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Showing posts from 2017

Bright and Breach

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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.

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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…

Announcing the Launch of my New Podcast on October 11, 2017

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On Wednesday, October 11, 2017, my newest personal project will go online. It will be a Podcast called "Retelling the Bible."

I really love the Bible and it is a book that I take very seriously. But I also understand that the Bible is not a history book – at least not in the modern sense of that word. It contains many stories based on historical events and set within historical settings, but the goal of the authors was not merely to recount exactly what happened because they believed that they had a far more important job to do. Their job was to convey the truth about God, the world or themselves that they had experienced. And, as any good storyteller knows, you can never let mere facts get in the way of speaking the truth.

I created this Podcast to help people to hear the Biblical stories in new ways -- hopefully in ways that are closer to what the authors originally intended for people to hear. On a weekly basis, I will tell a Bible story in a way that will help you to hear…

Who's my neighbour?

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Hespeler, October 1, 2017 © Scott McAndless – World Communion Luke 10:25-36, Psalm 36:1-12, Isaiah 2:1-5 I t wasn’t like you probably think. It was not like he thought that he was better than everyone else. It was that he actually tried to do his best. He was earnest. He wanted to live without displeasing God or anybody else. He recycled and separated his compost from his garbage religiously. He always brought his bags with him when he went grocery shopping. Even more important, he tried to respect people and accept them as they were. He was a lawyer and he tried to use his profession to make up for the injustices of the world.       And he was not stuck up about it either; he never boasted about any of his own good deeds. It really bothered him that other people never even seemed to try to be good, but he was still patient with them. He was just a good person. There wasn’t a soul who would say otherwise.       So what was he expecting when he came to the teacher and asked him what he n…

I hope you'll support me as I "Race to Erase"

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On Saturday, October 14, 2017, I will be participating in the Cambridge Race to Erase.

The Race to Erase is an annual fundraiser where teams compete in fun-filled challenges throughout their community, all in support of local charities. The Race challenges are designed to be not only entertaining, but to raise awareness and exposure to local businesses and not-for-profit organizations. Teams compete for fundraising prizes (and the top fundraising team is chauffeured in-style in a limo on Race day!) and a trophy is handed out to the team that finishes the race with the fastest time.

I will be on one of three teams that are racing to support "Hope Clothing." Hope Clothing, a ministry housed at St. Andrew's Hespeler Presbyterian Church, assists anyone in our community who needs some extra help clothing themselves and their family. We provide new or gently used clothing, footwear and accessories to anyone needing some help stretching their budgets. Small personal
items are o…

The little kingdom that grow: The noxious weed

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Hespeler, 24 September 2017, © Scott McAndless Mark 4:30-32, Isaiah 55:8-13, Psalm 92:1-15 J esus’ Parable of the Mustard Seed is one that that gets brought up a lot these days in certain discussions. If you ever get into an argument with people – either on the internet or anywhere else – about whether or not the Bible is true and trustworthy or not, chances are somebody will bring up the Parable of the Mustard Seed.       The argument will go something like this: “If you really believe the Bible,” someone will say, “then what about what Jesus says about the mustard seed because Jesus says that the mustard seed is the smallest of all the seeds on earth’ but that is actually not true. The smallest seed is actually a certain variety of orchid that is found growing in the tropical rainforest of Bora Bora or something like that.”       “So Jesus got it wrong and the Bible got it wrong. The mustard seed is not the smallest seed. And if the Bible is true and inspired, doesn’t it always have t…

The little kingdom that grows: The seed that inexplicably grew

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Hespeler, 17 September, 2017 Mark 4:26-29, 2 Corinthians 9:6-15, Psalm 92:1-15 I f you have paid any attention at all to the news that has come out of Texas in the past month (and there has been a lot of news to attend to) chances are that you heard the name of one Houston religious leader mentioned more than any other. His name is Joel Osteen and he is the lead pastor of Lakewood Church, one of the biggest churches in a city of very big churches.       Osteen’s church caught a lot of flack immediately after the arrival of Hurricane Harvey and the devastating floods that it brought. People were upset with it for its failure to respond – specifically its failure to offer shelter in its large and well-appointed facilities. It seemed all the worse because the church’s excuses changed a number of times in the early days. At first they said they couldn’t offer shelter because the building was inaccessible because of flooding when it clearly was not. Then, once that lie was exposed, they we…

The Little Kingdom that Grew: The Lamp on the Stand

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Hespeler, 10 September, 2017 © Scott McAndless Mark 4:21-25, 2 Timothy 1:6-12, Psalm 78:1-8 M any years ago, I spent a summer in the state of Kerala in South India where we spent a fair bit of time way out in the hill country far from any cities of any size. We stayed with some local people – members of a local Christian church – and it was a very eye opening experience. The region is relatively well-off compared to many areas in India, but it certainly seemed, to our western eyes, as if there were many people living in great poverty. Indoor plumbing was rare. The water was mostly unsafe to drink and, while there was electricity, it was very unreliable and would go off for long periods of time.       For a while, we stayed in a simple farm on some rice fields. At night when the electricity was out, it got incredibly dark. We didn’t have flashlights (we hadn’t thought we would need them) so when we had to go anywhere at night (like, for example, to the bathroom which was in the field) …