From the pastor, 2016 - 2017

nov   ·   dec - jan   ·   feb   ·   mar   ·   apr   ·   may   ·   jun


    Christ-likeness and thankfulness go together   (October 2016)

    When the apostle Paul writes to the Colossians, his purpose is to combat certain errors in understanding which tended to place more importance on human ideas, traditions, and legalities than on the person and work of Jesus. Through the centuries, down to and including today, the church suffers from the same tendencies. We are prone to wander from Jesus and His way, to place more emphasis on human ideas and our traditions and ways of doing things.

    Paulís approach to correcting this is both delightful and instructive. He begins by giving thanks for the Colossians: "We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you." (1: 3) He goes on to identify very specifically what he has observed and what he knows about the people of the church in Colosse, and why he is so thankful for them: "because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints" (1: 4). Then, he goes on to focus on Christ, concentrating on lifting up his person, his work, and his glory: "He is the image of the invisible God." (1: 15) "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." (1: 17) "He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the first-born from the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy." (1: 18) "God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him." (1: 19)

    After exalting Christ, Paul goes on to caution the Colossians against the errors of being led astray into ďhollow and deceptive philosophy" (2: 8) and "human tradition and the basic principles of this world." (2: 8) Paul then contrasts the way unbelievers live (and the way the members of the church at Colosse used to live before they became Christians) with the characteristics that God delights to see followers of Christ display. ďPut to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed ..." (3: 3) "Rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander ..." (3: 8) Instead, Paul urges the Colossians (and us): "As Godís chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." (3: 12)

    Then, after calling the church to live "in peace", he says, most emphatically, "And be thankful." (3: 15). For Paul, and for the Holy Spirit (Who is inspiring what he writes), Christ-likeness and thankfulness go together. For the church (as the body of Christ) to grow into the likeness of Christ, the church is to be thankful. This is a command, not an option. It is a way of being, not an occasion.

    As we approach our annual celebration of Thanksgiving, let us take the opportunity to ask ourselves if being thankful is our regular state of mind, heart, and being, or something we only are or do once a year or once in a while or on certain occasions. Paul reminds us that growing up and growing in Christ means that we grow to live as a thankful people " individually and together " always and continually.

    If we would know and enjoy the peace of Christ and His presence in us and among us, we need to cultivate a habit and a habitual, regular state of being thankful. "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." (3: 15)

    The rest of our life together in worship and service follows, and flows from this: Verses 16 and 17 of Colossians 3, which we are fond of quoting, follow immediately from this exhortation, "And be thankful.": "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to Gd. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

    Happy Thanksgiving -- and a blessed thanks-living to all.

      Your pastor,

        James T. Hurd

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    Space and Spirit   (November 2016)

    From ancient times, God taught and people held certain spaces to be holy -- set apart for Godís presence to fill. Moses encountered God in the burning bush -- the one that burned but was not consumed -- and God told Moses to take off his sandals, "for the place where you are standing is holy ground." (Exodus 3: 5) Isaiah saw the Lord, "high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple" (Isaiah 6: 1): Godís majestic presence filled the temple, and in response the angels sang: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." (Isaiah 6: 3) We are intended to understand that God is so great that He fills the place and space of His creation.

    Yet it is also of great significance that God chooses to fill the creatures made in His likeness who inhabit His creation. The account of creation tells us that "God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." (Genesis 2: 7) The Hebrew word for "breath" is the same word for "wind" and for "spirit". God is Spirit, and God blew the breath of His Spirit into the first man, bringing Adam to life.

    In the same manner, when God re-creates men and women, bringing us to life in a new, intimate and personal relationship with God, through Jesus, He blows the breath of His Spirit into us. God showed the prophet Ezekiel a valley full of dry bones, and asked, "Can these bones live?" God says in response, after telling Ezekiel to prophecy to the bones, "I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life." (Ezekiel 37: 5)

    Just as nature abhors a vacuum, and air pushes and rushes in to fill spaces from which air has been sucked out, so Godís Spirit seeks to fill those who are empty and without. Jesus told the first disciples, knowing that after His death and departure they would be empty and destitute and unequipped to be His witnesses to all the earth, to wait in Jerusalem until they were filled with the Holy Spirit. The Book of Acts tells us that the disciples on the day of Pentecost "were filled with the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2: 4)

    God inhabits space, but more particularly He fills the lives in His people. Rather than emphasizing Godís presence filling space, the apostle Paul reminds us that "the God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands." (Acts 17: 34) Rather, he desires -- in response to the prayers of His people -- to fill the lives of those who follow and serve Jesus. This happens not only once at our conversion or once upon the constitution of the church, but again and again. The early church faced opposition and challenge, but we are told that "after they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly." (Acts 4: 31)

    We rejoice in the construction and dedication of new space at Parkwood for God to fill. Yet more profoundly we are called to consecrate and dedicate our lives to God to fill each and all of us, and all of us together, with His Holy Spirit, that, we might through our presence and our lives in the world bless the world with the living presence of the living God, enabling all to discover and grow in and share the love of God found in Jesus Christ.

      Your pastor, desiring Godís presence to fill me, and you, and the church, and the world,

        James T. Hurd

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    Christ Preparations   (December 2016 - January 2017)

    The season of Advent, traditionally, is a time of preparation. Our modern celebration of Christmas doesnít just happen... it takes preparation. Decorations have to be made (or purchased or found), and then hung. Letters or cards have to be written, and mailed or delivered. Christmas dinner doesnít fall from the sky: there is a turkey to be bought, (and maybe thawed), and stuffed, and cooked, and carved. There are potatoes to be peeled, vegetables to be cooked, gravy to be made. Pie or pudding takes time to bake. Preparation takes time, attention, and effort.

    The Hebrew word translated "prepare" is "paw-naw". It comes from a root meaning "to turn". The idea seems to be that one is called to turn toward, to give attention to, to focus upon. It is appropriate that we turn our attention to the One Who is the reason for this season we call Christmas. What preparations are appropriate for us to make to celebrate the coming of Jesus into the world and His presence in our lives?

    It is good to remember that before Jesus came into the world, God called for preparations. The prophet Isaiah called upon the people "to prepare the way for the Lord". John the Baptist took up the challenge, and called for people to repent -- to turn -- to turn away from sin and self and toward God and His gracious offer of mercy. For each of us to welcome and to celebrate the presence of Jesus in our lives, preparations need to be made. We need to turn our attention from all the other things that compete for our time and attention, and focus afresh on Jesus, and all that He brings.

    Sharing in the season of Advent invites us to enter into a time of intentional preparation. Just as we set aside time for Christmas decorating, Christmas shopping, Christmas card- and letter-writing, and Christmas baking and cooking, and give special attention to these things so that we will be ready to share and celebrate Christmas, let us take time to prepare for the way of the Lord in our lives.

    We are to give Jesus room in our hearts, lives, and homes here and now. God chooses by His Spirit to dwell with us. His presence in each of us and among us all together is designed to bring us the fullness of life. The source of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control is the Holy Spirit -- the spirit of our Lord Jesus -- and we are only opening ourselves and others to life full and abundant when we focus on all He is and all He has to give to us.

    We are also to consider and prepare for Jesusí return. He has promised that as surely as He ascended to heaven, He will one day return and take us to be with Him. He intends to share life with others, now and in the future. We are invited -- indeed commissioned -- to help others to make those preparations necessary to welcome Him. Advent observance is all about making those preparations. As we prepare to celebrate Christmas this year, let us also turn and give our attention to helping others to join in preparing to receive and welcome Jesus.

    Jesus came to prepare us to meet God. He has returned to the Fatherís right hand to prepare for our entrance into Godís immediate presence. Let us devote ourselves to preparation -- for Christmas, yes, but most of all, for Christ.


      Your pastor, desiring Godís presence to fill me, and you, and the church, and the world,

        James T. Hurd

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    Welcome!   (February 2017)

    The English word "welcome" brings together the words "well" and "come". "It is well that you have come" is a clumsy way of saying "It is good that you are here". A "well" in the ancient world was a source of water. For travellers, especially those wandering in the desert, finding water was essential to life. one could not live long without water. Coming to a well where one could drink and be refreshed and sustained was a welcome!

    The word "welcome" appears in our NIV translation of the Bible in several places, but I was recently surprised to discover that the word "welcome" did not appear in the old King James translation of the Bible. The Greek root of the word we now translate "welcome" is "receive" or "accept". The word is "dekomai", and conveys the idea of accepting a person or a thing.

    These days, "receiving" or "accepting", especially "things" is too often a way of saying we will tolerate or put up with something. We receive reports at meetings, but we don't necessarily welcome them. We accept new rules or procedures, but we don't really relish or enjoy them. Yet to truly receive and accept something or someone, in Biblical terms, is to welcome that thing or person. Jesus calls us to be a people who welcome, and ties our welcome of others to our welcome of Jesus, and in turn connects our welcome of Jesus to our welcome of God.

    Mark 9: 37 "Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me". (NIV)

    In Hebrews 11: 31, we are reminded that Rahab "welcomed" the spies in the days of Joshua. She provided shelter and cover and safety to two representatives of the Hebrew people, sent by Joshua, but in the process she was welcoming not only the Hebrew people and Joshua, but their God. In receiving the spies, she was receiving and welcoming the gift of God's salvation.

    When Paul wrote to the church in the city of Philippi, he was in another city, and in prison. He sent Epaphroditus in his place, and he encouraged and exhorted the church to welcome Epaphroditus in Paul's absence: "Welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honour men like him". (Philippians 2: 29) The Philippians had sent Epaphroditus to Paul to take care of his needs. The welcome was mutual: Paul welcomed Epaphroditus in place of the whole Philippian church, which could not come to visit Paul in prison, and now Paul wants Epaphroditus to be welcomed by the church in Philippi as though they were welcoming Paul himself.

    Jesus gives us a glimpse of the final judgement: "The King will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."" (Matthew 40: 31, NIV)

    Let us remember that Jesus said, "And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward". (Matthew 10:24, NIV)

    Welcoming others is holy work, and sometimes begins with a cup of water, or juice, or coffee, or tea. In the name of Jesus, welcome to you! In the name of Jesus, let us welcome others!

      Your pastor,

        James T. Hurd

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    Truth   (March 2017)

    In recent weeks, new terms have found their way into our language: "fake news" and "alternative facts".

    Lies have been around since Satan tempted our first parents in the Garden of Eden, and for centuries people have echoed Pilate's famous question, "What is truth?" In our information age, anyone can propogate fact, fantasy, and foolishness in text, audio, and video via the Internet, and it can be very difficult to sort out the real from the unreal. Hardly a week goes by without some friend or other being "cloned", without their knowledge, and faked identities masquerade as the real ones. False notices from fake websites designed to lead honest people to part with money dishonestly circulate more plentifully and at times more easily than genuine notifications of legitimate transactions. Exaggeration and outright fabrication of "news" influence attitudes and lead people to make decisions which have inadequate if not entirely false foundations. Some of the recent and brazen challenges - on various sides of different questions - should give us both pause to ponder how we sort out fact from fiction, and provide opportunity to speak truly truth.

    In a world where many things are disguised as truth, we first need to know that there is truth to be found, and possessed. God teaches us in Proverbs 23:23 that truth is a valuable and precious commodity: "Buy the truth, and do not sell it."

    In the modern marketplace of "ideas", Christians need to remind ourselves that we have true news - good news - to publish and proclaim. The gospel of Jesus is good news: those who have been deceived, and those who have deceived others by not speaking the truth, are offered, freely, forgiveness and new life in Jesus. But the life is in Jesus, who declared: "I am the way and the truth and the life." (John 14:6)

    Not only is this an exclusive claim, but those who embrace Jesus are called both to weigh all claims of truth in the light of God's word, and to grow in the knowledge of the truth of God, increasingly reflecting that truth, lovingly, to the world. As part of his high priestly prayer, prior to his death, Jesus prayed for his followers: "Sanctify them by the truth? your word is truth." (John 17:17) The apostle Paul reminds believers that "speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ". (Ephesians 4:14)

    Paul went on to foretell the days in which we live: "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths." (2 Timothy 4:34)

    When Paul first wrote to Timothy, he urged that his young friend and fellow disciple and truthteller begin with prayer, and especially prayer for those in positions of civil authority: "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone - for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth."

    (1 Timothy 2: 14) It is interesting and informative to note that the motivation for prayer for rulers is that "truth" (whom Paul immediately identifies in verse 5 as "the one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus") is "that all may be saved and come to know the truth."

    Far from giving up, keeping quiet, or doing nothing amid the traffic in "fake news" and "alternative facts", let us pray, and patiently and purposefully point to the One who is the truth. Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:31-32)

      Your pastor, rejoicing in the freedom of the truth of Christ, and eager for the true and good news,

        James T. Hurd

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    God-Honouring Speech   (April 2017)

    There is increasing evidence that our society is falling into patterns of speech and behaviour that seem to say, "If on some point you think differently, then you are wrong, and furthermore, keep your opinion to yourself; I wonít listen to you, and we will not tolerate what you have to say."What is much worse, and what we need to humbly ask God to help us to address and repent of, is the increasing presence and practice of such an attitude and accompanying behaviour in the Christian church.

    Just because I have come to know something does not mean that all others know it, and I should not presume that others know what I know.

    Just because I believe I have come to understand Godís truth or will concerning a particular matter does not mean that all other Christians think the same way, and I should not presume that all other Christians are bound to interpret the Bible in exactly the same way as I do. On the contrary, we should be open to listen to one another, and, if not convinced, agree perhaps even clearly and strongly, but respectfully to disagree.

    Furthermore, even when Christians are given "the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:16), we are called to recognize that at one time our minds were darkened by sin and we were unable to know and believe. God has been patient, gentle, and faithful, leading us to know Christ, and surely we are called to consider others who are still struggling to understand Godís will and purpose, and show them gentleness and respect.

    As a church, we also need to work at replacing the "I" pronoun with the "we". One of the strengths and blessings of the reformed and presbyterian understanding of the nature of the church and leadership in the church is that leadership is shared. We assert that elders and pastors together share collegially in leadership, and are mutually accountable. One cannot assert oneís own authority over others. Together, under the lordship of Jesus Christ, we follow Him and submit to His authority. The Holy Spirit, speaking in the Scriptures, is the final arbiter in sorting out right thinking from wrong thinking -- in sorting out the human mind and will from Godís mind and will.

    We also need to humbly acknowledge that one particular church does not have the full and only complete and right understanding of Godís word. We believe that Parkwood Church is a Chirstcentred congregation, and that The Presbyterian Church in Canada is a faithful church, but it is not the whole of the Christian Church. Some doctrines which we confess are essential and central to Christís teaching, such as the authority of Scripture as Godís word to us, as well as the nature of God as being the One: who has brought the world into being; who made human beings in Godís own image; who sent forth Jesus in love to redeem otherwise lost sinners; and who calls us to embrace the Holy Spirit, who alone is able to lead us to not only understand ourselves as being in need of a Saviour, but to recognize Jesus as the Saviour and to lead us to humbly and willingly embrace Him, personally, as the only Saviour necessary and sufficient. We believe that Jesus calls us to fulfil the Great Commission to make disciples of all people, and to honour Jesus by obeying the Great Commandment to love the Lord our God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength, and to love our neighbour as ourself.

    Other things, though, are not essential. The timing and the mode of baptism, the frequency of the celebration of the Lordís Supper, and organization of the churchís leadership -- these and a great many other matters are things about which true and faithful Christfollowers may disagree. On many questions, Scripture points the way in general but not specific terms, and even though one church may hold firmly to one position, and faithfully state and uphold that what we believe is founded upon and agreeable to Godís word, we also need to graciously respect the right of other Christians to disagree, and to uphold faithfully their understanding of what the Bible teaches.

    Paul writes to the church at Philippi, and he recognizes that not all Christians agree on all things. On some points we do think differently. We are called, though, "to live up to what we have already attained", that is, to faithfully live out what we believe God has taught us so far in our journey as Christís disciples.

    Paul also wrote a letter to the church at Ephesus -- a letter that was most likely designed to be a circular letter to be shared with other congregations. After much clear and compelling teaching about Godís gracious intention and action in electing a people for Himself, and after making it very plain that we are saved by His grace, as a gift from Him, and not by our own works, he goes on to give some very practical advice about how we are to grow up:

    "Speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ." (Ephesians 4:15) "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (Ephesians 4:29) "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice." (Ephesians 4:31)

    May God grant us grace to speak the truth in love, and listen with respect to others -- both within the church and beyond it -- and show another way -- The Way of Christ -- within our contemporary society.

      Your pastor, for free, faithful and God-honouring speech,

        James T. Hurd

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    The Kingdom of God is...   (May 2017)

    Luke 17: 20 Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God does not come visibly, nor will people say, ĎHere it is,í or ĎThere it is,í because the kingdom of God is within you." (NIV)

    We live in time, and we measure the progress of things by time. Children want to know "when" dinner will be ready. Teens want to know what is the "next" great app. Adults, sometimes harassed and overwhelmed by circumstances, ask, "What next?"

    Jesus was asked about the coming of Godís kingdom.When would He rule?When would change really begin?When would everything be set right? His answer was that looking for some great sign of the arrival of the kingdom of God would be disappointing. The kingdom of God does not come like a cloud on the horizon, or appear like the dawning of a great light in the sky.

    God is a spirit, and the Hebrew word for "spirit" is the same as the Hebrew word for "wind". No one "sees" the wind. Rather, when the wind is present and at work, evidence of its presence and power show up:

    • Garbage and debris blow along the streets, and pile up against fences and walls.
    • Smells - both good and bad - carry great distances
    • Trees sway; flags fly briskly; clothes hung on clotheslines dry quickly.
    Similarly, when God is at work, certain things show the evidence:

    • Help that is needed appears just in time; a gift arrives that supplies encouragement to share with someone else, or confirmation that what was previously shared with hesitation was undoubtedly the right thing to do
    • A friend is there just when we need a hand to help, an ear to listen, or a shoulder on which to lean.
    • Looking back, wondering where we got the strength to get through, we recognize that Godís strength was perfected in our weakness.We realize that Godís protection kept us from harm or danger that we had not foreseen.
    Looking forward, we are able to confess that the kingdom -- the reign, the rule -- of God is present within us. Godís invisible hand is at work, directing, shaping, providing, guiding and orchestrating the events of life. Our individual lives and our life together as the people of God are in the kingdom of God. The Hebrew word for "wind" and "spirit" is also the same as the Hebrew word for "breath". Unless it is very cold, we do not normally "see" our breath. Yet our breath sustains our life. If we cease breathing, we die. Our breath is within us, but its power and effect is seen outwardly as we live and move and serve others.

    Jesus reminds us that the kingdom of God is "within" or "among" us. Let us remember what our breath and what the wind do for us and through us. Let us discern and affirm the evidence of Godís kingdom within and among us, and celebrate.

      Your pastor, rejoicing the rule and reign of Christ,

        James T. Hurd

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    The Barrier Act   (June 2017) - note: there is no "from the pastor" during the summer months

    Barriers can be seen to be both good and bad. A parent puts an infant in a car seat, which acts as a barrier to movement, and serves to protect the child in the case of a sudden stop. The infant may wish to "escape" the barrier, and does not understand its value. Later in life, as a mature adult who has perhaps lived through some sudden stops with the protection of the barrier, the same person may come to realize and appreciate the value of the barrier.

    In the presbyterian church, part of the structure of our government includes the Barrier Act. The Barrier Act serves to prevent sudden shifts in teaching (doctrine) or practice (government) that may seem like a good idea to some people, but which have not had careful review in the light of Godís word, and the measured consideration of all the elders of the churches.

    The Barrier Act states: "No prepared law or rule relative to matters of doctrine, discipline, government, or worship, shall become a permanent enactment until the same has been submitted to presbyteries for consideration... If a majority of the presbyteries of the church express their approval, the Assembly may pass such proposed law or rule into a standing law of the church. If a majority of the presbyteries express disapproval, the Assembly shall reject such proposed law or rule..." (Book of Forms, 293.1; 293.3) Recently, there have been initiatives and efforts on the part of some individuals and groups within the structures of The Presbyterian Church in Canada to change the definition and practice of marriage, to bring our Christian confession and practice into conformity with that in our contemporary civil society. Our confessional standards state:

    "Marriage is to be between one man and one woman." (Westminster Confession of Faith, 24.1) "Christian marriage is a union in Christ whereby a man and a woman become one in the sight of God." (Living Faith, 8.2)

    Any attempt to change the teaching or practice of the church with respect to marriage evidently involves a change to the doctrine, discipline, and worship, and could not be lawfully or properly effected by any one General Assembly without first being submitted to all the presbyteries for consideration, and could only be enacted if a majority of the presbyteries were to express approval, and then only if a subsequent General Assembly determined such a change were to be advisable. Inasmuch as the members of the General Assembly are commissioned to "consult, vote, and determine in all matters... to the glory of God, and the good of his church, according to the word of God, the Confession of Faith, and agreeable to the constitution of this church..." (Book of Forms, 279), it appears that the boundary for or barrier to change is appropriately set very high, to protect against anything which would harm the church or dishonour God. Our confessional standards have been formulated over many centuries and are designed and intended to state faithfully and accurately what the Bible teaches. The Presbyterian Church in Canada traces its lineage through the churches of the Reformation back to the ecumenical creeds and confessions of the ancient church, to the early church fathers and the apostles of the first century and to Jesus -- the "LOGOS", "the Word made flesh".

    Even before the earthly life of Jesus, the prophets of God in ancient Israel were inspired by the Holy Spirit to reveal the will and law of God. The book of Proverbs includes many wise words, given by Godís Spirit. Much of the "wisdom of Solomon" was given to King Solomon who asked for wisdom, rather than riches or long life. One of the proverbs instructs us: "Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your forefathers." (Proverbs 22:28, NIV)

    Boundary markers established by those who have sought to live faithfully in the light of Godís word are to be respected, and should only be moved if found to be at variance with an older boundary marker, clearly visible and established in Godís word.

    We are reminded in the New Testament that: "Everything that does not come from faith is sin." (Romans 14:23, NIV). Godís Spirit also teaches us that: "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing from the word of God." (Romans 10:17, NKJV). The content of what we believe and practice is revealed and taught by God in His word, and is not simply "made up" by human beings on our own initiative.Whatever the culture or society around us teaches or does is to be reviewed in the light of what God teaches in Scripture and in Jesus -- who is the living Word.

    As the Church wrestles with understanding Godís word and will for us today, let us pray that what God teaches us in the Scriptures will be received and honoured, and cherished and embraced, that ancient boundary stones faithfully and rightly set up will remain in place, and that the wisdom and provisions of the Barrier Act will be respected.

      Your pastor, sharing in the governance and oversight of the church, for Jesusí sake,

        James T. Hurd
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