As we as we think about this idea of where God leads if you know the story You know this church was founded on that and so here’s a video of norm norm Greene sharing the story of how? We got started here at 363 Following God’s lead from Harrison United to here and the ways that God has been at work to bring us to this point in our church’s life enjoy This amazing video that has so much to it The story of North Bramley goes back to press pretty cold different peal precipitory. I happen to be chair for a couple years and Bramley was expanding rapidly So there was 60,000 people to be north of Queen Street and west of what was then Hartley east of what was then heart Lake Road and Emmanuel United Church And South family wasn’t going to be able to handle that so we thought we better Established a new church here Harrison United Church was already on the eastern edge of that on tour Graham Road Harrison had tried to reach out the suburban people Alan Gray’s Craig had really made an effort that gone up to about 140 people and dropped way back down. It was a Church with a dirt basement a dirt under the furnace room and a chemical toilet And it just was not the kind of place that suburban people would feel at home so Before I got there they had an intense debate at Harrison guided by a Presbyterian dr. Tom bandy and Should we reach out the suburban people or not? and Significant minorities have no way we want to stay rural, but the majority said yes, would yes and the press Barry said okay? Yes, we’re going to reach into the new Bramley suburb At that point then I was I was called I had stopped being chair But I driven around quite a bit in the process of that and felt a very strong The strong as ever. I think in my life a call to bring the gospel in its fullness The personal relationship to Jesus, but also the community concern To the people of Bromley and that I this is a place. I should I should try to do that so I came to Harrison Church in May of 83 we bought a house in Peregrine Grove with walkout basements so we can use that basement as a church office Came there, and there was still debate going on in the church about About what the church should be doing Because the significant people said if you move to a school to make a home for suburban people we’re leaving we’re going to Mayfield over go to Bolton or Wilco at all and Solve it we made a decision to move to which in Guzzi secondary school as a place of base for worship And the people did leave So that was trying to say to them, you know the gospel is about Reaching out to new people and I think As I stopped to analyze what was going on there? And in my last year’s here at North Bramley five years ago. We were talking about inward outward inward into the heart of God outward following God’s footsteps into the community and That church at that point in time was wrestling with that inward outward issue Many ninety searches do and many just say no no outward and we’re gonna stick with ourselves, so But there were key people in Harrison that didn’t want to go outward and didn’t mind moving to the school and trying to reach out to suburban people outward and in that case was the people of Bramley North Bramley and so we did we made the move and That was that was a big move for us, too But I think that God was present in helping us struggle with that. How do you reach out to your neighbors? How do you? Who are different from you significant different from you? And I think God was very much with us in that process As we began to grow grow as a church one of the Convictions that I had and I think God blessed that was a conviction that Christian education should be adult Christian education and not just for the kids in Sunday school And that that Christian occasion was about just knowing the Bible to be sure, but it was also about following Jesus More and more fully and more and more deeply so that that At the beginning was some Bible studies with people and sometimes other studies of Christian life that Came out in the way the sermons were preached that theme grew through the life of North Bramley, so Later on it would have been reflected in the first alpha courses that were run here we out of those first Alpha courses that we end up with 10 or 15 people who were Deeply committed to Jesus Christ in a way They hadn’t been before and that kind of nucleus in a church just changes changes it changes us When the building was first built here we began to become an institution instead of a movement of God We were tempted that way anyway so We got two sets of old choir robes and the choir had to use the ropes coming we got the red hymn book everybody had To use the red hymn book we had to follow the or liturgical order from the from From on high kind of thing and then the worship began to shift we did some looking around Willow Creek and a church in Ohio that has the the multi-sensory worship and we need to move from education from a lecture tylette style of worship to Experience your worship experiencing God in many different ways and it began with overhead projection Remember the kids who were running the projector up front got criticized now and again for necking in front of church, but But we had our hymns were projected and that brought people’s voices up and more joyful singing We began to project the scripture the men began to look at the scripture And many things though there’s a few examples of Multi-sensory worship, we tried to deal with audio visual kinesthetic Intellectual and trying to communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ in as many ways as we possibly could because we have all kinds of people out there Who are receiving in that kind of way so the worship began to shift? Drama got and introduced Mic rod way and and Patty and Rolf and Donna who just passed away sadly They were expert dramatists and made people laugh at a certain time drove home of the point it needed to be made over time drama drifted out we replaced that with video and movies but That multi-sensory worship to try to bring people back to the experience of I and you O God we and you Oh God? That was very important for us in terms of how God was present with us a few people are intellectuals But there all kinds of people who can be who are God’s people who may not be intellectuals and may not have degrees But but have a profound sense of the presence of Jesus Christ in their lives that changes their behaviors Changes their words my most powerful example that doesn’t come from North family came from an earlier church experience I had been doing some conformation with a some a group home in Alton and these kids were Intellectual age maybe three or four or five Came to be confirmed that Sunday. I got through part of this is an Easter Sunday and the last kid laid down on the carpet in front of the church and said I’m dead I Thought what do I do now and then he stood up and said I risen again? I? thought Whoa a kid of age for four or five. You know has caught the sense of resurrection and was just so anybody can experience Jesus Christ Yesterday I was at Thornhill United and talking to a woman had visited, North Bramley And she was a greeter she had greeted us the only person and assertion read is that yesterday morning? And she said afterwards when I went to North Bramley She said I was blown away. By how many people almost everybody greeted me when I walked in the door. She’s a difference There’s a spirit of hospitality there. That’s extraordinary, and I’d like to have that here so that that movement sense where There’s an organized presence of God not just from the top down, but in the hearts of people that rises up, and they have a common purpose common objectives common structure or our picture of life around Jesus Christ that that’s what a movement is and It’s it’s much beyond then these are the rules of how you run a church or visitors I do this or that it has to do for the heart a heart change, so there’s that movement sense here that I think is Powerfully important, and I think that inward outward journey is also a really gift that you have of growing in your relationship with God and then the experience of a journey the experience of going out Christmas Day or Good Friday to meet people in the neighborhood that the people out there count was a value we picked up In the mid-90s, I think from Willow Creek that the people of Brampton matter to God therefore they ought to matter to us I think the challenges for North Bramley probably are to was often about 30 or 35 or 40 years old a church begins to harden and say you know those are good days We have to live that kind of way still with those kind of rules and and you don’t want that you want you want to continue to be discerning where the spirit of Jesus is taking you and How that how God wants you to be now? That you go on exploring the unimaginable gifts of Jesus Christ And I don’t know what those what those are for you going to be for you to Savor the gifts you have and then to explore new gifts from Christ like that Friends just want to make sure all of us in this big room know The same information and some of you may be standing up going why are we all standing up looking over there? Norman Norman Bonnie green are over there and
I want to thank Noor Ambani coming today in spite of what just happened and no you may I don’t know if you knew that Would happen we didn’t know, but I know that’s not what you want, and that’s not you came today So thank you for coming in spite of things like that and else what do you know you know what I mean? there’s a humility and a great like you get it if you know a Couple things I couldn’t from that video. There’s so much there I wish every Church at least every United Church in our country could watch that video We need to keep watching that and learning from it and growing from it. It was so much there Personally, and I think I speak on behalf of many people in this room Norman bond I want to say thank you for teaching me and many of us what it means to live authentically As a follower of Jesus for living that out so richly and fully from learning how to give to learning how to pray all that You’ve taught us Leadership growing our capacity to lead and also teaching us what it is to be Christ Church and care God’s mission in this world, so thank you so very much for all those things I also want to say that the necking thing So so the I won’t reveal names But but one of the individuals who was in that category was here at nine o’clock and left with a smile on his face So he was still good He knew he’d been caught and and the good news is he’s turned out all right, so everything is good. Yeah All right Let’s let’s just jump into a scripture passage for us today and Here we are from Philippians chapter 1 verses 3 to 6. This is from the Apostle Paul If you’re wondering about reading the Bob Bible we would love to help encourage that on a daily basis And and if you’d want a Bible today We’d be glad to give one away for wondering where to start sometimes people go to read the Bible and where would I start? Philippians is one of those places. That’s a great place to start the Apostle Paul is talking to the earlier early followers of Jesus He’s very positive and encouraging. It’s very uplifting you’ll get it Just just like this where it worried encourages them in fill in in Philippians 1 saying I thank my god every time. I remember you in all my prayers for all of you. I always pray with joy Because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now Being confident of this that he who began a good work in you will Carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus So France just want to take a few minutes here to Explore those verses and break it down a little bit the first verse verse 3 there says I think my god every time. I remember you I gotta tell you as we’ve prepared for this Sunday over the last several weeks We’ve been just thinking back to people we’ve been so blessed to share life many are here some couldn’t be but it Personally the works for me is overwhelming gratitude Just just overwhelming gratitude For what we call the life that we we get to share and and so I just want to thank you for being a part Of that I think I think you’ve caught that as well that energy in this room, and that’s what appalls say And I thank my god every time I remember you he goes on and say I always pray with joy because of your partnership In the gospel I love that word partnership I think that’s what norms get in the video or says journey inward journey or that we go journey inward to Get into God’s heart so that we find God’s agenda and have this partnership with God then God Resources us to do what God calls us to do and where God leaves us It’s just it’s this partnership with God But the the but Paul’s time in addition to that is because of this partnership in the gospel you see the Apostle Paul He was so passionate about the gospel of Jesus Christ because he’d seen it changed lives including his own He he has had an incredible conversion experience himself He knows what it is to be a new creation in Christ To be different to have a before and after and for many of us as we talked last Sunday It’s often a process But sometimes we come to a point we realize part of the Gospel message is that people can be changed and experienced this thing called new life Where those who live in fear can have a strength beyond their means where those who live their life worrying Can get a peace that only God can give where those who suffer from addiction? By God’s grace and power in Christ can find freedom from that these this incredible stuff talking to somebody this week Who’s been around search for 20 plus years and she said you know I realized that I’m a different person now Because of the ministry and the work of God to the life of this church That’s what it means to be a partnership in the gospel That’s why we tear this place apart every week So we can have 80 to 100 people have dinner here for alpha because we see the life change that God’s working through alpha People can have a new credits a partnership in the gospel. I don’t bow to men, but I would give everything For that and so grateful to be a part of that Verse 6 goes being confident of this that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus As we thought about this Sunday We we just really wanted to honor the past and and kanuda to move towards the future and this idea of this verse 6 that That God will continue to do the work that God has done what God has started God will continue And we’re seeing that happening and it’s very exciting Well one of the questions that we might have on a day like today is what does make North Bramley unique? What is God’s unique gifts to North Bramley? Here’s just a few that they want to slide through here that certainly Have come to my mind and heart as a parade about this over this week And these are things that God has started and that God will continual continue to carry it on the first is this Christ centered I Know in some ways thinking well, it’s the Christian Church so of course We’re Christ centered, but I got to tell you that’s not always the way that you read through the scripture And it was the same then people lose their way this has been a church that has always had Christ at the center And I’m just so grateful for that the first time my wife Katrina came. I’ll never forget it. We’d been in a church. That was Not spiritually alive if at least we didn’t experience it to be spiritually alive and so when we came for our first worship service here We were we were we were in tears. We were moved. We just felt this presence of Christ that was so rich and deep and and full and We wanted more of that for our for our life There’s there’s a Christ under nest here that were just really really really grateful prayer This is a church that has always been built on a foundation of Prayer I love seeing around our church these days after the service Just little pockets of people praying for one another all let’s just keep doing that because that’s that’s that’s so important I remember back when when Norman I used to meet on a Tuesday morning at that point It was you know really the the two of us meeting to kind of go over What was happening that week and I don’t know if you have this happen But sometimes the list that we would come up with was way longer than there was gonna Be time to do not just in that day or that week, but probably that month or that year And and we and we would always take that overwhelming list in a time of prayer And and it was amazing how different you would feel after praying this thing called grace would become very real oh This is God’s work. We’re just a part of it. You are God. We’re us. It’s all gonna be okay prayer can do that It’s amazing this thing called grace Judy Reid just Thinking about Judy Reid for those that know judy judy was we called her the prayer lady for many years around our church She’s not she’s not in the healthiest places these days and so she and her husband Larry couldn’t be here But but judy has taught so many people how many people here learned how to pray and practice prayer through the ministry of judy read Life-changing stuff 15 minutes with God we we did a campaign if he well that wasn’t around finances a few years back I think one of the best campaigns we ever did we challenged our church to say would you consider taking 15 minutes with God a? Day some came back and said I’ve moved to 20 is that okay, and we said that’s just fine But I’m telling you it was but a church goes too and it was one of those like this for us where we just had more people praying and reading scripture on a daily basis if somebody today Decides to do that out of this experience all that we’ve done today all the cake that is in that room will have been worth Getting together today. That’s that’s that’s what God can do when people commit themselves to prayer children and youth You heard our vision before the offering the family part of that was It was never by accident there’s always been a foundation in this church imagine God building better lives better families have better Brampton and Beyond, there’s always been a commitment to raising families children and youth into a life of faith It’s never too early to start I was sitting in our nursery, which which operates as a as a meeting room during the week the other day And I was looking at if you have never seen it just going and looking on the wall There’s all these little signs and what we pray and what we’re working our Our volunteers to do on a Sunday morning there with our youngest are three and four year olds God loves you Jesus Has a purpose for your life. There’s a community. It’s just like it’s amazing. It’s never too early uh IIIi think I think that’s one of our strengths and want to continue to just honor that and work in that That’s why we have we have hired we have staff leading children’s ministry and youth ministry Brian pengelley as Betty mentioned earlier is off this weekend on a Spiritual practices retreat with 24 youth sorry 17 youth 7 leaders who are crazy enough to go with them Like that’s that’s there’s over 50 youth here every week now between a Wednesday and a Friday program It’s small group faith-based. This is it like this is so let’s keep going. Let’s keep going I mean in that, but also literally Hey
If they don’t think reaching out to the community as Dora mentioned that we’ve always had this heart for the community beyond ourselves I think most people in this room. We wouldn’t be satisfied if we didn’t do that It’s who we are as part of our DNA We can we can’t help ourselves to feel but it does it starts with God God moves in our heart And helps us see a world out there in need and we respond and we’re pardoned We’re blessed were blessed in the process it shows up in so many different ways we Have a group of people who over the last six months have started going door to door knocking on people’s doors Partly because there’s a new neighborhood right down the road at how it annoys that Howden in Dixie And and and what happened was we said well this church got started with people going door-to-door knocking on doors not not giving tracts and a pamphlets and saying if you believe this you’re in and if you’re Not you’re not nothing like I’ll just simply knock on the door and saying We’re just from the church down the road we wanted to to say hello and see if we could hit serve you or help you in any in any way shape or form It’s been amazing the response that we’ve we’ve we’ve gotten and and there’s been people from our church who found this is one of their gifts they they they love to do this kind of thing and I won’t tell you the stories today, but maybe another day because there’s some amazing stories and the response that we’re getting we we do things like caring and sharing and Sunday dinner that’s gonna happen tonight We’re single moms come in with it with their children by bus from the Family Life Resource Center We do it because this is who we are we The church is here for God to bless this world and And and it’s a blessing for us to be to be a part of that we We have this thing called shared leadership I’m very aware that in today’s world if you read up on leadership. This is the norm. This is a collaborative leadership it’s called and most wouldn’t even think about operating in a different capacity but but This happened here long before it became cool or the norm if you will this was always I mean it’s biblical First corinthians 12th at that everybody is part of this body of christ, and we’ve all been given different gifts And we put them into practice it’s amazing what happens. It’s incredible this church always always worked led under the idea of shared leadership There were interns some remember there’s there’s a Board back in the meeting place with some of the pictures of the interns that were here over over the years I was an intern I came as an intern and I’ll never I’ll never forget that by the excitement of coming to a church like this I Look back now, and I say that the first is that somebody like bagging like Holly. What are you thinking like? How do you how do you let me do these things like that? But there was a freedom and a grace to let people learn yeah so so Last Sunday because we were reflecting on our you know our Anniversary after the after the baptism of of Noah who’s right back there. This is his first week baptized Anyway, somebody said I remember when you first did baptisms I said also know why because I came home that day and Katrina said you’re gonna have to learn how hold a baby Yeah You see in seminary they teach you the theology of baptism, and that’s all I was thinking about that day But there’s these practical things that you learn as well when I first started to preach to guns you know the anxiety It leads to habits that aren’t really helpful for anyone, and so I don’t even I didn’t even realize I did this Thank goodness for spouses that can be honest with us acres, but because I came home one day seriously Yeah, you know good message, but you’re gonna have to lose the guns. I got I guess I did this all that all the time so so all that to say all that to say as We continue to move forward. We will want friends we will want to be very intentional deliberate about sharing leadership about raising up the next generation and Sometimes that’s going to mean giving people a shot even if they carry babies like footballs and need to lose the guns You know I’m saying okay For me personally this this last one is the most important on this list it’s the gift of hope I Hope and pray that every church is a place Where people experience hope but I know that this is a church where people experience Hope where people experience in Christ that new life that we were talking about and that? Resurrection reality that resurrection reality is that you see with a hope that is strong enough to Name the injustice. That’s in our world The brokenness of our world the pain, that’s in our world and say this Hope is even greater than that because this hope by the power of Christ’s resurrection not just at the end of the day But there is an eternity promise which is very powerful But even more so for this day that God has come to bring heaven to earth to bring life Even when there’s death and loss and brokenness that is the resurrection hope I’m debating Okay who wants to hear a 90-second story about hope oh You don’t even know the option yet I was gonna say her who wants to go for cake 90 Seconds earlier have it if you need to go for cake or coffee or the washroom feel free to get up at any time but somebody This thing’s been amazing I gotta tell you just I’m overwhelmed in a bunch of different ways But there’s all these stories floating around and we don’t have time to even get them all out today and that’s awesome like that’s so cool at the end of the Gospel of John if you’ve read the Gulf to tie the end of The Gospel of John the writer says there’s there’s so many amazing things that Jesus did that there’s not even space to put him down And I guess that’s how I feel about today But this story someone brought this story to my attention in between services, and and so it’s a story about hope You see back a number of years ago in our old sanctuary We were doing an Advent series based on hope and on that day We were looking at the scripture from Isaiah chapter 42 verse 3 that that says a bruised Reed I will not let break and a smoldering wick I will not put on and we were in naming we were lighting these candles we were naming some of these these broken places in our world cancer and grief and loss and Mental health and it was just it was and and what happened was I’ll never forget it How many were there just because it was if you were there you will never forget it we were lighting candles on on on The community table this communion table and and the first one we lit it and then it actually went out It actually went out And then I thought like you know because you got a bunch of things going on in your head like oh my gosh like how? How this is not a good illustration at all Like like I hate candles yeah All right, honestly, but then it did it went out I swear it, and then it and then it came back and there was a collective like and I looked at the people were the closest and they were like don’t look at me like I know I know Seriously, and then and then it we did it it happened again I I don’t remember what it happened two or three times, but it happened more, sorry at five times Yeah, I don’t know all I know is that the The presence of God that we felt in the room that day like we feel here today the reality of Resurrection Hope even in the midst of those things that our Hope is great enough that we can name them and still find. Hope was was only again. That’s resurrection That’s God bring in life. Well. We don’t think it’s possible so Where do we go from here other than for cake I? Think it’s some I Think it’s safe to say don’t you agree that God’s not done here? God’s not done Craig Groeschel says if you’re not dead you’re not done Sorry to break it to you, but not really actually, but we all got up today, so God’s not done with us There’s more to come there’s more to come some we know some we had a sense Small groups young adults ministry what we’re gonna keep moving down this direction the journey neighborhood center is off The charts what it’s doing to transform and bring hope to a neighborhood that this news such despair before we’re gonna keep going down these Directions there’s some things we’re not so sure about yet But we’re gonna keep praying and looking for Jesus Leadership and clarity and he’ll give us all that we need to do him if this is where we’re supposed to go some of these Are are things like a third worship service you know no one no one ever wants to start another service cuz it needs a whole Lot more work But the truth is if you are partnership in the gospel And you’re gonna bring more people as dormice in the beginning that video that the gospel boats sharing with more people than we’re gonna do It and our 11 o’clock service has been over 80% full well over 80% full for over a year It’s time to start thinking about that and what that might look like we think about this idea and praying about Satellite worship the truth. Is that if 75 percent of churches in North America that are growing are either doing satellite worship or Thinking about doing satellite worship. We’re already doing at the jury neighbors center There’s a there’s an 11 o’clock worship service there every single Sunday, but there’s other places where God’s put on our heart where we’re just thinking and praying about about these ones you may have heard about this ministry called the Soul cafe there’s a little bit a lot of work done underground so far. We got great excitement in our city about it We’re still praying and think of what its gonna look like and how it’s gonna be So these are things that we’re not sure, but we’re gonna keep going and keep praying and keep following God’s lead And this is one thing I think we do know friends. We know this one thing that if we do it we will be alright all will be well if we do this one thing and and and It’s going to be on the screen in just a moment if I could please So I’m just gonna ask a question to end here and and and and if you would to say those words on the screen Especially if you believe them with conviction you can say them but friends There’s no guarantees in life Well, you know that But I’m telling you one of the one of the most powerful things we can do is to commit ourselves As we move into the future individually for our individual lives But also for us as a church if we do this one thing we will be alright We will be blessed and all will go well and that one thing is simply to go Where God leads one more time where God leads amen? Thank you?