Pastor’s Blog

Wishing versus Hoping

Wishing versus Hoping

I sit here at my desk realizing that the Christmas season is about to start. I panic inside with the thought of all that has to be done. I tell myself to breathe deeply and to simply enter the season without expectations. Just let it happen. Because pretty soon people will be wishing each other a merry Christmas and kids will be preparing their wish lists of gifts they desire.

Wishing is something we all do. Wishing is about something we want and desire. Something we wish to receive. But here’s the problem: we write the wish lists. Wishing comes out of our egos and desires and apparent needs.

Hope is different. Hope is deeply connected to faith. Look at Luke 2:10-12 “ And the angel said to the shepherds, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

The shepherds were just out in the fields watching their flocks. They may have wished for some warmth. Maybe some warmer clothes or a hot chocolate. But then suddenly comes this holy announcement of hope. And the shepherds go to see for themselves. Hope comes from God. It is rooted in what God is up to. Wishing is rooted in what we are up to. Wishing is about my will being done. Hope is about Thy will being done. Hope is the humble acknowledgement that the future is in God’s capable hands. It is trusting in Him because He’s sovereign. He knows the future.

And so rather than wishing you a merry Christmas let me pray that you have a hope filled Christmas and beyond. And in that hope you will live with anticipation of what God is up to in this world He created and sustains. In this world that is being transformed and renewed because Jesus has come.

Psalm 39:7 (NIV) “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.”

Pastor Sid

Expectations of the Season

Expectations of the Season

We are in what is called the holiday season. A season of high expectations alongside family dynamics and people getting ill. A season of intensity and exhaustion; pressure and demands. We want it to be ‘perfect’. But it won’t be. No matter how hard we try to orchestrate the whole thing. And for some it’s a time of genuine loneliness and depression. Such unrealistic expectations get set so that it’s bound to disappoint. And our romantic visions of what it should be collide with...

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Summer 2015 Series

Summer 2015 Series

The Right Focus...

The Right Focus…

The Right Focus…

One of my favourite quotes is from President J F Kennedy when he said to the American people, “Ask not what your country can do for you,  ask what you can do for your country.”   I think in our culture of consumerism we have fallen prey to looking for what we get out of things first.  What’s in it for me?   How will this benefit me?  And this attitude shows itself in churches too.  I like the church only in the context of how it satisfies me and my needs and wants.  Does the music please me?  Do the messages agree with how I see things?  Are people making me happy?  And if the church fails to satisfy me as a consumer then I’m moving on.  And so people go to other places in an attempt to have their wants met.  And this attitude robs everyone of a deeper faith where Christ says, “deny yourself and follow me.”  Ask not what your church can do for you but what you can do for Christ’s church.  What can you do for Christ’s church?  Well let me suggest a few things:

Pray
One of the most loving things that we can do for each other as a church family is to...

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Simple Christmas

Simple Christmas

It is that time of year again. For many it’s an exciting time of wonder and festivity. For children it’s about anticipating what gifts they might receive. It’s the music, the lights, the gatherings… all of it about this season we call Christmas. But for some it’s about too much to do, too many gatherings, too much money spent, too frantic a time, too lonely a time. And all of these reactions are understandable. Maybe you land somewhere between the two extremes.

I read this the other day: “Advent as a season is meant to make the journey toward Christmas full of meaning; it's meant to put us in touch with our deepest longings and greatest hopes; it's meant to teach us to bring all our desires together on one object: Christ.”

I think all the gatherings and activities are, generally speaking, great fun. I love it when our family comes together and we just enjoy one another. And I think it’s great to see so much excitement and anticipation all around. But I know that Christmas all hinges on something very deep and very real – the birth of Jesus; God’s Son coming to us. And in Him we find real and lasting hope, peace, joy, and love. Things that go way beyond seasonal excitement.

At Hope Community this year our theme will be “Simple Christmas”. We will be talking about how to keep the deep meaning of Christmas central to our lives. I want to encourage you to plan to come to our Sunday morning services and get focused so that this Christmas will be deeply meaningful for you and those around you. I encourage you to invite others to come as well. And yes, we will have the advent puppet plays, the Cornerstone children will sing for us, we will have special performances and sing Christmas carols. And we will celebrate joyously on Christmas Eve. We will enjoy this wonderful season together.

“Advent marks something momentous: God’s coming in our midst. That coming is not just something that happened in the past. It is a recurring possibility here and now. And thus Advent is not merely a commemorative event or an anniversary, but a yearly opportunity for us to consider the future, second Advent – the promised coming of God’s Kingdom on earth.” May God come to you this Advent season with a renewed and deepened hope, joy, peace, and love. We wish you a blessed and wonderful Christmas time.

In Christ, Pastor Sid

Dreaming about Church and what God is doing.

Dreaming about Church and what God is doing.

I do a lot of thinking and dreaming about the church and what God is doing with the body of Christ – the church. The word church is loaded with connotations. Say the word and all kinds of images and thoughts come into play, some really positive; and some not so much. You likely had a bunch of thoughts pop into your mind.

In this dreaming and thinking process I came across the idea that the word church is actually a poor translation of the Greek word ekklesia...

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