Boldness and Grace

When we look at Luke’s recording of the Ascension of Christ and the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, there is so much information that many messages can be taken from the story. So much has changed. One thing stands out for me. Boldness! Remember the disciples and what they were like before Jesus left them? While they followed Jesus through his years of ministry, they were politically motivated, not understanding what Jesus was all about, not yet knowing the nature of the kingdom of God. Then came Jesus’ last days before the crucifixion. Peter especially, often speaking before thinking or knowing, rebukes Jesus in Matthew16 for talking about his impending suffering and death. Peter could be bold when he was with Jesus. When Jesus was arrested, he was even so bold as to cut off the ear of the High Priest’s servant. (Luke 22) Jesus healed the man and made it very clear this was not a boldness he was looking for.

Throughout Scriptures the word and concept “bold” is often used, and in many ways. The young shepherd boy David faced the Philistine giant Goliath not wearing any soldier armour. (1 Samuel 17) He simply came with a sling and a few smooth stones and these words, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty whom you have defied.” That is bold! Then there is Daniel who lived boldly in his confidence in the Lord Almighty when he knew about the decree passed by the Babylonian king that anyone praying to any God or man except the king would be thrown into the den of hungry lions. Yet Daniel got on his knees before God three times a day and gave thanks to God. (Dan. 6) That is bold! Then we find Amos, the farmer from Tekoa, a village not far from Jerusalem. He was a well-to-do farmer who often had to go north to places like Bethel and Samaria to do business. He lacked nothing, he had a good business; he was not a prophet by trade or calling. He knew God was calling him to give a prophecy to the ten northern tribes of the divided Israel who had forsaken the Lord Almighty. In Amos, each time he starts another part of the prophecy, he uses the words, “hear this word the Lord has spoken” or a very similar phrase. That was bold to the point the people told him to go home and stay home. Let’s consider the prophet Elijah in 1 Kings 18, a fascinating story of one prophet of God over against 450 prophets of the pagan god Baal and the people who worshipped this god. It was a contest to see who would be God. Not only did Elijah stand alone, but as the story unfolds, he also poked fun of the pagan god and his prophets. That is bold! But consider the words of Elijah as he continues, “O Lord, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done these things at your command.” That is a very powerful prayer and the words are key to understanding boldness.

Going back to the disciples, we see that these men have expressed a false boldness before Jesus died. The true boldness was not there. The gospels tell us that when Jesus was arrested the disciples fled. Peter denied knowing Christ. John was at the cross, but where were the others? They went into hiding in rooms behind locked doors, fearing they too could be arrested. Even after Jesus rose from the dead, they kept those doors locked and Jesus didn’t use the doorways to enter the room nor did he come in through a window – suddenly he was just there. Luke 24:37 tells us they were frightened and thought it was a ghost. He had to eat something in their presence to prove he was real and alive.

Now comes a major change. Luke 24:45 says, “He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.” In Romans 12:2 Paul writes, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” This is now happening to the disciples long before Paul wrote that statement. They were starting to grasp that any boldness they possessed was self-serving and not according to God’s will. Their minds had to be renewed before their hearts could be changed. How do we know that? At Jesus’ ascension Luke tells us “they worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.” (Luke 24:53) After all they had been, and experienced, they now showed no cowardice. For all the right reasons they were now bold before the very leaders who they had formerly feared. Their boldness for Jesus of Nazareth had replaced their own self-serving boldness. That boldness shows up in Peter’s sermon on Pentecost. (Acts 2) Then in Acts 4, boldness shows up when Peter and John are called to account before the High Priest and rulers. Their defense? “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God.”(4:19) Later the believers prayed together, “Lord, enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.”

Friends, I fear we are living in a time when the church has lost so much of that boldness to speak out the truth of the Word of God and has resorted to what Paul writes to Timothy, “The time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth.” (2Tim 4:3-4) He also admonishes Timothy, “Keep your head in all situations.” (vs 5) In order to renew our minds so that our hearts may be transformed, that message is for us as well. Stay bold in the truth of the gospel and for the right reasons! Live in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Pastor Job

Easter Sunday –
Worship Service!

St. Andrew's had their first service on Easter Sunday since March 15, 2020. What a joyous occasion for everyone to share in God's word and reunite with friends.
Pastor Job provided a Good Friday and Easter Sunday message and led the church in the sacrament of Holy Communion.
Music and solo performances were provided by Jacqueline Van Hartingsveldt on the organ, Lorraine Ymker on the piano and Joel Bootsmas on the violin.

Re-opening Notice
The church will be closed again until further notice.

Happy New Year

By the time you read this we may already be into another year. I find it impossible to think about what this next year may bring and not reflect on what the last year brought. It is different for each person. Some of you are still grieving the loss of a loved one. You may be anxiously awaiting surgery or still recovering. Others struggle financially. There are those who suffer depression, loneliness, anxiety, loss, abuse, failure of sorts, family or marriage breakdown. We live in a world of addictions, of fear, of anxiety. We can fill a page with a list. Then there are those for whom the past year has been wonderful and they hope the trend continues. I think we can all agree that life is always in a state of flux, that nothing ever stays the same.
Then we ought to remember what it is that remains the constant of our lives. Every “what” has a “who” attached to it. We have just celebrated Christmas, the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Look at how the gospels relate the story. Matthew tells us about Joseph’s struggle about having to marry a young girl who was already pregnant. The situation had to be explained to Joseph by an angel to put his mind at rest. Then Matthew launches into the story of the Magi who show up in Bethlehem sometime after the birth of Christ. The gospel of Mark starts with Jesus’ baptism. Luke is the only gospel that gives a more complete narrative of that first Christmas. John tells us that “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” Perhaps the differences are because the details of Jesus’ incarnation are not as important as the reason, the “who” and the “what.” So then the Christmas message becomes less of the fairy-tale birth so often depicted on cards, in pageants, and in carols. The message is much more about purpose and John says it clearly. “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”(John 3:16) That was the message God already gave in Genesis 3:15, the message of his covenant with Abraham, the message through the prophets, the message of the birth narrative, the message of Good Friday, Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost. It is that message that will come to completion when our Lord Jesus Christ returns.
And that means, that amidst all the blessings and all the turmoil of life, salvation and Christ are the “what” and “who” that remain constant. Imagine that! Christmas is all about Jesus the Holy Son volunteering himself, in obedience to the Holy Father, in the strength of the Holy Spirit, becoming one of us in the womb of a sinful human being. That is how much God loved this dysfunctional world, the dysfunctional me, the dysfunctional you. He entered this world so that, by believing in him, we have eternal life. It is just inconceivable that Jesus would stoop that low out of love for us. To us it is unthinkable that he would remove himself from that most beautiful place of eternal glory and enter into this desert wasteland with all its sin, its greed, its hatred, its selfishness, its apathy, its abuse, its hurt, and all the resulting factors of those actions, for the simple reason that “God so loved this world.” And because Jesus said, “I and the Father are one,” it can only mean that Jesus has the same love for this world, proving it by his death on the cross. On that cross is where he felt more forsaken by his Father than we could ever experience. And then to top it off, Paul tells us in Galatians 4:6 that God sent the Spirit into our hearts, and that we have become heirs in his kingdom. That means that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all involved in their love for us. All three persons of the Trinity take an active role in God’s love and our salvation. What a support system we have behind us.
So Christmas again reminds us that, as this world convulses and heaves as the result of sin entering through humanity’s disobedience, Christ came to set things right for those who believe in him and follow God’s will. The convulsing and pain of this world won’t stop until our Lord returns. He said he would. But knowing how much he loves us gives us a peace that passes all human understanding. That doesn’t mean our lives will always be peaceful. But there is a peace that becomes the bedrock of our life, our faith, our trust. And that peace brings hope, works itself out in love, and helps us to emanate joy.
And now we go into a new year in the confidence that God so loved and continues to love. That means we can go into this next year “Living for Jesus.” That is a hymn you may be familiar with, and here is the refrain:
O Jesus, Lord and Saviour, I give myself to thee, for thou in thy atonement, didst give thyself for me; I own no other Master, my heart shall be thy throne; my life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for thee alone. With that in mind, and in heart, we can enter the new year with thanksgiving in our heart, with joy in our heart. Each day, as we renew that vow, we can face the day, moving forward in the name of Christ. It is a difficult world we live in. We have two options. We can either be upset, angry, troubled, anxious, following the ways the world spells out for us, following the ways the powers of darkness would like us to go. The other option is to trust and obey for there is no other way because God so loved this world.
On behalf of myself and my family we wish you a Happy and Blessed New Year

Christmas Greetings

MAY GOD Grant you always - A sunbeam to WARM you - A moonbeam to CHARM you - A sheltering ANGEL so nothing can HARM you Laughter to CHEER you, Faithful friends NEAR you And whenever you PRAY, Heaven to HEAR you MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL Ray McCoy

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to our church family, we miss all of you, hope to see you soon. Stay safe & God Bless. – Janis and Joe Drummond

I know we can’t all be together this Christmas, but we will be in each other’s thoughts. Remember to keep the “CHRIST” in CHRISTMAS.– Marie Merrill

Larry and Judy Ducommun would like to wish all their friends at St. Andrew’s a Joyful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Remember that nothing is small in the eyes of God. Do all that you do with love this Christmas season. Merry Christmas! Blessings, Carol & Noah

Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of Love to those who need it the most. Kevin and I are wishing that our wonderful church family have a very Merry Christmas and a new year blessed with peace and grace in your hearts, happiness and great health. May the light of our Savior shine on you this Christmas.-Love Kevin and Laurie-Anne Hay

Wishing everyone a blessed Christmas season. We are missing our friends and family during this pandemic, but you are with us in our hearts & our prayers. Sending love & hugs. Merry Christmas, Bill, Sue, Sara & Gladys Gray xo

To my Church family: although we are unable to celebrate this wonderful Christmas season together, I would like to wish you all the peace and joy of this special time of year. May you and your families enjoy the beauty of the season during this very challenging 2020. Stay safe and God bless. See you in the New Year!-Kim McCann

Wishing all my friends and church family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Missing our Christmas celebrations and looking forward to seeing everyone in the New Year. Stay safe and healthy-Carol Merrill

This has been an extremely challenging time for each and every one of us, but we have made our way through to this most special time of the year. Since we cannot be together to celebrate as we have become accustomed to do, each of us must gather our special memories of the years past and paint a mental picture of all those wonderful times shared with our friends at St. Andrew’s. I am sending my very best wishes (and hugs) to each and everyone for a most Blessed Christmas, good health, and much happiness in the New Year. Sincerely, Jeanette Globe.

Here we are at Christmas 2020. It doesn't seem possible, since we have missed the important holidays of the year. Easter was not the same, as we were unable to celebrate due to Covid 19. The crucifixion and the rising from the tomb seemed to happen without us singing its praise. Spring turned to summer. Summer into fall and the harvest table was just a memory. Christmas is now here, and the music is starting to come on the radio. The malls are abuzz with shoppers gathering gifts for families. Some of us will not be able to share the joy with families. Thankfully some will be able to connect via the internet. My wish for all this season is for health and happiness and that the new year brings us the ability to join together in prayer and praise. I miss my Church family and friends. Blessings to all of you. Donna Johnson

Merry Christmas to all people at St. Andrew’s, especially those facing health challenges, Rev. Job and family, Bev Boyce, Bev Mott and others. Thank you to Rev. Job for the sermons and people like Carol, Judy, and Larry who keep the shop afloat. John Grebby
I would like to wish my Presbyterian friends and your families a special and blessed Christmas and holiday season. I look forward to seeing everyone in the new year. Thoughts and prayers. Shirley Noble

From the St. Andrew’s Congregation – we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year filled with Hope, Peace, Joy and Love!

Blessings from the
St. Andrew's Family

We would like to extend our blessings and comfort to the community.
Stay safe and healthy and know that God is with you.

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A Warm Welcome to You. To preach and teach The Bible in a Traditional Service, Glorifying God through music that maintains quality, and reverence in worship.

Worship Sundays at 10:30am
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church
67 Victoria Ave. Belleville

Come to visit and you'll leave feeling blessed and uplifted; come to stay and you'll find a home among those who appreciate everyone's individual talents and who sincerely wish to share God's love with you.


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St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Belleville, will share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all people through worship, teaching, and service.

Our Vision Statement

To be a living example of Christ’s love and healing power to all people.


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