Church Blog
His Character:Review
By Pastor Andrew Mills
October 17, 2017
 


The tough part with this statement is that there is so much to unpack in it. Learning to be like Jesus in just His attitudes alone could take months of sermons.
So, rather than trying to tackle it all, I focused in on two things...
Why you can live like Jesus, and then how to do it.
First, I began by talking about why you can live like Jesus by examining three big theological words: Orthodoxy, Orthopraxy, and Orthokardia.
Orthodoxy means to have “right beliefs.”
Orthopraxy means to have “right actions.”
And, in the West, we think that having the right beliefs leads to the right actions, but this is ridiculously false. We all know that if we thought about it for more than a moment. We all know that chips aren’t good for health, but we eat them (I love them!). We all know we should floss every night, but, well, most of us don’t. 
But, the reason we don’t act the right way, isn’t an information problem, it’s a heart problem. We don’t have the right heart (Orthokardia).
Orthokardia means to have "right heartedness."
If we want to follow Jesus in terms of our attitudes, behaviours, and character, we don’t need more information, we need new hearts. We don’t need more Bible knowledge, we need our hearts to be shaped better and deeper by Jesus. 
When you start to dive into the Bible, this is actually the promise of the Bible. We see this all over the place in Jeremiah 31:33, Ezekiel 36:25-27, Galatians 5:16-17a, and especially in the New Testament in which it says we are new creations in Christ.
The point is that your hearts have been made new, different and transformed, so that you can live differently. We can actually live like Jesus, because of Jesus.
So, the big idea was that to be like Jesus, we need our hearts changed and formed by Jesus. And, there are three ways that our hearts can be formed by Jesus to live more like Jesus: Prayer, imitation, worship.
So, first, we need to pray. I shared that we need to spend more time in prayer, having our desires shaped by Jesus. Often, in prayer, we bring our wants and desires to Jesus to meet them. And, that’s not bad, but we also need to bring our wants and desires to Jesus to change them, shape them and form them. We need to ask Jesus if we are desiring the right things, and for Him to direct our wants and to change them when they go off course.
The second thing is we need mentors to help us live this life in the way of Jesus; mentors and guides who we can imitate and follow to help us realize what living like Jesus looks like in this life. So, do you have people you are journeying with? That are helping your heart to be formed in the way of Jesus? Because we can’t do this alone.
The last thing is we need to worship together - weekly. The truth is, the world is forming our hearts and lives all the time. They are masters at shaping our desires and spend billions to do it. So, we need to gather together weekly to have our hearts recalibrated in and through worship together. We need one another.
As we invest in these things, what I believe is this: We will live more like Jesus, and that’s what our world needs.

Teaching Notes:
Statement Three: “I am learning to be like Jesus in terms of my attitudes, behaviours and character.”
Passage: Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 36:25-27; Galatians 5:16-17a
Big Idea: We need our hearts changed and continually 
formed by Jesus.
Teaching Points:
a) When we live like Jesus, lives will be changed by Jesus.
b) It is much easier to learn a lot about Jesus, than to live like Jesus.
c) Orthodoxy (“right doctrine/beliefs”); Orthopraxy (“right practice”); Orthokardia (“right heartedness”).
d) Simply believing the right things about Jesus does not mean you will live or act like Jesus. 
e) Our actions flow out of our hearts, not out of knowledge.
f) “Discipleship, we might say, is a way to curate your heart, to be attentive to and intentional about what you love.” (Jamie Smith)
g) How do we live like Jesus?
- Have hearts changed by Jesus.
- Have our hearts continually shaped and formed by Jesus and His Spirit.
h) Prayer is bringing our hearts, desires and wants to God, so He will transform them.
i) Prayer forms our wants.
Discussion Questions:
1) What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? What was new? 
2) Why do you think it’s important to have our hearts shaped and formed by Jesus?
3) How does the world around us shape our hearts? How can we ensure that Jesus forms our hearts instead? 
4) How can you invest in prayer and spending time with Jesus this week?
Challenge for the Week: 
Spend more time with Jesus than you did last week.

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Widen the Circle
By Martin Nieuwets
October 17, 2017
 
Pursue strategic relationships for your son or daughter.
 
In a culture where community is not automatic and there are limited role models, parents should become intentional about finding spiritual leaders and mentors for their teens. Every son and daughter needs other adults in their lives who will say things that reflect what a parent would say. One of the smartest things moms and dads can do is to participate regularly at church where they can find the right kind of adult influences for their teens.
 
Here is a piece of research that might interest some of you as parents:
Teens who had at least one adult from church make a significant time investment in their lives …were more likely to keep attending church. More of those who stayed in church—by a margin of 46 percent to 28 percent—said five or more adults at church had invested time with them personally and spiritually.
 
I have observed a lot of teenagers. From the time they hit middle school, they start pulling away from home. They are not doing anything wrong; in fact, it’s a good thing - it’s the way they are made. They are becoming independent, and they begin redefining themselves through the eyes of other people who are not in their immediate family. The older they get, the more important it is for them to have other voices in their lives saying the same things but in a different way. They need to have other voices speaking into their worlds.
 
Here are two ways you can help broaden the positive relationships in your teen’s life:
 
Small Groups. In our student ministry at Bethany, from grades 7-12, students are placed in small groups. These small groups provide a consistent group of peers who know each other and are moving in a good direction together. They receive care and direction from godly adult leaders who often become an important voice in their lives. As these students and leaders spend time together they often become like a “second family”.  
Serving Opportunities. At Bethany, we believe strongly that teens can make a difference in the lives of others so we encourage them to use their gifts and passions to serve others. And because we believe this we make lots of opportunities available here for them to serve. As they are paired with like-hearted adults in these serving spaces they begin to form strong relationships and positive influence happens.
 
Do you think it’s important to widen the circle? Why?


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Way of Jesus: His Character
By Pastor Andrew Mills
October 13, 2017
 
Sundays keep coming, and we keep moving through our sermon series, The Way of Jesus. On this upcoming weekend, we are going to be unpacking the next statement in our series...
Statement Three: “I am learning to be like Jesus in terms of my attitudes, behaviours, and character.”
And, this statement really matters. Because what everyone should be able to agree to, both followers of Jesus and those who don’t follow Jesus, is this: The world would be better if Christians lived and loved more like Jesus. 
I have not met any non-Christian who wouldn’t like to see Christians living more like Jesus in terms of our attitudes, behaviours and character. The critique against the church is not when we live like Jesus, but rather when we fail to live like Jesus.
But, here is the difficulty: It's hard to live like Jesus. It's hard to follow Jesus. It's hard to have His attitudes, behaviours and character. It's hard, but not impossible, and actually even doable. And that’s what I want to discover with you this weekend.
How can we live, love and look more like Jesus? I think that’s worth finding out. And, guess what? So do your neighbours, co-workers and family. They would all love it if we all looked more like Jesus. So, let’s learn that together on Sunday.

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October 13, 2017
Kio Chang is a former Bethany attender and she and her family were sponsored by our church as a refugee 39 years ago. Kio now serves as a full-time missionary in Jamaica.


 
It is amazing how time flies when you are busy. It has been six months since God has led me to serve in Jamaica, the land of wood and water.
 
It was not easy for me to say “Yes” to God when He called me to serve in Jamaica, although I had been there twice to serve for a short time. After much struggle, I went. And so began six months of serving God and adding to My Father’s House.

There were adjustments to be made - in order to get around, I had to learn to drive on the left. This was soon mastered but at times, I still struggle with finding places.

Brother and Sister Chan

I was very interested in a family who were Hakka-speaking living way up the mountain, rightly named “Long Mountain”. After many weeks of trial and error, I finally knew how to drive up, but coming down I still get lost.

In the beginning, Cindy from our church took me up to Long Mountain to visit Brother and Sister Chan, who were baptized in our church last year. Later, Brother Chan took us to visit Qingjie who accepted the Lord as her Saviour.
 
As a result, Qingjie took me to visit a relative who in turn also became a believer! Thus, a Hakka Bible study began.
 
A Lady in Need of a Saviour

Visitation is one of my greatest joys. Recently, one of our church members suggested that we go to a small town to visit a Hakka-speaking lady. It was about an hour and half mountain ride.

When we arrived, I looked around at the table. There were Jehovah Witness magazines, pictures pasted and hung up on the wall and I realized, without a doubt, that this dear lady needed a Saviour. It was not long after that she believed. And so, another addition to our Father’s house.  
 
Home away from home.

For every missionary, it is imperative that there is an outlet …
I praise God that I have been welcomed to the home of two sisters, Auntie Olga and Auntie Linda, who have loved and cared for me.

I have enjoyed days off at their home and have so much enjoyed the fruit of their land: mangoes, star fruits and avocados.
 
I praise God for personal growth, seeing the addition to my Father’s house and to be a part of the family of God in Jamaica!
 
Thank you for praying for me!
 

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His Mission: Review
By Pastor Andrew Mills
October 10, 2017
This weekend, we unpacked our second statement of The Way of Jesus: “I am being sent by Jesus to bless others and invite them to follow Him.” And, this is a really important statement in actually learning to follow Jesus in real life.
 


What we began to discover this weekend is what salvation actually is: Biblically, to be saved isn’t about escaping this world to heaven; to be saved is to be sent back into the world as a blessing. We are saved to be a blessing. We looked at the story of Abraham, the spread of sin, and how God instituted a plan to stop sin and start a people following after Him centred on blessing. 

The trouble is that often the word “blessing” is misunderstood. We think it's something to say when someone sneezes, or a hashtag to add to a perfectly framed instagram post #blessed. But, this is not what the biblical word means.

The best way to understand it is this: Blessing means "to give life." As a followers of Jesus who receive His life, we are to spread life around us. And, that can happen in really mundane, as well as amazing ways. To bless someone means everything from babysitting their kids, to racking leaves, to giving food to someone, to giving a listening ear to a hurting heart.

Blessing is anything that leaves someone with more life in the end. And, that is our calling as Christians: To bless.

So, that’s the first thing. Because, if we bless others, inviting people to follow Jesus becomes easy. When we become a source of life for others, inviting people to experience that source themselves is the natural next step. 

We landed then on the main point that we are sent to bless others, with the challenge to go and bless others. Go out and give life to others in the world. Be a source of love and light.

As Jesus said, "Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven." - Matthew 5:14-16 (MSG)


Teaching Notes

Statement Two: “I am being sent by Jesus to bless others and invite them to follow Him.”

Passage: Genesis 12:1-3; Matthew 5:14-16

Big Idea: You are sent to bless others.

Teaching Points:
a) Biblically, to be saved isn’t about escaping this world to heaven; to be saved is to be sent back into the world as a blessing.

b) Being saved by Jesus has often been about being saved from something, rather than being saved to do something.

c) The Gospel is not primarily about you or me; it’s about Jesus and what He has done for the entire world and what He is doing in the world.

d) Sin always spreads.

e) God’s answer to sin is to start and send a people of blessing.

f) Barak (“to bless”) means, “to endue with power for success, prosperity and longevity”; it literally means, “to give life.”

g) Being a blessing is doing something that gives life to someone else.

Discussion Questions:
1) What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? What was new?

2) When Andrew shared a different slant on the Gospel, what was your reaction? Why do you think it’s important to realize that being saved isn’t just about receiving and waiting, but rather about blessing and sending?

3) When has someone blessed you? What difference did it make in your life? Who can you bless today?

Challenge for the Week: 
Be a blessing to others this week...
1) It looks like actions, not thoughts.
2) Make the actions practical and simple.

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