Showing posts from September, 2016

Come and See

*Hespeler, 18 September, 2016 © Scott McAndless Psalm 40:1-11, 1 Corinthians 9:16-23, John 4:16-42 L ast Sunday I took a rather critical look at how we often assume that the church is supposed to grow. I noted that we usually seem to operate under an “If you build it, they will come,” philosophy. We think that we just need to build a church – not just put up a building, of course, but also create worship services and programs and ministries – but we just seem to assume that if we do all that, people will just come.       Because we assume (probably without thinking too much) that that is how it supposed to work, when things don’t work out that way – when people don’t come or don’t show up in the ways that they maybe once did, we also assume that we know what the problem is: there must be something wrong with what we have built. We easily fall into criticism of how things are in the church and often our reflex is to try and turn back the clock. We think that if we can restore the build…

A funny thing happened on the way home from Presbytery last night...

Last night was Presbytery night in the Waterloo-Wellington and, as is usually the case, it was a meeting that had its ups and downs -- its high points and its low points.

After adjournment, as happens in many Presbyteries I am sure, some of the members made arrangements to break up a long drive home by stopping off at a local watering hole to talk over (and commiserate over) the events of the evening.

About seven members ended up sitting around a table in a bar. Just by chance, they all happened to be male and they all happened to be clergy.

We talked together and toasted various discussion points from earlier in the evening. We toasted the committees and agencies of the Presbytery and the Presbyterian Church with good will towards all. We were enjoying one another's company.

The place was mostly empty but there was a friendly group over at the bar -- paramedics, it turned out, at the end of their shift. We interacted a bit and they made a few comments about how we were all dresse…

One month to the Jeff-a-thon

This morning, with about one month to go before the Jeff-a-thon I met with Herb Gale of Knox Church in Guelph at Crieff Hills on the site where the event will take place. It was a beautiful morning on a most beautiful site. We were going to try out the course of the Jeff-a-thon.

We started running and did a couple of laps around a bigger course than the walkathon will actually take place on

Herb set our pace (slower than I'm used to) and it was a wonderful beautiful start as the sun came up. On our first lap we scared at least three very big deer off of our path.
After about four kilometers we ran into some vagabond named Lawrence Pentalow who actually straightened us out about what the actual route will be:
After 5 kilometers, Herb said that he had done what he could do and left me. I continued (at a faster pace) for another 3.25 kilometers. It was a wonderful morning and I can't wait to see you all at the Jeff-a-thon on October 16. The path is a joy to run though I must admi…

If you build it, they will come (or How does the church grow?)

Hespeler, 11 September, 2016 © Scott McAndless Zechariah 6:9-15, Mark 13:1-8, Psalm 48 L isten, Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, we’ve got a problem and we need to talk about it. Our religion is in trouble. Yes, we have religious freedom and people are able to worship as they choose, but they just don’t seem to be choosing our religion anymore, at least not like they once did. Oh, there was a time when people would come together in places like this and lift up their voices in prayer and worship. It was the place to be and everyone felt like they were a part of something that mattered.       But then the world changed. Now, all of a sudden it seems that people have other places that they need to be. Their lives are in other places like Babylon and Persia and they don’t seem to need the old ways of their ancestors anymore.       But don’t you worry, Heldai, Tobijah and Jedaiah, because we have a plan. We’re going to get a bunch of supplies together and raise some funds and we’re going to b…

Ancient Commandments; Modern Applications: Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image

Hespeler, 4 September, 2016 © Scott McAndless Exodus 20:1-6, Psalm 97, Romans 1:18-25 I have spent some time over these summer months looking at some of the key commandments of the Old Testament and asking how, if at all, they apply to the lives that we live today in a very different world from the one that first received the commandments.       I have saved what I think is the most essential commandment – the one that might just lie at the heart of all of the rest – until the end. The commandment that prohibits the worship of idols is actually quite simple and straightforward, but its very simplicity is what has made it hard for people to follow it. The command says simply this in the best known King James Version: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.”       It is specifically a prohibition against making representative art by carving something out of metal, wood or stone. If you wanted to be very literal minded, you could argue that making images by melting and molding or…