Priory Park Baptist Church Podcast We see broken people becoming whole, through the love of Christ.To build a community in which to belong, grow and serve. To love our neighbours by helping them overcome spiritual and physical needs. To contribute to Spirit-filled transformation in the city of Guelph. Podcast Generator 2.6 - Sat, 20 Jan 2018 23:41:14 -0500 en copy right @priory park baptist church Priory Park Baptist Church Podcast We see broken people becoming whole, through the love of Christ.To build a community in which to belong, grow and serve. To love our neighbours by helping them overcome spiritual and physical needs. To contribute to Spirit-filled transformation in the city of Guelph. A place to belong, grow, and serve ppbc ppbc no Christian Hope: Redeemed Creation January 14, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Romans 8:17-25 Introduction…

Imagine a great artist. He has painted numerous masterpieces. After many years, the artist is browsing in an antique store where, at the back, he finds one of his own masterpieces! But it has clearly been neglected and abused. The painting is dirty and torn. The frame is cracked and broken. The artist sees this painting in such a state and deeply desires to restore it.

Can he just walk out with that painting because he painted it? No! Of course not. He must first buy it back from the antique store. So the artist purchases the painting and takes it home. There, over time, working in his studio, he carefully cleans the painting. He gently fixes tears. He replaces missing bits of pigment. He gets a new frame for the piece. Finally, having lovingly restored his masterpiece, he decides he will never again let it out of his possession! So he hangs it in his own home to enjoy every day.

As the master artist and creator, this is how God feels about his creation – our world. Our world has become dirty and broken and God’s desire is to lovingly restore it. God originally made our world and it was good. But humanity’s sin affected all of creation. Although humans are the only creatures that sin, because God made us stewards over all of creation, our sin affected all of creation. Human sin enslaved all of creation. The Bible doesn’t tell us all the effects of sin on creation. It doesn’t tell us what creation was like before human sin entered. So we must not get bogged down in the details of what the earth would have been like if we had not sinned. The point is, in the end, our sin affects not only us, but all of creation.

The good news is, though, that God, the master artist, wants to restore his masterpiece. He wants to restore all of creation! As Christians, we talk a lot about God rescuing humanity. We have talked a lot, here at Priory, about God saving us from our sin and healing the brokenness of sin in people. But God’s redemptive plan is not limited to human beings. God wants to redeem all of creation! At his return, Jesus’ ultimate victory over sin and death will be thorough. This means he will bring victory over the effects of sin on all of creation.

Our redemption is qualitatively different from the redemption of the rest of creation because we are created in God’s image and our sin, therefore, requires a different level of redemption. But, that said, God’s redemptive plan stretches as far as the curse of sin is found. Think of the verse in “Joy to the World,” “Far as the curse is found!”

Last week we talked about our hope as Christians looking forward to our physical resurrection. Our future is not to live for eternity as souls without bodies in heaven. Our future is to have physical bodies like that of the resurrected Jesus! These bodies will last into eternity because the decay of sin and death will be broken and removed.

Today we are going to take a look at what God has in store for the rest of creation as well. We are going to put together what we talked about last week and what we learn this week to see that our future is not only to exist as physical creatures with bodies, but to live on a renewed, restored earth too!

January 14, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Romans 8:17-25 44:52 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 14 Jan 2018 21:17:00 -0500
Christian Hope: Physical Resurrection January 7, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Luke 24:13-49 Introduction…

Over Christmas I was talking to Ruth Hill. She’s a nurse up on Manitoulin Island. She told me about a recent experience with a patient. A man was in some sort of distress and fire fighters and an ambulance came to help him. Once he was loaded into the ambulance, he went into cardiac arrest. That is, his heart stopped beating. The heart monitor that does the “blip, blip” went “beeeeeep.” He had “flat lined.” Since there are only 2 people in the ambulance, the medic and the driver, they had to stop the ambulance to do CPR. So a firefighter who was on the truck following them jumped off the fire truck and got in the back of the ambulance to help with CPR so the driver could keep driving the ambulance to the hospital, 45 minutes away under normal circumstances.

Ruth described how they would drive at break neck speed towards the hospital, where she and the staff were waiting. But, as part of the CPR, they had to check his breathing every 2 minutes. You can’t do that when the ambulance is moving! So they would drive really, really fast for 2 minutes, then stop the ambulance to check his breathing, then race on again for 2 more minutes! Ruth talked about it’s not anything like on TV when they do CPR. The patient turns blue or even purple because of the lack of oxygen in their system! So there, in the back of the ambulance, this man was turning blue while a fire fighter and an EMS worked did CPR on him and the ambulance driver alternated between full speed and stop. Ruth said this sort of thing is quite traumatic to be involved in and I believe her!

Thankfully, in this case, when the ambulance got to the hospital, the staff there were able to save him. They brought him back to life after his heart had stopped beating! That’s amazing! It required team work between a number of highly trained medical staff along with, I’m sure, some pretty high tech equipment.

This amazing sort of technique, the amazing knowledge that makes this possible, is quite impressive. It is called “resuscitation.” As awesome as resuscitation is, it is not resurrection. Resuscitation brings a person back to life, but to the same kind of life they had before they died, or “flat lined” or whatever you want to call it. The man in the ambulance that day still had whatever medical difficulties he had which caused the ambulance to be called in the first place. Someday, down the road, that man will die again, and it will be more permanent. He won’t be resuscitated again.

Similarly, in Scripture, there are a number of examples of miraculous resuscitations. In the OT, Elijah and Elisha were both involved in bringing young men back from the dead. In the first case, the boy was the son of a widow. In Elisha’s case, the boy was a son promised to an elderly couple for being generous hosts to Elisha. Jesus was involved in bringing 3 people back from the dead: a girl, a widow’s son and Lazarus! Paul, too, was involved in bringing a man back to life who had fallen out of a window while Paul was preaching. In all of these cases, it was a great miracle that someone was brought back to life. Yet in all of these cases, the person was resuscitated, not resurrected. The person brought back to life was subject to death again. They would continue to live, to get old, and, eventually, would die again.

That is not the case with the resurrection of Jesus and the resurrection Christians look forward to. With the resurrection, our new, physical bodies will not decay, get old or die again. There is a fundamental difference between resuscitation on the one hand and resurrection on the other.


January 7, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Luke 24:13-49 51:09 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 07 Jan 2018 21:17:00 -0500
Christmas at Work December 24, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Luke 2:8-20 Imagine you’re at work. Or, if you don’t work, perhaps you’re in school, or wherever you find yourself on a regular basis with people you know to some degree. Imagine the course of your conversation turns towards the meaning of Christmas. What would people say is the meaning of Christmas? What is the “holiday spirit” all about? Think about specific people. What do you think the specific people you work with would say? Perhaps some of these people are Christians, perhaps not. Even if they are Christians, in my experience that doesn’t mean they have a good grasp on the meaning of Christmas. Christians are more likely to say “Christmas is about the birth of Jesus,” which is what it celebrates, but is that what Christmas means? How does that inform the “holiday spirit?”

Are you allowed to say “Merry Christmas” at work? Or do you have to say, “Happy Holidays”? What do people you work with say? What do they think this season is about? What do they think Christmas means? Perhaps they would say Christmas is about family. That’s a common one. Or about giving. Maybe they’ll say Christmas is about good will towards other people. I know Amy and I love watching Christmas movies this time of year. In a number of movies they say Christmas is about all sorts of things! Rarely do they say it’s about Jesus. One movie, relatively old, actually has a very postmodern discussion of Christmas. They say, “That’s the true meaning of Christmas- it means something different to everyone…” Then somebody accidentally ignites sewer gas with a cigar and blows everything up.

The video we watched was about how to get in the holiday spirit. Basically, the video said, “Fake it ‘til you make it.” That is, do holiday stuff until you’re in the Christmas spirit. It then went on to describe “good” things to do at Christmas, like give toys to or volunteer with the needy, count your blessings, write Christmas letters to people and things like that. Do these sound like things people at work or school might say about Christmas? Does this sound like the kind of answers you might get in a discussion with them about the meaning of Christmas? These are good things, but they are not what Christmas means, they are not the meaning of Christmas!

Suppose, while having your conversation at work about the meaning of Christmas, a shining figure appeared the in the room. Suppose the shining man then told you, “Fear not! I bring you triumphal good news with earth shattering consequences! Today a baby has been born who is going to save you from your sins, he is the Anointed One, the King! You will find him in house in a nearby village, wrapped in a blanket, lying in the dog bed.”

What would you do? How would your co-workers respond? You see the angel told the shepherds, who were at work, exactly what Christmas is about and what it means. We tend to forget what Christmas is about, even as Christians. Our surrounding culture wants the good things that go with Christmas, like gift giving, volunteering, cheer, good will, generosity and peace. But they don’t want the Jesus who comes with it. They don’t want a saviour because that means they are sinful and need to be saved!

But even as Christians, we can forget what Christmas means. We remember what it’s about- the birth of Jesus, but we forget what that means. Christmas is about the arrival of God on earth to save us from our sin, redeem all of creation and defeat death! That’s the meaning of Christmas. All the other stuff is a result of that happening. Let’s take a look….

December 24, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Luke 2:8-20 42:32 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 24 Dec 2017 22:19:00 -0500
A Scandalous Advent December 10, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Luke 1:26-45, 56 I want you to imagine that your teenage daughter came to you and told you she was pregnant! Imagine how you would feel! The shock. The fear. The confusion.

The Donaldsons went through that experience many years ago. Dave and Diane, our missionaries in Kenya, became grandparents much earlier than they ever expected. Their daughter, Laurel, was a good girl. She went to church, attended youth group, got good grades. But she made one big mistake. It cost her almost all of her friends at school and at church. Her parents were shocked and dismayed. They wrote a book about their family’s experience. Laurel chose to keep her daughter and, with her parents’ help, went to university and raised her beautiful daughter Hannah. Today, 15 years later, Laurel is happily married and has 2 little girls. Today, they are very happy, but it was a long road to get there.

In our culture, teenage pregnancy is still scandalous. Although much of the stigma around it is fading, it is still shocking and troublesome. In more conservative cultures, though, it is more scandalous and risky. The more conservative the culture, the more outrage the young mother faces. She faces more shame and is ostracized more quickly and thoroughly the more conservative her culture.

Although teenage pregnancy is not usually a Christmas topic, it really probably should be. First century Palestine was very conservative. First century Galilee, and the small town of Nazareth were very conservative. Being an unwed mother in that town would have been very risky indeed! The Old Testament laws meant that a young woman caught in such a situation could face stoning or execution!

December 10, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Luke 1:26-45, 56 43:38 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 10 Dec 2017 21:19:00 -0500
A Long Awaited Promise December 3, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Luke 1:5-25 Have you ever had to wait a long time for something? I’m not talking about waiting in line to renew your passport or driver’s licence. I mean waiting a long time!Megan, at age 4, is starting to realize it’s a long wait to Christmas!  It’s another 22 days and she’s already getting impatient. She knows something good is happening soon.  We started celebrating Advent with her on Friday, which she had been looking forward to, but she thought Advent was “right before” Christmas. When we told her on Saturday that Christmas was still 3 weeks away, she said, “I don’t like Advent any more. I just like Christmas… when I get stuff.”Waiting a few weeks can feel like a long time. But have you ever had to wait for something for a really long time? I mean, like years?Have you ever had to pray for something for a long time?  Maybe you’ve been praying for a spouse for a long time.  (Either praying your spouse would come to the Lord or praying to actually have a spouse!)  Maybe you’ve been praying for a child (same prayers).  Maybe you’ve been praying for healing. I know we have people in our congregation who have been praying for healing for a very long time. I can only imagine it gets really discouraging!I’ve been the pastor at Priory for just about 14 years now. For pastors, that’s a long time! Average is only 3-5 years.  So 14 is a long time to be at a church, waiting and watching as God works in the church and in the lives of the people there. But honestly, 14 years is not a long time in God’s terms.At the time of our passage today, God had not spoken to Israel through a prophet or an angel for 400 years! [Norval Geldenhuys, Luke, p. 60]  Most people in Israel still believed God was meeting people’s needs, and active in the land, but through other means. They didn’t believe God was still revealing himself through revelation. [Darrell, L. Bock, Luke, p. 34] After all, it had been 400 years! (Interestingly, this was also roughly the time Israel spent in Egypt before the Exodus!)When we read the Bible, because it is a collection of the highlights of God’s activities in bringing his redemptive purpose to fruition, we get to see the prophets and angels all packed closer together. It is easy for us to miss the fact that decades and even centuries pass between these events!  So imagine Zechariah’s surprise when he encountered an angel in the temple!

December 3, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Luke 1:5-25 33:43 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 03 Dec 2017 21:19:00 -0500
EHR 8: Develop a Rule of Life November 26, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Hebrews 10:19-25; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Introduction…

Watching that video of NHL players working out made me tired. Just watching it made me aware of how little I exercise, how out of shape I am. I was tired just watching them work out. It’s pretty amazing, isn’t it, how hard they work their bodies, toning, building and shaping them to be tools to achieve their goals? While they are training, self-control and self-discipline are the name of the game. Their dedication to one thing means saying no to many other things, even things that are good.

Think about all the hard work that goes into competing at the highest levels of athletic competition! It’s profound. It’s mind boggling. And imagine, after all that work, you have a situation like the second video, the Monty Python video of the 100m race for people with no sense of direction. Isn’t that such a waste? Can you imagine working so hard just to run around in the wrong direction when the starter’s pistol went off? It’s ludicrous! The Monty Python video is silly in and of itself, but when you consider how much work would go into preparing for the Olympics, the contrast makes it even more absurd.

What are you dedicated to? Is there anything in your life that you are so dedicated to that you would put that much energy into it?

Why do athletes compete so hard? Why do the NHL players in that video train so hard? For them, it’s to win. Not just to win games, but eventually to win the Stanley Cup. Along with winning, of course, comes fame and fortune. They would all say that their goal is to win the cup, but I’m sure part of the motivation for working so hard is that they can sign larger, more lucrative contracts. Top players, like those in the video, make tens of millions of dollars. They make money from their teams, but they also make millions in sponsorship contracts. Companies like Nike and Reebok pay millions for athletes to wear their products and to be seen, photographed and filmed using their products. (Some of the footage we saw in the video is from such commercials!) Why? Because if these “great” athletes, these winners, use products we are more likely to use those products too!

November 26, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Hebrews 10:19-25; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 48:31 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 26 Nov 2017 21:50:00 -0500
EHR 7: Clean Fighting November 19, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Matthew 18:15-17 Introduction…

Is reading the Bible important? Do you believe it is important for Christians to actually read the Bible themselves? Has reading the Bible had an impact on your own spiritual life? Have you been drawn closer to God through reading his word?

Did you know that for a long time most Christians did not and could not read the Bible for themselves? For centuries in Europe, the Bible was only available in Latin and, even if it had been available in a local language, most people couldn’t read anyway!

This year marks the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. In 1517, Martin Luther nailed is 95 theological debate points to the local bulletin board which happened to be the door of the local church! This is traditionally held to mark the beginning of the Reformation.

One of the major emphases of the Reformation was that it was important for people to read the Bible for themselves. Martin Luther partnered with John Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press, to publish Bibles in German for the first time! In other countries, there was a huge push to publish the Bible in the local language so people could access scripture themselves. Luther believed that by reading God’s word for themselves, people would be drawn closer to God. I think he was right. Most of us, I suspect, would agree that reading the Bible for ourselves is an important part of Christian growth.

But it wasn’t enough to just publish Bibles in the local language! Most people in those days were illiterate. So literacy became a huge emphasis for the day, throughout much of Europe and certainly everywhere the Reformation was taking hold. Many families didn’t have anybody who could read. So, for example, in England, pastors would connect families together in the church and these families would meet together to read the Bible together. They would also pray and sing and have family worship times together!

A big push in Protestant countries became literacy programs. This wasn’t just an educational emphasis. This was a Christian mission. Why? Because if people were taught to read, they could read the Bible, God’s word, for themselves. They would be drawn closer to God, become Christians if they weren’t already, and grow as Christians once they were converted. It also allowed for the publication and distribution of other theological education material, like commentaries, catechisms and guides for family worship.

The goal was not just education for education’s sake, even though education has a huge positive impact on people. The goal was spreading the good news of Jesus to as many people as possible and helping them grow in the Spirit. The goal was for people to know the gospel personally.

Today, literacy is not a big issue in the West. What is the big issue facing this generation? Our biggest issue is isolation, loneliness, depression and suicide, especially amongst younger generations. Do you think the gospel has any good news for these people? Of course it does! The gospel is about relationships. The good news is that we have a loving God who is eager to restore our relationship with him and, as a result, our relationships with one another. This is powerful stuff for a hurting generation!

November 19, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Matthew 18:15-17 45:05 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 19 Nov 2017 18:10:00 -0500
EHR 6: Climb the Ladder of Integrity Ephesians 4:1-3, 29-32; Matthew 7:1-5 November 12, 2017 Rev. David Williams Introduction…

Imagine a fleet of ships sailing together as a convoy. Consider a fleet of naval ships, travelling across the ocean during war time. How do the ships function well together as a fleet or convoy? This is an illustration CS Lewis used during WWII in his radio addresses “Mere Christianity.” These radio addresses were later published as a book with the same title.

In order for the convoy to be successful, in order for them to successfully get where they are going, they have 3 criteria. First, they need to avoid drifting apart, or bumping into one another. The fleet cannot afford to be spread apart too far because then they become lost and easy targets for enemy submarines. Similarly, they can’t afford to bump into one another because that causes damage to the ships.

The second criteria for a successful voyage is keeping your own ship “ship shape.” That is, keeping your own ship in working order. If you don’t take care of your own ship and crew, your ship will fall behind, slowing down the convoy, or potentially sin. Similarly, if you don’t keep your steering mechanisms in good order, you will bump into other ships, getting back to criteria 1.

Third, you have to know your destination. You have to know and get where you are supposed to get. If the convoy sets out from England and is supposed to get to NY, then even if they don’t bump into one another, it’s not successful if they wind up in Brazil! So there are 3 criteria- don’t bump into one another but still stay close together, keep your own ship in proper working order, and know where you are going.

It’s interesting that in 2017 the US Navy has had 2 serious and fatal collisions involving its ships and civilian vessels. In both cases, extensive investigations were done to find out how such collisions happened. In total, over a dozen US sailors died in these incidents! The result of the investigations was that they found fault lay with a bunch of people on each US Navy vessel. Some of the crew were not properly trained. Others were lax in their duty. The commanders of each ship were asleep when the collisions happened and nobody woke them in time. Some of the crewmen were unfamiliar with how the ships controls worked. In general, US Navy ships spend so much more time on active duty now that they don’t get time to train properly. It has been a big mess and several senior Navy leaders and admirals have been fired!

CS Lewis used this illustration of a navy convoy to describe how morality works in society. That is, how do we get along well in society? First, we need to know how to avoid bumping into one another. Second, we know how to keep ourselves in proper moral working order. Third, we need to know where we are going, what is our destiny? If we are merely the result of blind evolution with no God, then our destiny is very different than if we are spiritual creatures created in the image of God destined for an eternity with him!

Lewis was writing over 60 years ago, but even then he noted that society was only interested in #1. That is, society was focussed on how we avoid bumping into one another, but failed to consider how we keep ourselves in good moral working order and failed to consider our ultimate destination. Today the situation is even more extreme! We have reduced morality to the statement “Do whatever you want as long as you don’t hurt anybody.” We have reduced it to #1, just don’t bump into anybody. We have forgotten about not drifting too far apart. We have forgotten how to keep ourselves functioning well (spiritually, emotionally and morally healthy) and we don’t even allow people to talk about ultimate destiny or destination.

Ephesians 4:1-3, 29-32; Matthew 7:1-5 November 12, 2017 Rev. David Williams 51:09 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 12 Nov 2017 23:26:00 -0500
EHR 5: Incarnational Listening Philippians 2:3-5 November 5, 2017 Rev. David Williams Introduction…Leprosy is a terrible disease.  It eats away at a person’s body and destroys them, piece by piece. Thank God, leprosy today is treatable and almost cured.  In the ancient world, the term leprosy referred to any sort of skin condition, especially involving white symptoms.  So psoriasis, among other skin conditions, would fall under the category of leprosy.Leprosy, in the Bible, was not only an unsightly condition, but it also had a social and spiritual effect. Under OT Law, a person with a skin condition, labelled leprosy, was cast out of the camp. They were religiously “unclean” which meant they were not allowed to take part in worship, nor were people allowed to come in contact with them or else they, too, would become unclean.  Lepers were forced to live outside towns and cities. They were cut off from their families, living in isolation. Typically, the only people who could live near lepers were other lepers!By Jesus’ day, lepers were forced to carry bells with them, ringing them and calling out, “Unclean! Unclean!” to give people a chance to get out of their way.  They spent their lives being avoided by everybody to make sure the disease didn’t spread.  Unlike today, as patients, they were cut off from society, left to fend for themselves, but also their physical condition affected their spiritual condition.  Lepers were unclean, unholy, unrighteous people.  They were cut off from people and from God!  I remember reading about at least one Pharisee who would literally throw rocks at lepers to make sure they didn’t come too close! The Pharisee was that concerned about becoming unclean himself![pic] So imagine the situation when a leper came running up to Jesus!  Most people would run away from a leper.  Jesus welcomed the leper, who fell at his feet and declared, “If you choose, you can heal me!”  Which is interesting because it was believed only God could heal leprosy! (2 Ki 5:1-14)The fascinating thing is that Jesus didn’t shrink back from the leper.  He didn’t avoid the leper, being careful lest he, too, become unclean.  He healed the leper, which is amazing. But he also touched the leper! Which was amazingly loving.  Nobody could touch a leper or else they would become unclean too. So nobody had touched this leper for a long, long time.  The leper, in faith, came to Jesus to be healed. Imagine how he felt at Jesus’ touch!  Jesus was fearless in the face of leprosy. He reached out and touched the man, healing him on many levels at the same time.Jesus addressed the man’s physical need- healing. He addresses the man’s spiritual need because being unclean with leprosy was a spiritual condition. He also addressed the man’s emotional need to be touched with affection.We are all spiritual and emotional lepers, longing to be touched. We may not have leprosy, we may not be outcasts. But today, especially in our digital world of texting, FB and email, our connection technologically has left a void for physical and emotional connection.

Philippians 2:3-5 November 5, 2017 Rev. David Williams 48:53 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 05 Nov 2017 22:25:00 -0500
EHR 4: Explore the Iceberg October 29, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Psalm 139:21-24 Introduction…

A couple years ago, Megan and I were outside playing. I think Megan was 2, maybe she was 3. Either way, she was barefoot. Suddenly, she said, “Ouch!” and she sat down on the deck steps. I came and looked at the bottom of her foot. I saw 3 little, dark lines on the ball of her foot. She had 3 little splinters from some plant.

I was able to grab one of the splinters with my fingers and pull it out. That didn’t feel good! Megan started to withdraw her foot. I told her she needed to hold still. Then I tried getting the next one. I couldn’t get it.

So we came inside. I got some tweezers. At this point Megan was starting to cry. I tried with the tweezers to get the splinters. I couldn’t get either one. Megan started to cry even more.

I texted Amy. She came home. We took turns holding Megan, trying to calm her, while the other person tried to get the splinters out. It didn’t work. We tried icing her foot. Didn’t help. Eventually, we decided we had to take her to a walk-in clinic.

At the clinic, the Doctor put a cream on the bottom of Megan’s foot to numb it. At this point, though, she was totally freaked out when anybody came near her foot. She kicked and screamed. We held her hard. Amy tried to soothe her while I tried to hold her. The Doctor had special tweezers he was trying to use. Eventually, he had to get a needle to poke into the skin to get to the splinter. Finally he got one out!

But there was still one in there. Megan was beside herself. Amy and I felt so guilty. We asked the Doctor if we could just leave the splinter, if it would work itself out. He commiserated with us, but said no, we had to get it out now. Otherwise it might get infected. It might work its way in deeper. Eventually, it might require surgery.

So Amy and I steeled ourselves again. We held Megan. Megan cried. The Doctor worked away on her foot. Finally, after what seemed an eternity, he had the final splinter out! We all cheered. Megan looked at us like we were the enemy. The Doctor gave her a couple lollipops. We went home, relieved that it was over.

It was difficult for Amy and I to make the right decision- to let the Doctor keep working on Megan’s foot. It was difficult for Megan to undergo the work. It was difficult for the Doctor to keep digging away at Megan’s soft, tiny foot with no callouses. But, as hard as it was, it was the right thing to do. If we hadn’t gotten those splinters out, there was no guarantee they would work themselves out, especially in a kid who would be walking and running around. There was a real danger of infection. The reality was that it would have been uncomfortable for Megan to walk on that foot as long as those splinters were in there.

This was a case of physical splinters in a child’s foot. I believe we all have spiritual and emotional splinters in our hearts. These spiritual and emotional splinters have worked their way in. They were not removed right away and they have caused infections and discomfort within us. I think most of the time we are not even aware we have a splinter in there. We just know there’s something tender, something swollen and sore, and we don’t let anybody or anything touch it. These splinters manifest themselves in anger, deep sadness or depression, anxiety, explosive behaviour or destructive behaviour.

When it comes to dealing with these splinters, it is very uncomfortable, even painful for us. We often panic like Megan did when we tried to remove the splinters from her foot. We often choose to live with these splinters instead of going through the trouble and pain of removing them. Because we usually don’t even know the splinter is in there, because it’s usually just a tender spot, we don’t even know that having the splinter removed is an option.


October 29, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Psalm 139:21-24 45:09 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 29 Oct 2017 20:04:00 -0400
EHR 3: Genogram Your Family October 22, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Luke 14:25-27 Introduction…

[pic] The Godfather. One of the most critically acclaimed movies of all time. It’s many things, but most of all, it’s a movie about family. That’s not to say it’s a family movie! It’s too violent to be a “family movie.” But it is about family dynamics in a violent, Italian, mafia family.

[pic] The patriarch of the family, Don (Vito) Corleone, is a powerful, violent man. He always says, “Never go against family.” He urges men around him to spend time with their families. And yet he has no problem destroying other people’s families!

[pic] The son, Michael Corleone, doesn’t want to be part of the mafia. He wants to distance himself from the family business. His father, Vito, also wants him to stay clear of the seedy underbelly of his mob family. Michael goes to college, he tries to stay out of the family business, tries to break free of family habits and behaviour. He tells his girlfriend that the violent business of running the mafia is his “family” but it is not him. But the movie is about how he is inexorably drawn back into the family. Not only that, but he becomes the head of the family!

Ultimately, Michael, the son, becomes just as violent as his father was. He even repeats his father’s quotation, “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” He tells his older brother, whom he surpassed for leadership of the family, “Fredo. You're my older brother and I love you. But don't take sides with anyone against the Family again. Ever.” Leaving behind him a swath of blood and death, Michael Corleone becomes that which he most dreaded, he becomes his father!

[pic] Few of us here come from families as violent and bloodthirsty as the Corleone family. But all of us have family traits, family “commandments” that we learned growing up. Maybe it is something like, “Never go against family,” but without the violence in carrying out that commandment! Perhaps one of your family commandments was, “You don’t get mad.” That was one of my family’s growing up. It was not just expected- it was spoken out loud. Another family commandment might be, “We never talk about our feelings.” Another family trait, perhaps not a commandment, is “You can say whatever you want when you’re angry. When you’re angry it doesn’t count.” By contrast, other families live by the maxim, “Never say anything when you’re angry because you can’t take it back!” Imagine when people from the first family marry people from the second kind of family!

[pic] Most families have at least one family secret that everybody, tacitly or openly, works to protect and hide from the outside world. Maybe it’s mental illness, or substance abuse. Maybe it’s physical or sexual abuse. Maybe it’s financial trouble. Who knows?

Regardless of the details, I think most of us have certain aspects of our families that we don’t want to repeat. We are desperate “not to be like our parents!” And then, as we get older, we start to see that we are becoming just like our mom and dad! I remember in university that happened to me for the very first time. Growing up, if I was upset about something, I frequently heard it said, “Oh, he’s just tired.” While it may have been true in that moment that I may have been tired, it never actually addressed what I was upset about. My actual concern, hurt or objection was dismissed under the saying, “He’s just tired.” I hated it.

October 22, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Luke 14:25-27 46:40 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 22 Oct 2017 12:29:00 -0400
Relationships Matter: Serve May 14, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: John 13:1-17 Imagine…

Imagine you sense a bad smell. You can’t figure out where it is coming from at first. Then you realize it’s coming from you. Or from your shoe at least.

Have you ever stepped in dog poop? You know how it gets all over the bottom of your shoe? If you don’t notice at first and you keep walking on it for a while, it really gets pushed into the grooves. If it dries out, it gets caked into the shoe. When you start cleaning it out, it stinks again. You have to scrape it and work it out. It’s a real mess.

Have you had to scrape poop off your own shoe? What if somebody else stepped in poop. Would you clean it off somebody else’s shoe? That would be a labour of love! Would you scrape dog poop off your boss’s shoe? What about a teacher’s shoe?

Would you scrape poop of Jesus’ shoe? If Jesus came to your house and you smelled that fragrance, and Jesus checked the bottom of his shoe, would you volunteer to clean it for him?

What if the poop was on your shoe? What if Jesus offered to scrape your shoe? Would you let Jesus scrape your shoes clean of such a stinky mess?

[pic] In the ancient world, people’s feet got really dirty. Far dirtier than our feet get today! Around Jerusalem, some of the major Roman roads were paved with stones, but most roads were dirt. It was also hot. As people walked, they got sweaty. The dirt and dust on the roads would billow up in clouds around their feet. The dirt would stick to the sweat on their feet. As they continued to walk, that dirt would dry out and get caked on.

But dirt was not the only thing on the roads. Remember, they didn’t have cars or trucks. Shipping, in those days, was done by donkey power! Low on carbon emissions, donkeys and horses, however, did have a different environmental impact. Their “exhaust systems” would leave nice piles on the road, which would get stepped on, mashed into the road, and spread along the path. People walking along later would inevitably step in this addition to the dirt and it, too, would get caked onto their feet and sandals.

Imagine, then, the state of people’s feet when they arrived at somebody’s home. Here in Canada, especially in the winter, we take our boots and shoes off at the front door when we enter a home. We don’t want to track snow or ice throughout somebody’s house. Imagine living in First Century Palestine. It wasn’t snow or ice you would worry about tracking through somebody’s home!

So it became customary to wash people’s feet when they entered your home. But, as we have considered, this would be an incredibly messy, smelly, nasty job. So it was a job reserved for the lowest of servants in the house! In some Jewish circles, it was prohibited to have a Jewish slave perform such a nasty task. It was the lowest of lowest jobs, messy, smelly and humiliating. As one scholar puts it, “foot washing was virtually synonymous with slavery.” [Andrew Lincoln, cited in Frederick Dale Bruner, John, p. 762]

We need to understand that foot washing was a sign of total submission. It was a sign of humility. It was humiliating to wash another person’s feet. If a person chose to wash another’s feet, it was a sign of great love and respect. We can be assured that, if asked, the disciples would have gladly washed Jesus’ feet, but they would never have washed one another’s feet! That would be a sign of inferiority. [FF Bruce, John, p. 280]

May 14, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: John 13:1-17 42:14 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 14 May 2017 12:05:00 -0400
Relationships Matter: Grow May 7, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Galatians 5:13-18, 22-26 Introduction…

[pic] Imagine a child. Imagine your child born. You are so excited! New birth is dramatic, painful, but exciting. Imagine, or remember, the joy of welcoming a new life into the world. Imagine holding that little baby in your arms.

Now imagine your child doesn’t grow. The baby is healthy, but never grows, never matures. As the baby approaches its first birthday, it still has no teeth, cannot crawl, and isn’t trying to learn words, nothing. At best, your baby has learned to sit up and hold up its own head. It’s still healthy as a first day old baby, but just doesn’t grow, learn or mature. As the child approaches two, he or she still isn’t crawling, talking or even eating solid food.

Would you think that was ok? Would you think that was normal? The baby is alive, isn’t that enough? It has life, so shouldn’t that be all that counts? I don’t think you would feel that way. I don’t think that would be any of our conclusions. If you were the parent of such a child, wouldn’t you be going crazy? You’d be taking your baby to every doctor imaginable! You’d be doing anything and everything you could to help that baby grow and mature!

So why don’t we approach our new life in Christ with the same attitude? When we find new life in Christ, when we are born again, born of the Spirit, there is so much excitement! Sometimes it’s painful, sometimes it’s dramatic, but it’s always exciting. So why is it that so often we just settle for new life? A year after our new birth, we are still eating spiritual milk, not meat. We barely learn to crawl, let alone walk. Five years after being born from above, we are not walking with the Spirit. We are still wearing spiritual diapers! Ten, fifteen, twenty years after new birth, we are still on milk, not solid food. We are crawling at best. And yet we think we’re fine! We think we’re doing great because we have new life in Christ. Is that normal? Why do we think it’s ok? But we do.

Here at Priory, our vision is to see broken people becoming whole through the love of Christ. Our strategy is to be a community in which to belong, grow and serve. Today we are going to take a challenging look at what it means to grow. Growth, or “discipleship” as it is typically called in Christian circles, is more than just reading your Bible and going to church. These can be two key elements of our growth, but they are not growth themselves, just like a baby drinks milk, which contributes to growth, but that is not actual growth.

May 7, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Galatians 5:13-18, 22-26 50:39 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 07 May 2017 12:05:00 -0400
Relationships Matter: Belong April 30, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Matthew 9:35-10:10 Introduction…

My heart fell as I looked up and saw who was coming towards me. “Not him!” I moaned inwardly.

I was in the student union building (the SUB). It was early in my third year of university. I was a small group leader for our Inter Varsity chapter. My friend Matt and I were leading a small group at Matt’s house and somebody named Steve had emailed me saying he wanted to join it but didn’t know where Matt lived. I told Steve I would meet him at the SUB. Then I saw who “Steve” was. I groaned inwardly.

I didn’t know Steve well, but I had a bad first impression of him. He was a mature student, in his 30’s, who struck me as a person who wanted attention. Sometimes I overheard him making provocative comments about God, seeming to invite argument. I just didn’t like him. And here he was, coming to our small group. Crud!

It turns out that Steve was muttering similar things under his breath when he saw me that evening too. He hadn’t had a very good first impression of me either. He thought I was a stiff with a rod implanted in an anatomically impossible place. He told me that later. When we were best friends.

You see, Steve and I never would have chosen to be friends. We had bad first impressions of one another. We didn’t have a lot in common. He was a married father of 3, studying in a liberal master’s program. I was 20, single, studying math on my way to becoming a math professor. We didn’t think we had anything in common. But what we forgot is that we had Jesus in common!

Over the next couple months, through our small group Bible study, Steve and I became best friends. I discovered that his provocative comments were driven by a desire to know about the Bible. He had a lot of non-Christian, often religiously hostile friends who were always feeding him information and arguments against Christianity and the Bible. Steve, you see, has dyslexia and reading was a challenge for him. He needed friends who had knowledge of the Bible to teach him how to respond to these arguments. I became that friend.

Over the next 2 years, Steve and I spent hours talking about God, the Bible and Christianity. In high school I had read a lot of books on apologetics, and even more useful, my Dad was a professor of theology at the time. I could ask him questions and discuss things with him and then carry that information to Steve. Steve and I would play pool together, go to my favourite coffee shop, and generally hang out together, almost always talking about Christianity at some point. Steve would ask questions that would challenge my understanding, but he was always asking from a position of faith. I knew he was “safe” to talk about these things with because he loved Jesus. He wasn’t trying to undermine my faith, he was trying to strengthen his own and find ways to talk to his non-Christian friends about the same things. We built a great friendship founded on our mutual relationship with Jesus and our respective gifts.

But Steve and I would never have chosen to be friends! We didn’t like each other at first. We would not have gotten to know each other if it wasn’t for being “forced” by circumstances to be in a small group together. Steve later told me that he had looked at every small group being offered that term and mine was the only one that fit his schedule. When he realized I was the leader, he was so disappointed! And then he realized it was God’s intervention in his schedule directing him to join my small group. If it had been up to us, we never would have chosen to be friends. But God, in his wisdom and mercy, pushed us together. And his kingdom was glorified.

April 30, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Matthew 9:35-10:10 46:31 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 30 Apr 2017 12:04:00 -0400
The Crucifixion: The Death of Death April 16, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Luke 24:1-12 I want you to imagine that you knew Jesus in the flesh. Imagine that you were one of Jesus’ followers while he was still here on earth. I’m not suggesting you imagine you’re one of the Apostles, one of the 12, unless that is helpful for you. But there were a number of other “disciples” who followed Jesus, learned from him, ministered in his name but were not part of the inner group of 12.

Imagine that you are one of Jesus’ disciples, one of his followers. Imagine what it would have been like after Jesus was crucified. Imagine the shock. Imagine the disillusionment. Imagine the sorrow that such a great friend, a wonderful leader, a man you loved was dead. Imagine the fear. Imagine the fear that you might be next! Now that the chief priest and temple authorities have gotten rid of Jesus, your leader, what will stand in the way of them hunting you down and doing the same to you? You saw how the fickle crowd in Jerusalem turned on Jesus in the matter of a few days. First they are cheering him into the city, “Hosanna! Hosanna!” and then, within days, they are screaming, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Certainly that same crowd would turn on you and the other followers of Jesus.

Imagine what it would have been like in those first days after the death of Jesus. Imagine gathering together with some of the other followers, including the 11 apostles now that the traitor is gone. Imagine huddling with them, locked in the upper room, wondering what was going to happen next. Every knock on the door is a cause for alarm. Together, though, you find some comfort. You remember together what Jesus was like. You lament together his loss. The only thing worse than grieving Jesus’ loss would be grieving it alone.

Imagine, in your grief, that there is a knock at the door and an anxious chatter outside. Bartholomew opens the door and a handful of women scurry into the room, looking over their shoulders. They are babbling something. Mary and Joanna hush them and Mary Magdalene steps forward. She looks at all of you, but especially Peter. “We went to the tomb this morning. We took spices to tend to the body. But when we got there, Jesus was gone! There was no body! He’s alive!!”

Salome pipes in that they saw two angels at the tomb! One of the angels even spoke to them, asking why they were looking for the living among the dead. The angel said that Jesus was alive and to come tell you all.

What would you think in that moment? What would be going through your mind? Likely, you would not believe the women. They were just women after all. Would you think the body had been stolen perhaps? Maybe those cursed Romans had taken the body to feed to the dogs! Or maybe the Jewish leaders had taken it because they didn’t want the body of one they labelled a blasphemer to be properly buried. Maybe, but not likely, the women had gone to the wrong tomb? What would you think?

April 16, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Luke 24:1-12 34:42 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 16 Apr 2017 12:17:00 -0400
The Crucifixion: A Torn Curtain April 2, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Mark 15:21-41 Imagine…

I want you to imagine that you’ve been invited to witness an execution. [pic] Canada doesn’t have the death penalty, so this is not realistic in our country, but imagine with me. Is this something you would attend? Executions are never pretty. They are always final. They are heavy. How would you feel witnessing an execution? What if the person was a hardened murderer? A serial killer, perhaps?

I have a feeling we would all be uncomfortable with such a thing. It’s not a form of entertainment in our culture, although at one time it was. At one point in history, public executions drew tremendous crowds, but not anymore. And I think that’s probably a good thing.

[pic] A number of years ago, 1999 to be precise, there was a movie, “The Green Mile,” starring Tom Hanks. The movie took place in the death row wing of a prison. Over the course of the movie a number of people are executed by means of the electric chair. It was a very good movie, nominated for 4 Oscars, with redeeming qualities, but the execution scenes were always chilling. I personally really liked this movie, except for the execution scenes. I do not envy the officers responsible for looking after death row prisoners or carrying out executions. There is a necessity to be cold, efficient, prepared and trained in order to do this job. It would be difficult.

We don’t have public executions any more. We don’t see them. The closest we come is movies like the Green Mile. And the executions are chilling. They make us uncomfortable. And they should.

So it is understandable that when we read of an execution in the Bible it should be chilling. It should make us uncomfortable. Certainly that is true in the case of the execution of Jesus, his crucifixion.

Easter is just a few weeks away. I know every year, trying to work in a Palm Sunday sermon, it always feels rushed trying to look at everything that happened the week leading up to Jesus’ death and resurrection. There is a lot packed in there! So this year we are going to look at the crucifixion this week. Next week we will rewind to the Triumphal Entry of Palm Sunday. On Good Friday we will look again at the crucifixion from another angle. Finally, on Easter Sunday we will look at the resurrection. It’s a little bit “back and forth” but, unless we want to have services every day of Holy Week, it’s hard to even scratch the surface of all the events described in the four Gospels during that week. We haven’t even mentioned the Last Supper which also took place in those days!

April 2, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Mark 15:21-41 46:37 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 02 Apr 2017 12:15:00 -0400
Reach One: Closet Christians (Video) March 19, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Matthew 5:13-16 Introduction…

In the video we just saw, from the TV show Seinfeld, the man, Puddy, is Elaine’s boyfriend. They discover that he is a Christian because of the radio stations he has pre-set in his car. It wasn’t his behaviour. It wasn’t something he said. It was his radio station choices.

[pic] When they finally confront Puddy, he admits he is a Christian. But what is his response to Elaine when she asks, “Is it a problem for you that I’m not religious?” He says, “Not for me. I’m not the one going to Hell….” Later he encouraged Elaine to steal the neighbour’s paper because he doesn’t want to steal. Elaine is upset. She is angry that he both thinks she is going to Hell and doesn’t seem to want to save her.

Elaine has a point! As Christians, it should really bother us that people we know are going to Hell if they do not have a life-changing encounter with Jesus! It should bother us and we should be doing something, at least caring about them.

In many ways, this is the heart of our “Reach One” ministry. We want to foster an attitude in our church of caring for others, including non-Christians, and praying for 1 person in our life. We need to care. While it is not up to us to “save” anybody, it is our responsibility to care for and pray for people and to be willing to cooperate with the Holy Spirit to help people take steps towards faith in Christ.

The biggest problem in the video clip is that Puddy doesn’t care about Elaine’s destiny. The second biggest problem is that other than radio music and a Jesus fish on his car, there is nothing in Puddy’s life that reflects his Christian belief. His lifestyle, his attitude do not reflect new life found in Christ. He is not a man walking with the Spirit. He is not reflecting Jesus’ character to the people around him. His girlfriend, who he is sleeping with, isn’t even aware that he’s “religious” let alone a Christian!

Now, let me ask you, do your friends know you are a Christian? Is there evidence in your life, visible to friends, co-workers and neighbours, that you follow Jesus? Is your faith more than just a bumper sticker and radio station choices?

Here in the West, we do not need to fear formal reprisals for our faith. Many who follow Jesus live in countries where it can get them in trouble. I’m not suggesting that people in closed countries should be broadcasting their faith if it means getting arrested for no good reason. That being said, a suspect most believers who face persecution like that demonstrate their faith in their daily lives much more than we do! I would be willing to guess that their friend, co-workers and neighbours would not be surprised to hear they are Christians because of the fruit of the Spirit present in their lives!

We, though, present here this morning, are free to practice our religion. We need not fear the government's interference if we let people know we follow Jesus. So are we showing our faith? Are we living it out or are we “closet Christians”? Do we hide our faith in order to fit in? Do we hide our faith in order to avoid embarrassment or to ingratiate ourselves with people whose admiration we desire? Do we just act like Christians on Sundays? Or at home? Or with a select group of friends?

March 19, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Matthew 5:13-16 41:12 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 19 Mar 2017 11:30:00 -0400
My Hope: Sanctification (Video) March 5, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Colossians 3:1-14 Introduction…

[pic] It’s amazing how a huge ship, a massive vessel, weighing thousands of tons, can be turned by a rudder, a relatively small panel on the back of the ship that turns left or right. And the rudder is controlled by a wheel on the bridge of the ship! A huge vessel, capable of braving the high seas, carrying tons upon tons of cargo, is controlled and directed by a small wheel. That wheel sets the course of the ship according to the wishes of the captain.

Over the years, we’ve talked a lot about repentance here at Priory. Repentance is when we adjust the trajectory of our lives so that we are heading straight towards God. Repentance, that course correction, that adjustment of where we are headed, is like steering a great ship. It is what moves the rudder of our life so that we steer straight for Jesus.

Repentance is what brings us to Jesus in the first place. The point of conversion, or the process of coming to Christ involved repentance. We’ve been talking about evangelism and reaching one person for Christ, cooperating with the Holy Spirit to help one individual in our lives take steps towards faith in Christ. [diagram] We’ve depicted that process of taking steps towards faith in Christ by a scale from 1 to 50. This is evangelism.

But why does the scale end at 50? Is there nothing beyond? Sadly, too often in the West, we act like there is nothing beyond accepting Jesus. Too often, we are so concerned with getting a person “to that point” that we fail to continue to cooperate with the Spirit to help that person move beyond 50!

[diagram] Moving beyond 50 to 100 is a different process. We call that discipleship. Today we are going to talk about a neglected part of discipleship. We are going to talk about cooperating with the Holy Spirit to take steps ourselves towards being conformed in the image of Christ. I think that may be a good definition of discipleship: cooperating with the Holy Spirit to take steps towards being conformed in the image of Christ.

This requires that we change our trajectory. We must continually be adjusting the rudder of our life to make sure our course is taking us towards God, towards being conformed in the likeness of his Son, Jesus. We must be continually cooperating with the Spirit if this is to happen.

But what is the rudder of our life? That’s a great image, but what is the thing that steers the ship of our life? Our life’s rudder is our heart. [pic]

Now, the Bible has a special word to describe this process of being conformed in the image of Christ. That word is “sanctification.” This is what we are talking about today, that often neglected part of the Christian life, sanctification. Sanctification is the divine process in us which sets us apart for special use for God, making us holy. [Thomas Watson, Body of Divinity, p. 240] If you think of the scale from 50 to 100, the more like Christ we are in our character, actions and life, the further along we are to 100. That is, the more like Christ we are, the closer we are to 100, the more sanctified we are. Sanctification is another way to measure Christian maturity!

March 5, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Colossians 3:1-14 46:06 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 05 Mar 2017 02:13:00 -0500
My Hope: Adoption (Video) February 26, 2017 Rev. David Williams Imagine…

Have you ever thought about adoption? Perhaps some of you here are adopted yourselves, or have siblings who are adopted. To my knowledge, though, none of us who call Priory home have actually adopted any children ourselves. [pic]

Last week, I told you about my friend Mike Nicholson and his conversation with a person in his church about Calvinism. Mike and his wife Rachael adopted a little girl. They know her grandparents through church. The girl’s biological mom is a troubled young woman. Her first daughter lives with the grandparents because mom has some issues with drugs. So when she became pregnant with a second child, Children’s Aid Society immediately told her she could not keep the baby. She approached Mike and Rachael, who had done some babysitting for the grandparents, if they would be interested in adopting this second child. Mike and Rachael thought and prayed about it and agreed. They had just a matter of months to make the decision; the mom was already pregnant!

That adoption surprised Mike and Rachael. They had not pursued adoption. They had not been looking for a child to adopt. Literally, somebody rang their doorbell one day and asked if they would like to adopt a baby!

Now, imagine this. My parents live near Wheaton College, a Christian school outside Chicago. Over the past few years my parents have gotten very involved with international students studying for the ministry at Wheaton. They have gotten to know a number of African and Chinese students.

One of the African students who recently graduated is from Uganda. His name is Robert and he is a Bishop for the Baptists in Uganda. (You can go puzzle out Baptist Bishop on your own….) Robert and his wife had no children of their own. They had tried but seemed unable to conceive. A number of years ago, a Muslim woman with 5 children became a Christian and started coming to Robert’s church. I don’t know if her husband had become a Christian or not, but died while his children were young. Then the mom died. It was very sad.

Rob did the funeral for the woman. And as is customary at the funeral, which was a public event with many people present, Robert also read the woman’s will. It is done this way in public so there is no question of what the will said within the community.

As Robert was reading the will, he came to the place where the woman described her wishes for her children’s care. Imagine Robert’s surprise as he was reading this woman’s will when it said that it was her will that he, Pastor Robert, and his wife have her 5 children!!! I can imagine he stopped, reread what was on the page, and, being in front of everybody, had to keep going! Amy and I met Robert on one of our visits with my parents. I remember he said he was completely shocked! He had no idea this was the woman’s plan! He looked at the 5 children, sitting in the front row of the church, and then at his wife. She nodded. They took the children home!

February 26, 2017 Rev. David Williams 43:11 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 26 Feb 2017 21:23:00 -0500
My Hope: Called (Video) February 19, 2017 Rev. David Williams Romans 8:28-32 Introduction…

Last week I was talking on the phone with my friend, Mike Nicholson. Mike is a pastor down in Dutton, on the other side of London. When he was in seminary he did 2 years of field placement here at Priory and we became very good friends.

Mike had a funny story to tell me. He said that at his church they started a men’s small group and they were using a Bible study curriculum by a well-known American pastor and author. After the first session, Mike wasn’t particularly impressed with the material. He thought it was a bit dry.

A man from Mike’s church approached Mike and said, “Pastor, I don’t know if I can keep doing this study.” Mike asked him why, thinking he, also, found it dry. Nope. The man replied, “I think this guy is a Calvinist!” That was why he didn’t think he could do the study- the author was a Calvinist!

Mike looked at him and said, “I’m a Calvinist.” His parishioner was startled! He looked at Mike like he had just admitted to being a murderer or paedophile. He couldn’t imagine that Mike is a Calvinist! Mike and I laughed because I, too, am a Calvinist. As I like to put it, though, I’m a “closet Calvinist.”

February 19, 2017 Rev. David Williams Romans 8:28-32 39:07 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 19 Feb 2017 22:07:00 -0500
My Hope: My Remedy February 12, 2017 Rev. David Williams Romans 3:20-26 Imagine that you are a slave. [pic] Imagine that you are a black slave in the southern States in the mid-1800s. You spend your days working on a plantation, often in chains. If you disobey you are beaten. Any thought of escape is farfetched.

You have heard rumours that some slaves do escape and when they reach the North they are allowed to live free. But you don’t know anybody who has ever escaped. However, after a few years of slavery, you hear that war has broken out. There is a titanic struggle going on between the North and the South. Rumours abound that they are fighting over slavery. But they are merely rumours. It has no effect on your daily existence, but you do start to see soldiers marching past the plantation.

Two years after the rumours of war begin to circulate, there is a new rumour. All slaves in the United States have been declared free! The president, a man named Abraham Lincoln, has signed a decree emancipating all slaves. What wonderful news! There is excitement among the slaves on the plantation. There is hope! But still, there is no tangible change in your experience day to day.

How would you respond? How would you feel about the news that you had been declared free? Would it make a difference in how you worked? Would it give you hope for the future? Would it help you hang on, waiting to be released from your chains? Imagine that your freedom was promised, even if it was to be delivered in the future. Realize, too, that your freedom is not because of anything you have done yourself. You didn’t sign the Emancipation Proclamation. You didn’t vote for Abraham Lincoln. You aren’t even able to take up arms and fight in the Civil War to secure victory for the North. You have been freed wholly by the work of others.

What does it mean to be declared free? What does it mean if you are still feeling the chains of slavery on your wrists?

I think it makes a tremendous difference in one’s attitude. I think it would make one feel gratitude that somebody cares to see you free, and not only cares, but does something about it. I think it would be encouraging to know that somebody in power was using that power to secure your freedom. I think it would create gratitude towards those fighting for your freedom, people who had never met you and didn’t know you, but were willing to die for you.

Now imagine that your problem is much deeper than slavery. Imagine that your problem is one of eternity. Imagine that your shackles, although invisible, could not be broken by human means, either presidential decree or even war. This is what we are going to talk about today. This is what Paul was talking about in Romans 3. Martin Luther said that the passage we are about to examine is not only the centre of Paul’s letter to the Romans, but the centre of the whole Bible! [Cited in Douglas Moo, Romans, p. 218] This is the heart of Christianity. This is the heart of our hope as Christians.

February 12, 2017 Rev. David Williams Romans 3:20-26 37:19 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 12 Feb 2017 17:23:00 -0500
My Hope: The Problem of Sin February 5, 2017 I want you to imagine you’re sitting down and your “reach one” person comes over.  For those of you who are new or visiting, we want each person here at Priory to have one person in mind, their “reach one” person, whom they are regularly praying for.  This person should be somebody in your circle of acquaintances.  Maybe it’s somebody in your family. Maybe it’s somebody from work. It could be a friend, or a neighbour.  It needs to be somebody you know and see under normal circumstances.  Our role with our one person is to pray for them regularly that the Holy Spirit would bring them to saving faith in Christ.  We will also pray a commitment that we will cooperate with the Holy Spirit to help this person take steps towards faith in Christ.

 Most of us have our one person already picked out.  If you do not, please pray that God would lay somebody on your heart to pray for and to be willing to help take steps towards faith in Christ.  Picture you one now.  Imagine you’re sitting down and this person comes over to talk to you.  As they sit down, they ask you, “What do you think the greatest problem is facing the world?”  Maybe it’s poverty. Or maybe it’s lack of food or water.  Maybe it’s economic disparity.  Maybe it’s dishonesty, or dishonest politicians, or dishonest bankers.  What is the greatest problem the world faces?

 What do you think you would answer?  Is this the kind of discussion you would expect to have with your one?  Do you think you would have a ready answer?

February 5, 2017 36:49 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 05 Feb 2017 13:57:00 -0500
My Story: The Damascus Road January 29, 2017 Rev. David Williams Acts 9:1-22 Scripture: Genesis 3:8-24 Imagine you are on a boat, a ship actually, crossing the Atlantic Ocean. It is the 18th Century, which means your ship is a large wooden ship of sail, driven by the wind across the waves of the deep sea. Your journey will take 6 weeks if the weather is favourable, 8 to 10 weeks if the weather doesn’t cooperate. You are headed from England to the colony of Georgia. There you hope to start a new life, receiving some land of your very own!

January 29, 2017 Rev. David Williams Acts 9:1-22 Scripture: Genesis 3:8-24 39:25 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 29 Jan 2017 12:56:00 -0500
My Story: The Gaza Road January 22, 2017 Rev. David Williams Acts 8:26-40 Scripture: Acts 8:36-40 As you know, we have been talking about Reach One for the past few weeks. Our hope here at Priory is that each of us will have one specific person in mind that we will be praying for and preparing ourselves to share our own story of faith with. We are praying for the Holy Spirit to work in this person and bring this person to saving faith. Along the way, we submit to the Spirit and becoming willing to cooperate with the Spirit to help our “one” person take steps towards faith in Christ. So we are praying for them and for ourselves, submitting to God and being willing to cooperate with His work.

I want you, now, to think about your “Reach One” person. Hopefully you all have one person in mind. Last week, we had the opportunity to write the name of our one on a slip of paper and put it in the box here in the sanctuary. Each time you see that box, be reminded to pray for your one person and recommit yourself to cooperating with the Spirit to help that person take steps towards faith in Christ.

January 22, 2017 Rev. David Williams Acts 8:26-40 Scripture: Acts 8:36-40 43:55 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 22 Jan 2017 12:55:00 -0500
My Story: The Emmaus Road January 15, 2017 Rev. David Williams Luke 24:13-36 Scripture: Luke 24:13-36 Introduction…

Have you ever had an “aha moment”? Have you ever had one of those moments when all the pieces clicked into place and you had a sudden and new understanding about something? Often they are unexpected, or the final piece of the puzzle that puts everything together is unexpected. We sometimes see this depicted on TV, especially cartoons, when a lightbulb goes on above somebody’s head.

January 15, 2017 Rev. David Williams Luke 24:13-36 Scripture: Luke 24:13-36 42:41 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 15 Jan 2017 12:54:00 -0500
My Story: Cultivating Christians January 8, 2017 Rev. David Williams 1 Cor 3:1-9 Genesis 3:8-24 Introduction…

Listen to this passage from a Canadian author, Sandra Tsing Loh, in her book Depth Takes a Holiday:

We were halfway through a lovely Thai dinner; we had discussed the music of John Coltrane; we had discovered a common love of volleyball. Our faces were flushed. Lanterns swayed hypnotically. Grasping my hand, Jeff impulsively leaned forward. “Sandra?”

“What?” I asked huskily.

“Have you accepted the Lord Jesus as your savior?”

January 8, 2017 Rev. David Williams 1 Cor 3:1-9 Genesis 3:8-24 34:23 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 08 Jan 2017 22:57:00 -0500
Jan 1, 2017 Jan 1, 2017 Jan 1, 2017

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