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Showing posts from 2018

Hocus Pocus

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Hespeler, 15 July, 2018 © Scott McAndless Galatians 3:23-29, Romans 6:1-11, Matthew 3:13-17 I  have here a perfectly ordinary box of pencil crayons. It is something so completely ordinary that you could find in most any household (or at least any household where there are small children hanging around). But what if I were to tell you that I can make these pencil crayons disappear? Yes, you heard me right, I can make them disappear in the wink of an eye.       Now you’re looking at me skeptically right now and I do not blame you! I mean, who could have to power to do such an amazing thing! But I tell you that all of your skepticism will disappear as fast as, well, as fast as these pencil crayons will in just a few moments.       So, without further ado, let’s just do it. Are you ready to be amazed? In a moment you will be when these pencil crayons disappear. 1, 2, 3 and gone! Oh, it didn’t work. That’s funny, it worked perfectly when I was practicing… box full… 1, 2, 3… woosh… What could I …

Keeping Jesus Out

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Hespeler, 8 July, 2018 © Scott McAndless Psalm 41:1-13, Matthew 25:31-46, Isaiah 58:6-10 A ll my life I have heard Christian people explain the world’s problems. They know, you see, what has gone wrong. They know why it is that the churches are in decline, why gun violence and mass shootings are on the rise. They know the reason why people aren’t as kind and respectful as they used to be and why they do not engage in public service. They know the root cause of all of the woes of the modern world and they will not hesitate to tell you what it is. We struggle with all of these things and more, they’ll say, because we have kicked Jesus out. We have excluded Jesus from our schools, banished him from Main Street and thrown him out of our businesses. That is where our problems all began, they will tell you, and nothing will start to get better until we let Jesus in again.       And you know what, I would say that they are quite right. The problem really is a distinct lack of Jesus. But I’m …

Being Good Canadians

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Hespeler, 1 July, 2018 © Scott McAndless Romans 13:1-7, Mark 10:2-12, Psalm 20:1-9 Before I begin today, I want to say a few things about this sermon that I have written. This is my very first sermon preached after not preaching for ten whole weeks and that is actually something that is quite extraordinary for me because that has not happened to me for over a quarter of a century.       But there is something else that is rather unique about this sermon. I didn’t want to have it hanging over my head the whole time while I was away so I actually wrote it before I left and put it away and intentionally forgot about it for ten weeks.       Now think, for a moment, about what that means. I wrote today’s sermon without knowing who would be the Premier of Ontario on July 1st. I did not know who would win the election, although I was pretty sure that, whoever it was, over half of the Province of Ontario would be upset with the results.       Even more stunningly, I wrote this sermon and chose t…

A Hymn for Canada Day

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At St. Andrew's Hespeler this Sunday (which is Canada Day) we are planning to sing the following as a hymn (not an act of patriotism but an act of prayer within worship). This was not conceived of as an addition to Canada's National Anthem but as a way of lifting up our nation in prayer and being open to acknowledge the contribution of those who went before.
1. O Canada, our home and native land, true patriot love in all of us command. With glowing hearts, we see thee rise, the true north, strong and free; from far and wide, O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. God keep our land glorious and free;

I am on an intermission

I will be on an intermission that has been approved by the Presbytery of Waterloo-Wellington from April 16 to June 24, 2018. I am very grateful to be able to take this opportunity. Here are just a few notes I would like to leave with you. I will not be updating this blog during the intermission period.I will, however, be working on a personal project -- a podcast in which I retell Bible Stories. If you are interested in following this project, you will find all the information and links to each episode at this site: retellingthebible.wordpress.com/I will not be available to offer pastoral care or assistance during this time. Each week I have arranged to have two local Presbyterian ministers available to visit people or otherwise offer care. They will also be available in the event there is need of services (such as funerals and memorials). The names and contact information will change from week to week and will be posted in the bulletin each Sunday. Please call the church office if you…

I will build my church

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Hespeler, 15 April 2018 © Scott McAndless Matthew 16:13-20, Matthew 7:24-27, 1 Corinthians 3:10-17 I  hope you all know by now that, after the Gala Dinner this evening, I will be starting a ten week period that is called an intermission in the Presbyterian Church in Canada. I will be away from the ministry of this congregation and of the larger church for that entire period. I decided to request this for a number of personal reasons – because I felt a great need to rest and refresh and to renew the passion that had nourished me over the past twenty-five years of ministry. So I certainly have a few personal goals that I want to work on, but, that is not necessarily what I wanted to focus on today.       I have been thinking a lot about what I wanted to preach about today, and I don’t really want to focus on me, but rather on the church. In particular, I want to ask how the church can grow and develop during a short season without a regular minister. I know what the natural tendency is, o…

Created in Christ Jesus for good works

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Hespeler, 8 April, 2018 © Scott McAndless – Baptism of Lincoln John 15:12-17, Ephesians 2:4-10, Psalm 139:1-16, 23-24 L incoln Alexander ______, it is such a wonderful privilege for all of us to be able to celebrate your baptism today. It is wonderful because it means that your parents and your brother have been willing to share you – their joy in you, their hopes and dreams for you – with all of us and with Christ in this very meaningful way.       I remember when we first heard from your parents that you were coming and how exciting that was. When I heard what they had named you Lincoln Alexander, I wondered (the way that you do) what significance there was in such a name. One thing that occurred to me, for example, was that you might have been named after one of the most famous presidents of United States. You could certainly do worse than to be named after a man of such vision, the great emancipator who changed the world for good. We certainly still need people who will stand up and…