Para Vista Lutheran Church

Weekly messages from Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Para Vista Inc

A Life in His Hand (VIDEO)

September 26th, 2021

It is a communal phenomenon, I’ve noticed.

When we pray in groups, often we conclude the prayer (like stamping an envelope and dropping it in the post box) ‘In Jesus’s name.’ Have you ever wondered why we do this? What do we hope will happen as we invoke His name?

Certainly, in the book of John, Jesus emphasises using his name for multiple reasons, but the most important is this: “Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it.” Unfortunately, many Christians have taken this sentence as kind of a magic phrase that will a.) give us what we want or b.) get us out of what we shouldn’t have been in.

To our own detriment, we neglect what comes before and what comes after Jesus’ words nullifying what he is actually talking about. Here they are: “Truly I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do. And they will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:12-14)

Notice the license that Jesus is giving to his followers. Ask for anything in his name but realise that everything you’re asking in his name must be about doing the works that he does.

That’s an amazing restriction to put on what we ask for.

John’s description fits tightly with our readings this week in Mark 9:38-41. Three times we find a directive about using Jesus’ name. The disciples misunderstand and Jesus corrects them. Using Jesus’ name is not about getting what we want, or achieving self-fulfilment, but aligning ourselves with the will of the Father.

Which is to do the works of God who ‘…calls, gathers, enlightens and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith…’ (Luther’s Small Catechism – Third Article of the Creed).

We are called to live our whole lives in Jesus’ name, not only attaching his name to prayers. Is this confronting? It was for me, but it opens up an entire new world of opportunities for his Church. Read Mark 9:38-41 in preparation for a discussion this weekend and beyond.

Pr Reid Matthias

A Life in His Hand (AUDIO)

September 26th, 2021

It is a communal phenomenon, I’ve noticed.

When we pray in groups, often we conclude the prayer (like stamping an envelope and dropping it in the post box) ‘In Jesus’s name.’ Have you ever wondered why we do this? What do we hope will happen as we invoke His name?

Certainly, in the book of John, Jesus emphasises using his name for multiple reasons, but the most important is this: “Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it.” Unfortunately, many Christians have taken this sentence as kind of a magic phrase that will a.) give us what we want or b.) get us out of what we shouldn’t have been in.

To our own detriment, we neglect what comes before and what comes after Jesus’ words nullifying what he is actually talking about. Here they are: “Truly I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do. And they will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:12-14)

Notice the license that Jesus is giving to his followers. Ask for anything in his name but realise that everything you’re asking in his name must be about doing the works that he does.

That’s an amazing restriction to put on what we ask for.

John’s description fits tightly with our readings this week in Mark 9:38-41. Three times we find a directive about using Jesus’ name. The disciples misunderstand and Jesus corrects them. Using Jesus’ name is not about getting what we want, or achieving self-fulfilment, but aligning ourselves with the will of the Father.

Which is to do the works of God who ‘…calls, gathers, enlightens and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith…’ (Luther’s Small Catechism – Third Article of the Creed).

We are called to live our whole lives in Jesus’ name, not only attaching his name to prayers. Is this confronting? It was for me, but it opens up an entire new world of opportunities for his Church. Read Mark 9:38-41 in preparation for a discussion this weekend and beyond.

Pr Reid Matthias

Set Apart to Stand Firm (Video)

September 19th, 2021

A video message by Pastor Rolly Stahl on 19 Sep 2021.

Like it or not, we are in a spiritual battle.  In this battle our enemy is not human beings, or governments, or even a virus – but the devil and his sidekicks.  Paul urges us to put on the full armour of God – so we can stand firm against the activities of the evil one; and play our parts in God’s Good News story for his world.

This Sunday we’re going to examine each part of this armour.  As we put on the full armour of God and stand together in battle, we will prevail.  God has set us apart to stand firm and share in the victory Jesus has won for us!

Set Apart to Stand Firm (Audio)

September 19th, 2021

An audio message by Pastor Rolly Stahl on 19 Sep 2021.

Like it or not, we are in a spiritual battle.  In this battle our enemy is not human beings, or governments, or even a virus – but the devil and his sidekicks.  Paul urges us to put on the full armour of God – so we can stand firm against the activities of the evil one; and play our parts in God’s Good News story for his world.

This Sunday we’re going to examine each part of this armour.  As we put on the full armour of God and stand together in battle, we will prevail.  God has set us apart to stand firm and share in the victory Jesus has won for us!

Set apart for Wisdom (Video)

September 12th, 2021

Pay careful attention, then, to how you live – not as unwise people but as wise…

The Apostle Paul – the letter to the Ephesians

Socrates, just before his death, was given two choices: leave Athens or stay and live the rest of his life in silence. Unwilling to live a life which didn’t reflect on the rules of the culture, the government, and other outside influences (think, lemmings), he uttered the statement, “An unexamined life is not worth living.”

We live in a culture similar (in some ways) to both the time of Socrates and the time of Paul the Apostle when he wrote his letter to the Ephesians. The culture emphasised individuality, idolatry and personal pleasure, drunkenness (or overindulgence in many things) over a life filled with the Spirit. Even contemporary Christians sometimes live in the same way (think, lemmings) – ‘I must live as the culture tells me is good and right.’

A wise life examines this. How do we live knowing that there is more to life than simple feedings of the stomach?

This week we’ll examine Paul’s encouragement to live as children of the light – ‘for the fruit of light consists of goodness, righteousness and truth’ (5:9).

Let’s look at the basic lies that the culture tells us about ‘religion,’ the antidotes for the lies and what it means for us to live as children of the Light.

Read Ephesians 5:6-21 in preparation.

Pr Reid Matthias

Set apart for Wisdom (Audio)

September 12th, 2021

Pay careful attention, then, to how you live – not as unwise people but as wise…

The Apostle Paul – the letter to the Ephesians

Socrates, just before his death, was given two choices: leave Athens or stay and live the rest of his life in silence. Unwilling to live a life which didn’t reflect on the rules of the culture, the government, and other outside influences (think, lemmings), he uttered the statement, “An unexamined life is not worth living.”

We live in a culture similar (in some ways) to both the time of Socrates and the time of Paul the Apostle when he wrote his letter to the Ephesians. The culture emphasised individuality, idolatry and personal pleasure, drunkenness (or overindulgence in many things) over a life filled with the Spirit. Even contemporary Christians sometimes live in the same way (think, lemmings) – ‘I must live as the culture tells me is good and right.’

A wise life examines this. How do we live knowing that there is more to life than simple feedings of the stomach?

This week we’ll examine Paul’s encouragement to live as children of the light – ‘for the fruit of light consists of goodness, righteousness and truth’ (5:9).

Let’s look at the basic lies that the culture tells us about ‘religion,’ the antidotes for the lies and what it means for us to live as children of the Light.

Read Ephesians 5:6-21 in preparation.

Pr Reid Matthias

Set Apart for a New Life (Audio)

September 5th, 2021

A message by Pr Rolly Stahl.

Imagine sitting around a table with your extended family, or a group of friends, trying to work out a list of guidelines that will keep your relationships with one another healthy.

What would you put first?   What other things would you want on the list?

What would you put on that list for when a person ignores the guidelines – resulting in hurt for the rest of the family/group?

From ancient times, wise people have compiled proverbs to help us think through our attitudes, words and behaviours – and the consequences.  E.g.

A generous person will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:25 NIV)

Those who guard their lips preserve their lives,
but those who speak rashly will come to ruin. (Proverbs 13:3 NIV)

A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1 NIV)

Set Apart for a New Life (Video)

September 5th, 2021

A message by Pr Rolly Stahl.

Imagine sitting around a table with your extended family, or a group of friends, trying to work out a list of guidelines that will keep your relationships with one another healthy.

What would you put first?   What other things would you want on the list?

What would you put on that list for when a person ignores the guidelines – resulting in hurt for the rest of the family/group?

From ancient times, wise people have compiled proverbs to help us think through our attitudes, words and behaviours – and the consequences.  E.g.

A generous person will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:25 NIV)

Those who guard their lips preserve their lives,
but those who speak rashly will come to ruin. (Proverbs 13:3 NIV)

A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1 NIV)

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