Worship Companion – July 17 2022

How do we decide what is “good” and what is “better?

Martha and Mary by Franz Ykens

We have lots of choices to make in life, and we have to learn to discern between good and bad choices, but we also need to discern between good and better. In our passage today, two good options lay before Mary and Martha, but one is the better choice.
At Sports Camp I have spent a lot of time reflecting on what this means here, as I write this blog post on Friday morning with a camper who isn’t feeling well sitting beside me. What’s better, for me to keep writing or to engage with him?
Anchor Text:
Questions to Ponder:
Do you think you would be more likely to be sitting with Mary or working with Martha?
If so, is it because you are like them in personality? For example: Do you recognize a busy or hardworking disposition like Martha in yourself? Or are you just not the type to sit and listen to a teacher?
Have you had a situation this week where you had a choice to pick between something “good” and something “better”? Which did you choose? Think about parenting, volunteering, or work situations?
Jesus says Martha is “worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is necessary” – what exactly is that one thing? 
The Theme For Kids:
Slapstick theatre is a fun series of kids videos about the Bible. Today we get to see the story of Martha and Mary in!


Worship Companion – July 10

Send out Your light and Your truth 

Worship Companion – July 3 2022

“I’ve been wearing sorrows like stains…
Jesus please, I can’t do this in my own strength,
I need you to wash me again.” – “Washed” by Joshua Leventhal
See the source image

Jordan River

We may be tempted to romanticize some of the scenes in the Bible. Events taking place at the Jordan river certainly may be one of them. The Jordan River is alternately a rushing swollen river during and after the rainy season, and small and often muddy during the dry months of the year. It is not a crystal clear northern Ontario river like we may be tempted to picture. 
In our story today, Naaman is disappointed with the instructions to go and dip seven times in such a river. Think about it, how would you feel if someone told you to go wash in the Upper Thames or Whirl Creek in the middle of summer? How much more if you were a rich traveller looking for a miracle and special treatment because of your high status?
Naaman nearly missed out on God’s blessing because of pride, and that is something that can happen to any of us.
Anchor Passages:
Questions to Ponder:
Most people that had leprosy were outcasts, why do you think Naaman was still allowed to be a general?
Why do you think the captured Israelite girl “wished her master would go see the prophet in Samaria” in order to be healed? Would you expect her to hate him and want him to suffer?
What parallels in scripture to do you see to Naaman washing in the river? What stories can you think of with washing, water, in the rest of the Bible? Look at Exodus 40:32, John 13, 1 Peter 3:20-21.
Pride was Naaman’s downfall. Look at Psalm 30, do you see the same warning in verses 6-10? What have you been too proud to do in the past?
Is there something today God is asking you today that pride is preventing you from doing– even if it could lead to your healing?
The Theme in Song:
The greatest fulfillment of God’s promise for cleansing and healing through washing is the blood of Jesus that washes us from sin. We need much more than to be clean on the outside, or even clean and healthy physically – we need out lives saved and renewed from the inside out. The chorus of this some beautifully expresses that truth.

The Theme for Kids:
Here is an episode from the “Superbook” series of kids videos about stories form the Bible. Here we meet Naaman finally humbling himself to enter the Jordan River and be healed!


Worship Companion – June 26 2022

You are the light of the world…
The Gospel According to Matthew 5:14

Title: Creation of Light
Date: 1824
Artist: Martin, John, 1789-1854

We are sent out to be light in this dark world. In the beginning, there was darkness, and God spoke light into the darkness. John begins his gospel by states that the Jesus the Messiah is the life that shone light into the hearts of mankind. He says that light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. Darkness can certainly seem like it is crowding out the light sometimes, but as Christians we know better than to believe that. We have God’s own Word that still speaks to us today reminding us that the darkness never has nor ever will over come the light. 
When we live our lives on mission for Jesus, the same power that spoke light into creation at the beginning of the world is at work in us to spread a different kind of light into the world, into the darkened hearts of people just like you and I who need the light of Christ to shine on them and wake them out of their slumber. That’s what the great commission is all about.
Anchor Texts:
Questions to Ponder:
1. What does “gospel” mean? Describe it in your own words.
2. Why is it important to Paul that Christ died for sin, was buried, and was raised “in accordance with the scriptures”? What would be different if Paul just left these lines out?
3. Some people have gone so far as to say “the gospel isn’t in the four gospels” (Matthew, Mark Luke and John). This comes from a divorce of the “events” of the gospel and the “effects” of the gospel. The events of the gospel can be summed up as 1. the eternal Son of God took on flesh in the virgin’s womb, 2. He lived and died 3. he was buried 4. he was raised bodily on the third day in, 5. appeared to many, 6. He ascended to sit at the right hand of God, 7. he is coming again. We can see, then, the gospel is in the gospel accounts, though other New Testament writers explain the effects of the gospel in more detail. How confident do you feel in your understanding of the gospel? What needs to happen for you to be more confident to share it to someone hurting and in need of the hope of Jesus?
4. Is baptism necessary in the life of a Christian? Necessary in what way? For salvation? To live in true obedience? To begin “new life” in Christ?
The Theme in Song:
While this hymn video may not be as “entertaining” as some other songs, the point of worship music isn’t entertainment; it should engage our head and our heart. Nothing does that quite like earnest participation in a rich hymn.

The Theme for Kids:
This great kids video explains all the events from Jesus dying on the cross to the ascension of Jesus to the right hand of God.


Worship Companion – June 19 2022

Happy Father’s Day!
Robins care for their nest

Worship Companion – June 12 2022

Welcome back to week two of our series “SENT.” Each week in June we’re looking at a different aspect of our mission to go and proclaim the good news of the kingdom. This week we’re looking at the sending of the 72.
Title: Seventy Disciples [Click for larger image view]

“70 Disciples” – Greek Manuscript of the New Testament, ca. 15th century

Worship Companion – June 5 2022

Welcome back to the Worship Companion! 
With connect groups starting up again, I want to take a moment to remind you that one of the best ways to use the worship companion is in a group. Whether for formal or informal discussion, the scripture, art, videos and questions are all here to help you wrestle with the text, the message, and ultimately to help you discern what God is prompting you to do.
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Jesus sends out the 12 apostles, wood engraving, 1860

Worship Companion – May 22 2022

Worship Companion – May 15 2022

Breakfast with Jesus
Something about it sounds really appealing. Every new day, and every new start should begin with Jesus. It’s even better when you read our passage from scripture today and find out that Jesus even provides breakfast. You may have heard that there is no such thing as a free lunch, but by the time we’ve reached the end of the gospel account sin the Bible we’ve seen Jesus give out free breakfast, lunch, and supper!
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Worship Companion – May 8 2022

Happy Mother’s Day!
We are excited to celebrate Mothers together this week! Many of us have different stories about our mothers. We’ve known some of them well, connected with them deeply, and come to appreciate them as some of the most formative people God has placed in our lives. While, for others, a mother may have been someone unknown to them, whether by circumstances or by choices that were made. No matter what your story is, every woman has the capacity in her to be a spiritual mother, a role model, and an example of God’s gracious and redemptive power at work in the lives of his children.
See the source image