Advent 2020: the prophets & the coming of Jesus

Malachi 2:15-3:5 – Jesus, His Refining Love

17 You have wearied the Lord with your words.

“How have we wearied him?” you ask.

By saying, “All who do evil are good in the eyes of the Lord, and he is pleased with them” or “Where is the God of justice?”

 3:1 “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.

But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years.

“So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the Lord Almighty.

Isaiah 9: 2-7 – Jesus, the Wonderful Counsellor and Mighty God

Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—

The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation
    and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
    as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
    when dividing the plunder.
For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
    you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
    the bar across their shoulders,
    the rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior’s boot used in battle
    and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
    will be fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this.

Zephaniah 3:14-20 Jesus, his Protection and Delight

14 Sing, Daughter Zion;
    shout aloud, Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
    Daughter Jerusalem!
15 The Lord has taken away your punishment,
    he has turned back your enemy.
The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you;
    never again will you fear any harm.
16 On that day
    they will say to Jerusalem,
“Do not fear, Zion;
    do not let your hands hang limp.
17 The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.”

18 “I will remove from you
    all who mourn over the loss of your appointed festivals,
    which is a burden and reproach for you.
19 At that time I will deal
    with all who oppressed you.
I will rescue the lame;
    I will gather the exiles.
I will give them praise and honor
    in every land where they have suffered shame.
20 At that time I will gather you;
    at that time I will bring you home.
I will give you honor and praise
    among all the peoples of the earth
when I restore your fortunes[a]
    before your very eyes,”
says the Lord.

Micah 2:1-5 – Jesus, our Shepherd and our Peace

[a]Marshal your troops now, city of troops,
    for a siege is laid against us.
They will strike Israel’s ruler
    on the cheek with a rod.

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    though you are small among the clans[b] of Judah,
out of you will come for me
    one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
    from ancient times.”

Therefore Israel will be abandoned
    until the time when she who is in labor bears a son,
and the rest of his brothers return
    to join the Israelites.

He will stand and shepherd his flock
    in the strength of the Lord,
    in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they will live securely, for then his greatness
    will reach to the ends of the earth.

And he will be our peace
    when the Assyrians invade our land
    and march through our fortresses.
We will raise against them seven shepherds,
    even eight commanders.

Children & Youth Lesson Sunday, November 8: John 11: 28-33

  1. Song of the Day, sing along with Pastor Greg: Alleluia – Praise Ye the Lord!
  2. Bible Reading & Video Lesson with Pastor Greg: John 11: 28-33
  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 11:33 – Email to greg@cpchamilton.ca and we’ll show it.

Children & Youth Lesson Sunday, November 1: John 11: 25-27

  1. Song of the Day, sing along with Pastor Greg: Rejoice!
  2. Bible Reading & Video Lesson with Pastor Greg: John 11: 25-27
  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 -11:25 – Email to greg@cpchamilton.ca and we’ll show it!

Children & Youth Lesson Thanksgiving Sunday, October 25: John 11: 1-3

  1. Song of the Day, sing along with Pastor Greg: Jesus Loves Me
  2. Bible Reading & Video Lesson with Pastor Greg: John 11: 1-3
  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 11:3 – Email to greg@cpchamilton.ca and we’ll show it!
  6. Listen to a reading from Pastor Greg, of Little Pilgrim’s Progress: Chapter 3a and Chapter 3b
  7. Say a prayer you make up yourself!

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/

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.