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Fletcher Church
22544 Merlin Road, Chatham-Kent, Ontario

(The Rev.) Bruce Fraser
Minister, Merlin-Fletcher Pastoral Charge, 1 Oct. 2007 -

Theme for 17 Jan. 2010
. . An elderly woman lives alone in the same home in which she raised her family. The children's bedrooms are still there, put to full use at Christmas when the family -- much larger now, with spouses and grandchildren -- come to visit. But for much of the rest of the year, she sits and saits... hopes to hear the phone ring, for a letter to come in the mail, or even for a surprise visit. But her children are too "busy" -- but the real word is "priorities".
. . Similarly, God our heavenly Father, yearns for a deepr relationship with His children. Again, it's a matter of priorities.

Theme for 10 Jan. 2010
. . Ah, the agony of choosing teams, and being the last one picked. One day I spoke quietly to the two captains before the picking. Imagine the surprise -- the pure delight and joy! -- of the poorest player to be the first one picked. Then the other captain pointed to the next lowest on the "wanted list". It went like that until everyone was on a team.
. . That's a glimpse of what things are like in the Kingdom of God: all are worthy, not because of who we are, but because of Who God is.

Theme for 3 Jan. 2010
. . "Epiphany means "appearance" or "manifestation". It refers to the Magi's visit to Jesus in Bethlehem. Even though foreigners, and not even Jews, they were given the opportunity to see the new Saviour. The Church has traditionally marked this occasion on January 6, twelve days after Christmas Day.
. . That was pure grace on God's part. That same grace is now given to us, so that we, too, may know Jesus and worship Him.

Theme for 18 May 2008
Theme: "I can't pray for someone I hate." That's simply not true. It is a lie. In act, it is the very opposite that is true. You can't hate someone you pray for. If you are having problems with someone, pray for that person. But not that God would change that person. Pray that God will change your heart, and how you relate to that person.

Theme for 4 May 2008
Theme: God made you, and that means that you are spcial. God loves you, just the way you are. You don't have to pretend to be perfect, or even every good (as if you could fool God!). In fact, the Bible says, "God shows His great love for us in this say: Christ died for us while we were still sinners" [Romans 5:8].
Yes, God is just head over heels in love with you. That's why He isn't content to leve you the way you are. He wants to help you grow and become like Jesus.

Theme for 6 April 2008
Theme: The Bible says that if you're not married, that's good. And if you are married, that's good, too. Being married is not the goal in life. Loving God, following Jesus, serving others, enjoying fellowship with others -- that's what life is all about.

Theme for Easter Sunday 23 March 2008
Theme: Sociologist Reg Bibby found in surveys that 67% of Canadians believe that Jesus is the divine Son of God. 35% of Canadians believe in astrology. Everyone, it eems, believes in something or other. The question for those who believe in Jesus is: what difference does that make in your life?

Theme for Good Friday 21 March 2008
Theme: Those who follow Jesus have to adjust to many seeming pardoxes: those who give away their life for Jesus, find it; being a servant of Jesus is the way to true fredom; enemies are to be loved, not hated. One of the greatest paradoxes of all is that the day when Jesus was killed is called "Good Friday". Good?!! How can a brutal killing be called good? True, it was bad -- very bad -- for Jesus. But for us, it has become a wonderful day, the day of salvation.

Theme for Palm Sunday 16 March 2008
Theme: "How could they do that?!!" is the question I usually ask myself on Palm Sunday and Good Friday. How could these people one day claim to follow and love Jesus, and then just five days later be in a mob howling for His death? Certainly the two crowds were not all the same people; but my guess is that a good number were in both groups. How could they?
But then I look at myself, and what I profess as a Christian: Jesus is Lor dof my life; I trust God to provide all my needs; I need not worry or be afraid; love my enemies; share generously with the poor. Yeah, right! I'm no less a hypocrite than they were. I can only pray and ask for forgiveness and strength to follow Jesus more closely each day.

Theme for 17 February 2008 -- Some great quotes on joy:

"Happiness is caused by things that happen around me, and circumstances will mar it; but joy flows right on through trouble; joy flows on through the dark; joy flows in the night as well as in the day; joy flows all through persecution and opposition. It is an unceasing fountain bubbling up in the heart; a secret spring the world can't see and doesn't know anything about. The Lord gives His people perpetual joy when they walk in obedience to him." - Dwight Moody

"I cannot choose to be strong, but I can choose to be joyful. And when I am willing to do that, strength will follow." -Tim Hansel

"Joy is not in things; it is in us." - Richard Wagner

"Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God." - Léon Bloy

"I doubt whether anyone who has tasted joy would ever, if both were in his power, excahnge it for all the pleasure in the world." - C.S. Lewis

Theme for 10 February 2008
Theme: Jesus said, "The time is coming and is already here when true worsippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for anyone who will worship Him that way" (St. John 4:23). Jesus helps us to worship God from the inside out. True worship isn't just moving the lips, or even raising hands in the air. Worship comes from our hearts.

Theme for 3 February 2008
Theme: "Ah, love, that wonderful thing. It's good for selling chocolates, playing mushy songs on the radio, and writing Valentine's Day cards. In the Bible, however, love results in sacriice and service. That is how God loves us, and that is how we love God back."

Theme for 27 January 2008
Theme: "

Theme for 20 January 2008
Theme: "The Bible tells us that Jesus turned water into wine. That He walked on water. That Elisha cured Naaman of leprosy. That Moses turned water into blood. That Jesus rose from the dead. And on and on. Some people refuse to believe that any of these things could have happened. In effect. they are putting God in a box, saying 'You can do only these things that I believe You can do. It is impossible for You to do anything else.' What would happen if we let God out of the box?"

Theme for 13 January 2008
Theme: A.W. Tozer, a former Moderator of the Associated Gospel Church, said, "If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference."

Theme for Epiphany, 6 January 2008
Theme: "Most New Year's resolutions -- indeed most of the Christian life -- are attempted by our own power. If all the references in the Bible to the work of the Holy Spirit were somehow removed, it would make no difference at all to many Christians. We talk about the power of God at work in our lives, but we live as though there was no such thing. When making your plans this year, be sure to include God.

Theme for 23 December 2007
Theme: "It is better to give than to receive." "Love your enemies." "you are the light of the world." "Where you treasure is, there will your heart be also." "seek first the kingdom of God, and all you need will be given unto you."
Wise sayings? Yes, indeed! But if that's all they are, they're useless. We must put them into practice. That's part of what Advent is about: it's time to get our lives in order, to be ready for Jesus to come. Here's another of His messages: "If you love me, you will obey me."

Theme for 9 December 2007
Theme: "It is better to give than to receive." "Love your enemies." "you are the light of the world." "Where you treasure is, there will your heart be also." "seek first the kingdom of God, and all you need will be given unto you."
Wise sayings? Yes, indeed! But if that's all they are, they're useless. We must put them into practice. That's part of what Advent is about: it's time to get our lives in order, to be ready for Jesus to come. Here's another of His messages: "If you love me, you will obey me."

Theme for 2 December 2007

Theme for 25 November 2007

Theme for 18 November 2007
Theme: Henri Nouwen was a brilliant professor in the theology department at Yale University. At the height of his career, he left his position to become pastor to a group of mentally disabled children in a L'Arche home in Richmond Hill, Ontario. Most people thought he was wasting his life, changing diapers and feeding children who were barely functional. But listen to what he said to an interviewer: "They are giving me far more than I am giving them. I give them the mere basics of food and clothing. But they give me the astounding joy of seeing Christ alive in my work. This is not a duty. This is a privilege." That's the joy of ministry, of being a servant.

Theme for 11 November 2007
Theme: William Sherman was right when he said during the Civil War: "War is hell". While millions of people throughout the world have grown up in conditions where killing is as common as the rain, it is simply impossible for most of us in Canada to even begin to imagine what war is like. We should be thankful for that. We must also do our part to follow Jesus' teaching to spread peace and justice --- shalom.

Theme for 4 November 2007
Theme: We make a big deal over big numbers. There's a big celebration when a couple have their 50th Wedding Anniversary. For a 100th Birthday, you'll likely get your picture in the newspaper. Fletcher Church today is celebrating 124 years of ministry in this community. That's longer than any of us have ever lived. That's tiny in comparison to how long the whole Church has been going: almost 2,000 years!
However, comparing numbers (like "How many people attend your church?) is utterly useless and vain. Far more important is our answer to the question, "What are you doing as part of the Kingdom of God?”

Theme for 28 October 2007
Theme: People find it easy to find God's presence in the big events of life such as birth and death. The truth is, God desires to be present in every part of our lives: during worship as well as work, in prayer and at play, in the everyday routine of life.

Theme for 21 October 2007
Theme: Everyone LOVES a party. God is throwing the greatest party of all time, and you're invited. It isn't the kind of party where you'll feel nervous, or afraid of doing something embarrassing. You'll be among friends who will laugh with you, not at you. Jesus will be there, too -- after all the party is in His honour! The party hasn't actually started yet (no one knows exactly when it will begin), but we're celebrating already. Come and join in!.

Theme for 14 October 2007
Theme: The Academy Awards honour the best people in the movie business. The Olympics puts on the podium the elite of athletes. Forbes magazine each year lists the 100 wealthiest people in the world.
Question: How do truly great people get recognized?
Answer: They don't. Servants don't seek the spotlight, and they aren't offended if they are overlooked. Yes, that's right. Jesus says servants are the greatest of all.

Theme for 7 October 2007
Question 1: What do the following Bible passages have in common? (I Chronicles 16:34; Psalm 106:1; Psalm 107:1, Psalm 118:1; Psalm 136.1).
Answer: They all proclaim, "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good."
Question 2: Why is it necessary to tell people to be thankful? Shouldn't that be natural?
Answer: It seems our human nature is to be so self-centred that we neglect this. Today is not the only day we give thanks to God. It is a reminder for us to carry all the time an attitude of gratitude.

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This page placed here 7 October 2007