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Pastoral Note for 3 February 2020

Dear Table View Methodist Family,

 I look forward to worshipping with you and sharing communion at our 8h45am service on Sunday. There will be no communion at the 11h00am service because we shared communion as a part of our covenant service on 19 January.



I will continue speaking about The Renovation of the Heart from a book by Dallas Willard. In the first sermon I spoke about the nature of the soul and our inversion of priorities that results in so much damage to ourselves and to the world around us. In the second sermon I spoke about the need for us to acknowledge the reality of sin and the damage it causes in our lives.

This Sunday the chapter I’m working from is entitled: Radical Goodness Restored to the Soul; a reminder of the possibility of real change and transformation.

 Willard’s chapter begins:
 “One of the amazing things about the human being is that it is capable of restoration, and indeed of a restoration that makes it somehow more magnificent because it has been ruined. This is a hopeful but strange thought.” 
- Dallas Willard. “Renovation of the Heart.” iBooks. Page 73 
 You can catch up on past sermons at www.tvmethodist.co.za.

About cash handling at Table View Methodist

Various people have expressed concern about the handling of cash money at Table View Methodist Church. Some have irresponsibly spread rumours about money mysteriously 'going missing'.  I hope the brief explanation below will show how every cent is accounted for:
The Methodist Church has strict procedures in place to prevent the loss or mishandling of money.  We follow these procedures and our books are stringently audited because we are very aware that we are dealing with God's money.  Here is a link to our Accounting Procedures Manual. 
Because of the high cost of cash deposits and the risk of keeping cash on the premises we prefer members to donate to the church by EFT.  This has greatly reduced the amount of cash we may hold on the premises at any time.  But when we do have cash these are the procedures.
  • If any money changes hands a receipt must be issued, this protects the person receiving the money and the person giving the money.  
  • Never hand money to someone who is not able to issue you with a receipt.
  • All tithes and offerings must be paid by EFT or placed in the offering on a Sunday.

  • Cash is counted and recorded straight after any service in which a collection is taken. 
  • Cash is always handled by at least two people at once (counters, bankers etc).
  • For the sake of accountability these people shouldn't be close friends or two members of the same household.  
  • Counters fill in a detailed record of the amount of money counted.  Down to the number of notes and coins of each denomination.  They also record any special details like whether a certain amount collected was for a special collection, for planned giving or marked in any way.
  • Counted money is sealed with a numbered tag into special money bags. 
  • There is no way of opening these money bags without breaking the seal or the bag.  
  • The sealed bags are securely locked in the church's safe.

  • During the week the bags are opened and the seals are checked in the presence of two witnesses and the money is prepared for banking.
  • Those who prepare the money for banking effectively check the work of those who counted on Sunday.  
  • Mistakes must be immediately reported to the treasurer for investigation and so far we have been able to identify the source and remedy for any errors. (If there is any discrepancy the bankers may not 'chip in' to make the books balance.)
These strict and transparent procedures exist to protect the money that the church is entrusted with and also to protect those entrusted with the handling of money at the church.
If ever you suspect that there is a problem with the handling of cash at the church please speak to the treasurer, stewards and minister about your specific concerns. Because all church monies have to be receipted and banked we keep an audit trail for every cent received and spent.  We do this to protect the money that we handle and to protect those who handle the money at church.

God bless,
Rev Angus Kelly  

Monday

Read Psalm 15

15:1 O LORD, who may abide in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy hill?

15:2 Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right, and speak the truth from their heart;

15:3 who do not slander with their tongue, and do no evil to their friends, nor take up a reproach against their neighbors;

15:4 in whose eyes the wicked are despised, but who honor those who fear the LORD; who stand by their oath even to their hurt;

15:5 who do not lend money at interest, and do not take a bribe against the innocent. Those who do these things shall never be moved.

Think

Psalm 15 consists of a whole 5 verses which describe values that should define a good way of living.  Walk blamelessly, do the right thing, speak the truth, do not slander, do no evil, don't get revenge, lend generously, don't betray others for your own gain...

Pray

Lord I need these values in my life - let your Holy Spirit transform my heart until I am the person you created me to be.

Tuesday

Read Micah 6:1-8

6:1 Hear what the LORD says: Rise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice.

6:2 Hear, you mountains, the controversy of the LORD, and you enduring foundations of the earth; for the LORD has a controversy with his people, and he will contend with Israel.

6:3 "O my people, what have I done to you? In what have I wearied you? Answer me!

6:4 For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and redeemed you from the house of slavery; and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.

6:5 O my people, remember now what King Balak of Moab devised, what Balaam son of Beor answered him, and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the saving acts of the LORD."

6:6 "With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?

6:7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?"

6:8 He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Think

God's simple call to his people is to: "...do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"  Not to make huge and impressive offerings, but to live a life of gratitude.

Pray

Lord all I have comes from you.  With all you have given me help me to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with you.

Wednesday

Read 1 Corinthians 1:18-31

1:18 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.

1:19 For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart."

1:20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

1:21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe.

1:22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom,

1:23 but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,

1:24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

1:25 For God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength.

1:26 Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.

1:27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;

1:28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are,

1:29 so that no one might boast in the presence of God.

1:30 He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption,

1:31 in order that, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord."

Think

Verse 27: "But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong..."  You don't need to do great and impressive things to serve God - you just need to do the simple work of allowing Jesus to transform your heart.  

Pray

Jesus be the source of my life, be my wisdom, be my righteousness, my sanctification and redemption.

Thursday

Read Matthew 5:1-12

5:1 When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him.

5:2 Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

5:3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

5:4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

5:5 "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

5:6 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

5:7 "Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

5:8 "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

5:9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

5:10 "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

5:11 "Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

5:12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Think

You can't really take in all of this teaching in one quick reading.  Choose one aspect in which you are weak... Where are you the opposite of 'poor in spirit', 'mourning', 'meek', 'hungering and thirsting for righteousness'?  etc.

Pray

Taking your area of struggle ask God to help you to change you.  To help you to be meek, to help you to mourn as you hope for the kingdom of God to come, to help you to hunger and thirst for righteousness.

Friday

Read Matthew 5:13-20

5:13 "You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.

5:14 "You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid.

5:15 No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.

5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

5:17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.

5:18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.

5:19 Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

5:20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."


Pastoral Note 24 Jan 2019

Dear Table View Methodist Family,

I didn't make a note of the day that I sent the kids out into the garden with a packet of watermelon seeds.  I just said plant them in sunny places near the sprinklers so they get lots of water.  Then there were small shoots and I wasn't sure whether they were weeds or watermelons - but eventually a recogniseable leaf emerged a long stem became a vine; flowers and now fruit is slowly starting to take shape.  I'm not sure if they will go all the way - but I am enjoying the process... 


A little bit of gardening is reminding me of something that is easy to forget in our busy city lives.  That life is a miracle that comes from God.  The tiny seed somehow produces delicious fruit and beautiful flowers from sunshine, water and soil.  For the plant to bear good fruit it needs good roots and good soil.

Our lives keep us from becoming 'rooted' the bustle from home to work and back again from school to extra-mural and homework (and book covering!!!) distract us from the knowledge that God is at work.

We begin the year with the Wesley Covenant prayer - surrendering ourselves to God. 

In thinking about surrendering I felt quite hopeless - I have surrendered a thousand times and resisted a thousand and one times.  So to help surrender I picked up a book; I think it was the flag on the cover that caught my attention:

Renovation of the Heart (eBook)

Often we start at the end instead of the beginning.  When we start at the end we look at our branches and fruit and try in vain to change them.  But we needed to start with the seed.  Proverbs 4:23 reads:
Keep your heart with all vigilance,    for from it flow the springs of life.

Jesus says (Matthew 15:18-20):
But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. 19 For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person...

As I preach over the next few weeks and through this year I will try to reflect more deeply on what it means to allow God to renovate and repair our hearts.  I'll be reading Dallas Willard's book Renovation of the Heart.  It is available for sale via takealot, amazon, google etc.

Monday - Read Psalm 27:1, 4-9

When we take stock of our lives it is interesting to consider how we are often motivated by fear.  Not that fear should have no role in our lives; we just need to make sure it is not the ultimate decision maker.

Pray

Prayerfully consider this verse Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Tuesday - Read Isaiah 9:1-4

There is a gospel chorus that echoes:  "God can do it again and again and again, He's the same God today as He always has been..."  To remember that "the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light" is to remember that God is always able to bring us out of darkness and into light and joy.

Pray

Reflecting on verse 4: "For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian."  What are the yokes, bars and rods that God needs to break for you to see light.  

Wednesday - Read 1 Corinthians 1:10-18

It seems that Paul wasn't such a great and eloquent preacher.  He reminds us that that doesn't matter - his weakness only points to the message of Christ's cross that should "not be emptied of its power."  Our weaknesses divide our communities - Paul invites us to accept each other's weaknesses in light of the cross in order to be reminded of its power.

Pray

In the cross of Christ I glory:
Towering o'er the wrecks of time,
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime.
- John Bowring (1792-1872)

Thursday - Matthew 4:12-23

Jesus has just resisted the devil's temptations.  Temptations to easy power and domination.
Hearing of John's arrest - instead of rallying a crown and attacking - he retreats; withdrawing to Nazareth to make his home in Capernaum by the sea.  From here he begins the work of lifting people up - to 'fish for people'.

Pray

Lord help me know when I should retreat and when I should advance.

Friday - Read Matthew 5:1-12