was observed, with Deacons Carold Overbaugh and Marie Dickens serving.
Sunday, January 26
Rev. Keith Sutherland opened the church service at 11 a.m.
His message was on ‘Remember your baptism. Baptism is a gift from God, and keep that relationship with God. God loves us for we see that He gives us forgiveness, love, care and direction. We need to remember that we need to serve to share with others. Repent for the kingdom of heaven has come near. Our life is not our own after baptism. Accept God’s way as we are receiving God’s calling and submitting to God’s rightousness and truly be thankful.’ Prayer followed.
The children’s story was on ‘Repent and be baptized. We turn around and fulfill coming and receiving the gift of God. Let us think about what our baptism means.’
Hymns sung, were: I Will Call Upon The Lord, Lord I Want To Be A Christian, and O Happy Day.
Scripture readings, were: Psalm 27:1, 4-9, 11-14; Matthew 3:1-2, 11-17; Isaiah 42:1-9; Matthew 4:1-22; and Acts 10:34-48.
Prayers of supplication and praise were given by Rev. Sutherland.
Offering was received by Kim Fasseel and Barbra Sinnesael.