Thu, 21 July 2016
This is a repost of a sermon podcast 3 years ago. One of the more popular downloads.
The Lord's Prayer is challenging in lots of ways. Two of those are in the area of forgiveness and the imagery of God the first person of the Trinity as a "Father". In my reflection on this I take a very Jesus centred view. I believe that the Lord's Prayer and all prayer is corporate. Even our private prayer addresed to God or "The Father" is prayed with Jesus. When we pray "Our Father" we are sharing in Jesus relationship with the one he called "Father" or "Dad". We should not think of "The Father" as a super version of our Fathers, but as the One who is revealed in Jesus as just, compassionate, loving, and merciful.
In the same way when we pray, "Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us", we are also praying with Jesus. If we are honest I don't think many of us would like to be forgiven in the way that we forgive others. We would rather a deeper more profound forgiveness. The sort of thing Jesus displayed from the cross. If we pray this prayer by ourselves it is not much comfort. If we pray this prayer with Jesus who has forgiven perfectly, then we have great hope and great comfort.
Questions for thought and discussion.
What does forgiving as we have been forgiven mean? How do you measure up?
How does the notion that we do not pray these words alone, but that we pray them with Jesus seem to you? In what ways might this make forgiveness easier or more comprehensible?
What makes the notion of calling God Father difficult for some people? What do you make of the notion that we have God as "Father" because we share in Jesus' relationship?
In what ways if any mightthis be helful for someone who struggles with the notion of God as "Father"?
Direct download: Proper_12_C_God_as_Father_and_Forgiveness-1.mp3
Category:Sermon not in advance -- posted at: 2:16pm AEST
Sat, 16 July 2016
Direct download link: Click here
If you go to Tannum Sands just south of Gladstone in Central Queensland you will find two places of worship next to each other. One is the Uniting Church and one is the Jehovah Witnesses' Kingdom Hall. Both buildings and their grounds are kept in good order but there is a striking difference.
The Kingdom Hall is immaculate, its landscaped lawns are always mowed and it has a paved car park. The Uniting Church doesn't always have its lawn mowed, the back third of the property has gone wild and the car park is not paved. This difference in appearance also reflects a different understanding of God.
As I understand it the Jehova's Witnesses believe that they must earn their way to heaven by doing good deeds and getting everything right for God. Part of this is their service to the church including maintaining the church building. If they honour God through doing these things they will receive a place amongst the crowd in paradise. God will love them.
The Uniting Church people along with most other Christians believe something quite different. They believe that God already loves them. They believe that God came among us in Jesus. In him we saw what God was really like, and God loves us even before we love God. They do not have to do anything to earn that love. They do not have to go door to door, and God will still love them if the church lawn doesn't get mowed this week.
Yet the Uniting Church people still do mow the lawns. If one of them is sick, they will still pray for them, visit them and support them. They are involved in various kinds of community service and although they do not go from door to door they are willing to share what they believe with any who would hear.
If God loves them anyway why do they do this? It is I believe to say, "thank-you!" "Thank-you God for loving us and coming among us."
Questions for thought or discussion
If you have an important guest are you more like Mary taking time to sit and listen or are you like Martha striving to get everything right? What are the strenghts and weaknesses of each approach?
What motivates you to love God and your neighbour? What if anything do you hope to receive something in return?
How effective is thanksgiving as a motivator for loving the other?
Sat, 9 July 2016
This story of the Good Samaritan has been told so many times that we become too familiar with it. As we have probably always been told it is a story about how we should love everyone - even those who are very difficult to love. This understanding of the story can not be denied. There is however another way of looking at it. When the lawyer and the crowd and the disciples first heard this story, they would have identified with the half dead man robbed and left lying at the side of the road. The shock in the story for them would not have been that they must love the Samaritan, their hated enemy, but that the Samaritan loved them. For me, the heart of our faith is that God in Jesus became our neighbour and lifted us out of the ditch and brought us to safety. Of course we may identify more with the robbers or the Levite or the Priest or even the inn keeper. Where ever we are God calls us to love our neighbours and when we need it to swallow our pride and accept love from our neighbours!!
Questions for thought or discussion.
Imagine yourself as the hurt man and the Samaritan as a bikie, or gang member, or someone else you may make you angry or afraid. How does this change your view of the story?
What is it like for you when you are in need and someone offers you help?
Who is your neighbour, whom Jesus calls you to love?
Image: Part of the Good Samaritan window St Stephen's Toowoomba Australia
Direct download: Proper_10_C_The_Hurt_Man-2.mp3
Category:Sermons in advance -- posted at: 2:59pm AEST
Thu, 30 June 2016
God is crucial
Questions for thought or discussion
Image Copyright: picsfive / 123RF Stock Photo
Fri, 24 June 2016
Freed & Fuelled
Questions for thought or discussion.
Image Copyright: tomwang / 123RF Stock Photo
Thu, 16 June 2016
This is the full text of the sermon. Direct audio download link.
We might not think it but all of us have stories about how Christ’s love is at work or has worked in our lives.
And to some extent most of us will have at least some stories that are a bit similar to the experiences of those who wrote today’s Bible readings.
Our first reading is about Elijah. He had just confronted the pagan gods... It was a great victory, but the Queen was angry and wanted to kill him. He felt he was all alone... he felt that he was burnt out... he could do no more... he felt that he was surrounded by enemies... Maybe he was depressed...
But God spoke to him. God Gave him strength for the journey ahead. God didn’t speak in some huge loud way but in the still small voice.
Have you ever felt burnt out, or surrounded by enemies, felt like you could do no more? I’m sure all of us have. I know I’ve felt like that many times.
It was worst when I was at school in year 9. Because I was often bullied- surrounded by enemies. I felt I was all alone. At times I felt like I could not go on.
But at church I was not bullied, and on camps with a neighbouring church and in my Sunday School class, I learned about God’s love and I was given strength for the journey. I learned that I was not all alone. There was the church and other Christians, but much more important - God was with me too!
In Psalm 42 and 43 the story is almost exactly the same as in the story about Elijah. The psalm writer feels abandoned and surrounded on all sides by enemies. But the psalm writer also calls out to God. He remembers what God has done in the past. He remembers what it was like to worship with God’s people and so he asks God to help.
As I said before, I’m sure all of us have been through similar things. I remember once feeling like the Psalm writer in psalm 42 and 43. I was an older teenager and felt that I was all alone in the world. One night I ran out into the back yard and called out to God "Are you there!, Do you care about me?" I can't recall how it happened now but after a while, I did sense God's love and presence and I went to bed in peace.
Or perhaps we have a story like Paul’s Story. Paul had been a Pharisee, what had been important to him, was the Law. The rules, being good, doing right, meeting God’s standard. For a good part of his life he was very self righteous, but then one day, he realised that he could not reach God’s perfect standard. As we learn in Romans chapter 7:7-11, when Paul realised he could not reach God’s perfect standard he was racked by guilt, tied up with a sense of his own unworthiness. BUT as we learn in today’s reading he discovered there was another way. That way is the way of grace and faith. Our sins are freely forgiven because Jesus takes our place. We don’t have to struggle to perfectly obey the Jewish law.
Finally, none of us I believe are possessed by a legion of demons, but perhaps some of us have at times been possessed, or grabbed a hold of, or seized by fear or anxiety, or hatred or bitterness, or un-forgiveness by some other emotion or force or circumstance that makes our lives hell. Perhaps like that young man we have been delivered from what has a hold of us by Jesus and his love!
Image courtesy of Wayne McHugh
Sat, 11 June 2016
Life of the Party
Questions for thought and discussion.
Image Copyright: radub85 / 123RF Stock Photo
Fri, 3 June 2016
Today’s readings have two themes. One is the miraculous healing power of God. Some people find the idea that God would literally raise the dead difficult. I don’t but I sympathise with people who do. This kind of thing simply does not happen in “real” life. It is magical, and yet from Kings and Luke we have two stories of sons being raised from the dead. In our modern scientific world such things are hard to believe. The second theme is the notion that God is compassionate. There were very few people more at risk in the ancient world than a childless widow. A widow who had a son may have some hope, but in both stories the women even lose their sons. Without their sons the widows would have faced almost impossible futures. These stories paint a picture of the nature of God. God restores to the widows what they need and value most, their beloved sons.
How do we know the character of God? How could we better reflect God’s character in our worship, other church activities and in our daily living?
Image Copyright: kasto / 123RF Stock Photo
******************** Text of full Sermon notes below*****************
Thu, 24 March 2016
Our Easter Services will be:
Maundy Thursday 24/3/16 at 7.30 pm
This will be a Tenabrae Service
Good Friday 25/3/16 at 8 am
Easter Sunday 27/3/16 at 9 am
If you are looking for Easter Sermons
A Text only sermon can be found by following this link:
For a Podcast Follow this link:
A Direct link to the audio file can be found here: Easter_Day_A_2011_PM_Master.mp3
Category:Sermons in advance -- posted at: 12:18pm AEST
Fri, 4 March 2016
On Tuesday the 8th of March at 11am in Rangeville Community Church a memorial service will be held for Rev Aub Baker. One of his many significant ministries was with Fronteir Services as a patrol padre. He entitled his recent memoir "Gate opener for the Lord".
I did not know Aub well but like everyone who got to know him even a little bit I felt his genuine interest in me as we sat and yarned as well as glimpsing his strong commitment to Jesus and also the church.
As a tribute to him I reprint a sermon I preached for the 100th Anniversary of Frontier services formerly Australian Inland Mission. Aub was present on that occasion and shared in the service.
Category:Sermon not in advance -- posted at: 1:31am AEST