Para Vista Lutheran Church

Weekly messages from Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Para Vista Inc

Where is the Wind Blowing (Audio)

May 30th, 2021

A Audio message by Pastor Reid Matthias on 30 May 2021.

The wind is an awesome power, one that is often forgotten about. With the sun, we can feel the heat and we know its source, but with the wind, we have a little understanding of how heat and cooling create the wind – but where does it start? Where does it finish? Where does it go when it stops?

This, in a nutshell, is how Jesus responds to Nicodemus, a Pharisee and leader of the Jews. “Do not be amazed that you must be born again.”

There is a true power in being born again through water and the Spirit. In Lutheran circles, we don’t often talk about born againedness, as we often leave that to the Pentecostals (much to our detriment). But what does it actually mean? Do we actually understand the power of rebirth into Christ and the Spirit’s push into the Kingdom of God?

As you read through the oft quoted passage from John 3, notice especially verses 3 and 5. Jesus impresses upon Nicodemus the results and the benefits of being born again, of baptism and the power of God through his son.

Don’t be afraid if someone asks you this week if you are ‘born again.’ Even if you didn’t have a rapturous experience and burning in your heart at your baptism, know that Christ the Lord has given you new birth through his death and now you are raised a new creation.

Pr. Reid Matthias

Where is the Wind Blowing (video)

May 30th, 2021

A video message by Pastor Reid Matthias on 30 May 2021.

The wind is an awesome power, one that is often forgotten about. With the sun, we can feel the heat and we know its source, but with the wind, we have a little understanding of how heat and cooling create the wind – but where does it start? Where does it finish? Where does it go when it stops?

This, in a nutshell, is how Jesus responds to Nicodemus, a Pharisee and leader of the Jews. “Do not be amazed that you must be born again.”

There is a true power in being born again through water and the Spirit. In Lutheran circles, we don’t often talk about born againedness, as we often leave that to the Pentecostals (much to our detriment). But what does it actually mean? Do we actually understand the power of rebirth into Christ and the Spirit’s push into the Kingdom of God?

As you read through the oft quoted passage from John 3, notice especially verses 3 and 5. Jesus impresses upon Nicodemus the results and the benefits of being born again, of baptism and the power of God through his son.

Don’t be afraid if someone asks you this week if you are ‘born again.’ Even if you didn’t have a rapturous experience and burning in your heart at your baptism, know that Christ the Lord has given you new birth through his death and now you are raised a new creation.

Pr. Reid Matthias

Grow Ministires Team Intro

May 23rd, 2021

The Grow Ministries team are introduced to the Good Shepherd Congregation to share what they are learning at the Grow Coaching sessions.

Pentecost Sunday 2021 - G0 (Video)

May 23rd, 2021

“Get ready. Get set. Go!!”

During childhood we heard these words at the start of a race, or a treasure hunt, or perhaps some other adventure.  With the word: “GO!!” we get moving as quickly as possible – because we don’t want to miss out.

When traffic lights turn green, I like to get moving as quickly as possible.  Why? Because I want to help motorists behind me get through the intersection without having to wait for another cycle of traffic light changes.

Just before the risen Jesus ascended into heaven, he urged his followers to stay put in Jerusalem and to wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit. It was “get ready” and “get set”.

Ten days later, when the promised Holy Spirit came, it was all “GO!!”  On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came with signs and wonders that caught the attention of the thousands who were staying in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven.

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter points his audience to Jesus.  Peter calls them to repent and to be baptised into the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins – so they too would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Around 3000 people responded to the Good News of Jesus by being baptised. People from all nations came to celebrate a Jewish festival; many went home knowing Jesus!

God’s desire to bless all people is still his mission for us.  It happens as we share the love and Good News of Jesus with others.  Jesus tells us: “Go and make disciples of all nations…”

God doesn’t want anyone to miss out.  Our Father wants every person to come into his family through Jesus so they can do life with him and inherit eternal life.  Given the heart of God and the eternal benefits for all who are in Christ, I wonder: “Why we slow to GO?”

Pentecost reminds us that we need the Holy Spirit to open our eyes, change our hearts, and infuse our souls with God’s love for others – regardless of their cultural background.

May God infuse us with a fresh anointing of his Spirit that moves us to engage with our community – so that all may know Jesus and worship him.

Pr Rolly Stahl

Pentecost Sunday 2021- GO (Audio)

May 23rd, 2021

“Get ready. Get set. Go!!”

During childhood we heard these words at the start of a race, or a treasure hunt, or perhaps some other adventure.  With the word: “GO!!” we get moving as quickly as possible – because we don’t want to miss out.

When traffic lights turn green, I like to get moving as quickly as possible.  Why? Because I want to help motorists behind me get through the intersection without having to wait for another cycle of traffic light changes.

Just before the risen Jesus ascended into heaven, he urged his followers to stay put in Jerusalem and to wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit. It was “get ready” and “get set”.

Ten days later, when the promised Holy Spirit came, it was all “GO!!”  On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came with signs and wonders that caught the attention of the thousands who were staying in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven.

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter points his audience to Jesus.  Peter calls them to repent and to be baptised into the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins – so they too would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Around 3000 people responded to the Good News of Jesus by being baptised. People from all nations came to celebrate a Jewish festival; many went home knowing Jesus!

God’s desire to bless all people is still his mission for us.  It happens as we share the love and Good News of Jesus with others.  Jesus tells us: “Go and make disciples of all nations…”

God doesn’t want anyone to miss out.  Our Father wants every person to come into his family through Jesus so they can do life with him and inherit eternal life.  Given the heart of God and the eternal benefits for all who are in Christ, I wonder: “Why we slow to GO?”

Pentecost reminds us that we need the Holy Spirit to open our eyes, change our hearts, and infuse our souls with God’s love for others – regardless of their cultural background.

May God infuse us with a fresh anointing of his Spirit that moves us to engage with our community – so that all may know Jesus and worship him.

Pr Rolly Stahl

Stay Put (Audio)

May 16th, 2021

An audio recording of a message by Pastor Reid Matthias on 16 May 2021.

Stay put. Don’t move. Wait.

Do you know how easy it is to sit still? Especially when you’re excited about something? Or if you’re frightened? Maybe all the time? Humankind is designed to move, yet over one hundred times in the Bible, we are reminded to quiet ourselves, sit still and wait for the Lord.

Why is this?

Why did the Spirit take a week to show up after the Ascension? Was it a test?

This week as we continue our theme on Stay, read through Luke 24:44-52 and Acts 1:4-8. Put yourself in the shoes of a disciple. Write down some thoughts about how you would have felt, what you would have thought and what you would have liked to do.

Then, on Sunday, we'll share some of those thoughts.

Stay Put (Video)

May 16th, 2021

A video message by Pastor Reid Matthias on 16 May 2021.

Stay put. Don’t move. Wait.

Do you know how easy it is to sit still? Especially when you’re excited about something? Or if you’re frightened? Maybe all the time? Humankind is designed to move, yet over one hundred times in the Bible, we are reminded to quiet ourselves, sit still and wait for the Lord.

Why is this?

Why did the Spirit take a week to show up after the Ascension? Was it a test?

This week as we continue our theme on Stay, read through Luke 24:44-52 and Acts 1:4-8. Put yourself in the shoes of a disciple. Write down some thoughts about how you would have felt, what you would have thought and what you would have liked to do.

Then, on Sunday, we'll share some of those thoughts.

Stay Secure (Video)

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 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?

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