Monday, August 29, 2016

Parking lot mission

SPPC is taking a new approach to mission this Fall.  Beginning in September, we're inviting local youth to use the parking lot for ball hockey.  The congregation and session is very excited about this undertaking.  In previous years we've focused our mission efforts on foreign fields (Malawi for example) or on Victoria (socks for Our Place.)  The Saanich Peninsula was not seen as a mission field.
Now, with the encouragement of Presbytery, we're looking to make a difference in our own back yard.

The project will be run as an after school activity for children/youth aged 6-12 living in our neighbourhood.  Initial plans include parking lot activities such as basketball, ball hockey, tether-ball, badminton and various races/games.  If it rains, or freezes, or snows, we'll move indoors for a movie and popcorn, or other inside activities.  Cookies will be included at all events.

To begin, we're having an activity/info session for all interested children and parents at the church starting at 4:00 pm on Saturday, September 10, 2016.  At that time we'll discuss with all interested parties the best weekly time for the majority of participants.  At this initial event there will be BBQ as well as cookies, sports, games and more information.

Please join us at 9296 E. Saanich Rd. N. Saanich (near airport traffic circle) at 4:00 pm on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016.  Play games, hang out, eat cookies and enjoy the company of your neighbours.  For more information call 250 656-2241.

Monday, August 22, 2016


We celebrated another birthday at SPPC last Sunday.  Max has turned 18.  We had cake and sang for him.  He was embarrassed.
We do the same when people turn 80 or more.  They are rarely embarrassed.  Funny thing, I've never seen anyone in the congregation celebrate a 39th birthday or a 44th or any of those other middle-aged numbers. 

Humanity seems obsessed with the measurement of time. We invented calendars to mark the days, weeks and years, hourglasses to measure the hours, sundials, water clocks, candle clocks and mechanical clocks to measure minutes and seconds. We wanted more precision so we invented quartz oscillators and atomic clocks and the high-tech timekeeping devices used at the Olympics that can measure 100ths of a second. (There was still a tie for the gold medal in women's 100 metre free-style swim.)

To counteract all this preoccupation with how small a moment we can measure, the Long Now Foundation, is building a 10000 year clock. It will tick once a year, bong once in a century and the cuckoo will come out every millennium.   According to this Foundation, modern technology has so encouraged us to expect instant information, instant response, that we've forgotten how to think deeply. News media don't think past the next deadline, politicians don't think past the next election, and students don't think past the next exam.  The 10000 year clock is intended to encourage people to think in long terms, longer even than our own lifetimes. 

The Bible has something to say about time, too.  Perhaps the most well-known verse is Ecclesiastes 3:1 "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven."  But there are others.  Consider "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Is. 40:3. Psalm 31:15 reminds us "my times are in Your hand . . ."

Whatever the season of your life, youth, old age, or those middle years,  may you live it to the fullest, with trust in God's good timing.

Monday, August 15, 2016

One Thing

I've just returned from a big family reunion so the topic of legacy is top of mind.  When I read an article that asked the question "For what one thing do you wish to be remembered?"  I was intrigued.  I pondered a while on my own answer, then did a totally unscientific survey of people at SPPC.  Some answered, others felt they couldn't, but all engaged in interesting conversations.

The first answers were about relationships -- loving spouse; good mom/dad. One young person felt he couldn't answer as he hadn't had time to do anything yet, but those on the other end of the age spectrum didn't mention what they'd "done" but rather what they "are."  
Some were job-related.  A person in a position of public trust wanted to be remembered for his honesty with taxpayers' money. The retired nurses among us mentioned compassion, competency and devotion to their patients as worth remembering.  A music teacher remarked that his students liked to come to lessons, even if they weren't very good musicians!
Others wanted to be remembered for particular qualities like loyalty to friends and family or the gift of a joyful heart or the willingness to help.
No one mentioned gold medals or high marks or big bank accounts!

The biggest value of  this question is not the answer, but the consideration of the answer.  In some form or other, we all leave a legacy as we pass through this life.  The answer to how we wish to be remembered, provides a good guide for how we should live.

At that family reunion the legacy of my forebears was evident in the place,( now in its third generation), in the family stories, -- the uncle with a bullet hole in his shoulder from WW1, the aunt who taught us all to swim -- in the shape of a face or a familiar gesture, and in our kinship with one another. 
 It was also evident on Sunday morning when the church service was held at the farm, under an awning.  The preacher talked about God and gardening and I gazed across a field of barley to the weathered boards of the original homestead.  All around I heard echoes of the people I'd loved who'd gone before me, while those who came after climbed the branches of the old silver maple and played tag on the lawn.  I think my pioneer ancestors would be pleased.


Monday, August 8, 2016

God of Grace and God of Glory

Central Baptist New York
On a recent Sunday morning, we sang the hymn, "God of Grace and God of Glory."  It's a lovely hymn set to the fine Welsh tune Cwm Rhondda.  But what struck me on that particular Sunday was the line "Save us from weak resignation/to the evils we deplore;"  Sometimes I think our overly-connected society is tuned out to the real evils around us.  

Here's what Rev. Dr. Cecil Kirk had to say about this hymn.

Harry Emerson Fosdick is probably the best known twentieth century American clergyman. Born in Buffalo, New York, He was educated at Colgate University and Union Theological Seminary. In 1926 he became the minister of Park Avenue Baptist Church, New York, later Riverside Church, and remained there until his retirement in 1946.
The great edifice of the present Riverside Church was built specially for his ministry. The church was opened on October 5, 1930. He wrote this hymn at his summer residence in Maine the previous summer in anticipation of the event. It was sung at the opening service and also when the building was dedicated in the following February.
Riverside Church, New York
The hymn is a call to active discipleship and repeats a prayer for wisdom and courage to present the Christian gospel, in all its implications, to a world that has turned its back on the teachings of Jesus Christ. In every age the followers of Jesus Christ are faced with decisions which cannot be avoided and we need divine help if we are to wrestle with the problems that confront us and arrive at conclusions which are in line with the teaching of our Lord. If anything the prayer of the hymn is even more vivid and apt today some 86 years after it was written.
Liberal theology in the early part of the twentieth century looked forward with anticipation to the establishment of a world of peace and brotherhood but that prospect, if anything, has receded even further. “The hosts of evil” still surround us on every hand and “the fears that long hath bound us” have become even more pronounced. We continue to see demonstrations of “Thy children’s warring madness” in various parts of the world. Capitalist states with their rampant consumerism serve only to underline the description of a society that is “ rich in things and poor in soul”. Christian people are no longer different from the society in which we live, having largely adopted the standards of the world instead of those of the One who called His people to holiness.
As Christians our lives must be filled with “Christ-like graces” as we fight against the injustices which are so much a part of society, and against the sins which enslave men and women in their personal lives. In this unending struggle it is always easy to become disillusioned to the point where we feel that we do not and cannot make any difference, and so we must ask God to “save us from weak resignation to the evils we deplore” It may be that we will never achieve the goal set before us but we must persist in the fight and so hand on to those who came after us the tools that will enable them to build on what we have been able to accomplish and in this way “we shall fail not men nor Thee”.

Thanks to Edna for sharing Dr. Kirk's notes.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Sun Stand Still

reviewed by Ruth Rockliff

If you are looking for an easy to read yet truly inspirational Christian book, Steven Furtick will not disappoint you. Reading 'Sun Stand Still' will change the way you think of God in today's world.
 Believing God for the impossible and living your faith beyond the ordinary is what Steven Furtick calls audacious faith. He not only preaches it but he lives it.    What God did for Joshua .... made the sun stand still!! .... he can do for you if you have the audacity to ask.   God desires to see the sun stand still over all the impossible needs in your life. 

Steven Furtick is the founder and lead pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, one of the ten fastest growing churches in North American. Through trusting God and asking for the seemingly impossible he gave up everything and moved his family and seven other families to start a church. What started out slow and scary turned out to be a true miracle of God. Thousands line up every Sunday to hear God's message. Do not be deceived this book  ‎is not about getting all snug and feeling good. It's a super challenge to pray unstoppable prayers and believe in our God to do more than you can imagine. 
‎This book is biblically based. It has sound theology. It is not for the weak who want easy answers. To see the sun stand still in your life and reconnect with your true God-sized purpose and potential Steven Furtick calls us to start living our life of faith beyond the ordinary.  
I challenge you to read it. You will not be the same. It changed my prayer life and dug deep into the roots of my faith. Christians should be unstoppable we have a great and powerful God!!!!              

      If you want a copy I have a number of books available for purchase. I bought bulk to get a discount on the price. Perhaps people who read this book may want to get together in small groups to talk about it.  
Thank you for reading my review. Ruth Rockliff