Greetings from Rev. Brian Vickers
Blessings Cooksville Family!
Here 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.
Rev. Brian Vickers
Cell – 905-802-4081
Email – email@example.com
May 16, 2021
Sunday Worship Service
Prelude: : Lord, Listen to Your Children - Ken Medema, arr. Jack Schrader
Opening Video: God Is Here
Welcome & Greeting:
Lighting the Christ Candle
Hymn: “O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing”
Call to Worship and Opening Prayer:
The Lords Prayer
Acts 1:15-17, 21-26
15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty)
16 and said, “Brothers and sisters, the Scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus.
17 He was one of our number and shared in our ministry.”
21 Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us,
22 beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”
23 So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias.
24 Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen
25 to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.”
26 Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.
Solo: Be Still and Know - Steven Chapman, arr. Lloyd Larson
Thy Will Be Done!
Acts 1:15-26, Easter 7
Have you ever stopped to think about how many decisions you make every day?
Some decisions are really easy – like the one I made when Mardi asked what I wanted for dinner this past Friday. You see – Friday is typically our grocery night.
When we’re done with work for the day – we head to Fortinos for the weekly shopping – then it’s our one day a week to treat ourselves to picking up – rather than making – our dinner.
We have a rotation of five places that we take out from – well actually four places – but five choices. There’s a shawarma place that we like – an amazing burger joint – Hutches famous fish and chips – and either a sandwich or the gourmet pizza from Fortinos.
But for me – if I’m given the choice – there is no choice – it’s the pizza – it’s my go to meal – and there’s the added bonus of it being the only one that produces leftovers for the next day.
But most of the decisions we make in life aren’t that easy – mainly because we have to make choices that have a greater impact than whether or not we get left over pizza for lunch.
In our reading from the book of acts today – the disciples are facing a tough decision – in fact – they are going to have to face a lot of tough decisions in the coming times.
Our passage this morning – is more than a simple election passage. It’s a passage that leads us to knowing and understanding God’s Will.
God’s Will – Thy will be done – that’s a sentence that we say at least once a week – every Sunday morning as we recite together the Lord’s Prayer – assuming that you don’t fast forward through that part.
And a closer look at our reading will help reveal to us some of the key ways that today we can know God’s Will in our lives and in the life of our churches and communities.
So – let’s look at some of these ways this morning – but before we do – it’s important to understand that – it is – possible to know God’s will.
The best place that any of us can be in our lives is following along in God’s will. It’s the place where we can be the most efficient – and it is the place where we can best reflect God’s image for all to see. It’s the place that we can enjoy the flow of God’s Holy Spirit.
It is also a place that we can discover and know. Many people are confused about this – they see God’s will as basically unknowable. They believe that the Christian life is supposed to be surrounded by mystery – shadows – and ambiguity. They believe at best all we can know are some vague truths and directions.
But this passage – and so many others – tell us a different story. Abraham knew the direction towards the Promise Land. Moses knew the way out of Egypt. David knew the path to the Kingdom of Israel. The truth is – God doesn’t lead us down a path without His Presence guiding us along the way.
Psalm 16 says - You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy. Psalm 25 says - Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truths and teach me.
And Proverbs 3 says - I trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. In all my ways I acknowledge Him, and He directs my paths.
Those passages – and dozens more – show us one thing – that it is possible for us to know God’s Will – and to know the direction that we are to travel.
Now – how do we know the path – how can we discover God’s Will for our lives – how do we make those right decisions.
Firstly – we need to set the criteria – when asked to make a decision – the final choice must be reasonable.
If it’s a Friday night – and we’re standing in the check-out line at Fortinos – when Mardi asks what I’d like for dinner – it’s obvious that I can’t answer with something like – I’d really love to grab some curry from that little British pub that we discovered just off the main street in Charlottetown PEI.
There need to be realistic criteria for the decision – the remaining eleven apostles set some criteria when they were deciding who could be considered to replace Judas – it had to be someone who had been with them since the start – someone who had been there for most of Jesus’ teaching – who had known Jesus personally.
That narrowed it down considerably – they now had two names – Joseph – and Matthias. But just simply setting criteria won’t work when it comes to determining God’s will. You need to select the proper criteria.
If I’m trying to decide how I can use some extra money that I’ve saved – the right things need to be on the list. I shouldn’t just create a list of things that would make me happy – give me instant gratification.
Along with some new workshop tools – and pizza for a whole week – the list should include – giving to the church – helping out a friend in need – saving for the future – buying something for Mardi.
And the way to understand what should be on that list – surprisingly – is to understand scripture. It was because the disciples understood the scriptures that they were able to recognize the need to replace Judas in the first place.
And then the scriptures gave them guidance in setting out the type of person to choose. It’s the same with us today. Scripture doesn’t deny us things that will make us happy – but scripture does teach that we should never view ourselves as being above others.
Scripture teaches that we should look after our needs – but that we should also look after the needs of others.
In psalm 119 it says – Your word is a lamp to my feet – and a light to my path. Knowing scripture can help us finding the right path to take.
So – what do we do with that extra cash – buy a new tool – or give to a charity? There’s still something else that needs to happen before that decision can be made.
Our reading starts by telling us why the disciples needed to make a decision – then it tells us that they consulted the scriptures before settling on the criteria for the decision.
But before making their decision – they prayed.
All of them. They prayed that God would help them understand who they should choose.
These disciples went directly from God’s Word – to spending time in individual and corporate Prayer. They went from reading and studying – to putting themselves in God's Presence. They knew that God’s Word – would help lead them to being able to hear God’s voice.
We all know the importance that Jesus put on spending quality time with His Heavenly Father. The Gospels are filled with the various times that Jesus prayed – or had a discussion with God – to make sure that what He was doing was in line with God’s Will.
Before He chooses His disciples – Jesus – His Father – and the Holy Spirit - had a discussion about who would be the right ones to choose. I’m sure that they lovingly went over each candidate – until they had picked out the Original Twelve.
When all those around him wanted Jesus to pick up a mantel of popularity – Jesus – His Father – and the Holy Spirit – again had a sit-down session to talk over the whole matter. They decided – that first and foremost – Jesus was to be a Man of Prayer – and a Man of Salvation.
The Bible tells us that Jesus – His Heavenly Father – and the Holy Spirit – had a lot of team meetings. Jesus would meet with them early in the morning – late at night – and at times throughout the night or day – to seek direction about Jesus’ plans for how to rescue – redeem – and renew humanity.
In their book – The Battle Plan for Prayer – the Kendrick Brothers tell us that – Prayer is like a standing counseling session, 24/7, no appointment necessary. Just walk in and expect to find your Counselor – always fully understanding your situation and ready to impart timely wisdom.
So – where did all of this Bible study and prayer time lead the Church? It led them to receiving Matthias. It enabled the Early Church to hear God call Matthias into the office that was once held by Judas.
How does this all of this help us in our everyday lives? I mean – after all – we aren’t about to gather and vote on who is going to be the next apostle – are we? But we do have to deal with things like …
How do I want my children to be educated – home schooled – in person learning – internet-based education?
Do I need to stick it out in the career I’ve chosen – or is this the time to start looking for a change of path?
Should I get married and share the rest of my earthly life with someone.
Should we start a family – if so – how large should our family be?
Should I sell my home – I’d get a lot for it in our current market – I’d come out ahead if I moved out of the city – but then again – this is a good neighbourhood.
Should I get the shot or wait – does someone else need it more?
What will we do now that we are retired? Move? Take a part-time job? Travel? Take it as easy as possible – or work even harder for God?
How should I use that money that I’ve saved?
What should we have for dinner?
You see all of this is tied together. Big decisions – middle sized decisions – and small decisions. Not all of them Will require a month of bible study and a week of prayer – but the truth is – if we saturate ourselves in God's Word – and have a consistent and vibrant prayer relationship with God – then we will be better prepared to know what to do.
Chances are – scripture won’t provide us with an exact answer to our choices – but with the help of the Holy Spirit – and with guidance through prayer – we – can – determine God’s will.
So – am I saying that merely by reading the Bible and praying we can better know such things? That all we have to do is thumb through the Bible – find a verse and – Voila – we are done? That all I need to find is a promise verse – a proof text – and say a few words in conversation with God – and suddenly – all the mist will be cleared – and I will know What I’m supposed to do in all circumstances.
No – That would be asking too much – treating it like some kind of magic lamp – and that would be trying to manipulate God’s Word and Will.
No – what I believe Scripture is saying is this – Be a person who allows Scripture to become a daily part of their heart – mind – and soul. And be a person who enjoys a deep – and intimate – and regular – prayer life with God
And then watch and wait and you will discover just how many times the Holy Spirit will lead you to make the right decision – to buy the right things and to live a way in which you are truly reflecting God's image to all those around you.
Watch as the LORD uses you to show others what it means to be guided by – and led by His Holy Spirit. Watch as the LORD blesses you – and allows you to live a better way. Watch and receive God's wisdom – knowledge and revelation. Watch as the Bible comes alive and your times with God bring comfort – peace and strength.
Hymn: “All The Way My Savoir Leads Me”
Video: Be Still
Hymn: “Come Let Us Sing Of A Wonderful Love”
Benediction and Commissioning
Postlude: Procession: Léon Boëllmann