Most Recent Blog Post

Advent and Christmas

Christmas Day 8 & 930am This Sunday I look forward to worshipping with you this Sunday at 8h45 and 11am.  Rev Trevor Ruthenb...

Search This Blog

Advent and Christmas

Christmas Day 8 & 930am


This Sunday

I look forward to worshipping with you this Sunday at 8h45 and 11am.  Rev Trevor Ruthenberg is preaching at our 8h45 service.

Advent

It feels unreal to be caught up in the season of advent already with two Sundays left until Christmas.  Over the Sundays in advent I will be preaching about Blessing, Belonging and Progressing or Faith, Love and Hope.

Faith gives us a way to see the world through trust in God's goodness and love.  When we see through God's goodness and love we recognize our own and the world's blessedness.  (FAITH)

Because of this faith we are able to love as Jesus loved; and welcome all people so we know and they know that they belong.  (LOVE)

God's love is also practical, it transforms us and changes us into the people we were created to be.  And so we progress.  (HOPE)

11am Service Closing this Sunday, Opening 19 January

This Sunday 8 December will be the last 11am service until 19 January when we start the new year with our Covenant Service and Communion.

845 Service Only 15 Dec to 12 January

Sunday Services will continue at 845am only on 15, 22 and 29 December and 5 & 12 January.

Our Christmas Day Services will be short and family friendly at 8 & 930am.

Church Office Closed from 13 December to 13 January

The church office will be closed from Friday 13 December to Monday 13 January.  You will still be able to reach me on the office number 021 557 1143 or leave a message and we will get back to you.  

In emergencies you have the numbers of the pastoral carers and stewards and my number in the notices.  

Monday

Read Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16

"Whoever goes to the LORD for safety..." - Psalm 91:1
In John's gospel Jesus says: "I am the way... no one comes to the father but through me..."  This doesn't mean that Christians have some sort of access control - it is a reminder that Jesus himself is the gate keeper.  Not people.  Not institutions... the Psalmist reminds us that God doesn't turn anyone away.

Pray

Lord, I turn to you for safety.  Thank you for welcoming me into your loving arms.

Tuesday

Read Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15

Jeremiah is imprisoned for prophesying against the king.  His prophesy will come true.  Within the reality of a very negative situation...  The Kingdom about to fall - Jeremiah still buys property.  Anticipating God's rescue of his people.

Pray

Lord help me to have Jeremiah's insight.  To see the reality of present difficulties.  And to know your plans for the future.

Wednesday

Read 1 Timothy 6:6-19

...religion makes a person very rich, if they are satisfied with what they have.' - 1 Timothy 6:6
Are you satisfied with what you have?
Paul reminds us to be greedy for 'righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness...'. Do you work on these things as much as you work to get rich?

Pray

Lord help me to make righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness my first priority.

Thursday

Read Luke 16:19-31

Jesus doesn't talk much about heaven and hell.  But when he does it has to do with justice.  A rich man who never shares with the poor man at his door ends up in 'hell' and the poor man ends up in 'heaven'.

Pray

Help me to have a right relationship with material things so that I can have a right relationship with human beings.  So that I can have a right relationship with you.

Friday

Read Luke 17:5-10

I feel bad for the servant who after ploughing outside all day has to get his master's meal ready.  Jesus invites us to have the attitude of humble servants - we should serve God because we are God's servants; not because we want some sort of a reward.

Pray


I just want to serve you Lord.  Help me not to have mixed motives.

Nativity Play and Carol Service - Friday 6pm


Please join us this Friday evening from 6pm for our nativity and carol service.

Kids to please come at 5pm, dressed as sheep, shepherds or angels (or whatever they insist on dressing as).

Bring a picnic and blankets.

The service will take place in the church hall to avoid the wind.

Cake Sale Sunday, Boerie Rolls Friday 5-8pm & Thank you for your patience...



Hi Table View Methodist,

BOERIE ROLLS TONIGHT AT CHURCH FROM 5-8PM
R25 For Boerie Roll, R15 for Cooldrink
CAKE SALE SUNDAY 
Between 845 & 11am Service

Yesterday (Thursday) I finally handed in my thesis; 150 pages on the topic: Is that your (real) child? Adopted: The Sacrament of Belonging.  For those who are interested in these things here is the abstract (a short summary of the thesis), for those who aren't just skip past this bit:

Abstract: Is that your (real) child?  Adopted: The Sacrament of BelongingIs it possible to call the relationship between adoptive parents and adopted children real in the sense that a sacrament is real? This study is a reflection on Kelley Nikondeha’s book Adopted: The Sacrament of Belonging in a Fractured World (2017). Through qualitative analysis and reflection on available media and literature this study will explore: a) Some of the circumstances that lead to relinquishment through abortion, and abandonment, or to belonging through foster care and adoption in South Africa. b) Perceptions and ethical controversies related to the history and practice of transcultural and international adoptions. Through theological analysis and reflection on literature suited to the South African context it will explore the narrative aspects of Desmond Mpilo Tutu’s Ubuntu theology and practice and Methodist Theological Ethics as described by Stanley Hauerwas and D Stephen Long (2011). Exploration of these theological frameworks will yield three connecting themes namely blessing, belonging and progressing outlining a theology characterised by a positive ontology, an inclusive ethic and imminent eschatology. This framework of blessing, belonging and progressing will be used as a lens through which to reflect on Kelley Nikondeha’s narrative in order to understand the possibility of calling ‘the relationship between adopted parents and adopted children real in the sense that a sacrament is real.’
These last few weeks have been pretty exhausting, I've been writing from 6am to 11pm most days but I've learned a lot and hopefully done some helpful research for my field of study.  Now that the thesis is finally handed in I look forward to an exam on the thesis and then graduation in March at Stellenbosch University.  I can't 'publish' the thesis until it has been marked but if you'd like to read it (it's a bit technical, I will write a 'reader's version' in the future) please speak to me.
I couldn't have done it without your patience, I'm looking forward to having more time for the important stuff like visiting, chatting and being creative :)
This Sunday
I'm looking forward to sharing communion with you at 845 and 11am.  There will be cakes on sale after the 845am service and we will be having a bring and share meal after the 11am service which will be a special service of thanksgiving.  11am service is invited to come in traditional dress.
Boerie Rolls
On Friday night from 5pm to 8pm Boerie Rolls will be on sale at the church for R25 each.  Buy yourself some and why not phone a friend and tell them you'll be delivering boerie rolls to their house.  Cooldrinks will also be on sale for R15.  Please support our men from the 11am service in this fund raising effort!
Advent Sermons
On 1, 15 and 22 December I will preach on the themes:  Blessing, Belonging and Progressing / Faith, Love and Hope as we prepare for Christmas Day on 25 December.
Our Christmas Day Services will be at 745 and 9am.
Christmas Carols 6 December
There will be a Christmas Carols service with Sunday School pantomime on Friday 6 December.  I will confirm times on Sunday and inform you by email during the week.

God bless,
Rev Angus Kelly

Notices for Sunday 3 November


Communion This Sunday
I look forward to sharing communion with you this Sunday as we continue to reflect on the Apostle’s Creed.  This Sunday we will look at these lines:
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
An interesting difference between the creed used by Catholic churches and that by Protestant churches is the line: “He descended to the dead…”  In the Catholic creed it reads:  “He descended into hell.”  These differences might cause some confusion and are based on Ephesians 4:9-10:
(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions[c]10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) (NIV)
And 1 Peter 4:6:
For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit. (NIV)
Stewards and Leaders
As we come to the end of the year we need to think about our plans for 2020 and our leadership for 2020.
Now that we have two Sunday Services we can try to ensure that we have 5 Stewards for each service.  The election and appointment of stewards is by nomination from the members of the congregation.
Society Stewards facilitate the running of the church; but they do not do this alone.  We also need to make sure we have leaders for our various mission groups and aspects of the life of our church.
Please pray for our Society Stewards and Leaders; we need all the help we can get and we need to be all the help we can be.
Also - pray with an open heart - how is God calling you to help the church next year:
Leadership                         Finances
Bible Study                        Sunday School
Youth Ministry                 Hospitality
Property                        Music
Pastoral Care                         Administration…
(And the list goes on.

Monday

Read Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16

"Whoever goes to the LORD for safety..." - Psalm 91:1
In John's gospel Jesus says: "I am the way... no one comes to the father but through me..."  This doesn't mean that Christians have some sort of access control - it is a reminder that Jesus himself is the gate keeper.  Not people.  Not institutions... the Psalmist reminds us that God doesn't turn anyone away.

Pray

Lord, I turn to you for safety.  Thank you for welcoming me into your loving arms.

Tuesday

Read Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15

Jeremiah is imprisoned for prophesying against the king.  His prophesy will come true.  Within the reality of a very negative situation...  The Kingdom about to fall - Jeremiah still buys property.  Anticipating God's rescue of his people.

Pray

Lord help me to have Jeremiah's insight.  To see the reality of present difficulties.  And to know your plans for the future.

Wednesday

Read 1 Timothy 6:6-19

...religion makes a person very rich, if they are satisfied with what they have.' - 1 Timothy 6:6
Are you satisfied with what you have?
Paul reminds us to be greedy for 'righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness...'. Do you work on these things as much as you work to get rich?

Pray

Lord help me to make righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness my first priority.

Thursday

Read Luke 16:19-31

Jesus doesn't talk much about heaven and hell.  But when he does it has to do with justice.  A rich man who never shares with the poor man at his door ends up in 'hell' and the poor man ends up in 'heaven'.

Pray

Help me to have a right relationship with material things so that I can have a right relationship with human beings.  So that I can have a right relationship with you.

Friday

Read Luke 17:5-10

I feel bad for the servant who after ploughing outside all day has to get his master's meal ready.  Jesus invites us to have the attitude of humble servants - we should serve God because we are God's servants; not because we want some sort of a reward.

Pray

I just want to serve you Lord.  Help me not to have mixed motives.

Reflection on Blasphemy

I think blasphemy is often misunderstood.

Most people understand blasphemy in terms of:
Not taking the Lord's name in vain.

In English - Blasphemy: the action or offence of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things; profane talk.

The English definition speaks more about how people are offended than about how God might be offended.  The great concern is about how people use the name of God and thus Jews will write G-d instead of God or speak of HaShem - the name; without daring to pronounce the name denoted by YHWH.

In the Old Testament there are a few occasions where people insult God and the community stones them; in the case of Jezebel and Naboth; Jezebel employs scoundrels to accuse Naboth of cursing God's name and he is killed as a result.  In this case we see an abuse and misunderstanding of the law - Jezebel blasphemes the Lord all the time but gets away with it most of the time because she is royalty.

In the New Testament Blasphemy is more close to the idea of slander.

In Acts 6-7 Stephen is stoned after being accused of blasphemy:

Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and others of those from Cilicia and Asia, stood up and argued with Stephen. 10 But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke. 11 Then they secretly instigated some men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 

Stephen stood falsely accused because what he had to say to the religious leaders was true.  It challenged their assumption about what God was like.

Further along in Acts 13:45 when Paul preaches in Pisidian Antioch people contradict what Paul said:

Acts 13:45 - 
45 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy; and blaspheming, they contradicted what was spoken by Paul.

In Romans 2:17-24 Paul writes to the Jews / Jewish Christians in Rome:

 You that boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24 For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” 

In these cases God's nature or message is misrepresented by those purported to be his messengers.  Paul who misrepresented the message of God by misunderstanding Jesus makes this beautiful statement in 1 Timothy 1:13-15 -

13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost. 

James 2:6-7 also speaks of blasphemy as our mistreating fellow Christians:

Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you? 

The dictionary definition does not do justice to the Biblical example of the concept of blasphemy, so the question - are those pictures blasphemous?

I agree that those pictures are offensive. 
But I wouldn't say that they are blasphemous.

I'd say they're not blasphemous because:
The artist is not saying something about Jesus; he is saying something about himself, and his faith - expressing his beliefs.  He is not saying: "This is the truth about Jesus..."  He is saying "This is what I think..."

I think a key part of the offensiveness of these pictures is in the way that they seem to mock / make light of the crucifixion.  This is deeply offensive.  But as I thought about it I realised that for Christians there is nothing more offensive or beautiful than the crucifixion.  As Paul said:

1 Corinthians 1:18 - 
18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

There is no way to make the idea of God in all of God's love crucified on the cross more offensive than what it is.  As the song says: "It was my sin that held him there..."  And as it goes on to say: "His death has paid my ransom."

Some people ask the question:
What if the prophet of Islam was depicted in this way?

And I think this opens up a very important point of difference between Islam and Christianity, and it points again to the "foolishness" of the message of the cross.

The cross is a stumbling block to faith for many - again and further on in 1 Corinthians:

22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, 23 but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. 

The notion that God could be incarnated in the fragility of a baby born to a woman.  The scandal of a God who would love sinners like me.  A God who would receive the insults of the cross without calling down thunder and lightning...  Is too much for other faiths to bear.  And that is something we celebrate as Christians.  The cross is where we see all the glory of God especially in that God would stoop so low to reach us.

Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my Soul, my Life, my All.

Table View Methodist 2019-10-27

The internet and Whatsapp got very excited this week when a pastor posted his feelings about a Matric art exhibition in Richard’s Bay.  It prompted a lot of discussion with people taking sides about how Christ should be depicted and asking the question:  What if another religion’s gods were depicted in this way?
Christians are not offended by any depiction of God because we believe in Christ who was crucified:
In response to the concern expressed I wrote the following:
The devil would love you to think that skulls and torn up Bibles are evil. The worst thing that could ever happen. They're not.
Evil looks like a world in which the rich can get / buy a decent education and the poor are stuffed 50 in a class with pit toilets and no water. Evil looks like the rich getting richer while the poor get poorer.
Spooky creepy people with kudu horns on their heads aren't evil. They're just creepy. Skulls aren't evil. They remind us of mortality.
If Jesus were to walk in on the controversial exhibition I think he'd be amused. Because I think we sometimes treat God like a MacDonalds clown as we pray for a happy meal to momentarily quench our hunger for something more real.
I think he wouldn't recognise Swedish Jesus as depicted in the pictures as himself. And I guess that's the artist's intention.
Evil isn't kids dressed up as Zombies. Evil is kids dying of hunger while we throw away good food. Evil is boring. That's how it goes on unnoticed.
I believe that as Christians we should be very careful about how we depict Christ; but we should never be offended by somebody else’s ideas.

Read Think Pray

Monday Read Psalm 65

In Matthew 6:25-26 Jesus uses the abundance of beauty and life in nature to remind people not to worry.  God is in control.  Psalm 65:7 reminds us that it is God and God alone who brings peace and justice.

Pray

"You calm the roar of the seas and the noise of the waves; you calm the uproar of the peoples." - Psalm 65:7
Lift up your distress and the distress of the world in which we live to God.  Think how God can calm the sea - invite God to bring peace.

Tuesday Read Joel 2:23-32

The prophets expose corruption and injustice.  They invite Israel to repent.  When Israel repents - they promise God's blessing.  Fertility, abundance, security and peace.
Verses 28 and 29 are quoted by Peter when he preaches in Acts 2:17-21.  The outpouring of the Spirit brings a change of character and new life.

Pray

Pour out your spirit on me.  Teach me to dream dreams and see visions.

Wednesday Read 2 Timothy 4:6-8 and 16-18

Paul anticipates the end of his life - effectively he is passing on the baton of ministry to young Timothy.  Reflecting on his life he is able to say: "I have done my best in the race, I have run the full distance, and I have kept the faith." - 2 Timothy 4:7

Pray

Lord sometimes I walk, sometimes I leave the track entirely... sometimes I fall asleep in the starting blocks.  Wake me up and set me straight for the journey ahead.

Thursday Read Luke 18:9-14

Its easy to think to ourselves:  Lord I thank you that I am not like that Pharisee!!!  But we're all a bit like that.

Pray

God, have pity on me, a sinner.
- Luke 18:13

Friday Read Luke 19:1-10

Jesus sees Zacchaeus.  Zacchaeus was looking for Jesus.  Jesus reaches out to Zacchaeus; Zacchaeus sets his life straight.

Pray



Lord help me to straighten out my life today.