Monday, December 31, 2012


Book Review

by Linda Cliff

by John Stott

For those of you who have been enjoying the Wednesday morning Bible studies John Stott is a familiar name.   Stott helped us with our journey through Romans, the Beatitudes, and Acts.   So it was with a great deal of excitement that I checked “Why I Am a Christian”  out of the library.

This is a personal book.  Stott offers a clear and analytical account of why he is a Christian.  He begins by explaining how God pursued him but he also adds accounts from other famous Christians, so the reader gets an expanded view of what it means to wrestle with the question of their salvation.  He then goes on to discuss the claims of Jesus.  He states that he believes that Christianity is true and we can look to the claims of Jesus to confirm this.   Then Stott takes us to the cross.  He discusses the atonement for our sins, the character of God revealed by the cross, the conquering of the powers of evil and how the resurrection proclaims the victory of the cross.  The last section discusses the needs of human beings and how these needs are fully met through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.   The book ends with an invitation for the reader to respond to the claims of Christ and a sample prayer is offered.

This book helps us to look at the question “Why Jesus”.  Stott gives the reader 7 chapters to explore this question in a clear and logical way.  Stott is saying that if you take an honest look at Jesus you will discover that following him gives you the purpose, identity and freedom you have been searching for.

Monday, December 24, 2012


What a busy time we've had over the past four weeks as we prepare for Christmas.  We started with a craft/games night. 
 Then went on to the Christmas Play.  Then the Christmas pageant and white gift Sunday.  As if the day wasn't full enough already, we had a potluck and carol sing-a-long.

   There was story-telling.

And there was a surprise guest.

And all that activity was just at church.  Individually we've attended parties, sung the "Messiah", gone carolling, shopped, wrapped, baked, cleaned, written cards and packed Christmas hampers.

If Advent is a season of preparation, we've certainly done our share of preparing for the big day.
   But Advent is also meant as a period of expection, of waiting, of reflection, and for that we need a pause from our busyness. 
   On Sunday morning we were reminded of the innocence and beauty of a baby when we baptized Laura Elspeth Margaret Napier-Whale.  
   Now, on the eve of Christmas I wish you all a time of silence to contemplate the manger, to wonder at the breadth of God's love. 
    I wish you the quiet of the hillside to listen to the angels singing. 
    I wish you the peace of the stable at midnight to see the animals kneel.
   Now that Christmas Eve is here, I wish you all the blessing of quiet anticipation, of waiting, with bated breath, for the coming of the Word made flesh.
    Merry Christmas

for more pictures, click here

Thanks for Janet Smith and Diane Cunningham for sharing  pictures.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Pageant

Once again, we've seen the story of the first Christmas as told by the Sunday School in words and music and action.
We've seen angels 
and heard them proclaim the 
message of good news.  "unto you is born .... a saviour."

The shepherds arrived at the manger. 

And what are shepherds, without a stray sheep or two?

The kings arrived, bringing their gifts.  
The baby in the manger got a little exuberant but totally charmed us all.

   As it is, each time it is enacted, the pageant was wonderful.  Praise God that generations of children retell the story year after year. This year's angel is next year's Mary.  Last year's sheep is this year's Joseph.  Played the world over, sometimes with children in bathrobes and towels, sometimes with actors in rich gowns and jewelled crowns, the nativity play draws us close to the manger, close to the infant king who changed the world. 
    Praise God that each year we hear again that "unto us a child      is born, unto us a son is given and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, the Might God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace."

For more pictures click here

Monday, December 10, 2012

CITY LIGHTS - A Christmas Musical

   Hope most of you had a chance to enjoy "City Lights" live on stage at SPPC on Saturday night.  If you couldn't be there, here's a recap.

The residents of Dominion Crescent have entered the T-C Christmas lights contest for the best neighbourhood category.  They've decorated their street to the nth degree but one house remains dark.  Mr. Groves, a newcomer to the crescent obstinately refuses all requests for putting lights on his house, even if the others do it for him and someone else pays the hydro.
    You see, Mr. Groves has lost his son, a soldier.  They had harsh words before the boy joined up.  Consumed with regret and sorrow, Mr. Groves vows never to celebrate Christmas again.  Until a child visits him and talks about Jesus.  
    The miracle of Christmas touches the old man.  Lights begin sparkle on his house and in his heart. 
   I've posted some pictures.  Hope you enjoy them. 

As well as providing an evening of entertainment, the play raised $500.00 in donations to the Sidney/Lions Food Bank.

Thanks to all who helped, especially those who put on a lovely reception for after the play.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas is Coming!

Christmas is coming and the calendar fills up with parties and concerts and shopping and decorating.  Please remember to leave a space for the SPPC Christmas Musical, this Saturday, Dec. 8 at 7:00 pm. here at the church.  Admission is free.  

Now, here's another note about Advent.
I subscribe to the PCCWeb Daily Devotionals.  They land in my inbox every morning -- a good reminder to start my day with God.  Recently I received the following, with a request to share it with my congregation.

Question: What joins 6000 readers in 55 countries every day of the year?
Answer: PCCWeb Daily Devotionals.  These are available online and by e-mail every day and are free of cost.
The Daily Devotional has been published by volunteers every day for the past 16 years. Here is what readers are saying about it:
In an increasingly troubled world, the PCCWeb Daily Devotional reminds us of what is truly important: the love of God and His active presence in our lives. I have started every day for the past year with Daily and the Bible reading selections. While the world remains troubled, Daily is helping me to live "in the world" and not "of the world." – Robert Foster, Escondido, California, USA.
I love these devotions, and every morning, it is the first thing I read. Because of the devotions, I see God more and more in the ordinary things of my daily life, and I find myself asking what God is teaching me here now in this time. I see God in everything. I am amazed how often the message is just what I need to hear as I hear God speaking to me through the devotions. – Liz Samis, Drayton, Ontario, Canada.
I find the Daily to be a calming reprieve in the hubbub of day-to-day earthly matters that cause us stress and concern. Whether I read the Daily in the morning, evening, or somewhere in between, I find it calms my thinking and reminds me that God is in control, that I am one of His children, and that He loves me in spite of my sins. – Peter Morrison, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Although the Daily website is provided by the Presbyterian Church in Canada, writing is not restricted to Canadians or Presbyterians. Devotionals are submitted by volunteers from all over the world, from places like Uganda, Brazil, Australia, Mexico, India, Sri Lanka, and Britain, as well as Canada and the USA, making Daily truly on online community with friendships throughout the world. The sincerity of the writers is obvious. A “PrayerLine" is also part of Daily, where readers can ask for prayer, or pray for the concerns of others.
There are some 6000 known subscribers by e-mail, but there are several untrackable formats besides e-mail, such as webpage, text feed, podcast, Facebook, Twitter, and smartphones. In addition, subscribers find the devotionals useful to take to meetings of ladies, men, elders, trustees, and study groups. Readers pass them on to friends and relatives by e-mail or word of mouth, and use them for children's stories and sermon illustrations, so the grand total of beneficiaries is impossible to calculate accurately.
Check it out at We really hope that you will subscribe! The coming season of Advent and Christmas is a time of particularly pleasant devotionals.
(with contributions from Jack Vallance, Nanaimo BC, Canada)