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Haney Presbyterian Church

SPRING 2011
NEWSLETTER

Our Devotion to God


(please read Matthew 6:1-18)

I chose to write about our devotion about these commandments of


to God for two reasons. Firstly, Jesus. They sound good, but who
because Lent is a time of among us has the slightest chance of
preparation and devotion during keeping them? How on earth can
which we reflect on the passion, anyone sustain such a lifestyle?
death, and resurrection of our Lord. We can’t. We cannot keep them, nor
Secondly, I want to continue the can we sustain this kind of living in
readings from Matthew. our own strength. The surpassing
From Matthew 4 and 5 we gained a righteousness that Christ commands
clearer understanding of Jesus, His requires much more than a few good
ministry, and His message, namely intentions. It is not merely a matter
that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. of disciplining ourselves and
At the same time, we also gained a exercising our will-power. It is,
new understanding of our ministry. beginning
from to end, a matter of grace. We can only be salt of the earth and light of the
Christ calls us “salt of the earth” and world through Christ living in us, and through the work of the Holy Spirit who
“light of the world”. He ordains us transforms us into the image of Christ.
to have a presence and a witness in It makes sense then that Jesus continues His sermon by teaching us about our devotion
the world that brings change to the to God (which is the common thread in all the passages of Matthew 6). The Lord gives
world around us. Christ therefore us ways to commit ourselves enthusiastically and wholeheartedly to God. Without it,
commands us to live righteously; to we cannot possibly sustain the righteousness, the love, the truth, and the peace that
exercise surpassing righteousness in Christ commands us to seek. Without healthy spiritual practices our light fades and the
seeking reconciliation with our salt loses its saltiness. Without a deep devotion there can be no maturing in love.
brothers and sisters, in honouring This is not a new idea. He uses familiar Jewish practices to teach His disciples –
our marriage vows and being almsgiving, prayer, fasting. The disciples lived in a world where they were exposed to
faithful in our relationships, in many examples of devotion. Theirs was a very religious world. They were surrounded
speaking the truth, the whole truth by devout people who practised their faith dutifully, kept the Sabbath religiously,
and nothing but the truth, to act studied the Scriptures fanatically, fasted regularly, and prayed zealously. They lived
surpassingly righteous when people among a people who showed a great concern for the needy and the vulnerable.
insult us, exploit us, persecute us Jesus’ concern, however, is not just that we do these things. He is much more
and take advantage of us, and, yes, concerned with how we do them and why we do them. In those days, as today, things
to love our enemies. were not always what they seemed to be. There are many temptations inherent to our
You probably feel the same way spiritual practices. And many misuses. We, for instance, start to do these things for
ourselves; for what we hope to get out of it. It makes me feel good. It gives me peace. It gives me strength and courage to
fight my battles. I like the fellowship. But, devotional practices are not about us or our needs. Once we let it be about
ourselves it is of no value in forming us in the image of Christ. Jesus wants to protect the integrity of our lives and the
purity of our hearts so that His righteousness might grow in us.
What do we learn from Jesus?
The first thing we notice is this: Our devotion to God cannot be separated from our devotion to people, especially the
needy. Love for God and love for our neighbours go hand in hand. Bonhoeffer wrote, “God will not be separated from our
brother; He wants no honour for Himself so long as our brother is dishonoured.” Giving to the needy was a very important
duty in Jewish society. We see the same in the early church. A large part of the ministry of the early church consisted in
caring for the needy among them. Jesus Himself taught that on the final day He will separate the sheep from the goats on
the basis of what we have done or haven’t done for the least of His brothers (Matthew 25:31-46).
We are often tempted to separate the two and to seek a pure religion where we don’t have to be inconvenienced by the
needs of others. It doesn’t exist. Our devotion to God goes hand in hand with our caring for the needy.
The second thing we notice is that prayer is at the heart of our devotion to God. We sometimes get bored with praying.
We feel we should be doing something and not just pray, whereas Jesus places prayer at the centre of our spiritual lives.
And there doesn’t have to be anything fancy about it. Prayer is simply a matter of talking and listening to our Father who is
in heaven. Prayer is a family conversation. There is a push sometimes for other more exciting spiritual disciplines, and for
different methods of praying. Jesus teaches us to pray simply, and not to use many words. Just say, “Our Father, who is in
heaven …”
A third thing we notice is how important our motives are when we do these things. Our devotional practices can, for
instance, become a means to impress ourselves and others with our spirituality. We hope to receive recognition. Under no
circumstances does Jesus want us to draw attention to ourselves. Devotional practices are not about the recognition we
receive. They are about God – about loving God deeply. Jesus is quite critical of people who do things to be seen. He calls
them hypocrites. If we play for the crowd, He reminds us, if our devotion is merely a performance, then the applause of
others will be our only reward.
Common to all the passages on devotion is the idea of “not doing it to be seen”. Do what you do quietly, i.e. “not to be
seen.” He emphasizes sincerity.
When you give to the needy, give in such a way, He says, that your left hand does not know what your right hand is
doing. Don`t broadcast your good deeds, not even to your best and closest friends.
When you pray, go to your room and pray to your Father in heaven. We take it to be the privacy and comfort of our
bedrooms (or some other tranquil, secluded spot). Jesus refers to the storeroom that many houses had at the time.
These storerooms were the only rooms that could be locked. These were not cozy, tranquil places, but you could be
private there. Don’t do it for the show. That actually happened in Jesus’ time. The Jews observed several prayer
times during the day. Should it happen that you were out on street at the time of prayer, the idea was that you
should cease everything and pray there and then on the street. Thus developed a form of silent public prayer. It
looked very pious. It seems, however, from Jesus’ example that some Jews were misusing the exception and
deliberately went out on the streets just before the prayer-time in order to impress others with their devotion.
When you fast do not look somber, he says, but wash your face and oil your hair as you would normally do.
Jesus’ teaching about “secret devotion” seems strange, doesn’t it? Didn’t He command His disciples a little earlier to let
their lights shine before the people, so that the people would see their good works and glorify their Father in heaven
(Matthew 5:16)? So what’s up with this secrecy talk? Why does He teach His disciples not to broadcast their good deeds, to
pray in private, to use few and simple words, not to look somber when they fast?
Actually, Jesus’ two teachings are not in conflict at all. The light that we are commanded to let shine, is not our light; it is
the light of Christ that we are to reflect. But if we steal the show, if we draw attention to ourselves, the light of Christ is
eclipsed. To let the light of Christ shine, we need to get out of the way.
Finally, we learn this: Jesus doesn’t want us to pray and fast and help the needy because it is our duty. He want us to do it as
children who are devoted to their Father. He seeks the kind of dedication that exists in a deep, loving relationship with
our Father. Jesus mentions “your Father” 10 times in this chapter. The purpose of our devotion is not to win God’s
approval. God is already our Father who loves us. The purpose of our devotion is not to get God’s attention. He is our
Father “who sees what is done in secret” and “who knows what we need” (another common theme in Matthew 6). We don’t
have to convince Him of our needs; we don’t have to twist His arm for help; we don’t have to jump up and down and do
weird things to draw His attention; we never have to pull Him away from His work. God is our Father. God knows us; God
sees us; God cares.
God is devoted to us. He gives us ways to love Him deeply and to grow in righteousness.
Submitted by Gerard Booy
After all, it was to “proclaim Do I strive first for the
Self-Deception the good news of the kingdom”
that Jesus came,(Luke 4:43)
and that kingdom, he said “is
kingdom of heaven, or does
my supposed striving occur
when I have the time or the
More “hard sayings” of Jesus
among you” (Luke 17:21). inclination or feel like doing
I am always a little uneasy the will of God. In their But some just didn’t get it. something that more often
when I read the words of own minds they were They were like those described than not takes me out of my
Jesus recorded in Matthew “okay”, they did all the by Timothy (3:5) “holding to comfort zone? I don’t know
7:21-23. “Not everyone right things, but obviously the outward form of godliness, about you, but I struggle
who says to me, „Lord, for the wrong reasons. In but denying its power.” Jesus with these questions. There
Lord,‟ will come into the their own minds they were put it pretty bluntly, “only the are times when I wish Jesus
kingdom of heaven, but “okay”, they had arrived one who does the will of my hadn’t said “if any want to
only the one who does the and Jesus would, in the Father in heaven” will come become my followers, let
will of my Father in final analysis “save” them. into the kingdom, i.e., them deny themselves and
heaven. On that day many But Jesus had something experience the power of God in take up their cross daily and
will say to me, „Lord, to say about their easy their lives. I can’t speak for follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
Lord, did we not prophesy beliefs that required little anyone else, but all this raises But he did say it, so I guess
in your name, and cast out or no effort on their part. some difficult (and sometimes that is what he means when
demons in your name, and In the previous chapter embarrassing) questions and, I he says that only those who
do many deeds of power in (6:33) they were must confess, makes me rather do the “will of my Father in
your name?‟ Then I will admonished to“strive first uneasy. How much of what I do heaven” will enter the
declare to them, „I never for the kingdom of God can be categorized as my kingdom of God. That is
knew you; go away from and His righteousness.” “doing the will of my Father in one thing I have learned
me, you evildoers.‟ What a Strive is a pretty strong heaven”? And how much of it about Jesus. He tells it like
slap in the face that must word. It means to work can be categorized under the it is.
have been for those hard, put forth a heading of “doing what I will
or like to do”? How many times Dorne Cornish
believers to whom he maximum effort, do
spoke! And they were whatever it takes to do I beg off doing something
believers, they called him accomplish the task. The because it is an inconvenience,
Lord and did many great term “kingdom of heaven” or because I don’t feel like
things in his name. But or “kingdom of God” doing it? If I see something that
something was lacking. (both mean the same needs to be done, is that a word
The simple fact of the thing) must not be from God alerting me that he
matter was that their confused with eternal life. desires me to fill that need? Am
faith/belief had not The kingdom of heaven is I one of those who find it easy
resulted in their a present reality, it is now, to walk on by and leave it to
surrendering their will to it is here, it is among us. someone else to do?

Church Family Retreat


April 29 – May 1, 2011

Come for a weekend


away on the beautiful
Sunshine Coast
Theme:
‘Living as Easter People’

* Registration required. See Paddy for more info


Children in the Worshipping Community

A few Sundays ago the children of Haney Presbyterian were so


pleased and proud to share their service with you. They have
returned to their regular Church School schedule now and as
usual, will be attending the first part of our worship service,
the Gathering. Here’s some ideas for how all of us (whether or
not our own children/grandchildren are in church) can build on
what the children have been learning about worship.
Help our children understand what we are doing in worship:
Come to church ten minutes early to give your child time
to “shift gears” from life at home to a time of worship
Remind your child(ren) to pray when they first sit down.
They can thank God for this time of worship and ask God
to speak to them.
Look at the children’s bulletin cover with your child(ren).
Can they guess what this Sunday’s service is about?
Help our children open themselves to God:
Opening ourselves to God and focusing on God (despite
our busy minds and active bodies) is a learned skill.
Adults and children alike are learning to be still before
God. At home, encourage brief moments of silent
prayer before grace. At church, if you see your
child(ren) losing attention, gently remind them what we
are doing together. The meaning of the different parts
of the service is described in each Children Bulletin.
Help our children feel good about worshipping God and glad
to be with the Christian community
Just as adults feel they belong when we use their
names, so do our children. All of our HPC children have
name tags. Make sure you are as friendly to our children
as you are to other members of our community
Remember that our goal is not quiet children but
worshipping children. A gentle reminder of what we are
doing is much more effective (and less disruptive) than
“Shhh!”
Friendly smiles go a long way to communicating, “We are
glad you are part of our church family!”

Yours in Christ,
Paddy
***exerpt from the
CARIBOO NEWSLETTER……
Dear Partners in Mission,
It’s Canim Lake so it must be Monday. After 21
years of doing this mission work that’s how our calendar
works. Each day of the week finds us driving to another
rural community of the Cariboo-Chilcotin as we take the church
of Christ to where there is no other church. Fifty years ago or more, most
of these rural communities had churches, along with schools, post offices,
government offices and even banks in some. However, the 1970’s and 80s saw most of these
services move to town. Unfortunately the churches moved to town too. The people stayed;
in fact most rural communities have grown substantially. But here is the thing. If you have
to travel considerable distance for school, bank, post office and all other services on your
“town day,” a business day, how do you justify making the trip to town again for church on
the one day when most everything else is closed. You don’t, and that’s where we come in.
Our mission has been, and continues to be, to take the church of Christ to those who
live beyond the traditional church in the rural communities of the Cariboo-Chilcotin region
of BC, (almost 1/5 of the province of BC). We do this using the house church, the 1 st century
form of Christian church that one keeps on running into in the New Testament. When I have
finished my week, I have been to at least 5 homes in as many rural communities and I have
had worship with 80 or more people. Across the Cariboo-Chilcotin we have 18 rural
ministries going on each week. It touches a lot of people. It takes a lot of resources. That’s
where you come in.
We depend upon Christ to provide for this mission work. It is, after all, His work. For
the past 21 years Christ has powerfully worked through you and others like you, as His
providing vessels. In 2010, through your direct gifts to this mission, you generously
provided 35% of our budget. We still ended the year with a deficit of almost $22,000, which
is a new experience for us. In 2011 we have reduced our budget by 13%, which cuts it to the
bone. We are praying for direct mission gifts to increase just as we are praying for our local
support to increase so that we won’t lose our ability to reach out to our rural communities.
We covet your continued faithful prayers and support.
Blessings in Christ,
David Webber,
Ordained Missionary
“You don’t have to burn books…”
In February I attended a night school class with my
granddaughter Jessica. The three hour lesson covered the
basic principles of writing and publishing a book. It was a fun
evening. It’s not often that one gets to do a course with one’s
grandchild.
The room where the course was being offered was obviously a
classroom used primarily to teach writing skills. Lots of posters
covered the walls with such headings as “Simile”,
“Personification”, “Foreshadowing” and so on. But my eyes
were drawn to a statement by Ray Bradbury: “You don’t have
to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”
It made me think. Has Christianity lost its relevance because people have stopped reading the Book?
Yes, I do know that the Bible is still number one on the best-seller list but buying a Bible and reading
one is quite something else.
My friend and mentor, Morrison McVea, died almost a year ago now but the stories he shared with me
are very much alive. Morrison learned to read using the Bible. He had his Bible on his desk throughout
his teaching career and would often refer to the Proverbs while teaching. In many families at the turn
of the last century the Bible was the only reading material available. My mother stated that her
grandfather read the Bible for an hour every day yet I never saw her or my dad read the Bible except
in church. Our children and grandchildren see us reading the newspaper, a magazine, a great pulp
novel. Do they see us reading the Bible?
When my son Michael was 5 years old our family went to visit friends in the Okanagan. On our return
home he asked my husband and me if we were Christians. Needless to say it took us aback. We were
both baptized, both confirmed and had made personal commitments to Christ so I asked the obvious
question, “Why do you ask, son?” And in the unfettered wisdom of children he replied, “Because your
friends have a Bible on the coffee table and they pray at every meal. They said they were Christian
and we don’t do that.”
Going to church and taking children to Sunday school does not a Christian make. We had a long row to
hoe but I thank God for the wisdom of our young son. Our children see how we conduct our lives,
what is important to us. If we never refer to the book except on Sundays, the book is seen by our
children and grandchildren as irrelevant in our day to day life. When our Bible only takes up space on
the bookshelf, we destroy more than just a culture for our children and grandchildren—we destroy a
life of hope and redemption.
Karin Breuer
Jackie’s prayer
I call this Jackie’s prayer because I received it from our dear friend Jackie Hoekstra who
with her husband Ed are PCC missionaries in Malawi. She in turn received it through her
niece Kelsey from a Baptist Pastor on the east coast of Kenya.
May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial
relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of
people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection,
starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to
turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a
difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.
Gerard Booy

Odd Laws still on the books


There are some old laws, still on the
books, in various places in the United
States that are pretty strange...
-Young girls are never allowed to walk a tightrope in
Wheeler, Mississippi, unless it's in a church.
-In Blackwater, Kentucky, tickling a woman under her
chin with a feather duster while she's in church service
carries a penalty of $10.00 and one day in jail.
-No one can eat unshelled, roasted peanuts while
attending church in Idanha, Oregon.
-In Honey Creek, Iowa, no one is permitted to carry a
slingshot to church except a policeman.
-No citizen in Leecreek, Arkansas, is allowed to attend
church in any red-colored garment.
-Swinging a yo-yo in church or anywhere in public on the
Sabbath is prohibited in Studley, Virginia.
-Turtle races are not permitted within 100 yards of a
local church at any time in Slaughter, Louisiana.
HOLY WEEK SERVICES 2011
Watch and Pray is the theme of this Apr. 2nd - Women’s Breakfast
year’s Holy Week Services.
Apr. 16th – Garage Sale
From April 17 to April 21 we gather in
the evenings to watch and pray with Apr. 17th – Camp Douglas Sunday
Jesus as we prepare ourselves for ● Apr. 17th – 22nd – Holy Week
Good Friday and Easter. Services

Apr. 17th 6:30 pm Anointed Matt. 26:6-13 Apr. 29th – May 1st – HPC
Family Retreat
Apr. 18th 7:30 pm Betrayed Matt. 26:14-30
May 6th – Girls’ Group Wind-up
Apr. 19th 7:30 pm Denied Matt. 26:31-35
Apr. 20th 7:30 pm Troubled Matt. 26:36-46
Apr. 21th 6:00 pm Maundy Thurs Matt. 26-27 May 7th – Camp Douglas
Communion Fundraiser
Apr. 22nd 10:00 am Good Friday May 15th – Ministry Fair
Apr. 24th 10:00 am Easter Sunday
June 12th – Congregational Picnic

June 18th – Davidson Memorial


Golf Tournament

A mom was concerned about her kindergarten son


walking to school. He didn't want her to walk with him, and she wanted to
give him a feeling of independence. but she also wanted to know that he
was safe. When she expressed her concern to her
neighbor, Shirley offered to follow him to school every morning for a while,
staying at a distance so he wouldn’t notice. Shirley said
that since she was up early with her toddler anyways,
it will be a good way for them to get some exercise.
All week long, Shirley and her daughter followed
Timmy as he walked to school with another neigh-
borhood girl. As the two children walked and chatted,
kicking stones and twigs, Timmy's friend said, “Have
you noticed that lady following us to school all week?”
“Do you know her?”
Timmy replied, “Yes, I know who she is.That's my mom's
friend Shirley Goodnest and her litle girl Marcy.”
“Shirley Goodnest? Why is she following us?”
“Well,” Timmy explained, “every night my mom makes me say the 23rd
Psalm. It says, 'Shirley Goodnest and Marcy shall follow me all days of my
life’. I guess I'll just have to get used to it.”
The Triumphal Entry
Can you help Jesus find the way through the streets of Jerusalem?

Those who went ahead and those who


followed shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is
He who comes in the name of the Lord!”
Mark 11:9

Look what’s coming to Haney Presbyterian


this summer!