“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
Dec 22 “When it hits home.” Matt 1:18-25
Dec 24 “God delivers!” Luke 2:1-20 Christmas Eve 7 p.m.
Dec 29 “Seek Him” Matt 2:1-12
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
July 2 - Robin Shepherd
July 9 - Rev. Paul Shaw
July 16 - Dan Kobylka
July 23 - Dick Roe
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.
Give it up for Christ. During Lent, people all over the world give up something they do, eat or drink. Christians do this as a way of identifying with the sufferings of Christ, or less effectively, as a way to buy the favour of God with temporary “good behavior.” People give up chocolate, sugar, alcohol…the list is endless. In a way, people do this as almost a fad diet, but really, we don’t need Lent to practice this. This series reminds us that Lent is not primarily about giving up our “guilty pleasures,” but about reflecting on, and giving thanks for, the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, and the power of his resurrection. Nonetheless, Jesus is always willing to replace our old life, mindset and habits with his new life! So, if we’re going to give something up, let Christ replace it with something new and permanent. In that way, we can grow in union with our Lord and Saviour, and truly “Give it up for Christ!” in praise. (A Lenten and Easter series.)
Transformed, by God! This series is based on the book Outrageous Love, Transforming Power by Terry Wardle who writes “too many Christians are over-informed, yet under-transformed.” That is, although we may agree with the teachings of Christ, we can be surprisingly unaffected by them in our thoughts and actions. Not taking this seriously can result in us living in “perpetual spiritual infancy.” This series will attempt to show how the life of Christ is not just a model for us to follow, but also gives insight into how God changes us from the inside, IF we allow it.
The Gift Divine: The Christmas season is upon us, and beautiful as it can be, it can also be exhausting. And worse…we can get caught up in such a frenzy of activity and gift-giving that we can easily lose sight of what Christmas is all about. This season is about God’s greatest gift – his Son Jesus Christ who was sent into the world to redeem it and call it back to God. His birth two thousand years ago was a world changing event. It is worth much more than all the gifts exchanged at Christmas combined. Join us as we focus on the profound meaning of God’s love for us, delivered to us in the baby born in Bethlehem. (An Advent series.)
Dec 18 Sunday School Christmas Concert
Dec 25 Christmas Sunday Join us for a service of Lessons and Carols
Rededicate: Isn't it strange that the longer we do something, the more we take it for granted? In fact, we can slip into cruise control in our homes, jobs and relationships. Cruise control may be wonderful on the 401, but it is generally useless in life. All the more so in our Christian faith. God calls us to be fully dialed into his presence and work in the world. But are we? Do we practice what we preach? Do we even believe it at all? Do we know Christ as Lord, Saviour and "friend"? Join us as we examine the depth of our commitment to our Christian faith. Come expecting that God will speak to us, and draw us closer to him. This is a "no cruise control allowed" series!
Oct 2 “To reading the Bible.” Psalm 119:9-16, 57-64 Communion Sunday
GPS: A GPS is a fantastic gizmo. It pinpoints our precise location, and gives directions to get to our destination. It is an invaluable tool (more like a lifesaver!) for people who are directionally challenged or are traveling in unfamiliar territory. As followers of Christ, we have Almighty God as our GPS. God helps us navigate the twists and turns of our lives to help us get to our destination: a Christ-like life. Join us for this two-week series on how God is our light and guide.
Sept 4 In God we find who and where we are. Psa 119:1-18 Rom 8:38-39
Summer in the SON: It’s the height of summer! It’s a blessed time when we head out to cottages, sip on lemonade and listen to the cry of the loons from our private rock promontories overlooking a pristine lake. Yeah…that’s not how it usually plays out! In fact, for many of us, summer can be just as exhausting as any other time of the year. Yet all of us know that rest is important, in fact, necessary to a healthy life. In the middle of all this I am reminded of Jesus who says “Come to me all who are tired and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest.” Join us as we take the time to examine the need for Jesus in our lives no matter what our circumstances as we spend a “summer in the SON.”
Aug 14 “Rest” Ex 20:8-11; Mark 6:7-13, 31-34
Aug 21 “Recharge” Psalm 61:1-8; Matt 11:28-30
Aug 28 “Renew” John 7:37-41; Matt 28:16-20
Playing Games: Summer is a-comin’, and hopefully we will all get some time for rest and relaxation. Many of us will see kids at play, and be reminded of the games we played as a child. Games are fun, but there comes a time, as St. Paul wrote, when we need to “put away childish things,” and become mature in our faith. Join us as we take a look at a few favourite games to see what they can teach us about the depth and authenticity of our faith.
July 3 “Home Free!” Luke 15:11-32
The “I am” saying of Jesus: The people who listened to Jesus were often challenged and even
confused by what he said. Yet, Jesus was pretty clear about who he was, and why God had sent
him into the world. If we’re honest, we’d admit to asking questions even now, 2000 years after
his ministry, death and resurrection. Questions such as: What do we make of Jesus? What does
he reveal about God? What was he sent to earth to do? What call does he have on his followers?
Join us as we examine the seven “I am” sayings of Jesus recorded in the Gospel of John in order to
better understand the very mind and heart of our Lord Jesus Christ.
May 1 Mission Sunday Our mission team reports on our trip to Belize.
May 22 “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” John 11:17-44
Learning to Fish: When Jesus called his first disciples, he simply said “Follow me.” Many of us wish to follow Jesus, but we don’t necessarily follow through. The reasons are many: We don’t always understand him. We get sidetracked by our hang ups. We even ignore and deny him. We are human, after all. But did you know we are in good company when we feel and act this way? The apostle Peter was much like us. He stumbled all too often, yet he grew in faith as Jesus taught him to “fish for people.” The same can be true for us. Join us as we examine events in Peter’s faith journey to see how Jesus can lead us to a deeper faith and to witness (to “fish for people”) despite our shortcomings.
Feb 21 Guest speaker: Dan Kobylka
Life in High-Res: A quick search on the internet will show lists of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. Included in the lists are the resolutions to eat healthier, exercise, lose weight, get out of debt, reduce stress, and spend more time with family and friends. These are fantastic goals to achieve, and we would all be better for it if we followed through on them. In the spirit of the New Year, we’re going to take these same resolutions and give them a decidedly Christian spin. These, then, are Higher Resolutions that can yield tremendous results in our life. Join us as we examine the potential of experiencing God more fully as we live a “Life in High-Res.”
Keeping Christ in Advent: You’d think the Christmas season would be a source of constant expectation and joy. After all, who doesn’t like this season full of family get-togethers, dinners, gift giving and sipping hot chocolate by the fire? And yet…chances are you’re now thinking of all the things you have to do before Christmas rolls around. Sadly, Advent and Christmas can come and go in a rush of frenetic activity that have nothing to do with the reason we celebrate. Making it to a Christmas Eve service in exhaustion is not what the birth of Jesus is all about. But let’s be real…this season has a way of taking over, so what can we do to observe Advent and celebrate Christmas in a meaningful way despite its many societal demands? It’s pretty simple…let’s keep Christ at the center of all we do! Join us as we remember to purposely keep Christ in Advent so that its meaning is not supplanted by mere festivity.
Communion Sunday and welcoming new members.
Dec 13 Sunday School play: “The Christmas Story.”
Dec 20 Christmas Musical Presentation: “A Christmas Offering.”
Christmas Eve Service 7:00 p.m.
The Parables of Jesus: Parables were simple stories Jesus used to illustrate and explain profound, divine truths. The familiar characters and everyday situations were easy to remember, but held deep meaning. For some, parables were illuminating: a window into the Kingdom of God that Jesus was ushering into existence, made accessible to all. For others, parables were hard to understand, or their message was seen as a personal rebuke. Simply put, the parables challenged their listeners to think and live in a God-honouring fashion.
The parables of Jesus can speak to us in the same way. We can ignore them or write them off, assuming we know the story and thus fail to truly understand them; we can be offended by them and reject their message; or we can be challenged by them, let their meaning wash over us and open our eyes to see our lives and the world as God intends them to be. Join us as we re-examine some of the best-known parables of Jesus and to reflect on their call on our lives.
Sept 20 Mike away at youth retreat. Guest speaker: Judy Goodreau
Read, Pray, Love: Do you ever feel like your faith is a bit lackluster? At times we “believe what we believe,” but it doesn’t seem to percolate into our daily life. Truth is, a vibrant faith doesn’t happen automatically. Our salvation was accomplished by Christ on the cross, but our level of Christian maturity is up to us. Join us as we examine some of the basic practices of the Christian faith, and how they lead to a deeper, more significant faith.
Aug 9 “Read God’s Word” Psalm 119:105-112
Aug 16 Backyard Mission – Joint service with First Christian Reformed
Church. Guest speaker: Rev. Jack Kerkhof.
Aug 23 “Pray to God” Luke 11:1-13
Aug 30 “Love God” John 14:15-31
Sept 6 "In the field" Psalm 23
Waiting on God: You hear it said often enough, “Lord, give me patience!” It would be really nice if God could give it to us as a booster shot. Presto…we’re patient! But really…we know it doesn’t work that way. Christian patience is an attitude or skill we acquire over time, believing that God knows what is best for us. Ultimately, patience is rooted in our trust in God’s scope and power that is larger than our own. Join us as we examine the virtues and blessings of patience in the life of a believer.
May 3 Mission Sunday: Ruth Reeve - Abiding House (Sorry, no audio available.)
After the Resurrection: A short series highlighting a couple of events that followed after the resurrection of Jesus. Join us as we examine how God continues to work in our world through the power of the Holy Spirit and our commitment to follow in the steps of Jesus.
At Cross Purposes: (A Lenten Series) A quick glance at the religious section of many larger bookstores will reveal a number of takes on Jesus. Jesus is portrayed as God, a prophet, an enlightened man, a CEO and capitalist, a socialist, and a take-no-prisoners judge at end times. The list is varied. And yet, Jesus didn’t mince words on who he was and why he was sent by his Heavenly Father. His message of redemption and love was at cross purposes with that of the world. Not surprisingly, his message led to the cross. Thankfully, not even the cross could stop Jesus, and that is truly good news. Join us through Lent as we examine the cross purposes of Jesus and how they should shape our heart, mind and soul.
Love…for a change! Love. It’s such a lovely word, isn’t it? We sing songs and write poems
about it. Almost everyone has heard the song “All you need is love.” It’s a world-wide anthem,
because everyone knows that love is special, but it is often in short supply. In this dog eat dog
world, Christians are called to love God and our neighbour as ourselves. Love is the most
powerful expression of God available to the believer. Love speaks with a voice that is hard to
ignore. It changes us, and changes the people around us. Join us as we examine what it means to
love…for a change.
Jan 25 WrapAround Guest speaker: Rev. Andrew Hawkins