I greet you all in the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Well, what a start to the year. We are almost halfway through February. With that having been said Lent has already begun. A reminder about what the Season of Lent is all about. The Season of Lent is a forty day period in which we reflect, repent and prepare for the Season of Easter. Lent is an allusion to the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness where He underwent physical as well as spiritual preparation.
What do we reflect on? Lent is an ideal opportunity for us to reflect on our lives to see if there are any areas in our life that need the transforming power of God. Lent is also an opportunity for us to repent of any sin that is present in our lives. These are the words that we often hear on Ash Wednesday, “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return (Gen 3:19). Turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ.”
As part of our preparation for Easter we are encouraged to turn away from sin and to be faithful to Christ. There are two spiritual disciplines that we are encouraged to incorporate into our lives during this time that aid us in our preparation. They are prayer and fasting. These two practices help us to grow inwardly and closer to God. These two practices also result in us growing outwardly. Jesus warns us what the consequences will be if we fast and pray with the wrong motives.
With this having been said, may I invite each of us to devote ourselves to praying more during this season. As I invite you to do this we invite you to come along to church as we explore the Lord’s Prayer. Over the next 5 Sundays, starting today, we’ll unpack each part of the Lord’s Prayer as we seek to draw closer to God through prayer. This is the series we’ll be exploring, “Lord, teach us to pray.” (Matthew 6:9-15)
Please join us as we seek to have a deep encounter with Jesus Christ.
I greet you all in the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
It is good to be back after taking leave.
I look forward to this next while leading up to that very special time in the Church calendar – Christmas. This year has indeed gone by very quickly with only 60 days left until that special time.
I would like to thank each and every person for their faithful commitment in serving our Lord in a number of areas. On this note I would like to take this opportunity to remind each of us that we are all deeply loved and valued by our Father in heaven. It is for this reason that we ought to love and value one another. This happens in a number of ways. One of the ways we show this is to treat one another in a Christ-like manner irrespective of who they are. Doesn’t Jesus teach us to love one another as He has loved us? There have been a few incidents that have been brought to my attention where this hasn’t happened. Please let this stop. Let us all be reminded that Trinity United Church does not belong to any specific person, it’s not my church or your church, it is our church, but most importantly it is God’s church. So as your pastor may I encourage each one of us to put on the same mind as Christ? Christ was humble and He calls all of us to live a life of humility.
As your pastor I also encourage each of you to know that we are here to build one another up and not break each other down. Please also know that Lindrique and I are here to care for and love each of you who have been entrusted to us by God. We continue to pray for each of you. Please continue to pray for us and our family as well.
Lastly, may I encourage all of us to come along to and support our Summer Celebration weekend on the 5th and 6th of December as we celebrate what the Lord has done and continues to do in each of our lives.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely… if there is anything worthy of praise think about these things.” (Phil 4:8-ESV).
Yours in Christ,
Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved by faith.”(ESV)
This is an interesting statement. How often do we take this powerful statement to heart? We may have read this verse and perhaps this whole chapter a number of times in the past.
Today we’re invited to let these words that Paul writes settle in our hearts. The reason for this is because we often get stuck in the mindset that we have to do something to get God’s attention or gain His favour and approval. The reality is that many Christians live like this. Grace cannot be earned and grace is something that we did not deserve and do not deserve because of our sinfulness. But here’s the good news. God being rich in mercy and love drastically revealed the nature of His power at work in us. Although grace cannot be earned and although we did not deserve it, God gives grace freely to us. To receive it we must acknowledge that we cannot save ourselves, only God can save us. Let’s stop trying to do things that we think will earn us God’s approval. “Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law, but through faith in Jesus Christ.” (Gal2:16)
Grace is undeserved and unmerited favour of God. Grace is a free gift that God offers each and every single person. What we do with it is what matters. We receive it through faith in Jesus Christ. Grace renews us, grace restores us and grace reminds us that we belong to God and that we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do the good works which God prepared beforehand so that we could walk in them.
The question is, what are you going to do with God’s grace today?
There is that well-known passage in Mark 8, where Jesus healed the blind man. One of the interesting things about this miracle is that it happened in two stages. The first time Jesus healed the blind man he could only see partially. Jesus touched the man’s eyes a second time. Only then could he see clearly. The good news is that Jesus didn’t leave this man half-healed.
In this story we notice two things, the first thing is the considerateness of Jesus and the second thing is the touch of Jesus. Let’s look at the considerateness of Jesus. Jesus led the man out of the shouting and confusion. “He led him out of the village.” (Mk8:23) Why did Jesus do this? He did this so that the blind man could hear Him without distraction. The second reason is that Jesus knew that it would be far better if he could be taken to a place where the thrill of seeing would break less suddenly upon him.
Let’s look at the touch of Jesus. Jesus used a method that the blind man could understand. Jesus spat on his eyes and lay hands on him. To spit on his eyes and lay hands on him were things that a blind person could understand. Touch in a good sense is extremely important. It is personal and has a far deeper impact that exceeds just the spoken word.
Where does that leave us? Jesus wants to restore us. We’re invited to open our lives and allow Jesus to take us to places with little distraction, and allow Jesus to touch us with His power.
This healing moment doesn’t end there. There’s a symbolic meaning. One biblical commentator says that the healing of the blind man is symbolic of the disciples’ blindness in terms of their lack of understanding as to who Jesus was. Perhaps this story bears resemblance to our own blindness in terms of our lack of understanding as to who Jesus truly is. Being spiritually blind is being ignorant to the realities around us and being ignorant to who God is.
One of the things this story teaches us is that we need to be healed of our spiritual blindness and to know that Jesus doesn’t leave us half healed. He restores us fully. Even though we may have experienced the powerful, subtle touch of Jesus once before we need the second touch of Jesus. We need the second touch to see properly. It is God who is all powerful to heal our blindness and who can restore our sight.
What is it that you would like God to restore today? Is it your sight?
Remain in the grace of Jesus Christ.
“Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” “1 Corinthians 12:27”
This is an important statement that Paul makes here. The moment we decide to give or lives to Jesus everything changes. We become members of His body. How often do we forget that truth? When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour we die to our old ways and most importantly we die to ourselves. So, it is not about us anymore. We live not for ourselves, but for Christ.
The motivating factor in working together as one and being part of Christ’s body is that it should Christ’s love that controls us. How are we doing as members of Christ’s Body?
Being part of His body means that we can’t distance ourselves, we need to treat each other with love and respect and have an equal concern for all irrespective of who they are.