Para Vista Lutheran Church

Weekly messages from Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Para Vista Inc

Stay Secure (Video)

May 9th, 2021
Watch Now:

To be a servant in the ancient world was taxing and often frustrating. At the whim of the master, the servant must drop everything in order to serve the master’s desires. Whether preparing food, cleaning up, taking care of guests, the servant was commanded to do this without question.

To be a disciple of a teacher was in the same vein. To serve under the tutelage meant that the servant’s immediate response was necessary. To argue was a punishable offense. Certainly slaves, servants and students would never consider their masters ‘friends.’ Kind and generous, perhaps, but a friend? Not a chance.

The only way a servant and a master could become friends is if the master freed the servant. To be set free from the bondage of ‘must’ (‘you will do what I say’) to the glory of ‘would you,’ the servant-turned-friend would have the choice of when and how to serve.

But true friends are always freed to make the choice to help.

Interesting how Jesus puts this new framework in place for his disciples.

This is my command: Love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this: to lay down their life for their friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants anymore because a servant doesn’t know what a master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me, but I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you. This is my command: Love one another. ~John 15:12-16

Jesus has freed his disciples from their role as his ‘servant’ to a new paradigm of friendship. What does this mean? How did they react? What does it mean for us to have (and be in) friendships in the 21st century of vague, temporary and disposable friendships?

God’s peace and you ponder what a friend we have in Jesus!

Pr Reid Matthias

Stay Secure (Audio)

May 9th, 2021

To be a servant in the ancient world was taxing and often frustrating. At the whim of the master, the servant must drop everything in order to serve the master’s desires. Whether preparing food, cleaning up, taking care of guests, the servant was commanded to do this without question.

To be a disciple of a teacher was in the same vein. To serve under the tutelage meant that the servant’s immediate response was necessary. To argue was a punishable offense. Certainly slaves, servants and students would never consider their masters ‘friends.’ Kind and generous, perhaps, but a friend? Not a chance.

The only way a servant and a master could become friends is if the master freed the servant. To be set free from the bondage of ‘must’ (‘you will do what I say’) to the glory of ‘would you,’ the servant-turned-friend would have the choice of when and how to serve.

But true friends are always freed to make the choice to help.

Interesting how Jesus puts this new framework in place for his disciples.

This is my command: Love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this: to lay down their life for their friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants anymore because a servant doesn’t know what a master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me, but I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you. This is my command: Love one another. ~John 15:12-16

Jesus has freed his disciples from their role as his ‘servant’ to a new paradigm of friendship. What does this mean? How did they react? What does it mean for us to have (and be in) friendships in the 21st century of vague, temporary and disposable friendships?

God’s peace and you ponder what a friend we have in Jesus!

Pr Reid Matthias

STAY with Me (Audio)

May 2nd, 2021

"Stay with Me", a message by Pastor Reid Matthias.

I am the vine and you are the branches.

I think I’ve repeated that mantra thousands of times throughout my life. Jesus is the vine, we are the branches and we’re supposed to produce fruit – and lots of it. Yet, when I prepared for this week, I realised that I had been incorrectly repeating the verse by forgetting some very important words, starting with this one:

True.

I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener.

That word ‘true’ changes everything, because it implies that their are false vines, or vines that speak lies to us.

Certainly, we can see by the fruit that’s produced what we are connected to, or even more importantly, WHO we’re connected to. Whether the influence of our perpetual connectedness to the vine of the internet, digital communications, entertainment, you name it, we see the fruit of fear, of distance, of hatred. It could be the circle of friends in which we connect. The fruit of our actions and words are a reflection of who we listen to.

Thus, we need the second half of the sentence – and my Father is the gardener.

A gardener’s job is to not only make sure that the vine is healthy and the branches are connected, but to prune in its season so that more fruit is produced.

But what does this look like in real life? How does Jesus’s parable of the true vine and branches look like in busy lives, (over)active lives that struggle with creating space to remain in him and allow his words to remain in us?

As you ponder the scripture reading this week – John 15:1-8 – reflect on what it means in your own life to have the gardener prune things from your life so that you can bear much fruit. What kind of fruit is your life producing? In what quantities? Then, apply the same scripture as if Jesus is talking about Good Shepherd as a community. Corporately, how is God pruning us? What fruit is being produced and what fruit can we expect in the upcoming growing season?

STAY with Me (Video)

May 2nd, 2021
Watch Now:

"Stay with Me", a message by Pastor Reid Matthias.

I am the vine and you are the branches.

I think I’ve repeated that mantra thousands of times throughout my life. Jesus is the vine, we are the branches and we’re supposed to produce fruit – and lots of it. Yet, when I prepared for this week, I realised that I had been incorrectly repeating the verse by forgetting some very important words, starting with this one:

True.

I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener.

That word ‘true’ changes everything, because it implies that their are false vines, or vines that speak lies to us.

Certainly, we can see by the fruit that’s produced what we are connected to, or even more importantly, WHO we’re connected to. Whether the influence of our perpetual connectedness to the vine of the internet, digital communications, entertainment, you name it, we see the fruit of fear, of distance, of hatred. It could be the circle of friends in which we connect. The fruit of our actions and words are a reflection of who we listen to.

Thus, we need the second half of the sentence – and my Father is the gardener.

A gardener’s job is to not only make sure that the vine is healthy and the branches are connected, but to prune in its season so that more fruit is produced.

But what does this look like in real life? How does Jesus’s parable of the true vine and branches look like in busy lives, (over)active lives that struggle with creating space to remain in him and allow his words to remain in us?

As you ponder the scripture reading this week – John 15:1-8 – reflect on what it means in your own life to have the gardener prune things from your life so that you can bear much fruit. What kind of fruit is your life producing? In what quantities? Then, apply the same scripture as if Jesus is talking about Good Shepherd as a community. Corporately, how is God pruning us? What fruit is being produced and what fruit can we expect in the upcoming growing season?

Open Ears (Audio)

April 25th, 2021

Has someone ever said to you: “You’re just not listening to me!”  What was their tone of voice?  What moved them to say that?  How did you respond?

To be heard and understood is one of the greatest gifts we can receive; and one of the greatest gifts we can give.  It is how we empathise and care for one another. The power of listening helps us know that we are not alone. It brings people closer together. It brings restoration to broken hearts and hurting souls.

The best book I’ve ever read on listening is by Adam S. McHugh: The Listening Life – Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction, (IVP: 2015).  Like a treasure chest, this book is full of gems for everyone who seeks to become a better listener and carer to others.  Here are a few of them:

‘…how would our relationships change, and how would we change, if we approached every situation with the intention of listening first?  What if we approached our relationship with God as listeners? What if we view our relationship with nature as one of listening? What if we approached our relationships using our ears rather than our mouths?’ (p.10)

‘Hearing is an act of the senses, but listening is an act of the will. In listening you centre not only your ears but also your mind, heart and posture on someone or something other than yourself.’ (p.16)

‘The true listeners are those who stay, who crowd around Jesus and ask the interpretation of the parable. This is the kind of listeners God desires: those who pursue and seek and relentlessly question. They sit with Jesus’ words like an old friend that you know yet don’t really know, chewing and digesting, continuing to seek greater clarity and depth of understanding.’ (p.17)

‘The sort of people we become is, in large part, determined by the voices that we choose to listen to. Truly, we do not have a choice of listening versus not listening. We all obey certain voices, and thus the question is not “Will I listen?” but “Which voices will I listen to?” (p.21)

Jesus says: “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” (John 10:14 NIV)  And: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”  (John 10:27 NIV)

Over the last two Sundays, our themes have been Open Door and Open Eyes.  This Sunday we will consider: Open Ears.  It’s a privilege to come together to listen to the words of Jesus, to discuss what that means for us, and to help each other to live them out!

Pr Rolly Stahl

Open Ears (Video)

April 25th, 2021
Watch Now:

Has someone ever said to you: “You’re just not listening to me!”  What was their tone of voice?  What moved them to say that?  How did you respond?

To be heard and understood is one of the greatest gifts we can receive; and one of the greatest gifts we can give.  It is how we empathise and care for one another. The power of listening helps us know that we are not alone. It brings people closer together. It brings restoration to broken hearts and hurting souls.

The best book I’ve ever read on listening is by Adam S. McHugh: The Listening Life – Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction, (IVP: 2015).  Like a treasure chest, this book is full of gems for everyone who seeks to become a better listener and carer to others.  Here are a few of them:

‘…how would our relationships change, and how would we change, if we approached every situation with the intention of listening first?  What if we approached our relationship with God as listeners? What if we view our relationship with nature as one of listening? What if we approached our relationships using our ears rather than our mouths?’ (p.10)

‘Hearing is an act of the senses, but listening is an act of the will. In listening you centre not only your ears but also your mind, heart and posture on someone or something other than yourself.’ (p.16)

‘The true listeners are those who stay, who crowd around Jesus and ask the interpretation of the parable. This is the kind of listeners God desires: those who pursue and seek and relentlessly question. They sit with Jesus’ words like an old friend that you know yet don’t really know, chewing and digesting, continuing to seek greater clarity and depth of understanding.’ (p.17)

‘The sort of people we become is, in large part, determined by the voices that we choose to listen to. Truly, we do not have a choice of listening versus not listening. We all obey certain voices, and thus the question is not “Will I listen?” but “Which voices will I listen to?” (p.21)

Jesus says: “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” (John 10:14 NIV)  And: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”  (John 10:27 NIV)

Over the last two Sundays, our themes have been Open Door and Open Eyes.  This Sunday we will consider: Open Ears.  It’s a privilege to come together to listen to the words of Jesus, to discuss what that means for us, and to help each other to live them out!

Pr Rolly Stahl

Open Eyes (Video)

April 18th, 2021
Watch Now:

"Open Eyes", a message by Pastor Rolly Stahl on 18 April 2021.

Jump into the New Testament and we find multiple post-resurrection appearances of Jesus – to hundreds of people.  Have you ever wondered: “Why didn’t the resurrected Jesus appear to those who brought about his death?” We’d like to see Jesus vindicate himself to those who rejected him.

When Peter shares the Good News of Jesus with Cornelius and his household, he gives us a reason why Jesus did NOT appear to all:

“We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen – by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10:39-43 NIV).

The risen Jesus only appeared to those chosen by God to be his witnesses.

Today's Bible reading -Luke 24:13-48.

When Jesus came alongside the two chaps on the road to Emmaus, they could not see who he was – until their eyes were opened.  Yet what a difference it made!  They immediately returned to Jerusalem to share their testimony – and Jesus shows up again!

Open Eyes (Audio)

April 18th, 2021

"Open Eyes", a message by Pastor Rolly Stahl on 18 April 2021.

Jump into the New Testament and we find multiple post-resurrection appearances of Jesus – to hundreds of people.  Have you ever wondered: “Why didn’t the resurrected Jesus appear to those who brought about his death?” We’d like to see Jesus vindicate himself to those who rejected him.

When Peter shares the Good News of Jesus with Cornelius and his household, he gives us a reason why Jesus did NOT appear to all:

“We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen – by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10:39-43 NIV).

The risen Jesus only appeared to those chosen by God to be his witnesses.

Today's Bible reading -Luke 24:13-48.

When Jesus came alongside the two chaps on the road to Emmaus, they could not see who he was – until their eyes were opened.  Yet what a difference it made!  They immediately returned to Jerusalem to share their testimony – and Jesus shows up again!

Open Door (Audio)

April 11th, 2021

"Open Door", a message by Pastor Rolly Stahl on 11 April 2021.

An open door means we have access at any time.

After Jesus had risen the disciples are in hiding – for fear of the Jews. Having the wind knocked out of their sails, they don’t know what to do, or where to turn. But then Jesus drops in!

Just as the tomb could not keep Jesus in, the locked doors could not keep Jesus out!  There is no barrier or door that can keep Jesus from his people. He has opened the way for us to heaven; and his heart remains open to us!

For the remaining Sundays of April, our worship series is Open. This Sunday’s theme: Open Door.  Come along.  Taste and see that the Lord is good!

Title photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels.

Open Door (Video)

April 11th, 2021
Watch Now:

"Open Door", a message by Pastor Rolly Stahl on 11 April 2021.

An open door means we have access at any time.

After Jesus had risen the disciples are in hiding – for fear of the Jews. Having the wind knocked out of their sails, they don’t know what to do, or where to turn. But then Jesus drops in!

Just as the tomb could not keep Jesus in, the locked doors could not keep Jesus out!  There is no barrier or door that can keep Jesus from his people. He has opened the way for us to heaven; and his heart remains open to us!

For the remaining Sundays of April, our worship series is Open. This Sunday’s theme: Open Door.  Come along.  Taste and see that the Lord is good!

Title photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels.

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App