HMC Youth: Jonah 1:4-6

Hey HMC Youth!  

We hope you are having a fantastic start to your week! It was so great to see you last Friday, and we are looking forward to youth group again this Friday.

The passage for this week is Jonah 1:4-6, take some time to read it and connect with God.  

This week we see just how committed Jonah is to running from God, and also how committed God is to pursuing His people.  At first it seems crazy… how could Jonah possibly sleep through a storm so severe that the ship was about to break into pieces?  Imagine the creaking, cracking and groaning of that big old wooden ship, and the violent crashing of cargo inside the ship as the waves thrashed the ship around.  But pause the story and consider the storm going on inside of Jonah.  Anger, bitterness, confusion and hurt swirled in Jonah’s mind.  The God that Jonah loved and trusted had asked him to do something that was totally unreasonable to him and it wasn’t fair!  Now he was running from the friend he trusted and nothing made sense anymore.  Why did any of it really matter?  Like Jonah, do we ever get so caught up in the storm going on inside of us that we become oblivious to the storm happening around us, and forget our ability and responsibility to do something about it?  Storms are certainly happening in our society, do we need to wait for the unbelieving captain of the ship to come shake us awake to take action?     

As you read and reflect, here’s some questions for you to think about.  We will explore them more at youth group on Friday night

1.    After reading the text, what thoughts or details jump out at you right away?
2.    Spend a bit of time praying about and reflecting on the text.  What is God bringing to your attention?
3.    How does this passage apply to your life?

See you Friday!

Sunday Morning Live Stream: Committed

Committed
Mark 14:1-11, John 12:1-8
April 18, 2021

How many of us have ever been, or known someone who was so committed to something that others may have viewed it as crazy?

Have you ever heard of Fauja Singh? What a story! So here is a guy who is a runner, now is 110, and didn’t retire from official running events until 104. That is crazy! That is commitment right there. He, at an age where most of us would probably like to relax a bit and slow down is doing more than people 1/3 his age. He started running at the age of 81 and ran his first race at 89. At 100, ran the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. 42 kms in just under 8.5 hours. At 102, he ran a 10km race. And now, he is the subject of a children’s book!

As crazy as this example is, it is truly an example of commitment to a cause – a cause he believes in and has devoted his life to. He is truly committed.

What are you committed to? What do you believe in? What are you devoting your life to? There are lots of things that we can be committed to aren’t there. Many are good things too!

Key Idea:

Jesus invites us to be committed to His cause

That cause can be loosely summarized in three parts:
a. Love God with all of yourself
b. Love others how you want to be loved
c. Help others find and follow Jesus

I Invite you to turn to John 12. A parallel story is found in Mark 14. I am going to reference it a bit to fill in on some details, but my main focus in on John 12. I will give you a bit of background as you flip.

Passover is just around the corner. For those unfamiliar, Passover was a major annual yearly celebration for the Jews that dated back some 2000 years prior, celebrating the freedom of Israel from Egyptian slavery by the hand of God. Check out Exodus 11-12 for further reference.

What you need to know is that it was expected that all males over a certain age were supposed to come back to Jerusalem to be a part of the temple worship and celebration to God in this yearly event. Even Jewish males who were in jail could even be released for Passover and then taken back after. This was a big deal! Jesus (knowing that He will also be killed at Jerusalem) still heads there with His disciples for this yearly celebration.
On the way, he comes to a town called Bethany where 2 sisters live with their brother (Mary, Martha, and Lazarus). Lazarus is dead, but Jesus comes, and calls Lazarus out of the tomb where he is buried and back to life again!

Read John 12:1-8

Later that night, still in Bethany, we see from Mark 14that they are at the home of a man named Simon the Leper, where there is a feast being held in honour of Jesus. Simon (not to be confused with Simon Peter) likely was the man that Jesus healed prior that had leprosy. He would have been referred to as “the Leper” because at one point he was a leper, not that he is presently. He wouldn’t be having people over for a party if he still was fighting leprosy as those with leprosy lived in a secluded isolated colony away from people.

At this dinner is Simon (the host), Jesus, His disciples, Lazarus, maybe others, and Mary / Martha who would, according to custom, be serving. What happens next gives two completely different pictures of commitment.

1) Mary – the committed follower:
Everyone is reclining at the table, talking, listening to Jesus speak maybe. Then, it all stops as Mary comes into the room with an ointment – made from an aromatic plant in India. This ointment was used for burial (which is interesting because of what is about to happen to Jesus. And it is worth lots of $$$. 300 Denarii was equivalent to 300 days of work for a laborer. An extravagant and expensive gift indeed!

She then takes this ointment, breaks the jar it is in, and lets it pour over Jesus’ head (see Mark 14) – In the process she also anoints His feet with the oil and chooses to wipe His feet with her hair.

The men in the room were likely already talking. Mary had come into a place that, in their custom, she was not to be. She was not to gather with the men. And now, she is doing this really uncomfortable, awkward public display of love and honour. And in the process, she is wiping the dirtiest part of the body, the feet, with her hair. Awkward….

Here we have a picture of the depth of her love and commitment to Jesus – that she loved Jesus so much, with all she was, that she was willing to lay it all out there – at a cost to her personally, and even to her “dignity”. There was no taking it back now. Out of love and commitment she ensured that her Lord got the anointing that was the best she could do. Her commitment to Jesus, to her God was on full display for all to see.

2) Judas – The committed crook

Here is a guy who is the complete opposite of everything Mary was committing to. He was, by all accounts, a committed crook who deserved to be committed. Judas is one of the 12 disciples – He is in Jesus’ inner circle, but he never seems to be engaged at a heart level in what is going on. Judas was concerned with his own gain, and we see
that in this passage.

Mark 14:4-5 talks about the disciples getting worked up about Mary anointing Jesus with the expensive ointment. But in John 12, we see one disciple in particular being a mouthpiece for the others – Judas… He is the one speaking up. That is not to say that the others were not taken back by this, in fact I am sure that everyone in the room was talking (maybe in disgust and disbelief), but he is the one who is vocally bothered enough to speak up.

He hides under the disguise that this is a bad use of resources when there are so many needy people around. 300 days wage could really help the poor after all. I like the insight John 12 gives to this passage. Judas really couldn’t care less about the poor. He was a thief at heart. As keeper of the communal money bag (as there were not ATMs and Bank Accounts in those days) he frequently helped himself to the moneybag of the disciples for his own desires. We have a term for that today… Robber. Judas was a thief and robber who saw Mary’s possession as an opportunity to get rich. She could sell the perfume, put the money into the communal money bag, and he could get rich through taking some of that money for himself.

If we were to jump to Mark 14:10-11, we further see the heart of Judas in this whole true story… some point after this whole exchange, after Jesus rebukes him, Judas goes off in secret to agree to betray Jesus to the religious leaders with a promise from them of money when he would hand Jesus to them only days later. So not only is Judas a thief, but he is also a bounty hunter who is guilty of conspiring and an accomplice to murder.

Judas was committed to himself, his sin, and his darkness. And the love of money was driving many of his actions. He was the complete opposite of Mary.

Applications:

A) True commitment to Christ may invite the critics.
Look at Mary… she experienced that first hand. As she did this extravagant form of worship and honor to Jesus that came from a place of wholehearted passion, respect, and honor to Him, people got uptight. The whole scene of Mary being “undignified” and Jesus allowing her to wipe His feet with her hair or anoint His head was a bit too much for some. As well, Judas, and possibly some of the other disciples took exception to what was viewed as a misuse and waste of resources. Mary had her vocal critics.

As we wholeheartedly commit to follow Jesus individually and as a church, we may be called upon to do something that may not make sense to those around us. It may actually invite criticism, harsh words, and in some cases anger. But we shouldn’t be surprised as the Bible tells us to expect it – John 15:18-21.

Bottom line – as we commit to His cause, as we commit to follow Jesus passionately, whole heartedly, and obediently; desiring to see His work and purpose unfolded in and through our lives, some people will object, get uptight, oppose, and criticize. Expect it.

B) True commitment to Christ may come at personal cost.
Mary’s act of worship and commitment came at the cost of ointment worth over 300 days wages as a laborer. In the eyes of her critics, it cost her human dignity.

When we commit to the cause of Christ, it could come at a personal cost. I am not going to speculate on what that will look like as for each situation and person it might be different, and we could spend all day talking about it. But this I know, following Jesus, committing to His cause could come at a personal cost. And this is something that the Bible speaks about in Mark 8:34-35. If you want to be a follower of Jesus, if you want to be committed to His cause, you and I need to be willing to deny the things in our lives that would stand in the way of following Christ, take up our figurative cross (which was a tool of death), and give up the things on that cross that are standing in the way of us living the life Jesus wants for us. When that happens, you and I find true life in Christ.

These first two applications sound a bit heavy, and maybe are a bit discouraging to some of us this morning…. Here is the great promise in all of this though:

C) True commitment to Christ leaves behind true blessing
What did Jesus say in Mark 14:8-9? To paraphrase it, Mary’s obedience, passionate worship, and true commitment to Christ will be remembered wherever Jesus is preached, and we are blessed with a wonderful example to follow of how to love God with all of ourselves. And even today, over 2000 years later, we are blessed with that legacy, that example of true commitment to Christ.

What is our legacy as Hanover Missionary Church? I have asked before in this church “will we be missed if we as a church disappeared?” Think about that… even if 50 years passes, will we be remembered? How many churches have even folded in a 40km radius around Hanover in the last 50-100 years that people have forgotten about?

Remember: Jesus invites us to be committed to His cause. My conviction is this – If we:
a. Love God with all of ourselves
b. Love others how we want to be loved
c. Help others find and follow Jesus
…the result will be that we will be a blessing to our community, we will be remembered for the right reasons, and our commitment to the cause of Christ will make a deep difference in our community.

Why? Because following Jesus involves a life altering, people shaping, world shaking, radical commitment that others notice. It changes who we are and what we do. We stand out in a good way like a light stands out in darkness. In a society that seems taken by scandal and hypocrisy in the church, living committed to Jesus is a rare concept that people can’t forget. Let us then be committed, and be a blessing to our town, province, country, and world.

Update from Ministry Council: Town Hall Meeting Follow Up

Good morning HMC,

Earlier this week I was reading in Romans 8. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” God’s Word is full of reminders of where our [everything] comes from (God) and that the most precious thing He has given us is Himself.

Yes, it is easy to get distracted by horizontal matters. May we be diligent to fix our gaze on God, vertically, and praise Him for the blessings that we find in Him. (Be encouraged by Hebrews 12:1-2 and Philippians 4:10-20 as well — “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”)

At our March 28th Town Hall Meeting, we as a family of families discussed: staffing for U18, an offer from Hanover Chrysler to purchase a parcel of our land, and the need for volunteers for several teams. An update on finances was also given.

I thought it would help to share some of the details here in an email, as not everyone was able to join the meeting

1. It came up that some people may be trying to indicate their concerns by withholding their tithes. It was clarified that the Ministry Council does not know if anyone changes their giving—up or down. MC does not see granular giving detail. If you have concerns, please reach out to a pastor or Ministry Council member. We would love to hear from you and answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Ministry Council meets on the third Tuesday of every month. You can send a letter to be discussed, or ask for an invite to come in person.

2. A number of people suggested that the youth and those that have helped with children and youth should be asked for their input as the next step before a search committee and ministry profile are finalized. Plans were being put into place for a hybrid meeting, and then the current stay-at-home order was announced. Stay tuned.

3. A number of people expressed a desire to have more conversation about why Pastor Amos and Pastor Kristina resigned. The pastors and members of the Ministry Council are available to answer questions. Let’s schedule a visit. Again, we want to hear from you and answer your questions as best we can.

4. It was stated that if someone with concerns is not comfortable approaching the Lead Pastor (Dave Hildebrandt) or the chairperson of the Ministry Council (Jason Bechtel), there are other options. Anyone on the Ministry Council can be approached (Karen Schmalz, Kaia Kontrimas, Carolyn Pearson, Charlotte Spitzig, Dan DeVisser) and we have an elected moderator, Marilyn Schmitt, who can also be approached. You should never feel as if you are unable to express your concerns. We are a body of believers and we want to hear from you.

——-
Please know that you are missed. You are loved. We are all looking forward to getting back together again soon and having sweet fellowship around the Son.

Let’s keep looking up, fixing your eyes on Jesus.

On behalf of the Ministry Council,
Jason Bechtel

The Stay-at-Home Order & How It Will Change our Sunday Mornings.

It was once said that the only constant in life is change. How true that is. Change is happening yet again all around us. As we are all aware now, we are under a new stay at home order in our province. With that in mind, there are some further changes to ministry here at the church. For the coming weeks, Sunday gatherings will be solely online with no in-person gatherings in the building. Other in person ministry and meetings will also not be happening. As we move through the month of April, and as updates become available, I will be sharing them with you.

As I think about the next few weeks in front of us, my mind goes back to what I shared on Sunday morning. Lock downs, stay at home orders, and further restrictions can have the potential to cause us all worry and concern. It can further add stress and hardship to our lives. But I want to encourage us to remember how as people walking in the truth and reality of the risen Saviour, we are walking as people of the promise. We have the promise of a life to come. We have the promise of inner peace. We have the promise of unfailing love. And regardless of what happens around us, we can cling to the life changing promises that have been accomplished for us through Jesus rising from the grave, and we can rise above it in hope, power, and His victory.

If you need anything in this time, please reach out to us here in the office. We miss you all, love you all, and are praying for all of you.

— Pastor Dave

HMC Youth: Jonah 1:17-2:10

Hey HMC Youth!

Hope you had a great Easter! We are having Youth Group this Friday on zoom as usual.  

The passage for this week is Jonah 1:17-2:10, take some time to read it and connect with God. 

As Jonah was being thrown off the ship into the raging sea, I imagine that death felt like the most probable outcome.  The situation is grim as Jonah hopelessly sinks into the deep, dark water. Jonah is out of strength and out of options, and as that reality settles in, he remembers God and cries out.  Doesn’t it seem like we are often completely backed into a corner and out of other options before we finally surrender to God?  But then, just like Jonah in the fish, God is faithful to provide a space for us, safe but not always comfortable, where we can repent and renew our trust in God.  When things don’t go as we plan, can we recognize that maybe “our plan” isn’t God’s plan, and that the lack of action is actually a safe place that God is providing so we can seek Him?

As you read and reflect, here’s some questions for you to think about.  We will explore them more at youth group on Friday night.

1.    After reading the text, what thoughts or details jump out at you right away?
2.    Spend a bit of time praying about and reflecting on the text.  What is God bringing to your attention?
3.    How does this passage apply to your life?

See you Friday!

Sunday Morning Live Stream: I Can Face Tomorrow

I Can Face Tomorrow: He Holds My Tomorrow
EASTER SUNDAY
April 4, 2021

There is hope for today and hope for tomorrow because of Jesus. That is the message of this weekend isn’t it?

On Friday, I talked about how the message of the Cross is one of meaning, belonging, purpose, and significance. I talked about how by what Jesus did by going to the Cross and dying on it for our sin and brokenness, we have the opportunity to find forgiveness. We have the opportunity to find healing. Our relationship with God that was broken could be restored. No longer would we have to walk around in darkness, but we could be welcomed in to belonging as a child of God. We can have hope because we can have spiritual wholeness.

Today I want to share with you a message of confidence. Because Jesus lives, because He beat the power of death by raising from it on the 3rd day proving that He is all powerful and able to do all things, we can find comfort in knowing that our God is all powerful and that nothing can hold Him back. We can face tomorrow! We can confidently look at our lives today and every day beyond, knowing that he holds our today and our tomorrow in His hands and that nothing is too big for Him.

I don’t know about you, but this wasn’t the Easter I was planning for. As late as early this past week, I had a bit of a different idea where I was going to land today. Our lives are already complicated, difficult, and in many ways stressful. The last year, between all our personal stuff, and then a pandemic and lockdowns, it has not been easy since last Easter. Then this week, lockdown 3.0 hit. Are you getting tired like I am?

I want to briefly share with you three ways in which Jesus coming back from the grave gives us, in the face of all the struggles we are facing, hope for today, tomorrow, and beyond.

1) The promise of a life to come
ROM 6:23, 1 Pt 1:3-4, John 14:1-3, Rev 21:3-4
Jesus died and came back to life again so that we too could have a chance to die to our old selves that were plagued with sin and brokenness. And just as Christ was raised from the dead into a new life, we get to also be raised into a new life. It is a life where we are not only walking in a new and restored relationship with God as His children, but it is a life that looks forward to a life yet to come where we will, in eternity, be with Jesus in Heaven. And it is a place where there is no more sickness, no more death, no more crying, no more pain.

What does this mean? As bad as things get here, as stressful as your week, month, or year has been, as much as you may dread the week that is ahead, and as hard as the road is that you are walking on, this life isn’t it. There is so much more. As easy as it might be, don’t be discouraged in your situation now because this life is filled with troubles. But for those who have become part of God’s family, we have the future hope of Heaven that can not in any way be destroyed, stolen, or taken from us. We can face tomorrow because we know that there is a tomorrow coming that is worth waiting for.

2) The promise of inner peace today
John 16:33
The message is this: life will not always be easy. There will be things that are hard, painful, and stressful on a daily basis. There will be things that happen in your life that wont be fair. There will be things that you will be upset about. There will be conflict. There will be a lot of unpleasant things as a part of this life. And some things will be much harder than others to endure.

But we can have true peace because Jesus, by His coming back to life again truly overcame the world. He showed the ultimate display of power. He proved He was indeed God. And when we put our trust in Jesus, we know that we can have peace, knowing that the same Jesus who beat the power of death by coming back to life again is walking with us through whatever we now face. And as we experience the peace that comes from walking with Jesus through everything, knowing that He has overcome everything including death itself, we can face not only today but tomorrow with confidence because we are not alone.

3) The promise of unfailing love
The amazing thing today is that the love of God that comes through what Jesus did in dying and rising back to life cannot be stolen from us. Because Jesus has overcome the world and all of its darkness, His love can endure through the darkest of days, even when we don’t feel it. His love never gives up on us. And His love cannot be stolen away from us.

I want to, as I wrap up, leave you with the words of Romans 8:37-39, re-written a bit for our present lives:

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation including financial problems, friendship troubles, church conflicts, fighting with the kids, marriage struggles, work stress, health concerns, and even COVID 19 and its many lockdowns will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And to that, I say AMEN.

HMC Family Challenge: How Can We Apply the Story of Mary Anointing Jesus?

“His Love”

Last week we heard how Mary showed that she loved Jesus by anointing Jesus with very expensive perfume.  She sacrificed, and loved generously because the love of Jesus changed her life.

One way that you can show others that you love Jesus and that His love has changed your life is by how you love others. 

For this challenge, how can you show love that is generous and sacrificial to someone that you know needs it?  How can you make someone feel loved because Jesus loves you?  Maybe it is colouring a picture for a Senior who is stuck at home.  Maybe it is giving a Tim Hortons gift card to your neighbour as a way of saying thanks for being such a good neighbour.  Maybe it is calling someone on the phone to tell them you are thinking of them.  Maybe it is dropping off some fresh baking to someone who needs encouragement.

Whatever it is, as you show generous and sacrificial love to others, you are showing that same love for Jesus as you do it.

Show us pictures of what you did at #hmcfamilychallenge