Sunday, 19 March 2017

Sunday Notes

Well, we finished reviewing election, atonement, and God's calling in Sunday School today. I think it was a really good class, and I'm pretty sure they understand things better now. Next week we'll move on to the next step (regeneration/conversion/adoption/justification).

After the service, we had our annual general meeting. Because we're an elder-led church, we don't have to vote on everything, so our AGM is very, very short. Basically, we affirm the current elders and deacons (we would also affirm new ones, but there weren't any this year), and then we all have the annual report (with reports from the various ministries in it) so we can read it and ask questions later if anything isn't clear.

There is some confusion about what being elder-led means; I've had people think that the elders are dictators. This is simply not true. They do make the major decisions, but they always listen to and consider what people have to say, both in terms of getting input before making decisions, and concerns about the decisions they make. We are called in Scripture to submit to the elders, but this doesn't mean blind obedience. Also, the elders aren't power seekers, nor are they prone to lord their authority over us; they love the congregation, serve them, and seek their good.

This week's hymn is one we sang this morning.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Here you are, the true story of St. Patrick, complete with flannel graph:

The next video is the reason why every time I teach on the Trinity in Sunday School, someone calls out, "That's modalism, Patrick!" It got to the point where I gave them a few minutes at the beginning of class to get it all out of their systems, and then told them that Lutheran Satire was banned from class for the rest of the day.


Sunday, 12 March 2017

Church Notes

I was a bit optimistic this week when planning my Sunday School class. We're starting the order of salvation, and I planned to cover election, atonement, and calling. Well, we did get through all three, but we were rushed at the end, and we didn't get to the worksheet. The good news is, I don't have to write next week's lesson, since it's going to be a review and worksheet week! Next time, I'll do election as its own lesson, and then do atonement and calling. There are still 3 points to go (justification/regeneration/conversion/adoption; sanctification/perseverance; and glorification). I'm definitely doing those as two separate lessons.

We had a short Sunday School meeting after the service, mostly just to give me a chance to touch base with the teachers and deal with any potential issues. Things seem to be going smoothly, for the most part, with only a couple small areas to tighten up a bit (that's the way it is all the time, I think). We also talked about the emergency evacuation plan in the event of fire, and the plan to have a fire drill one day when spring has come for sure, and the blacktop has been laid (we believe in fire drills, but only when it's nice outside). We also had a brief discussion of the plan for an earthquake (same as fire), a nuclear attack (we all die), and a tsunami (we live in central Alberta; this will not be a problem). I believe the conclusion is that we will deal with disasters through sarcasm, and that the other teachers are sometimes worse than I am!

Pastor Mike preached on Ephesians 3:14-19 today. It was a very, very good sermon, and you should listen to it here (it seems to be uploaded already). The passage is one of Paul's prayers, and it's such a big, confident, amazing prayer for the church he loved, that they would be strengthened with God's power, indwelt by Christ, and know His love so fully. I may have to listen to the sermon again.

Here's a hymn to go with the sermon:

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Church Notes

Today in Sunday School we learned about Zwingli (who has a great name), the Swiss reformer. One thing we talked about is that sometimes you need to make a stand. Erasmus (a contemporary of Zwingli) tried to stay in the middle, refusing to take sides or debate or anything, and in the end, neither the Protestants nor the Roman Catholics trusted him. Zwingli tried to reform the church from within for a time, but eventually had to side fully with the reformers and the Bible. We talked about how sometimes you can be flexible (not everything is a hill to die on), but other times you need to choose, and if you try to stay in the middle of the road, you'll get hit by a car.

We also had a library meeting, now that things are getting settled in the library. We talked schedule and policies. One thing we need to keep an eye on is the children playing in the library. We want them there, but not running around or sitting too close to the fireplace. Also, if they are at the edge of the balcony looking down at everyone, they need to keep both feet on the floor (and definitely not on chairs). We want the children there, and are planning a "children's corner" where they can hang out and read or colour. We just don't want them to get hurt. Among the librarians, we have 3 moms, a grandma (so technically 4 moms), an older brother (and I can testify as to how bossy older brothers can be), and me (I love the children, so I'm very firm with them when I need to be, and they listen to me). I think we can keep the children in line!

I've just listened to half-a-dozen versions of this, looking for one where I could understand the words, and where they didn't change the words. Appreciate my effort for you while you listen!

Friday, 3 March 2017

This Week in Books

I had a Calgary trip on Monday, which meant some uninterrupted reading time on the way down and back. In that time I read 8 Women of Faith by Michael A.G. Haykin. The 8 women are Lady Jane Grey, Margaret Baxter, Anne Dutton, Sarah Edwards (because there's probably some rule that states that if anyone is writing a book about women of faith, they must find a way to include Sarah Edwards), Anne Steele, Esther Edwards Burr (mother of Aaron Burr who famously shot Alexander Hamilton in a duel), Ann Judson, and Jane Austin. It's a good book, and gives a picture of each woman. It piqued my interest in some of them, and I may need to do more reading.

I also started No Little Women by Aimee Byrd. I haven't finished it yet, but I am enjoying it so far. She puts women's ministries/studies squarely in the ministry of the church (and under the guidance of the leaders) where it belongs, rather than relegating it to the fringes, where it so often ends up. Reading about how it gets neglected in some churches makes me more thankful for my elders, who oversee all the aspects of church life, making sure that Scripture is taught, and that we're not given "pink" books that either relegate women's teaching to a handful of verses for women (Proverbs 31, Titus 2, Ruth, and Esther are all women need to know, right?), or lead women to emotions-based rather than Scripture-based theology.

The big news is that I finally finished Ben Hur (spoiler alert: Jesus dies, but then He's resurrected). I'm not sure what I'll talk about with my friend's son after this Sunday, when I can tell him that I finally finished. It's a good story, but there's a lot of description and people on camels in the desert.

I also finished Heidi. It's much preachier than I remembered, but I still really like it.

There are more books that I'm reading and plan to read, but those are the highlights of this week.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

It Made Me Happy

I've been watching too much What's in the Bible...With Buck Denver lately. Someone donated a pile of them to the church library, and I wanted to see if they should be in the library. They're not going in, since I will have parents upset with some of the theology. I've been enjoying them, though. There's a pirate who teaches church history, and Sunday School lady (with her magic flannel graph board) among other characters; what's not to like?

This, though, is my favourite part so far.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Church Stuff

Today I learned that someone at the church makes the most amazing ham sandwiches: good bread, real ham, and just the right amount of mustard. I'm looking forward to the next soup and sandwich lunch (we're planning to have them once a month) to find out what other amazing types of sandwiches this person can make.

I have a proper storage cabinet in my Sunday School classroom now, which means that all of my supplies are locked up, and all the extra Sunday School materials that were in my apartment are now neatly arranged on the bookcase in the classroom. Also, Quinn the plant has been moved from the windowsill to the top of the cabinet to hide the scrape I put in the wall while unpacking the filing cabinet. All I have left to bring to the church are a stack of books to add to the library. That is almost organized (we're still alphabetizing things), and then I'll feel properly settled in the church.

The annual general meeting at the church is in three weeks. They're planning a Q&A session with the elders after the meeting. I'm trying to think of some good questions, and possibly some not-as-good questions for my own amusement.

We sang this hymn this morning. When I listened to this version, I thought it should have fireworks at the end. I'm not sure why; I could just hear them in my head. Enjoy!