Monday, March 25, 2019

Happy Spring

After our hard (for Victoria) winter, the sunshine this week has been a welcome relief. Hard to stay gloomy when the flowers bloom, the birds sing and the air is soft upon your face.  No wonder  hymn books are filled with hymns that praise God for the weather!
Here's a quick sample:
Birds are singing, woods are ringing... 
As Comes the Breath of Spring
When morning gilds the skies, my heart awaking cries ...
Walk softly in springtime ...
In the bulb there is a flower . . .

Now, here's a challenge for you. Below are lines from hymns about nature, but not the first lines. Can you identify which hymn the lyric is from?  Most of them are very familiar. Looking it up on Google is cheating. If you feel like a winner, leave a comment in the comments section. Come back next week for the answers.
Here are the test questions. :-)

  1. "...each little flower that opens, each little bird that sings . . ."
  2. "...hill and vale and tree and flower, sun and moon and stars of light..."
  3. ... the birds their carols raise, the morning light the lily white . .."
  4. "...our prairies and our mountains, Forest and fertile field, Our rivers, lakes and fountains To Thee shall tribute yield."
  5. "...For the ploughing, sowing, reaping, Silent growth while men are sleeping..."
  6. "...Like the first dewfall on the first grass. Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden..."
  7. "...Field and forest, vale and mountain, Flowery meadow, flashing sea. Chanting bird and flowing fountain..."
  8. "Frail as summer's flower we flourish, Blows the wind and it is gone..."
  9. "Fair are the meadows, Fairer still the woodlands, Robed in the verdant garb of spring..."
  10. "Like Thy dancing waves in sunlight, Make me glad and free, Like the straightness of the pine trees, Let me upright be."

In Romans 1:20, the Apostle Paul proclaims that creation itself reveals God, even to the heathen. How much more does He reveal Himself to the believer? Enjoy the flowers and give God the glory.

20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[a] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 

Romans 1:20 English Standard Version (ESV)

Monday, March 18, 2019

Beetle Drive

Sunday was St. Patrick's Day and there were lots of people wearing green to church, but the party began the day before. SPPC held a beetle drive. No, we weren't racing hard-shelled insects. We were playing a game and having some fun.
Of course, "fun" at our church always includes food!
Studying the rules?
Green, green, green and some  very odd beetles.

Some may wonder if the fix was in because the preacher won! Here he is with his loot, a toque and a chocolate bar.  

He won a medal too and showed it off during the children's story on Sunday morning.
Maybe the next party will be a contest to see how many presbyterians can fit in a beetle.

Monday, March 11, 2019

What I Did Last Year

About this time last year I decided I should read the Bible cover to cover.  So I started at the beginning as you would with any book and quickly found that once I got into Leviticus and Numbers that I needed to find another way to accomplish my goal.  I was already using a Bible app call YouVersion so I signed up for a plan that would lead me towards the goal of the Bible in a Year. 

The introduction to the plan reminded me that the Bible is God’s love letter to each one of us.   Each day started with a devotional that asked the reader to follow this pattern: 
  • ASK-God to connect with you, slow down, pray for God to be present
  • READ- the selected section of Scripture slowly, take note of what stands out for you
  • REFLECT-how might God be speaking to you, thank God for speaking to you through His word
  • RESPOND-speak directly to God for what you have learned, look for ways to live out what you’ve uncovered

I wish I could say I was able to keep to the daily schedule but I was able to finish the readings in a year and two weeks!  
Now comes the best part, the blessings that came to me.  

  • Weekly Bible study at church became more interesting as I was able to see how one part of the Bible we were studying related to the whole of God’s message.  
  • Sunday sermons began to fit as part as a whole and I was excited to see what I would learn next. 
  • I have become very curious about the story of God’s people in the Old Testament and I can see how this part of the Bible relates to me as a Christian.

During this journey through the Bible I also found some aids to help me meet my goal.  I found that the Bible app I use would also read to me so I listened to the Psalms as well as reading them.  The poetry opens up when heard aloud.  When I had a question about something I was reading I would search for explanations and found that the videos produced by the Bible Project were excellent in helping me to see the whole picture.  In fact there is a video available for each Book of the Bible that relates what is happening in the book and its relationship to God’s plan revealed to us in His Word.

This year I am using other YouVersion plans to Delve into the Old Testament.  I have completed one on Covenant History, and will continue with a study of the Prophets and the Writings.  There is so much information available, it is free, easily accessible and will feed your soul.  Why not give it a try? 

Monday, March 4, 2019

For the gardeners among us, this cold, snow-laden February has been a trial. By the end of the month, I should have had my roses pruned, the fruit trees pruned and doused with dormant spray. 
The crocus would
March 2018
ordinarily have laid a blanket of colour under the birch tree. 
Warm weather would  have had me itching to get seed in the ground, or at least in the cold frame.        Given the weather this past month 
none of that has happened. Even the geraniums in my planter boxes are hiding in a styrofoam box to shelter them from the frost.
  The gardening columnist in the local paper acknowledged that the season was a month late and warned that gardeners needed to be ready to leap into action the minute the soils warms up--and the snow goes away!
  At SPPC we might not be “leaping” into action with the warm weather, but we are moving forward with “Beyond 20/20.” The prayer team has posted prayer requests for the work of the church.  (See here for more details.) 
  The transitions team has already provided assistance to people dealing with major life changes, like illness or grief. Our medical system has many helps for those who need home care, or re-housing, or a support group, but sometimes those aids are difficult to find. We have people at SPPC who have experience in hospital and community settings. Their knowledge can make a huge difference in negotiating the ins and outs of different types of care. If you are reading this post and are not a member of SPPC but would appreciate some help, please ask. The church is a “light for the world” not a private club.
  The in-reach team is looking for blanks in the services we offer to our members. One of the easily identified needs is a ride to church. As people age, they often must give up driving. Located as we are in the countryside, SPPC has a big parking lot. We recognize that most people will drive to get to us.  There is a bus now, that stops at the roundabout outside the church, but bus schedules don’t always match personal schedules. So, we have a number of volunteer drivers to help out. Again, if you wish to attend service or some other event at SPPC but need a ride, let us know. 250 656-2241.We’re glad to help.
 The out-reach team is looking for new opportunities to serve the community. Of course, many of our regular programs are open to non-member,e.g. Friendship coffee on Thursday mornings, Bible Study on Wednesdays, and a sympathetic ear any time. Pastoral office hours are Thursday and Friday mornings.
  So, the weatherman promises that spring will come. I have my seeds ready, my pruners sharpened and my garden plan drawn out.  When the soil warms, I’m ready. 
  At SPPC we have our helpers standing by. We’ve asked God for guidance, and we sincerely desire to serve our neighbours. The season is now.