Verse for Today

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Time crunch!

Due to time pressure with various church activities, mettings, etc. I have not been able to update this blog for a couple of weeks.  Normal service will be resumed shortly.  Please pray for us.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The One-Year Bible - 16 February 2012

Leviticus 1:1 - 3:17
Mark 1:29 - 2:12
Psalm 35: 17-28
Proverbs 9: 13-18

Psalms reading: I glossed over this reading yeaterday, as it seemed to be one of those Psalms where David was having a good old whinge to God, and wanted to see how things turned out today.  And please forgive me, but it really seems to be one of those Psalms where David is not only whining a lot; he is also trying to strike a bargain with God.  "If you do this for me, then I will praise you and thank you".  The unwritten implication seems to be that if God will be praised provided that David gets what he wants.

Perhaps I'm reading too much into this, but maybe therein lies the lesson for today.  How often do we come to God with our "shopping-list prayers", beseeching God to act in a certain way and even going so far as to thank God in advance for doing what we would want God to do?  Okay, none of you reading this site pray like that, but I must confess that I do this from time to time - even in public prayer when leading a congregation.

Now don't get me wrong (I seem to be saying this a lot lately) - God does want us to ask for things in prayer.  And we do rejoice in God when our prayers are answered.  And we should thank God for the blessings bestowed upon us.  But how about from time to time praying to God just because of who God is?  A real "no strings attached" prayer.  No shopping list.  No confessions.  Not even giving thanks for something that God has done previously.  A prayer that focuses on God, and God alone.

Try it ... such a totally God-focused prayer may prove to be incredibly liberating.

The One-Year Bible - 15 February 2012

Exodus 39:1 - 40-38
Mark 1: 1-28
Psalm 35: 1-16
Proverbs 9: 11-12

Mark reading: "This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God."  So begins the earliest of the three Synoptic Gospels that were written; many scholars believe that Matthew and Luke used much of Mark's Gospel as a source for their own writings.

Be that as it may, Mark makes his intentions clear right from the very first verse - this is good news about Jesus, whose credentials are both Messiah and Son of God.  There is no ambiguity about who Mark understands Jesus to be.  Jesus is clearly the Saviour, God's only begotten Son, and Lord.

I sometimes wonder whether we as Christians beat around the bush a bit too much when stating who Jesus is.  We try to impress others with our learning, gleaned from hours of Bible study.  And it's right and good that we do spend the time studying Scripture.  But perhaps we need to take a leaf out of Mark's book (if you'll pardon the pun), and be succinct and to the point about exactly who this Jesus is whom we claim to serve.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The One-Year Bible - 14 February 2012

Exodus 37:1 - 38:31
Matthew 28: 1-20
Psalm 34: 11-22
Proverbs 9: 9-10

Proverbs reading: "Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser".  Those who are truly wise, that is, possessing wisdom that comes from the fear (respect) of the Lord, will become even wiser through sound teaching because such persons have a teachable spirit.  They will also be able to discern sound teaching from that which is unsound. Such wisdom does not come from book knowledge alone.

While I'm not suggesting that formal theological education, private reading, study of the Scriptures, and the like are not helpful for one's growth as a Christian, head knowledge is not enough.  In fact, for this kind of knowledge to even begin to make sense, one must start with a relationship with God - "the beginning of all wisdom".  For it is God who reveals the mysteries contained in the Scriptures to those who would seek to know God better, not only know about God.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The One-Year Bible - 13 February 2012

Exodus 35:10 - 36:38
Matthew 27: 32-66
Psalm 34: 1-10
Proverbs 9: 7-8

Exodus reading: Moses puts out the call to all of Israel, each with varying gifts, talents, and crafts, to contribute towards the building of the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant, and the various sacred items that God had commanded.

What's noteworthy about this particular reading is how each and every person is called upon to play their part.  Everyone is required to contribute - those with monetary wealth, to bring funding.  Those with skills, to use their skills according to what God has bestowed upon them.  Those with the gift of organisation were appointed as overseers of the work.  Those who could provide labour were called upon to do so.  Each one contributed according to the means in whatever form.

It's also important to note that the people were eager to help in God's work, bringing their gifts freely to the Lord.  This was not some human institution that was being set up - this was a structure that would facilitate worship of the most high God. My prayer is that (a) our institutional church would be seen as a means of worshipping God and bringing the light of Jesus to the community, not as an end in itself; and (b) that the people would be eager and willing to play their part in making this a reality.  For it is only in this way that we can truly be part of the purpose and mission of Jesus.

Remember Me

Richmond Methodist Church
Communion service - 13 February 2012, 09h00
Rev Steven Jones

Scripture readings: Genesis 14: 10-24; I Corinthians 11: 17-34; Luke 22: 7-34

Good morning to you all – I bring you warm Christian greetings from your sister Society in Camperdown, and I would like to thank both your minister and you as a congregation for allowing the “appie” the privilege of sharing the message with you this morning. I understand that Dennis has been doing a series on the Ten Commandments with you, entitled “Ten Timeless Texts”, but I thought that rather than me trying to break into that series, I would instead share some thoughts on the celebration of Holy Communion, seeing as we are to partake in this celebration this morning.

Let’s first have a look at the feast itself – and immediately we have a potential problem, especially if one looks at the way many churches practice Communion, including our own Methodist Church. Imagine if you will that you are an outsider looking at the Christian celebration of Holy Communion for the first time. I’m sure that you could be forgiven for thinking that we must be a pretty weird bunch of people. After all, who in their right mind would have a “meal” consisting of a teensy-weensy piece of bread or a wafer, and what looks like a shot glass of wine or grape juice, and then refer to these tiny quantities as a “feast”?! It doesn’t make sense, does it? So clearly there must be something more to it than the actual food and beverage being used.

[To read the rest of this sermon, click here...]

The One-Year Bible - 12 February 2012

Exodus 34:1 - 35:9
Matthew 27: 15-31
Psalm 33: 12-22
Proverbs 9: 1-6

Psalms reading: "But the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love.  He rescues them from death, and keeps them alive in times of famine."  this is one of the verses of Scripture that brings me great comfort, knowing that God watches over those who would seek to serve God, responding to God's extravagant love.

It is a source of comfort especially when things are not going particularly well, when it seems as though there is pressure from all sides.  Those are the times where we need to look to God, secure in the knowledge that God is casting a loving caring eye over us at all times.