Showing posts from 2020

Gift of the Spirit- Mercy/Compasssion

Exodus 24:12-18; Ephesians 2:4-6; Matthew 17:1-9 Ministry Specialties Test Discover Your God-Given Gifts by Don Fortune & Katie Fortune
Today is our last Sunday in our sermon series on the Spiritual Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Today is also the day we consider the Transfiguration, which is what we just read about in the Gospel reading. All through the season of Epiphany we see glimpses of who Jesus really is. The Transfiguration is the pinnacle of the season of Epiphany. In the Transfiguration we see an important revelation of who Jesus is. The presence of Moses and Elijah show Jesus as the one the Law and the Prophets point to. He is their fulfillment. He is in line with what God has been doing all along. The shining clothes of Jesus express his heavenly origin and destination- He is a heavenly being. The voice of God directs the attention of the disciples to Jesus- “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!”. …

It see…

Gifts of the Spirit- Leadership

Sirach15:15-20; 1 Peter 5:2-4; John 21:15-19

Ministry Specialties Test
Discover Your God-Given Gifts by Don Fortune & Katie Fortune
We are continuing with our sermon series on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This week we are looking at the gift of leadership. When we turn to the Bible there are a number of examples of leadership that would be beneficial to look at. The obvious example for all the gifts given to the body of Christ is, of course, Jesus. But there are many others, as well.

In our Gospel reading we see Jesus reinstating Peter as a disciple (Jesus re-calls him- “follow me”) and gives him responsibilities as a leader. To counter his three denials, he proclaims his love for Jesus three times. And each time Jesus tells him to care for the flock- “feed my lams”, “tend my sheep”, “feed my sheep”. And we hear Peter’s message to leaders in his letter appropriately using the same imagery- 
“…tend the flock of God that is in your charge, exerci…

Gifts of the Spirit- Giving

Isaiah 58:1-12; 2 Corinthians 8:1-5; Matthew 6:19-21, 24  Ministry Specialties Test
Discover Your God-Given Gifts by Don Fortune & Katie Fortune

We are continuing our sermon series on the Spiritual Gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives people gifts that help with the work of the church. No one is given all the gifts, but when we all work together then we are much more effective as we do God’s work in the world.

This week we are looking at the gift of giving. Every Christian is called to be a giving person, just as all Christians are called to be people who serve. And just as some Christians have a special gift for service, so some of us have a special gift for giving.

Giving is an important discipline for all Christians in the life of the church. Christians give because God wants us to learn to be generous people. Giving is a spiritual discipline that trains us to be thankful and to act and think in way that express our belief that al…

Gifts of the Spirit- Exhortation

Proverbs 12:25; 16:24; Acts 9:26-28; Matthew 5:1-12 
Ministry Specialties Test
Discover Your God-Given Gifts by Don Fortune & Katie Fortune
This week we are continuing to look at the Spiritual Gifts of the Holy Spirit. As Christians we are all members of the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ has a mission to serve God in the world, and to that end the Holy Spirit has given the members of the church special gifts or abilities. When all of us learn our particular gifts and use them, then we become particularly powerful in our service to God and the world.

This week we are looking at the gift of Exhortation. If you have the gift of Exhortation you are particularly good at encouraging people. You know how to touch someone’s heart. If someone feels like they want to give up you know what to do to help them stand up and dust themselves off and keep going. We read about the words of the encourager in Proverbs, 
“Anxiety weighs down the h…

Gifts of the Spirit- Teaching

Isaiah 9:1-4; 1 Corinthians 1:10-18; Matthew 4:12-23
Ministry Specialties Test
Discover Your God-Given Gifts by Don Fortune & Katie Fortune
We read in our Gospel that Jesus 
“went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their Synagogues and proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom” (Matt 4:23). Teaching was an important part of the ministry of Jesus. He helped people deepen their understanding of the Scriptures- of God and of the depths of their hearts. Jesus taught not just about the Scriptures that prohibit murder, but he went deep into the human heart and taught us to see the anger that leads to murder. He used Parables to teach in memorable ways. He taught in ways that people went away with his words turning over and over in their minds and hearts.

Teaching was also important for the disciples of Jesus. The Scriptures of the New Testament are largely the product of the teaching ministry of the Early Church as they passed on the teaching of Jesu…

The Gifts of the Spirit- Service

John 1:29-42
Ministry Specialties Test Discover Your God-Given Gifts by Don Fortune & Katie Fortune

Service was a big part of the ministry of Jesus. In Paul’s letter to the Philippians we read that Jesus, “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant” (Phil 2:7). He ultimately served humanity by becoming the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29). … Jesus' whole life is an integrated act of loving service to us and to his Father. His birth, baptism, teaching, healing, exorcism, cross, resurrection, and ascension are all about Jesus' loving service.

Once at a meal he got up and served his disciples by washing their feet, which was completely unheard of for a Rabbi to do for his disciples (John 13). That was usually the job of the lowest ranking servant. We read, 
“After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You call me …

The Gifts of the Spirit- Intro and Prophecy

Romans 12:1-8
Ministry Specialties Test
Discover Your God-Given Gifts by Don Fortune & Katie Fortune
Today we are beginning a sermon series on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. At Pentecost the church received a special filling of the Holy Spirit, which inaugurated a new age in the life of God’s people. Part of the receiving of the Holy Spirit, was that members of the church were given certain abilities for the sake of serving. They build up the church in love, and they honour Jesus.

When Paul talks about the spiritual gifts in our reading from Romans (and in other places as well- like 1 Cor 12-14; Eph. 4:11-16) he uses the image of the body. Different parts of the body have different abilities. The eyes see. The ears hear, and so on. When each part of the body is serving the whole, the body is healthy and functions properly. … It is a good image to use for the church since the church is also called the body of Christ. The church, empowered by the S…

John 1- The Deeper Nativity

Jn 1:1-18
Watching a ball bounce across a room is very different than hearing a physicist explain the same event. The physicist would describe gravity, the density of the floor, the rubber’s ability to bounce (called the “Coefficient of Restitution”), the force at which the ball was thrown or the height it was dropped from, maybe even variables like the temperature of the room, etc. All of that would be communicated through a swirl of numbers and letters drawn into mathematical formulas that explain what we watched happen with our eyes. It doesn’t mean that watching the ball bounce across the room is less true, they are just different ways of explaining the same event. The physicist’s explanation is more abstract, but also provides a kind of truth that isn’t available to us by simple observation.

The opening of the Gospel according to John is a bit like this. Most of us know the Christmas story. The images sit easily in our minds- Mary and Joseph next to a baby in a mange…

Matt 2- The death of the innocents

Matthew 2:13-23
Our Gospel lesson today is not the sentimental picture we are used to seeing associated with the birth of Jesus. In the life of Jesus danger seems to be always looming. The birth of Jesus disturbs the balance of power. The messiah will bring with him a kingdom that is in opposition to the oppressive powers of this world.

The powers of this world are not comfortable with Jesus. The Pharisees are bothered by him. The priests, the Sadducees, and eventually the Roman Empire, represented by Pontius Pilate, are all disturbed by the presence of Jesus. Those who have power in this world do not want to give it up, and don’t like having their power challenged.

Jesus will deal with constant opposition from the powers in this world and we see the beginning of this in our Gospel reading. King Herod was a bit of a puppet king placed in power under the Roman Empire. One of the things rulers like Herod are most paranoid about is loss of their power. Herod even k…