Our most recent family pic with only Andrew missing

Friday, January 31, 2014

Covenant Sunday: A Holy Moment

Isaiah 55:8-13

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Here is a message that I think we need to be reminded of, and I'm saying it in the first person, as though it is our LORD speaking, but please note what follows is my interpretation of what God is saying:

“You and I are not the same” says the Lord.

“Yes, in a Covenant Service you are reminded that you are in Me, and I am in you, but you are not Me.  When you get into your car, you are in your car, but you are not the car.  And when you breathe in some air, the air is in you, but the air is not you.”

“Hopefully, you and I are in each other” says Jesus, “but please don’t ever forget, we are not each other.”

We are different....our thoughts, our ways are different!

This is not a Covenant between equals.  

I am not “the big man in the sky”……”I am not your buddy”……”I am not the boss……that’s Bruce Springsteen.”  

I am the Lord your God, Your Maker, Your sustainer.  I made you – formed you in the womb, knitted your little bones together and I, yes I, am the one who actually sustains you and keeps you going.

How do I do this – well.....
As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

God is describing the water cycle here:

The water cycle is almost a covenant that the sea has with the land.  The land needs the sea for more than the sea needs the land. It is not a covenant between equals, just as the covenant between God and us is not a covenant between equals!

We need God far more than He needs us, except that......................................... He has chosen us and decided to love us and to care for us and to provide for us.  He does that, says our reading and the whole of Scripture, through His Word (Scripture)..... which introduces us to His Living Word (Jesus),........ who in turn helps us understand the written word more, that the written word begins to form us while the Living Word transforms us, changes us, so that we become more “like” the Living Word who is in us;........................................... we change and as we change and become more like the Living Word, streams of life giving water begin to flow from us and the world and people around us begin to change, and on and on and on...... and so the Word accomplishes (vs11) what God purposes.

And then (verse 12) there is joy and peace and blessing.
[My word] will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
 You will go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
    will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
    will clap their hands.
 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
    and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.

That is the fruit of God's covenant with you....this is what God gives immediately and continuously to those who live in covenant with, not necessarily happiness, but joy, inner contentment because of who God is, not because of what might be happening around me or to me;
                                                  peace, perhaps even in the midst of war and turmoil
                                                  blessing...thorn bushes

replaced with juniper

that's blessing....and it's God's gift of grace to whoever enters into covenant with Him!!!!!

You know  by now whether you are living in covenant with the God who wants to live in covenant with you.

At a Covenant Service, we praise God for keeping His Covenant, and giving us joy, peace and blessing.  If these are missing, we acknowledge it is because we have broken covenant and then we renew or even enter into covenant for the first time.

So this is truly a holy moment.....let the liturgy help you to speak to your God....let the liturgy allow God to speak to you.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Pastoral Letter 24 Jan 2014

New Year 2014
24 January 2014
Dear AMC Family,

This is my first opportunity to wish you all a blessed 2014. May it be for all of us a year in which we experience that the LORD blesses and keeps us; makes His face shine upon us and is gracious to us; lifts up His countenance upon us and gives us His peace (Numbers 6:24-26).

Last week we looked at Communion with God through Prayer. Next week, in our Covenant Service, we will look at The Bible as Light on our Way. Today we are looking at Personal Devotion – Daily Quiet Time. Click here for a wonderful format for personal use which was first published by the MCSA in our Faith and Life series in 1986, which I continue to find the most helpful resource for Daily Quiet Time that I have yet come across. Please consider using it as a guide to growing in the area of Personal Devotion in 2014.

Last year, as a result of our Reveal Survey I encouraged us all to embrace a regular Bible reading programme and I want to encourage us all to continue and grow in our commitment to daily Bible reading in 2014. We will once again distribute the OneYearBible the Info Stand and remember you can start them at any time.

May we all grow in the grace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ this year and always,

Much love,