Sunday, March 25, 2012
Discovery Community Church, Mennonite Brethren, Campbell River
My friend Bill attends the Discovery Community Church, Mennonite Brethren, Campbell River. He told us he'd gone once and enjoyed the fellowship and friendly people. He liked the music and positive message as well. The church was in an old converted theatre. "It helps too that the seating is so comfortable and you can take coffee into church with you." Those were all favourable features. I liked that the church had embraced my 81 year old friend, Bill, and that the minister, Pastor Larry Martin was such a fine man.
When Laura and I accompanied Bill, Sunday morning at 10 am we really found the church to be friendly and welcoming. I couldn't remember being in a Mennonite Brethren church before though had enjoyed Regent College Professor Stackhouse when he was the keynote speaker for our Christian Medical and Dental Conference last year. He was a Winnipeg Mennonite like my brilliant young musician friend decades back, Block. Bill and I both had Baptist roots but Laura was a Catholic so wasn't sure about this whole down to earth friendliness of church leadership. She said 'we grew up giving the old nuns a wide berth." Later she'd say how much she enjoyed the music and how it took her back to services she'd so enjoyed when her children were small with the young nuns playing guitar and everyone singing along. That's what happened at Discovery Community Church. Great music.
The picture I took was before the full band with drums and all appeared on stage. I loved the depth of the songs calling for and celebrating a relationship with divine. We listened too,when the children gathered to go to Sunday school, being all reminded of the song, "This little light of mine, I'm going to make it shine."
Then Pastor Larry Martin began his sermon.
These are my notes: They don't do his dissertation on Revelations justice. But it gives some idea of the main thrust. Meditation on heaven and the book of life. It was a moving and captivatingly thoughtful sermon.
Discovery Community Church Mennonite Brethen
March 25 2012
Pastor Larry Martin
Frogs have it easy, they eat what bugs them
When we get to heaven we won't have the capacity to bug each other...in heaven we will be without sin....we will have new bodies
Quoting Pastor Richard Baxter 1600's a pastor in England always ill but still believing wrote 'all saints rest' meditations on heaven. Paul said set your mind on things above ....my goal this morning is to encourage you to think more on God and heaven
Revelations 21 - everything will be new - new heaven and new earth - recreated by the infinite creative God - no longer sea (where beast and chaos had come or as john was exiled to an island sea might represent no more separation ). A new city - in heaven everything is always new - God is always near - in heaven suffering will be absent - no death , old order passed away -no sorrow, no wrestling with our thoughts and attitudes, no laziness, no pain in heaven,
Rev 21 5-
"It is done. I am the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end"
To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost..the things your heart longs for
Not everyone is going to heaven
What a person decides about Jesus Christ will decide where they go ..,
Cowardly, unbelieving, vile, murderers, sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts,idolaters and all liars won't go to heaven. This is the second death.
Murderers and gossips won't go unless the depth of their repentance overcomes their thirst for the world
Ask for forgiveness
If you have a thirst for God fan it
Heaven is exclusive
Revelations - the new Jerusalem
Clear as crystal
High wall, 12 gates, 12 angels
Heirs and joint heirs with Christ
The gift of God is the Gift of Eternal Life
Do you have Jesus Christ as your savior
Heaven is big, beyond big
The city was 12000 stadia, approximately 1500 miles high and wide
Psalm 23 I will dwell in the house of god forever
Heaven is beautiful
Gate of the city a pearl ... The road...pure gold
The lord will be the protector of heaven
Nothing impure will come into heaven, nothing shameful and deceitful
Names are written in the lambs book of life
Most important question is if you died today would your name be written on the book of life
I encourage you to
Meditate on heaven
After the sermon there was more song then we left the theatre. I talked with some of the men of the congregation after while Laura was speaking with some ladies. I had my Westcoast Biker Church hoodie on so was soon talking motorcycles.
Someone asked Bill and I how we'd met. We reminisced about that day, nearly a quarter century ago . I met him when he'd had troubles dragging a deer out of the woods. It was about 11 am. He was by the side of the logging road. I stopped to say hello. He asked me then what I was looking for. "Deer, "I answered. He said, "They're not here now. They're up there." He pointed at the low mountain range north Vancouver Island. "What are you doing here, then?" I asked. He said, "Looking for a doctor." "I'm a doctor, " I said. "Maybe we could trade." That's when he told me about his chest pain trying to pull out the deer he shot. I helped him pull his deer out of the woods and we became hunting and fishing buddies for years after.
Another fellow I met was a sailor too so we talking sailing a bit. The biker told me how he'd come to now be working with older Christian men. It was all in that moving slowly to the door after church chatting and feeling good with one another time. I thanked the minister. A really fine man of the Lord. Outside Laura was talking with a nurse who loved Campbell River. Then Bill and Laura and I were off to after church lunch at A&W where we talked about God and human affairs. Nothing like a good sermon to lead to higher conversations.
Laura liked the church right away. We both laughed that the pastor's wife was criticized for being too 'positive'. Yet, that's what Christians do. Trust in the Lord. We said our good byes to Bill and headed down the island highway back to Vancouver, not a little disappointed to be leaving behind the beauty and wonder of Campbell River or the fine Christian community we'd had a glimpse of.