Pohutukawa Coast Presbyterian Church
Clevedon Presbyterian Church
Kawakawa Bay
Clevedon Kidz

Hope, Joy, and Good News

May 2, 2021
Mark Chapman

Hope, Joy, and Good News

May 2 2021


May the Words of my mouth and thoughts of our hearts, be acceptable in your sight,

O Lord, our strength and our redeemer. Amen


So just to recap from two weeks ago

my dream at an early age was of a Church

a people, that was

a gathering of men and women

and teens and children

who were surrendering to this Divine lover

this God we know In Jesus

that would never let us go.

A people infused with this divine love

who were as outrageously generous as God.

A community of people

that exuded joy

and gentleness and kindness and humility

and whose aroma would flood out into the community

in transforming beauty

a people of the resurrection.


And I suggested that such a church, when it gathers together, it would be hard to stop

the laughter and the joy.


I think that would be a great Church to be part of.

It would be the kind of place I would feel safe to bring anyone to.

So as we welcome people into membership today

as we pray God’s blessings on a child

and her parents what kind of a church could we be for them?

What would a Jesus church look like?


First, it would welcome children with joy.

It would recognise within children their limitless potential for good.

Secondly it would welcome people from all walks of life

and all situations and it would embrace them because Jesus did.

It would understand and want to imitate the radicalness of Jesus.

Jesus was instituting a new way of doing life.

He called it the Kingdom of God.


And I like to imagine the church

as the emergency room in one of our hospitals

but a little more prompt to respond in some cases.


Has anyone been to an emergency room?

And you have to wait for someone to care for you?

Analogies always break down.

I don’t mean that kind of emergency room.


The ideal emergency room with doctors and nurses to spare.

They don’t ask you what you believe or don’t.

If your bleeding and you need a wound tended to, they don’t ask

a lot of silly questions hopefully

nor do they judge you

at least not out loud.


Why? Because you need the help they can give.


They don’t give you a history of the hospital or ask you how you feel about the minister

of health.

They don’t ask you if you believe in medicine.

They minister to you in your time of need.


Because if you can’t breathe, you need help.

If you’re bleeding you need the flow of blood staunched.

If your body is bashed and broken

you need all the tender and expertise care possible.

In other words you put yourself into the hands of people

who have committed their lives to

saving your life.


And I think, our churches could be like that.

Churches that deal in

unconditional love.


We love you because you need to be loved

and our doors are always open

because this is a safe place to cry, to laugh, to be embraced,

to embrace.

To be warmly welcomed

wherever you have been and wherever.


There was a woman who came week after week to church

and sat alone after the service and wept.

She didn’t want help

she didn’t want prayer

she just wanted a safe place to grieve.


On the other hand,

a man told me that he’d like to come to church

but that every time he came

he would cry.

And he was ashamed.


in such a place as a church;

maybe the goodness of the people

maybe a tangible sense of the presence of God

touches the hearts of the wounded.


And above all the church should radiate the good news found in Jesus.

Not the bad news

so often associated with churches

condemning people to hell

which we know doesn’t exist.


Asking people if they are saved because God is somehow angry with everyone;

the bad news of a God who actually doesn’t like any of his creation and

has to be appeased in someway.


People having to say certain things for God to like them

and if they don’t they are lost in some dark place for ever.

And many of us grew up in those kind of churches.


What they produced was a number of self-righteous people

who as Jesus said, didn’t enter the Kingdom of God

and stopped others from entering.


So along comes Jesus and says to a man the town hates:

Don’t sweat it -  I love you and God loves you.


To a woman believed cursed by God

and says actually you’re not

and God loves you and so do I.


To a so called immoral woman,

God loves you and so do I;

To a man who denies Him

and says – but it’s OK I still love you, and on and one.

And to mothers with their children

while others considered the children of no importance

Jesus says come to me you mums with your children

and picks them up in his arms

and blesses them and says the Kingdom of heaven is like these little children.


That’s why the books on Jesus are called gospels – good news about God.


So what makes a good Church?


Maybe a group of people who understand that all of creation

emanates from a God whose nature is Love

and who want to love as God is love.


People who sense that they have within them the DNA of God.


Why do we call evil, evil?

Because it somehow jars with us

and we recognise it

and we move away from it.

Why, because it is contrary to the Divine DNA within.


You and I were created for love.

That’s why we are happiest when we are giving.

We are happiest when we help people in need.

We are at our best when we embrace the hurting

and pour ourselves out for people going through difficult times.


But isn’t that dangerous?

If we go around hugging just anyone

what will people think?

Hug them, because they’ll think that anyway!


What if we run out of love

what we have just enough for ourselves?

That’s the attitude of some congregations I’ve been asked to help.


You’ve heard the story I’m sure of the warm fuzzies?

Well there was a church who had a huge reservoir of warm fuzzies.

And more and more people started coming because

when they were hurting or tired

or feeling sad or alone

they could be sure that at this church

they would get warm fuzzies.

And of course they told others.


But – and you get this, there was a little group in the church

who got a little annoyed

because they had to replace the carpet

and they needed a new coffee machine ..

because to many people were coming in.

So they started a rumour.

The rumour whispered very quietly into certain ears

was that they were running out of warm fuzzies

and the suggestion was that they give out cold pricklies instead.

And the rumour spread and

when strangers and visitors came in need of a warm fuzzy

more and more cold pricklies were being handed out.

And the more cold pricklies

the less people came

and the community around the church

became very depressed

as a greyness fell over the town.


All because the rumour started that you can’t love everyone

you can’t welcome everyone

because you will run out of Love.


But not you.


You know that the love of God is without measure

that if for a million, million years you gave out God’s love

it could never be exhausted.


The apostle Paul wrote that God had poured His love into our hearts by means of the

holy Spirt.

There is an immeasurable ocean of love

pure, unselfish,

bubbling up, ever renewing

that you an I have access to when we open our lives to the Spirit of God.

The Holy Spirit is given

not so we might be better than anyone else

but that a river of life

would flow from you and me

and the country be healed.

Now .. that’s the kind of a church that I love to belong to.


And you here today in this place – the love of God shines out of your faces in blessing.


Let us Pray

Now unto God the Father, God the Son and God, the holy Spirit, be all the honour and

glory, world without end. Amen

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