Daily Reflections

In this challenging season of upheaval and self-isolation, it is more critical than ever that we stay connected to each other and God’s Word. Although we are in “many locations” and homes, one way we can still be united as “one church” is to read the Bible together and respond to what God is saying to each of us. We are encouraging you, our church family, to join together in reading and meditating on the same Scripture passages each day. We will follow the “Moravian Text” – a Bible reading plan that several of our pastors use. You can:
 
  1. Read and reflect on the Bible passages each day (all of them or just the New Testament passage),
  2. Read/watch the reflections from a CSC leader, and
  3. Discern what God is saying to you and inviting you to do as a response.

 

God might invite you to write down a truth and post it where you can see it throughout the day, or let yourself rest in His power and strength, or call a friend to make things right again. Telling someone else what God said to you will help you actually do it. And remember: whatever God calls you to do, He will enable you to do it! That’s how life change happens. Go to https://www.moravian.org/daily_texts/ to see the daily readings and click on “subscribe” to receive the reading plan by email each morning.
 

 

Week of May 25 - May 30 

 

By Pastor Barry

Today's Readings: Numbers 14; Psalm 69:1-12; Mark 14:1-11

 

 

 

By Pastor Craig

Today's Readings: Numbers 15:1-31; Psalm 69:13-21; Mark 14:12-31

I’ve been thinking over the last week about how God guides us.  On Alpha, some guests have been talking about this, and then this weekend as we cut down a big spruce tree in our front yard, I had great chats with my neighbours about how God guides us!

Thinking of how God has guided me the last decade, people often ask why we moved from the UK to Canada?  How we knew that God was leading us here?  Were there any signs along the way?  Were you afraid to get it wrong?  It’s been fun reflecting on the last 6 years we’ve lived here, as it’s brought focus to the ways God has confirmed our calling to Canada.

And today, as I read the verses from our scripture readings, these 2 verses stood out: “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. Say to owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’”

The way these 2 disciples experienced God’s guidance really spoke to me.  Why?  Because it’s not the way it normally goes for me!  I have known specific times when God’s guidance has been this clear, but most of the time it’s not like that at all!  Wouldn’t it be great if God gave us such an exact road map for following His guidance, like in these verses?  Sometimes God gives us incredibly clear instruction, speaking clearly to us.  But usually, it’s a bit like following the breadcrumbs of the Holy Spirit.  He lays one down one step in front of us, then another a little farther along, and so on.

Over the years, wise leaders have encouraged me to ask some searching questions as I’m following the breadcrumbs of where God is leading.  Questions like:  What is God wanting to grow in me through this?’  ‘Am I unwilling to sacrifice something for this? ‘Is the outcome consistent with God’s character?  Does the bible have to say anything on this, either generally or in my regular daily devotions?  Am I willing to be challenged and change my mind?  What do others have to say about it?  Do I feel peaceful about it?  These questions have become very helpful as I’ve considered what God is up to! 

Maybe today if you’re discerning the breadcrumbs of the Holy Spirit, start by asking yourself, ‘’What is God wanting to grow in me through this?’  Don’t rush it, trust He’s with you, and allow Him to speak into your life.

And maybe this time or another time, He will send you to meet a man with a water jar!  But in case He doesn’t, follow the breadcrumbs of the Holy Spirit’s leading. 

 

 

 

By Pastor Grover

Today's Readings: Numbers 15:32-16:27; Psalm 69:22-29; Mark 14:32-42

 

 

Week of May 18 - May 23 

 

By Pastor Warren

Today's Readings: Numbers 7:72-8:4; Psalm 66:16-20; Mark 12:13-17

I’d like to write about one thing you might be struggling with. Someone who is reading this reflection is battling self condemnation. Never mind the judgements or insults others may direct towards you—you are really good at “giving it to yourself”! Oh the things you say to yourself: “I’m no good, or why am I such an idiot, or what is wrong with me, or God could never love someone like me—I’m such a failure”. Possibly when you were young, an authority figure said these things to you, and you’ve internalized these words like those paper towels which absorb a small lake of water.

Generally, our self condemnation is triggered by our: mistakes, poor choices, repeated sins. Getting down on ourselves is our “go to”—but this is more than regret or remorse. It’s deeper. It’s a self loathing—a condemnation we serve ourselves without the possibility of redemption. God may create the world in six days—but He can’t do anything with me. I’m a lost cause.

I introduce our text today. Psalm 66:20 “Praise be to God…Who has not withheld His love from me”. Read it again. Reread it. Rereread it. Rerereread it.

Has anyone ever withheld their love from you? God never has. Have you ever withheld your love from someone? God never has. Have you ever seen someone withhold love from someone else? God has never done that. You may be sick of yourself—but God is not sick of you. You may not believe in yourself—but God believes in you. You may think you’re the worst person on earth—but “Praise be to God…Who has not withheld His  love from you”.

We love it when our preachers remind us that “all have sinned”. Yet somehow when we make a mistake, we are surprised. When the poet says, “To err is human”—we acquiesce. Yet when we err—it’s the end of the world. To be sure, when we make a mistake, or repeated mistakes sincere remorse is most appropriate. But self loathing and self condemnation is not.

If what I have said is true, try this! Instead of self condemnation, give yourself self compassion. That’s right…self compassion. You show kindness to everyone else on the block—show some kindness to yourself.  Repent genuinely, ask God to forgive you, and then forgive yourself. It’s a good thing to give compassion! Don’t you agree? Say it out loud!  IT’S A GOOD THING TO GIVE COMPASSION! Then why couldn’t you gift it to you? Why couldn’t you do that? Self compassion is not self love, or self pity, or self worth—and don’t say it’s something “new age”! (What is wrong with you?) No, compassion is a Godly response to someone who is hurting…and today, you are hurting…maybe you should give some compassion to you!

“Praise be to God…Who has not withheld his love from me”!

 

 

 

By Pastor Lawson

Today's Readings: Numbers 8:5-9:14; Psalm 67; Mark 12:18-34

 

 

 

By Pastor Tim

Today's Readings: Numbers 9:15-10:36; Psalm 68:1-6; Mark 12:35-44

 

 

 

By Pastor Travis

Today's Readings: Numbers 11; Psalm 68:7-18; Mark 13:1-13

 

 

 

By Pastor Kent

Today's Readings: Numbers 12:1-13:16; Psalm 68:19-27; Mark 13:14-27

 

 

 

By Pastor Wes

Today's Readings: Numbers 13:17-33; Psalm 68:28-35; Mark 13:28-37

It may come as a surprise to some, but I’m not very tall.  In my ‘glory years’ I topped out at 5 ft 8 ½ in – not exactly NBA material, but perfect for re-enactments of “The Hobbit”. 

Needless to say, I wasn’t a school yard bully, or a “scrapper”. In fact, my only two fist fights with anyone (besides my brother) were with people my size (or smaller) and they were both disasters. I’m sticking with my 0-2 record and don’t plan to come out of retirement anytime soon.

Truth be told, if we are going to pick a fight, we don’t really like to pick fights with people that are bigger than us, do we? Unless we know we have someone bigger to back us up.

I’m not sure what Caleb, the Israelite spy, looked like but perhaps because I relate to him I’ve always pictured Caleb as a smaller guy – a sneaky little spy-guy. Whatever he looked like, he was a tenacious man of great conviction who had guts, and deep faith, who wasn’t afraid to take on a bigger foe.

I think that’s why this story of the 12 spies has always bugged me.  I get really upset with the 10 “Negative Nellies” who put a huge damper on the whole conquest-of-Canaan deal.  It blows me away that even though they were being called to pick a fight with something bigger than they were they didn’t recall the power, provision, and deliverance of their God who brought them out of Egypt and kept them safe in the wilderness. Didn’t they know that they had the upper hand because the One True God was on their side? Their negative report caused great despair amongst the people and made them doubt God’s power to give them the promised land.

So frustrating, isn’t it?!  But I wonder if I am much different?

The Super Spies, Caleb and Joshua, trusted God without wavering.  They knew that with God at their side they would conquer the land He promised to them, commanded them to take, and covenanted to give to them.  Joshua and Caleb believe in the promises of God; the strength and provision of God; the power and unfailing love of God; and they believed they could call on God as the psalmist did in Psalm 68 when he says,

“Summon your power, God;

    Show us your strength, Our God, as you have done before…..

Proclaim the power of God,

    Whose majesty is over Israel,

    Whose power is in the heavens.

You, God are awesome in your sanctuary;

    The God of Israel gives power and strength to his people.

Praise be to God!”

When I read this story, I want to believe, despite my size, that I’m just like Caleb who spoke against the wimpy spies who counselled against attacking the land; that I would stand up before the whole assembly and boldly proclaim, “we can certainly do this!”.  As I stand against the overwhelming odds in my life, I want to believe that, in the power, strength, and protection of God in all circumstances I would always say, “with His help I can certainly do this!”

But do I? I’m sorry to say that too often when I feel the call to do something for God, to step out in faith, to glorify Him, I fall into fear, despair and lack of confidence. I try to face it alone, and, by myself, I can’t accomplish the daunting things He is calling me to do.  I need to put my full trust in Him.

Who do you identify with in this story? The ten, or the two? Are you feeling too small and insignificant to do what He is asking of you? What giants are you facing today, in the week ahead?  What is making you feel like a ‘grasshopper’; holding you back from fulfilling God’s call in your life, preventing you from doing the great things that will show God’s power and draw people to Him through you? 

Remember, we don’t have to fear or despair or cower when God calls us, he doesn’t leave us to our own devices.  He will accomplish His will in and through us.  We just have to be bold, courageous, and faithful. Call on our Great God to come in power and strength and majesty.  He will give strength and power to His people and we will conquer the giants and take the land.  We can certainly do it!

 

Week of May 11 - May 16 

 

By Pastor Jacob

Today's Readings: Numbers 3:33-4:14; Psalm 63; Mark 10:13-31

 

 

 

By Pastor Jan

Today's Readings: Numbers 4:15-49; Psalm 64; Mark 10:32-45

A family of four gathers for supper at the kitchen table. It’s been an exciting day and each person is in very fine spirits. Their discussion bustles with news of everyone’s unusually triumphant day. Mom is a realtor and she sold a house today. Dad got a significant promotion. 17-year old Zach was voted Leader of the Student Leadership team. Five-year old Lucy found her favourite blue pencil crayon. Everyone agrees that this was an exceptional day. 

The conversation turns into friendly banter as each family member exaggerates their accomplishment in an attempt to one-up the other.  Who had the best day? Whose success was the greatest? The intensity increases and a new question is raised. Who actually is the greatest?  Self-promotions become embellished, stories get sillier, and when the meal is over they remain at the table, fully enjoying their rivalry. Lucy wiggles out of her chair and begins to clear the table. She has never cleared the table before, but she is thoroughly enjoying the playful competition and doesn’t want it to end. She carefully removes the dishes from the table and returns to her chair.  

The conversation peaks and finally culminates in victory when Zach excitedly leaps out of his chair and proclaims, ‘I’m the Leader of the Leadership Team, and that makes me the Leader of Leaders! No one beats that, so now we all know that I am the greatest of all! Plus I’m the best looking.  Just sayin’. . . ’  Everyone laughs.  

‘All kidding aside,’ Dad says, ‘I think we can safely agree that everyone had a great day, but not one of us is actually ‘the greatest.’’

Is it true that not one person in the kitchen was the greatest?  Actually, it’s not. According to Jesus, at that moment in time someone in the room really is the greatest. It’s Lucy.

Don’t we all want to shine and have some measure of greatness? Jesus’ disciples did. In fact Scripture tells us that several times the disciples jostled for the position of ‘greatest.’ But Jesus explained to them that worldly greatness was the exact opposite of Kingdom greatness. Worldly greatness displayed itself through power, prestige, influence and achievement. Kingdom greatness was clothed in love, sacrifice, obedience, humility and servant-heartedness.

Jesus said,  “. . . Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10: 43-45)

Even Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve. He defined greatness by what we give and how we treat others. Not by how we build ourselves up.   

And that is why, at a kitchen table surrounded by people who were older and wiser, people who had more experience, people who had achieved and succeeded, little Lucy’s simple act of clearing off the table made her the greatest person in the room.  

That’s how it works with Jesus. And that’s pretty great.

 

 

 

By Pastor Jared

Today's Readings: Numbers 5; Psalm 65:1-8; Mark 10:46-52

 

 

 

By Pastor Travis

Today's Readings: Numbers 6; Psalm 65:9-13; Mark 11:1-1

 

 

By Pastor Lawrence

Today's Readings: Numbers 7:1-35; Psalm 66:1-7; Mark 11:12-26

 

 

 

By Pastor Kevin

Today's Readings: Numbers 7:36-71; Psalm 66:8-15; Mark 11:27-12:12

The Bible often uses pictures and images to help us grapple with truth.

We see Jesus was walking in the temple and the chief priests, the scribes and the elders approached Him and began to question His authority. Jesus answered their question with a question about John the Baptizer's authority, which they refused to answer because they were afraid their answer would upset the people.

As they questioned Jesus' authority, Jesus painted them another picture. It was a picture of a vineyard. Everyone understood what this vineyard represented, Israel. The owner is God, the tenant farmers are the Jewish leaders, the slaves are the prophets, and the only son is, of course, Jesus. Jesus' authority comes from His Father who sent Him just as the son in the parable received his authority from his father.

Commenting on Jesus' parable in Mark 12 Luther said, "If I were God and the world treated me as it treated him, I would kick the wretched thing to pieces." What would you do if this was your vineyard? Would you round up your army and march on those vine-growers and butcher all of them? Listen to what the Scriptures say:

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 NASB)

There never was a more loving Father, and there never was a more loved Son. Jesus, in this parable, is telling His audience that He is not a prophet; He is the Son. He has been sent by His Father to possess what is His. But they will reject Him and put Him to death. This was "in your face" stuff. The teachers of the law, chief priests and elders flinched at the conclusion of Jesus' words because they knew that they didn't come out of this parable well.

They knew this parable was about them, but because they were afraid of the people, they did nothing except walk away. They would settle this in a few days when they would arrest the Son and have him put to death just as Jesus predicted they would.

When confronted with the truth of who Jesus is, what is our response? Don't end up like the religious elite of Israel and walk away; trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Week of May 4 - May 9 

 

By Pastor Greg

Today's Readings: Leviticus 26:1-35; Psalm 58; Mark 8:22-38

 

 

 

By Pastor Craig

Today's Readings: Leviticus 26:36-27:15; Psalm 59:1-9; Mark 9:1-10

Mark 9: 2-10

I remember the first day at my new school back in Scotland, when I was 10 years old. I arrived to my new school, feeling anxious and excited to be starting this new journey. On my first day of school, I entered the school gymnasium where I was told we gathered daily for the school assembly. We had our school uniform checked, we sang a hymn together, we recited The Lord’s Prayer, and then had some school announcements… including the list of detentions. I thought, ‘Day One of the new school year, and some of my fellow students had already managed to earn a detention... what kind of students do they have in this school?’ To my horror my name was read out by the Principal in a seemingly familiar way: ‘Craig... pause... Murray.’ came the call.

My knees went weak. I stopped breathing. I could hardly believe it...I’ve only been here for 15 minutes! What could this brand new student… all 10 years of him possibly have done in 15 minutes to warrant a detention?? I thought about how to protest my innocence, but I didn’t know what to say because I was terrified!  

Like me, have you ever not known what to say because you were terrified? Maybe the circumstances back then - or today - seem overwhelming? You may not have stood in your school assembly falsely accused… but I would guess all of us have faced circumstances in life so big - that we have been completely stopped in our tracks!

In this morning's verses, I got to read one of my favourite stories about Peter. Mark 9: 2-10 tells an amazing account of Jesus and 3 of his closet disciples, Peter included. Jesus invited the 3 up with him to a mountainside, which was a regular part of His prayer life. But on this mountainside, something different happens, in fact something amazing happens… ‘His appearance changed from the inside out, right before their eyes.  His clothes shimmered, glistening white, whiter than any bleach could make them.  Elijah, along with Moses, came into view, in deep conversation with Jesus’ - Mark 9: 2-4, The Message.

You could say this was a moment when ‘heaven touches earth’, and Jesus is seen in His divine nature. Get this... Peter, and the other 2 guys that day got to witness a snapshot of heaven, when Moses and Elijah - 2 key Old Testament figures come to talk with Jesus. We’re not told about what… but we are told what happens next.

We’re told Peter opens his mouth and wrecks this ‘heaven touching earth moment’. Peter’s brain hasn’t had time to process what is happening - the passage says he’s terrified - but that doesn’t stop him! He interrupts their conversation, asking Jesus, ‘Excuse me teacher, sorry to bother you whilst you’re glowing ever so so brightly… I maybe... well… sorry to interrupt again… but I’ve been thinking… maybe I could build some shelters for the 3 of you?’

In the next couple of verses - we read that Peter is the only person on record who has officially been ‘shooshed’ by God for talking too much! If ever someone deserved a detention, Peter is our guy! He interupts a ‘deep conversation’ Jesus was having with 2 of the most important Old Testament characters, and Peter walks on over and interrupts them!  What was he thinking? Was he thinking at all? How could he have mis-read the moment so badly?

But consider the rest of Peter’s story. Jesus continues to invite Peter to be part of his life, to offer him friendship, and to model a way of living that would transform the world through the Gospel message that has always been the basis of the church! It’s an amazing thought that the guy who was ‘shooshed’ by God in our passage was the same guy who Jesus chose to launch the global church.

We all have messed up and got ahead of God in the situations we’re facing, especially when they are overwhelming. Often we forget, or we don’t see that God is with us because we’re too busy looking at the circumstance before us. We too often jump to action, rather than leaning into Him whilst we wait, to see what He wants to do about the circumstance!

Right now, many of us are facing a huge amount of uncertainty. We don’t need to list the circumstances, because they are different and real for each of us. We do however need to remind ourselves to lean into God in this season in new ways. How do we do that? One way is by being real with ourselves and God, and admitting we have questions about the circumstances we’re facing, as this draws us closer to Him. Finding a safe place to discuss these questions we have about faith is so important, as it helps us lean into God. If you want to lean in at this time, then join us on Alpha Online, where you’ll meet others doing the same. Sign up for Alpha Online here:  www.cschurch.ca/alpha 

------

Now in case anyone is still wondering whether my 10 year old self had to live with the scars of false detention-ment for the rest of his life, let me complete my story.  I hadn’t noticed during my sentencing, that a teacher had quietly walked up behind me, and tapped me on the shoulder.  I was too terrified with what my parents were going to say to even notice!  My teacher tapped me again, this time whispering in my ear…‘don’t worry Craig, there are actually 2 Craig Murrays at the school, it’s the other one who has the detention!’ 

Don’t get ahead of God.  He’s wanting to whisper something in your ear you’ll want to hear!

 

 

By Pastor Brad

Today's Readings: Leviticus 27:16-Numbers 1:16; Psalm 59:10-17; Mark 9:11-29

 

 

 

By Pastor Travis

Today's Readings: Numbers 1:17-54; Psalm 60; Mark 9:30-37

 

 

 

By Pastor Grover

Today's Readings: Numbers 2; Psalm 61; Mark 9:38-50

 

 

 

By Pastor Barry

Today's Readings: Numbers 3:1-32; Psalm 62; Mark 10:1-12

Psalm 62:5 (ESV) For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. 

One of the hardest things to do in life is to wait. Maybe you are waiting for that online retail package you ordered to finally arrive. Maybe you are waiting to receive and spend the tax refund you know you are due. Or maybe it’s for something long term—waiting on a potential career opportunity that has yet to materialize, or waiting for a relationship that is not within your control. Waiting on God can sometimes be even harder and longer. Consider Abraham who waited twenty-five years to receive the promised child, or Joseph who waited thirteen years for God to fulfill his teenage dreams, or David who waited about fifteen years between being anointed king and actually becoming a king. 

In the first verse of Psalm 62 David waits for God in silence. Literally the text reads, “only toward God is my soul of silence.” It is not just that David’s soul is silent, but that his soul is seeking God in the silence. David is waiting for God when all that he discerns around him is silence. In the silence he affirms once again what is true—that God is his rock and his salvation, and that as a result he (David) “shall not be greatly shaken.” We wonder even if he is at least feeling a little shaken and a little concerned. This is natural because as verses 3 and 4 indicate, David is indeed in the battle zone. He is under attack; his soul is being tried. 

Then in verses 5 and 6 we see almost identical language of verses 1 and 2 with a few subtle changes. This time it’s a command of David to his soul to wait for God alone in silence. David is expectant that God will speak as he waits in silence. David now acknowledges that God is not just the provider of his salvation, but God is the source of his hope. Hope as a biblical concept is always pregnant with expectation. God will act, and he will respond, and David’s faith is strengthened in that hope. His language in verse 6 also slightly shifts from verse 2, as David can now assert that he “shall not be shaken” without any qualification. 

Verses 8-10 show us the tension that David is experiencing amidst his crisis—to place his trust in God for his full provision rather than his own devices—whether it be extortion, robbery or merely putting his trust in money and riches. Where is David going to place his trust? Is he going to place it in his own cunning, his abilities and his wealth? Or is his trust and faith truly to be placed in God alone? God’s silence is the occasion to test our hearts. Is our confidence in him alone, that as we pour out our heart, he is sufficient and willing to provide for our needs? Or is our heart focused our own devices, to scramble and worry and improvise? 

Verses 11 and 12 wrap up in David hearing God now speak. Notice the twofold truth expressed. Both power and love belong to God. It is vital that both of these belong to God. He could be able to help us with power, but not willing to do so with love. Or he could be willing to do so with love, but not actually able to do so with power. But God affirms twice to David in telling him that he is both able and willing. God is not only the one who is able to deliver us from the crisis, but he is fully loving and caring to do so. 

Some of us find ourselves now waiting in the silence for God to speak. David reminds us in this Psalm that even in the silence we are to wait expectantly for God to speak. We are to trust him amidst the waiting even when we are so tempted to turn to our own devices. And when God does speak we will be inevitably reminded of the truth that he is not only able to meet all our needs, but he will do so.

Where are you not fully trusting God in your situation? Pour out your heart before him. Then take some time in silence and wait to hear what God has to say to you.  

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:19 (ESV)

 

 

Week of April 27 - May 3 

 

By Pastor Lawson

Today's Readings: Leviticus 20:9-21:12; Psalm 55:16-19; Mark 6:45-56

 

 

 

By Pastor Tim

Today's Readings: Leviticus 21:13-22:16; Psalm 55:20-23; Mark 7:1-8

 

Mark 7:1-8

6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:

“‘These people honor me with their lips,  but their hearts are far from me. 7 They worship me in vain;  their teachings are merely human rules.’ 8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”

 

Have you ever honoured God with your lips, but your heart has been far from Him? In our own lives, do we say and do what is right but in our hearts begrudge it? That would make us like the pharisees, who were hypocrites. Jesus was far more perceptive of what was going on and saw beyond the actions to the intentions and He called the people out on it. The traditions that the pharisees where being challenged about, in and of themselves were not wrong; washing their hands and sanitizing their surroundings, after all it’s the one way we can protect ourselves from the COVID-19 virus, but they were using it as an excuse to be busy ‘serving’ God without actually serving Him, they were busy doing nothing.

Our God is not looking for perfection from us, if we make mistakes, he will forgive us, what he longs for is a close relationship with us and for a willingness to live our daily lives in a way that honours him. He wants us to keep a check on what is in our hearts ‘for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.’(Matt 12:34b)  

When we first came to Canada, we lived on the Shelley Reservation, near Price George, in the northern part of BC. It was an amazing experience. We lived amongst the First Nation people and became friends with some that are still friends today. One of the elders, Mary, spoke the Carrier language fluently, she was a lovely unassuming woman, I asked her if she could translate the Prayer of Jabez into their language for me, as I loved the guttural sounds of the language (I even tried to learn to say it which caused them to smile at my English accent trying to get my tongue around sounds that were far from native to me). This prayer was being prayed by Christians around the turn of the millennium and can be found in 1 Chronicles 4:10,  'Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain’.  I can still remember the look of concern on her face when she said there are not the words in my language to stop causing people pain, so I have translated the last phrase to say that I may do good always… This was a very profound moment for us and set the course for our ministry. Even in the toughest times when perhaps things have been said and done that could be misunderstood, and there were many as we tried to learn their culture, in our hearts the desire has always been to ‘do good always’ and one of the chiefs actually recognized this publicly. 

We find ourselves in a moment in history that is unprecedented, a time when the whole world came to a standstill, but it is also a time when we can bring comfort to others who are sick, suffering hardship or even mourning because of this terrible pandemic. We can show the love of Christ, sincerely from our hearts when we are living in a close relationship with Him, to the world through our caring actions and words – we can ‘do good always.’ Although the doors of the buildings are closed the church is still alive and well, made up of many individuals who’s hearts are true from which the cause of Centre Street Church continues as we are committed to accomplishing the redemptive purposes of Christ in the world.

Remember if our hearts are right with God, we will do good always!

 

Thought to ponder:

Are we willing to spend time with God, prayerfully reflecting on His words, so that our attitudes and actions will be pleasing to Him? David prayed in the Psalm 51:10, ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me’.

 

 

 

By Pastor Kent

Today's Readings: Leviticus 22:17-23:22; Psalm 56:1-8; Mark 7:9-23

 

 

 

By Pastor Travis

Today's Readings: Leviticus 23:23-24:9; Psalm 56:9-13; Mark 7:24-37

 

 

 

By Pastor Wes

Today's Readings: Leviticus 24:10-25:17; Psalm 57:1-6; Mark 8:1-13

 

 

 

By Pastor Ashwin

Today's Readings: Leviticus 25:18-55; Psalm 57:7-11; Mark 8:14-21

Psa 57:7-11 – Awake, my Soul

Psa 57 is a Psalm of Lament, written by an individual who is pursued by his vicious enemies. David’s life was under grave danger and he had to hide in a cave. To use the language of our day – David was self-isolating! However, after pouring out his complaints to God, David affirms great confidence in God’s love and faithfulness!

Keep in mind – David’s threat remained. His life was still under great risk and his circumstances had not changed. However, a dramatic change had happened in David’s heart! He is praising God in the midst of His suffering! David writes in the last part of Psa 57:8 I will awaken the dawn.” It means the sun that dawns will find David awake and worshipping God!  David discovers the vastness of God’s love and faithfulness in this posture of worship! This enables David to leave his sombre mood behind and praise God from the rooftops in public. After all, God is not a tribal deity but He deserves public praise because He is Sovereign over the nations! With renewed confidence, David declares:

I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
    I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
    your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Psa 57:9-10

I have found myself in David’s shoes several times in the last few weeks. When I hear yet another negative news report, yet another update on COVID 19 from our Province and yet another social media post of doom and gloom – my heart sinks and I allow the negativity to dampen my spirit. But when I lift my voice to worship and reflect on the vastness of God’s love and faithfulness in my own life, my perspective and outlook changes and my heart bursts forth with praise!

Today, would you allow heartfelt worship to awaken your soul to God’s love and faithfulness? 

 

 

Week of April 20 - April 26 

 

By Pastor Travis

Today's Readings: Leviticus 14:19-57; Psalm 51:13-19; Mark 5:1-20

 

 

 

By Pastor Jacob

Today's Readings: Leviticus 15:1-24; Psalm 52; Mark 5:21-43

Mark 5: 25-34 – The Bible does not give her name. She is only known as “ a woman “. She came to Jesus with an affliction that dogged her for twelve long years. A persistent hemorrhage that had branded her as “ceremonially unclean”. Her condition barred her from normal contact with her family, friends and neighbours. Nor was she permitted to worship the Lord in the temple. Though no fault of hers, she became an outsider, an “ untouchable “.

In desperation she spent all her resources – seeking a cure. Yet disappointment followed disappointment. No Doctor could help her. Her health deteriorated, and she was reduced to poverty, isolated from her family and friends.

But one day she heard about this remarkable itinerant Teacher. A Nazarene named Jesus. Some claimed he was prophet, others, that they had seen him cure people with only a word or a touch. Some even whispered the word Messias. Messiah! That very day she had heard that he might be passing by her village.

Excitement preceded him, as though the air was charged with electricity. Her heart must have beat faster. Oh, if only she could draw near to Him, if only He might touch her. Impossible! She was unclean, nobody had touched her for a long time, let alone a great Rabbi. And if she did cross His path, how could she possibly speak to him in front of this large crowd – the nature of her burden? Imagine the shame, the humiliation, the rejection and yet……

Desperation may lead people to act irrationally, yet it may lead to strong, bold even shameless actions. The woman’s “ plan “ might not have been a plan at all, it was a sudden impulse, a reaching after the hope and healing that she so longed for and had eluded her for so long. The crowd surged. He was walking quickly, the one called Jesus, was intent and purposeful. She looked for a small window of opportunity and found one. Scripture says, that she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”  (Mark 5:27 – 28)

It only took a moment. One quick lunge And power flowed into her body.  Her bleeding stopped immediately and she was healed. Healed. Not only of her bleeding. The Master’s parting words held out even more wondrous hope than she dared believe. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed youGo in peace and be freed from your suffering (Mark 5:34). The word He used for healing spoke of salvation and forgiveness of sins. One touch of faith – one desperate act of reaching after the grace of God in Christ, and a woman’s life was never the same.

Though millennia has passed, He is the same God, yesterday, today and forever. A simple touch of faith releases a mighty surge of healing and saving power. 

Points to ponder:

  • What do you want Jesus to do for you today?
  • Expect the Unexpected. Is there anything that is impossible for Him?
  • I would like to encourage you today, to make it a daily practice to spend much time at the feet of Jesus, meditating on His Word and seeking His face in prayer. 

 

 

 

By Pastor Wes

Today's Readings: Leviticus 15:25-16:25; Psalm 53; Mark 6:1-6

 

 

 

By Pastor Travis

Today's Readings: Leviticus 16:26-18:5; Psalm 54; Mark 6:7-13

 

 

 

By Pastor Warren

Today's Readings: Leviticus 18:6-19:11; Psalm 55:1-8; Mark 6:14-29

Getting Along

I have always been curious about how the animals got along on Noah’s ark. How did predator and prey coexist in such small confines? In 2013, there was another great flood—this one in our backyard. I heard about a guy in High River who took his boat and went door to door rescuing people and pets from their homes. As the story goes, dogs and cats in the boat seemed to realize the urgency of the hour—and they got along as they floated to safety. Even in prophetic Scripture a future day is envisioned when “the lion will lie down with the lamb”!

All this leads me to the present and to this point: How are we as families, cramped together in our homes getting along? The first few days may have been a novelty, but are you going just a little crazy being penned up with people you used to like? Our Scripture today talks about wanting to escape—“Oh that I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and be at rest! I would fly far away to the quiet of the wilderness  (Psalm 55:6,7).  Is there anyone who would jump and say, “That’s me! Let me out of my house! I can’t take it anymore”!

Today, we are going to be very practical. Because the truth is—we do love our families. We would never just bolt! But maybe we need a few skills to survive with the people we love. May I show you the secret of how to THRIVE today in your house?

 

Talk. First talk to God—and do this as a family. After breakfast, together ask God for patience and strength to “love when the lovin’ is difficult”.

Have your own space – every family member should have their “safe place” or “city of refuge”! Note: if you’re a clean freak—this may not be a time for you to take your stand. Don’t sweat the little stuff. You have bigger fish to fry.

Routine is the key. In these times, never wake up  without a plan. Meal times, study times, online times, free/fun times, bed times should be part of a schedule. Routine doesn’t always sound like fun, and it shouldn’t be too rigid—but if you plan fun in routine—it will keep everybody on the same page.

Invention. You cannot survive without something to stimulate body, soul and mind. Why don’t family members each come up with (invent) a “new thing of interest”! A new hobby—learning a new language (there are excellent  online helps for this), start a new collection, take an online course, learn to play the guitar, sew a dress, learn to knit, get crafty, get fit, memorize Scripture, restore a old piece of furniture, upgrade your tech skills (how important is that)! etc.

Voice. 3 times a week, have IPR. InterPersonal Relationships. After supper, you talk! And everybody in the family has a voice. This is a time for honesty. Talk about how you ‘re truly feeling—how you're coping, the things that have bothered you—the things you have enjoyed. Share your feelings with specific family members, and share your own frustrations about yourself. This is a safe place. There is no defensiveness, just sharing and listening. You’d be amazed how this helps. 

Environment. Get outside. Get fresh air. Sit in the sun. Go for a drive and see beauty. Walk, Run, Play, and sign those petitions to open the golf courses! Lol. Of course, you will go outside safely, practicing physical distancing.


Do these things, and you and your family will THRIVE. Because if predators and prey, dogs and cats, lions and lambs can get along…then so can you.

 

 

 

By Pastor Jared

Today's Readings: Leviticus 19:20-20:8; Psalm 55:9-15; Mark 6:30-44

Mark 6:30-44

30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

35 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 36 Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”

37 But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”

They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages[e]! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”

38 “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”

When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.”

39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.

 

My wife and I have three children, all under the age of five. Needless to say, this is a busy stage of life! My wife’s days are full to overflowing with getting kids dressed, preparing meals, helping kids to actually eat the meals, cleaning up after meals, wiping noses, trips to the washroom, mediating arguments, finding activities for the kids to do. When my work day is done I jump into the fray – meals, play, bath time, bedtime, clean up. And after all is said and done, all I want to do is put my feet up and read a book or put something on the TV! But every time I’m nestled into my chair, I have to brace myself for the inevitable call: “Dad! I’m scared” or “Dad! I’m still hungry.” The work is not yet over! 

In Mark 6:30-44 Jesus calls his disciples away to rest after a season of hard work. He had sent them throughout Israel to proclaim the gospel. They preached, taught, healed, and cast out demons – they were exhilarated, but also exhausted. “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest,” Jesus invited them. What a relief and a joy to hear those words from the Master! They piled into a boat to find a solitary place with Jesus, but as soon as they arrived on shore, they faced yet another large, needy crowd who had anticipated their arrival. No rest would be had here! But Jesus had compassion on the people because they were like sheep without a shepherd (v. 34) and he began teaching them. The day drew on and the disciples, no doubt still looking forward to the promised rest, suggested that Jesus send the people away so they could find food. But Jesus declared that the work wasn’t yet completed: “You give them something to eat,” he told his disciples. But how could they? How much food would be needed to feed five thousand (and that was just the men)? It would take deep pockets and a herculean effort to find, purchase, and bring food for all to that isolated place. All they could find was five loaves of bread and two fish. But with Jesus, their meagre supply was sufficient. He had the people sit down, took the loaves and fish, gave thanks to the Father, and began doling out handful after handful of bread and fish to his amazed disciples, who distributed it to the people. All ate and were satisfied that day, with leftovers to spare. 

Our world today is at a standstill. Before the pandemic, perhaps your schedule was jam-packed. Like the disciples sent out by Jesus, you were hard at work. But now all that has changed. Is Jesus calling you apart to a time of rest? “Come with me to a quiet place and get some rest.” Will you take Jesus up on his offer? Or perhaps this season has been anything but restful for you. You were anticipating business as usual in 2020, vacations and all, but now you find your workplace is frantically launching in a new direction to keep pace with the changing times. Or maybe you find yourself battling on the front lines against COVID-19 itself. Maybe your battlefront is full time care of your children who would otherwise be in school. You're crying out for rest but the Master is saying that the work is not yet done: “You give them something to eat” (v. 37). 

Whether in a season of rest or toil, are we open to sensing Jesus’ compassion for the lost sheep in our lives (v. 34)? How might he be summoning us to address needs around us? The needs are great; our resources small. Let us bring our meagre supply to the Lord. In his mighty hands our resources are multiplied to accomplish his mission. Surely it will be enough, with leftovers to spare.


 

Week of April 13 - April 18 

 

By Pastor Lawson

Today's Readings: Leviticus 8:18-9:11; Psalm 49:13-20; Mark 3:1-12

 

 

 

By Pastor Barry

Today’s Readings: Psalm 50:1-6; Leviticus 9:12-10:20; Mark 3:13-19

Psalm 50:3 (NLT) Our God approaches and is not silent; consuming fire goes ahead of him and all around him a storm rages. 

Some of the simplest lessons we are taught as children are some of the most important. But do we still take heed of them as adults? One of those lessons is: Don’t play with fire. Most of us have fond memories of being at a campfire as kids. We would roast marshmallows over the fire and sometimes poke the fire with sticks and then twirl them creating a mini-light show. The fire was a source of great fun. Fire is also necessary for life. It provides heat and light—the sun which we depend on each day is a massive ball of fire! 

But fire also commands our respect, for when we don’t respect the power and force of fire, it can also consume us. Playing with fire is just as dangerous for us adults as it is for children. Though fire is a source of life for us, it also powerfully represents God’s holiness and his judgement of those who are casual and disregard his holiness. We have a dramatic portrayal of this in Leviticus in the figures of Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron the priest. In the final verses of Leviticus 9, we see the whole assembly of the Israelites sharing in an amazing experience of divine fire. Moses and Aaron bless the people and the glory of God appears to the whole community. Out of the Lord’s presence comes forth a great fire that consumes the entire burnt offering on top of the altar.  The text tells us, “the people shouted with joy and fell face down on the ground (Lev 9:24 NLT)”. What a moment. Sheer joy, ecstasy and utter trepidation all rolled into one experience of God’s power and presence! 

But what follows is the not so happy story of Aaron’s priestly sons, Nadab and Abihu. For in the beginning of chapter 10, they decide to conduct their own pyro-technic light show. They light up their own incense burners and conduct their own ceremony apart from God’s command to do so.  Once again fire blazes forth from the Lord’s presence, but this time it consumes Nadab and Abihu! Oops! A mistake? Were they just a bit too cavalier about playing with the Lord’s fire? God responds to the situation with these words: “I will display my holiness through those who come near me. I will display my glory before all the people (Lev 10:3 NLT).” 

Fire is a powerful picture of God’s holiness. And we are continuously reminded in Scripture that disregarding God’s holiness has serious consequences. Even a godly and humble guy like Moses had to learn this lesson. After Moses strikes the rock instead of speaking to it as God has commanded him, we read, “because you did not trust me enough to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel, you will not lead them into the land I am giving them (Num 20:12 NLT).” Wow! Big consequences for Moses on that one. Perhaps we want to feel a bit sorry for Moses. He was really stressed after all. They were in the wilderness. There wasn’t any water for miles. Everyone around him was complaining. It was a crisis situation—a matter of life and death. But in the midst of crisis, God is still there.  He is still in control. And he is still holy. And true faith means acknowledging and upholding God for who he is amidst the crisis. 

Some of us are experiencing crisis right now. The question to ponder is simply this: What does it mean for us to believe that God is holy in the midst of our situation? One thing it means is to acknowledge that God is in charge. He is set apart and above every problem we face. No virus, no economic collapse, no pain or death takes him by surprise. He is able to do whatever is needed and he justly governs all things, and he still commands our respect. A second thing is to acknowledge that he is good and he cares for us, his children. Yes, we may be stressed out and feel pushed to the brink. But he is there and he does care for us amidst whatever pressure or struggle we face. His character has not changed. Finally, it also means to acknowledge that God knows what we need even more than we know what we need. We don’t need to tell him what we need as much as we need to trust him for what we need. Faith, after all, is having assurance about the things we cannot see our way through at the moment (Heb 11:1). Acknowledging his holiness requires true believing faith.  

What area do you fall short of acknowledging God’s holiness in your life? Take time now for confession and communion with him.  

Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshipping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire.  Heb 12:28-29 (NLT)

 

 

 

 

By Pastor Lawrence

Today's Readings: Leviticus 11:1-28; Psalm 50:7-15; Mark 3:20-35

 

 

 

By Pastor Travis

Today's Readings: Leviticus 11:29-13:8; Psalm 50:16-23; Mark 4:1-20

 

 

 

By Pastor Jan

Today's Readings: Leviticus 13:9-46; Psalm 51:1-6; Mark 4:21-29

 

Mark 4:21-29

Who doesn’t like to understand the ‘big picture’?

Understanding the big picture helps us plan our lives and figure out where we are in the grand scheme of things. It helps us move forward in a meaningful way.

Has your big picture been shaken lately? Covid19 has caused the things we once held as certainties to be no longer so. Our finances, jobs, social relationships, and health have become more vulnerable. Our understanding of the future is unclear.  

Where in the world are we heading?

Fortunately for us, the Kingdom of God (God’s big picture) is not shaken. God’s Will, here on Earth, is not in a state of upheaval. It is the same as it’s always been.  

Jesus said, 

This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain – first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.

Mark 4:26-29

We have no idea how God turns a seed into a head of grain. Luckily, it’s not our job to figure that out. In Jesus’ illustration, we are the sower of the seeds. Our job is to scatter the seeds (spread God’s word and do God’s will). It is God’s job to cause the grain to grow (advance His Kingdom). We don’t understand the intricacies of how God grows grain, changes hearts, advances his Kingdom. But the good news is He is always doing it.    

We can rest in the fact that whether we are fretting, rejoicing, waking or sleeping, God is always at work. We need only to walk in God’s will and trust in Him to provide the increase.

So let’s continue to love our neighbours, share the Gospel, act justly, show mercy, and walk humbly with God. He’ll do the rest, even while we’re sleeping.

It’s His big picture after all, and it’s unshakable.

  • How can you very practically show God’s love to someone today?
  • How can you encourage someone today to keep their eyes on God’s big picture?

 

 

 

By Pastor Grover

Today's Readings: Leviticus 13:47-14:18; Psalm 51:7-12; Mark 4:30-41

Looking Past the Storm: Mark 4:35-41

Living in Alberta we have all experienced some crazy weather patterns.  Mark Twain’s quote which has become the running joke for years in Alberta has been;

“If you don’t like the weather in Alberta now, just wait a few minutes.”

We are currently in a storm but it’s not related to weather patterns – it’s a storm that is affecting our very way of life. The “few minutes” wait has turned into weeks and honestly there doesn’t appear to be any light at the end of the tunnel.

In my quiet time this morning (reading out of the Moravian text) I came across the familiar story of Jesus and his disciples crossing the Sea of Galilee when an unexpected storm rolls in. The waves threaten to sink the boat and take their lives. Where is Jesus in this story? Bailing out water? Steering the ship towards the shore? NO - Jesus is upfront…fast asleep.

Asleep! How can he be asleep? Terrified, the disciples wake him and ask if he cares that they might be killed. Jesus gets up, tells the wind and waves to be still, and then asks the disciples why they are so afraid. What’s going on here? Is the question going through his disciples minds. On the other hand – Jesus seems a little too casual for their liking.

As we navigate this current pandemic, what lenses are you looking through to interpret this story?  We can be fairly confident that Jesus knows the Father’s plan. He knows that this is not the death he has come for. He also, presumably, knows that he can command the wind and waves and they will obey. So he has no cause for concern.

But I find a compelling truth in the events following this story.

When they do arrive on the other side, they are immediately met by a man possessed by many demons. Jesus comes to this man, the one whom no one else dares approach. Jesus is no longer casual. Now we see Jesus relentlessly pursuing the demons that afflict this man (Mark 5:8). Jesus is on the offensive. Earlier, when Jesus says to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side” (v. 35), he isn’t just making an idle suggestion. Jesus is intentional - he moves with purpose, knowing that the other side of the lake, past the storm – there is a battleground.

So while they are crossing, no matter the ferocity of the wind or the size of the waves, Jesus is unconcerned. Jesus mission is not to confront the storm, rather, his mission lies on the other side of it. There is nothing to fear on the water.

Storms of life have a certain way of threatening our faith. There are certain unexpected storms that cause us to question God’s goodness. Prolonged illness, the death of a loved one, a loss of purpose, a marriage destroyed—and it seems like God is asleep. If God really cared, if he really understood, then why would he allow these things to happen?

When we look at this storm (found in Mark 4) through the lenses of the good news it becomes clear that the storm is not the point. The storm is real and terrifying—the disciples believe that they will not survive—but the point is not about surviving the storm. The point is about who is in the boat with them.

Yes, Jesus can calm the storms of our lives.  But Jesus didn’t come to calm storms. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. Jesus didn’t come to give me a comfortable life, he came to defeat death and to make all things new.

I am not trying to diminish anyone’s suffering, and I would never suggest that you shouldn’t cry out to Jesus when you are in the midst of a storm. He does, after all, get up and calm the storm in this story.  Storms are frightening, I know. I know what it is to think that God doesn’t care, and why is he asleep on the job? I know what it is to feel useless, helpless, and hopeless. And if that’s how you are feeling right now, take courage.

Jesus does not take people out into the middle of the sea to drown them. He takes people across the sea so that they can participate in his work of restoration and redemption. Jesus does not stand afar off to do this. No, he enters the darkness, the evil, the suffering of this world, and he transforms it from within.

If we are following him, then we too will enter this darkness. We need to keep Jesus in sight (Hebrews 12:2). We need to understand who this is, asleep in the boat. The storm is not where you face the enemy. The storm is where you meet Jesus. It is in adversity, when we come to the end of ourselves, that we see the power of God in our lives.

Relief from the storm is not the best thing that can happen to you. The best thing that can happen is for you to be conformed to the image of Jesus. The enemy can use the storm to make you anxious, afraid, hurt, and discouraged. God can use it to make you fearless, secure, and steadfast.

16 So we do not lose heart. Though our self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. -2 Corinthians 4:16-17

Some thoughts to ponder:

  • What lenses are you wearing through this current storm? Fear or faith?
  • Where are you seeing the goodness of God in your life today?
  • What or who may God be preparing for you on the other side of this storm?


 

 

Week of April 6 - April 11 

 

By Pastor Greg

Today's Readings: Exodus 40:24-Leviticus 1:17; Psalm 45:1-9; Mark 1:1-8

 

 

 

By Pastor Tim

Today's Readings: Leviticus 2-3; Psalm 45:10-17; Mark 1:9-20

 

Mark 1:9-20

16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 18 At once they left their nets and followed him.”

What a lot happens in eleven verses! Firstly, Jesus is baptized and God, His heavenly father speaks and declares, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” And then he is sent into the desert to be tempted by the devil himself, but even through this trying time he was attended by angels. Next his cousin John is thrown into prison. After all this Jesus makes a declaration, The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

Now it was time for action! Jesus makes a declaration about the Kingdom of God because of the voice of God, that emanated from heaven, saying that Jesus was his son, whom he loved and that he was well pleased with. This indicates to me that when Jesus had been sent by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted he returned with the reason for his being on earth etched on his mind, it was now time for a new way of living and thinking. He immediately started to fulfill his destiny. Jesus calls fishermen and retrains them to journey with him under his influence as he strives to fulfill his father’s plan.

I lived for 20 years in a small deep-sea fishing village called Mevagissey, in Cornwall England, where we raised our family. I can tell you that most fishermen do not choose this career as it is extremely hard, physically demanding and potentially life threatening. Most fishermen come from several generations of fishermen. Jesus was inviting these men into a new way of living and thinking, one that would guarantee that their lives would never be the same again. He then challenged them not only to join him but for them to become fishers of men as well.

I know many people who have quickly responded to the invitation to follow Jesus, indeed who wouldn’t want to especially under these current circumstances? Learning new skills is often challenging, especially if we have had previous experiences that make it harder, but Jesus wants to make us fishers of men.

There was a lake about three hours north of Prince George in BC. The only access to this lake was via another lake with a small portage between the two. It’s a lake that I had to agree not to disclose its name or exact location! I was taken there as a 50th birthday gift.

While I had fished on the ocean back in England, it was from a boat not a canoe. As soon as I tried casting, I flipped the canoe over, however once I learned the new skill, I happily caught my quota of delicious rainbow trout within a very short time. What I had to learn were the skill to fish from a canoe on a lake, the speed at which to trawl the lure, the type of lure and the weight that was needed to make sure that we caught large fish towards the bottom of the lake.

The purpose of this story is to help us understand that in these unprecedented times, when everything as we know it has changed, this also includes how to ‘fish for people’ or to put it in modern language, how to invite our friends to join us at one of the many activities we are blessed with in CSC. The coming months will provide an opportunity to follow Jesus as he still calls his disciples to fish for others who need to hear and receive the good news. Reaching out to friends and neighbors while social distancing will be different but as we listen to Jesus and find out what he is saying to us and then do as he says… we might even have to change our minds (repent) about the old methods of doing things and embrace (believe) the new way, but it will be rewarding.

Once we understand what Jesus is calling us to do then we need to put it into practice and to use a fishing idiom, ‘tight lines’!!

Some thoughts to ponder:

  • What things, that I used to do, will I need to stop doing?
  • Am I willing to embrace the new ways of doing things?
  • How is Jesus inviting me to learn new skills to share the good news about Jesus in these days?

 

 

  

 

By Pastor Craig

Today's Readings: Leviticus 4:; Psalm 46; Mark 1:21-34

 

 

 

By Pastor Travis

Today's Readings: Leviticus 5:1-6:13; Psalm 47; Mark 1:35-45

 

 

 

By Pastor Greg

Today's Readings: Leviticus 6:14-7:21; Psalm 48; Mark 2:1-12

 

 

 

By Pastor Kevin

Today's Readings: Leviticus 7:22-8:17; Psalm 49:1-12; Mark 2:13-28

 

What do you do when your expectations or beliefs fail to line up with the behaviour or reality of what is happening? This is called “cognitive dissonance” – when what we believe and what actually happens don’t align.  This can happen when we approach Jesus. 

When one pursues Jesus, they can have one of two responses: accept Him for who He is or reject Him because He doesn’t fall into your idea of who He should be.

In Mark 2:13-28, we see examples of this clash between how some people wanted to see things and the reality of how things actually were:

First, Levi (Matthew) accepts Jesus for who He is, following Him and introducing Him to his friends and co-workers. Levi realizes Jesus came for sinners, of which he is one.  The Pharisees (religious men following their own path under the guise of religious rules) question Jesus’ friendship with such people, demonstrating their reluctance to accept Jesus for who He is. They felt they kept all the rules, so they didn’t need anything or anyone else.

Second, it’s the Kingdom of God, not the Kingdom of man’s understanding of God.  God determines the rules of His Kingdom for man, not the other way around.  The Pharisees had their way of doing things, and expected Jesus to fall in line.  But He didn’t. Whether it was structure around fasting or the Sabbath, these were intended to point to, not replace, the true sacrifice, who is Jesus.  He is the lens through which we examine and live out life. Jesus is the King, and as such, He determines the rules of His Kingdom, and we follow Him.

Third, God’s ways are to free you, not make you a prisoner. The Pharisees put restrictions around everything one could do, believing that adhering to the rules would make one suitable for God’s Kingdom. They believed keeping the Sabbath rules would bring you Sabbath rest. But through Jesus, He brings the Sabbath rest we long for. We enter into God’s rest through Jesus Christ. Christ’s call is simple. “Come unto Me, and I will give you rest.”

Two choices: our way or Jesus’ way; the way we desire things to be or Jesus’ ways and purposes.  All through history, God is eager to reveal Himself to whoever is seeking, but we must see Him as He is, not as we want Him to be. What, or more importantly, who are you following?

 

 

Week of March 30 - April 4 

 

Pandemic? Don't Panic - Be Fruitful

By Pastor Warren


But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
- Galatians 5:22-23a (NLT)

In a time of worldwide pandemic, the natural question is, “What do we do?” Physically, we follow our health care professionals and government leaders. But what about spiritually? What if we were guided by the Holy Spirit in this time? What if we let the Spirit produce His life in us during the pandemic? The Bible calls this the Fruit of the Spirit.


The first Fruit of the Spirit is…Love.

We’ve been learning a lot of new words these days—COVID, social distancing, asymptomatic, etc. But maybe today we need to be reminded of the greatest word of all: Love. The Bible teaches there is a supernatural love that flows from the Holy Spirit into our hearts—and I would say into our hands. Jesus says, “This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you” (John 15:12 NLT). Would you think about how love might be the most powerful force in this time of pandemic? Would you think about what it looks like to love God, love your family, love your neighbours, love your enemies and love yourself? Today’s simple question is: How will you express love, and to whom will you express love in these incredible days?

 

Prayer:

1. Pray that you will know the unconditional love of God in your own heart. Take a few moments to “soak in His love”.

2. Pray that the Holy Spirit will flow in and through you. Confess any known sin—and ask Him to give you supernatural love.

3. Pray that the Holy Spirit will show you practical ways of expressing His love to others.

 

 

 

 

Pandemic? Don't Panic - Be Fruitful

By Pastor Warren


But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
- Galatians 5:22-23a (NLT)


The second Fruit of the Spirit is…Joy.

If ever there were two words that don’t seem to belong together, they are: Joy and Pandemic. It’s like putting spinach together with ice cream! But what if the Holy Spirit is desiring to produce joy in you today? Jesus is clear: He wants to inject joy inside of you, joy that will find expression in your everyday life. “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full” (John 15:12). As we are seeing, that’s not the natural response to what we are facing. The question is, how do you think the Lord wants you to express joy today? What does it look like? Is it simply a friendly smile? Is it an encouraging word? An appropriate joke? A word of caution: lightheartedness can be off-putting to people around you who may be really hurting. Think about “sensitive joy” and its expression.

 

Prayer:

1. Pray about what might need to come out of your heart so that joy can enter into your heart.

2. Pray about practical things you could do to bring joy into someone’s life.

3. Pray for wisdom in the expression of your joy.

 

 

 

Pandemic? Don't Panic - Be Fruitful

By Pastor Warren


But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
- Galatians 5:22-23a (NLT)

 

The third Fruit of the Spirit is…Peace.

Almost never in the history of the world has there been a universal crisis. Even during two world wars, there were countries that were isolated from those horrific conflicts. But this is different. In every corner of the world, governments are planning strategies to protect. In every corner of the world, churches are planning strategies to minister. Never has the planet been more together. We are also connected in global worry.


But we read that the Spirit wants to produce peace in us. Jesus said, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:17 NLT). Peace is not the absence of conflict—it’s the strong confidence that God is in control in the midst of conflict. Let’s reflect on this thought: Would you even need God’s peace if you were never in conflict? Of course, we must express concern for those around us. We must feel concern for the challenges in our families. But in the tone of our voices, in the lines on our faces — can we project confidence in God… because we have received the peace of His Spirit?


Prayer:

1. Ask God to produce His peace in you. Call someone, and pray together for God’s peace.

2. Pray how you can show God’s peace without using words.

3. Pray for Centre Street Church. What would it look like for us to show God’s peace to our city?

 

 

Prayer @mycschurch

By Pastor Travis

 

By Pastor Jacob 

 

 


By Pastor Jacob

 

 
 
 


By Pastor Lawson

 

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