Para Vista Lutheran Church

Weekly messages from Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Para Vista Inc

HEADS HELD HIGH (VIDEO)

November 28th, 2021

Last Sunday Pastor Rolly encouraged us to have hope in the midst of the troubles and difficulties of life as we wait for the return of Jesus. Our follow-up message this Sunday is based on Luke 21:25-36 with the theme: “Heads held high.”

This week we begin the season of Advent, with its important emphasis on preparing our hearts to celebrate the coming of our Saviour Jesus at Christmas. Verse 28 of our text speaks directly to that when it says: “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

What are some of the practical ways that we can prepare spiritually for Christmas? Our answer to that will centre around the following three key words of Waiting, Praying, and Hoping.

(1) Waiting is about being alert. To wait effectively, we need to slow down. We need to be quiet enough to listen. At this time of year, everything is rush, rush, rush. But that’s precisely why we need to intentionally step away from all that and find a place to slow down, catch our breath, and quietly reflect.

(2) This waiting leads us into praying. In verse 36 we read: “Be always on the watch, and pray …”  The bottom line is that we prepare best for Christmas by spending time reading the Bible and in prayer. Listening to God’s promises and trusting in them is a core part of us preparing spiritually to celebrate Christmas.

(3) Such waiting and praying, lays the foundation for us approaching Christmas with great hope. We can face the many troubles and challenges that life throws up at us, with confidence and hope because we know that Jesus is with us every step of the way. As his name “Immanuel” reminds us, Jesus is “God with us.”

Knowing all that, we can joyfully raise our heads high, absolutely confident in the goodness of God: knowing that God loves us, that he forgives us, that he accepts us and embraces us with his grace and mercy.

Come along and join us in confessing and celebrating that truth, as we embark on our journey together in celebrating the coming of Jesus to save us at Christmas.

God bring you joy!
Pastor Richard Haar

HEADS HELD HIGH (AUDIO)

November 28th, 2021

Last Sunday Pastor Rolly encouraged us to have hope in the midst of the troubles and difficulties of life as we wait for the return of Jesus. Our follow-up message this Sunday is based on Luke 21:25-36 with the theme: “Heads held high.”

This week we begin the season of Advent, with its important emphasis on preparing our hearts to celebrate the coming of our Saviour Jesus at Christmas. Verse 28 of our text speaks directly to that when it says: “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

What are some of the practical ways that we can prepare spiritually for Christmas? Our answer to that will centre around the following three key words of Waiting, Praying, and Hoping.

(1) Waiting is about being alert. To wait effectively, we need to slow down. We need to be quiet enough to listen. At this time of year, everything is rush, rush, rush. But that’s precisely why we need to intentionally step away from all that and find a place to slow down, catch our breath, and quietly reflect.

(2) This waiting leads us into praying. In verse 36 we read: “Be always on the watch, and pray …”  The bottom line is that we prepare best for Christmas by spending time reading the Bible and in prayer. Listening to God’s promises and trusting in them is a core part of us preparing spiritually to celebrate Christmas.

(3) Such waiting and praying, lays the foundation for us approaching Christmas with great hope. We can face the many troubles and challenges that life throws up at us, with confidence and hope because we know that Jesus is with us every step of the way. As his name “Immanuel” reminds us, Jesus is “God with us.”

Knowing all that, we can joyfully raise our heads high, absolutely confident in the goodness of God: knowing that God loves us, that he forgives us, that he accepts us and embraces us with his grace and mercy.

Come along and join us in confessing and celebrating that truth, as we embark on our journey together in celebrating the coming of Jesus to save us at Christmas.

God bring you joy!
Pastor Richard Haar

Growing Together in Jesus

November 22nd, 2021

A connection brings two families together to share their lives and their faith in Jesus.

 

Return of the King (Audio)

November 21st, 2021

An audio message by Pastor Rolly Stahl.  It is part 2 of our 3 week series "Infused with Hope".

If life is a journey, then our destiny will determine the direction of our lives.  As followers of  Jesus, we join in his restoration story for his world in the security of knowing that he has  brought us into eternal life.

According to tradition, most of Jesus' disciples were martyred.  The Apostle John may have been the exception.  Yet he spent time in exile – cut off from his community.  While stuck on the Island of Patmos, John received a revelation from God to encourage the Church through times of persecution. We can still read it today in the last book of the Bible.

This Sunday, we’ll unpack a little of what God revealed to John in the opening verses of Revelation.  Our attention will turn to the Lord who loves us, and to the return of our victorious King.

Come along and join us as we celebrate who and whose we are in Christ – and the hope that is ours in Him!

Return of the King (Video)

November 21st, 2021

A video message by Pastor Rolly Stahl.  It is part 2 of our 3 week series "Infused with Hope".

If life is a journey, then our destiny will determine the direction of our lives.  As followers of  Jesus, we join in his restoration story for his world in the security of knowing that he has  brought us into eternal life.

According to tradition, most of Jesus' disciples were martyred.  The Apostle John may have been the exception.  Yet he spent time in exile – cut off from his community.  While stuck on the Island of Patmos, John received a revelation from God to encourage the Church through times of persecution. We can still read it today in the last book of the Bible.

This Sunday, we’ll unpack a little of what God revealed to John in the opening verses of Revelation.  Our attention will turn to the Lord who loves us, and to the return of our victorious King.

Come along and join us as we celebrate who and whose we are in Christ – and the hope that is ours in Him!

Whose Voice Do We Listen To? (VIDEO)

November 14th, 2021

In the last Sundays of the Church year, we often consider the end-times and the return of Jesus. This Sunday we will commence a 3-week series: Infused with Hope.

In the Apostles’ Creed we say of Jesus: “He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty, from thence he will come to judge the living and the dead.”

And in the Nicene Creed: “He will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; whose kingdom will have no end.”

I wonder how often you and I reflected on these things? How about asking friends and/or family members what they think and feel about this? You might be surprised where the conversation leads.

History is not coming to a dead end, but with the return of Jesus as Lord and judge of all. For all believers, this is Good News indeed. At the return of Jesus, chaos and evil be vanquished, justice will be administered, and all believers will inherit eternal life in the glorious kingdom of God. I wonder: How do you picture that reality?

Between now and then, there is still much kingdom work to be done: listening to people’s stories, sharing the kindness of Jesus, praying for opportunities to share the difference Jesus has made in our lives, passing on the faith to the next generations, and bringing the presence of Jesus into each encounter.

Yes, at times we will carry burdens, reminding us that we are still caught up in the brokenness of this fallen world. Jesus knows how that feels from first-hand experience. He has entered the depths of our suffering so he can ultimately free us from it.

Where this is life there is hope. And where there is hope there is life. No matter what trials or suffering we experience, hope of “better things to come” enables us to endure.

I suspect that many loud voices in our culture rob us of hope and fill us with despair. If we keep listening to bad news stories in the world, along with the doomsday preppers and conspiracy theorists, we will end up paralysed with fear… and in dread of the future.

Whose voice do we listen to? Who can we trust to tell us the truth?

Whenever we are feeling hopeless or helpless, it’s helpful to ask: “What does Jesus say about this? What does he tell us about the end times?”

Believers keep listening to the words and promises of Jesus. Secure in his love and truth, we can avoid being deceived by human speculations; or by temptations of strategies of the evil one. Through God’s Spirit, Word, and Church, we can be infused with hope in Jesus.

Joy in Jesus!
Pr Rolly Stahl

Whose Voice Do We Listen To? (AUDIO)

November 14th, 2021

In the last Sundays of the Church year, we often consider the end-times and the return of Jesus. This Sunday we will commence a 3-week series: Infused with Hope.

In the Apostles’ Creed we say of Jesus: “He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty, from thence he will come to judge the living and the dead.”

And in the Nicene Creed: “He will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; whose kingdom will have no end.”

I wonder how often you and I reflected on these things? How about asking friends and/or family members what they think and feel about this? You might be surprised where the conversation leads.

History is not coming to a dead end, but with the return of Jesus as Lord and judge of all. For all believers, this is Good News indeed. At the return of Jesus, chaos and evil be vanquished, justice will be administered, and all believers will inherit eternal life in the glorious kingdom of God. I wonder: How do you picture that reality?

Between now and then, there is still much kingdom work to be done: listening to people’s stories, sharing the kindness of Jesus, praying for opportunities to share the difference Jesus has made in our lives, passing on the faith to the next generations, and bringing the presence of Jesus into each encounter.

Yes, at times we will carry burdens, reminding us that we are still caught up in the brokenness of this fallen world. Jesus knows how that feels from first-hand experience. He has entered the depths of our suffering so he can ultimately free us from it.

Where this is life there is hope. And where there is hope there is life. No matter what trials or suffering we experience, hope of “better things to come” enables us to endure.

I suspect that many loud voices in our culture rob us of hope and fill us with despair. If we keep listening to bad news stories in the world, along with the doomsday preppers and conspiracy theorists, we will end up paralysed with fear… and in dread of the future.

Whose voice do we listen to? Who can we trust to tell us the truth?

Whenever we are feeling hopeless or helpless, it’s helpful to ask: “What does Jesus say about this? What does he tell us about the end times?”

Believers keep listening to the words and promises of Jesus. Secure in his love and truth, we can avoid being deceived by human speculations; or by temptations of strategies of the evil one. Through God’s Spirit, Word, and Church, we can be infused with hope in Jesus.

Joy in Jesus!
Pr Rolly Stahl

Fake Performance or True Worship? (Audio)

November 7th, 2021

This Sunday is the final part of our series: How Then Shall We Live? We’ve been working through Mark’s account to see how Jesus responds to questions and issues of his day – and what this means for us. Our theme: Fake Performance or True Worship?

In our reading from Mark 12, Jesus exposes the teachers of the law as hypocrites. They give their religious performance to bring attention and honour to themselves – yet they exploit widows! In reality, they are fakes and fraudsters.

Then as Jesus sits and watches people contributing to the temple treasury, he points his disciples (including us) to a poor widow who gave her last two copper coins to God. I wonder: What does this tell us about her relationship with God? And: What might this mean for us?

Jesus came to bring us into a relationship with God, where we can freely come into his presence without fear, give him our praise and honour, share whatever is on our hearts with him, seek his guidance and help in all that we do, and join in his eternal plans by blessing others in Jesus’ name. Secure in his love for us in Jesus, we get to love God above all else; and love others as ourselves.

So why do we settle for religious performance, where we go through the motions to placate God or impress people? The problem with religion is the perpetual focus on self: seeking to impress God or others with my outward behaviour.

Jesus warns against religious performance or showing off to impress others. Our 24/7 life of worship is to be real, without pretence or pride, and focussed on bringing glory to God and his Son Jesus. As we pray in the Lord’s Prayer: Your kingdom come…Your will be done… Yours is the kingdom the power and the glory. Amen?

Joy in Jesus!

Pr Rolly Stahl

Fake Performance or True Worship? (Video)

November 7th, 2021

This Sunday is the final part of our series: How Then Shall We Live? We’ve been working through Mark’s account to see how Jesus responds to questions and issues of his day – and what this means for us. Our theme: Fake Performance or True Worship?

In our reading from Mark 12, Jesus exposes the teachers of the law as hypocrites. They give their religious performance to bring attention and honour to themselves – yet they exploit widows! In reality, they are fakes and fraudsters.

Then as Jesus sits and watches people contributing to the temple treasury, he points his disciples (including us) to a poor widow who gave her last two copper coins to God. I wonder: What does this tell us about her relationship with God? And: What might this mean for us?

Jesus came to bring us into a relationship with God, where we can freely come into his presence without fear, give him our praise and honour, share whatever is on our hearts with him, seek his guidance and help in all that we do, and join in his eternal plans by blessing others in Jesus’ name. Secure in his love for us in Jesus, we get to love God above all else; and love others as ourselves.

So why do we settle for religious performance, where we go through the motions to placate God or impress people? The problem with religion is the perpetual focus on self: seeking to impress God or others with my outward behaviour.

Jesus warns against religious performance or showing off to impress others. Our 24/7 life of worship is to be real, without pretence or pride, and focussed on bringing glory to God and his Son Jesus. As we pray in the Lord’s Prayer: Your kingdom come…Your will be done… Yours is the kingdom the power and the glory. Amen?

Joy in Jesus!

Pr Rolly Stahl

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