Monday, June 18, 2018

Busy, busy

star weed-puller
June has been a busy month at SPPC.  Must be something about the end of the school year -- even though church does not take a summer vacation.
clean-up team

At the beginning of the month, there were a couple of work bees outside.  Volunteers pulled weeds, hacked down blackberry vines and trimmed back overgrown shrubs.  Many thanks to all.  Our property is looking very neat and tidy.

On Tuesday of this week, another group of volunteers (actually, there was overlap with the weeding volunteers) spend a morning deep cleaning the kitchen, reorganizing and cupboards and labelling the doors and drawers.  The work was just in time for the strawberry tea on Saturday. 

Well, set up actually began on Friday.   
The event was well attended and the food was beautifully presented.  Thank you especially to Diane and Darlene for that.

ready for topping

assembly line sandwich-making
Craig Henderson Trio

Finally, on Sunday, we relaxed with the church picnic at Island View Beach.  Leftovers from the tea were a welcome bonus to the picnic lunch.  
girl with a pretty hat

welcome shade on a hot day
serious game of bocce

Next week we have the last Bible study of the season.  The choir goes out to dinner.  We lead worship at Saanich Peninsula Hospital on Sunday afternoon.  Like I said -- busy!

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Anchor

Thanks to Judith for this week's post.

What a beautiful day it was.  We left a harbour and headed out to sea.  The ocean was calm, with gentle rolling waves.  However, as the day wore on the rollers started showing a bit of a white cap and we knew it was going to get rougher.  
     Our chart showed a small semi-protected cove not too far away that had an anchorage.  We set our course for there, but the going was hard.  By the time we reached the anchorage, it was just about dark.  As we didn't have radar, we eased our way in carefully, watching for other anchored vessels.  
     Hooray!  We found a spot to moor, without swinging into another vessel.  We heaved a sigh of relief and dropped the anchor.
     We spent a miserable night, rocking and rolling.  It felt like morning would never come.  At the break of day, we gave thanks that our anchor had held all through the night, keeping us, and the boats around us, safe.  

     Remembering that particular journey, I got to thinking about the anchor, plus the line and chain attached to it, and how they had held us to the bottom of the cove we were in. Our safety had depended upon that piece of equipment, and it had held fast.
     I wondered, what anchor am I attached to in my life?  A house? A bank account? Things? Relationships? Family?  Is my anchor secure? Will it keep me safe through the storm?
     I came to the conclusion that all those anchors and lines and chains will let me drift if I'm not anchored to Christ, my Saviour.  He keeps me fastened safe to Himself and I never have to worry about drifting onto the rocks, maybe some close calls, but always anchored.

Will Your Anchor Hold in the Storms of Life?

Monday, June 4, 2018

Funds and Food

During our recent fund-raising efforts for the mission team going to the Dominican Republic, we discovered an unmet need in our church.  Many of our members love homemade soup but don't have the time or inclination to make it themselves. So, by popular demand, the soup fund-raiser is back.  There are other offerings on the menu, but soup is the big ticket item.The proceeds from this round will go to missions that our church supports.

And speaking of those who enjoy food with friends but find it difficult to organize a party, the Sunshine Lunch is here to fill the gap. Today, Monday, June 4, Joan and Darlene and their helpers play host to about two dozen or more members of our congregation.  Guests are welcome. Even if you don't know anyone in the congregation, drop by and we'll make room.

If that's not enough food, we have a strawberry tea coming up on June 16, as well.  This is the full-tea-deal, fine china, fancy sandwiches, savoury treats, sweet delights, all finished off with fresh, local strawberries.  Call the church office to reserve your ticket.  250 656-2241. 

Isn't it wonderful when "good works" i.e. support for missions, match our personal inclinations, i.e. good food!

And speaking of food, we had birthday cake on Sunday in honour of Abigail's sixth birthday.  Pictures speak louder than words.  Happy Birthday, Abigail.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Read the Instructions

by Linda Cliff

During a recent sermon the minister stated "when in doubt, read the instructions.”  This comment really resonated with me.  If you have been reading this blog you know that I have promised my friend to write one blog a month for her.  This was to be her birthday gift for 2018.  Since I need something to write about I realized I have been reading the instructions and as a result I feel blessed.

I thought I would share with you how easy this has been and maybe you too will take up the challenge. 

  • Bible App on your ipad or any hand held device. My husband and I travel so packing books can be a challenge.  The Bible app goes with you easily and also gives you a selection of reading plans. 

I am now following a "read through the Bible in a year" plan which tracks your progress and encourages you to keep going.

  • The Bible Project:  if you find reading a chore or want to enhance your Bible reading I suggest you look at their web site.  The developers have made videos on the individual books of the bible and themes of the Bible.  I use these videos along with my read through the Bible in a year plan.  When I start a new Bible book I watch the video to get an idea of what I am about to read.  I find this enhances my understanding.
  • Group Bible Study: meeting with others gives you an opportunity to discuss and share your ideas of what you are learning.  Also you meet new friends! Wednesdays at SPPC, 9:30 am or 7:00 pm.
  • Read a Book:  search your church library, the public library or go on line.  I discovered the books of Diane Moody and was able to download her books for free!  Once you go to one web site you will be directed to other sites.
  • Pray:  you can start simple by praying the Lords Prayer.  I found by doing this more than once a day it became something I wanted and needed to do.
  • Challenge yourself:  writing a blog for my friend is a real stretch.  I do not like to write.  I was the person who left her essays to the last minute.  But, I am now being blessed by the reading I do each month. What will be your challenge.
  • Find a Church:  yes there is a congregation that will meet your needs.  Go looking you will be surprised.

Since January I have been reading the instructions! The points I have mentioned were always available to me but the difference is that I am doing them.  Spending time with God however you chose to do so will enrich your life and your walk with Him.

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Book that Matters Most

My book club recently read a book titled, "The Book That Matters Most," by Anne HoodThe premise of the story is a book club where members chose their books for the year as the "book that mattered most" to each member of the group.  
I found that idea intriguing and tried to answer the question for myself.  My answer -- The Bible, no contest.  This book describes the life of Jesus, our Saviour. It includes his instructions to us on how to live, loving God and our neighbour, how to pray, how to forgive and how to trust in our Heavenly Father. 
     It contains the writings of early Christian leaders to guide the church as it proclaims Christ in the world today, and it ends with a vision of heaven.

 And that is only the New Testament.  Going back into the Old Testament we find a whole range of terrific stories, heroes of the faith like Daniel, obedient servants of God like Noah. Rahab, who risked her life to help the people of God.  Sarah who became the mother of a nation.
Then there are the beautiful psalms, songs of adoration, supplication, joy, sorrow, fear and thanksgiving.  If you can't find the words to express how you feel, read the psalms. I'm sure you'll find the verse that makes you say, "yes, that's it!"  
Of course, I've only given a few examples of the wonderful words and stories of the Bible.  If you had to choose a "desert island book," the Bible would be it.  You could read it again and again and find something more on each pass through the text.
 In fact, that is how Harry Swiggum, developer of the Bethel Bible Series found his life's work.  Stationed on a Pacific Island during World War II, he read the only book at hand, The Gideon's Bible issued to every serviceman.  When he'd gone from Genesis to Revelations, he started over, and over and over.  The Bible changed his life. When the war ended, he became an ordained minister.  He developed the Bethel Bible Study Series and changed the lives of millions of people.
In Hood's book the readers choose books like Anna Karenina, Pride and Prejudice, and Catcher in the Rye, among authors. According to the author's story, these books were important to particular people at a particular time.  It's a fun concept and we had a great time discussing favourite books at our meeting.
 But even the greatest classics, are a dim flicker of life compared to our Holy Bible.  You can pick up a copy, at SPPC.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Newcomers Lunch


We found another excuse to have cake after church -- actually, we had a whole hot lunch. 

   The occasion was to welcome newcomers and to thank volunteers.  Of course, we welcome newcomers any time, but now and again, the fellowship committee likes to offer a corporate welcome,  That's what happened last Sunday.

    As for the volunteers . . . they made the lunch!  The church, indeed the whole of society, cannot function without those who give of their time and talent.  At SPPC we have people who make coffee, do dishes, cut the grass, visit the sick, bring flowers, sing in the choir, keep the books, count the collection, run the sound
system . . .  Just off the top of her head, our clerk of session (another volunteer) made a list of thirty-six functions filled by volunteers.  She said she was sure there was more and there is.  She left off the blog, and I'm enormously grateful to anyone who contributes, as a volunteer, to this page. 
This year Linda has blessed us with her book reviews every month.  Her offering started as a birthday present to me, but everyone, including Linda, has benefited from her gift. 

   That's the way it is with volunteering.  Most often the one who benefits most is the volunteer him/herself.  I hope our newcomers will soon feel at home and ready to share their gifts with the "oldcomers."  Then our congregation will grow in spirit as well as numbers.

   Welcome everyone, and thank you.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Book Review by Linda Cliff

Confessions of a Prayer Slacker
By Diane Moody

This book was a new venture for me in that I got the book as a free download from the internet.  This did make me wonder if the book would be worth reading since it is “free”.  The good news is you too can download the book from the net because the book is well worth reading!

I have to admit that at the start of this book, I really thought the author came off as a little too casual and flippant for my tastes. I thought I would not like this at all. However, after persevering, I found much that was helpful, in spite of her writing style. I was reminded how important it is to carve out of our busy and distracting days, a special time of devotion. I was challenged to not neglect my personal time of prayer and conversation with the Lord.

Early in the book the author asks the question “just how badly do you want to spend time with God in prayer” I found that this question helped me to change my attitude to subsequent chapters.  If you are serious about spending time in prayer then the "how to" information about setting up a prayer journal and how we can set aside time for prayer will be helpful.  I found the chapters “When God is Silent” and “Prayerlessness” interesting as the topics were discussed in a way that was easy to relate to. 

Moody uses Bible references and references from other Christian authors to illustrate her points witch stimulated my interest in doing some further reading.    She was also very open and honest in sharing her own successes and failures in her pursuit of prayer.  This helped to make the book feel more like a conversation with a friend rather than a "how to" book that had to be followed to the letter.

Well, the book has made a difference to my prayer life.  The biggest take away for me was about finding and taking the time for a regular prayer life, and understanding that this is time spent with God;  time for me to learn more about Him, to grow in His love and to develop a personal relationship with my God and Saviour. 

Good read and only a download away!

Linda Cliff