Reassurance: Scripture for your day from the Book of Ruth – 1: 1-2b

“In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to live in the country of Moab, he and his wife and two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion; they were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there.”

This household ends up in Moab, a foreign place. They leave Bethlehem, their home, the familiar, a place that means ‘house of bread’. They go far away. They exchange the known for the unknown. In Moab they are literally ‘strangers’. They are displaced.

Do you ever feel misplaced? Forced into situations or places that seem beyond your control. The pandemic is pushing into unfamiliar and difficult times.

But there is good news. The Lord says in the Psalms, ‘Moab is my washbasin!’ (Ps 60:8). Even the far away and the unfamiliar are no match for God’s greatness, goodness and power. Thanks be to God in Jesus Christ.

Reassurance: Scripture for your day from the Book of Ruth – 1: 2a

“In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to live in the country of Moab, he and his wife and two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion; they were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there.”

The names of the parents in this family matter. First is Elimelech, which means ‘God is my King’. Next, is his wife Naomi, which means ‘good, pleasant, beautiful’.

There is a famine. The family is in dire straights. They are forced to move from their home to Moab. Yet, in the middle are two parents, ‘God is my King’ and ‘Good and Pleasant’. Their presence points us to the person of Jesus Christ today.

He is our King, who is able and willing to help us. What is more, he is Good. He is Pleasant. He is Kind. Trust him today.

Reassurance: Scripture for your day from the Book of Ruth – 1: 2

“In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to live in the country of Moab, he and his wife and two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion; they were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there.”

Here we meet a family of four in the middle of a great famine and natural disaster. The father’s name, Elimelech, means ‘God is King’; the mother’s name, Naomi, means ‘pleasant, beautiful’.

The family unit and the parents’ names stand in contrast to their surroundings, which are scattered and uncertain.

As Christians, we are part of a family – the body of Christ. A unit whose head is Jesus himself, whose name means ‘he who saves’. Paul describes life as a Christian in the body of Christ, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” (2 Corinthians 4: 8-10)

Take heart that in everything going around us, we are far from alone.

Children & Youth Lesson Thanksgiving Sunday, October 18: John 10: 40-42

  1. Song of the Day, sing along with Pastor Greg: I believe in Jesus
  2. Bible Reading & Video Lesson with Pastor Greg: John 10: 40-42
  3. Ask – What do we learn about ourselves in this Scripture? Answer in COMMENTS below
  4. Ask – What do we learn about God in this Scripture? Answer in COMMENTS below
  5. Bible Verse Colouring Sheet – John 10:42 – Email to greg@cpchamilton.ca and we’ll show it!

Pastor Greg reading from Little Pilgrim’s Progress (based on John Bunyan’s Classic) Little Chapter 2: Christian Hears of the Celestial City —

Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

For children, Little Pilgrim’s Progress, https://www.moodypublishers.com/little-pilgrims-progress/

For teens, Pilgrim’s Progress, https://www.moodypublishers.com/pilgrims-progress-in-todays-english/

Reassurance: Scripture for your day from the Book of Ruth – 1: 1b

“In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to live in the country of Moab, he and his wife and two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion; they were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there.”

God’s people were no strangers to drastic moves. Abram and Sarai leave their homeland, as does Issac. The book of Ruth opens with a drastic move too.

A certain man of Bethlehem (King David’s City!) leave for Moab. They do so because of a great disaster, a famine.

Although things may look uncertain for us today, be assured that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is well-versed in big moves. When life changes and shifts, God does not. “Where can I flee from your presence? If go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.” (Psalm 139:7)

In Jesus God is revealed as the One who is faithful in every way, in every place, in every time. Always. In Bethlehem. In Moab. Right here. Forever.

Reassurance: Scripture for your day from the Book of Ruth – 1: 1a

“In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to live in the country of Moab, he and his wife and two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion; they were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there.”

The story of Ruth is set in a time of natural disaster. There is a famine in Israel so bad, households take drastic measures to survive.

The setting of Ruth reminds us that God is not absent in suffering. God does not run from it. In fact, the whole story of Ruth will show us God’s providence and faithfulness in a time of calamity.

In Jesus Christ, God enters your hard times and our difficulties. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.” Isaiah 43:2

Children & Youth Lesson Thanksgiving Sunday, October 11: Colossians 1: 12-13

  1. Song of the Day, sing along with Pastor Greg: Thank you, Thank you Lord
  2. Bible Reading & Video Lesson with Pastor Greg: Colossians 1: 11-13
  3. Ask – What do we learn about ourselves in this Scripture? Answer in COMMENTS below
  4. Ask – What do we learn about God in this Scripture? Answer in COMMENTS below
  5. Bible Verse Colouring Sheet – Colossians 1 – Email to greg@cpchamilton.ca and we’ll show it!

—- More again — Book of the Month for Children and Teens — Parents get a copy, read to your children, or have them read it, then have a conversation after each chapter – feel free to start a comments section on this post!

Pastor Greg reading Chapter 1: Little Christian Hears of the Celestial City —

October 2020 Book:

Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

For children, Little Pilgrim’s Progress, https://www.moodypublishers.com/little-pilgrims-progress/

For teens, Pilgrim’s Progress, https://www.moodypublishers.com/pilgrims-progress-in-todays-english/

Children & Youth Lesson for Sunday, October 4: John 10 – I AM the Good Shepherd

  1. Song of the Day, sing along with Pastor Greg: This is the Day
  2. Bible Reading & Video Lesson with Pastor Greg: John 10:1-6, 11, 27
  3. Ask – What do we learn about ourselves in this Scripture? Answer in COMMENTS below
  4. Ask – What do we learn about God in this Scripture? Answer in COMMENTS below
  5. Bible Verse Colouring Sheet – John 10:11 Email to greg@cpchamilton.ca and we’ll show one Sunday!

—— More —- Learn these Questions & Answers!

For small children – Q. 4. How can you glorify God?
A. By loving him and doing what he commands.

For older children/teens – Question #6

—- More again — Book of the Month for Children and Teens — Parents get a copy, read to your children, or have them read it, then have a conversation after each chapter – feel free to start a comments section on this post!

October 2020 Book:

Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

For children, Little Pilgrim’s Progress, https://www.moodypublishers.com/little-pilgrims-progress/

For teens, Pilgrim’s Progress, https://www.moodypublishers.com/pilgrims-progress-in-todays-english/

Gender and Sexuality in the PCC

Dear Congregational of Central

I preached a sermon on 22 September, that led to a lot of conversations about gender and sexuality.  As your pastor, I wanted to provide you a summary of where the Presbyterian Church in Canada is on some aspects this broad and important area of Scriptural interpretation.

  1. SUMMARY:  A direct summary of all General Assembly discernment on gender and sexuality can be found in The Social Action Handbook 2019.  BOOK 2 is entitled Relationships; and speaks directly on marriage, beginning of life, end of life, gender identity, and more.  (It is 400 pages so be careful about printing it.)
  2. REPENTANCE:  In 2018, at the direction of the General Assembly, its Moderator issued a letter repenting for homophobia in the PCC, and I urge you to read it.  It is a true letter and applies to all of us in the church, as members of it together, even if we can never recall a personal event for which we need to repent.  Part of this process has been the creation of the Listening Committee, who will give a final report in June 2020.
  3. PROPOSED CHANGES:  The 2019 General Assembly in June passed two motions related to gender, sexuality and marriage.  They are:
  •   A – That:  The Presbyterian Church in Canada holds two parallel definitions of marriage and recognizes that faithful, Holy Spirit filled, Christ centred, God honouring people can understand marriage as a covenant relationship between a man and a woman or as a covenant relationship between two adult persons.
    That congregations, sessions, ruling and teaching elders be granted liberty of conscience and action on marriage.
  • B –  That: congregations and presbyteries may call and ordain as ministers and elect and ordain as ruling elders LGBTQI persons (married or single) with the provision that liberty of conscience and action regarding participation in ordinations, inductions and installations be granted to ministers and ruling elders.

4.  PROCESS FOR PROPOSED CHANGES:  The process for the proposed changes is that before June 2020, the next General Assembly, every Presbytery across Canada will vote YES or NO to these proposed changes  (there are approximately 26 of which Hamilton is one).  IF a majority of Presbyteries vote in the affirmative, then these changes go to General Assembly 2020 for a vote.  IF at General Assembly a majority votes in the affirmative, the doctrine of the church is officially changed;  if at either stage, Presbytery throughout the year or General Assembly in June, the majority vote is in the negative, then proposed changes are not made.  The Presbytery of Hamilton has invited anyone who wishes, to come to an open meeting on Tuesday, November 12th, 2019, where the remits will be discussed.

5.  OPPORTUNITY FOR INVOLVEMENT:  As of last night, the Presbytery of Hamilton invites any members of its congregations to an open meeting on November 12 at 7 p.m., where the proposed changes will be discussed.  Voting will be in February 2020.  Please stay tuned also about opportunities provided by Session in this year ahead.  Feel free to be in contact – greg@cpchamilton.ca – if you would like to talk further, or speak with your elder.  Please keep this year in your fervent prayers.