Category Archives: St. Thomas Anglican Church

Ecclesial Roundup. Week ending 08.28.11

MGA Church. Pastor Glen Forsberg.

Fellowship Baptist Church.  Pastor Brent Carter

Fm Alliance. Pastor Val Johnson

Family Christian Center

Emmanuel Baptist Church

Sermon Review. St. Thomas Anglican Church. Heather Lawton. First Sunday In Lent. Febuary 21, 2010.

St. Thomas Anglican Church. Heather Lawton. First Sunday In Lent. February 21, 2010. Scripture readings Deuteronomy 26:1-11 • Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16 • Romans 10:8b-13 • Luke 4:1-13. Sermon Length: 18.55 minutes.

The sermon starts off with Heather asking us is we have ever been tempted to engage  in secret sin and rebellion against God via sins of omission and commission. The answer is yes, we all sin and we all fail, and in this way we are similar to the Israelites, who just came out of slavery and had already forgotten God and rebelled and were faced with painful consequences. After that though, when they were about to come into the land again, according to the Law they offered first fruits and tithes to God.  This is what we now call a tithe. God doesn’t need our money. The purpose of tithing is an exercise in honouring god and trusting him. By giving off the top before we pay bills, we show that we trust him first. God will honor us when we honor him, and blesses us when we give. In this, we will learn that blessing comes from obedience.

The Psalms tell us that we can trust in God and abide in him, and that he is intimately acquainted with us.  Do we really know him, love him, talk to him? She quotes Romans 10 and states that we can’t do anything to be saved other than acknowledge it and receive it, [True that] “Anyone can call on the name of Jesus and be saved from sin and death” and the problem is that many of us never grow out of this first step. We can’t be babes in diapers, but we must mature. We can’t just wallow and live in our immaturity, but we must grow up into sanctified stalwarts of the faith.

Turning a corner, she spends the rest of her sermon talking about the temptation of Christ in the desert as recorded in Luke 4. From this story, we learn that all are tempted, that it’s not a sin to be tempted, that we need God’s word to sustain us spiritually, and that we battle with the word of God. We also learn that we must not put other things above God, but rather must whole heartedly worship the creator [Note. It is impossible to do so]

To close it out, we are told that the first Sunday of lent is a time to grow, pray and reflect. Heather spends a bit of time incorporating weekly lessons from The Purpose Driven Life into the sermon and into the reflections, and then closes it out with a prayer.


This sermon actually dragged a bit for me, which is surprising due to it’s brevity. [It clocks in at under 20 minutes] I think this was due to a combination of of a few things. First, It seems like this was read word for word from written notes. The second was there wasn’t much expression or emotion or grit in the speaker, and the third was that it was structurally confusing. One thing that I don’t really like about this aspect of the liturgical service is that they have several scripture readings which are supposed to be synced and incorporated into one-another, and oftentimes this doesn’t work because the verses have little if nothing to do with another. In this case, it was like getting four extremely short homilies trying to be manipulated into one complete whole. This just didn’t work for me, especially because each one was so short that you couldn’t really go deep into the topic, and instead they were merely glanced over.  First we were talking about tithes then salvation then temptation and then purpose drivenism and it was unfortunately too scattershot for my liking.

Another thing which stood out to me was that this didn’t strike me as a particularity helpful sermon. I mean, we are being told ” We need to grow up and mature and stop being so childish” and that is true- but HOW DO WE DO THAT? What practical, biblical steps can we walk in to curb our childish ways?  For the most part, this sermon was scripturally sound, but it wasn’t very….the best word has to be helpful. It’s like telling a man dying of thirst in the desert ” you need to find some water and fast” but not telling them what sorts of things they can do or bring to bear in order to further that cause. Because the sad truth of the matter is that I didn’t learn anything new, didn’t find the sermon terribly relevant, and there was little context to most of which was said.

On the positive side I appreciated that she spoke about or need to mature and grow up. When a baby is 3 months old and wear a diaper and sucking on a pacifier, we think that’s cute and appropriate. But if that baby is a 20 year old boy, it’s not so cute anymore. It’s weird and awkward and unhealthy. And yet are we not the same way with our spiritual walk? I know a woman who has claimed to be a believer most of her life, and recently she expressed to me with wonderment and awe “did you know that the Holy Spirit is here on earth”? That’s not ok. And so it’s not enough to merely tell them where we want to end up, but we must help them get there by enabling and equipping them to do so.  And I’m afraid to say it,  but that won’t happen with sermons like this.


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