At Osoyoos Christian Centre we pride ourselves on being a close knit community - and like any community or family, our members can ebb and flow from week to week. Some of us work and then there are times we may be called away for ministry or visiting friends and family or even vacationing. Our blog seems to play a vital role in drawing everyone together - a central hub of sorts where anyone who has access to a computer can still come and 'catch up' with your church family here. Our blog is a work in progress and our goal is to bring a continuity to you, that even if you are not able to join us every Sunday (though we love it when you do, there's no place like home!) then our blog is available for you.
With this in mind we are trying to bring new content and features online which will help to learn, connect and inspire each and every one. This week, we are bringing a new section in and we would love your feedback to know if it is of value to you. Pastor Joseph is going to provide a post which will be in line with the message he delivered Sunday, February 13th. Here is his first installment:
Any reference that I've heard mentioned about the pharisees has always been in a negative context. Quite frankly, this people group are often vilified. However, I believe that there isn't a pastor in North America that wouldn't want a church full of pharisees.
Allow me to explain, the pharisees were the best at what they did. They could be found at the synagogue or temple. When it came to giving they would tithe mint and rue - in other words they tithed from even the smallest part of their possession. They knew how to pray, it may not have been the right way, but they could pray. Consequently, a church full of pharisees would be a church without an attendance problem. The prayer meeting would always be full on a Friday or Saturday night - even in the summer! There would not be any financial problems because they would be 100% tithers. This is really impressive when you sit down and think about it.
Here's the thing though, despite their religious perfection, Christ still says: "For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." Imagine the best christian or person you have every met in your life and then being told that to enter God's Kingdom your goodness or righteousness must be much better!
Now you have a point reference and I believe that this was Christ's point. Those who heard this message in the first century would likely been shocked and astounded by this word because if the Pharisees couldn't get in how would they?
Thank God we do not stand in our own righteousness but in Christ. As such, when you feel that some how you're not worthy to approach God because you haven't prayed enough, read your Bible enough, or preformed enough goods works, the fact is you stand in Christ's righteousness and can boldly enter into God's presence.
Please, let us know what you think about Joseph's post here - was this helpful to you?
And now, I'll share some observations from the congregation side of things.
This past Sunday's message was centered on encouragement and about how we sometimes (OK, often) allow situations to control us instead of walking in confidence - when we have brought it before the Lord and know He has control. And it got me thinking (which is what a good message is supposed to do, right?)
My mind began to think about authority and my mind came up with words like authority, power, rule, master, sureness, lordship, obedience, etc. And my mind combs over scripture and it also draws illustrations - this is normal, correct? Do you do this too?
And don't we all sometimes find ourselves quailing, and worrying, even mourning and weeping for what we SEE - when what we really need to do is to immediately give it over to the One Who Controls over All, and then we need to be walking in that, and it should show visibly. If we are confident and secure that our Lord is Savior then we should be able to experience joy knowing He has taken care of it. This does not mean things will be handled in the way we would choose to orchestrate the details. For our Lord has knowledge and wisdom beyond our human limitations.
Time for one of these little illustrations I was talking about:
When I was a kid and watched westerns - OK, I'm not saying I liked all the westerns but my Dad had control of the TV (and yes, this was even before there were remote controls) I used to notice the Sheriff. There was always a Sheriff who was fair and good and kept outlying little dust bowl villages from falling into anarchy. If a difficult situation came up which required even more authority then the Sheriff would even take a regular cowboy and deputize him and give him a ... badge. Funny thing about that badge. Everyone would take that badge very seriously. When it was worn it signified that the person wearing it stood for good and they were bound to uphold the good name of the law.
Did you notice too that the badge was always a nice polished gold or silver? And it was always visible. The Sheriff would have still been a Sheriff even if he wore the badge on the inside of his coat or something - but the point is, he always wore it with great pride - and people always treated him with the due respect when they saw that badge. Even the evil outlaws, though they would fight with the Sheriff, you always had knew they still respected him - they just had chosen to work the other side of the law.
Where am I going with this? Well, what that badge represents is authority and when we pray to God and we are submissive to Him and walk in His ways then we too should wear the authority of the Lord visibly upon us. Though we don't receive or are even expected to wear a physical metal "gold star" badge - when we walk in CONFIDENCE, in JOY, and radiate HOPE when to all the world we might be going through some trial - then that is our badge and others can plainly see this.
How would anyone know we trust in God when they see us pray - see us petition our Father upon our knees, shed tears of repentance and lay our troubles at the altar of the One who is Author of our Lives - and then turn around and not be changed? WEAR the confidence of the Lord upon you. LEAVE your tears and weariness behind - it is dealt with. His mercies are new every morning - wear the badge!
By the way - the badge? Its REAL - I've created it at 300 dpi and saved as a .png format image which means you can right click on it, choose SAVE. It is on a transparent background, perfect for all your presentations or cards or whatever you choose to use it for, personal or commercial.
Please pray for Dale and Florence Archibald as they minister in Arizona.
Thursday, February 17th - 7:00 p.m.
Prayer at Kaye's Every Tuesday - 10:00 a.m.
Friday Night Open Worship Every Friday - 7:00
Osoyoos Christian Centre
42 Finch, Osoyoos
For more info: 250-495-2550
Worship Music Practice
Saturday night - 7:30 p.m.
Ministry to Seniors