Posts

Caesar's Census, God's Jubilee by W. Scott McAndless

Image
This is just a reminder that the book that will revolutionize your knowledge and understanding of the Bible's story of Christmas is available now and can still be shipped before Christmas (or in the case of the ebook immediately).

Are you really going to let another Christmas go by without getting the inside scoop on the season?

The Gospel of Luke alone tells the story of the birth of Jesus set against the background of a census taken on the orders of Caesar Augustus. This historical setting has always raised serious questions: Was there ever really such a census? Why does Luke describe the census as being carried out in a manner that does not fit with what we know of Roman practices and policies?
This book struggles with questions like those in a creative way which leads to some surprising new ways to understand Luke’s timeless story of Mary and Joseph and their journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Part investigation, part exercise in creative imagination, this book will help you to…

Yeast or Bread?

Image
Hespeler, 19 November, 2017 © Scott McAndless Deuteronomy 8:1-3, Psalm 37:18-29, Mark 8:13-21 W hen Mark wrote his Gospel – which most scholars agree was written sometime around the year 70 CE – he had two main purposes for doing so. The first one is kind of obvious. It had been about 40 years since Jesus had been crucified which meant that the people who had been there and seen Jesus and known him in the flesh were pretty much all gone or going soon. There was a need to set down the words of Jesus and the stories of what he had done in a way that would endure.       But there was a second agenda to the writing of the gospel that isn’t quite so obvious to us, but that actually may have been even more important to its writer. Mark was writing the story down for the people in his church – a church that was living through some very difficult times. He wanted to show them how to be the church in those times – to be a church that would be faithful to the vision and calling of Jesus.       An…

First Church of the Wilderness

Image
Hespeler, 12 November, 2017 © Scott McAndless Mark 6:32-44, 2 Corinthians 9:6-12, Psalm 34:1-10 T he First Church in the Wilderness was facing yet another crisis. The twelve member leadership council assembled to talk about it and try to come up with a solution. The problem, as usual, was the budget. There just didn’t seem to be enough resources for everything that was needed. People were coming, they were hearing the word of life and it was affecting their lives giving them hope and a sense of purpose. It was just so darn hard to find the resources to keep the whole thing going.       And it is not just them. This seems to be a universal problem. There may be a church out there somewhere that never struggles to make ends meet, but I haven’t found it yet. It doesn’t matter whether a church is small, medium or mega. It doesn’t matter whether it is in a rich neighbourhood or a poor one, every single church I’ve ever looked at just seems to find that its revenues fall at least a little bit…

Peace, peace, when there is no peace.

Image
Hespeler, 5 November, 2017 © Scott McAndless Remembrance Sunday Jeremiah 6:10-15, Matthew 10:34-39, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 W e call Jesus the Prince of Peace. We love to tell the story about how, when he was born in Bethlehem, the angels sang that an era of peace on earth had dawned. And Jesus was the one who said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God,” wasn’t he? I don’t know about you, but that is one of the key reasons why I am pleased to identify myself as a follower of Jesus. We need peace. The world needs peace. And on a day of Remembrance like this when we remember all of the carnage, all of the death and all of the grief of war, we particularly look for the healing power of peace. Indeed, no one craves peace more than veterans who remember war’s horrors all too well and soldiers on active duty. So I feel blessed indeed to be a follower of the Prince of Peace       But Jesus doesn’t seem to have always remained consistent on the topic of peace. Ther…

500 years later, what does God want nailed on your church door?

Image
Hespeler, 29 October, 2017 © Scott McAndless Reformation, Baptism Matthew 19:13-15, Ephesians 2:1-10, Psalm 13:1-6 A lmost exactly five hundred years ago, on the last day of October in 1517, a young monk and doctor of theology took a piece of paper upon which had been printed 95 theses and he nailed it to the door of a church in Wittenberg. It was not, I want to be clear, an act of vandalism. Though Luther was angry about a few things that day, he was not taking out his anger on that door with a hammer.       It was actually quite an ordinary thing for a professor in his position to do. He had written down these 95 little ideas on one sheet of paper because he thought that they were provocative ideas. He didn’t necessarily think that people would agree with them – not all of them anyway – but he wanted people to discuss them together so that, out of the discussion, they might come to a better understanding of where the truth lay. Nailing the theses to door was simply the normal way of…

Bright and Breach

Image
Hespeler, October 15, 2017 © Scott McAndless – Baptism Matthew 1:1-3, Genesis 38:27-30, Psalm 78:1-7 T oday is a very meaningful day for this congregation, for Sarah and Joelle ______ and for their family. But I would like to remind us that it is not just one day. I mean, if any family decided that they wanted to share the birth of their first child (or children) with us in a celebration of baptism, that would be a wonderful gift and a day of rejoicing. But Sarah and Joelle, though they are in worship with us for the first time today, are not really among us as strangers.       For one thing, their mother has been part of the life of this congregation for her whole life which means that some of the most important and formative moments in her life have happened in this place and with people from this congregation. We have been part of the person she has become in significant ways.       Even more important, when, four years ago, she and Andrew made the most important decision of their …

Thanksgiving after Harvey, Irma, Maria, Las Vegas, the Cariboo Fires, the Mexico Earthquakes, Charlottesville, the Quebec Mosque, the South Asia floods, First Nations boil water advisories, the Battle of Aleppo, Freetown Mudslide, etc. etc. etc.

Image
Hespeler, 8 October, 2017 © Scott McAndless – Thanksgiving Isaiah 25:1-8, Luke 7:31-35, Psalm 138:1-8 I t is Thanksgiving Sunday and many people who live in the Cariboo Region of British Columbia are having a hard time knowing what to be thankful for. They have spent most of the last three months on the run. The forest fires and wildfires in that whole region have been record-breaking this year. People have had to leave behind homes and livelihoods and many have heard the word that what they left behind has been completely destroyed. They don’t have their good dishes with them. Some of their closest family members have taken shelter in communities hundreds of kilometers away. I think that it is worth asking, when they gather around the table later today, what will they find to be thankful for?       And they are not the only ones. In Northern Alberta, an extended family will likely gather this weekend, but probably not for Thanksgiving. I think they’ll be gathered for the funeral of a…