Para Vista Lutheran Church

Weekly messages from Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Para Vista Inc

SET APART TO BUILD (VIDEO)

August 29th, 2021

And (God) himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, equipping the saints for the work of ministry to build up the body of Christ.

I’m not great at construction work.

Many years ago, when I was embarking on my new life into adulthood, I took on a second job as a bricklayer – or to be more exact – a brick carter. The process of building houses was tedious and arduous and often, as I dumped the same bricks in front of the brick layers, I wondered if it was all worth it. Even after numerous loads, it seemed like nothing was happening. It seemed as if the house would perpetually be built, and I was wasting my time.

Yet, what carried me through, was a word from the foreman who said, ‘What you do allows the building to actually go faster. Without you, the bricklayers would have to do all the work, and the one who bought the house would be without a home for significantly longer.’

Changing my perspective, I now recognised the task, but even more importantly the end product: to be part of building a house for people who as of yet had no home.

So it is with building God’s kingdom. At times, we don’t recognise the importance of what we do, the continual sharing of time and small stories with people who want to move into the house someday. We despair because it seems like our menial, arduous tasks don’t add much, and yet the Spirit speaks these words into our ears, ‘What you do allows the building to go faster.’

Paul writes to the united church of Ephesus reminding them, and encouraging them, that their calling and task, worthy of the gospel, is to build up the body of Christ with humility and gentleness and patience and love.

The task is still the same twenty centuries later. Even though it feels as if the kingdom will never be built, God has called specific people to equip the saints for their own ministry. Each adding brick upon brick to those who want to call Christianity their home.

This week, read Ephesians 4:1-16 and reflect on what role you play as you are set apart for building.

Pr Reid Matthias

SET APART TO BUILD (AUDIO)

August 29th, 2021

And (God) himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, equipping the saints for the work of ministry to build up the body of Christ.

I’m not great at construction work.

Many years ago, when I was embarking on my new life into adulthood, I took on a second job as a bricklayer – or to be more exact – a brick carter. The process of building houses was tedious and arduous and often, as I dumped the same bricks in front of the brick layers, I wondered if it was all worth it. Even after numerous loads, it seemed like nothing was happening. It seemed as if the house would perpetually be built, and I was wasting my time.

Yet, what carried me through, was a word from the foreman who said, ‘What you do allows the building to actually go faster. Without you, the bricklayers would have to do all the work, and the one who bought the house would be without a home for significantly longer.’

Changing my perspective, I now recognised the task, but even more importantly the end product: to be part of building a house for people who as of yet had no home.

So it is with building God’s kingdom. At times, we don’t recognise the importance of what we do, the continual sharing of time and small stories with people who want to move into the house someday. We despair because it seems like our menial, arduous tasks don’t add much, and yet the Spirit speaks these words into our ears, ‘What you do allows the building to go faster.’

Paul writes to the united church of Ephesus reminding them, and encouraging them, that their calling and task, worthy of the gospel, is to build up the body of Christ with humility and gentleness and patience and love.

The task is still the same twenty centuries later. Even though it feels as if the kingdom will never be built, God has called specific people to equip the saints for their own ministry. Each adding brick upon brick to those who want to call Christianity their home.

This week, read Ephesians 4:1-16 and reflect on what role you play as you are set apart for building.

Pr Reid Matthias

Set Apart toPray for Loved Ones (Audio)

August 22nd, 2021

An audio message by Pastor Rolly Stahl on 22 Aug 2021.

There are two verses in Ephesians which remind us of the privilege we have in coming to God in prayer:

  • Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because ofwhat Christ has done for us.  (Ephesians 2:18 NLT)
  • Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.  (Ephesians 3:12 NLT)

In his ministry, Jesus was often withdrawing from others to spend time with his Father, and resting in his love.  Now we get to do the same.

I wonder: What’s the best blessing you might pray for your loved ones?  This might be a question worth discussing at home, or with Christian friends, or in your small group.

In this message we’ll be getting a few tips from Paul, who not only tells the believers in Ephesus that he is praying for them, but also what he is asking God to give them.  We will unpack Paul’s prayer (as listed below); and try to fathom what this could mean when praying for those we love.

Set Apart to Pray for Loved Ones (Video)

August 22nd, 2021

A video message by Pastor Rolly Stahl on 22 Aug 2021.

There are two verses in Ephesians which remind us of the privilege we have in coming to God in prayer:

  • Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because ofwhat Christ has done for us.  (Ephesians 2:18 NLT)
  • Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.  (Ephesians 3:12 NLT)

In his ministry, Jesus was often withdrawing from others to spend time with his Father, and resting in his love.  Now we get to do the same.

I wonder: What’s the best blessing you might pray for your loved ones?  This might be a question worth discussing at home, or with Christian friends, or in your small group.

In this message we’ll be getting a few tips from Paul, who not only tells the believers in Ephesus that he is praying for them, but also what he is asking God to give them.  We will unpack Paul’s prayer (as listed below); and try to fathom what this could mean when praying for those we love.

SET APART for CONNECTION (AUDIO)

August 15th, 2021

Before I built a wall, I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Robert Frost, Mending Wall, 1914

Here is a deep truth, that walls are built to keep some things in and some things out, but how does one tell the difference? And who are we offending by building walls between us and them?

A professor in university once told me that the best way to look at Old Testament law was like this: “The law provides a wall, one which you can see over. But on the inside there is freedom. Freedom within a fence.” For the people of Israel, the law was a boundary marker. Across this you are not to go, but this law actually was a line over which no Gentile could cross. Circumcision was for Jews a testament and promise for them as people set apart for God’s holiness.

Amazingly, though, when Paul writes to the Ephesians, as Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians were often in hostility towards each other he says, ‘For he is our peace who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility in the flesh, he made of no effect the law… so that he might create in himself one new body from the two.’

When the dividing wall of hostility, those who followed the law for reasons of righteousness and those who did not, was torn down, peace was created. And the new body of people, Christ’s body as the Church, can now do what it was designed to do: to be ambassadors for Christ’s peace.

We are set apart for a purpose, every member of Christianity, to make connections in the community and beyond. How do you see yourself as part of this?

As you approach worship this week, whether in person or online, read Ephesians 2:11-22.

Pr Reid Matthias

SET APART for CONNECTION (VIDEO)

August 15th, 2021

Before I built a wall, I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Robert Frost, Mending Wall, 1914

Here is a deep truth, that walls are built to keep some things in and some things out, but how does one tell the difference? And who are we offending by building walls between us and them?

A professor in university once told me that the SET APART for CONNECTION (AUDIO)best way to look at Old Testament law was like this: “The law provides a wall, one which you can see over. But on the inside there is freedom. Freedom within a fence.” For the people of Israel, the law was a boundary marker. Across this you are not to go, but this law actually was a line over which no Gentile could cross. Circumcision was for Jews a testament and promise for them as people set apart for God’s holiness.

Amazingly, though, when Paul writes to the Ephesians, as Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians were often in hostility towards each other he says, ‘For he is our peace who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility in the flesh, he made of no effect the law… so that he might create in himself one new body from the two.’

When the dividing wall of hostility, those who followed the law for reasons of righteousness and those who did not, was torn down, peace was created. And the new body of people, Christ’s body as the Church, can now do what it was designed to do: to be ambassadors for Christ’s peace.

We are set apart for a purpose, every member of Christianity, to make connections in the community and beyond. How do you see yourself as part of this?

As you approach worship this week, whether in person or online, read Ephesians 2:11-22.

Pr Reid Matthias

Set Apart by God’s Blessings (Video)

August 8th, 2021

In the classic Aussie movie, The Castle, whenever Darryl Kerrigan receives a valued gift, he declares: “This is going straight to the pool room!”  Along with trophies and photos of special moments, he was setting that item apart from everyday use.

I remember as a child, we had a glass display cabinet with my mum’s china cups, saucers and side plates.  We were not allowed to use them.  When mum had a dear friend or close relative visiting, she would get out the china tea set.  We kids never drank or ate from them. They were set apart for a special purpose – and brought out to honour special guests.

I wonder what precious items have you’ve set apart as special?  It might be something sentimental, perhaps an heirloom. Or it might be the prized item in a collection. Or it could be something you’ve made or restored.

Paul writes: “God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes” (Eph 1:4 NLT) To be “made holy” is to be set apart from what is common and unclean, from the sin and evil that defiles us.  To be “made holy” by God is to become his precious possession.  Because of what Jesus has done for us, God has set you and me apart for a special purpose.

Our calling is to live out our new identity in “holy living”. This does not mean isolating in a “glass display cabinet”, church building, or holy huddle. Instead, we pray and look for ways to bring the presence of Jesus into every encounter.  That way, others can come to know Jesus – and also share in God’s blessings.

Sure there are things we cannot participate in as followers of Jesus. But that doesn’t mean we stop connecting with people and looking for ways to listen, encourage, help or bless them.

This Sunday we are going to unpack God’s bagful of blessings that are ours “in Christ”.  If your relationship with God needs a “shot in the arm”, come along and be reminded of who you are in Christ, whose you are in Christ, the purpose God has for you in Christ, and the destiny that is yours in Christ.

Joy in Jesus!
Pr Rolly Stahl

Set Apart by God’s Blessings (Audio)

August 8th, 2021

In the classic Aussie movie, The Castle, whenever Darryl Kerrigan receives a valued gift, he declares: “This is going straight to the pool room!”  Along with trophies and photos of special moments, he was setting that item apart from everyday use.

I remember as a child, we had a glass display cabinet with my mum’s china cups, saucers and side plates.  We were not allowed to use them.  When mum had a dear friend or close relative visiting, she would get out the china tea set.  We kids never drank or ate from them. They were set apart for a special purpose – and brought out to honour special guests.

I wonder what precious items have you’ve set apart as special?  It might be something sentimental, perhaps an heirloom. Or it might be the prized item in a collection. Or it could be something you’ve made or restored.

Paul writes: “God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes” (Eph 1:4 NLT) To be “made holy” is to be set apart from what is common and unclean, from the sin and evil that defiles us.  To be “made holy” by God is to become his precious possession.  Because of what Jesus has done for us, God has set you and me apart for a special purpose.

Our calling is to live out our new identity in “holy living”. This does not mean isolating in a “glass display cabinet”, church building, or holy huddle. Instead, we pray and look for ways to bring the presence of Jesus into every encounter.  That way, others can come to know Jesus – and also share in God’s blessings.

Sure there are things we cannot participate in as followers of Jesus. But that doesn’t mean we stop connecting with people and looking for ways to listen, encourage, help or bless them.

This Sunday we are going to unpack God’s bagful of blessings that are ours “in Christ”.  If your relationship with God needs a “shot in the arm”, come along and be reminded of who you are in Christ, whose you are in Christ, the purpose God has for you in Christ, and the destiny that is yours in Christ.

Joy in Jesus!
Pr Rolly Stahl

An overview of Ephesians (Audio)

August 1st, 2021

An audio message from Reid Matthias, given online on 1 Aug 2021.

The Apostle Paul had been on the road along time.

On his third missionary journey, beginning in Antioch, taking him all the way into Greece, and back again, he was on his way back to Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost. As he approached the coast of present-day Turkey, he drew close to some of his favourite people in the world: the people of Ephesus.

Paul had a strong desire to see the people of the church. So, he sent for them to meet him on the beach near Miletus where they reconnected. It would be like one of your best friends flying from another country and staying at Victor Harbor. You would do everything in your power to meet up with them, right?

So, the leaders of Ephesus came to meet with Paul, and as they connected, Paul reminded them that they were set apart by Jesus for a purpose. To be living witnesses in the community, in the church, in their houses and neighbourhoods.

Has anything really changed in two thousand years? Has the mission changed at all? Was Ephesus any different than Para Vista?

This week we begin a journey as a community poring through the book of Ephesians learning about how Paul came to love this community which had been transformed from a pagan place to one which sought out the Holy Spirit’s will in their lives.

This week, as preparation for our Zoom worship, read Acts 20:17-38 and talk through this question:

What is God’s purpose in my life?

Worship live-stream with the message “An overview of Ephesians” (Video)

August 1st, 2021

Due to the ongoing South Australian COVID-19 lock-down, worship on 1 August 2021 was live-streamed. This is a video recording of the live-stream, including the message "An overview of Ephesians?" by Pastor Reid Matthias.

The Apostle Paul had been on the road along time.

On his third missionary journey, beginning in Antioch, taking him all the way into Greece, and back again, he was on his way back to Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost. As he approached the coast of present-day Turkey, he drew close to some of his favourite people in the world: the people of Ephesus.

Paul had a strong desire to see the people of the church. So, he sent for them to meet him on the beach near Miletus where they reconnected. It would be like one of your best friends flying from another country and staying at Victor Harbor. You would do everything in your power to meet up with them, right?

So, the leaders of Ephesus came to meet with Paul, and as they connected, Paul reminded them that they were set apart by Jesus for a purpose. To be living witnesses in the community, in the church, in their houses and neighbourhoods.

Has anything really changed in two thousand years? Has the mission changed at all? Was Ephesus any different than Para Vista?

This week we begin a journey as a community poring through the book of Ephesians learning about how Paul came to love this community which had been transformed from a pagan place to one which sought out the Holy Spirit’s will in their lives.

This week, as preparation for our Zoom worship, read Acts 20:17-38 and talk through this question:

What is God’s purpose in my life?

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