One came baptising in Spirit and fire

Filling you with dynamic power

Purging you of your ways old

Tempering and changing you for missions bold

Transformed to be ablaze yourself

A light brilliant eschewing self

And like the flaming bush of long pasts

Your flame will draw others to God’s path


Thank you Pastor Vince for the message today.

Godly Change

Landscape, Change, Weather, Nature

It’s time to change

Be transformed – reborn

A new creation as fresh of morn

Wear not the garments of the dead

When invited to where the royals are wed*

Be clothed and changed – complete instead

By the transforming power of the wine and bread

For like on that Passover feast

In which they ate bread without any yeast

You too without corruption can be filled

By the lamb roasted – in sacrifice killed

And when trials and troubles come your way

They are to perfect you – so don’t be dismayed

For Job and Peter with trials too did contend

They found greater purpose in the end

And if you think it beyond you – to change your way

Remember the Redeemer for you does pray**


Poem based on the powerful sermon by Pastor Vince this morning.

*Matthew 22

**Luke 22:32

New Beginnings

image source unknown

The following are my sermon notes from a message I shared today. It is a reminder that we should make the most of the new year and the new opportunities that we are given in it.

“Pastor Vince spoke last week drawing on the image of a wineskin or bottle in the smoke from the Psalms.  He noted that old things and the new are not easily combined, like new wine in an old skin.  But we like those skins can be transformed and made new when we look at the world from God’s perspective.

Some time ago I spoke to you about seeing as God sees.  That we so easily fall back on seeing with human eyes.  I noted that Abraham and Gideon had to move beyond the old way of seeing things in either trusting in their own abilities, or by being afraid to anything. {expand}

Last week Brother Vince noted for us that we see the examples in the Scripture of people could see in a new way.  There were hard times are found in the Bible, but approaching them spiritually was the way they were overcome. 

Let’s face it – 2020 was rough:

Covid and its lockdowns put us in fear and restricted our accustomed lifestyles.  We couldn’t travel, mix with loved ones, or for many weeks gather physically to worship.  Many struggled with this last one – citing that the Bible said not to neglect the gathering of ourselves together.   Racial unrest, political turmoil, in America and around the world were easy to get caught up in.  They became part of our daily discourse, our social media lives, and again for many of us our fears.   Even Christians began to focus on conspiracy theories than on the plan of God.

But we also have seen amazing things: thousands of people who turned to God.  Communities of Christians coming together both spiritually and electronically.  We weren’t forsaking the assembly but found new ways to come together through Facebook or Zoom. As a community of believers, we have established or expanded food banks, and crisis centres for those facing the struggles of lockdown and isolation.  We are seeing the new beginnings.

There are some however that have only been able to focus on the negative using the old tired human eyes, like Abraham and Gideon did.

So, let’s take Pastor Vince’s advice and see what the scripture tells about the struggles of new beginnings.

In Exodus God’s people were suffering from trials that are akin or worse than what we saw in 2020.   They were slaves, and their baby boys were being murdered at birth.   But God had a plan for them and the people of Israel, and the Egyptians as well, witnessed the absolute might of God.  They saw God bring 10 plagues onto Egypt.

So, let’s examine that for a moment.  God showed will by sending Moses to tell Pharaoh, King of Egypt let my people go.  When he refused, the Nile and all the fresh water was turned to blood.  Later frogs flooded the land.  They were everywhere, even in the bed and their food. 

And what does the king do?  He tells Moses I will let the people go.  Tomorrow!   But give me one more night with these frogs.    New beginnings, friends, is not staying where you are at.  It is moving on with God’s plans.

The plagues continued and the Hebrews were freed from slavery.  They then saw the Red Sea divided and the armies of Pharaoh destroyed.  God was in control. The people had more than sufficient evidence of it.

But facing new beginnings isn’t always easy, especially if we are holding on to the past.

And many New Beginnings aren’t always easy, they may seem fraught with danger.  We enter into the unknown.  In Numbers 13, when the spies brought back the reports on the nature of the Promised Land, they moaned.  They wanted to go back to Egypt.

Numbers 14: 1-4 tells us: “That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud.  All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”

They wanted to go backwards.  If following God’s plan isn’t standing still like Pharaoh, it definitely isn’t going backwards.

We can see this is Joshua and Caleb’s response in verse 8: “If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us.”

Great starts – New decisions to follow Jesus, online worship, cooperation between churches.  Do we want to go back to the way things were?  Having some desire for the good old days when we were not following Jesus, or when there were divisions between denominations of God’s people?  Certainly not!  Just because we want to meet physically together doesn’t mean the gains should be lost, in the future which is God’s hands – why not do both meeting physically with those who can, and at a distance by those who are shut in?

Remember, we Christians aren’t exempt from this backwards looking.

The disciples had followed Jesus for three years, but after the crucifixion even Peter looked back to the old ways.

Peter said “I’m going fishing” –  I’m going back to my old job.  But the risen Jesus intervenes and gives him a new job to do “Feed my sheep,” and “Go tell the world.”

We like Peter are new creations.  Paul says 2 Corinthians 5: 17 and following –

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”

We are new – we have a new beginning before us.  The Bible has a word: Metanoó or “turn around, change direction.”  It’s usually translated “repent,” but it fits our message today as well.  “Turn from the old ways and go forward into your new beginning.”

Paul reinforces this by saying, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2).”

And we should show the fruit of this new focus.  Paul again wrote, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).”

As we get firmly into 2021 let’s show that fruit.  Not looking back, not standing still, but going forwards into God’s plan.”


“I Am,” You Can Be

Sibiel, Romania, Well, House, Home

Image by David Mark from Pixabay 

When Moses encountered God in the wilderness, he asked, “Who shall I say sent me?”  God spoke from the burning bush and replied, “I AM, tell the I AM has sent you.”  This marvelous name of God is so powerful, “I am that I am, I am that I was, I am that I will be.”  It is the embodiment of God’s eternal nature, and so much more.

It is important therefore that in John chapter 4, Jesus proclaims the first of His “I AM” statements.

Now he had to go through Samaria.  So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph.  Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.

 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?”  (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?  Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,  but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

“I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.  Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

Jesus in this passage makes two important claims.  The first is that He is the source of “living water,” a water that once consumed can become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  This parallels with John 7: 37 to 39, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”(When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him.”  Revelation 21 picks up on this with a clear statement : “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.”

Jesus is the source of living water, and that water is His Spirit.

John 4 then moves on to the woman speaks of the anticipation of the coming of Messiah, Jesus with no attempt to be allegorical states, “I am he.”

Jesus is not only the source of living water (the Spirit of God), but Messiah, the Anointed One, who will bring salvation.

Dianne when reflecting on this passage made a really insightful observation. “It is significant that Jesus chose to share the first of His”I am” statements with a woman who was full of shame, and a Samaritan as well.  It is as if He searched for the worst example of a person with which to share this gift.  There is no depth to which we can sink, no sin so bad, that He cannot forgive us, meeting us at our point of crisis, and accept us as we are.”

All who drink of the water of Messiah, shall be lifted and that water will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  

We may not be much.  We may be the vilest of sinners.  We may be outcast or ashamed.  But we can through the “Living Water,” of the Great I AM “inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.”  He is.  We can become.






Image result for sky


It has been an inspirational couple of weeks with powerful messages being presented to challenge and encourage us.

The first of these was presented by Brother Larry in which he drew upon 1 Corinthians 16:15.  The passage in the KJV reads, “I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints).”  The translation was purposely chosen to bring the emphasis upon the word “addicted,” rather than “dedicated.”  It is the overwhelming degree that is captured by the word “addiction” that makes the passage so powerful.

While Isaac Airfreight did a sketch decades go about being a “Bible Junkie,” it pales to the message of our brother, Larry.  His was not a comedy which used satire to make an emphasis, but rather an “in your face” challenge to let God’s call to service be over-riding in our lives.   He noted that addicts “live” for their “fix” and we should do no less in our relation to God and His people.

This is a kind of transformation.  Pastor Vince picked up on this theme when he noted that we by our presence (one transformed by our conforming to the image of Christ, and His presence within us) should change the atmosphere of our surroundings.  He drew upon Habakkuk 2 to note that though the world seems dominated by evil, God has an appointed time in which righteousness will prevail.  We should not bemoan the woes of an evil world, but trust in God’s ultimate victory, and be “watchmen” for the day when it will come, holding firm (being transformed – addicted even) to righteousness ourselves.

In Joel 2 we see this advanced, that despite calamity – if we “rend your [our] heart, and not your [our] garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness (v.13);” then “it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered (vs 32).”  It isn’t a sad countenance and a sense of defeat, but a trust that changes ourselves and the surrounding atmosphere.

Matthew 5 says we are “a light in the world.”  Not that “our” light shines, but God’s light shines through us.  We as we “go into all the world” should be like a city on the hill, a watchmen upon the walls.  We are through our conforming to Christ within us atmosphere changers.  We addicts to holiness are instruments of change.

In Acts 2 we see a handful of Jesus’ follows lighting up the world, when they are filled by God’s Spirit.  They spoke tongues of many lands, and later healed the sick and gave hope to a dying world.   If so few can “turn the world upside down,” should not we – their spiritual descendants be as addicted, as conformed, and become a new breath of fresh air in our world.   Let’s change the atmosphere.



The Righteous Shall Shine

Sun, Bright, Yellow, Sunset, Sky, Clouds, Light, Nature

Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay 


“Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear (Matthew 13:43).”


When here on Earth – we may humble be

Our visage rather plain

We may be quiet, and rather shy

Ne’er seeking attention – like the vain


We go through live and service give

Living each day for the Lord

We grasp not for riches or fame

But hope for a more lasting reward


But when our lone call  – we hear

Or when trumpets together sound

We will in an instant be transformed

Into brightness that will astound


For like heaven’s sun – we’ll shine

Radiant there forever

A  beautiful reflection of the glory

Beaming from our Saviour




Dianne was a humble soul.  She was easily frightened by vain or aggressive people and was happy herself to shy from the limelight.  She was loving and supportive of all, and the only thing she ever asked for from others was that they be kind.  I always saw in her a beautiful glow, even in her shy humility, God’s presence in her was never “under a bushel.”  But now that light has been enhanced, she is shining like a star.  Oh that we can all live that the light of God be revealed in us.















Nailed to the Cross


Pastor Joe drew his Resurrection Day reflections on the importance of the cross.  While his starting premise was a solid standard reading of the Gospel account of the crucifixion, he took his message in a powerful direction.

Reflecting on Galatians 5:24 (“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”), Brother Joe gave us a wonderful personal testimony of where he was when he returned to God.

What I found the most moving was his visually powerful demonstration of the transformational power of the cross.  He used a large wooden cross and upon it nailed tags with “the old self” tendencies on them.   Words which many can relate such as Anxiety, Fear, Lust, and Death, were systematically (literally) and symbolically nailed to the cross.

But this act of illustration had yet another twist.  Brother Joe then reminded us that the old self died on the cross with Jesus, and with His triumph we were transformed.  He then flipped the tags to read such things as Peace, Righteousness, and Life.

We are indeed alive and transformed by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, and by the hope and glory of His resurrection three days later.  What a timely reminder on Easter Day, that the triumph over death is a triumph to all aspects of the old lost self.

Let each of us remember that today.




Water Under The Bridge



Photo Credit: C.E. Ayr

It wasn’t much of a flow.  It was shallow, with swans gliding in the bridge’s lee.  It was what it represented that mattered.  It was the border, and it was a divide, even if only for road traffic.

He stood and watched the water as it quickened in the channels between the pilings.  What had his mother always said? “Water under the bridge;” that was it.  He had always taken it as a reassuring statement.  Didn’t it mean, “The past is the past, just let it go,” but now he was unsure.

Watching the water, he could see that while it does move on, there is always more to replace it.  The waters keep coming, you just can’t let the waters go.

“Are life’s past failings the same way?  Are our mistakes doomed to repeat themselves?  Why even bother?” he thought to himself.

Then shaking himself, he grasped at the idea, “Maybe the new water will be cleaner, fresher,  a new start that can just let the old waters flow away.”

“It was worth a try,” he concluded, and made his way to the bridge, a new country, and a new start.

(192 words)

Sunday Photo Fiction – April 7, 2019


Saul: “by faith, not by sight”


Image result for paul damascus

Saul was closely associated with the Council and other leaders of the Jews.  He would have well known the events which led to Jesus’ execution and the “wild story” of His resurrection.   It is precisely that, that seems to be one of the driving forces of his persecution of the fledgling Christian movement. It does not make sense for the dead to return.

But this is exactly what had happened. It is interesting to note that in Luke, Jesus had ended the parable of the rich man and Lazarus with an assertion that if one would not believe the words of Moses and the Prophets, they would not believe even if one returned from death!

Paul on the surface, a man who professed that his “righteousness based on the law, [was] faultless;” nevertheless he persecuted the church for the claim of resurrection (Philippians 3:6).  Maybe it was his dedication to a narrow interpretation of law that “blinded” him. He was so caught up in the tangible and in the “concrete” written word, that he failed to see what the spirit underlying the word was teaching him.

He did not grasp what the Hebrews writer concluded: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1).”  Jesus, Himself had picked up on this when Thomas called for a physical sign of the resurrection, “Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’ (John 20:29).”

So there was Saul, fixated on what he thought he knew. The witnesses of Jesus’ actions during His ministry were ignored, and those who proclaimed the risen Christ were persecuted.

Then, Bang! Saul encounters Jesus on the Damascus road. All of his assumptions and prejudices were challenged.

“Saul, why do you persecute me?,” Jesus asked.

“But, who are you?”

“I am Jesus!”

[One can imagine the embellishment to the scripture:] “But, you’re dead!”

“Apparently not!”

Saul, was blinded by the brilliant light of Jesus’ presence. In a sense, he had to be physically blinded, in order to truly spiritually see. This was a conversion, and changing of the path he was on.

Yet, this life changing realisation, goes in the face of Jesus’ suggestion in Luke that even if one witnessed one returning from the dead, and didn’t believe the scriptures, they would not believe.  Maybe it is still the case with Saul. He did believe what Moses and the Prophets had taught, he just failed to fully understand.  It was his dedication to the principle (with a little enlightening from Jesus) that prepared him for what was to come.

Saul (now Paul) was transformed and could now profess, “for we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).”

Are we bound by our assumptions (religious or secular)? Do we take the “seeing is believing” approach?  Or do we “close our eyes” to possibilities that don’t fit into our conceptions or plans? If so, let us seek our own Damascus moments.




Amazing Grace


Pastor Vince brought a great message this week on the topic of grace and it’s transformative power in our lives.  We are told in the scriptures that we, the people of God are a temple (I Corinthians 6: 19-20).  We have been transformed from the corruptible, into that temple.  God’s grace has brought about this change, and in the Spirit we are capped.

Look at the parallel in Zechariah 4:1-10,

“Then the angel who talked with me returned and woke me up, like someone awakened from sleep.  He asked me, “What do you see?” I answered, “I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lamps on it, with seven channels to the lamps.  Also there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.” I asked the angel who talked with me, “What are these, my lord?” He answered, “Do you not know what these are?” “No, my lord,” I replied. So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. “What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it! God bless it!’” Then the word of the Lord came to me: “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you.  “Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel?”

Zarubabbel had returned to Jerusalem to reconstruct the Temple of God.  His task was not to rebuild the city or its walls, but the House of God.  He is empowered in this by God. I love the image here of a lamp stand which will give off light to the world. And this stand with its seven lambs, which in my mind are fed perpetually by the olive trees which flank it.  This image of the temple, filled with light, is then capped by God Himself.

It is the same with us as temples, we receive an endless flow as well.  And that flow is of grace, and it is capped by the Spirit.  So lets look at this flow of the spirit.  We have already noted that this grace is transformative, but it has some “amazing” properties which lead to that transformation.

First, it teaches. Titus 2:11-14 reads,

“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,  who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”

God does not just say “be good, now get on with it.” But actually provides the grace that teaches us how to achieve it. Grace shows us the way to say “No” to that which would bar our way, and makes us “eager to for what is good.”

Grace therefore enables us.  Titus 3:1-7 states,

“Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone. At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,  he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,  whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,  so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life”.

We are transformed, by grace.  We are able to become living temples because of the free amazing gift of grace. Not by our works, but His! We are washed and renewed.  We are like the temple of Zerubabbel capped by the Spirit. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14).” We are that lamp stand, “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, by amazing grace.