August 9, 2020

Stay Focused (click here)

Passage: PSALM 85; 1 Kings 19: 9–18; Matthew 14: 21-33
Service Type:


August 9th 2020


  • We pray God's blessing on Rev. Ena as she continues her holidays, may she be refreshed and renewed in body, mind and soul.
  • We welcome Our sister and Elder, Rev. Shirley Cochrane, to the pulpit today and pray that God will lead and guide us all through Shirley, as she brings the Word to us today.
  • Thank you to James Laurenson, the web coordinator for the Presbyterian Church in Canada, for his expertise in sorting out the issues we were having with the  way  the Sermons were loading on the webpage last week.



Give thanks to the Lord!

We will tell everyone we meet what God has done!

Let us bring praise to the name of the Lord!

We will honour God’s holy name with shouts of joy!

Be mindful of all that God provides for us.

We will remember the world of wonders God has made!


HYMN 324 – Great is thy faithfulness (click the blue text for YouTube music, sorry there may be advertising)

“Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.


“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!


Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.


“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!


Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!


“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided

“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!

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Surprising and mysterious God, you come to us when we least expect it, calling us out of our routines and our plans, inviting us to follow Christ on a great journey of faith. We praise you for the many ways you comfort and guide us. In our moments of fear, you speak to us with words of reassurance. In our moments of doubt, you reach out your hand to save us. In our moments of turmoil, you bring calm to the storm. We place our trust in you this day and every day, and worship you as our Redeemer and Saviour in the name of Christ, our Lord and friend. Amen.



Merciful and patient God, We confess that we still live in fear and doubt, even though we have been touched by your saving grace. You call us to live with courage and perseverance, yet we give up too easily and opt for the safer route.

You encourage us to be bold in our faith and steadfast in our fight for justice, yet we remain silent in the face of inequality and violence. Forgive us all the times we have left you down. Renew our lives through your mercy and grace. In the name of Jesus  AMEN



Rest assured, God’s forgiveness and saving grace are for everyone. Accept these gifts for yourselves and offer forgiveness to others in the name of Christ our Lord.




HYMN 23 – I waited for the Lord my God


1 I waited for the Lord my God,

and patiently did bear;

At length to me he did incline

my voice and cry to hear.


2 He took me from a fearful pit,

and from the miry clay,

And on a rock he set my feet,

establishing my way.

3 He put a new song in my mouth,

our God to magnify:

Many shall see it, and shall fear,

and on the Lord rely.

4 O Lord my God, full many are

the wonders thou hast done;

Thy gracious thoughts to us-ward far

above all thoughts are gone:


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1 You, Lord, showed favor to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
2 You forgave the iniquity of your people and covered all their sins.
3 You set aside all your wrath and turned from your fierce anger.

4 Restore us again, God our Savior, and put away your displeasure toward us.
5 Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger through all generations?
6 Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?
7 Show us your unfailing love, Lord, and grant us your salvation.

8 I will listen to what God the Lord says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants—  but let them not turn to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is near those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.

10 Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other.
11 Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,   and righteousness looks down from heaven.
12 The Lord will indeed give what is good,  and our land will yield its harvest.
13 Righteousness goes before him  and prepares the way for his steps.


1 Kings 19:9–18


9 There he went into a cave and spent the night.

And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.


Matthew 14;  21-33


22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”


SERMON: Stay Focused

God of wisdom, as we gather to hear your Word this day, calm our spirits and still our minds so that we are able to receive the fullness of your message and respond with faithfulness. Amen.


Last week our scripture readings began with a chaotic day for Jesus. First, he is slammed with grief over the sudden beheading of John the Baptist. There are rumours his name is on the wanted poster too He and his disciples climb into boat and head for a quiet place for some down time – to grieve and mourn and make sense of a sad and injustice brutal situation. However, that’s not what the folks hanging around want.  They want to continue listening to the stories and lessons    this teacher has been telling . They know he has power not seen before - that he can heal the sick – bring new hope and life. So large as the lake is, the people figure out where the boat and the Galilean are headed. Yep -they hot foot it in the same direction and when Jesus and his crew-mates approach shore –the crowd in all its anticipation, cheer! does Jesus say “Go Home!”   No.  Much as he needs time for some self-care, His heart overflows with compassion and for the rest of the day he lays healing hands on the sick and disabled. He speaks words of wisdom and comfort.  And then when the disciples tell Jesus to make them all go home for supper, he says “what for?  just feed them” This won’t be the first time the disciples urge Jesus to send folks packing. A meager five small loaves of bread and two fish are all that is garnered from the thousands who are gathered. Jesus blesses, gives thanks and starts to break the bread – handing it to the disciples who in turn pass the food out to the assembled groups sitting around on the grass. Truly a miracle.  By the time they all partake of the broken loaves and fishes –the sun is going down.  The crowd scatters and at last - there is quiet. Maybe now they can get some rest and quiet


Now we know Jesus was divine – with God infused gifts- but he is also human, All humans have limits and need boundaries, space, and time for self-care. Jesus is no exception. He too needs time alone - apart from the crowds and from his inner circle of best buddies Jesus, like many people called into ministry, has a passion for the people and sometimes passion and enthusiasm pushes self-care to the curb. Jesus’ inner circle sense that Jesus needs some self-care—time to be alone and relax


At last the sends his disciples away in a boat, alone cross the lake as night is falling. No worries here – boats are a main staple in the lives of the fishermen. Finally, Jesus is alone and turns to his source of strength and encouragement. He heads up a nearby mountain to spend time in prayer


Now we are not told where the disciples were headed but before they reach their destination – as often happens on this particular body of water, the wind picks up. Soon the lake is a mass of threatening waves. Bad enough in day light but tis the middle of the night. Far from the shore there’s nothing to do but hang on!  The night seems to go on forever. But as morning prepares to bring light into a black and stormy sky, they spy something far more terrifying. They see an apparition on the water, They are exhausted and are convinced it’s an evil spirit. People just don’t walk on water!  what else should they think! it’s been a long chaotic day and a longer anxiety producing night.


Rested and refreshed Jesus, eager to rejoin his disciples, walks on the sea toward them. Terrified they cry out in panic.!  “Instantly, Jesus says to them, ‘Stay calm, it’s me; don’t be afraid.’. In panic Peter responds, ‘Master, if it is really you, command me to join you on the water.’ Jesus simply says, “Come.”


Although everyone remembers Jesus walked on water , the spotlight is usually on Peter’s momentary walk on the water and his failure to maintain that walk Impetuous Peter quickly discovers that it is one thing to be battered by fierce winds while in the same boat with others. It is a whole different matter have feet physically on the water without others sharing the same vulnerability. Jesus and Peter are not “in the same boat”; Jesus walks on the waves for a long distance, from shore to the boat. Peter does not. Quickly Peter is up to his knees and sinking fast. Jesus chastises Peter when he focuses on the wind and waves – rather than on Jesus. He accuses his disciple of doubting and having little faith.  But wait a moment! Sometimes we want our own miracle at the expense of others who are in the same boat as us. Sometimes faith is seeing the boat for what it is—a shared experience and the opportunity to lean on one another in the storm while waiting on God. Jesus reaches out his hand and catches Peter. It is when they are all in the boat together with Jesus that the winds calm down.


I dare to say untold numbers of folks around the world have felt caught in the storm and chaos of the past few months. The pandemic has been thrown over the entire world like a suffocating cloak. I check the news daily and think I am at least somewhat informed about world affairs.  Like many Canadians, I feel grateful that I have never really gone hungry.  I live in a comfortable home. I have family with me - which yes, can bring chaos from time to time but also shares a lot of love. I live in a great country. Yes, we sometimes complain about the government and the decisions that the politicians make from time to time – [you can supply the adjectives]. I am often informed of the endless conspiracy theories and the threat of “New World Order “by my older sons but all in all, it’s a pretty good life.


Then Tuesday happened. A huge portion of the port city of Beirut in Lebanon in a few short minutes was blown to bits.  Intense chaos!  many killed instantly - thousands injured – and thousands left in the shattered ruins of their homes and lives. As the day, and days have gone by and reports of the very bad situation have surfaced - corrupt government - a collapsed economy – civil war, sectarian violence – religious intolerance and oppression - the list goes on…. It made me realize that there is a whole world out here suffering in storms and chaos.  A world which never intercepts with mine.


To be alive is to be vulnerable. When Jesus called Peter to come to him- for a brief glorious moment he remembered how – confidently stepped out of the boat and stepped forward. Then he realized how vulnerable he was.  We too are meant to stride forward with confidence - but when the storms and the chaos hit us, we forget and sink. We need to remember that if we cry out for help Jesus will hold out his hand and pull us out of the water. Jesus knows how vulnerable, precious and valuable people are. There is never a place where Jesus is not present, He is there in the storm and the chaos bringing Shalom- a special kind of wholeness centered on a life in the presence of God.


Jesus could have let Peter sweat it out a little by giving him a lecture before he saved him but He didn’t. The scriptures tell us at Peter’s most desperate point of need; Christ reached His hand out to Peter. He doesn’t let him go, he doesn’t punish him for his sudden renewed fear or his doubt. Instead he pulls him out of the waves. Leads him to the safety of the boat and into the care of his friends. Fear is transformed into awe; terror is transformed into belief, and the disciples begin to praise the one who has saved them. , “Truly you are the Son of God” !


This is exactly where Jesus is today – he is reaching out for all that are in desperate need of a Savior. Jesus doesn’t scold us for being fearful, or ignorant – He simply extends His nail scarred hand of love and says “I’ll save you because I love you!”


Yes, the world seems quite out of control. Human effort seems to be a band aid treatment.  Storms erupt in every life, sometimes they feel like they’re drowning us; Don’t wait until you are drowning to realize your own strength will never get you through.


When you feel that you are sinking in the waves of life, call out to Jesus. You can be confident that he will reach out, take hold of you and walk you to safety.  For our part, we have to step out into the world in faith, keeping our focus on Jesus Christ. We have to remember that when the distractions, storms and devastating explosions come, and they will, when we feel our faith waiver, and sometimes it might, to cry out to Him. He will always answer.

So, I say to you, when the waves threaten to toss you under- Step out of the boat. AMEN



HYMN 358  There is a Redeemer


There is a redeemer
Jesus, God's own Son
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah
Holy One

Thank you, oh my father
For giving us Your Son
And leaving Your Spirit
'Til the work on Earth is done

Jesus my redeemer
Name above all names
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah
Oh, for sinners slain

Thank you, oh my father
For giving us Your Son
And leaving Your Spirit
'Til the work on Earth is done

When I stand in Glory
I will see His face
And there I'll serve my King forever
In that Holy Place

Thank you, oh my father
For giving us Your Son
And leaving Your Spirit
'Til the work on Earth is done

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Thankful for the good gifts God gives us in Christ and in creation, let us present the fruit of our living—gifts and offerings for the work of God in the church and in the world.



Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!



Faithful God, bless the gifts we bring to you today. Use them and us to plant seeds of faith, hope and love in the world so that your goodness will grow among your people, and your name be honoured for Christ’s sake. Amen.



God of all people, your love and grace sustain the world and all who live in it. When we foolishly set up walls between people, you tear them down and draw us into one family, united in Christ and in compassion. The pandemic has filled so many nations and neighbours with turmoil and fear. So we come before you with prayers for the world you love.


Astonishing God, you surprise us. You come to us in unforeseen circumstances and in unexpected people. We give you thanks for all the healers and heroes who have stepped forward during the pandemic to surprise us with kindness and courage. We pray for all who still face upheaval and uncertainty because of COVID-19. Call out leaders with wisdom and imagination to address the fear and change we are facing. And fill our hearts with compassion and understanding for the most fearful.


God of peace, you reassure us. You remind us not to be afraid when troubles arise.

We pray for all people who live in precarious situations not related to the pandemic. Assure them they are not forgotten. We pray for those who struggle with illness, grief or depression. May they know your peace and strength.


We lift to you all those whom we have named ………


Gracious and loving God who hovers over the pain of your world We remember especially this day the people of Beirut. Help the injured, support the dying,
bring comfort to the grieving and soothe the anxious whose families and lives are forever changed by grief and loss. Bless with your strength and comfort those who have survived the trauma and devastation of this disaster…. bless all those who have lost their homes, their livelihoods, their security and their hope.Strengthen and guide doctors, nurses, and all those who serve in emergency services
and all who bring comfort and relief both there and around


Equip us to reach out in every way we can to embody your love in our words and actions. God of hope, you challenge us. You come to us in the midst of trouble and invite us to stand for justice and work for truth.


We pray for all those people crying out for fair treatment, working against racism and discrimination, telling painful stories of their lives. Open our hearts with understanding and motivate us to act for change. We pray for those who resist the stories of injustice and defend inequality. Open their minds to the truths they deny and show them new possibilities for relationships that bridge divides. Send your Spirit to work in our communities to create mutual respect and new ways to live as neighbours.


We pray for your Church here in Salmon Arm in our Presbytery and Synod. As we adjust to a new way of worshiping, we give thanks for your guidance and wisdom. We remember before you those who are not yet comfortable being in the presence of other, \We give you thank for the means by which we can virtually worship with people near and far through the intricacies of technology. We also give thanks for all of the people who generously give their time to the church throughout the year in big and small ways


Faithful God, we place our trust in you and your purposes. Answer our prayers according to your wisdom and will, for we offer them humbly in the name of Jesus who taught us to pray together…



Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come, thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,forever.



HYMN 681  We have heard a joyful sound


  1. We have heard a joyful sound,
    Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
    Spread the gladness all around:
    Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
    Bear the news to every land,
    climb the steeps and cross the waves;
    onward! 'tis our Lord's command:
    Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
  2.  Waft it on the rolling tide,
    Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
    Tell to sinners far and wide,
    Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
    Sing, ye islands of the sea,
    echo back, ye ocean's caves;
    earth shall keep her jubilee:
    Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
  3.  Sing above the battle's strife,
    Jesus saves, Jesus saves.
    By his death and endless life,
    Jesus saves. Jesus saves!
    Sing it softly through the gloom,
    when the heart for mercy craves;
    sing in triumph o'er the tomb,
    Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
  4. Give the winds a mighty voice,
    Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
    Let the nations now rejoice:
    Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
    Shout salvation full and free
    to every strand that ocean laves;
    this our song of victory,
    Jesus saves! Jesus saves!

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Step out of the boat in faith knowing that the hand of Christ is held out to you. May shalom embrace you and together the peoples of the world and calm the storm.  We go into the world knowing the presence of our God of peace empowers us to do his will through Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit to whom be glory forever and ever


Hymn: Go now in peace

Go now in peace. Never be afraid.

God will go with you each hour of ev’ry day.

Go now in faith, steadfast, strong and true.

Know He will guide you in all you do.

Go now in love, and show you believe.

Reach out to others so all the world can see.

God will be there, watching from above.

Go now in peace, in faith and in love.

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