Pastor’s Blog

November 26, 2020
EPHESIANS 6:10–20
   
    As you have likely heard the provincial government has announced new guidelines for churches. These begin tomorrow and go to 17 December 2020. As a result, we will NOT be having in-person services for the next three Sundays. The Sunday services will be available online at 9:00 am each Sunday.
 
    Here is the rationale for going online only for the next three Sundays. The government has restricted the attendance for churches to a maximum of 30 people. Currently we are averaging about 50 people per Sunday. Of that number between 40 – 45% do not register in advance. This was not a problem since we were able to have a maximum attendance of 75. However, with the new restrictions we would have to turn people away, not allowing them to enter the building. That would be very unfortunate and undesirable. So, we will be online only for three weeks. Thanks for your grace as we navigate these uncertain days.
 
    If you missed Bernie’s presentation on Sunday, it is available on YouTube. Here is the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IM8kLj9Dw_s.
 
    This Sunday we will be wrapping up our series in Ephesians. Scott Fitzsimmons will be guiding us through Ephesians 6:10 – 20, putting on the armor of God.
 
    The road ahead has curves and twists, but the destination is known, and the way is secure. Thanks again for being part of Yorkton Alliance Church.
 
Grace and peace,
Ron
November 19, 2020
Devisive Culture
    There is so much dividing people these days! Front and centre is Covid-19 with all the loud disagreeing around ancillary issues including its origin, actual health threat, vaccines, mask wearing, restrictions of all kinds, circuit breakers, social and economic responsibility of the government and what steps are needed to control its spread. People have taken up sides and seem committed to making their point of view known. There is ranting on Facebook, name calling, talking past or over those holding opposing views, and reducing complexities to sound bites and slogans.
 
    When was the last time you listened to or were engaged in an actual conversation on a controversial topic? That is when two or more people who hold divergent views discuss those ideas in an environment where one person speaks while the others listen, ask clarifying questions in order to make sure they understand the speaker’s position and then share their views. A civil, constructive exchange of ideas.
 
    I believe one of the Accuser’s most effect weapons is to get people to take sides, defend their position at all costs and in whatever means necessary, and continually talk past the other. What would it look like if grace actually broke out and civility broke in? What if we took a step toward following the advice credited to Philo of Alexandria, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” What if we lived in a way that we saw Christ in everyone?
 
    What is one step you could take to be a channel for grace to break out in your sphere of relationships?
 
    Looking forward to Sunday. Our District Superintendent will be preaching in the morning and making a presentation in the afternoon on the history of women in the C&MA and the General Assembly’s opening space for women to be elders. We are working to live stream the presentation.
 
Grace and peace,
Ron
November 12, 2020
EPHESIANS 5:15-6:9
   
    When moving to a new country there are “differences” that are encountered. For example, moving from the United States I noticed an extra “u” in words like neighbor and honor; the punctuating of spoken sentences with “eh”; the use of both knife and fork in eating; or wearing something called a toque; and at least in Saskatchewan, drivers stopping to allow pedestrians to cross at crosswalks. Being flexible I have been able to adapt.
 
    The apostle Paul writes about life changes that goes deeper than mere cultural differences. He describes a different way of knowing, understanding, and living for those who are Christ followers. This new way of life draws on the wisdom and life of Christ as opposed to living apart from and in opposition to Christ. This transition and transformation is challenging as it requires much more than adjustments in spelling or eating habits.
 
    This Sunday we will consider how our new life in Christ looks as it relates to various relationships: wife and husband, children and parents, and employee and employers. This new way for relationships is in sharp contrast to the cultural norms practiced in their “old way” of living. The passage is Ephesians 5:15-6:9.
 
    Thanks for staying connected either in person or by live stream. As we are experiencing increases in Covid-19 cases I encourage you to be diligent in our mask wearing guidelines.
 
Grace and peace,
Ron
November 5, 2020
EPHESIANS 4:25 – 5:14
   
    How are you doing? We are entering the ninth month of Covid-19 with all its ebbs and flows and there is no end in sight. The economy is teetering, the political unrest is mounting. There is a whole lot of shaking going on and it spills over into relationships and family life. So, how are you doing? Are you weary, fearful, troubled, sad, empty, anxious, or generally at a loss? We are experiencing some life storms, and these are battering our lives.
 
    Although the present storms, many linked to Covid-19, may be unique they are not surprising. Storms in life: difficulties, challenges, sufferings, and hardships are to be expected. They are the training ground for faith development. Jesus shared a way for us to experience stability in life’s storms. It’s at the end of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:24-27). The passage implies that life storms will be our reality. Stability comes from building our lives on Jesus.
 
    Paul’s letter to followers of Jesus provides some very practical ways we can build our lives on Jesus. As I ponder this letter four themes are emerging that help me to see the dynamics of building our lives on Jesus; or another way of expressing it is the process of our spiritual formation. This Sunday the passage is Ephesians 4:25 – 5:14. I will be sharing the four themes. Here is a summary idea I see from the letter. Drawing on Christ, our life-giving and empowering source, as we walk in our broken way, is the path to our being transformed into the likeness of Christ and experiencing life as he designed and desires for us.
 
    There is strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.
 
Grace and peace,
Ron
 
October 29th
EPHESIANS 4:17-24
   
    I do not have one particular way of preparing a sermon. As I sat with the text for this week a variety of thoughts and questions came to mind. This was the starting point for me. I invite you to read the passage, Ephesians 4:17-24, and then wait in silence and see what comes to your mind. Here are some things that came to me as I pondered this week’s passage in light of all that we have covered in the previous chapters:
    ·        What would happen or change in my life if I actually believed what God says about me is really true and I acted in a way that affirmed that truth?
    ·        That the truth is not that I am a wretch, but that I am a loved and redeemed child of God who has blessed me in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.
    ·        The degree to which I embrace the truth of my identity in Christ is the degree to which I am alive and free.
    ·        Living into God’s design and desire is a process of transformation, an integration of revealed truth becoming lived truth!
    ·        The challenge is our internal struggle to break free from the Accuser’s lies and attempts to keep our focus on living from the reference point of the futility of our minds instead of on the truth that is defined in Christ.
    ·        The Accuser takes what is not true, what is not reality, and tries to convince us it is in fact true!
    ·        It is the voice in our heads that says: you are not good enough, smart enough, worthy enough, good looking enough…, God could not possibly be that good (see how he let you down–again).
    ·        Sin is missing the mark of our design, which is to be whole people in and through Christ.
    ·        I am walking in the futility of my mind when I am looking in the wrong places for my identity, significance, meaning, purpose, worth, security, value, and love.
    ·        We have it all (Ephesians 1) in Christ. Agree with Jesus. Christ in you is the hope of glory! Let it out, live it out.
 
    Random thoughts. What came to your mind?
 
    It is encouraging to see those who are able to attend in person. I also appreciate those who watch on-line.
 
Grace and peace,
Ron
October 22nd
EPHESIANS 4:1-16
   
    At our last annual meeting a request was made to the Elders to consider the role of women in church leadership. In particular women as Elders. This was in response to The Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) at a General Assembly voting to open eldership to women. This was to be a matter for individual congregations to discern. The Elders have been discussing this topic for a number of months. As part of the process we have read and discussed various theological views. Some of the resources are listed below. More recently we invited our District Superintendent, Bernie Van De Walle, to present on the history of women in the C&MA and the General Assembly’s opening space to invite women to be Elders. The presentation was informational and did not support or recommended a position for or against women as Elders. The discussion by the Elders, wives and Bernie was open and productive.
 
    The Elders would like to open the conversation to the congregation. Thus, we have invited Bernie to make a presentation to the congregation on Sunday, November 22nd. Bernie will be sharing his testimony during the morning service and then making the presentation at 1:30 pm. There will be a time for questions and discussion. The purpose of this meeting is informational. Our desire is to discuss, explore, and discern this topic together.
 
    This Sunday we will continue in our series in Ephesians. Madison is finishing her 10-week summer work program and will be preaching on Ephesians 4:1-16.
 
Grace and peace.
Ron
 
List of resources:
October 15, 2020
EPHESIANS 3
   
    We live in a dualistic world. You can slice it in a variety of ways: us vs. them, haves vs. have nots, insider vs. outsider. It is lived out in our daily experiences. We separate ourselves by our political affiliations, religious attachments, etc. and it shows up in many workplaces, pitting management against labour. What is implied, and often explicit, in a dualistic world is that your group, side, or team is correct and the other group, side, or team is to some degree wrong, or misguided, or worse. Unfortunately, the poster child for this is the presidential race south of the border. It is difficult to unite two groups once sides are taken and opposing positions established.
 
    Paul in his letter, intended for churches in Asia Minor, is speaking primarily to outsiders, or better, to those who were once outsiders. The Jews were the insiders, God’s chosen people. The Gentiles were the outsiders and they knew it and felt it. Now Paul is saying that there is no longer any division or separation of insiders and outsiders.
 
    The two have been united into one. This is no easy feat. How can it be possible? Consider all that would be necessary to accomplish such a task. Have you ever been an “insider” or an “outsider”? As such think about what it would take, not only to bring the two together but to actually be reconciled with the side to which you were once in opposition?
 
    The text for Sunday is Ephesians chapter 3. I encourage you to review chapter 2 as it provides context for the mystery Paul reveals in chapter 3.
 
    Don’t forget that you need to register for Sunday. You can call the office, email, or register on-line. Thanks for your willingness to abide by the provincial government’s guidelines.
 
Grace and peace,
Ron
 
October 15, 2020
EPHESIANS 3
   
    We live in a dualistic world. You can slice it in a variety of ways: us vs. them, haves vs. have nots, insider vs. outsider. It is lived out in our daily experiences. We separate ourselves by our political affiliations, religious attachments, etc. and it shows up in many workplaces, pitting management against labour. What is implied, and often explicit, in a dualistic world is that your group, side, or team is correct and the other group, side, or team is to some degree wrong, or misguided, or worse. Unfortunately, the poster child for this is the presidential race south of the border. It is difficult to unite two groups once sides are taken and opposing positions established.
 
    Paul in his letter, intended for churches in Asia Minor, is speaking primarily to outsiders, or better, to those who were once outsiders. The Jews were the insiders, God’s chosen people. The Gentiles were the outsiders and they knew it and felt it. Now Paul is saying that there is no longer any division or separation of insiders and outsiders.
 
    The two have been united into one. This is no easy feat. How can it be possible? Consider all that would be necessary to accomplish such a task. Have you ever been an “insider” or an “outsider”? As such think about what it would take, not only to bring the two together but to actually be reconciled with the side to which you were once in opposition?
 
    The text for Sunday is Ephesians chapter 3. I encourage you to review chapter 2 as it provides context for the mystery Paul reveals in chapter 3.
 
    Don’t forget that you need to register for Sunday. You can call the office, email, or register on-line. Thanks for your willingness to abide by the provincial government’s guidelines.
 
Grace and peace,
Ron
 
October 15, 2020
EPHESIANS 3
   
    We live in a dualistic world. You can slice it in a variety of ways: us vs. them, haves vs. have nots, insider vs. outsider. It is lived out in our daily experiences. We separate ourselves by our political affiliations, religious attachments, etc. and it shows up in many workplaces, pitting management against labour. What is implied, and often explicit, in a dualistic world is that your group, side, or team is correct and the other group, side, or team is to some degree wrong, or misguided, or worse. Unfortunately, the poster child for this is the presidential race south of the border. It is difficult to unite two groups once sides are taken and opposing positions established.
 
    Paul in his letter, intended for churches in Asia Minor, is speaking primarily to outsiders, or better, to those who were once outsiders. The Jews were the insiders, God’s chosen people. The Gentiles were the outsiders and they knew it and felt it. Now Paul is saying that there is no longer any division or separation of insiders and outsiders.
 
    The two have been united into one. This is no easy feat. How can it be possible? Consider all that would be necessary to accomplish such a task. Have you ever been an “insider” or an “outsider”? As such think about what it would take, not only to bring the two together but to actually be reconciled with the side to which you were once in opposition?
 
    The text for Sunday is Ephesians chapter 3. I encourage you to review chapter 2 as it provides context for the mystery Paul reveals in chapter 3.
 
    Don’t forget that you need to register for Sunday. You can call the office, email, or register on-line. Thanks for your willingness to abide by the provincial government’s guidelines.
 
Grace and peace,
Ron