Para Vista Lutheran Church

Weekly messages from Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Para Vista Inc

Once was Blind (Video)

October 24th, 2021

Dr Fred Hollows was a living legend who restored sight to thousands of blind people.  His work continues through the Fred Hollows Foundation: “An international development organisation working towards eliminating avoidable blindness and improving Indigenous Australian health.” https://www.hollows.org

If you’ve ever seen video footage of Fred Hollows taking the bandages off a person after eye surgery, the joy that erupts on that person’s face in being able to see again is priceless. It reminds me how much I take my sight for granted. And it moves me to think of how life for that person is changed for the better with restored vision.

According to t

Dr Fred Hollows was a living legend who restored sight to thousands of blind people.  His work continues through the Fred Hollows Foundation: “An international development organisation working towards eliminating avoidable blindness and improving Indigenous Australian health.” https://www.hollows.org

If you’ve ever seen video footage of Fred Hollows taking the bandages off a person after eye surgery, the joy that erupts on that person’s face in being able to see again is priceless. It reminds me how much I take my sight for granted. And it moves me to think of how life for that person is changed for the better with restored vision.

According to the eyewitness accounts, Jesus restored sight to many people – even a man born blind (John 9).  We meet another one in our Bible reading this Sunday: a roadside beggar by the name of Bartimaeus.

he eyewitness accounts, Jesus restored sight to many people – even a man born blind (John 9).  We meet another one in our Bible reading this Sunday: a roadside beggar by the name of Bartimaeus.

Pr Rolly Stahl

Once was Blind (Audio)

October 24th, 2021

Dr Fred Hollows was a living legend who restored sight to thousands of blind people.  His work continues through the Fred Hollows Foundation: “An international development organisation working towards eliminating avoidable blindness and improving Indigenous Australian health.” https://www.hollows.org

If you’ve ever seen video footage of Fred Hollows taking the bandages off a person after eye surgery, the joy that erupts on that person’s face in being able to see again is priceless. It reminds me how much I take my sight for granted. And it moves me to think of how life for that person is changed for the better with restored vision.

According to t

Dr Fred Hollows was a living legend who restored sight to thousands of blind people.  His work continues through the Fred Hollows Foundation: “An international development organisation working towards eliminating avoidable blindness and improving Indigenous Australian health.” https://www.hollows.org

If you’ve ever seen video footage of Fred Hollows taking the bandages off a person after eye surgery, the joy that erupts on that person’s face in being able to see again is priceless. It reminds me how much I take my sight for granted. And it moves me to think of how life for that person is changed for the better with restored vision.

According to the eyewitness accounts, Jesus restored sight to many people – even a man born blind (John 9).  We meet another one in our Bible reading this Sunday: a roadside beggar by the name of Bartimaeus.

he eyewitness accounts, Jesus restored sight to many people – even a man born blind (John 9).  We meet another one in our Bible reading this Sunday: a roadside beggar by the name of Bartimaeus.

Pr Rolly Stahl

The Greatest (Video)

October 17th, 2021

…whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you will be slave to all. ~Mark 10:43,44

When I first read this passage for our worship this week, I thought to myself, ‘Wow! This is really appropriate in the 21st century.’

Throughout the history of Christianity and the Church’s infatuation with power and prestige, we are reminded time and time again how important it is for the body of Christ to serve, not to be served. (Mark 10:45) In the book of Mark, time and time again, Jesus points out that egoism and self-absorption restricts both the Christian and the future Christian.

First, the disciples argue about who is the greatest. (Mark 9:34) Then, they are frustrated because others are not doing things the way that the disciples would have. (Mark 9:38) After that, they rebuke some adults who bring children to Jesus for a blessing. (Mark 10:13) Finally, James and John want to elevate themselves to a place of honour when Jesus comes into his kingdom. (Mark 10:37) Every time the disciples do this, Jesus brings them back down to earth and reminds them that those who want to be the greatest have the opportunity to do even more with humility – as servants.

There is another way to understand Mark 10:44. In our world that is inebriated by power, prestige, and pontificating, it is abundantly clear that the moment one wants to be great, they become a slave to popular opinion and social media. Some politicians constantly check their approval ratings. Some entertainers perpetually push the edge of what is good and correct so that they can continue to be in the public eye. Some churches and pastors are slaves to the approval of the congregation.

And yet, Jesus pushes that all out of the way. That slavery to public honour and opinion leads to nowhere. One private or public mistake and you are erased – cancelled, as is the contemporary terminology.

But rarely, if ever, do we hear of servants, or servant-hearted people, being cancelled. Why is this? Because power and prestige and popularity has not enticed them to do and say things that bring glory to themselves. They serve to bring glory to God the Father.

Thus, Jesus points to this way of life as one for which we strive.

In the next instalment of ‘How Then Shall We Live,’ we will dive into being a GOAT (the Greatest of All Time) as opposed to being a servant of the living king dedicated to help people shed their blankets of fear.

Pr Reid Matthias

The Greatest (Audio)

October 17th, 2021

…whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you will be slave to all. ~Mark 10:43,44

When I first read this passage for our worship this week, I thought to myself, ‘Wow! This is really appropriate in the 21st century.’

Throughout the history of Christianity and the Church’s infatuation with power and prestige, we are reminded time and time again how important it is for the body of Christ to serve, not to be served. (Mark 10:45) In the book of Mark, time and time again, Jesus points out that egoism and self-absorption restricts both the Christian and the future Christian.

First, the disciples argue about who is the greatest. (Mark 9:34) Then, they are frustrated because others are not doing things the way that the disciples would have. (Mark 9:38) After that, they rebuke some adults who bring children to Jesus for a blessing. (Mark 10:13) Finally, James and John want to elevate themselves to a place of honour when Jesus comes into his kingdom. (Mark 10:37) Every time the disciples do this, Jesus brings them back down to earth and reminds them that those who want to be the greatest have the opportunity to do even more with humility – as servants.

There is another way to understand Mark 10:44. In our world that is inebriated by power, prestige, and pontificating, it is abundantly clear that the moment one wants to be great, they become a slave to popular opinion and social media. Some politicians constantly check their approval ratings. Some entertainers perpetually push the edge of what is good and correct so that they can continue to be in the public eye. Some churches and pastors are slaves to the approval of the congregation.

And yet, Jesus pushes that all out of the way. That slavery to public honour and opinion leads to nowhere. One private or public mistake and you are erased – cancelled, as is the contemporary terminology.

But rarely, if ever, do we hear of servants, or servant-hearted people, being cancelled. Why is this? Because power and prestige and popularity has not enticed them to do and say things that bring glory to themselves. They serve to bring glory to God the Father.

Thus, Jesus points to this way of life as one for which we strive.

In the next instalment of ‘How Then Shall We Live,’ we will dive into being a GOAT (the Greatest of All Time) as opposed to being a servant of the living king dedicated to help people shed their blankets of fear.

Pr Reid Matthias

Come, Follow Me! (Audio)

October 10th, 2021

A message from Pastor Rolly Stahl on 10 October 2021.

During his ministry, Jesus invites people to join him on a Kingdom adventure.

In our reading, a rich young ruler comes to Jesus with a burning question: “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mk 10:17 NIV) Jesus tells this man the truth in love.  His wealth is more important to him than God.  Jesus has something better for him: “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow me.” (Mk 10:21 NIV)

In order to have life forever with Jesus, this man needed to let go of his treasures.  I wonder, what might be some of our “treasures” or obsessions that prevent us from following Jesus?  What do we need to let go of in order to have life in its fullness?

Jesus loves you!  He invites you: “Come, Follow Me!”

What will you do with his invitation?

Come, Follow Me! (Video)

October 10th, 2021

A message from Pastor Rolly Stahl on 10 October 2021.

During his ministry, Jesus invites people to join him on a Kingdom adventure.

In our reading, a rich young ruler comes to Jesus with a burning question: “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mk 10:17 NIV) Jesus tells this man the truth in love. His wealth is more important to him than God.  Jesus has something better for him: “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow me.” (Mk 10:21 NIV)

In order to have life forever with Jesus, this man needed to let go of his treasures.  I wonder, what might be some of our “treasures” or obsessions that prevent us from following Jesus?  What do we need to let go of in order to have life in its fullness?

Jesus loves you!  He invites you: “Come, Follow Me!”

What will you do with his invitation?

HEARTS WIDE OPEN (VIDEO)

October 3rd, 2021

Even though the government recognises de-facto relationships, it’s interesting that people are still getting married.

And even though some people have experienced a messy break-up and subsequent divorce, many of them go on to get married again – perhaps a few times.

There’s something about marriage that doesn’t go out of fashion.  Many of us do not do life well alone.  We like the companionship and comfort of doing life together with a husband or wife.  Having been married for over 35 years, I reckon that marriage is one of the best ideas God ever came up with. (And yes, a lot of this is because I am married to a saint!)

But it ain’t always easy!  Marriage is not self-maintaining.  It requires lots of love and understanding, patience and perseverance – from both sides – in order to flourish.

We tend to be lazy: we want great relationships with minimal effort or sacrifice!

We expect the other person to make us happy, and then get upset when they don’t!

When the “me” replaces the “we”, selfishness and hardness of heart can creep in.  Over time, hardness of heart can build up layers of apathy, fault finding, conflict, unresolved hurts, resentment, bitterness, and blame. If a couple keep digging their heels in, refusing to apologise and be reconciled, it can end up in divorce.

In this Sunday’s Bible reading, the Pharisees ask Jesus: “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” (Mark 10:2 NIV)

Jesus concedes that divorce happens.  Yet he also highlights the root cause of divorce.  It because human hearts can harden – even to a person they once loved more than anyone else in the world!  Once that happens, we can justify our unwillingness to apologise, to forgive, and to reconcile.  Once our hearts are closed to the other person, a broken relationship or marriage is looming.

Jesus points us back to God’s intention for marriage:

“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’
‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,
and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
(Mark 10:6-9 NIV)

How can God keep our hearts soft and wide open to one another?  How can God help us foster healthy relationships, so we don’t ‘divorce’ ourselves from God and each other?

Come along this Sunday as we explore these issues, unpack the cultural background to the Pharisees’ question, and discover how God wants us to live.

Please Note: divorce is not the unforgiveable sin.  When Jesus met the woman at the well, he offered her living water – that would well up into eternal life (John 4:13-18).  Even though she’d had 5 husbands and was currently in another relationship, Jesus wanted her to have life forever with him.  No matter how much we’ve messed up in relationships, Jesus wants to give us the same gift!

Joy in Jesus!
Pr Rolly Stahl

HEARTS WIDE OPEN (AUDIO)

October 3rd, 2021

Even though the government recognises de-facto relationships, it’s interesting that people are still getting married.

And even though some people have experienced a messy break-up and subsequent divorce, many of them go on to get married again – perhaps a few times.

There’s something about marriage that doesn’t go out of fashion.  Many of us do not do life well alone.  We like the companionship and comfort of doing life together with a husband or wife.  Having been married for over 35 years, I reckon that marriage is one of the best ideas God ever came up with. (And yes, a lot of this is because I am married to a saint!)

But it ain’t always easy!  Marriage is not self-maintaining.  It requires lots of love and understanding, patience and perseverance – from both sides – in order to flourish.

We tend to be lazy: we want great relationships with minimal effort or sacrifice!

We expect the other person to make us happy, and then get upset when they don’t!

When the “me” replaces the “we”, selfishness and hardness of heart can creep in.  Over time, hardness of heart can build up layers of apathy, fault finding, conflict, unresolved hurts, resentment, bitterness, and blame. If a couple keep digging their heels in, refusing to apologise and be reconciled, it can end up in divorce.

In this Sunday’s Bible reading, the Pharisees ask Jesus: “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” (Mark 10:2 NIV)

Jesus concedes that divorce happens.  Yet he also highlights the root cause of divorce.  It because human hearts can harden – even to a person they once loved more than anyone else in the world!  Once that happens, we can justify our unwillingness to apologise, to forgive, and to reconcile.  Once our hearts are closed to the other person, a broken relationship or marriage is looming.

Jesus points us back to God’s intention for marriage:

“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’
‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,
and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
(Mark 10:6-9 NIV)

How can God keep our hearts soft and wide open to one another?  How can God help us foster healthy relationships, so we don’t ‘divorce’ ourselves from God and each other?

Come along this Sunday as we explore these issues, unpack the cultural background to the Pharisees’ question, and discover how God wants us to live.

Please Note: divorce is not the unforgiveable sin.  When Jesus met the woman at the well, he offered her living water – that would well up into eternal life (John 4:13-18).  Even though she’d had 5 husbands and was currently in another relationship, Jesus wanted her to have life forever with him.  No matter how much we’ve messed up in relationships, Jesus wants to give us the same gift!

Joy in Jesus!
Pr Rolly Stahl

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