Sunday, August 1, 2021 Worship Service

Blessings Cooksville Family!

Below is the link to this week’s service:

As always, If you have problems with viewing the video, I have included the full text , of most of the service, below.

And remember, please try to keep in touch with each other, particularly those you know who are forced to spend so much time alone.

And feel free to call or email me personally if you want to connect or if there is anything I can do.

Blessings,

Rev. Brian

Rev. Brian Vickers
Cell – 905-802-4081
Email – b_d_vickers@hotmail.ca


July 25, 2021
Sunday Worship Service

Prelude: Be Known to Us in Breaking Bread – John Day, arr. Garrett Parker

Opening Video: Church Differently

Welcome & Greeting:

Lighting the Christ Candle

Song: “All Creatures of Our God and King”

Call to Worship and Opening Prayer:

The Lords Prayer

Scripture:

Ephesians 4:1-16 New International Version (NIV)

4:1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it says:

“When he ascended on high,
he took many captives
and gave gifts to his people.”

9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Song: Beautiful Things

Message:

The Thunk and the Gap

Ephesians 4:1-16

I didn’t have to use the scripture that we heard Sue read for what I want to talk about this morning – and I definitely didn’t need to use all of it.

All I really needed was the first three verses where St Paul writes – I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Those three verses convey the primary message of the gospels – a message that tells us how to act – and how to interact with others.

Be humble – be gentle – be patient – love.

It’s the same concept summed up by Jesus in the second part of His great commandment – Love the Lord your god with all your heart – and love your neighbor as yourself.

I try to live by that – I try – but I know I don’t always succeed – particularly with one neighbour who I share a fence line with.

But – as I’m sure you have all come to know – neighbour is supposed to be understood in much broader sense than those who live near you.

I don’t live in Mississauga – but everyone who lives around our church is my neighbour. Actually – everyone who lives in the greater Toronto area is my neighbour – in Canada – north America – everywhere. And they are all your neighbors too.

Do you love them all – as you love yourself? That’s the primary calling of being a Christian – love God – love your neighbour.

Do all your neighbours know that’s how you try to live your lives? If they did – then I’m sure that the rest of the world would want there to be more of us – more people who – love God – and love our neighbours – more Christians.

Theologian – Jim Hopewell – talks about a phenomenon he calls the – Thunk – which is what he says happens when someone – with no connection to Christianity – discovers that you’re a priest or a pastor.

Dr. Hopewell told the story of a time when he was traveling on a plane – without his clergy collar – carrying on a perfectly normal conversation with the guy seated next to him. Eventually – the topic turned to what each guy did for a living.

I’m a priest – Dr. Hopewell confessed. And that’s when it happened – The Thunk – that palpable – unmistakable – inevitable change in the relational dynamic – when someone discovers that you’re a fairly committed Christian. Any pastor or minister or priest can tell you about her or his own experiences with the Thunk.

But you don’t have to be some type of professional clergy to know the feeling – any Christian – not just ordained ones – can experience the Thunk.

Just start throwing around the words – Christian – or – church – in everyday situations – and see what kind of response you get. I’ve done this – by the way. I’ve struck up conversations with people that I’ve been standing in line with – and then I intentionally mention that I’m a minister.

After the inevitable – Thunk – the conversations usually end with the person pretending that something else has become more important – like their phone.

But sometimes – once they regain their composure – they start telling me their thoughts on Christianity – and it’s usually not pretty.

If I ever get a chance to contribute to the conversation again – it’s usually to explain to them all the things that I’m NOT – rather than the things that I am.

There is a lot to overcome when someone finds out that you’re a Christian – not even to mention a Christian minister.

There’s an immediate credibility problem that has to be dealt with – because we Christians are often thought of as narrow-minded – bigoted – judgmental – uneducated – backward people.

And – church – is often thought of as the place where we narrow-minded people gather to reinforce our stereotypes and to point condemning fingers at those outside our walls.

Now – I realize that that is an unfair stereotype. Not all Christians are that way. But you have to know that such a stereotype is alive and well in many places on Planet Earth.

And it’s a stereotype that is constantly perpetuated by the media – how often do you read stories in the news about the – good – done by Christians.

if Christianity is featured in an article – it’s generally about some current or past wrong perpetrated by those claiming to be Christians.

Or it’s a story about some group out on the fringe that holds to beliefs and practices considered outdated to the majority of Christians – groups that try to use some type of contorted Christian message to further their own agenda.

It’s a sad thing – because we know that there is a brand of Christianity that is better than the widely-publicized brand of Christianity that is ethnocentric – anti-scientific – homophobic – imperialistic – defensive – condemning – rejecting – and afraid.

We know that a different Christianity exists. We know that there are followers of Jesus who are open-minded – well-educated – and accepting.

We know that there are followers of Jesus who are spiritually mature – intellectually honest and psychologically savvy.

We know that there are followers of Jesus who guard against unfair stereotypes – refuse to be judgemental – and who work to eliminate prejudice in their own minds and wherever else they see it.

But there are many people outside of Christianity who do not know that – because people who practice Christian spirituality – with spirits – and brains – and souls fully engaged – are not the ones who make the headlines.

And that’s why I think that the – Thunk – that you and I experience when we have these conversations with people outside the church’s walls can be explained by – the Gap. The Thunk is a function of the Gap.

There is a gap between Christianity and the world. It’s a gap that has been growing over the course of the last century or so – and this gap significantly impedes our ability to engage people outside the Church’s walls.

The reasons for the gap are multi-faceted – but to put it simply – the Gap exists for two reasons.

Number one – as I’ve already mentioned – the Christian message can get hijacked by people who have helped create for Christians a reputation that we do not want – and that is difficult for us to overcome.

Many people think that Christians are backward and blind – and that’s one reason for the gap between Christianity and the world.

Secondly – the Gap that gives rise to the Thunk exists because there are many people who have been hurt by Christian religion – a concept that is often called – religious wounding.

And we can never expect our faith communities to attract the people we would love to reach – until we have helped to repair the damage that we have done through attitudes and practices that have caused injury to people.

It might not represent who we are now – but there is no denying that past generations of Christians – have – acted in ways that helped to earn for us the lousy reputation that we have.

It’s essential that we recognize the damage to others – the damage that has occurred in the past – and remains today – due to our action or inaction.

And that we begin to communicate our apology to the world outside the church. Only then can we ever reduce the risk of encountering the Thunk – start to shrink the Gap.

Religious wounding takes place at the intersection of faulty religious teaching – and human growth. When religious teaching thwarts growth instead of promoting it – when it steps on human blooming instead of tenderly nurturing it – becomes severely wounding.

When a person living in a loveless or even an abusive marriage sits in church and hears that divorce is always wrong – a wound can be inflicted.

When a faithful person struggles with poverty and hears in church that material wealth is a sign of divine blessing – a wound can be inflicted.

When a young person struggling with gender identity or sexual orientation sits in church and hears that straight is right and gay is wrong – a wound can be inflicted.

When a group hears about how the ways of their ancestors were considered something that they needed to be cured of – a wound can be inflicted.

The number of religious wounds can be as numerous as the number of people who have walked at the intersection of human growth and faulty religious teaching. And it’s a very large number.

People outside the church can get a little nervous when they’re around Christians. People outside the church experience the Thunk when they interact with us. That’s because there’s a Gap between us and them – because they often think that we’re backward and blind – and some of them have been sorely hurt by religious people who have stepped on them instead of helping them.

But I have some good news. We can do something to close that Gap – and to lessen the effects of that Thunk.

Now – we can’t do anything about the Gap between people who are abusing the Christian message and those outside the Church – but we can do something about the Gap between the type of Christianity that truly believes in the commandment to love your neighbour – and those outside the church.

Here’s how we do it. We do it in six A’s.

Number 1. We can acknowledge – and I think we should acknowledge – out loud – that religious wounding exists. We need to do our homework – find out about the people –

both inside and outside the church – who struggle with self-limiting thoughts or feelings or behaviors because they’ve been injured by oppressive and faulty religious teaching. They’re out there – find out about them – acknowledge them.

Number 2. We can apologize. I understand that not every Christian individual or community has inflicted a religious wound. But – unfortunately – outside of the church – all Christians get lumped together – and it’s time for us to stand up and apologize for the ways in which Christianity has often been hurtful – and not helpful.

Maybe it’s time to think about adding a new line to our church sign that says – If you’ve been hurt by the Church – we’re sorry.

Even if we didn’t directly inflict the hurt – we are associated with those who did – and the process of our taking responsibility for the harm that has been done in the name of Christianity – will go a long way toward cushioning the Thunk and shrinking the Gap.

Third – Not only must we acknowledge and apologize – we must be very diligent to ensure that we – articulate – a Christianity that is smart and kind – that is honest – and in touch with the scientific and historical discoveries of the world. That is sensitive to the shifts that have led us into our current culture – and that is logical – and obviously good for people.

That approaches the complex issues of gender and sex with understanding and sophistication – that employs the best of scholarship to read – understand – and apply the truths of Scripture.

That turns its head – hands and feet to the issues that face this world – and that helps move Christianity out of the dark ages and into a place of meaningful participation among the peoples of the world in this day and age.

The next thing we can do – is to act. Acknowledging – apologizing – and articulating are nothing if we don’t act. We have to act to bring to an end to any teaching – or any policy in our churches that damages – supresses – or thwarts genuine human cultural growth.

Think creatively about how we can be an instrument of change. Resist injustice and oppression with our voices and with our words and with our actions. Action of this kind is often unpopular – but it helps to bring healing to those we have hurt – and it also helps to bring us closer to the same kind of unpopular ministries of love and justice that led to the rejection of the prophets and to the death of Jesus.

Then – we can advertise. Get to know people who don’t go to church. And when you find them – tell them about this sermon. Tell them that we truly want to love all our neighbours – tell them that we aren’t all bad – but that we accept responsibility for those who are – and that we are acting to bring real change in aid of those who have been hurt.

But remember – not everyone with whom you share this good news will enter our church – in fact – if more than a couple of people choose to come – I’d be ecstatically encouraged – but that’s not the point of your sharing anyway. Were trying to reduce the gap – eliminate the Thunk.

And then – prepare to be astonished. When the people who really love Jesus – and really love their neighbour – get radically and extravagantly kind and welcoming to all people – then we will have the opportunity to establish the kind of human community that can turn this world upside down.

We really can live out the kind of justice and mercy that Jesus said is what the whole thing is all about. And it will be astonishing.

Amen.

Video: Communion

Solo: “We Remember You “ – words and music by Walt Harrah; arr. Lloyd Larson

Holy Communion

Pastoral Prayer

Hymn: “There’s a Wideness In God’s Mercy”

Benediction and Commissioning

Postlude: Communion – Félix Guilmant

Sunday, July 25, 2021 Worship Service

Blessings Cooksville Family!

Below is the link to this week’s service:

As always, If you have problems with viewing the video, I have included the full text , of most of the service, below.

And remember, please try to keep in touch with each other, particularly those you know who are forced to spend so much time alone.

And feel free to call or email me personally if you want to connect or if there is anything I can do.

Blessings,

Rev. Brian

Rev. Brian Vickers
Cell – 905-802-4081
Email – b_d_vickers@hotmail.ca


July 25, 2021
Sunday Worship Service

Prelude: Let there be praise and honour for the Father of all goodness – Johann Krebs

Opening Video: Miracles Intro

Welcome & Greeting:

Lighting the Christ Candle

Song: “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah”

Call to Worship and Opening Prayer:

The Lords Prayer

Scripture:

John 6:1-21 New International Version (NIV)

6:1 Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2 and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish Passover Festival was near. 5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. 7 Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” 8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. 12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. 14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. 16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 17 where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. 18 A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. 20 But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” 21 Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.

Solo: He Is There

Words by Robert Liddell
Music by Ralph Cruickshank Arr. by Eric Wild
Sung by Simone McParland

Message:

Walking on Water

Matthew 14:22-33

I find it funny that sceptics of the bible often say that one of the things that convinces them that the stories – can’t – be true – is that miracles just don’t happen. Moses initiating the seven plagues on Egypt – a burning bush that speaks – parting the Red Sea – the sun standing still for a day – those things just couldn’t have happened – they’ll say – and that’s just a few miracles from the – OLD Testament.

But just stop and think about it for a minute – the word – miracle – and the experience of the miraculous – is in no way confined to the bible – or even just to Biblical times.

The word – miracle – and the experience of the miraculous – is very much part of our modern world and our everyday lives. In spite of all the technological advances – and scientific sophistication – that is part of our modern lives – the word – miracle – is still very much part of our contemporary vocabulary – and the experience of the miraculous – seems to occur almost daily.

Think about it – You open the refrigerator door and you pull out a jar of Miracle Whip – a mayonnaise that spreads so nicely across your bread – and seems to stay fresh forever. Or you unwrap a small – flat bag and put it into something called the microwave – and voila – it puffs up and you have the perfect bag of popcorn – and you say – What a miracle!

In the garden – you pour Miracle Grow onto your plants – and they flourish so splendidly – it has to be a Miracle.

It wasn’t that many years ago that penicillin was discovered – and everyone called it a miracle drug. Soon after that – it was a vaccine to cure polio – and all of our parents said it was a miracle – the children don’t have to fear polio any more. And then – the smallpox vaccine was given to children throughout the whole earth – and there is not one case of smallpox anywhere on the globe and everybody says that it’s a miracle.

And now – there are vaccines against the deadliest threat we’ve faced in our generation – and I call it a miracle. And when a vaccination – or the equivalent – is discovered for cancer – the headlines will shout for joy – Miracle drug found for cancer!

How many times have you seen a report about a car accident – and the body of the car is totally destroyed – and you read about the person who was rescued from the wreck and proclaim – It’s a miracle that anyone came out of that car alive.

My dad lay dying on an operating table – in desperation – they were hooking him up to a heart bypass machine. He’d been in a coma for months – and we had been praying for a Heart transplant – but it looked like the end.

Just as the team was thinking of turning off the machines – we got news that a heart had become available. A team flew across the country and back with the heart in an igloo cooler packed with ice – and his new heart started beating.

People in the hospital said he was the sickest person they had ever known who had lived. Everyone – even the headlines in the newspaper – proclaimed it was a miracle. And my dad became known – at least in some circles – as the miracle man.

The word – miracle – and the experience of the miraculous – didn’t stop when the writing of the bible stopped – miracles are interwoven throughout our modern lives.

What is a miracle? Miracles aren’t just some type of Biblical magic which confound the mind – such as the body levitating or floating in air – or the magic of a shorter leg miraculously stretching out three or four inches – raising the dead.

The focus of miracles isn’t on some magical voodoo or natural laws that have been violated. Rather – a God given miracle – is a series of events – and the timing of events in such a way – that convince us that God has intervened in our lives. The result of such miraculous intervention is the experience of awe and adoration. We go – wow! – and then we worship God in thanksgiving for the miracle.

For example – one man is scheduled to have heart bypass surgery because of a blockage in his arteries – after proper consultation and planning – he receives a double bypass – and rightfully – he is grateful to God and the doctors.

But another man – goes into the hospital for a simple testing procedure – just as they get started – he begins to have a heart attack on the table. Fear takes over – he feels sharp pain in his heart like he has never felt before – and he overhears the doctor’s intense conversation as they go to work to calm his heart down.

He thinks life is over. A surgeon is immediately found – and an emergency bypass is done. and when he wakes up several hours later – in a strange room – connected to monitors and pumps – and he starts to comprehend what has happened – that man – and likely those around him – will say – That was a miracle. That he is alive is a miracle. He was a walking time bomb – and to have a heart attack on the operating table – the timing couldn’t have been better.

It was the sequence of events – and the timing of events – in the hospital for simple tests – a heart attack on the table – a surgeon immediately available – and now we have someone who is convinced that God intervened in his life. How could someone’s response be anything other than awe and adoration, wow and worship to God.

I want to suggest that we all try to adjust our definition of the miraculous. Change what we think of as a miracle from something like – magic happened – or natural laws were violated – into something broader – more like – the sequence of events – and timing of events has convinced us that – God – has intervened and saved us or helped us. And they are not uncommon or rare events – miracles are very much part of our lives.

Our reading for today is really two stories – but the common thread that links them together is that they are both considered miracle stories. For today – I’m going to focus on the second story – Jesus walking on water.

Lets set the setting. It was religious time in Israel – Passover – that meant a holiday from school – a holiday from work – packing up the donkey and heading to Jerusalem for a religious trip.

It was also tragedy time in Israel – John the Baptist – one of their great prophets and moral visionary – had been assassinated by King Herod – as a nation – they were grieving – and so was Jesus.

And it was popularity time for Jesus – His miracles and teachings had created notoriety – and large crowds were following him like masses of young people following a pop star.

In recent days – we’ve seen Jesus do several miracles in a row. Jesus stilled the storm on Lake Galilee – Jesus then raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead – Jesus cured the sick – He cast out demons – and He just fed five thousand men plus women and children with five loaves of bread and two fish.

The miracle of the walking on the water occurs immediately after all these other miracle stories in the timeline of the Gospels. John isn’t the only one to record this miracle – you might be more familiar with the version that includes Peter stepping out of the boat and joining Jesus. For the sake of this discussion – I’m going to treat them all as one story.

After feeding the five thousand – Jesus sent the crowds home and the disciples out in a boat in Lake Galilee – a large lake – eight miles wide by thirteen miles long. Jesus himself went up into the hills to pray. Meanwhile – the wind on the lake really picked up – and the disciples were having a lot of trouble rowing into that headwind.

The disciples were frustrated by the wind. And then – seemingly out of nowhere – Jesus appeared to the disciples – walking on the water. The Bible says that the disciples were frightened – terrified – crying out – utterly astounded by what they saw – as if they were seeing a ghost.

Their reaction wasn’t – great – here comes Jesus – just like we expected – walking on the water. He must be God. No – they were frightened – shocked – and terrified by what they saw.

And so are you and I – at least when we are in one of those particular moments in life when we experience something that convinces us that there is a God – a God that is real – a God that is truly God – and sees every movement of our lives.

There are times when we finally – and really believe – in the existence of a personal God – and can become frightened about the possibility that He sees us for who we truly are.

When faced with the reality that God has seen everything we have done and thought – our reaction is to be frightened – saying to ourselves – O my God – I’m in big trouble now.

And Jesus – seeing their fears – said to them – Do not be afraid – it is I. And today – God seeing our fears and insecurities – says to us – Don’t be afraid of me. Do not be afraid.

And when Jesus got into the boat with them – the wind died down – and the disciples were in awe – in fearful reverence of Jesus – and they worshipped him as the Son of God – they praised him in thanksgiving for saving them.

Not being able to explain what happened – or how it happened – those disciples believed that they had experienced a miracle – the sequence of events – and the timing of events convinced them that God – that Christ – had intervened and saved their lives.

And what was their reaction? The experience of awe and holiness. And then of worship and thanksgiving. They concluded – truly – Jesus is the Son of God.

When we experience a miracle in the Bible or in real life – we often want to explain what is unexplainable. And so – we rationalize and intellectualize – trying to figure out what happened. For example – we try to explain the walking on the water.

Maybe you’ve heard this joke – it’s not new. A rabbi – a priest – and a united church minister – were fishing in a boat together – not too far from shore. The rabbi used up all his bait – noticed a bait store a short way away – got out of the boat – walked on the water to the bait shop – bought some bait – and returned the same way

Then – the priest ran out of bait – walked on water over to the bait shop and back again and started fishing. Then – the united church minister ran out of bait. Now – he had a look of doubt on his face – but stepped out of the boat – and sank like a stone.

The rabbi looked at him – and said – laughing – Hey – don’t you know where the sand bar is?

It’s just a joke – and not a very good one – but it’s also an attempt to explain how Jesus walked on water. Maybe He walked on a reef. Maybe Jesus knew where the reef was – but Peter didn’t – that’s why Peter sank.

Some scholars will suggest that the Greek language implied that Jesus walked – beside the water – and because of the conditions and the angles – the disciples only thought he was walking on water. These are attempts to rationalize – to explain – to think like a Greek – and ask – how did this happen.

But what I am suggesting – is that something happened that night that we – and they – don’t quite understand – in the sequence of events – and in the timing of those events – they experienced the miraculous saving power of God in their lives.

That’s the miracle – the experience of God’s intervening and saving presence in their lives. It’s not the magic – it’s not the proving how it happened. That’s the wrong focus.

The disciples were in a boat – unable to move in the middle of the lake – they were in trouble – scared – and then Jesus came to them – walking on the water – and saved them. They were awestruck by what they experienced – encountering the holiness of God – and they worshipped Christ as the Son of God in appreciation for what he had done for them. They couldn’t explain it – they didn’t even try to explain it – they just accepted it as a miracle demonstrating the saving power of God.

When my dad finally came out of his coma – this was still a few weeks after the transplant – and he was able to communicate with us again – he asked what happened.

I could have explained how his initial heart surgery had gone wrong – all the heroic efforts that people had gone through to keep him alive.

I could have told him about what was almost his last day – his heart finally giving up and being put on bypass.

I could have explained that a heart was found in BC and the amazing efforts of the doctors who arranged a plane to fly out and bring it back. I could have talked about and detailed every bit of science – skill – and technology involved in the seven-hour transplant operation.

But I didn’t – what I said to my dad – and what I knew to be – was this. Dad – God gave us a miracle.

My dad lived another 30 years after that operation – and one of the ways that he gave back was by talking on behalf of the transplant donor program. Although dad always talked about the importance of being a donor – and of the dedicated people and all the science and resources involved – he always ended with thanking God for bringing the miracle of it all together.

In our story – the focus shouldn’t be on the miracle of walking on water – it should be on the saving of Peter and the disciples in the midst of disaster. The miracle wasn’t the surgeries and the Transplant – the miracle is that my dad was miraculously given another 30 years. Praise God!!!

When it was all said and done – these series of miracles convinced the disciples – and the early church – that Jesus was the Son of God. They experienced several miracles in a row – the stilling of the storm – the raising of Jairus’ daughter – the healing of the lepers – the casting out of demons – the feeding of the five thousand – then the walking on water.

And finally – the disciples slowly came to the conclusion and realization – Truly – this is the Son of God – And they worshipped Christ as Lord.

And through various events in our lives – incomprehensible to us – God works on us – and in us – in such a way that we too – are stopped in our tracks – and slowly we come to the realization – Jesus – you are the Son of God – We worship you.

Amen.

Hymn: “For The Crowd Of Thousands”

Video: Miraculous

Pastoral Prayer

Hymn: “Just As I Am”

Benediction and Commissioning

Postlude: Eternal Father, Strong to Save – John Dykes, arr. Larry Shackley

Sunday, July 18, 2021 Worship Service

Blessings Cooksville Family!

Below is the link to this week’s service:

As always, If you have problems with viewing the video, I have included the full text , of most of the service, below.

And remember, please try to keep in touch with each other, particularly those you know who are forced to spend so much time alone.

And feel free to call or email me personally if you want to connect or if there is anything I can do.

Blessings,

Rev. Brian

Rev. Brian Vickers
Cell – 905-802-4081
Email – b_d_vickers@hotmail.ca


July 18, 2021
Sunday Worship Service

Prelude: Two Chorale Preludes by Friedrich Marpurg:
Lord, as You will, be with me – Gaestorius;
What God ordains is always good – Bach

Opening Video: Worlds Collide

Welcome & Greeting:

Lighting the Christ Candle

Song: “Great is Thy Faithfulness”

Call to Worship and Opening Prayer:

The Lords Prayer

Scripture:

Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 New International Version(NIV)

30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” 32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

53 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there. 54 As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. 55 They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.

Solo: Of the Loving Kindness of the Lord – text from Psalm 89,

which is one of the lectionary readings for today; music by Robert Powell
Sung by Sue Brushey

Message:

Let’s go somewhere quiet.

In the gospel of Mark – chapter 6 verse 31 – Jesus said – Come away to a place where there are no cell phones – where the internet is always down – your iPad won’t work – a place where you can rest and be recharged.

Well – not his exact words – but close enough. Now admit it – isn’t that an attractive sounding invitation in the midst of our fast-paced – over-scheduled – information-filled days.

On the surface – I’d say that we seem to enjoy – even live for – the hectic pace of our lives. It’s not very often that you run into someone who’s excited to tell you that they spent the weekend doing nothing in particular – but instead – they’ll talk your ear off telling you about all the things they – did – do.

Our culture supposes that activity and accomplishment are better than rest. We identify ourselves to one another most often by what we do rather than who we are.

Think about the last time you introduced yourself to someone new – if it was anything like my normal introductions – after your name – and maybe where you are from – the first thing you tell someone about yourself is what you do for a living.

It’s so easy to find ourselves slipping into a rhythm of activity that allows little time for refreshment of body and soul. Our busyness seems to preclude time for family meals – in-depth conversation with friends – times to just sit still for a few minutes in the silence.

Last week – I talked about some things God wants us to do when our lives are going good. The second point that I made – was that God would want us to rest and restore ourselves. This week – I’m going to look at what that means a little more closely.

Rest and restoration is closely tied to the biblical concept of Sabbath – which literally means – to cease. And Sabbath is a gift that invites us to step away from our – over scheduled – busy lives – and experience a rest that can only come from God. An invitation to escape to a place apart where one can find Sabbath is enticing.

Mark’s telling of the Jesus story – has a – frantic pace about it. In the sixth chapter of Mark – Jesus sends out his disciples in pairs to go among the villages and teach. He gives them power over unclean spirits. He instructs his disciples not to take food – a bag – or money with them – but to accept with gratitude the hospitality extended to them.

Jesus says to his disciples – If you are not welcomed – not listened to – don’t make a big deal about it – As you leave simply – shake the dust off your feet and keep going. So they went out among the villages proclaiming repentance – casting out demons – and healing many who were sick.

I imagine that when they returned – they couldn’t wait to tell Jesus stories about their accomplishments.

Now – by this time – Jesus and his disciples have been creating quite a stir among the people – so they find it difficult to stop and rest – much less eat a meal in peace. Even as Jesus listens to his disciples’ stories – people are coming and going.

So – Jesus says to his disciples – Let’s go off by ourselves so we can rest – talk about the good you have accomplished and share a quiet meal together. And they all get in a boat and set sail for that deserted place with no cell phone reception – no wi-fi – no interruptions – just Jesus and his friends.

Finally – they get a little time to leave the work at the office – and forget about any schedules – and just rest.

As it turns out – Jesus is on to something. The rhythm of work – along with rest – seems to help human beings function better – and feel better about ourselves.

A study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology by a joint team of Canadian and American researchers – confirms what most of us already know. People – regardless of income – working hours – profession – or age – feel better mentally and physically – when they take time off from their labors.

The report states – Our findings highlight just how important free time is to an individual’s well-being. Unrestricted time provides critical opportunities for bonding – exploring other interests – and relaxation.

We know from our reading of Scripture that Jesus observes the Sabbath. We have stories of Jesus being in the synagogue on the Sabbath. We also have stories of Jesus’ struggles with religious leaders over how the Sabbath is to be observed.

He seems to focus more on what is appropriate behavior – and on what Sabbath stands for – rather than on the significance of a particular day for Sabbath observance.

Earlier in Mark’s Gospel – Jesus teaches that Sabbath is a gift. It’s a day to be freed from our labors to enjoy the creation and the Creator. He says – The Sabbath was made for us – not us for the Sabbath. The invitation of Jesus to his disciples to retire to a place where they can rest – take a deep breath – bond with one another – and share in telling their stories – is important for their well-being.

Who among us doesn’t know that things do not always go as planned? As Jesus and the disciples cross the lake in a boat – word spreads that they are on the move. People set out on foot and reached the place Jesus has in mind as a place of rest.

When Jesus and his disciples arrive on the shore – they find a crowd waiting for them. The crowd wants to hear what Jesus has to say. It’s part of the human experience – to seek out what we think is lacking in our lives. The crowd is hungry for an assuring word. They want desperately to be made well – and the word is out that Jesus offers what they most need.

Mark tells us that – Jesus had compassion for them – because they were like sheep without a shepherd – and he began to teach them many things. Although Jesus is most likely tired and hungry himself – He gives the crowd what they most need.

He stops and focuses on people in need. He sees people whose lives are chaotic as they try to provide for their families. He sees people who are confused by the changes in the world about them. He sees people fearful of others who are not just like them. He sees people whose lives are too busy to find answers for themselves. He sees people who simply have lost their way. He sees people who are hungry for reassurance – and long for words of hope. He sees people who need some Sabbath time to spend with God. He sees all the people of the world – he sees them – and He has compassion on them and teaches them.

Today – we are a lot like those people who flocked to Jesus. Those who dwell in the world are terrified of being alone. We live in a world that isn’t just full of noise – but one into which people intentionally introduce and multiply noise.

According to Nielsen – the authority on such matters – the average North American now watches 4-1/2 hours of television – movies – and Internet video each day – that’s 32 hours per week!

I’ll admit – I contribute to those numbers – and I’ve seen enough of those videos to know that there mostly just noise. Why is the world so afraid to go to the quiet place?

Well – what may be found in the quiet place is so unlike what the world knows – it’s the undoing of the media dreamworld – and the discovery of reality – a reality that has meaning and purpose – a definite beginning and an approaching end.

The quiet place is a vulnerable place – the quiet place is a place for self-assessment – what haven’t I done that I should do – and what have I done that was wrong? The quiet place is a holy place – a place where someone might meet God.

God has given us the Sabbath so that we can step aside from the pressures and demands of all our business – and reconnect with Him.

God’s desire is to be in an intimate relationship with you. God gives you the time for both work – and rest – to enable you to be the person He has created you to be. A Sabbath gives you the opportunity to rest physically – but more importantly – it gives you the opportunity to rest and draw near to God.

But – maybe you’re like me. You see – I can understand the importance of rest. The problem is I often can’t work out how to find the time to rest myself. There always seems to be something I need to do.

My mind is always active with things I need to do – today – tomorrow – next week – I feel like I always have a full to-do list:

Write next Sunday’s sermon. Call Paul. Speak to Cathy. Call Diane. Visit Keith. Prepare a funeral. Edit the video. Find some music.

So much to do – yet sometimes – I can’t escape the feeling I’m still not doing enough for Jesus. A good day for me is often defined by getting things done on my list. Not by the people I’ve interacted with – not the time I’ve spent with God – not the things I’ve learned – not if I have rested. Just what I’ve done. What am I really accomplishing by being busy all the time?

Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30 – Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.

Do you need to learn how to rest and relax?

Jesus says He will show you how to take a real rest – watch how He does it – learn from Him. Jesus offers us rest and He shows us how to do it. Rest is a necessity – not an optional extra – rest is an act of worship – not a sign of laziness.

Jesus made time for spiritual rest – physical rest – and emotional rest. For His spiritual rest – Jesus made time to be alone with God. Early in the morning – during the day – or late at night – draw aside and come into the presence of God. Refreshment and renewal comes from spending time with God. You need to be still so you can hear His voice.

Physical rest – the Bible tells us that even Jesus – the Son of God – slept. I never seem to get enough sleep – it’s that whole – mind working even when the body isn’t thing. But Jesus – Jesus fell asleep in a boat in the midst of a raging storm. When others were counting on His help – Jesus took a nap.

He knew when His body needed physical rest and was unapologetic about taking it. Jesus showed His disciples – and He shows us – the importance of physical rest.

And Jesus knew it was important to withdraw from the crowds for emotional rest. Jesus would move away and leave the crowds of people – even when they desperately wanted Him. In the midst of chaos – when people were demanding His attention – Jesus was clear about what God was calling Him to do and Jesus got into a boat with His disciples and went to the other side – to be away from the multitudes.

Yeah – easier said than done – you might say. Where do we get the time – I’m too busy to stop being busy. But – Jesus calls us away to a quiet place to be with Him. We must go – away from the noise.

Remember that number I gave you earlier – that the average person wastes around 4.5 hours on mindless video each day? Simple – tithe your video time. We generally think of tithing our finances for God – giving 10% of your income back to God.

I’m going to suggest that we give 10% of our video time back to God. Personally – I think the 4 and a half hours that is supposed to be the average – might be a bit high – for the sake of easier math – let’s say it’s between two and a half and three and a half hours.

One tenth of that would between 15 and 20 minutes a day – that’s your tithe – it’s what you give back to God. Are you spending 15-20 minutes alone and quiet with the Lord – just the two of you – apart from all other distractions?

And notice I keep saying – give back – to God. Because that’s what a tithe is – you’re not giving up anything that’s yours to begin with. Whether it’s money or time – it’s all a gift from God in the first place.

And if spending 10% of your video time seems too hard – start smaller – work up to it. If you can truly rest spiritually – physically – and emotionally for 15 to 20 minutes a day with God – it won’t be long before you are thinking that 10% isn’t giving enough back.

When Jesus offers to take your burdens – He means it. Jesus provides the way for you to rest securely in Him.

May I encourage each of us to follow Christ – draw on His strength to live and work – and to take the time to rest – spiritually – physically and emotionally in God.

Remember to observe your time of Sabbath – because hope is found there – when you choose to rest and relax in God.

Amen.

Hymn: “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say”

Video: Psalm 23

Pastoral Prayer

Hymn: “The Church’s One Foundation”

Benediction and Commissioning

Postlude: Our God, How Great – Colin Curtis

Sunday, July 11, 2021 Worship Service

Blessings Cooksville Family!

Below is the link to this week’s service:

As always, If you have problems with viewing the video, I have included the full text , of most of the service, below.

And remember, please try to keep in touch with each other, particularly those you know who are forced to spend so much time alone.

And feel free to call or email me personally if you want to connect or if there is anything I can do.

Blessings,

Rev. Brian

Rev. Brian Vickers
Cell – 905-802-4081
Email – b_d_vickers@hotmail.ca


July 11, 2021
Sunday Worship Service

Prelude: He Whispered, “Peace, Be Still” – Helen Griggs, arr. Tedd Smith

Opening Video: A Psalm of Worship

Welcome & Greeting:

Lighting the Christ Candle

Song: “Holy Is The Lord God Almighty”

Call to Worship and Opening Prayer:

The Lords Prayer

Scripture:

2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19 New International Version (NIV)

6:1 David again brought together all the able young men of Israel—thirty thousand. 2 He and all his men went to Baalah in Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the Lord Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim on the ark. 3 They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart 4 with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it. 5 David and all Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with castanets, harps, lyres, timbrels, sistrums and cymbals.

6:12 So David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing. 13 When those who were carrying the ark of the Lord had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. 14 Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, 15 while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets. 16 As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart. 17 They brought the ark of the Lord and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before the Lord. 18 After he had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord Almighty. 19 Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each person in the whole crowd of Israelites, both men and women. And all the people went to their homes..

Solo: Love the Lord – words by Richard Row; music by George Handel

Message:

What to do when life is good.

I remember one day – from way back in my school years – that I woke up feeling great after a good night’s sleep. I was refreshed – full of anticipation – just raring to go. For the first time in my life – I was putting on clothes that were less than a year out of fashion – and they were clean and crisp – I was feeling – and looking GOOOOD.

When I got to school – I discovered that – up to that time in the semester – I had straight A’s. at lunch time – there were three different groups of kids wanting me to sit with them.

One of the yearbook photographers was there – and they took a picture of me leaning in close and talking to the best-looking girl in the whole school. I remember sitting there thinking – man these are some good times! Of course – it was only the first day of kindergarten – but still – – –

Everyone has bad days – I know I’ve had my fair share. And over the past year and a half or so – I’d say that we’ve all had more bad days than we deserve. Life is full of confusing times – and it’s filled with times when things go wrong – but it’s also filled with times when things go right. There are times when things are just going goooood!!!

Right now – things are looking up – things are opening up. More and more people are being fully vaccinated. Shopping is easier – it’s easier to get services – everyone’s hair is looking better. Relatively speaking – times are good.

We can all relate to this – sometimes there are times when you look out at the sea of life – and it’s nothing but smooth sailing ahead. Many of us may be thinking – hey life is good – there’s nothing to worry about.

Well – I hate to be the one to break this to you – but we should always be aware that there are some dangerous things that can happen during good times.

I know – I know – stop raining on our parade – what do you mean? How can there be dangerous things to look out for when things seam to be going so good?

Well – one word – Titanic! I think we all know the story about how the maiden voyage of this magnificent boat was supposed to be a triumph of man’s ability to build a boat that could not sink. This boat was bigger and grander than any boat in the world – and the party – for those special guests who got to sail on the maiden voyage – was going to be incredible.

But right as the people were just getting the night going in full swing – and everything was going good – boom – they hit an iceberg. The rest – as we say – is history.

While the people on board were partying without a care in the world – the crew was still controlling the vessel – but even for them – the voyage was going good – until they encountered one of the most dangerous things in the ocean – an iceberg.

The thing that’s so dangerous about an iceberg – isn’t what you can see of them – but what you can’t. Only a small percent of the ice is above the surface of the water – you may see what you think is just a little piece of floating ice – and it turns out to be a deadly underwater mountain of ice.

Here’s my point in all of this – when life is going good – and things are going right – there can still be a very real danger for the Christian lying just beneath the surface.

The danger is that we can become so focused in – and on – ourselves – that we forget about God. We often find it easy to focus on God when things aren’t going well. We ask – Why God? – or God help me – us. When things are bad – we turn to prayer – or to the scriptures for answers. But when things are going good – how often do we think of God.

So – how do we keep focus on God when things are going right? Well – we’ve been looking at David’s life on and off for the past little while – like most of us – his life is made up of both good times and bad – the reading we had today is about one of the better times.

So using the life of this second king of Israel – along with a few other scriptures – lets see if we can figure out what to do when things go right.

The three things that I want to talk about are – Rejoice – Rest – and Reach Out.

Before we look into rejoicing – lets look at David’s story for just a moment. As I mentioned – David was the second king of Israel – but that’s only part of his story.

To begin he was a shepherd boy – who under the first king of Israel – killed the giant Philistine warrior Goliath – with just a sling shot and a stone.

Later on – he is anointed to be the next king – but the first king – Saul – is still in power and getting more and more jealous of David every day. In fact – he tries to kill David – obviously – without success – and finally – David is made the king of Israel.

His first task was to bring back the Ark of the Lord to Israel – and this was a very big deal – because this ark – or box – was the centerpiece for the tabernacle back in the desert during Moses’s time. This is where we pick up our story of things going right.

2 Samuel 6:12-15 – So David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing. 13 When those who were carrying the ark of the Lord had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. 14 Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, 15 while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets

This is an example of our first point of what to do when things go right – Rejoice – Rejoice in the fact that God has given you a blessing

James 5:13 says – Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise.

Now I’m sure we all know that we should praise God during our prayer times. And we are asked to rejoice in the Lord during worship – and those activities – at those times – are important – but it’s just as important to offer praise and rejoice in the midst of our circumstances!!!

It’s so easy for us to get focused on me – me – me – that we totally forget that we are called to depend on God – and keep our eyes on Him – even in the good times.

Like I hinted at before – when I was using the illustration of the Titanic – when things are going right – it can be very easy to forget about the dangers that lie just beneath the surface.

That’s a lack of focus – if we don’t keep our focus – we lose sight of things that may be important. And one of the things that’s important – is remembering where the good times have come from.

In James 1:17 – it says that every good gift is from above – so how do we get this focus off ourselves and back onto God? We do what David did in our scripture – David danced before the Lord with all his might.

Now – this is more than just your basic – happy dance. It’s not some slick rehearsed move that you see after a player has run across the goal line. Those moves don’t proclaim God is good – they shout – look at me – not where we want to put our focus.

David did was simply praising God the best way he could – He was the of king Israel – a dignified statesman – but he said that he would become even more undignified than that – in his praising of God.

David realized that his good times were a blessing from God – and therefore God deserved to be praised – and thanked – and celebrated with all his might. Just imagine how our lives might be different if every time we got a good grade on a test – or a promotion – or something good happened in our lives – we praised and worshiped God with all our might!!!

I think we’d begin to see some fairly radical changes – if we would take the focus off of ourselves – and give God the glory.

Next – when things are going good – Rest – and be restored by God.

Just after our reading from today at the beginning of the 7th chapter of 2nd Samuel it says this – After the king was settled in his palace – and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him – he said to Nathan – and the story goes on from there.

It says that – the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies – so – another thing we should do when things go right – is rest and be restored by God.

When you get sick – what do the doctors tell you to get lots of? They tell you to get lots of rest – because your body needs a chance to restore itself back to full health. The same can be said when we have times when things go right.

We have seen all the things that can go wrong in life – and all the things that will confuse us – and leave us tired and stressed out – So God gives us seasons of good times – when all is well – to find the rest we need – and to be restored by His mercy and grace.

In 1st Peter 5:10 – it says – And after you have suffered for a little while – the God of all grace – who called you to His eternal glory in Christ – will himself restore – support – strengthen – and establish you.

When Peter wrote this verse – he was writing to 1st century Israelites – who had converted to Christianity – and as a result were being persecuted.

He tells them that a time when things will go right is coming – and during these times – God will – restore you – support you – strengthen you – and establish you.

So – how do we rest and become restored? When things are going right – you could start by praising God like we talked about in our first point. There is something powerful about worship that leaves us refreshed and renewed – like the smell after the rain has come and washed away all the pollution.

Another way we can rest and become restored is to rediscover God. You can do this by opening up your Bible – and reading and praying and spending some time with God.

When I think back to the good times in my life – I have always looked for people to share that time with – there is just something about human nature that wants to share the joy of good times. God loves to spend time with us – just like a best friend – and a great way to find rest and restoration is to share your good times with God.

Spending time with God is the key to finding rest and being restored. Anyone who has ever tried to restore an old piece of furniture – knows that things never restore themselves. The same is true for you and me – we need to spend time with God if we are going to be restored.

So – when things are going good – the first thing we should do is – Rejoice in the fact that God has given us a blessing – then we should Rest – and let God restore us – and finally we should –

Reach Out – to others who are going through hard times

1st John 3:16-17 says – This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?

When things go right – it’s a blessing from God – but there’s more to this blessing than just sitting and soaking up the good times. When God gives us times of things going right – we should use these as an opportunity to reach out to other people who may be going through some not so good times.

In that verse from 1st John – we see several key points to take note of. The first is that Jesus loved us enough to die for us – and He is asking us to do the same for others. Now – I’m not saying that we should all go out and find a little old lady crossing the street and jump in the path of on coming traffic so that we can say we lay down our lives for others.

What I am saying is that laying down our lives for others might be giving up some of our wants and desires – and putting others first. When we get to enjoy some good times in life – we should share these with others by reaching out our hand to help those who are not doing quite as well as we are.

Very practically – it could be stopping to pass some time with that person who always seems to be alone – or sending a thank you card to someone who might not have even known they helped you in some way.

Simple acts of kindness that require us to lay down our lives for others – and reach out and share some of our good fortune.

The other key point from the 1st John verse eludes to the fact that – if someone who has – see’s someone who has not – but doesn’t help them out – how can they say that they have the love of God in them.

Someone who has – that’s someone experiencing good times – and someone who has not – is someone experiencing tough times. If things are going good – help those who you can.

After David had rejoiced and danced for the blessing of good times – and after he found rest and restoration in God – he looked around and saw that the ark we had talked about before had no permanent home for other people to come and worship God. So – David wanted to help them out by building a beautiful temple that would be a worthy home for God and his people to come together. God had other plans – but David – when things were going well for him – wanted to be able to pass some of that goodness on – he reached out in his time of things going right.

When life is good – remember God – through rejoicing – resting – and reaching out – and don’t let the seemingly little icebergs tear a hole in your good times.

Amen.

Hymn: “How Deep The Father’s Love For Us”

Video: Journey

Pastoral Prayer

Hymn: “Be Thou My Vision”

Benediction and Commissioning

Postlude: Werde munter, mein Gemüte – Johann Walther “Be alert, my soul, and direct your thoughts to the good things that God has done for me.”

Sunday, July 4, 2021 Worship Service

Blessings Cooksville Family!

Below is the link to this week’s service:

As always, If you have problems with viewing the video, I have included the full text , of most of the service, below.

And remember, please try to keep in touch with each other, particularly those you know who are forced to spend so much time alone.

And feel free to call or email me personally if you want to connect or if there is anything I can do.

Blessings,

Rev. Brian

Rev. Brian Vickers
Cell – 905-802-4081
Email – b_d_vickers@hotmail.ca


July, 2021
Sunday Worship Service

Prelude: Speak, Lord, in the Stillness – Harold Green, arr. for piano/organ duet by Larry Shackley Played with Eddy Zheng

Opening Video: Amazing King

Welcome & Greeting:

Lighting the Christ Candle

Hymn: “Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above”

Call to Worship and Opening Prayer:

The Lords Prayer

Scripture:

Mark 6:1-13 New International Version (NIV)

6:1 Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. 2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? 3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. 4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” 5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 He was amazed at their lack of faith. Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. 7 Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits. 8 These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. 9 Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. 10 Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. 11 And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

Solo: Prayer for Peace – lyrics by Gertrude Tingley, music by Jean-Baptiste Lully Sung by Sheikh Ali

Message:

Are You Amazed?

He really is amazing – isn’t He? Whether you have just stumbled upon this virtual service – or if you’ve been a part of the Cooksville United family for years – my prayer is that you would be amazed by Jesus every time you hear His name.

The scribes and the skeptics were amazed at his teaching. The hungry and hurting were amazed by his miracles. An adulterer and her accusers were amazed by his love.

But have you ever wondered what amazes Jesus? What might astonish the most astonishing person who ever lived? What could boggle the infinite mind of the God-Man? What could leave the greatest teacher – speechless?

Well – in our reading for today – we heard one time when Jesus was amazed. Jesus had just completed a whirlwind tour across much of northern Israel.

He amazed his disciples by calming the wind and waves on Lake Galilee. He amazed the people by casting a legion of demons into a herd of swine. He amazed a sick woman who was healed the instant she touched his cloak. And His last stop was the home of Jairus – whose daughter had died earlier that day. But death wouldn’t stop Jesus – He took the little girl’s hand and whispered in her ear – Little girl – get up – and she did – she got up and walked – and the Bible says – They were overwhelmed and totally amazed.

Jesus was amazing everyone he encountered. But then we hear that – Jesus left that part of the country and returned with his disciples to Nazareth – his hometown.

Maybe – He was tired from all His travels and just wanted to sit in His favourite spot by the family hearth. Maybe His mom had been nagging Him to come home and visit for a while. Whatever his reasons were – there’s always something special about going home – the comfort – the familiarity of it all.

But a lot’s changed since Jesus left Nazareth. He left alone and a carpenter – He returned a famous rabbi with a whole entourage of disciples. And – His reputation has preceded him because the local rabbi invites Jesus to speak.

So – Jesus now has the opportunity to preach in the church he grew up in. The Bible says – when He began teaching in the synagogue – many who heard him were amazed. They asked – Where did he get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?

Here Jesus was – back in his hometown – preaching to the same people who watched him play in the dirt as a child – who saw him struggle through puberty – who witnessed the grief in his eyes when his earthly father died – and they were amazed. Some of them were amazed at His words – His wisdom and the wonders He could perform. It was obvious that there was something special about this home-town hero.

Two thousand years later – and Jesus is no less amazing. The most amazing event in human history was the coming of Jesus into this world. The most amazing words ever spoken were His words. The most amazing deeds ever done were accomplished by His hands. The most amazing gift ever offered was His life on the cross.

More songs have been sung of Him – artwork created of Him – and books written about Him – than anyone who has ever lived. Jesus looms so large over human history that we actually measure time by him – we date our letters – our birth certificates – our checks – everything – from the year of his birth. Jesus stands alone in all of history—the single most amazing person who ever lived

Extraordinary – Astonishing – Amazing – Jesus is all that and more. But no matter how amazing something or someone is – there will always be critics and complainers.

There’s a story that Charles Swindoll tells in his book – Three Steps Forward – Two Steps Back – about a farmer wanted to impress his hunting buddies. So – he bought the smartest – most expensive hunting dog he could find.

He trained this dog to do things no other dog on earth could do – impossible feats that would surely amaze anyone. Then he invited his buddies to go duck hunting with him. After a long patient wait in the boat a group of ducks flew over and the hunters were able to make a few hits.

Several ducks fell in the water. Go get ’em! – shouted the proud owner. The dog leaped out of the boat – but it didn’t splash into the water – it calmly walked on the water – it went directly to each bird – somehow picked them all up – and proudly walked back to the boat.

Beaming with pride, the man turned to his fellow hunters and said – So what do you think? One of them looked at him with a wrinkled brow and said – Boy you sure got ripped off. You spent all that money on a dog that doesn’t even know how to swim!

Some of Jesus’s neighbors were just as unimpressed with Him. Our story says – Then they scoffed, ‘He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us. They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. Then Jesus told them, ‘A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family’

Nazareth wasn’t known for much. It was a small – insignificant – town on the outskirts of a Roman garrison. Estimates put the population during Jesus’ day at around 80 – Nazareth wasn’t the brightest star in the ancient Near East.

There was even a saying – that was once repeated by Philip – Can anything good come from Nazareth? It seems like this opinion was repeated often enough that the people of Nazareth themselves became convinced the answer was no.

Jesus can’t be anything special – they thought – He’s one of us – He grew up right here – He’s no messiah – He’s just a carpenter.

Some of you may have heard of Leonard Bernstein – he was a brilliant composer – conductor – author – and pianist. Growing up – however – Leonard’s father had not given his son very much encouragement in his musical career. Later in life – a reporter asked his father why he had been so unwilling to encourage his son’s musical talents. The father replied – How was I to know he would grow up to become Leonard Bernstein?

Likewise – how could the people of Nazareth have known that this son of a carpenter would grow up to become Jesus of Nazareth? They thought they knew everything there was to know about this kid – and their familiarity bred contempt.

I wonder sometimes – if we aren’t a little too familiar with Jesus ourselves.

I know we didn’t grow up on the same street. We’ve never shared a meal with Mary and Joseph. You and I never hired Jesus to build a fence or repair our stable. But we’ve grown up with

And I wonder if our culture hasn’t become so saturated with Jesus that we’ve grown desensitized to him. We’ve all heard the story of Jesus. We’ve heard it in Sunday School – in sermons – in songs. We think we know everything there is to know about Jesus. Maybe to the point where none of it amazes us anymore.

We’ve grown up with Jesus as though He lived right here – in our hometown – among us. Unfortunately – like Jesus said – A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown. We are the hometown.

But you know – as much as we fail to be amazed by Jesus – Jesus is amazed by us. The next couple of verses in Mark tell us the rest of the story – And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their unbelief”

What amazes the most amazing person to walk the earth? I do – You do – We all do when we don’t believe. Jesus was amazed at their unbelief. He still is – I think.

We are living in an age of increasing unbelief. With each census and poll – we see the number of people who claim – no religious belief – to be rising – I’m amazed at how quickly unbelief has taken root in so many hearts. And if I’m amazed – imagine how amazed Jesus must be. But forget about the atheists and agnostics for a minute – what about you and me – what about people who do claim Christianity to be among their beliefs?

Have you ever wondered why you don’t see more miracles in your life? Let’s read that verse again – because of their unbelief – He couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them.

Because of their unbelief – Jesus didn’t do any miracles. Do you think He doesn’t do miracles in my life because of my unbelief? Do you think He doesn’t do any miracles in your life because of your unbelief?

That’s not to say that Jesus didn’t have the power to do miracles while he was in Nazareth. He did heal some sick people – but only a few.

Why? I think it’s because only a few believed that he would. If you’ve ever fallen to your knees to ask Jesus to perform a miracle in your life – did you really believe He would do it? Do you really believe in miracles enough to even ask Jesus in the first place?

Personally – I think that I’m a lot like the father who Jesus meets in Mark chapter 9.

Jesus had been on the mountain with Peter – James – and John – that’s when they witness his radiant glory – the event we call the transfiguration.

But when Jesus reaches the bottom of the hills – He hears arguing. A father came to his disciples asking them to heal his son – but they couldn’t do it. After explaining the situation to Jesus – the man pleads – Have mercy on us – and help us – if you can.

What do you mean – If I can? – Jesus asked. Anything is possible if a person believes. The father instantly cried out – I do believe – but help me overcome my unbelief! (Mark 9:22-24)

That’s the first miracle that we need to ask Jesus for – that’s the first prayer that should always come from our lips in times of need – Lord Jesus – I believe – help me overcome my unbelief.

I think that’s the kind of prayer Jesus responds to. I think that’s the kind of prayer that brings about a miracle. It did for that desperate father. The Bible says Jesus restored his son’s hearing and speech – and then Jesus took the boy by the hand and helped him to his feet. He can do the same for each one of us – if we believe.

We have been talking about belief – and the lack of it for a few weeks now. We’ve seen how Jesus scolds His disciples because they don’t have enough faith. Jesus saves them from the storm on the Galilean Sea – but they could have saved themselves if they had believed they could.

Miracles happen – for the woman who was bleeding and for Jairus’s dead daughter – simply because they believe that Jesus can help them.

And today – we have heard that Jesus is amazed at people’s lack of faith. He was able to heal some people in His hometown – imagine what He would have been able to do if more people had believed.

We read the stories – and maybe we are amazed by the things Jesus did long ago – but imagine the miracles we could see today – by us – through Jesus – if we would only believe that the amazing is still possible.

Amen.

Hymn: “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”

Video: These Three Remain

Pastoral Prayer

Hymn: “One More Step Along The World I Go”

Benediction and Commissioning

Postlude: Air from French Suite no. 4 – J.S. Bach

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