Salt and Light!

Two very important ingredients in the world today but not just for today but for years and years passed
We have relied upon them heavily
But, as years have passed, many have decided that salt is not that important, and, in fact, it may be harmful, so many have reduced their intake of this commodity.
Anyway, one of the major uses for salt ~ preserving ~ has been taken over by the refrigerator.
Meantime light has become more and more important.
Billions of dollars have been spent on making light better ….. not just so we can see better, but because advertisers can sweet talk you into buying what they are advertising.
Mmm, sounds heavy
BUT what does it mean when JESUS says, “YOU are the salt of the earth, and YOU are the light of the world.”

Most of us have taken this to actually say God wants you to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
But that’s not what JESUS said.
So, take away salt and remove light from our existence and instead YOU be the salt and YOU be the light.

What would that look like, you think?
That should get your thoughts a moving.
Maybe that might start up a discussion over morning tea
God bless you
Ron

There’s something about flavour
It sets your taste buds a tingling
And, of course there is flavour that is sweet or desserty, and flavour that is savoury.
And salt fits into the last category
One might argue that it was the original flavour.
It was also the original refrigerator (of sorts)
Before the advent of such a luxury, people salted their meat to keep it as fresh as they could.
In calling us to be salt, JESUS is not asking us to be a preservative or a substitute to the refrigerator.
Rather He is inviting us to show by the way we live that JESUS is worth living for.
In the part of the chapter we read last week (Matthew 5: 1-12) JESUS spells out the attributes of the One who loves us all
And He calls us to follow Him (not just down the road) but by displaying those same attributes
When you mix salt and light together, you have a real dynamo, and these two things in us allows people to see JESUS in us
And that will draw them to want JESUS in their lives too.
Talking about JESUS is one thing.
Living a life that shows JESUS to the world is another and much harder thing to do.
But it can be done, when we call on God to help us.
And He will
Well, God bless you,
Ron

G’day!

There are times in my life (lots of them) when I think God must be shaking His head in dismay at the situations I get myself into.
There are many times that I wish I was a better Christian ~ that I was more like JESUS.

But I seem to mess up more than get it right.
But one thing I have discovered is that God really likes me.
From an early age my favourite subject at primary school was ‘Scripture’ (That’s what RE was called in NSW)

There was an old husband and wife who came to our school to provide the lessons each week and I was drawn in.
I enjoyed the stories especially the flannel graphs and even memorised John 3:16

But that’s as far as it went until one Sunday my Father said, “That’s it! I’ve had enough of your cheek. Next Sunday you are going to Sunday School”
My goodness I’d done it now.
Fortunately my grandmother had just moved out to our area and she was going to a church a bit from us and that kept me from going up the road where I had already caused a ruckus.

Strangely, the next Sunday we went to this new church for Sunday School and would you believe, I liked it.

A new family also started at that church that Sunday and they began to take me under their wing

A few years later they encouraged me to go on a kids camp and and I went not knowing anyone.

But my tent leader, who was preparing to go as a missionary to Pakistan, took me under his wing and before the week was out, I had invited JESUS into my life.

And that’s where the war began ~ the struggle between God and my new life and me and my old life.

I have to say the war continues.
But and here’s the thing: God still loves me with a passion.
And none of the messes I make causes Him to change His mind
I asked God once why He had put His hand on me and He said, “You were baptised”

The story continues ………Rev Ron French

The Fourth Sunday of Advent

Today is the Fourth Sunday in Advent! At this time of waiting for the Birthday of Jesus and preparing, or getting ready for, Christmas, it is reinforcing and encouraging to hear that our theme and the candle for the day is Love. At this time of year, we have the good news of the birth of Jesus, but the birth of Jesus is not, in fact, the subject of today’s gospel reading.
The reading of Christmas story last Christmas was from Luke’s gospel, but this year the reading is from Matthew’s gospel. Luke tells the Christmas story from Mary’s position, but Matthew tells the story more from Joseph’s perspective. When preparing the sermon for today I was interested in the thinking that was promoted by these clear differences in perspective.

I ask you to consider the following Advent Reflections and prayers for Week 4.

The season of Advent continues. Over the last three weeks we lit 3 candles symbolising, hope, peace and joy.

Today we are lighting the candle of love. No other word so completely describes what we know of our God.

For God so loved the world that a child was given…God’s love in human form. We wait in hope and peace, and with joy, celebrating God’s precious gift.

We light the candle of love to proclaim that God’s love is revealed in the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem and we are challenged to proclaim and reveal that same love as we live out our faith here in Australia.

Let us pray,
Loving God,
We give thanks for your love that exceeds our human understanding, and are reminded once more of the birth of your enduring love this Christmas. Help us to have a greater revelation of your love today, so that our lives may reflect your great love to those around us.
In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen.

Yours in Christ,
Debra

Joy the the World

Advent 3 Joy Light and Presence

At this time there are some people to whom I would like to extend my special thanks for their service to the Lord in our community. These include the following:
Daphne -preparing and leading play
Allison – task of coordinating costumes
Michelle- organising and teaching the children
Congregation-Great participation in the play
Reza & Patty – tidying the op shop.

I would also like to extend my congratulations and thanks to Kathy for her successful application for a grant of over $4,000 to paint the ceiling above the front entrance to our church, and surrounding area.

As I said in a previous bulletin article, our collection is focussing upon assisting our struggling farmers in Longreach through the drought relief collection at Longreach Uniting Church, through their minister, Rev. Jenny Coombes. This money stays local community as it will be used to buy vouchers for local businesses to give to the farmers. A personal personal note written with each donation should hopefully warm the hearts of these farmers at Christmas.

Today is the Third Sunday in Advent! This time of waiting for the Birthday of Jesus is, as we have discussed, also a time of preparation, or getting ready for, Christmas.
At Advent, it is important to hear from a variety of people of great faith, about God’s promises to send the world a Saviour- who would show the way to God and teach us about God’s love and forgiveness. Today we have the blessing of listening to the sermon from Dave Bartsch, YWAM Gold Coast Base Leader.

Today is the third Sunday in Advent. We hear today of Mary’s song of praise that gives glory to God.

Mary’s humble words rejoiced at God’s blessing on her and his salvation plan for the whole world

A world where eyes will see, and ears will hear; where everyone will want to dance and sing for joy and in God’s presence

Like Mary, we watch and wait for these signs of God’s kingdom, to break into our lives

We rejoice in the coming of the King and we wait in hope and peace.

God prepares our hearts for the coming of Jesus. So, we light the candle of joy.

God of grace and truth, may our spirits rejoice as we look towards the birth of Christ, our Saviour. As we reflect on your mercy and grace, let us see your glory and experience your joy. Amen.

Yours in Christ
Debra