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, 18 Jan 2020 11:10:00 -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 I've Heard It Said: Jesus Never Said Anything About Homosexuality Rev. David Williams - Mark 1:1, John 21:24-25 Rev. David Williams - Mark 1:1, John 21:24-25 40:40 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 12 Jan 2020 12:32:32 -0500 I've Heard It Said That Paul Is Just A Guy So What He Wrote Doesn't Matter January 5, 2020 sermon January 5, 2020 sermon 42:47 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 05 Jan 2020 13:17:08 -0500 How shall we then live in 2020? Rev. Royal Hamel Rev. Royal Hamel 42:37 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 29 Dec 2019 12:19:17 -0500 Advent: Love Rev. David Williams - John 3:13-21 Rev. David Williams - John 3:13-21 45:01 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 22 Dec 2019 12:41:53 -0500 Advent: Joy December 15, 2019 Sermon December 15, 2019 Sermon 36:55 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 15 Dec 2019 12:35:11 -0500 Advent: Peace December 8, 2019 sermon December 8, 2019 sermon

December 8, 2019 sermon 47:04 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 08 Dec 2019 12:52:00 -0500
Advent: Hope December 1, 2019 sermon December 1, 2019 sermon

December 1, 2019 sermon 37:24 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 01 Dec 2019 13:16:00 -0500
Desire: To Flourish November 24, 2019 Sermon November 24, 2019 Sermon 45:05 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 24 Nov 2019 12:33:13 -0500 Desire: To Be Someone Rev. David Williams - 1 Cor. 7:21-23, Eph. 3:14-19 Rev. David Williams - 1 Cor. 7:21-23, Eph. 3:14-19 44:13 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 17 Nov 2019 12:34:23 -0500 Gender Identity (Part 1 - Rev. David Williams) Gender Identity Presentation - November 10, 2019 Gender Identity Presentation - November 10, 2019 46:54 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 10 Nov 2019 22:31:04 -0500 Gender Identity (Part 2 - Robert Wenman) Gender Identity Presentation - November 10, 2019 Gender Identity Presentation - November 10, 2019 30:27 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 10 Nov 2019 22:27:48 -0500 Gender Identity (Part 3 - Q&A) Gender Identity Presentation - November 10, 2019 Gender Identity Presentation - November 10, 2019 44:56 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 10 Nov 2019 22:19:36 -0500 The Blessedness of Actually Trusting in God; Psalm 84 November 10 2019 sermon Rev. H. November 10 2019 sermon Rev. H. 42:12 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 10 Nov 2019 13:57:59 -0500 Dave and Diane Returning from Kenya November 3 2019 sermon November 3 2019 sermon 47:47 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 03 Nov 2019 13:01:00 -0500 Desire: Seek First Rev. David Williams - Matthew 6:25-34 Rev. David Williams - Matthew 6:25-34 45:47 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 27 Oct 2019 13:19:47 -0400 Desires: A New Attitude October 20, 2019 October 20, 2019 41:50 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 20 Oct 2019 12:47:31 -0400 Desires: What Do You Want? Rev. David Williams - 1 Peter 2:1-12 Rev. David Williams - 1 Peter 2:1-12 52:35 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 13 Oct 2019 12:44:13 -0400 Reflection on what Baptism Means Rev. David Williams Rev. David Williams 13:10 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 06 Oct 2019 11:59:16 -0400 Guest Sermon: God's Mercy to Those Trapped in a Lukewarm State, Rev3:14-22 September 29, 2019 Sermon September 29, 2019 Sermon 35:23 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 29 Sep 2019 13:00:39 -0400 The Holy Spirit: Tools of Cooperation September 22, 2019 Sermon September 22, 2019 Sermon 48:51 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 22 Sep 2019 13:22:51 -0400 The Holy Spirit: Living in You Rev. David Williams - Romans 8:1-16 Rev. David Williams - Romans 8:1-16 47:36 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 15 Sep 2019 13:12:20 -0400 The Holy Spirit: The Third Person of the Trinity August 25, 2019 Sermon, Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 5:1-5 August 25, 2019 Sermon, Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 5:1-5

August 25, 2019 Sermon, Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 5:1-5 45:28 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 25 Aug 2019 23:18:00 -0400
The Holy Spirit: Breathe of God August 18, 2019 Sermon August 18, 2019 Sermon 40:48 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 18 Aug 2019 12:27:34 -0400 My Neighbour Wants to Know Why Bad Things Happen to Good People August 4 2019 Sermon August 4 2019 Sermon 46:50 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 04 Aug 2019 13:03:41 -0400 My Neighbour Wants to Know: How Do I Respond to the Opioid Crisis July 28 2019 sermon July 28 2019 sermon 43:59 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 28 Jul 2019 13:03:50 -0400 My Neighbour Wants to Know: Why We Should Go to Church? Rev. David Williams - Hebrews 10:19-25,32-36 Rev. David Williams - Hebrews 10:19-25,32-36 45:05 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 21 Jul 2019 12:50:08 -0400 Royal Hamel: The Delightful Gift of an Accurate Diagnosis July 7 2019 Guest Sermon July 7 2019 Guest Sermon 42:51 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 07 Jul 2019 13:18:53 -0400 My Neighbour Wants to Know if Atonement is Divine Child Abuse Rev. David Williams - John 10:14-21 Rev. David Williams - John 10:14-21 44:12 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 23 Jun 2019 12:40:56 -0400 My Neighbour Wants to Know About Homosexuality 2019-06-09 2019-06-09 43:40 (ppbc) ppbc no Mon, 10 Jun 2019 13:27:30 -0400 My Neighbour Wants to Know: People Who Haven't Heard About Jesus Rev. David Williams; Romans 2:2-12, 10:12-15 Rev. David Williams; Romans 2:2-12, 10:12-15 42:46 (ppbc) ppbc no Mon, 27 May 2019 19:56:40 -0400 My Neighbour Wants to Know About the Old Testament 2019-04-28 Sermon 2019-04-28 Sermon 46:55 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 28 Apr 2019 13:32:46 -0400 Palm Sunday: Responding to Jesus April 14 - Luke 19:28-42 - Rev. David Williams April 14 - Luke 19:28-42 - Rev. David Williams 39:50 (ppbc) ppbc no Thu, 18 Apr 2019 21:13:37 -0400 The Lord's Prayer: Lead Us March 31, 2019 March 31, 2019 39:35 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 31 Mar 2019 13:37:05 -0400 The Lord's Prayer: Your Will Be Done March 10, 2019 - Rev. David Williams - Matthew 6:9-13 March 10, 2019 - Rev. David Williams - Matthew 6:9-13 43:54 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 24 Mar 2019 20:09:25 -0400 2019-02-17 Sermon February 17, 2019 2019-02-17 Sermon

February 17, 2019 38:49 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 24 Mar 2019 14:06:00 -0400
The Lord's Payer: Forgive Us March 24, 2019 2019-03-24 Sermon

March 24, 2019 48:06 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 24 Mar 2019 13:54:00 -0400
The Lord's Prayer: Our Daily Bread March 17, 2019 March 17, 2019

March 17, 2019 34:33 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 24 Mar 2019 13:39:00 -0400
The Lord's Prayer: Your Kingdom Come March 3, 2019 - Matthew 6:9-15 March 3, 2019 - Matthew 6:9-15

March 3, 2019 - Matthew 6:9-15 45:46 (ppbc) ppbc no Tue, 05 Mar 2019 20:44:00 -0500
The Lord’s Prayer: Teach Us How to Pray February 10, 2019 - Rev. David Williams - Luke 11:1-4 February 10, 2019 - Rev. David Williams - Luke 11:1-4 36:54 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 10 Feb 2019 14:20:50 -0500 Mission: Serve Sermon on serving with the right motives Mark 10:35-45 Sermon on serving with the right motives Mark 10:35-45 38:28 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 03 Feb 2019 13:32:14 -0500 Mission: Grow January 27, 2019 - Rev. David Williams - 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 January 27, 2019 - Rev. David Williams - 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 37:51 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 27 Jan 2019 14:35:05 -0500 Belong 2019-01-20 January 20, 2019 Sermon for January 20 2019

January 20, 2019 47:43 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 20 Jan 2019 14:05:00 -0500
Vision: Broken Sinners Becoming Whole Through the Love of Christ January 6, 2019 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Romans 3:21-24; 6:22-23; 8:18-25 January 6, 2019 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Romans 3:21-24; 6:22-23; 8:18-25

January 6, 2019 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Romans 3:21-24; 6:22-23; 8:18-25 43:34 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 06 Jan 2019 21:12:00 -0500
Solving the 2019 Puzzle Dec 30, 2018 Noel Tiango Podcast Episode

Dec 30, 2018 Noel Tiango 29:59 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 30 Dec 2018 20:11:00 -0500
20181224MOV62F_16x9.audioonly Podcast Episode Podcast Episode 55:42 (ppbc) ppbc no Mon, 24 Dec 2018 20:11:00 -0500 20181223MOV62D_16x9.audioonly Podcast Episode Podcast Episode 52:06 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 23 Dec 2018 20:11:00 -0500 Joy Podcast Episode Podcast Episode 44:05 (ppbc) ppbc no Wed, 19 Dec 2018 09:38:25 -0500 Love Podcast Episode 12-09-2018

Podcast Episode 40:10 (ppbc) ppbc no Wed, 19 Dec 2018 08:59:00 -0500
20181202MOV624_16x9.audioonly Podcast Episode Podcast Episode 35:22 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 02 Dec 2018 18:48:00 -0500 20181125MOV621_16x9.audioonly Podcast Episode Podcast Episode 38:02 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 25 Nov 2018 18:48:00 -0500 20181118MOV61E_16x9.audioonly Podcast Episode Podcast Episode 45:00 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 18 Nov 2018 10:27:00 -0500 Truth Infused With Hope: Truth That Holds On To Me Mathew 14:22-33 Mathew 14:22-33

Mathew 14:22-33 40:10 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 28 Oct 2018 21:15:00 -0400
20181021MOV613_16x9.audioonly Podcast Episode Podcast Episode 47:14 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 21 Oct 2018 19:42:00 -0400 Truth Infused With Hope: Freedom vs. Autonomy October 14, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: 2 Corinthians 3:15-18; Genesis 3:1-9 Imagine two kids on the playground. One starts doing something the other doesn’t like. The second one says, “Hey, quit it!” The first retorts, “It’s a free country isn’t it?” This may be a playground level argument, and rather unsophisticated, but really it models many other, more mature conflict. Doesn’t freedom mean I can do what I want? In our clip from the Simpsons, Chief Wiggum says, “I say, ‘If it feels good do it.’” The doctor giggles and snaps Wiggum’s underwear. It feels good to the doctor. But Wiggum doesn’t like it, “Don’t snap my undies.” If it feels good, just do it leads to inevitable conflict when what feels good to one person doesn’t feel good to another!

Imagine now, another playground scene. This is taken from real life. Imagine a junior high school surrounded by a fence. Each time you drive by you see all the kids leaning against the fence, gazing out at the world. You drive by day after day seeing these kids leaning on the fence, and you feel bad for them, so you decide to do something about it. You talk to the school and bring it up with the school board and the decision is made to remove the fence over the weekend. The next week you drive by, expecting to see the kids reveling in their newfound freedom. Instead, you see all the kids far away from the road leaning against the school building! You thought they were sad being restricted by the fence. It turns out that they actually found the fence to be the support they needed to be comfortable! Now that the world can come closer, they retreat to the school building to find safety. They now lean against the only other support they can find.

There’s a powerful lesson in this true story about kids and their need for boundaries. There’s a similar need for all of us to have good boundaries. Yet our culture has decided there is no objective truth, no objective boundaries, that boundaries are not something “out there” giving me space in which to move, but boundaries have now been withdrawn to our own person. My boundaries are what I choose, and frankly only apply to my body. In removing objective boundaries that give clear space in which to move and clear demarcation of where it’s not ok to move, we have actually shrunk the zone of safety.

October 14, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: 2 Corinthians 3:15-18; Genesis 3:1-9 49:26 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 14 Oct 2018 11:49:00 -0400
Truth Infused With Hope: Seen October 7, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Luke 7:36-50 Introduction…

We all want to be seen. – Video we just watched (made by a Christian, actually!)

-Huffington Post – secular article about being seen for who we are vs categorized in school and society

-We all want to be seen as we are, who we are deep down, the “real” us vs a persona or mask we wear

-We all want to be KNOWN and loved just as we want to know others and love them- It’s actually how God designed us!

We all want to be seen.

-begins at a young age: think of a little girl, twirling in her skirt, “Daddy, Daddy! Look at me!” She’s saying, “Do you see me?”

-or a little boy playing Little League. He gets up to bat and checks over at his parents, “Do you see me?”

Older – teenagers and young adults going to school or going out (think U of G) – dress up, dancing, etc. “Do you see me?”

Adults too! Husbands and wives, “Do you see me?” At work, trying to impress the boss, “Do you see me?”

We all want to be seen. We all want to be known. We all want to be accepted and loved, told that we matter.

-Cultural touchstone- YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. “I want to be seen!”

-Clutter of images, hard to be seen! And even when people see us with their eyes, not always seeing us.

That is what happens in our text today….

October 7, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Luke 7:36-50 49:22 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 07 Oct 2018 23:15:00 -0400
Truth Inspired With Hope: Life to the Full September 30, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: John 10:7-13 What is your purpose? Ariel found a fork and a pipe. She didn’t know their purpose. Scuttle, her seagull friend, acted like he knew all sorts of things he didn’t really know. He instructed her to use the fork as a comb and the pipe as a musical instrument! That’s funny for us watching because we know the truth. Under the sea, it was inconsequential for Ariel to know the true purpose of a fork or a pipe. BUT! When she came to have dinner with people who regularly used forks and pipes, when it came to communicating with them and building a relationship with them, not knowing the purpose of a fork and a pipe was disastrous!What is my purpose? Of what use am I? What was I designed for? To glorify God and enjoy him forever! This is actually the first question in the Westminster Larger and Shorter Catechism, foundational documents for the Reformation in England. They start at the right place! What is our purpose? What is the meaning of life? To glorify God and enjoy him forever. - starts with to know God!Our culture is lost, lonely, depressed and anxious; hopeless. We talked about this last week. We are no longer just “Post-Modern” but “Post-Truth.” Even if there is objective truth out there, we no longer care. All we care about is how we feel and what we prefer. This leaves us with no sense of purpose in life beyond what we can make of it. Heroic attempts to make a good life for oneself, but it’s like combing your hair with a fork. It’s fooling when you know what the real purpose is.How did this start? How did we get so far? We have abandoned God. No wonder we don’t know where we are going! We have abandoned our purpose and design. We are pipes being blown on hoping to make a musical sound. Instead we are just blowing ash in one another’s face!Our society needs truth infused with hope. Last Sunday, Henry Xie came to speak with me after the service. He’s in med school and he did a unit on psychology in Calgary – only indicator for suicide? Hopelessness! We are in desperate need of hope. We are in desperate need of the Truth.People are falling for all sorts of other answers to the meaning of life, investing heavily in other answers such as money, fame, success, comfort, popularity, family, friends and the like. Investing heavily in terms of time, money and hope. Ultimately not up to the task of brining meaning to life!Jesus spoke a lot about life. In John’s Gospel in particular there are lots of instances where Jesus speaks of eternal life, life to the full, that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, etc. Let’s see what he has to say in John 10 about being the gate and the good shepherd.

September 30, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: John 10:7-13 44:32 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 30 Sep 2018 10:50:00 -0400
Truth Infused With Hope: The Bread of Life September 23, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: James 3:1-12 We live in strange times! Indeed, times are changing rapidly around us. There are those here who remember when everybody went to church. It was normal and expected. There are those here who lived through the 1960’s and the “sexual revolution.” There are those who remember, who have lived through the cultural and philosophical shift from “modernism” to “postmodernism” and seen its effects even if they cannot define those terms.

For those of you wondering, Postmodernism is a worldview, a lens through which to view reality, that rejects the notion that there are objective truths, truths that apply to all people at all times. We are not able to go into all the details on this today. There have been tons of books written on the subject from both Christian and non-Christian perspectives. But, suffice it to say, one of the consequences of Postmodernism is that people say things like, “What’s true for you is true for you, what’s true for me is true for me.” Truth, right and wrong, religious views and the like are all considered equally valid or invalid, it’s all a matter of personal preference.

But times are changing! You see, even at the height of Postmodernism, people recognized that it was a transitional worldview. Almost immediately, people recognized that statements such as “There is no objective truth” is a statement about objective truth that is either true or false. It cannot be the case that there are objective truths or universal truths for just some people, but not all people. Postmodernism has very little firm foundation. It has some legitimate critiques of the “Modern” worldview, but in and of itself it is insufficient.

We no longer live in a Postmodern culture. We live in a post-truth culture. [Abdu Murray, Ravi Zacharias Summit 2018: “Clarity in a Culture of Confusion,” Toronto, July 2018.] What is that? Post-truth culture elevates feeling and preference over fact and truth. This is the culture we live in today. Postmodernism is a worldview that is ignorant or agnostic. We either cannot know absolute truth or we are unsure if absolute truth exists. Agnostic means “We can’t know” or “We don’t know.” Post-Truth culture, by contrast, is not only ignorant but also apathetic “I don’t care.” There may be absolute, objective truth, but in a Post-Truth worldview it doesn’t matter, we don’t care.

In Postmodernism truth, morality, right and wrong are individual preferences and choices. You can see how that really elevates our preferences and choices! We get to choose right and wrong for ourselves! That puts us in the driver’s seat. It gives us control. It makes us powerful- the arbiters of truth and morality! At least for ourselves.

What matters most now, however, is not truth or reality but feeling and preference. In a Post-Truth culture we may grant you that there is objective truth out there, but we don’t care. We’ve literally idolized our feelings and preference, made them our gods, so truth is less important than how I feel or what I want.

September 23, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: James 3:1-12 50:19 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 23 Sep 2018 21:47:00 -0400
James: Prayers of Faith September 16, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: James 5:13-20 Podcast Episode

September 16, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: James 5:13-20 44:50 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 16 Sep 2018 00:01:00 -0400
James: Patience in Suffering September 9, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: James 5:7-12 Podcast Episode

September 9, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: James 5:7-12 44:49 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 09 Sep 2018 00:01:00 -0400
James: A Warning to the Wealthy Sept 2, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: James 5:1-6 Imagine the world was going to end tomorrow. Or imagine that Canada was being invaded by a foreign army. What would you do? What would matter? What if a hurricane or a blizzard was coming? How would you prepare? What would you spend your money on? When an ice storm is in the forecast, or other extreme weather, people go out and buy survival packs for their home, stocking up on batteries, bottled water, blankets and such. Why?

When you know danger is coming, it changes your priorities! Your future goals shape how you use your money now. When the future suddenly become much shorter than anticipated, and more dangerous or final, it radically shifts how you spend your money! So, if an army was invading Canada, you wouldn’t care about your pension or mortgage payments. If the world was ending tomorrow, you wouldn’t worry about your investment portfolio. You wouldn’t care about how old your car was either! If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, it would change what you did today, including what you did with your money.

James gives a stern warning to carelessly wealthy people, people who have no sense of the coming judgment of God. They don’t realize that their destiny includes facing God, or that it may come significantly sooner than they wish!

This section in Chapter 5 fits with end of 4 “boasting about tomorrow.” Both passages are about having a prideful attitude about the future and are addressed to people with the wealth to make bold plans to make more money in the future. Our passage today, however, is different because this section seems to be addressing non-believers. How do we know? Chapter 4 ends with calls to repentance, whereas Chapter 5 opens with “pronouncement of doom” like Prophets of old. There is no offer of forgiveness or call to repentance. This is different from the rest of James which seems to be directed towards Christians. Let’s see what it says!

Sept 2, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: James 5:1-6 50:59 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 02 Sep 2018 21:55:00 -0400
20180819MOV5FB_16x9.audioonly Podcast Episode Podcast Episode

Podcast Episode 45:30 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 19 Aug 2018 21:54:00 -0400
James: Spiritual Wholeness August 12, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: James 4:1-12 August 12, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: James 4:1-12 50:27 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 12 Aug 2018 20:27:59 -0400 James: A Little Spark James 3:1-12 July 15, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: James 3:1-12 Introduction…

I remember growing up in Nova Scotia we had a very nice house. One feature in this house was its air-tight wood stove. We used this stove for heat throughout the winter, supplemented by electric baseboards. When it was cold, each night, we would let the fire die down until there were no flames visible, just some hot coals. We would then pack the stove as full of wood as possible then leave it with the air vent shut off.

As the night wore on, hidden beneath all that wood, the little embers would quietly heat up the closest piece of wood. From the outside, you couldn’t see anything happening, but sometime in the middle of the night, without fail, the stove would reach a critical turning point. Suddenly, a piece of wood, close to the hot embers, would reach ignition temperature and there would be a loud “whoosh!” sound. All the wood would suddenly burst into flame! The wood in the stove, packed in tight, would then burn through the rest of the night, keeping the house warm.

The chimney ran up the wall next to my bedroom. I remember sometimes in the spring, when the weather wasn’t as cold at night, but we still needed a fire, I would wake up the middle of the night sweating! The wood stove was so hot, the heat coming up the chimney would make my room hot!

When we went to bed, there was no sign of flame in the stove. There was no “fire” burning. But there were hot embers. Once or twice I was up late, or came down in the middle of the night, and I saw the fire flare up. It was remarkable! It was a good thing that the stove was well made and kept that fire in place!

Fire is a wonderful thing when it’s kept under control, when it stays within its boundaries, such as a stove or fireplace. Fire keeps us warm, it cooks our food, it provides light in the darkness. Fire even gets us from one place to another- fire is what makes most of our car engines work! (Unless you drive a Prius… that I don’t know what’s going.)

But, when fire escapes its boundaries, it can be terribly destructive. Fire that runs out of control can burn our house down, burn our town down, burn a forest down. Unchecked fire causes millions of dollars of damage every year and claims many lives. Not long ago, we were all gripped by the news about Fort McMurray. Wildfires swept across northern Alberta and burned down most of the town, an important centre for the oil sands industry. Even now, two years later, the town is not rebuilt. Only a fraction of the homes have been fully repaired or rebuilt. Up to half the town is still being rebuilt. Fire can be terribly destructive!

And it doesn’t take much to start a fire. If conditions are dry, a cigarette butt, an improperly extinguished campfire (same principle as our wood stove!), or even lighting can start a blaze that, if left unchecked, can burn down an entire forest. It just takes a spark, a tiny spark, to set something ablaze.

This is the metaphor James uses in Chapter 3. Actually, it is one of several metaphors James uses to describe how we use our words. James says that our tongue is tiny, but, just as a tiny spark can start a fire that engulfs a huge area, our tongues can do tremendous damage. Let’s take a look.

July 15, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: James 3:1-12 49:03 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 15 Jul 2018 23:42:00 -0400
2018 Faith Revealed in Action July 8, 2018 Rev. David Williams July 8, 2018 Rev. David Williams 45:38 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 08 Jul 2018 00:04:00 -0400 James: The Law of Love July 1, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: James 2:1-13 Introduction…

James told us in Chapter 1 to “become doers of the word.” What does that look like? Consider Jesus.

Jesus turned the world upside down. Certainly, he turned the social world on its head! He ate with sinners and battles with the religious. One particular way in which he did this was on the night of the Last Supper. Jesus washed his disciples’ feet! He was the teacher, the master (not to mention the Son of God) and he stooped down and washed the filth and dust off his students’ feet. We must remember, people in that region walked everywhere in sandals. Roads were not paved with a few exceptions. Roads were dirty and dusty. The only other mode of transport was animal. Have you ever seen the exhaust system on a donkey? And that sort of “exhaust” would get mashed into the road and then walked on again and again. This was the stuff Jesus was washing off his disciples’ feet! This was the job for a slave. Not only a slave, but the lowest slave in the entire household! And here was Jesus, the master, going against the world’s way of doing things, washing his disciples’ feet.

Often becoming doers of the word means going against the way the world does things. Jesus, the Rabbi, washing his disciples’ feet, was going against the world’s way of doing things! True religion, in James’ words in Chapter 1, means taming our tongue, which is contrary to the world’s ways. It also means looking after the widows and orphans, the economically hopeless. This is even more contrary to the world’s ways!

James 2:1-13, our text for today, is James applying 1:19-27, the passage we examined last week. In that section last week, we saw James’ instructions to be slow to speak and slow to anger, to cast off the moral filth that is so abundant, not just to listen to the word but to become doers of the word. He used the image of the mirror and encouraged his readers not to forget what the mirror of God’s law showed them about their heart, but to keep gazing into the law and to be transformed. He said that “true religion” tames the tongue and looks after the economically hopeless.

Today’s text expands upon how to control what we say while we look after the poor.

July 1, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: James 2:1-13 46:12 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 01 Jul 2018 22:38:00 -0400
Faith: Just Do It James 1:19-27 June 24, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: James 1:19-27 Introduction…

James says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Right now, you are in church. You’re about to listen to the word. In a little while, you’re going to leave this place and go out “into the world.” Are you going to do what the word says? Or are you going to deceive yourself? Are you going to merely listen to the word, or are you going to actually do what it says? On Monday, when you go to work, or to school, are you going to do what it says? In your relationships with family, friends and co-workers are you going to do what it says? When you go home from church today, are you going to do what the word says?

I think James must have felt like the preacher in the video sometimes. ( Actually, I think Jesus probably felt that way many times during his earthly ministry. I think God probably feels that way a lot with all of us! What are we doing? We’re making him look bad!

Last week, we began our summer-long look at James. We touched on a couple things that are relevant to today’s message as well. First, remember, James was writing to primarily Jewish Christians. They were familiar with living a “holy” lifestyle, a godly lifestyle. The lifestyle conversion from Judaism to Christianity would not be as radical as the lifestyle change of many Gentiles to Christianity. So, as James is writing to them, he does not need to remind them of the immorality of many things that Jews consider immoral. James doesn’t need to address sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, etc. like Paul had to because James was writing to people whose moral background, whose moral framework was pretty much the same as that of Christianity.

The error many Jewish Christians in the first century would be in danger of falling into was that they believed they were on good terms with God merely by being Jewish. Their identity as “the Chosen People” of God could lead them to a false sense of eternal security, a false sense of righteousness with God. Religious ceremony, like going to the Temple for festivals, reading the Law (the Old Testament), going to synagogue, etc. might lead them to think that they were “ok” spiritually speaking. This is one of the things James addresses in his letter.

Another idea I want to draw on from last week, to remind you of this morning, is the idea of “wisdom.” In James 1:5, he says that if anybody lacks wisdom they can ask God. We talked about the fact that there is a whole category of writing called “wisdom literature,” which includes books like Proverbs. Wisdom is about living a godly life. Wisdom is about how to walk with God closely.

Where we left off last week, the last verse of that section, was verse 18: He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created. There are two ideas in that we need to keep in mind as we approach our text today. First, the “word of truth” comes up in our passage today, “do not merely listen to the word.” Notice that it is through this word that God has given us new birth, or new life in Christ. Second, notice James is writing to those who have new life in Christ! He is writing to Christians, to believers. He is not writing to non-Christians, trying to win them to faith. He is writing to those who have faith, who have committed to Jesus.

June 24, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: James 1:19-27 47:59 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 24 Jun 2018 12:06:00 -0400
EHS: Becoming an Emotionally Mature Christian June 3, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: 1 John 2:12-17 Introduction…

The difference between an infant and a toddler is astounding. The difference between a toddler and a young adult is similarly astounding! We don’t expect infants to behave like toddlers. Nor do we expect toddlers to behave like young adults. We just don’t expect that of them!

But sometimes toddlers behave like infants. They have meltdowns and scream and cry. Similarly, young adults have been known to behave like toddlers at times. But what if your toddler always acted like an infant? What if your young adult never developed beyond the abilities of a toddler? What about adults who always act like children? We would know something is wrong! We would be terribly concerned. We wouldn’t be satisfied with, “Oh, they’ve been born. That’s all that matters! They’re alive!” No, we’d be concerned as to why they were not developing and maturing!

And yet, when it comes to our spirituality, how often do we see Christians who should be mature, acting like spiritual toddlers or infants? How often do we, ourselves, throw spiritual temper tantrums (or real ones)?

Frankly, one of the reasons that the church in the West has lost so much ground over the last century is due, in part, to Christians who act like spiritual infants and toddlers. The church, the body of believers, has lost credibility because too many Christians who’ve been Christians a long time, are not maturing and developing spiritually. But, contrary to what our response would be to adults who didn’t mature developmentally, Christians often throw up their hands and say, “Well, they’re born again. That’s all that matters! They have new life!” We’re not concerned as to why they are not developing and maturing emotionally and spiritually.

In fact, when confronted with such immature Christians, we often cover for them! We ignore their immature activities, we appease them, we try to sweep it under the carpet. And in the end, not only is the individual never helped to grow spiritually, but the church community as a whole suffers.

This should not be so! Jesus’ doesn’t want us to remain spiritual infants. He wants us to grow and mature. The “theological” word for this is sanctification. What it means is being transformed by the Holy Spirit in our character so that we are more like Jesus. But the Spirit only works with those who are cooperating with him. He will not do violence to our will. So we are often left as spiritual infants because we are not using the tools the Spirit gives us to cooperate with Him to become more like Christ. It’s gotten to the point where we don’t even know we’re supposed to be growing up! We don’t even realize there’s a problem, that most of us are spiritually stunted.

But there’s good news! “Jesus loves you just the way you are, and too much to let you stay that way.” Jesus loves us when we are spiritual infants (actually, he loves us even before that- while we were yet sinners Christ died for us!). Spiritual infants are saved, their future is eternal life at the resurrection.

Jesus loves us too much to let us stay spiritual infants. He wants us to know the Father, so grow in the Fruit of the Spirit, to overcome evil, to love others as we love ourselves. This includes finding healing from our brokenness, overcoming the sin that dwells within our hearts, overcoming the effects of others’ sin upon us, causing wounds and brokenness of another kind. Jesus would have us grow in joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.

Jesus loves the church, but he’s not satisfied with churches filled with anger, gossip, control, backbiting, sexual immorality, greed and the like. Jesus wants us to grow up! He wants us to stop living like spiritual infants and toddlers!


June 3, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: 1 John 2:12-17 46:31 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 03 Jun 2018 15:33:00 -0400
EHS: God Wants to Spend Time With You May 27, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Exodus 31:12-17 Imagine…

I want you to imagine a relationship you’re in. Maybe it’s your marriage (if you’re married) or a close friend, roommate or family member. Imagine this person that love. Now imagine that every time you are with them, all they do is talk and talk and talk. I mean really talk! They never stop! You can’t get a word in edgewise. You can’t even agree with what they’re saying because they won’t stop talking!

Imagine, now, on top of all that talking, that whenever they are in your presence they can’t sit still. They have to always be doing some activity when they’re around you. Maybe they’re doing nice things. Maybe they’re cleaning up the dishes, or fixing something you asked them to fix. They might be doing really good stuff for you, but they’re still always moving, always active, always talking, never still.

If you were in a relationship like that, how would it make you feel? What do you think the other person might be missing out on in your relationship?

Now, let me ask you a question. In your prayer life, do you let God get a word in edgewise? Or do you talk, and talk and talk? Even if you’re saying good things, praising God or thanking God, are you always the one talking?

Similarly, when you set time aside to spend time with God, are you always doing something? Are you always serving, or reading devotionals, or even reading the Bible? All these things are good, but do you ever just stop and enjoy being with God? Do you ever just take time to enjoy God’s presence?

Changing gears, a bit, let me ask you how busy are you? On a scale of 1 to 10, how busy are your weeks? Do you consistently find you have too much to do and too little time? Are you on the go all the time? When do you rest? If you don’t rest, when will you spend time with God?

Sometimes, it’s important just to spend time with someone. Just to be in their presence, enjoying their company is a good thing! Megan and I really enjoy just hanging out sometimes. In the mornings, when I get up with her, I try to spend a few minutes just sitting on the couch with her, drinking my coffee, enjoying being with her. We aren’t doing anything together. We’re not playing together, or involved in an activity. I’m not entertaining her. We’re just enjoying being with one another.

Similarly, with Amy, there are times where we just enjoy being together. We don’t have to be doing anything, we are just together. These are important times for me. I actually feel pressure, sometimes, to always be “doing” something with Amy or Megan. I worry they’ll get bored or that I’m responsible to entertain them, or wow them or do something big to show them they’re special to me. But, while it’s important to do special things with your family, it’s also important to sometimes just enjoy being together. The togetherness is what’s special, their presence is what you’re enjoying, not the activity.

It’s the same with our relationship with God. Yes, it is important to worship Him, to serve Him, to spend time in the Bible, to spend time reading devotional material, or ministering to others in His name. Yes, these are all important things! But it is also important, sometimes, to just enjoy being in God’s presence, to just stop, be still and know that He is God.

Let me ask you, when you’re busy, when you’re always running around, is that abundant life? Jesus came that we might have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10b). When we are over-worked, over-scheduled and over-busy, is that the abundant life that Jesus promised? I don’t think so! Are you too busy to have abundant life? Because that’s not what God intended for his people! In fact, that runs contrary to the example God wants his people to set for the world.


May 27, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Exodus 31:12-17 39:08 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 27 May 2018 22:09:00 -0400
EHS 5: Enlarge Your Soul Through Grief and Loss May 20, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Hebrews 5:7-9 Introduction…

Owain has Down Syndrome. Owain is my friend Bob’s son. Bob is a pastor near Ottawa, but I actually know Bob from Nova Scotia. He was one of my Dad’s students in seminary and I got to know him through the InterVarsity group on campus.

Bob and I recently spoke about Owain. Bob told me that he and his wife, Michelle, struggled with grief when Owain was born. Part of their struggle was that they felt like they were grieving Owain, and that felt wrong and came with guilt. Then they came to understand that what they were truly grieving was all of their lost hopes and expectations for Owain that they held. Owain was not likely to fulfil many of their expectations or the things they projected onto Owain. They realized that wasn’t Owain’s fault, that was theirs. Their expectations and projections onto Owain were their own “junk” not Owain’s. When they realized that and were able to grieve and overcome their “stuff,” their “junk,” they were able to love and enjoy Owain on his own terms.

Now, here’s the remarkable insight Bob shared with me: all parents grieve their unfulfilled expectations for their children, they just usually spread that grieving and mourning out over 20 or 30 years as their children grow up! Bob and Michelle were able to mourn those losses up front. That then freed them to love Owain on his terms, not theirs!

Bob and Michelle grew and matured through their grief and loss. They brought it to the Lord and discovered that much of what they were mourning was junk in their own hearts, not stuff in Owain himself. They have come to love their child with a disability in a profound way and, I suspect it has shaped how they love their older daughter too!

Grief and loss, mourning, are not bad things in and of themselves. In fact, we can grow tremendously through them, if we allow God to use them to shape us and refine us to be like his Son. Jesus himself learned through grief and loss. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus wrestled with God in prayer. He prayed and wept that he would not have to go through the crucifixion, but even as he asked that God would “Take this cup from him,” he continued, “Not my will, but your will be done.” These events are described in the Gospels, but is further discussed in the book of Hebrews. Let’s take a look.

May 20, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Hebrews 5:7-9 37:22 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 20 May 2018 21:26:00 -0400
EHS: Journey Through the Wall May 13, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Psalm 23:1-6 Introduction…

Let me ask you, have you ever gone through the dark night of the soul? Have you ever had a crisis of faith or felt like you were walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death? Let me reassure you, you’re in good company!

Elijah was the greatest prophet of the entire Old Testament. 1 Kings describes a civil war in Israel after which the 10 tribes in the north broke off to become “Israel” with their capital in Samaria and the remaining 2 tribes, centred on Jerusalem, became Judea. The author then goes on to describe 60 years of turmoil in the north in which king after king “does evil in the sight of the Lord,” turning towards idolatry. Finally, after a number of kings are assassinated, Ahab comes to the throne. The author of 1 Kings points out that Ahab was even worse than all those who had come before! And Ahab married Jezebel, a princess from another nation, who was even worse than Ahab was himself. Jezebel turned out to be the power behind the throne, driving the nation of Israel even deeper into the worship of Baal and Ashera.

Ahab began ordaining Israelites to be priests for Baal, the storm god, and his consort Ashera. Together they were believed to oversee fertility in the land, bringing rain, sunshine and good crops. As Ahab was ordaining priests for Baal, Jezebel was killing off prophets of the Lord, Yahweh!

Onto the scene appears Elijah. We are told that Elijah was called “Elijah the Tishbite” meaning he came from Tishbe, somewhere in Gilead. But Tishbe was so small and insignificant a town that we have no idea where it is today. So from the sticks in the hill country comes the fiery prophet of God whose very name means “My God is Yahweh.” Elijah appears out of nowhere in the narrative and the first thing he does is tell Ahab that for all his worship of Baal the storm god, it will not rain again in Israel until Elijah says so. Elijah promises that it will not just be days, weeks or even months, but years until it rains again!

Then Elijah is directed by God to go hide East of the Jordan river. There God provides for him miraculously through the years of drought in Israel. God even provides for Elijah in a foreign country by means of a widow whose oil, through God’s provision, never runs out!

After 3 years of drought, Elijah returns to Israel and confronts Ahab for a great showdown. On Mount Carmel, facing off against 400 prophets of Baal and Ashera, two sacrifices are presented. The real god will answer with fire. After Baal fails to answer all morning, Elijah prays that God would turn the hearts of his people back to Him by answering with fire. God answers dramatically with so much fire that not only is the sacrifice Elijah offered consumed, but even the water Elijah had poured around it and the very stones of the altar themselves are consumed! The people are amazed and begin chanting that Yahweh is God!

At Elijah’s command, the prophets of Baal and Ashera are rounded up and slaughtered. Then Elijah tells Abah, “You better get home, cuz it’s gonna rain!” Elijah prays for rain and God sends it. Under the power of the Spirit, Elijah then races on foot against Ahab’s chariot and beats Ahab back to Ahab’s palace. There, Ahab informs Jezebel of all that Eljah had done (interestingly all that Elijah had done, not Yahweh!), including slaughtering her priests of Baal. Jezebel sends word to Elijah that she is out for blood and swears that she will see Elijah killed just as she had killed the other prophets of Yahweh.


May 13, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Psalm 23:1-6 44:02 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 13 May 2018 12:09:00 -0400
Getting a Grip (Rev. Gord Rutledge) May 6, 2018 - Psalm 73:1-5,13-16 May 6, 2018 - Psalm 73:1-5,13-16 24:52 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 06 May 2018 12:23:17 -0400 Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: Going Back to Go Forward April 29, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Luke 14:25-27 Close your eyes for a moment. I want you to imagine your heart. Not your physical heart, but your “inner heart.” I want you to imagine deep inside yourself you heart that defines who you are, your character. I want you to imagine your heart that contains your thoughts, feelings, will, desires, preferences and imagination.

Now, on your heart I want you to imagine writing. On your heart are written words, written messages about who you are, what you believe, what you value, etc. As you turn your heart over, as you examine it, there are many messages on your heart. Some of these messages are true. Some of these messages are false. Some of these messages are downright lies. Open your eyes.

God designed our hearts to have messages written on them. One of the primary means by which God has messages written on our hearts is our family. This is the way God designed us, for our character to be formed, our values, wills etc. But because of the Fall, because of sin entering the world, negative messages can be written on our hearts as well.

From the time we are born, the world starts inscribing messages and words on our hearts. From the time we are born, Satan starts trying to write lies on our hearts about who we are, what we should value, and our own value. He doesn’t try to write those messages directly. He tries to use others, to use circumstances, to write those lies on our hearts. Sometimes he uses the sin of others. Sometimes he just shifts our understanding of messages, of events or words from other people.

Jesus’ goal in our redemption includes rewriting the messages on our hearts. Scripture refers to giving us a heart of flesh vs a heart of stone, or, in another passages, about giving us a white stone with a new name on it. Remember, “name” in Scripture means character, so the white stone with a new name means a new character. To shift to our metaphor, Jesus, in bringing us new life, wants to rewrite the messages on our heart. He wants to sandblast off the lies of the devil and write new truths on our heart.

Now, let me ask you, who has had the strongest influence on you in your life? Who has written the most messages there? It is your family. For most of us, our family did its best to write positive messages on our hearts. But even our families, even if they are believers, are still tainted by sin. Even Christian families write bad messages, or incomplete messages on our hearts. Why? Because all families have been affected by sin.

Let me give you an example of how messages get written on our heart. My sister, Elizabeth, remembers when she was 5 or 6 years old being outside our house. For some reason, she doesn’t remember, my Dad had a ladder outside going up to the roof. Perhaps he was painting, or maybe cleaning out the gutters. Who knows? But somebody stopped by and my Dad started talking to them. Suddenly, my Dad started looking around for Beth. She was nowhere to be seen. Then he looked up! She had climbed up the ladder onto the roof without him noticing! She was fine. She wasn’t afraid. She was having a grand old time. But my Dad knew it wasn’t safe up there so he said, “Elizabeth, come back down.” However he said it, Beth heard the fear in his voice. Suddenly, she was afraid! They got her down without incident, but to this day Beth is terribly afraid of heights.

Now, was my Dad wrong to tell her to come down? Was my Dad wrong to be worried about his 5 year old being on the roof by herself? No, of course not! But a message got imprinted on my sister’s heart, “Heights are not safe.” She’s never overcome that message.

April 29, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Luke 14:25-27 43:55 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 29 Apr 2018 22:18:00 -0400
EHS - Know Yourself the You May Know God April 22, 2018 - Colossions 3:1-11 April 22, 2018 - Colossions 3:1-11 40:52 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 22 Apr 2018 12:48:43 -0400 EHS: The Problem of Emotionally Unhealthy Spirituality April 8, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Matthew 23:25-28 April 8, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Matthew 23:25-28 45:57 (ppbc) ppbc no Wed, 11 Apr 2018 21:52:52 -0400 Easter: The Day the World Changed April 1, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Luke 12:1-12, 36-48 Introduction…

I love the Lord of the Rings. Tolkien’s trilogy has sold millions of copies for decades. It is beloved by generations and has even been translated into several dozen languages. There have been several film adaptations, including the most recent and most famous series released in 2001.

Why do these books hold such appeal? While I cannot speak for everybody, I know some of the reasons I love these books and have reread them numerous times. First, there is the classic struggle of good versus evil, of light versus dark. Second, the main character, the Hobbits, are the quintessential “little guy.” They are small of stature, peaceful by nature and not known to have much use for “adventures.” But it was a few of these “little guys” who brought an end to the great evil power, Sauron. Tolkien himself has said that Hobbits are modelled after “the typical Englishman.” The Lord of the Rings is, then, very much a “David vs Goliath” story.

Another feature that draws people in is the amazing attention to detail on the one hand (Tolkien was a linguist and literally created several complete fantasy languages for the characters in his books!) and the sweeping, epic nature of the story on the other hand. Throughout the trilogy, there are repeated references to events and people from ages gone by in the fictional world of Middle Earth in which the story takes place. It turns out that Sauron, the evil villain in the books, was but a lieutenant of a far greater evil force, Morgoth, thousands of years earlier! So throughout the books, there are reminders of a greater story going on, a much longer story and history behind the tale you are reading.

At one point in the second book, hero Frodo and his best friend Sam are about to sneak into the land of Mordor, the home of Sauron. Their goal is to sneak up to the volcano, Mount Doom, where the “one ring” was forged in order to cast it into the fire and destroy it. Weary from their journey, surrounded by darkness and enemies, Sam reminds Frodo that he has a crystal which contains light from a magical gem from long ago that was part of the story of Morgoth’s defeat. Sam and Frodo talk about the fact that they are part of that greater story stretching back thousands of years. While the characters may enter and leave the stories, the great stories continue on and on. They wonder whether or not their story is one with a happy ending or not. But realizing they are part of that bigger story, realizing that they are following in the footsteps of great heroes of the past, of the heroes of their childhood tales, encourages them and gives them the strength to carry on a bit further.

In another good movie, “Stranger Than Fiction,” Will Ferrell plays and accountant, Harold Crick, who starts to hear a voice in his head. The voice is a woman’s voice and while it doesn’t talk to him, it does narrate events in his life. He comes to realize it isn’t schizophrenia because the voice doesn’t seem to know he is there, that he is listening, and it isn’t talking to him, rather it is describing him with startling accuracy. With the help of a literary professor, Harold Crick realizes he is a character in a famous author’s novel! He is hearing that author as she types out his story! His task, then, becomes to determine if this story is a comedy or a tragedy. The difference being that in a comedy the main character lives happily ever after, but in a tragedy the hero of the story dies. Convinced he is living a tragedy, Crick changes his life, takes risks like starting a relationship, learning to play the guitar and the like. Realizing he is part of a larger story motivates him to live life differently.


April 1, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Luke 12:1-12, 36-48 49:15 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 01 Apr 2018 20:48:00 -0400
Palm Sunday: Welcome Jesus on His Terms John 12:12-19 March 25, 2018 Rev. David Williams Introduction…

Has God ever let you down? Have things ever not turned out the way you wanted? Have you ever not gotten something you prayed for? Have you ever been disappointed in Jesus? Has the church ever let you down?

In our church family, we have people who have lost children through death and miscarriage. We have others whose children have wandered far from the Lord, leaving the faith, or getting into drugs, or drifting away. Over the years, some have prayed to be with someone, but remain single. Others have prayed for a spouse to come to Christ, but they never have.

Maybe you’ve lost a job, or lost a house or lost a friend? Maybe you prayed for somebody to be healed, but they weren’t. Maybe in a time of need, the church let you down by not being there? Have you ever been disappointed in God, or felt let down?

First, let me say I’m sorry. I’m sorry that this has been your experience. If it was our church that let you down in a time of need, I’m sorry for that too. I won’t say that I have all the answers for your disappointment. I won’t try to explain why that particular thing happened to you.

I will say that in the big picture, God knows that you have been disappointed. We live in a fallen world. We are affected by our own sin as well as the sin for others. We are also affected by the general fallen state of creation, the effects of sin generally speaking. And God knows this. He has done something about it. God has promised that when Christ returns and renews the earth, He will wipe every tear from your eye. All of creation is groaning with you as we await our Saviour. And in the meantime, we will mourn with you when you mourn.

Let me ask you, all of you, how will you respond to Jesus when he or his people disappoint you? How will you respond to Jesus when your expectations are unfulfilled?

Today is Palm Sunday. While most churches usually focus on the celebration of Jesus arriving in Jerusalem, the so-called “Triumphal Entry,” I want us to consider the fact that within a week of cheering for Jesus, the crowds in Jerusalem were screaming for his blood! Why? Because they were disappointed.

John 12:12-19 March 25, 2018 Rev. David Williams 43:34 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 25 Mar 2018 12:03:00 -0400
Palm Sunday: Welcome Jesus on His Terms John 12:12-19 March 25, 2018 John 12:12-19 March 25, 2018

John 12:12-19 March 25, 2018 42:47 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 25 Mar 2018 12:01:00 -0400
Love: God Loves the World John 3:1-21 March 18, 2018 Introduction…

Think back to a time you really screwed up, a time you really blew it. How did you feel then? How do you feel now? Did you know that even when you really blew it, God still loved you?

Think about a sin you continue to battle. Think about an indwelling, recurring, entrenched behaviour you keep finding yourself in that is inconsistent with life in Christ. How does that make you feel? I know some of us here are battling ongoing, entrenched sin in our lives. Partly because I talk with some of you about it, but mostly because I know we’re all human beings! We all have deep-rooted sin in our lives, even as Christians!

I was talking to Christine and Peter at our last elders’ meeting and Christine talked about the cognitive dissonance that happens when we are engaged in regular sin. While we all experience it, it seems to really affect kids who’ve grown up knowing all about God. When we find ourselves engaging in entrenched sinful activity, we feel the dissonance, the contradiction, between that behaviour and our faith in God. That tension often leads young people away from God. They give up on God because they know their lifestyle is inconsistent with God and, instead of battling the sin, instead of repenting and turning to God, instead of reaching out for help, they give up faith, give up on God, because of activity in their life. What a shame! What a victory for Satan! Just what he wants – to let sin drive a wedge between us and God!

But God loves you, even in your sin! He doesn’t want to give up on you or let you go. Don’t let your favourite sin come between you and God! Don’t choose sin over God.

There’s an old movie now, Good Morning Vietnam. In it, Robin Williams plays a controversial, but funny and energetic radio host for the army. He is stationed in Vietnam and struggles to figure out the nuances of a war zone. While funny, I can’t give this movie my “pastor seal of approval” because of the language in it. But at the end of the movie, there’s a powerful montage set to the song, “It’s a Wonderful World” sung by Louis Armstrong. With this sweet, happy music going in the background, there is scene after scene of violence in Vietnam, protests, soldiers deploying, bombs exploding, etc. It’s a moving scene because of the powerful contrast, the dissonance, between the music and the images.

The message of the gospel is one of such dissonance. On the one hand, there is the beautiful music of God’s love. On the other hand, there is the terrible scenery of sin going on all over the world. There is brokenness, sin, abuse, anger, murder, gossip, slander and all the rest going on in the world, but the gospel says God loves the world. How do these things reconcile? How does evil coincide with God’s love? If I’m the perpetrator of sin, what does God’s love mean for me? If I’m the victim of another’s sin, what does God’s love mean for me?

Every day, we tell Megan we love her. Even when we have to correct, discipline or punish her, we tell her we love her. Now, we often hear Megan say, “Do you love me?” to which we reply, “Of course!” Then she asks, “Even when I’m sinful?” And we answer, “Of course! Even when you’re sinful.” We want Megan to grow up knowing that although her sin is not good, not ok, we still love her. We don’t want her to feel that dissonance between love and sin, because love is the very solution to the problem of sin!

John 3:1-21 March 18, 2018 51:16 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 18 Mar 2018 23:47:00 -0400
Love: Christian Maturity March 11, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 Imagine that you’re going to die. Imagine that you are in the hospital, machines connected to you, beeping and hissing. You know your days are short. What is going to matter to you on that day? What would success at life look like when you’re lying in the hospital, waiting to die?

What is success? What does it mean to win? If you were to draw a line from today to that day in the hospital, what path would that line take? What would you start doing today to ensure that on that day you are successful, that you “win” this life?

I have two things to tell you that you may not like. First- you’re going to die. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But you’re going to die.

Second, after you die, you will face Jesus, on the throne of judgment and he is going to decide if your life was a success or not. Determining if your life is successful, if you “win” at life, is not actually up to you. It’s up to Jesus.

So what are you going to start doing today to ensure that on that day, the day you come face to face with Jesus, that he says, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!” rather than “Depart from me, I never knew you!”

I realize this might come across as a little heavy to open with on a Sunday, but ultimately this is the truth we need to come to grips with. Let me put this is context for us. For those who are working, what does success look like for you at work? Maybe a successful career means being able to retire? Many people work extra hard to retire. We all have part of our pay set aside for CPP. Others put aside extra money in an RRSP, mutual funds or savings bonds for the sake of having money to retire.

Or maybe success looks different? Maybe you’re a student and success these days looks like graduating. Maybe you want your degree, so you work hard, every day, to get your degree. That’s success. But the point is, each day you shape your activities, thoughts and resources towards getting that degree.

Or maybe your goals are about your family? Maybe your goals surround raising your kids. What does success look like then? You want your kids to be self-sufficient, to have good manners, to do well at school and eventually at work. That’s success, and to that end, each day, you interact with your kids, teach them manners, help them be self-sufficient, etc.

So we can think about success in the big picture. It’s important we do that. Maybe we don’t have to think about that every day, that might be obsessive. But we should think about success and life goals at some point, and probably more often than most of us do. But our long term goals, conscious or unconscious, shape our daily activities. They shape what we do day by day.

We can also think about success in the small picture. Maybe thinking about retirement, graduation, or our kids leaving the house is too distant for us this morning. That’s ok too. We need to think about little, daily successes too. What brightens your day? What feels like a “win” on a daily basis?

For many people, they get a thrill when somebody likes their post of Facebook. Others grab their phone when Twitter sends them a notice that somebody retweeted them or liked their post! Others would be thrilled to have a video on YouTube hit 1,000 views!

For some people, new parents, a success is getting 4 hours of sleep! Or getting through a feeding without their baby spitting up. I remember those days! Maybe a successful trip to the toilet is reason for celebration in your family.

At work, maybe a good day means you make an extra sale. Or you get a new client, or a big contract. Imagine yourself at work, what is a good day? What is a win at work?


March 11, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 50:32 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 11 Mar 2018 11:59:00 -0400
Love: Our Foundation February 25, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Ephesians 3:14-21 Introduction…

In the great storm of 1987, and again in 1990, a number of trees in the royal garden at Buckingham Palace were knocked down. Ravi Zacharias notes in one of his books [Cries of the Heart, p. 185] that when he and his wife were living in England they saw some of these downed trees around the palace. Ravi’s wife, Margie, realized something about these enormous trees. She noticed that although the trees had large trunks and many, long branches, they had terribly small roots. Their root systems were underdeveloped for the size of the tree. Ravi goes on to point out that it is cold winters that push the roots down further into the ground. That England has relatively mild winters meant that these enormous trees had faced few cold winters, so they had shallow roots.

As Christians, if we are to face high winds in this world, if we are to face difficulties, challenges, affliction, and (potentially most seriously) temptation, we need to develop deep roots spiritually speaking. But what is it that creates deep Christian roots? How do we develop roots of faith? Is it private devotions? Is it understanding doctrines of the faith? Is it reading the Bible? Prayer? Serving? What is it? Do you feel that you have deep roots in Christ? When difficulties come, when it gets hard to live for Jesus, do you feel your deep roots drawing up water and strength from deep underground? Or do you feel yourself starting to get blown over?

The Bible uses many illustrations from farming and agriculture. We read in the New Testament about the fruit of the Spirit. Jesus refers to himself as the vine of which we are the branches. In our text today Paul prays for the Christians in Ephesus. In his prayer he uses another image from agriculture and plants. He prays that they will be “rooted and established” in love. These are plant words. These describe a plant setting down deep roots and being established in the soil so that it can grow up strong and full.

February 25, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Ephesians 3:14-21 41:13 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 25 Feb 2018 12:29:00 -0500
Love: The Nature of God Feb 18, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: 1 John 4:7-21 Feb 18, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: 1 John 4:7-21 49:06 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 18 Feb 2018 00:13:00 -0500 Christian Hope: Heaven on Earth February 11, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Rev. 21:1-8; 22:1-6 Introduction…

The 2018 Winter Olympics have begun! There will be lots of Olympic watching going on in our house for the next 2 weeks. Megan wasn’t impressed with the opening ceremonies, but she thought ski jumping was cool. She and Amy are looking forward to the figure skating.

The host city, PyeongCheng is in South Korea. They spent years preparing for this event! The opening ceremonies, while not engaging for a 4 year old, were an amazing spectacle of drama, music and light. Just imagine the hours and hours of preparation leading up to them! They were an elaborately choreographed welcome and display of Korean culture for the athletes, their coaches, their families and fans in addition to many dignitaries from around the world.

In addition to the elaborate opening ceremonies, think of the hours of work and millions of dollars put into constructing the venues for the Olympic events. Think of the time and energy put into building rinks, hills and housing for the Olympic athletes. And why did they do this? Why did the people of PyeongChang put so much effort and money into this event? Because they knew the world was coming to visit! And in anticipation of the world coming to visit, they invested heavily into their city.

Compare the work put into preparing to host the Olympics with camping on a campground in tents. In PyeongChang, their anticipation of important visitors means they have invested in building things that will last (hopefully). By contrast, when you go camping, you know you’re leaving soon. You put up a tent, a temporary structure. You try to take out with you whatever you brought in. You try to leave the place looking the same as when you arrived. When you go camping, you don’t want to make a lasting change.

That’s a very different approach than to hosting the Olympics. Think of how Calgary and Vancouver invested in their infrastructure for the Olympics. Years later, other Canadian athletes are able to use these facilities to train. The Olympic tracks and rinks serve to inspire younger generations to athletic greatness. The Olympics left their mark on these cities and continue to pay dividends. I’m sure the people of PyeongChang hope for similar legacies in their future!

For the past number of weeks, we have been talking about the difference it makes if you think you’re camping somewhere or if you’re preparing for a visit from a king. We’ve been talking about the fact that our Christian destiny is not to go to Heaven for eternity, living on clouds as spirits without bodies, but our destiny is to live in resurrected bodies here on a redeemed earth with Jesus! Jesus is coming back, not to take us out of here, but to redeem here and dwell with us.

February 11, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Rev. 21:1-8; 22:1-6 49:33 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 11 Feb 2018 20:55:00 -0500
Christian Hope: What Happens When We Die? Feb 4, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Psalm 88:3-6, 10-12; 2 Cor 5:1-10 Introduction…

Hamlet’s speech, “To be or not to be,” may be Shakespeare’s most famous passage. Certainly it is quoted and referred to frequently. The speech is a lone man’s internal wrestling with the question of what happens when we die. Depressed and in despair, Hamlet ponders aloud whether or not it is better to live (“to be”) with trials and difficulties (in his case the murder of his father by his uncle who then takes Hamlet’s mother as his wife and takes the throne from Hamlet) or to surrender to despair and take one’s own life (“not to be”).

Hamlet himself is ready to give up, he describes death as “sleep” but then realizes that in the sleep of death dreams may come! And what dreams might those be? Perhaps one’s sleep will be disrupted by torment? This fear, the fear of what happens when we die, the fear of judgment and Hell, is what keeps people from just killing themselves when things are going badly. Why else would anybody put up with all the sin, pain and corruption of the world? That is what Hamlet asks. That is what he wrestles with. Ultimately, the fear of death leads Hamlet to hatch a plan to expose his uncle’s murderous deeds. A depressing play, Hamlet ends with everybody dead. In that sense, it is a classic example of the “tragedy” genre or style of play.

Today, our culture wrestles with a similar question. What happens when we die? Do we just sleep? Do we just stop experiencing anything? Is death the end? Or is there something after death? Do we experience judgment for our sins? Do we “dream” so to speak? In our secular culture, the rise of suicide, euthanasia and a general disregard for life reflects a prevailing belief that things do just end when we die. That is certainly consistent with the naturalistic world view.

But not just a theoretical question, most individuals, most of us, wonder what will happen when we die. Does this life matter? Is there life after death? Does what we do in this life affect our experience of life after death?

This whole series, Christian Hope, has been focusing on the fact that Christians look forward to being resurrected like Jesus was on that first Easter Sunday. We look forward to having a physical body after the resurrection. We will not exist as disembodied spirits for eternity. In addition, our series has talked about the Biblical teaching that Jesus will be coming back to earth to dwell here on earth for eternity rather than us going to heaven for eternity. Jesus is going to redeem all of creation rather than just rescuing Christians and taking us out of this place.

But what happens when we die? Yes, in the future we anticipate being resurrected, but what about the mean time? What happens between death and the resurrection? Our ignorance about what happens after death is a cause of great fear and trepidation. It can also be a source of great confusion. So let’s take a look at what the Bible says about life after death.

To begin with, we first need to see what the Bible says about death before Jesus’ resurrection. Then we will take a look at what it says about death after Jesus’ resurrection.

Feb 4, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Psalm 88:3-6, 10-12; 2 Cor 5:1-10 44:52 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 04 Feb 2018 22:34:00 -0500
Christian Hope: Christ’s Return January 21, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: 1 Thess 4:13-5:2; Matt 24:36-51 Introduction…

Star Trek! “These are the voyages of the star ship Enterprise….” Many of us here loved watching Star Trek growing up. Some of us still do! People my age were more likely to watch Star Trek: The Next Generation, but even still, many themes were the same in both the original series and its sequels. In each episode, and in the many movies, the valiant crew of the Enterprise would explore new planets, battle enemies, uncover plots and escape danger.

Even people who’ve never watched these shows or movies are familiar with some of elements that have crept into popular culture. One example is the phrase, “Beam me up, Scotty!” This is a reference to using the fictional, futuristic “transporter” technology popular in the Star Trek series. These machines could “magically” move people and objects from one place to another, called “beaming” the people. A common element in many of the shows and movies is that the brave crew members would be on a planet and things would go bad. They would be confronted by hostile aliens, or perhaps wounded, or something was going to blow up. The heroes would call up to the ship “beam me up!” and the transporters would malfunction! There would be a race against time, trying to fix the transporters, that seemed to always crack under pressure. Then, at the last second, the transporter beams would activate, the crew would be beamed to the ship and saved!

In one of the movies, Captain Kirk and Dr. McCoy are imprisoned on an ice planet by their enemies, the Klingons. With the help of another prisoner, they make a desperate escape from the prison itself, out onto the frozen surface of the planet. The Klingons catch up to them and reveal that the “helpful prisoner” is actually a double agent, a spy, being used to stage an escape attempt so the Klingon guards can kill them and further an inter-planetary plot to stop a peace agreement from being signed. Just as the guards are about to tell Kirk the rest of their plans, the Enterprise arrives and beams them up! Kirk is livid that he didn’t get to hear the identity of who was behind the plot!

Consider, on the other hand, however, the movies and stories of an older generation. My father’s generation grew up on Westerns. My Dad loved western TV shows and movies. The good guys always wore white hats. The bad guys always wore black hats. John Wayne was one of my Dad’s favourites and he remembers the first time in a movie that John Wayne, a good guy, wore a black hat! What was going on?!?

One theme in many Westerns was that the settlers or townspeople would be in trouble. In the days of these movies, it was usually Indians that had the people surrounded. Many of their men wounded, low on ammunition, huddled inside a ring of circled wagons, or maybe inside a fort, the townspeople would wonder if they could ever be saved? Then, just as things were reaching a crisis, off in the distance there would be the sound of a bugle! Then, the ground would tremble with the thunder of hooves and the cavalry would charge in to save the day! The cavalry would sweep away the enemies, then, having rescued the townspeople, they would provide food and medicine for hungry and wounded. The people would be able to fix up their settlement, or rebuild their homes and stay on the land.


January 21, 2018 Rev. David Williams Scripture: 1 Thess 4:13-5:2; Matt 24:36-51 50:32 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 21 Jan 2018 09:51:00 -0500
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 20:17:00 -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 23:19:00 -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 22:19:00 -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 22:19:00 -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 21:57:00 -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 18:13:00 -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 23:30:00 -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 22:27:00 -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 20:08:00 -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 12:30:00 -0400
EHR 2 Stop Mind Reading and Clarify Expectations October 15, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Colossians 3:1-10 Introduction…

A guy named Roger is driving his girlfriend, Gloria, home from dinner one night, when Gloria says, "Do you realize that, as of tonight, we've been seeing each other for exactly six months?" There is silence in the car. To Gloria, it seems like a very loud silence.

Gloria (thinking): Geez, I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he's been feeling confined by our relationship; maybe he thinks I'm trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn't want, or isn't sure of.

Roger (thinking): Gosh. Six months.

Gloria (thinking): But, hey, I'm not so sure I want this kind of relationship, either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space, so I'd have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are...I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading toward marriage? Toward children? Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?

Roger (thinking): So that means it was...let's see...February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer's, which means...lemme check the odometer...Whoa, I am way overdue for an oil change here. And I don’t care what they said about the transmission, it still isn’t shifting right!

Gloria (thinking): He's upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I'm reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed, even before I sensed it, that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that's it. That's why he's so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He's afraid of being rejected.

Gloria (thinking): Maybe I'm just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I'm sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I truly do care about, a person who is in pain because of my self-centered schoolgirl romantic fantasy.

Gloria (aloud): Roger?

Roger (startled): What?

Gloria (her eyes filling with tears): Please don't torture yourself like this. Maybe I should never have...Oh, I feel so...

Roger: What?

Gloria (sobbing): I'm such a fool. I mean, I know there's no knight. I really know that. It's silly. There's no knight, and there's no horse.

Roger: There's no horse?

Gloria: You think I'm a fool, don't you?

Roger (relieved finally to know the right answer): No.

Gloria: It's just that...It's that I...I need some time.

Roger (after a 15-second pause during which he is thinking as fast as he can, trying to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work.): Yes.

Gloria (deeply moved, touching his hand): Oh, Roger, do you really feel that way?

Roger: What way?

Gloria: That way about time.

Roger: Oh. Yes.

Gloria (gazing deeply into Roger's eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next. At last she speaks.): Thank you, Roger.

Roger: Thank you.

October 15, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Colossians 3:1-10 45:47 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 15 Oct 2017 14:04:00 -0400
Emotionally Healthy Relationships: Community Temperature Reading Oct 8, 2017 Scripture: Rom 1:7; 1 Cor 1:1-3; 1 Pe 1:1-2; 2 Jn 1; Jude 2 Introduction…

Peace is more than the absence of violence. Silence is not peace. Avoidance is not peace. These things are a ceasefire, not peace.

[pic] Last week, we talked about North Korea and how hard it would be to grow up there. South Korea, by contrast, is a wealthy, open country with a strong Christian presence and influence. The two countries are very different!

Between these two nations is a strip of land 4 km wide called the Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ for short. It runs across the entire Korean peninsula and serves as a buffer between the two nations. It was established at the end of hostilities during the Korean War in the 1950’s. Technically, that war still hasn’t ended because no peace agreement has been reached. There was an “armistice” agreement, but not a full peace agreement. As part of the armistice agreement, all the troops from both sides had to withdraw 2 km from their current positions on the front line. Both sides withdrawing 2km created a 4 km zone between them. There are strict rules about what soldiers can enter the DMZ and soldiers from either side are not allowed to cross the centre line, 2 km in.

[pic] Within the DMZ there are thousands of landmines. Soldiers patrol on high alert. There have been over 750 casualties within the DMZ over the years. The hostilities between north and south are still high.

There is a DMZ between the two countries, there has not been outright fighting for over 60 years, but there is no peace between North and South Korea.

[pic] In many of our relationships there is a DMZ, but no peace. Many of us, even in church, even Christians, have settled on an armistice, but not a peace agreement. There may not be open fighting, no violence, but there is no peace either. Sometimes these peaceless relationships are at work. Sometimes they are at church. Sometimes they are even in our families and in our homes.

There may not be violence in these relationships, but there is a brittle silence. There is no peace.

Why is this sometimes the case? Why are our relationships not immediately fixed when we accept Jesus? Why do churches, friendships and even Christian families split?

The answer is that even when we accept Jesus, we are still sinful people. We are still broken, even when we find release from the eternal consequences of sin. Jesus immediately saves us from the eternal consequences of our sin when we accept him as Lord, but it takes the Spirit time to work in us to free us from the indwelling power of sin that resides in our hearts.

That is why in the early church the apostles’ wish for the people in their congregations was “grace and peace to you.” We are going to take a look at this in a variety of texts in a few moments. But let me point out that even Christians need grace and peace. Our series on Emotionally Healthy Relationships is about developing tools we can use in our relationships that help us grow in grace and peace when these tools are used in cooperation with the Holy Spirit. These skills will help us develop the ability to have difficult discussions, to voice concerns in a healthy way and to speak up for ourselves while having the other person’s well-being in mind as well.

Oct 8, 2017 Scripture: Rom 1:7; 1 Cor 1:1-3; 1 Pe 1:1-2; 2 Jn 1; Jude 2 44:30 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 08 Oct 2017 10:43:00 -0400
Thank You! Renewed by the Spirit October 1, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:1-7 Introduction…

[pic] Imagine being born in North Korea. North Korea is a difficult place to live. It is a closed off country under a totalitarian regime. Because of the centralized government, there is frequent famine because the people making decisions about what farmers grow and how they grow it aren’t farmers. It is cut off from trade with the outside world as well as cut off from communication too. It’s a tough place to live. When the US sends food aid, the North Korean people are told it’s “tribute” paid to North Korea by the Americans because the Americans are afraid of them. Nutrition and health is so bad in the North that on average North Koreans are 1-3 inches shorter than their counterparts in South Korea and life expectancy is 10 years less!

[pic] As difficult as life is there, it is made even worse by the atmosphere of suspicion. If you anger the wrong person or express the wrong view you can be thrown into a prison work camp where you will languish for years, maybe even the rest of your life, doing hard labour with no real trial or opportunity to either defend yourself or clear you name. People live in fear of being “reported on” and sent to one of these prisons, or worse. Imagine growing up in such a country.

It would be tough to live in North Korea. The people are regularly subjected to propaganda. They are limited in what they are allowed to see, hear or read. Many are sent to work camps. Here they are worked under horrendous, violent conditions. Frequently subjected to beatings, many prisoners are outright killed, all because they hold the wrong political beliefs or because they crossed the wrong person who accused them of being a political dissident. It is horrendous being sent to such a work camp!

Imagine, though, what it would be like to be born and raised in one of those work camps! Essentially bred to be slave labour, imagine being a child raised in a prison work camp. From the beginning of your life, you are surrounded by violence, misery and oppression.

[pic] That’s the story of Shin Dong-hyuk. He was born inside one of these political prison camps and that was where he was raised. Later on, he managed to escape to a large country next door, then fled to South Korea. From there he got to California. He told a reporter the story of his upbringing and his escape. There has since been some issues over the details of his story, he has added to, retracted from and altered some of the details of his account, but that is to be expected from a person whose entire childhood was spent in a political work camp!

Shin talks about his earliest memory being taken out to a field with hundreds or even thousands of other prisoners to watch the execution of a fellow prisoner who disobeyed in some way. That’s his fist memory! Talk about PTSD! He grew up being indoctrinated to obey the guards at all costs and to ingratiate himself with the guards with every opportunity. In one interview he said that his mother never hugged him, ever. Around him, children were beaten for stealing, sometimes beaten to death. Teenagers were killed in work accidents. Torture was normal. But the most frightening thing is that he knew no different. This was “normal” for him. It was all he had ever experienced. He had no idea the world was different outside the camp, or even that something different could exist! [Joohee Cho, “Born and Raised in a North Korean Prison Camp,” ABC News, Oct 30, 2007]

October 1, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:1-7 48:01 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 01 Oct 2017 10:43:00 -0400
Thank You! Changed by the Spirit September 24, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Psalm 51:1-12 Introduction…

She was beautiful; long flowing hair, great curves. She was beautiful when she caught the president’s eye. He was restless and out on his balcony for some air. From the height of his residence, he caught a glimpse of her in the privacy of her back yard. She was beautiful. And at that moment, he saw all of her, slipping into her hot tub, oblivious of peering eyes from above.

[pic] “Who is she?” thought the most powerful man in the nation. All he knew is that having seen her, he wanted to know her. So he summoned is personal assistant and sent him to find out who the woman was.

His loyal assistant returned with news and a warning. She was the daughter of a general and married to a Navy SEAL, an elite special operations soldier, who was at this very moment, deployed overseas on a mission for his country. [pic] The president, a war hero himself, had met the SEAL before. The soldier had served under the president’s command and he was a man upon whose chest the president himself had pinned a medal for bravery! The assistant’s subtle plea was in his eyes and voice, “Leave this woman alone!”

But the most powerful man in the country was not deterred. The woman’s husband was away. Her father was away. She was here. The president was here. And he was not a man who was to be denied. So he sent a car around to pick her up and she was brought to him. Thus began an affair that would rip the nation apart.

Nights of passion, seduced by power, unable to say no to the most powerful man she had ever met, the woman became pregnant. She sent word to the president of her condition, and so began the cover up. The president pulled some strings to get her husband, the soldier, a temporary leave to come back home. The SEAL reported to the capital, but remained in his barracks instead of going home to his wife. Faithful to his comrades, the soldier would not go to the comfort of his home and the embrace of his wife while his brothers in arms were sleeping in a combat zone.

Pulling more strings, the president had the man invited to a party where the president’s allies got the soldier thoroughly drunk. But still, his honour held and he would not go home to his wife. The president was getting desperate!

So when the soldier’s leave was over and he was redeployed to the front, the president hatched a new plan. Using his power as commander in chief, the president contacted the general in command of the forces in the field. The president authorized a bold, but risky operation. He personally selected the navy SEAL’s team to lead the mission. He knew he was putting the man and his whole squad of soldiers in harm’s way. That was the plan.

September 24, 2017 Rev. David Williams Scripture: Psalm 51:1-12 39:06 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 24 Sep 2017 10:43:00 -0400
Disciplines & Beatitudes: Wrap-up Disciplines & Beatitudes: Wrap-up Disciplines & Beatitudes: Wrap-up

Pastor Andy



Disciplines & Beatitudes: Wrap-up 21:00 (ppbc) ppbc Sermon no Sun, 03 Sep 2017 23:28:00 -0400
Disciplines & Beatitudes: Celebration Disciplines & Beatitudes: Celebration Disciplines & Beatitudes: Celebration

Pastor Andy

Disciplines & Beatitudes: Celebration 25:37 (ppbc) ppbc Sermon no Sun, 27 Aug 2017 23:28:00 -0400
Disciplines & Beatitudes: Confession Disciplines & Beatitudes: Confession Disciplines & Beatitudes: Confession

Pastor Andy

Disciplines & Beatitudes: Confession 31:13 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 20 Aug 2017 23:28:00 -0400
Disciplines & Beatitudes: Worship Disciplines & Beatitudes: Worship Disciplines & Beatitudes: Worship


Pastor Andy

Disciplines & Beatitudes: Worship 21:26 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 13 Aug 2017 13:36:00 -0400
Disciplines & Beatitudes: Guidance August 6, 2017 Rev. Andrew Bellous​ Disciplines & Beatitudes: Guidance 8/20/2017 2:43:56 PM August 6, 2017 Rev. Andrew Bellous ​​Scripts: Luke 6:22 ​ Disciplines & Beatitudes: Guidance 8/20/2017 2:43:56 PM August 6, 2017 Rev. Andrew Bellous ​​Scripts: Luke 6:22 ​ 20:39 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 06 Aug 2017 13:36:00 -0400 Disciplines & Beatitudes: Service Disciplines & Beatitudes: Service Disciplines & Beatitudes: Service


Pastor Andy

Disciplines & Beatitudes: Service 25:41 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 30 Jul 2017 13:36:00 -0400
Disciplines & Beatitudes: Simplicity Disciplines & Beatitudes: Simplicity Disciplines & Beatitudes: Simplicity


Pastor Andy

Disciplines & Beatitudes: Simplicity 37:47 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 23 Jul 2017 13:36:00 -0400
Guest Sermon Guest Sermon Guest Sermon

Guest Sermon 43:52 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 16 Jul 2017 13:36:00 -0400
Disciplines & Beatitudes: Solitude Disciplines & Beatitudes: Solitude Disciplines & Beatitudes: Solitude


Pastor Andy

Disciplines & Beatitudes: Solitude 28:00 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 09 Jul 2017 13:36:00 -0400
Disciplines & Beatitudes: Submission July 2, 2017 Rev. Andrew Bellous ​ Disciplines & Beatitudes: Submission July 2, 2017 Rev. Andrew Bellous ​ ​Scripts: Mattew 5:7 Disciplines & Beatitudes: Submission July 2, 2017 Rev. Andrew Bellous ​ ​Scripts: Mattew 5:7 26:18 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 02 Jul 2017 13:36:00 -0400 20170618MOV54D_16x9.audioonly Podcast Episode Podcast Episode 28:01 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 18 Jun 2017 13:36:00 -0400 20170521MOV542_16x9.audioonly Podcast Episode Podcast Episode 37:24 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 21 May 2017 13:36:00 -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 12:06:00 -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 12:06:00 -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 12:05:00 -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 12:18:00 -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 41:12 (ppbc) ppbc no Sun, 02 Apr 2017 12:16:00 -0400
Reach One: Closet Christians(Audio) 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 11:31:00 -0400
My Hope: Sanctification (Audio) 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 (Audio) 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 21:02:00 -0500
My Hope: Called 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 22:00:00 -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