If you’ve been participating in the 10 Days of Prayer that started this past week, you’ve probably been as blessed as I have. Hearing the testimonies of how God is working in people’s lives, reading and discussing the word of God, and spending time in prayer together have been such a positive experience. Today we’re joining one man’s journey to discovering truth about 2,000 years ago. I chose this topic today for two reasons. 1. A few weeks ago I said I would share Nicodemus’ story with you because it’s one of my favorites in the Bible… so I’m keeping my promise. 2. It seems that there’s a lot of interest in the word “truth”, especially since Trump became the US President… Things are happening in the world, including last week’s plane that went down in Iran, and people just want to know the truth about what happened to those – and, closer to home, the many Canadians – who lost their lives. In our scripture reading today, Jesus claims that He is the Truth! How interesting that we can come to know the truth by getting to know a person, not just facts. This is the invitation Jesus made to a man named Nicodemus a long time ago… one He continues to extend to you and me today!
Welcome to 2020! I’m excited to see what God has in store for each one of us over this next year. For some it will bring some big changes, while for others, maybe the same challenges as before… Whatever it is, just remember that God is with you and He will never leave you. Trust in His promises and believe that one day soon He’s coming again to take us home. Here at Bronte we’ve been working hard to provide an excellent way for you to start the year off focusing on deepening your relationship with God. That’s why we will be joining the world church from Jan 8th to 18th for the 10 days of prayer. This will be a time of spiritual renewal, connecting with church friends, and a chance to learn more about the work of the Holy Spirit. Please make sure you’re a part of this 10-day journey, you won’t regret it, in fact it will recharge your spiritual life in a big way. Today we will be looking at a spiritual discipline that isn’t talked about very often, but we need to talk about it today because our 10 days of prayer begins with a day of fasting. We’re glad you’re here!
Can you believe this is the last Sabbath before we enter into a new year?! I hope your Christmas was great and you had a chance to make wonderful memories this year. Alina and I had an amazing time helping distribute clothing and food to the poor last Saturday evening and I want to say a huge thank you to the group that came out and to those of you who donated clothing items. As we look ahead to the new year, I challenge each of us to focus on what are the most important things in our lives and find a way to grow in those areas. God loves each of you very much and one way He wants all of us to grow in a deeper relationship with Him. What can you start this week that helps you become closer to God this year? If you don’t know how to start, not to worry because we have a special 10 days of prayer planned, starting on Wednesday January 8th, to help facilitate a step in the right direction. Come out and be blessed! Today we’re also excited to have another baby dedication. We’re excited to have baby Eli Solis dedicated today and pray that God will bless him and his family.
Today is the last Sabbath before Christmas. I hope you’re done your shopping, but if you’ve left everything to the last minute, the good news is you still have a couple days to get it done. Let me ask you a question… What is one present you would like to receive the most? If money wasn’t an issue, what would your answer be? What if I asked the same question in a slightly different way? What if I were to ask you, what is the one gift you would like to give someone you loved, if money wasn’t an issue? What would you give them? Today, for our annual family Christmas program, we have a few families who will be blessing us with their gifts, before I will wrap things up with a short devotional thought on the questions I just asked. We also have a baby dedication and a cheque to present to an organization doing great things in the community. May you be blessed as we worship God together at Bronte today and may God bless you and your family this Christmas holiday season.
How was your week? It’s amazing that the temperature can fluctuate so much from one day to the next. At the beginning of the week at our place it was +6 but by Wednesday it was -11 with the windchill. Spiritually speaking, we all have our ups and downs. Some days it feels like we’re warm in our faith and God seems near and everything is going well. Then there are other times when it feels like our relationship with God is colder than we’d like and we don’t hear His voice. One lesson the Christmas season teaches us is that regardless of how we feel toward God, God never changes how He feels towards us. John 3:16 starts with the words “For God so loved…” God has and will always love us. In fact, He loved us so much that His son Jesus was born here on earth and grew up to show us what God was really like and His life was marked by a humble love and sacrifice. This is what we celebrate at Christmas time! For our service today, we extend a warm welcome to the Bells of Bowmanville, the hand bell choir of the Bowmanville SDA Church under the direction of J. C. Coolen, who will lead us in our worship service this morning. May your hearts be warmed through their ministry of music.
With the most popular holiday just around the corner, it seems like everyone is trying to get into the Christmas spirit. Stores are lining their aisles with Christmas goodies and decor, TV shows air the theme of giving and love, and Santas are starting to float about. All these things help us get into the spirit of Christmas, which is not all about giving and receiving gifts, but to remember the greatest gift that was given to everyone about 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ. Today, as we enjoy our annual Christmas program here at Bronte, let us remember the true meaning of Christmas… Peace on earth, good will toward men, for the Savior has come to show us how to love, and to give us the greatest gift.
As we enter the 30 day stretch to Christmas, I notice a certain type of chocolaty treat appearing in stores. I’m sure you’ve seen them before, it’s the box with the small windows on it that are a sort of countdown to Christmas. When I was a kid, I loved these treats but shhh!… Can you keep a secret? There were times when I cheated! I guess I was so excited I just couldn’t wait! As we approach and celebrate the first advent when Jesus came to this earth as a baby, one question I think about often is whether we look forward to His soon return as well. Jesus said in the last chapter in the Bible, “Behold, I come quickly…” (Revelation 22:7) but how many of us are looking forward to that day? Is it as exciting to us as waiting for Christmas? Should it be? I’d like to encourage all of us to remember that the same Jesus that came 2000 years ago IS coming again. That matters because it helps me live for something today. Today at Bronte we have a guest speaker who will share a message with us. I’m sure he’s familiar with most of you and we’re excited that Michael and his family will be officially joining our church family soon. If you’d like to consider moving your membership over too, please get in touch with me, we’d love to have you as an official part of our church as well… Welcome!
I have a question for you. Do you remember a time when you were young and someone older from the church invested in you? How did that make you feel? One of our greatest passions and missions as a church is our young people. We have an excellent group of leaders for our youth and children’s programs to engage them and inspire their faith. While we have some exciting plans for 2020, one thing I like to do once in a while as a pastor, is give young people an opportunity to join me up front and help deliver a sermon. Because someone invested in me when I was young and gave me the opportunity to preach, it made a positive impact on my ministry and who I am today. So, I’ve been praying about this idea for a few months now and the person God laid on my heart to ask is Aaron Hurlington. As you know, he was baptized not too long ago, and he has an interest in ministry and a passion for God. He is 12 years old and I’m excited that we have the opportunity to preach a message together on a topic God has laid on his heart. Let’s continue to work together as a church family to encourage and empower our young people to participate in our worship here at Bronte.
Last Saturday night a group of us from Bronte joined the Really Living church and went downtown Hamilton to serve food and clothing to those in need. I have to tell you that it was an eye-opening experience for many of us. It amazed me that we have that level of poverty so close to home. It was a cold night and there were people we served in flip-flops simply because they didn’t have anything else. It was a rewarding experience and I recommend going out on one of these events in the new year, it really helps put things into perspective. Today’s message is on the topic of “Legacy”. We’ll be exploring a Bible character that isn’t talked about very often, but his story has an interesting outcome. While we do our exploration today, I’d like to challenge all of us to think about what kind of legacy you’d like to leave for the generations that come after you? Welcome and may our time together bring us closer to God and to each other.
Today we celebrate seniors. If you’re worshiping with us today and you’re a senior, please know that you are loved and appreciated very much. God has blessed our church family because of your tireless efforts, support, and wisdom you share so freely with our families. May God continue to bless you as you journey together with Him, looking forward to that great day when we all see our Savior face-to-face. For our special day today, I’m excited that our very own president of the Ontario Conference is here. One of his greatest passions is the seniors of our churches and has started creative initiatives to keep you active and inspired. We welcome Dr. Mansfield Edwards along with his wife Sharon who are with us today, and I pray that God will bless us all richly as we worship together.