PAXnorth

Why and How to Participate in Lent

TODAY LENT BEGINS!
   Last night, in the traditional church calendar, was ASH WEDNESDAY. The day set aside to symbolically cover yourself in the ashes of humility and repentance as you draw close to God heading towards the joys of Easter. We encourage our Church to participate in Lent.

    Lent is an extended period (40days) of fasting and seeking God in anticipating and preparation of  Easter. Throughout the days of Lent we fast (purge/detox) and we practice active repentance (refill/renew and serve others). Each Sunday of Lent is meant to be a day of celebration. A thanking God for Christ’s saving work at Easter!

   What Lent is NOT: Not simply one season of time to feel sorrow for your sin or brokenness. Not a substitute for everyday repentance and subsequence grace. Not merely a time of self discipline for personal gratification (i.e. weight loss, eat better, rest more, better spent free time). Nor is it a means by which we can build our own self-righteousness so that God might be more pleased with us. We are pleasing to God because we are in Christ already. We are accepted by God because of Jesus’ victory at Easter.

   What Lent IS: Lent has a sense of Job 42:6. There is an emphasis placed on the limits of our mortality, and our sorrow for sin but it doesn’t stop there. It is to be a daily awareness, as we fast, of our continued need of Christ as we live in relationship with God.

  LENT in this way:

  – Don’t just pick what your fasting or purging from but why. 

I heard on a podcast a list of the items most people fasted from for Lent 2016 :

  Top 8:  fizzy drinks, coffee, sweets, meat, school, social media, alcohol, and chocolate (yeah ‘school’?!)

These may all be good things to lent from- my concern is when and why we choose what we lent from. What are the on-going spiritual obstacles in your life? The sinful habits, attitudes or false idols (those things that you feel will some how rescue you from your present struggles of living) that you keep turning to? Those very things that cause you to trust in yourself or in anything else for your worth, ultimate joy or significance?

FASTING STEP 1 – Purge/Detox

   Pick one or two of the big patterns of your life that, when you look back over the years or months, you can see that you have tried to replace the God who has made you with this sinful habit.
   Lent is a time of repentance where you participate with God’s Spirit in detoxing or purging your life of this things you have turned to for comfort, control, self-gratification instead of engaging with and trusting in the God who knows you. Take steps to detox or purge the environment in which you live life of those things that become triggers to continue in these patterns of sin.

FASTING STEP 2- Refill/Renew

    Pick one or two new patterns that you would like to pray for God to start or renew in you. Begin to fill the voids of the detox not simply with self-efforts but with new or renewed ways of connecting your life to God. I.e instead of decompressing on junk rest (facebook, instagram, etc) begin to journal through one of the Gospels or through a lent guide; Instead of consuming your time with lust or hidden fantasies read through Psalms 20-60 -one a day- rewrite the Psalm into your own prayer to God. OR read Pilgrim’s Progress over the 40 days of Lent;
      Be creative; The important thing is by turning your attention to God in prayer and personal worship you will begin to grow more and more sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s, leading and promptings.

FASTING STEP 3- Reach Out To Others

   You have picked a true spiritual struggle in your life. Have made steps to purge your environment from triggers that habitually lead you into sin. Have committed to some personal alternative actions to refill and renew your focus on the good work of growing in delight of the cross and in communion with the Holy Spirit. It’s time now to walk repentance out by serving others. Find ways that you can quietly or secretly serve others. The ways should be in keeping with the sinful habit you are asking God to change in your life. If you are in a small group or have a couple close Christian friends ask them to join you in Lent and make time to meet with them weekly to talk about what you are learning, how God is moving during this time of Lent and to pray.

EXAMPLES OF HOW THIS MIGHT WORK:
1.
If you are a comfort eater ( are in the habit of making food your idol). Purge/detox from this habit; Fill your time that you would be eating with time of worship (reading scripture, praying, prayer walking, writing a Psalm into a prayer, etc, etc); Plan on two times during lent of buying groceries for a needy family or friend and surprising them with it or have it delivered to their house anonymously. Make plans to meet with a couple of friends weekly to be accountable to your Lent repentance and progress.

2. If you struggle with lust and fantasy (are in the habit of making fantasy your place of entitlement). Purge/detox the environment where and when you tend to do this most. Fill your time with reading Pilgrims Progress, or the Psalms, praying, or reading a Christian biography. Plan on writing a note of encouragement to those in your life of the opposite sex who demonstrate godliness, thank them for their commitment and example for following Christ, send it to them in the mail anonymously. Make plans to meet with a couple of friends weekly to be accountable to your Lent repentance and progress.

These are just simple suggestions. But repentance means an active participation of the sinner alongside of the Holy Spirit in the ‘having been set free from sin’ truth of our lives.
Be creative but keep your heart focused on Christ’s good work accomplished on the cross so that you could be set free in Him.

  We don’t encourage Lent because that’s what good Christians do (legalism).  We encourage Lent because we are fickle of faith. Fasting/Spiritual Disciplines is a Biblical means of both restarting, continuing and experiencing the graces of repentance and faith. You can fast, pray and repent anytime in your year – this period of time happens to end with a corporate celebration of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection and so seems all the more sweet.

  Attached is a few resources for you to consider using as you go through the 40 days of Lent. You may find that Lent is a good time to jump start a new spiritual discipline in your life as you seek God out -take a look at these suggestions.

Brad Somers

lead PAXnorth Church

www.paxnorth.ca

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/8b09bd8a636bea9d16567ad3a/files/eb74439e-7620-44d7-8877-17501f032e33/Journey_to_the_Cross.pdf

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/8b09bd8a636bea9d16567ad3a/files/809f5d23-ce4a-46bf-a6e0-4076fcf66e4e/Lent_2.pdf

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/8b09bd8a636bea9d16567ad3a/files/984093a6-6be2-4979-84a2-abf44db172c9/Lent_1.pdf

Advent Through the Psalms

This Sunday Kicks Off  
Advent through the Psalms

THE PROMISE OF CHRISTMAS

PAX will be anticipating the advent of Christ through the Psalms. Israel planned prepared and waited for the promise of God, the coming of the promised Messiah. When the promised Messiah came he would bring in the promised Kingdom. We are planning, preparing and waiting for Christmas. The Messiah has come and we will party, celebrate, share food and share gifts. The kingdom has been inaugurated and secured by the birth and death of Jesus our Messiah. Still we wait, plan, and prepare. These weeks leading up to Christmas day spend some time praying through the Psalms. They are ancient songs of anticipating the promise.

Week 1: The Promise of a Saviour

   Focus: The need for saving. Christ as both the Forgiveness from wrath and Righteousness for life
TEXT: Psalm 72; 

Week 2: (baptism and Christmas Party) A Promise With Personal Meaning

    Focus: Salvation offered- personal transformation. Christ as both God’s personal means of Saving and our only means of spiritual transformation (Heavy Gospel call this Sunday)
TEXT: Psalm 85:4-10

Week 3: The Promise Worth Living

  Focus: Salvation is for living (exampled in Shepherds/Angels) The Goodnews of Jesus is to be enjoyed, adored and shared.
TEXT: Psalm 25

Week 4: The Promise For all People 

    Focus: Salvation is for Sharing.  There is a missionary call to the coming of Christ. We are to live in such a way as to be a continued witness to God’s promised saving.
TEXT: Psalm 126

Christmas Eve  4pm – The Promise Kept

Focus: Salvation has arrived and will be realized fully.  We are living in a unique time of Redemptive history. We are to experience a life of grace that is  between the Hallelujah of Christ’s resurrection and the maranatha of Christ’s return.
TEXT: Psalm 146
      

             More Psalms to pray through over Advent: Psalm 80, 89, 145, 147, 148

The Gospel of Luke

Is Christianity what I believe it to be?

When it comes to faith it can be confusing to understand what you believe or what you should believe. Some think that faith is simply a matter of choosing whatever path of faith seems to work for you and following it. With all the faith choices out there, including competing versions of christianity, how do you know you’re not just following an opinion of faith or spiritual life? Is the end goal of spiritual life simply to make your life better or more personally satisfying or meaningful?

Is Christianity what I believe it to be?

This is the purpose behind Luke’s writing of his Gospel (Luke 1:1-4)

Join us as we work through Luke’s thoughtful and challenging understanding of the person and purpose of the life of Jesus Christ.

 

Our Easter Series: RESURRECTION [reasons]

RESURRECTION [reasons]

Over the next few weeks PAXnorth will be studying the great Easter hope of RESURRECTION.
The emphasis will be on reasons for the the resurrection.

Sermon 1: Ezekiel 37 Resurrection: Who’s a candidate and what’s the point?
                    (reasons why the resurrection is needed and should be understood)
Sermon 2: Isaiah 53 Resurrection: Does this make sense today and how can it help?
                        (reasons why the resurrection connects with our brokenness and how it gives us an eternal hope)
Sermon 3: Mark 15:42- 16:1-8 Resurrection: Can you believe that and is there another option?
                     (reasons why the resurrection is irrefutable and should be believed)
Good Friday 6Pm – Sermon 4
Resurrection: What is needed for this and how does that happen?
                       (reasons why the resurrection is necessary and how Jesus is the way)
EASTER:  4pm Sermon 5
  Resurrection: Who does that and what does it mean?
     (reasons why the resurrection is important and should be seriously celebrated)

PAXnorth 10 Year Birthday Party!

YOU’RE INVITED!

If you have attended, supported, or are a friend of someone who has join us this weekend.

March 3,4
Saturday, March 3, 1-4p.m.
Birthday Party at PAXnorth [games, prizes, food and drinks]

Sunday March 4, 4p.m.
Rehearsing the Grace of God worship service [share and hear the stories of God’s grace]

Bring a friend to party and celebrate with us!

 

Q and C with Applications_FEB,11_ Joshua 6

Feb. 11, 2018    Series Title:  JOSHUA- Promise::Faith::Obedience
sermon audio

 We were preaching and responding through Joshua 6. This starts a new section of Joshua. Chapters 1-5 have focused on God preparing Israel to move into the promised land. Chapters 6-12 will give us a snapshot of God’s battle against the inhabitants of the promised land.
 Chapter six highlights God’s plan given to Joshua to defeat the city of Jericho

The general outline for our study was:

Sermon Title Slide: What if God’s Plan is Lame? [Joshua 6]
   Have you ever felt ill equipped or under resourced to complete an assignment or fulfill a role in your life? The response might be a complete frustrated, ‘this is impossible”, “I give up”, or “this is lame.”  What if that assignment or role is given to you from God?

  1. God’s ‘lame’ plan is still God’s plan of saving vs1-5
     God’s plan does not always line up to what we believe is a good plan. But God is a God of saving. His saving plan is always a perfect (complete) plan.
  2. God’s ‘lame’ plan defines the actions of our faith vs6-25
     God’s plan is what drives an active (marching) faith. In this case, and almost always in our case, a faith-driven obedience will include offerings of worship through a) putting to death (the city, people, cattle) b) dedicating to service (the gold, silver, resource)  and c) works of redemption (Rahab)
  3. God’s ‘lame’ plan makes much of God and the good of His people vs26-27

        God’s plan in the end is not merely to tear down our barriers or so that we might in our power make God/Jesus famous. But so that God will be known as the sovereign, saving God. This will be for the good of His people.

One Question and Comment and an application that came out of this passage:

  1. Question and Comment
    Q? Why highlight Jericho as the ‘defensive gate city’ to the promised land if it took a miraculous work of God for Israel to cross the Jericho River?
     A? Jericho stood in a natural gap in the landscape of this region in Canaan. It was 12km north of the Dead Sea and was at the eastern head of the Jordan valley It was a natural oasis of fresh water, palm trees and  a trade route for those moving in or out of the valley. For any travellers or nations that were coming north or south along the mountain range between the Jordan river, Red Sea and the Jordan valley, opening up into the rest of Canaan, one either had to go over the mountains or past the city of Jericho which is the most natural route. (resources Hammonds Atlas of the Bible Land; the Oxford Companion to the Bible)
  2. Application leading us to Confession Time
    What would your response be to God’s plan?

Q Does God expect/ it is His plan that I would not live for myself first, my own needs and for my greatest good first?
YES. He died to redeem you. To bring you out of self living, defining yourself and placed you in Christ. So that all that you are and have and ever hope to be is both now and forever tied up in Him. So that with great hope and freedom this redemption is to be lived out in who He has made you and is making you for His glory.

Will this be easy? NO.
Does He still expect it, is it still His will? YES.
Has He promised to enable me/us to obey for His glory and for my/our good? YES.

Q? Does God expect/ it is His plan that I would I would grow, mature and be an active participant in my own relationship with Him and as an influence for others to be in relationship with Him? YES.
Will this be easy? NO.
Does He still expect it, is it still His will? YES.
Has He promised to enable me/us to obey for His glory and for my/our good? YES.

Q Does God expect/ it is His plan that I would not live out my spiritual walk with him in isolation and that I’d be an active part of his covenant love within a covenant of membership in the church?
YES. He has plans and purpose for your growth that can only be realized and shaped in the context of a local body that is both preaching and living the Gospel. 
Will this be easy? NO.

Does He still expect it, is it still His will? YES.
Has He promised to enable me/us to obey for His glory and for my/our good? YES.

Q? Does God expect/ it is His plan that I would in whatever stage of life I find myself (single, married, with kids, without kids, young or older) seek to live submissive to His will and point those he has given me to care for towards honouring him with the offerings of cutting things out, dedicating my resources/energies, etc, praying and working for redemption in this stage of life with others? YES.
Will this be easy? NO.
Does He still expect it, is it still His will? YES.
Has He promised to enable me/us to obey for His glory and for my/our good? YES.

God’s saving plan may seem lame_ yet He has both called us to it; enabling us for it, and will use it to glorify Himself and our good. 

Updated by Brad Somers, Lead Pastor

ADVENT 2017 – Asking Better Questions at Christmas

Advent 2017:: Asking Better Questions at Christmas

The goal is to make much of Jesus over the Christmas season. So much so that it affects how we celebrate and talk about Christmas.

 We celebrate Advent in anticipation of Christ. Christmas looks back to the greatest of God’s revealing of His person and plan, Jesus. Christmas looks ahead with the eyes of faith for Christ’s second Advent.

Taking time to think on what it means that God came to be with us has a clarifying effect on our days and weeks leading up to Christmas. At PAXnorth this year we want you to Ask Better Questions this Christmas.

November 26 Introduction to Advent
    
Why and How should We Celebrate  Christmas? [The Promise of Christmas] Micah 5:1-5

Advent Week 1 – December 3
    Why Did Jesus Need to Come to Earth? [The Hope of Christmas] Isaiah 60:1-3; Romans 8:1-3

Advent Week 2 – December 10
    Why did Jesus’ Mom Need to be Virgin? [The Miracle of Christmas] [Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-23; Philippians 2:5-11]

Advent Week 3 – December 17
    What Makes Jesus Superior to Other saviours? [The Grace of Christmas] Genesis 3:15; Romans 5:12-21

Advent Week 4 – Christmas Eve
What Does Christmas Mean? [The Surety of Christmas] Isaiah 7:14; 9-6-8; Revelation 19:11-16

Advent – Christmas Day [ a worship at home resource] What is the Greatest Gift We Can Ever Receive? [The Gift of Christmas] Luke 2:1-20 

 

Jonah :: A Story of God’s Relentless Grace

Our Fall Series Kicks off Sept 10th

Join us at 4pm

The book of Jonah is not your normal book about a prophet.
In 48 verses God gives us a powerful picture of His relentless grace.
We’ll be tackling some big sweeping questions through the directed lens of Jonah:

  • Backdrops of Grace- What does God do in the face of evil?
  • Grace that Spills Over- The brokenness that witnesses to grace.
  • Running from Grace – Why the religious man needs grace.
  • Holding out Grace to the City – Why we don’t love the city like God loves the city.
  • Grace Greater Then All My Sin- What happens when you ‘get’ grace?
  • Rehearsing and Celebrating the Relentless Grace of God

… and more!

ATTENTION:: Labour Day Camping Weekend!

Where is everyone?- could be you this Sunday

 

PAXnorth takes off for the Labour Day weekend on a camping trip with our daughter church, Grace Village Church.
Sunday worship will be at our camp site, 10:30am- Blomidon Bible Camp.

We’d love for you to join us for the entire weekend or simply for Sunday worship. Here’s the directions: MAP
If you need a ride or further details email info@paxnorth.ca

The Holy Spirit

PENTECOST -Sermon delivered by C.H. Spurgeon- May 24th, 1963
Here’s the full quote that I shared this past Sunday, Oct2, 2016
“How absolutely necessary is the presence and power of the Holy Spirit! It is not possible for us to promote the glory of God or to bless the souls of men, unless the Holy Ghost shall be in us and with us. Those who were assembled on that memorable day of Pentecost, were all men of prayer and faith; but even those precious gifts are only available when the celestial fire sets them on a blaze. They were all men of experience; most of them had been preachers of the Word and workers of miracles; they had endured trials and troubles in company with their Lord, and had been with them in his temptation. Yet even experienced Christians, without the Spirit of God, are weak as water. Among them were the apostles and seventy evangelists, and with them were those honoured women in whose houses the Lord had often been entertained, and who had ministered to him of their substance; yet even these favoured and honoured saints can do nothing without the breath of God the Holy Ghost. Apostles and evangelist dare not even attempt anything alone; they must tarry at Jerusalem till power be given them from on high. It was not a want of education; they had been for three years in the college of Christ, with perfect wisdom as their tutor, matchless eloquence as their instructor, and immaculate perfection as their example; yet they must not adventure to open their mouths to testify of the mystery of Jesus, until the anointing Spirit has come with blessed unction from above. Surely my brethren, if so it was with them, much more must it be the case with us. Let us beware of trusting to our well-adjusted machineries of committees and schemes; let us be jealous of all reliance upon our own mental faculties or religious vigour; let us be careful that we do not look too much to our leading preachers and evangelists, for if we p ut any of these in the place of the Divine Spirt, we shall err most fatally. let us thank God for all gifts and for all offices, but oh, let us ever be reminded that gifts and offices are but as sounding brass and tinkling cymbals, unless the quickening influence be present.”