Reviewing and Prepping for Sunday’s first full focus on Song of Solomon [ Song of Songs 1:1-11]
Take a look at this video Dove commerical
What do you think? About beauty? About how we see ourself? About the importance of these?
” I have some work to do on myself…. [beauty, how we see ourselves] couldn’t be more critical to our life” – Dove participant
He IS Risen!! Easter weekend is almost here! I hope you have had a growing sense of anticipation over the week.
We want to help you celebrate the incredible reality of God’s grace to us!
Good Friday @ PAXnorth 7pm
Much of Christ:: Was the death of Jesus necessary?
Easter Supper @ PAXnorth 4pm [the Easter Feast-er!] 4pm
Easter is a time of celebration, and for many of us, a celebration isn’t complete without food.
This is also a huge day for us as believers in a risen Christ, and we would be honored if you would like to spend this holiday with your Church family, especially if you don’t have family here in Halifax. We are planning on having a great big dinner late on Sunday afternoon. We’ll start around 4 at the church. Bring food to share for dinner, board games, and maybe even snacks for afterwards. If you need an idea of what to bring, contact Holly and she’ll point you in the right direction.
Hope to see you there. He is risen indeed – Holly Algra
April 7 Easter Follow Up- Christ is risen…now what?
Much of Christ:: Is Jesus necessary for today?
BAPTISM and CHILD DEDICATION DAY!
Interested in being baptized or have a child to be dedicated?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive details and set up an appointment.
Hey PAXnorth Folks…
Last week’s sermon was chock full of scripture references – too many to go through all of them during service. So, we’ve put them onto the site for you to download and go through on your own. Enjoy!
Also, just a reminder that we will be holding an evening service at 7pm on Good Friday, March 29th. We look forward to seeing you there. God Bless!
Come join us for worship, then stick around for some food, fellowship, music, and mmmmmaybe even some dancin’!
PAXnorth Church, 5563 Cunard Street.
Worship starts at 10:30am… party will go on into the wee hours of the afternoon.
Bring some food to share!
Download funky poster here.
God in Full Humanity::Full Divinity = Advent
We held our ‘kick-off’ to Advent service last night at PAXnorth Church. Maybe your like a lot of people at PAXnorth who commented, “I’ve never been to or heard of a Kick-Off Advent service before.”
“Advent” - ORIGIN Old English, from Latin adventus ‘arrival,’ from advenire, from ad- ‘to’ + venire ‘come.’
Advent is an anticipated arrival. December has been the traditional month to celebrate the anticipated arrival of Jesus Christ. Whom Christians hold and the Bible teaches is God come close to mankind, in human flesh. To consider this possibility is to be left wonder-struck with both possibilities and questions.
Questions like: Why? Why would God consider putting on flesh and walking among mankind, His creation? Why would he live in obscurity? Why only come to a small part of the world in a relatively small population? Why choose this time in history? How? How could this happen? How could God who is wholly Other become one of us? How could God not merely come and fix all the problems as pure Deity? What? What was God’s purpose? What did God hope to accomplish by becoming a baby, growing up in a family, living in the context of a messy world, being rejected and hated, followed and disavowed? What could be the end of such a cruel death, and then an alleged resurrection? Where? Where is He now? Where is this going?
These are good questions that need honest reflection and clear answers. Advent points us to the possibilites of truth in the midst of these questions. Our advent service and subsequent Advent Sunday services highlight these possibilites. I pray that they will inspire you to ask the above questions again with an open heart and a fixed mind that God IS up to something awe-filled and wonderous. It starts before creation and has yet to reach full culmination but it DOES center on a baby in a manger. God came in full humanity and full divinity.
Advent is a time to be struck with the truth that although you are here, alive, with a history, a present and an unknown future- THIS is not about you (or me). An honest reflection on the possibility that God has come in the flesh and what this means for our world should push us to realize that THIS is God’s story. God has written you into His story. He doesn’t behave as a bit actor in the background of your own personal reality T.V. show. But He is both the writer, producer and main character of the full story. He has made us in such a way that we can find true hope, peace, joy, love, redemption only to the degree we are connected to Him. This is where the wonder and celebration of Advent- the anticipated coming of Christ- begins. An acknowledgement that my life is not really about me. My life holds greater implications and possibilities then my own history, present happiness or the vapours of a legacy I might leave. My life can be found and made to have eternal significance because it is couched in the plan and purposes of God.
In the next couple of posts I will highlight how we understand and wrestle with, the truths of advent. Our hope is that this will move you to REFLECT, ACT, and ANTICIPATE the truth of Christ!
Is there really a proper way to “do church”? Can’t I do church alone in my room, or on the golf course with some buddies, or simply by hanging out with a group of my irreligious friends who grew up churched and are just sick of it so we meet up for a brew and talk about spiritual stuff? Isn’t this all the church? Or maybe it’s even a better expression of the church then what I grew up with? Aren’t the old rules of what is church or not church archaic? Isn’t that old expression of church just a place where ‘good ol’ boys’ create rules? Or maybe it’s just a place where we can collectively join and organize in doing good things for our community?
What makes the church the Church?
The church is the Church:
In I Corinthians 1:17-31 Paul is deeply concerned about what has been passing for church at the Church of Corinth.
Several times in the first half of this book Paul uses the phrase “It has been reported” as he begins to tackle very strong dysfunctional issues in the church. The reports have both been told to him and in some cases are known through out the community in which they live.
The issues range from:
- a vicarious living of their spiritual holiness through the words and works of ‘celebrity’ leaders (a kind of inflated wisdom being passed off as true holiness).
- an inability to deal with blatant sexual sin and attitudes towards sexuality in the church (a twisted version of tolerance as they brag about how they allow people to just be themselves)
- an inflated understanding of their own personal rights expressed in taking each other to court
This all results in the Church at Corinth trying to be ‘Christian’ in name but just like the world in function. Paul’s response is that the church is not merely a christianized version of the world!
Maybe some or all of these are the same reasons people in our culture give on why they DON’T go to Church. “Why do we/you even care about that? Why are these even being brought up? I think it would be easier to just live my spirituality out on my own and make my own rules. Adjust my own behaviour as I think I might need to in the moment. Why can’t I just live and let live as a Christian? Can’t I just connect with God on my own and in my own terms with out the rest of this kinda judgemental crap that goes around the church?”
The short answer, to the original question above, from this particular passage is ‘No’. You can’t live out church on your own, or with a group of buddies who just hang out and talk about spiritual things AND you can’t live in a church that is like the Church of Corinth. Neither of these are what makes the church the church.
A couple of quick things to consider as you start looking at what is the church- and this is what Paul points to:
We need the Gospel to be the church. Not merely our opinion of the Gospel or a truth that you once affirmed by a sincere prayer- but a Gospel that is understood and functions from God’s perspective. [What does God think of the Gospel?] In a nut shell the gospel is the full story of God’s redemptive work in both our world and in the lives of His people. It includes the truth that God created all things to reflect HIS glory, which entails all of us. The powerful truth is God WILL get glory from our lives. The redemptive work of God is His receiving glory from our lives because we have been placed into a true relationship with Him.
The Gospel from God’s perspective is a demonstration of His righteousness (God’s right standing of being fully Holy). Romans 1:16 is a familiar quote of many of those who grow up in churches, and I whole heartedly agree; But often the thought stops there, with the goodnews of Christ coming to be my substitute on the cross so that I can gain a transformed life. Paul goes on to describe for us the Gospel from God’s perspective. Romans 1:17-18 and then further Romans 3:21-26 describe for us that the Gospel demonstrates to humanity God’s righteousness, His complete ‘other-ness’, His Holiness! Where in the Bible do we see the greatest demonstration of the Holy wrath of God, because God is SO holy? Adam and Eve being kicked out of Eden? The terrible judgement at Noah’s flood? The earth opening up to swallow up the opponents of Moses? The dreadful instruction to Israel to purge the land before taking up residence? NO. At the cross of Jesus (the Gospel) God puts on full display His righteous wrath for the sin of mankind. And Christ becomes the ‘propitiation’ (the wrath bearer) in our place.
According to the first few chapters of Romans this is what is revealed about God at the cross. He is ‘OTHER’, completely Holy and His actions at the cross are the actions of a righteous God.
This is the powerful truth that Paul is reminding the dysfunctional church in I Corinthians. It is not the clever opinion or argument that brings us salvation. It is not the wisdom of man that results in an authentic holiness (a holiness we hold in our head but not in our life). “The word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” Do you see the connection? The righteous wrath of God has been displayed and appeased at the cross. God’s wrath fully poured out on His Son on the cross- for the satisfaction of His glory and as an invitation of receiving this as God’s gracious gift to us. In a word- redemption. It is not through the wise words of spiritual leaders that we are made holy/complete in Christ. It is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4) and the through the folly of the cross that God opens up the doors for “the foolish in the world to shame the wise”.
Now the power of God is to be at work and put on display in His Church. The Gospel power of God in the Church is seen when those who are His kids display His righteousness by living out this understanding of the Gospel in a community of Christ-centered relationships! Yes we need the Gospel of Christ to be made holy but we also NEED the community of Church (even when it’s messy) to apply this holiness in transforming ways.
SO… JOIN A CHURCH… that LIVES the GOSPEL!
On the back of a Halifax tourisim map it reads “North is freedom, it’s not just Halifax. It’s the north end. Defined by a strong sense of community,intrigue, and history, Halifax’s North End is for dreamers” it goes on to say
“The north end is rooted in multiculturalism and community minded living. It’s a place where culture, diversity and creativity thrive. People aren’t just welcomed they are embraced”.
To finish my endless list of “greatest impact” off, I pray the greatest of all the impacts has been representing Christ in the streets of Halifax downtown, the north end, Citadel Hill, the airport, and all of the different local ethnic restaurants we supported. Praying the impact now becomes a reality in St. Thomas where we live, we breathe, we share, we serve, we worship, where we follow Christ in our community seeking to help meet some of the greatest needs around us starting with simple faith.
Please indulge my tongue in cheek cynicism. (Also a warning, I’m going to ask more questions then I’m going to answer here) But ask anyone- No one seems to like her that much. Everyone everywhere, inside or outside of her family has an opinion about how and what she has to change. You hear about her sorted past and her dysfunctional present. I hear from those who were a part of a church talk about why they couldn’t stand being with her anymore. I hear from those who are still with her give her verbal tongue lashings on why she is so incredibly irrelevant and just frankly ‘unbeautiful’ (I know it’s not really a word but seems to fit the descriptive).
Why does the church seem so broken in both function and form? I’m a church planter… someone who feels some particular ‘call’ to start new churches, or re-plant churches that maybe frankly need to die. Where do you look for what a church, the Church, is supposed to be? Look like? Function like.
The Bible, right? Yeah you knew I’d go there. The Bible tells us how our church is supposed to look right? How she is suppose to be a place of beauty and hope; The community of love in true form and function. Right?
I turn to the letters written by this guy named Paul who’s ‘call’ was to go through out Asia and start up churches. He went to an urban center, Corinth, in the Roman Empire that was a cross roads for all sorts of things – commerce, political prowess, trade, poly-theistic tolerance, theatre, entertainment and sexual revolutionary expression. This sounds perfect to me… this book must hold a lot of great pictures for the beauty of the church in urban community! Perfect for my setting, for our church to figure out what it is supposed to look like in a very similar part of town! WOW pumped to read, study and teach I Corinthian’s to our little insignificant community called PAXnorth church.
Here’s a few great opening lines from the NIV commentary on I Corinthians by Craig Bloomberg.
“Imagine a church wracked by divisions. Powerful leaders promote themselves against each other, each with his ban of loyal followers. One of them is having an affair with his stepmother, and, instead of disciplining him, many in the church boast of his freedom in Christ to behave in such a way. Believers sue each other in secular courts; some like to habitually visit prostitutes. As a back lash against rampant immorality, another fraction in the church is promoting sexual celibacy- complete sexual abstinence for all believers- as the Christian ideal. Still other debates rage about how decisively new Christians should break from their pagan past. Disagreements about men’s and women’s role’s in the church add to the confusion. As if all this were not enough, alleged prophecies and speaking in tongues occur regularly, but not always in constructive fashion. A significant number of these immature Christians do not even believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ!”
So even if you don’t know a lot about church or hold a high opinion of her significance or if you do think she is the hope of the world, you have to admit, “That’s messed up!” You aren’t about to shout, “Sign me up for that kinda community.”
This is one of the reasons why I love and trust the Bible. It doesn’t try and pretty it’s self up. It tells it as it is. It tells us how WE are. Over the next several months we are going to be working through the book of First Corinthians. The focus is going to be what does ‘progression’ in the church look like? What is the point of church again? Is there some clear understanding of both function and form for a Church? What does it mean to ME? What can I expect? Isn’t the church the place where I am supposed to move closer and closer to realizing my spirituality and why can’t it take me there?
If you listen in or get in on the conversations I think you’ll be both shocked and pleased at Paul’s instruction to the local expression of Church. In the end I hope you’ll understand why we NEED the church. Or at least, in someway, if you ever find yourself in a place where you think you might need the church you’ll have some clear understandings on what to expect.
To start the conversation:: What do you think needs to change in the Church? Second why do you, or would you ever, go to church? A follow up Q: Are these reasonable expectations of the Church? Why or why not?
Value Discipleship Groups (or D-Groups as we like to call them) are groups of people who are committed to grow and live out the good news of redemption through Jesus. This is first done in the building of authentic spiritual relationships centered on peer to peer discipleship and secondly in living out the mission of reaching our community together, in both small ways and larger contexts.
D- Group is NOT:
Note: This is not to say that some of thee result might not happen, but only to point out that the Value D-Groups primarily function around ‘gospeling’ life together. This takes priority in both relationship growth and community impact.
Here’s a funny video to illustrate what D-Groups will NOT be at PAXnorth
Sign up for 2012/13 D-Groups has begun… there will be sign up sheets at church next Sunday if you haven’t already signed up. Keep in mind, you’ll need to go through Gospel Journey 101 before being able to participate in D-Groups with us. Contact Brad for more info on that – email@example.com
We want to encourage you to MIX IT UP… get into a group with different leaders and different people this year. It’s a great way to develop deep relationships with new people.
***UPDATED SEPT 24 2012***
Spots are filling up fast….E-mail Courtney Siebring – firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for any of the D-groups.
Tuesdays @ 6:30pm
Leaders: Brad & Shelby Somers / Ryan & Rachel Morse
Location: The Somer’s House (Duffus Street)
1 slot left
Wednesdays @ 6:30pm
Leaders: Nevin & Amanda Doncanster / Peter & Samantha Barnaby
Location: The Doncaster’s House (Woodbine Ave.)
3 slots left
Wednesdays @ 6:30pm
Leaders: Drew & Anna Martin
Location: Kyla & Mark Stanford’s House
3 slots left
Thursdays @ 6:30pm
Leaders: Gerritt & Courtney Siebring / Hilary & Jeremy Thorne
Location: Siebring’s House (Sarnia Ave. in Dartmouth)
5 slots left