Over the next several weeks Pastor Paul will be doing a series based on the Lettters to the Seven Churches in Revelation 2 and 3. In this series we will examine what it means to be the Body of Christ - how we are shaped by that reality and empowered to do the things we have been called to do as the body of Christ. We will focus on Love (October 28) Persecution (November 4) Truth (November 11) Holiness (November 25). Then we will take a break for Advent and pick it up again in the new year.
This sermon series will deal with the difficulties and blessings of obedience to the calling God has placed on our lives. As followers of Jesus, we are all called to live out our faith in the context of ‘calling and vocation’ – that place where God calls us to use the gifts he has given us – gifts we may know about or gifts yet unknown. In this series, we will explore various Bible passages and how they inform us in the area of calling and vocation.
1. God Calls: the story of God calling Samuel in 1 Samuel 3
2. God Equips: the story of the calling of Moses in Exodus 3,4
3. God Stretches: the story of Jonah
4. God Does the Impossible: the story of Mary in Luke 1
5. The Guarantee of Conflict: The story from the other side in Revelation 12
6. The Blessing of Faith: The gift of faith as the fuel to obedience (Hebrews 11)
-- Pastor Paul Vanderkooy, September 2018
The parables that Jesus told serve as word pictures that push the listener to engage the imagination and visualize God's Kingdom. These 'word pictures' describe easily visualized scenarios - going fishing, asking a neighbour for bread, sowing seed in a field, hiring an employee, looking for a lost coin - simple everyday occurances that give us a window into God's present kingdom.
In this series we will combine some of these parables of Jesus with well-known artist's renditions of these parables in order to help the listener capture a deeper dimension of the Kingdom truths that Jesus told.
As I tell the story of the growing seed, we will admire Vincent van Gogh's "The Mulberry Tree" (1889), painted while van Gogh was a patient at a mental asylum. van Gogh firmly believed he saw God's kingdom all around him in nature, and in his life he sensed the glory of God.
When we deal with the parable of the Friend at Midnight, we will view two paintings that emphasize different aspects of that parable - Eugene Burnand's drawing of the Importunate Neighbour(1908) and Jan Luiken's portrayal Parable of the Friend at Midnight(1795).
Through this series it is my hope that we come to a greater appreciation of Jesus' teachings but also to a deeper understanding that all of our senses play in meeting the Kingdom of God.
June 17: Parable of the seeds (Mark 4:26-34)
June 24: Parable of the Labourers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16)
July 08: Parable of the Friend at Midnight(Luke 11:1-13)
July 15: Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Matthew 18:21-35)
July 22: Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30)
July 29: Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)
-- Pastor Paul Vanderkooy, July 2018
What is the Bible? Some people say it's God's word or that is stands for Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. Other people think it's an ancient relic from a bygone era and of no use to anyone in the 21st century. But what does the Bible say about itself? How does it work? How should we view and use the Bible as Christians?
In Acts 2 we're told that all the believers had everything in common and that they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Those sound nice but that's pretty idealistic right? The church today couldn't possibly continue in that kind of fellowship today, right?
The longest and most elaborate parable Jesus tells is found in Luke 15. It tells the story of a son who runs away from home and squanders his fathers money. When he finally comes to his senses he decides to return home. But how will his father respond when he sees the son? How does God respond when he sees us coming home?
In Luke 15, right after telling a parable about a shepherd and a lost sheep Jesus tells another parable that's virtually identical about a women and a lost coin. Why did Jesus use two parables to basically say the same thing? Are there any notable differences between the first parable and this second one?
When a young rich man approached Jesus and asked what he must do to get eternal life, Jesus responded by listing a bunch of commandments from the Old Testament. So do we earn our salvation or are Jesus and this rich young man using the term "eternal life" in a different way? What does it mean to have eternal life and how do we get it?
Some denominations choose to baptize infants while other denominations wait and baptize followers of Jesus as adults once they have the ability to make that decision for themselves. But Paul says there is one baptism. So who's right? Should we baptize infants or adults? And how can we find unity in the midst of a disagree like this?
Paul tells us that their is one faith, so does that mean there is only one right way to understand Christianity? Is only one denomination "right" and all the others wrong? If so, how do we know who is right and who is wrong? Or is there a better way to understand Paul's statement that there is "one faith"?
Paul said that there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, which was a huge political statement in a world ruled by Romans Caesars and who forced everyone to claim that "Caesar is Lord". To deny lordship to Caesar and instead claim that Jesus was Lord was the type of thing that cold easily get you killed. So what does that mean for us today? What does it mean to claim that Jesus is Lord?