What Can I Give?

Scripture reading: Matthew 2: 1-2, 10-11

The Magi Visit the Messiah
2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”

After this interview the wise men went on their way. Once again the star appeared to them, guiding them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.


Prayerfully consider what would be a meaningful expression of your love for God and offer it wholeheartedly to Him as a gift. You can express it in writing, drawing, song, movement…
In what ways can you serve others this week? Explore serving strangers as well as those you know.

Practice rehearsing God’s faithfulness to you. Begin by naming the more obvious gifts, then offer thanks for the ways God cares for you in less noticeable ways. Find ways to express your gratitude to others.

Perhaps you may wish to read the poem “I Am Silent…and Expectant” written by Ted Loder and allow it to become a prayer.

How silently, 
how silently 
the wondrous gift is given. 
I would be silent now, 
and expectant… 
        that I may receive 
                the gift I need, 
                        so I may become 
                                the gifts others need. 


What can I give Him,
poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd,
I would bring a lamb.
If I were a wise man,
I would do my part.
Yet what can I give Him?
Give my heart.



The Entire 2017 Reflective Series:

Repentance: Preparing Your Heart for Transformation

God With Us: Do Not Be Anxious

Go Tell It On The Mountain

What Can I Give?

Go Tell It On The Mountain

Scripture reading: Luke 2:15-20

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.


Look back over the last 24 hours. Notice just one special moment, event, or encounter that has given you joy and helped you to remember that you are loved. Look back over your life’s spiritual journey, remembering those milestones that seem, with hindsight, to have truly made your life worthwhile. Offer God your gratitude — glorifying and praising Him.
Pray for opportunities to share these stories from your life as a testimony of God’s love, and invite others to receive the Jesus Christ as Lord.


Invite God to bring to mind a person(s) with whom you can share your personal story of Jesus and how He longs for all people to believe in Him as their Saviour.
Now copy out the Candy Cane poem to personally hand or read to someone, sharing the salvation story of your personal, relational Saviour — Jesus Christ.

Look at the Candy Cane
What do you see?
Stripes that are red
Like the blood shed for me
White is for my Saviour
Who’s sinless and pure!
“J” is for Jesus My Lord, that’s for sure!
Turn it around
And a staff you will see
Jesus my shepherd
Was born for Me!

Suggested prayer:

Lord, thank you for Your presence in my life. Lead me and guide me as I long to share the Good News of Jesus with other people. May my heart radiant the love and peace that is a testimony of Your faithfulness, and may my life be a witness for Your love.


The Entire 2017 Reflective Series:

Repentance: Preparing Your Heart for Transformation

God With Us: Do Not Be Anxious

Go Tell It On The Mountain

What Can I Give?

God With Us: Do Not Be Anxious

Scripture reading: Luke 1:26-38

The Birth of Jesus Foretold
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

Gabriel appeared to Mary and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you!” Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favour with God!”


Mary was anxious when the angel appeared out of nowhere announcing, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.”

Do you struggle to believe you are chosen, loved, and favoured by God? The Greek word for ‘favoured’ in Luke 1:28 means ‘graced’. In fact, the apostle Paul uses the same word in Ephesians 1:6 to describe God pouring out his grace upon us: “to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” How does this helps you receive the good news of God’s grace? What makes it hard to believe? Spend some time giving God thanks for loving you, chasing you, and lavishing you with grace and favour.

Reflect with these words “Don’t be afraid, [name] for you have found favour with God”.

To be anxious is to be human. The question is, what we do with our anxieties? The decision is between hanging onto them or handing them over. After listening to the angel, Mary handed over herself, including her anxieties. “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Faith is entrusting ourselves to the One who is eternally trustworthy, who is worthy of our trust.


“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious.” (Philippians 4:6)

Write down what you need to surrender into the hands of God — trusting He will respond.


Forgive us, Heavenly Father, for living as though You do not know and do not care, as though You are not our loving Father. As You did with Mary, who first received the good news of “Emmanuel, God with us”, and handed over her troubled heart to you, so also give us such faith that the constant theme of our lives may be, “Lord, let it be according to Your word”. This we trustingly ask in the name of Jesus Christ, her Lord and ours. Amen. Let it be.

(Adapted from God With Us)


The Entire 2017 Reflective Series:

Repentance: Preparing Your Heart for Transformation

God With Us: Do Not Be Anxious

Go Tell It On The Mountain

What Can I Give?

Resources ~ Part 3 ~ The Time of the Church

by guest writer, Caleb Dyck
first shared on his own site, Truth Set Free 

Read Part 1
Read Part 2

How good is the church at using the time that it has? I am thinking of both how it utilizes its time throughout the week, and then how well the church is using the opportunities that are unique to its current place in history.

First of all, how well does the church make use of its time during the week? Most churches that I have ever been involved with have been very busy places. Almost every night of the week has some sort of ministry happening. The staff of the church are always busy, and the volunteers are often stretched to their capacity. However, are our churches busy with the right things? We have ministries for people in every stage of life. But, are we actually being effective?

Most churches can not possibly field a team of staff and volunteers that can effectively cover the wide array of ministries that are possible. They only have a limited amount of man hours to contribute to any cause. So, would it be more responsible to focus the majority of the time on a few ministries that can really make an impact, or is it better to try to spread out enough to touch each of the bases?

I don’t know if there is any one answer. I think that each church needs to prayerfully consider how to be the best stewards of the time that they have and then move forward into the areas that they feel they have been called to work in.

Secondly, we are part of a global church that exists in its own unique spot in history. Each generation of the church has its own set of challenges, along with opportunities to advance the kingdom of God. Each generation builds on the foundation of the saints who have gone before. As the church of the present, we have a period of time that is allotted to us. What each local church needs to do is look at what ways they can contribute in our current context. The church is notoriously bad at keeping up with the times. As a church, we need to make sure we are aware of what is going on in the world around us and respond to the needs in a timely manner.

We don’t want to be the church that completely missed the struggles and needs of our generation.

We don’t want to be the church that is clueless to the bigger picture of our generation.

I want my generation to be the generation that seizes the day and fearlessly presses forward and storms enemy strongholds.

I want my generation of church to stand on the shoulders of giants of the faith and make a stand that reverberates for succeeding generations to come.

I hope that I am not disappointed.

Resources ~ Part 2

by guest writer Caleb Dyck
This post was first shared on his own site, Truth Set Free

In my first post about being responsible with our resources, I mentioned three big areas. These areas are time, money, and talents. In this post, I am going to discuss the idea of being held accountable for how we spend our time. We are a people who are easily distracted, and we like it. We know that we waste time, but those darn cat pictures are just so fun to look at. 
In my own life, I have wasted an incredible amount of time. The amount of time that I have spent watching television, playing video games, or mindlessly browsing the internet is simply embarrassing. I spent several years with grand plans of doing something great with my life and making a difference in the world, but when it came right down to it I would just waste the evenings and weekends on mindless entertainment and amusement. The worst thing was that I knew exactly what I was doing, but I didn’t have the willpower to actually do anything about it. After all, why save the world today when you can put it off until tomorrow?

Those days are now behind me, but I still sometimes wonder just how much time I still waste. I am a decently busy individual. I work a normal, full-time job, have a family to spend time with, volunteer in a couple of different capacities, and take classes on the side. Often, with everything going on at once, I have a hard time slowing down and designating time for the important things like investing in my spiritual needs. Sure, I am involved in a couple of different ministries and I am in the process of preparing for a future of serving the church, but my spiritual relationship is more important than acts of service. Especially with the advent of smartphones and other electronic devices, all my free time can easily be absorbed in mindless things like social media and entertainment. I can often find myself at the end of the day without finding time for prayer, and I know that if I was more interested in talking to God than I was checking status updates, I would have found plenty of time for prayer.

In order to combat this, I need to do a couple of things. First of all, I need to make sure I am creating strict priorities for myself. I intellectually “know” that prayer is a priority, but I don’t live my life that way. That needs to change. Also, in order to have an honest picture on how much time I waste on my phone, I have put an activity tracker app on my phone that tracks how much time I spend on my phone, and what I am doing in that time. I am somewhat afraid of what I will find. My goal is to be spending more time in the Word and in prayer each day than I spend wasting time on my various digital devices.

I don’t know how much time I have on this earth. I have spent years of my life on nothing of value, and those are years that I will never get back. While it is easy to look back and lament the lost time, there is nothing that I can do now to change the past. I need to now make sure that moving forward I am making the best use of my time. For the remaining time that I have left, I hope to learn to be a faithful steward of what I have been given.

Next post, enough about me, how is the church managing its time?

How a Sermon From 50 Years Ago is Still Relevant Today

flash back friday, hanover missionary church
Ever wonder what things looked like around HMC fifty years ago?
Hanover Missionary Church, old bulletinThe modern technology of the 60’s allowed the church bulletin to be produced on a typewriter.  Perhaps they weren’t the colouful, eye-catching documents we create today but one thing is abundantly clear – this has always been a congregation intent on providing great ministries for it’s people and community!
Notice the scripture reference for Pastor Purdy’s message on this particular Sunday.  Hebrews 11:1-27 describes faith in action as demonstrated by numerous characters throughout the Scriptures.  How appropriate for us now that we, as a congregation, have embarked on the journey of defining our values and setting our vision.

Hebrews 11:1-27 New International Version (NIV)

Faith in Action

11 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.
By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.”[a] For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she[b] considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”[c] 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.
21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.
22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.
23 By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.
24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.

May we be like these biblical heroes.  May we move forward in faith and trust in the God who is bigger than all of us that He will make a way, that He will guide our decisions and mark the path He would have us take.
These words are as relevant to us today as they were fifty years ago.  They are as relevant as they were the day they were written into Scripture.  By faith let us move into the future, confident in the God who always provides.

Alanna Rusnak shares her life with her husband, three children, and a cat she’s trying hard not to love.  She has attended HMC for her entire life and been on staff since 2003, currently fulfilling the role of Creative Communications.  You can find her over at her own blog, SelfBinding Retrospect.

10 Things That Stand Out in 1 Samuel

by contributing writer, Kristina Dyck

We are just about to dive into 1 Samuel which is exciting. I have always loved the stories in 1 and 2 Samuel.

In preparation for studying this book on Sunday morning,  I decided to dive in and read it through ahead of time, that way I can gather my own thoughts from the book and learn what the Lord is saying to me before hearing what He is saying to Jason (or the other speakers) in the same book.

Here are ten things that stand out to me in 1 Samuel:

1. God can use infertility to do great things if we keep looking to him and keep trusting his will for our lives. In Hannah’s case God gave her a son that would change the course of a nation. (1 Samuel 1) That doesn’t mean that a woman who struggles with infertility will for sure birth a hero or prophet one day but I think there is a reason that every time infertility is mentioned in the Bible it leads to great change.

2. How we raise our children is SO important. Eli’s lack of care in pointing his children towards the Lord and teaching them to honour Him eventually lead to his death. We don’t often see people dying because of careless parenting these days but this is still a great reminder that one of the most important things we can do in our lives, if we have children, is parent our children well and point them towards the Lord. (1 Samuel 2)

3. When God speaks to us we need to pay attention or we might miss it. (1 Samuel 2) if our lives are so busy that we don’t stop and take time to listen we will never hear what he is saying to us and that would be a tragic think to miss.

4. No other “god” can stand before Jehovah. The god of the Philistines fell down on its face and broke into pieces before the Ark. (1 Samuel 5) That is pretty awesome!

5.When God speaks to us we need to pay attention or we might miss it. (1 Samuel 2). God is not a lucky talisman we can pull out when we want to and expect things to go our way. He is GOD, yes he is love and he loves us so much but he is also holy, perfect, righteous and just. We must treat him with the honour and fear and worship he is due along with the love for a father.  (1 Samuel 5)

6. Sometimes we think we know what we want/need and we pray for it and beg for it but if God gives it to us we realize how foolish we were to covet it in the first place. Sometimes when he says “no” we get annoyed but we should realize that he knows our needs so much better than we ever could and sometimes “no” is a blessing. (1 Samuel 8-9)

7. Lame excuses don’t work on God. We can be so good at justifying just about anything for the people around us. We can have them all fooled and even fool ourselves but we can’t fool God even for a second. Offerings mean nothing if we don’t obey God. (1 Samuel 15)

8. God does not judge the way we judge, he doesn’t get fooled by looks or mannerisms or the way we carry ourselves. Samuel was so close to picking the wrong man again to be king but God knew their hearts. He knew the heart of the son who had been rejected by his family, they didn’t see his worth but God did. (1 Samuel 16)

9. If God is for us who can stand against us? Not even a giant man of war can stand against a child who is in the will of God. It sometimes seems like evil forces are winning but God is ALWAYS in control, we need only to trust. (1 Samuel 17)

10. God’s timing is not the same as our timing. David knew for about 15 years that he would be king, he had already been anointed yet had to endure death attempts and life as a fugitive while a terrible king ruled, but he knew that God was in control. His timing is perfect. David didn’t try to rush things by killing the king when he had the perfect chance alone with him in a cave, he honoured him despite knowing that he has already been chosen to replace Saul. He trusted that God would be true to His word in His time. I need this lesson over and over again to remind me not to try to rush God’s plans. (1 Samuel 24 & 26)

There are so many more awesome things in this book, and I look forward to hearing what the Lord is pointing out to Jason in these same pages. I challenge you to do the same and see what He teaches you, it might be similar to me or it might be very different, and that is an awesome thing about God and His Word.

Kristina currently lives in Durham with her family. She is a missionary kid who married another missionary kid and wants to serve the Lord wherever He leads which is in Grey Bruce right now.  She has been an active part of HMC for 3 years. She is a photographer, birth doula, and art enthusiast. You can find her over in her own blog, Unashamed Grace.

When a Carpenter is Called to Raise a King

by contributing writer, Heidi Eastman

When a Carpenter is Called to Raise a King

I was hurt, betrayed and angry.  Mary, my betrothed, was pregnant and it was not my child.  And then she made an elaborate story about an angel and she said that the child growing inside her was the Son of the Most High God.  It was insulting.  As angry as I was, I didn’t want to bring more shame upon her and I decided to end things quietly.  But then an angel came to me and confirmed everything Mary had said.

I was terrified!

How does a man treat the woman carrying the Son of God?  I’m just a carpenter.  I couldn’t afford to give her everything she deserved.  All I could do was provide a dry house (most of the year), and work hard to provide for her basic needs.  I still cannot fathom why God would tell me to marry her.  But He did, and I obeyed.

I did everything I could to make Mary comfortable and she never complained or asked for anything.  In the midst of morning sickness, sleepless nights, and being the center of gossip, Mary never forgot how blessed she was.  She never forgot how special her child was.

As Mary’s stomach stretched, it started becoming real to me.  I was responsible for raising the Son of God.  Wouldn’t a rabbi or a scholar of the Torah be a better option?  How would I ensure he learned everything he needed?  I did my best to hide my worries from Mary.  She had enough to deal with without adding a frantic husband to the mix.

Mary was getting more uncomfortable every day, when Caesar Augustus decreed that a census be taken, and I had to travel to Bethlehem.  I was taking her away from her mother, and any woman she knew that could help her deliver a baby.  I was taking her on a dangerous road, with risks of attack – both human and animal – and robbery.  Not to mention that the stress of the trip could cause her to go into labour at any time.

Yet we went.  And I spent the entire trip in prayer.  I prayed that Mary would be okay.  I prayed that I could be the father this child needed.  I prayed that we would have a bed to sleep in.  I prayed that what we were doing was indeed God’s will.

We finally arrived in Bethlehem.  I completed the census and we looked for a place to stay.  Mary was becoming more and more uncomfortable.  She tried so hard not to complain, but a woman in labour does not easily remain quiet.

So many people had come for the census that there were no vacancies anywhere!  Finally an innkeeper offered us his stable for the night.  A stable is far from what I imagined but it was dry and Mary could rest.

Jesus was born that night.  Mary had told me about childbirth on our journey in anticipation of us not finding a midwife.  I had never seen a child born before.  It was long, messy, loud and disgusting, yet somehow beautiful.

I had been expecting a King.  Yet I held a tiny, fragile, helpless infant.  A baby who interrupted our sleep and demanded to be fed and changed.  A simple, beautiful, perfect baby boy.  He was not a king.  He was not born with a crown on his head.  The only miracle was that of birth.  He was completely human.  Yet I knew, when I looked at him, that he really was the son of the Most High God.  And I was given the honour of being a part of his life.

I still do not know how to raise a king.  I will honour his mother.  I will pray for wisdom, and I will teach him what I know.  I will raise the creator of the universe as a carpenter.

Heidi Eastman lives in Neustadt with her husband, two daughters, and a beast of a dog. She has been an active part of the HMC congregation from the moment she was old enough to contribute. You can find her over at her own blog, My Sister Told Me To Start A Blog.