Finding Church: What a year this has been so far! Many of things we took for granted just six months ago seem to be put on hold, or maybe gone forever. One of the casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the church we are so familiar with. Gone, for now at least, are the worship services and unrestricted fellowship we enjoyed at the start of the year. Although the present situation is painful, I suggest that we have been given a choice: to pine for the way things used to be, or to reimagine the church in light of what the Bible says about life as followers of Jesus. This series aims to encourage us to remember that the Church always exists, regardless of current circumstances. And that perhaps, “finding church” is actually rediscovering its essential qualities. Join us, as we examine what the Church is meant to be, and how it is very much alive today!
Nov 1 “Less is more.” Matt 18:1-14; Rom 12:1-2
Nov 8 “The body of Christ.” Rom 12:3-13; Col 3:15-17
Nov 15 “Search party!” Luke 19:1-10
Nov 22 “Guided by the Holy Spirit.” Matt 28:19-20; Acts 1:1-8
2020 Vision: Many sermons at the start of the year were titled “20/20 Vision” or some variation on the theme. It was a clever idea to highlight what it meant to be a Christian in today’s society. But who would have guessed that 2020 turned out to be the way it did? Many of us feel like our road map has been yanked out of our hands. And worse still, we can’t see what’s up ahead. Vision in 2020 turned out to be very blurry! But take heart, though we can’t see the big picture, God is guiding us in the “every day” of our lives. Join us as we remember that God’s hand is upon us in these blurry times. God’s sight is clear, and we can rely on him.
Sept 20 “Pray without ceasing.” Mark 1:35-37; Matt 6:5-18
“Above all…Love.” 1John 4:7-21
#Blessed – A series on the Beatitudes: If there’s one thing about the Kingdom of God about which all of us can agree is that it operates by different rules than those in the world at large. In the Kingdom of God, many norms are upended: the last shall be first, the master is not greater than the servant, and everyone receives the same rewards. The Beatitudes show us another aspect of the Kingdom that defies common expectations. Dallas Willard describes the Beatitudes as showing that "the rule of God from the heavens truly is available in life circumstances that are beyond all human hope.” In the topsy-turvy pandemic reality we are experiencing, join us as we remember that God is with us, no matter what we face in life.
“Restored” A Lenten series. The Bible has been compared to a love story – a love story between God and his creation. It is a story filled with both joy and sorrow; the latter because people are quick to reject their creator. It is a love story detailing how people have often lost their way from God, only to be welcomed back by God again and again. In the accounts in the Bible we see that God has never given up on us. God’s patient love is spelled out in the events recorded in the Bible, in the words of the judges, priests and prophets, and finally in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ – the “Passover Lamb.” Join us this Lent as we retell the story of God’s love for us, and of the lengths he takes to win us back to him.
Mar 15 SERVICES CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
Mar 22 Being Church and a follower of Jesus Christ amidst COVID-19 Phil 4:4-9
Apr 10 “Paradise found.” Luke 23:32-43 Good Friday
Apr 12 Ringing of the Church Bells on Easter morning. Played by Rev. Paul Shaw.
See like Jesus: People see the world in many ways. For some, it is their “oyster.” Others see it as hectic and out of control. Still others see it as theirs to own and use. One thing for sure: our view of the world influences our life and faith. As followers of Christ we are taught to look at everything and everyone around us with the eyes of Christ. Join us as we examine the seven miracles or “signs” of Christ recorded in the Gospel of John. There we will be reminded that God’s vision for the world is fulfilled and spelled out in Jesus. To see like Jesus, is to see like God. It can’t get any clearer than that!
Feb 2 PWS&D Sunday
“Manger Miracle” Without a doubt, the Christmas season has a different feel than the rest of the year. I’ve said it before, but Christmas is softer and more hopeful in many ways. People seem to have a little bounce in their step, and are kinder and more optimistic. We all open doors for each other with an “Are you ready for Christmas?” and “Merry Christmas!” greetings. Some will say that the Christmas season is overly commercial. This can be true, but it overlooks the “reason for the season.” Truth is, we celebrate something truly special. We know what, or who that is…our Lord Jesus Christ, the “Word made flesh" born in a manger. Join us as we celebrate Advent and Christmas, and give thanks to God for this “manger miracle.”
Dec 15 “Down to Earth.” Luke 1:26-38 Christmas Cantata (Audio not available.)
Dec 24 “God delivers!” Luke 2:1-20 Christmas Eve 7 p.m. (Audio not available.)
Starting Advent Right: This two-week series is a pre-Advent pep talk to set the tone for the month ahead. All too often the “Christmas Season” is upon us before we have time to set our minds and hearts to receive it properly. It is ironic to look forward to something only to be run over by it! Join us as we take the time to prepare our hearts for Christmas even before the season begins.
From the Heart: One of the ideas that shows up regularly in the Bible is the notion of the human heart. This is not the heart as we know it in scientific terms, but refers to the core of every human being. According to the Bible, the “heart’ is where our intentions originate – it is the seat of our will and emotions. No surprise then that the Bible spends much time in assessing the condition of the heart of its characters and audience. At its most basic, the Bible asks, “Is our heart in line with God, or not?” Join us as we examine the Biblical understanding of the heart, and in so doing, take an honest look at ourselves. Does our heart beat after God, or does it follow its own desires?
Uncluttered: As we move into the summer months, many of us are afforded the opportunity to seek some time for rest and relaxation. It’s almost as if summer makes us think of slowing down in general – to find and reconnect with what is meaningful in life. It’s a time of year when we dream of shedding some of the busyness and responsibilities we carry every day. But what if there was a way to lighten our load on a permanent basis? What if we could shed attitudes and habits that weigh us down in mind and heart? Join us as we examine the spiritual side of decluttering our home and life to live a life that experiences more meaning, and “sparks joy.”
Aug 4 “Getting past our past.” Tit 3:3-8; 2Cor 5:17-21 (Psalm 38)
Aug 11 Backyard Mission - Joint service at First Christian Reformed Church - 10:00 a.m.
Aug 18 “Ditch Negativity!” Prov 15:18; 2 Tim 3:1-5; Phil 4:4-9
Aug 25 “Fear Less” Isa 41:8-10, 2 Tim 1:6-14
Sept 1 “Don’t be so stuffy!” 1 Tim 6-10, Acts 20:32-35
The Holy Spirit: Christians believe in the Trinity – that is, “One God in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” And yet, many Christians think and act as if their faith was “Biniterian” addressing only God and Jesus. It is possible that many Christians misunderstand and downplay the role of the Holy Spirit in reaction to charismatic churches where it is associated with speaking in tongues and prophecy. Truth is, the Holy Spirit is more than just “signs and wonders,” and is present in every day life in a real and practical way. Join us as we get acquainted with the third person of the Triune God and understand the Holy Spirit’s role in life and faith.
None but Jesus! We believe that Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life.” He is the Son of God; a member of the Trinitarian expression of God. As we enter into the season of Lent it is good to be reminded that Jesus alone could free us from sin and death through his death on the cross. Terrible as is was, what transpired in the days leading up to the crucifixion was not a random set of cruel events. It was God’s necessary plan. Christ’s journey to the cross is a stark reminder of the steep price God had to pay to rid humanity of the effect of sin. Join us as we journey through Lent and into the glory of Easter giving thanks for our Lord Jesus Christ and his sacrificial love for all humanity. Truly, none but Jesus could have accomplished this!Apr 21 “Do we recognize him?” John 20:1-18 Easter Sunday and Sunday School Play
Charting the Course: The new year is often a time of personal assessment. We look back on the year (or life!) behind us, and wonder what is to come. With this often comes a desire to enact positive changes in our life, and even to set a new direction altogether. But what about our faith? What changes can we make, and what course can we set to order our life and grow closer to Jesus? Join us as we examine some of the basics of what it takes to find our way in life as followers of Jesus.
Jan 27 “It’s lived out in community.” Eccl 4:9-12; Gal 6:1-10 (No audio available.)
An “Olde-Fashioned” Christmas. There’s just something about Christmas that makes us think of yesteryear. The season of Advent brings to mind a by-gone era where things were simpler, and somehow kinder and gentler. But guess what? If we go back to the origins of Christmas in the words of the prophets recorded in the Old Testament, we find that Christmas is anything but quaint and simple. The Hebrew prophets spoke of a day when God would send the Messiah to redeem the people of Israel, and institute God’s reign of radical and inclusive love that would upend the global status quo. Join us as we examine an “Olde-fashioned” Christmas, and become reacquainted with the significance, power and hope of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Dec 2 “The TRUE Christmas Season.” Jer 33:14-18; Luke 21:25-36 Communion Sunday
Dec 24 “The Perfect Gift” Luke 2:1-20 Christmas Eve Service 7:00 p.m. (No audio available.)
A Faith-based Life: You might have heard someone say “Do as I say, not as I do!” That is something we’d never hear Jesus say. Jesus was one in intention and action. And he calls us to live in the same way. On the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus outlined what a life of faith looks like, one which is lived here and now. Sometimes we forget that our faith is just as much about this earthly life as it is about heavenly life. As Dallas Willard noted, “We get so busy trying to get people into Heaven, that we forget to teach them to live in Heaven now.” Join us as Mike looks at the Sermon on the Mount to highlight how a faith-based life impacts our daily life in every way, and blesses us in this life, not just in the age to come.
Sept 2 “To end is to begin.” Matt 5:1-12 (no audio available)
Sept 30 Guest Speaker (Mike at Youth Retreat)
In Him: As members of First Presbyterian Church, we confess our faith in God. We believe God created all things, including you and me. We bear witness that God sent his Son Jesus Christ into the world to save us from sin, and leads us by the Holy Spirit. These are no small claims, and they should affect every aspect of our lives. But do they? Sometimes we get off track, or worse, fail to find the way altogether. What does it mean then to be a follower or Christ? How does it look like in a practical sense? Join us as Mike discusses what it means to be plugged into Jesus Christ, and how to go about it on a daily basis.
Aug 5 "Abide in Him" John 15:1-11; 1 John 4:12-13
Aug 12 "Depend on Him" Isaiah 44:1-10; Matt 16:21-28
Aug 19 "Learn from Him" Luke 10:38-42; Matt 11:25-28
Aug 26 Guest Speaker
July 8 Rev. Paul Shaw
July 15 Rev. Paul Shaw
July 22 Backyard Mission 2018 Rev. Nate VanDenend
July 29 Bob McCall
Fresh Faith: When it comes to the deepening of our faith, we Christians know the drill, don’t we?We know we are to read our Bible, pray, worship and serve others. All these lead to a deeper faith which can’t be diluted by affluence or overwhelmed by rough times. Nonetheless, our busy life can dampen the spirit within us, making our faith seem stale. Join us as we highlight three things we can do to keep our faith fresh and vibrant. These are by no means the only things we can do, but they are important. Here’s praying that you think so too!
July 1 Cultivate a thankful spirit. Psalm 138:1-8
Citizens of Heaven: In his letter to the church in Philippi, Paul refers to its members as “Citizens of Heaven.” These were people just like you and me who were encouraged to live a life of faith with joy and perseverance. The world has changed a lot since the time Paul wrote this letter, but our Christian perspective remains the same no matter our environment. In some ways, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” Join us as we take a look at the book of Philippians and take in lessons that are as relevant today as they were in the 1st century.
“Sent to Save” Many people think that Jesus came to teach us how to love, and though that may be right, it neglects the central aspect of Jesus’s mission. Just who did Jesus claim to be, and why was he sent into the world? The Gospel writers were clear that Jesus was sent by his Heavenly Father to save the world from sin and death. This is why John the Baptist referred to Jesus as the “Lamb of God’, who sacrificed himself for our sake. Join us as we reacquaint ourselves with Jesus’ mission of salvation through selected events in his ministry, culminating in his crucifixion and resurrection. May it be that we are reminded how much we owe our loving God, who took our sin upon himself that we might not bear the consequences of our human rebelliousness.
Mar 11 (Mike away on study leave)
Getting into the Christmas Spirit: For months people have been posting online how many days are left until Christmas. Such posts are both exciting and maddening. They are exciting, because most of us love Christmas! And yet, they are also maddening, because we know there is so much to do during December, or due to circumstances in life we don’t feel up to celebrating this year. Is there a way to avoid the rush or the heartbreak many of us feel at this time of year? The best place to start is to remember that Christmas is ultimately not about us, but what God has accomplished through his Son Jesus Christ. Join us as we “Get into the Christmas Spirit” during Advent, acknowledging that the world is infinitely better thanks to the coming of our Lord.
Dec 17 Sunday School and Choir Christmas Presentation
Following Jesus: (A vision series) FPC’s vision statement is: “To be a community that wholeheartedly loves, serves and shares Jesus Christ with each other and the world.” This vision is lived out based on nine core values or principles integral to life at FPC. Those core values inform and guide us in all aspects of our ministry. Those core values are: Relevance, Life Change, Scripture, Prayer, Worship, Service, Spiritual Development, Community, and Evangelism. Join us this fall as we focus on our vision statement and core values in order to continually examine and evaluate how we go about “following Jesus” at FPC.
Sept 10 “Sacred cows.” (Relevance) Mark 7:1-13 (Audio not available.)
Sept 17 Guest speaker Judy Goudreau (Mike away at Youth Retreat)
Oct 29 "The Just Shall Live by Faith" Guest speaker: Rev. Paul Shaw
Keys to a joyful life. You may have heard the expression “Choose to be happy.” If you’re like me, this ditty might get on your nerves. After all, many things can happen in life that make it hard to be happy, or to feel joy. And yet, there is truth in those words. Recent studies point to our ability to choose happiness if we set our mind to it. Guess what? The Bible agrees on this! Joy is an attitude we can cultivate as followers of Christ. Joy is not dependent on circumstances, but flows from our relationship with the Living God. Join us as we look at the practices, or “keys,” we can use to experience more happiness and joy.
July 30 "Focus on what is good." Phil 4:4-9; Mat 6:33-34
Aug 6 "Learn to forgive." 1 John 1:8-9; Col 3:12-14,
Aug 13 "Embrace wonder." Gen 28:16-22, Psalm 148:1-14
Aug 20 Guest speaker: Bob McCall.
Aug 27 "Grow in Generosity." Prov 11:23-28; Acts 20:32-35 Joint service at First Christian Reformed Church to mark the completion of the Backyard Mission 2017. Rev. Mike will be the guest speaker.
Sept 10 "Practice makes perfect." Prov 3:13-35
Evangelism - Opening the doors to faith in Christ: Many of us are so used to our faith and church that we find it difficult to envision our life without them. Yet, the large percentage of the people in our city have no ties to faith or church. In fact, it’s not even an issue for them. Yet God loves all people and wishes to make himself known to them. How do we share our faith in Christ in a way that resonates with a culture that is disconnected from humanity’s need of salvation, and the overall beauty and power of our Risen Lord? Join us as we spend a few weeks considering the ways we can share our faith, and in turn be strengthened ourselves.
Join us for Mission Sunday on May 7th at FPC. Staff from Camp Kintail will be leading the worship service, and telling us of the work of this important Presbyterian summer camp. The staff will also be sharing with us details of their "Space to Grow" campaign which aims to raise funds to pay for enhancements to the camp grounds. You won't want to miss this important Sunday!
We will also be kicking off our fundraising for the camp which will run through the summer months. You can check out Camp Kintail online at:www.campkintail.ca
May 7 "Growing up PK" Alex Fensham
Grace-Full. One of the central principles of our faith is that God freely extends salvation when we place our faith in him. Unfortunately, many believers struggle with this, secretly believing they have to earn God’s approval and love. There are many problems with this way of thinking, not least of which is a profound sense of uncertainty in not knowing if we’ve done enough to merit God’s love. The truth is far more profound and liberating. We are loved and saved by God, regardless of our merit. Join us for this short series on the beauty of living a Grace-Full life.