David’s sermon from 28 October 2018

Do you ever have doubts, uncertainties about your faith in Jesus Christ. Do you ever think, this is a bit farfetched, doesn’t fit in with today’s rational and scientific approach to life and belief?
Maybe that experience I had of God’s presence was my imagination, or this Jesus chap sounds very good but, “Son of God? – isn’t that taking things a bit far?
I think that it is safe to say that everyone who has faith in Jesus, everyone who chooses to base their life on belief that He is God, has times of doubt, of uncertainty, and many of us have a faith which we find difficult to express, or to explain to others. We are not alone in this. I am sure every Christian has this experience now and again.
Our New Testament reading today is from the letter to the Hebrews, it is quite unlike any of the other letters in the New Testament, and no-one is quite sure who wrote it, but it was written at the same time as many of Paul’s letters and was probably written by one of Paul’s disciples – possibly Barnabus or Apollos. What is important about the letter is the recipients – not the author.
It was written to Hebrews – not Gentiles, to Jews, not Greeks or Romans. And it is generally agreed that it was written to encourage Jews, who had turned to faith in Jesus, Jews who had become Christians – but who were having some doubts so it was written to strengthen their faith and to encourage them in their following Jesus.
The author therefore develops the basis for faith in Jesus out of the culture of the Jews, he takes what Jews will understand, what is in their culture – he takes the message and the content of the Old Testament – the Jewish scriptures and applies them to what Jesus says and did. To his teaching, to his life, and to his resurrection.
This is early culturalisation – we talk today of making the Gospel relevant to the culture of today – so that today’s generation, today’s western culture, can understand and identify with it. Well – this is an example of  culturalisation from the first century AD.
If we are not able to present our faith, our Good News of Jesus, our belief in Him as “Son of God” in a way that the society around us can identify with and therefore understand, we might as well be talking in Greek, or Hebrew. That is why new translations of the Bible in more up to date language, and new forms of worship, or new ways of being a Church are normal and essential developments.
What is it that this letter is saying to the Hebrews in a way they can understand?
In the book of Genesis, there is a brief reference to a Priest called Melchizadek, and he is also referenced in Psalm 110. Now Jewish priests all came from the tribe of Levi, descendants of Aaron, who was with Moses. Melchizadek, however, predates them and he appears without any lineage, without a history, more importantly, there is no record of him dying, there is no recorded end to his life.
In Psalm 110 he is referred to as a sort of “type” for the Messiah, a sort of model for what the Messiah would be like – and that is what the writer of the Hebrews uses to connect with the Jews he is writing to.
He takes this image of a Priest who does not die – to connect in to Jesus.
To the Jews, a priest was appointed to go between God and them, they presented sacrifices to be able to come near to God, they were able, after the sacrifices were properly made, to enter into the inner temple to meet God. In the inner temple they could make intercession for all the people, they could pray on their behalf to God. The priest is their conduit to God.
So – the message to the Hebrews is – “remember Melchizadek, who did not have recorded death – well, remember Jesus who died, but then rose again, so he has no death either. Look – in Jesus we have the realisation of an eternal priest – just like Melchizadek – but better.
Since Jesus is always alive – He can always intercede for us – isn’t that a wonderful picture – Jesus praying for us to His Father
Not only that – priests all need to make sacrifices to be able to come to God – but Jesus, he has given himself as the ultimate, complete sacrifice – so he need offer no more. His sacrifice once and for all – no need for more.
Priests need a temple, a building to go into to meet God – but Jesus has ascended to heaven where He can stand eternally before His Father, before God, in intercession for all – for the Hebrews, for the Gentiles, for us here, and for people from everywhere. That image comes out of the roots of Israel and is as vital today as it was to the first Jewish converts to Christ.
Jesus Christ is – listen to this description from verse 26 –
A High priest who is Holy – worthy of worship, undefiled by rebellion, selfishness, sin
A high priest – who is blameless – has done no wrong, is pure and innocent of all charges, nothing at all for which he could be condemned – nothing.
A high Priest – set apart from sinners yet interceding, praying for us – for you and me – constantly
A high Priest – exalted above the heavens, with His Father, reigning forever, living in eternity, Son of God.
This is your Saviour – he says this to the Hebrews – this is your Saviour – he says to us here – hold on to Jesus in His eternity, hold on to Jesus as your everlasting priest – hold on to Jesus as Son of God.
Remember the resurrection – you thought Melchizadek was something – well look to Jesus because he really is something – he is the real thing, the reality of God amongst us, the everlasting intercessor for us in our lives.
He is the Messiah, the Saviour and the Lord.
And he cares for us – to intercede for us – to pray for us – to follow Him.


Davids sermon 21 October 2018

Two readings today – from Job and Mark – and two answers:

From Job –  God answers from the whirlwind:

Who are you to question me! 

Job has been railing against God right through the book – Why have you done this – Why are you punishing me, why is this happening?

Job is sure this is not his fault, he has not done anything wrong – why God did you allow this to happen?  He has lost everything – his wealth, his family, his health, his friends: – Why God?

And God answers from the whirlwind – “Who are you to question me?  Who are you who speaks without knowledge,”

Look at all I have done and can do – 

Did you create the earth did you measure the foundations, did you set the stars or put the sea in its place? – on and on He goes listing all He has done which Job could not do. – the whole chapter lists God’s control of creation.

And Job is humbled, he changes from anger and arrogance to humility and acceptance that above all – God is Good.

Above all:  God is sovereign – we cannot understand his working by our rational thinking alone

  God’s will towards us is good – He cares and communicates that care to us – that is a sound foundation for our faith.

When things wrong, we can either harangue God and make us His adversary – or we can ask Him to be our helper, our advocate, bow in humility, and wait for Him to reveal himself and His plans for us.

And in Mark,  – God, Jesus – answers out of humility – out of servant hood.

“What do you want me to do for you?”

The two disciples ask Jesus to give them places of authority over others – and the answer is:

Do you know what you are asking, can you take on that position of hurting of subservience, of punishment and death that I will go through?

  • So be it you shall – but listen to this – come round all you and listen – :
  • Rulers Lord it over others and exert authority over people – 
  • But not so for you!
  • That is not may way
  • That is not our way

If you want to be great in my way – you must serve

If you want to be first, you have to put yourself last

Jesus response to James and John is a question – “What do you want me to do for you?” – the question of a servant.   Later on in the chapter He asks the same question of  a blind man – 

“What do you want me to do for you?”

And as we start this period of uncertainty before us, as we come to terms with what we all have to do during this vacancy, let’s hold on to these two answers:

God to Job:  “ Who are you to question my ways?” but be assured, God is Good.

Jesus to James and John: “What do you want me to do for you?”

Jesus comes to us as a servant and offers us Himself.

Can we also take that mantle of servant hood and ask others:  “What do you want me to do for you?”

But also, can we in our prayers to Jesus – can we ask him from our hearts, from our uncertainties, from our anxieties – think about this – Jesus invites our requests:
“Jesus – this is what I will ask you do for me?   To do for our church, and to do for our community”

May this time be a time of blessing for us all.   Amen  

Looking forward to our vacancy…

David’s address on 21st October 2018

David read the story of Fergie the Frog scout.

I decided to read this story, to some extent out of nostalgia, because it reminds me of 15 years ago or so when we were also in vacancy – when we had a locum minister from Canada, who introduced us to the stories of Fergie the frog.    And during that time we grew together as a church.

This is our first Sunday without a minister – but we have been here before, and we know our strengths and abilities.

Hilda Smith will be our guide through this, but she has her own church to run and will not be able to give us the same attention that a full time minister can.   She will not be able to take many services here.   So we will have different people leading services, but even then, there are not so many people available as there were 8 years ago.   I have a list of 9 possible people to come but that includes those from Dunoon, Campbeltown and Islay.   And there are many other vacant parishes to be covered.   

So, to continue Sunday worship – here and in GKF we will need at times to use our own resources.

Cliff had started some meetings with people from the congregations to plan and take part in services – I think we need to develop these, in conjunction with GKF.     I will take as many services as I can and with GKF will set out a programme of those readers, etc who can come to us.   But there will be gaps which we will have to fill ourselves.    I will also be asking Hilda about trying to find a locum.

Also, this is likely to be a long vacancy because first of all Presbytery need to decide how best to manage the vacancies we have and the structure of the parishes, and then, if and when we can call a minister – there are not many around.   

However, overall, experience from this congregation is that we respond well to being in a vacancy and we can work to grow together to be a lively community of worship and of outreach to our friends and neighbours.     

I would ask that we all take time daily to pray that this time of vacancy will be a time when we experience clear guidance from God, that we each one see our faith in Jesus grow, and that we know the presence of Jesus more and more in our daily lives.

New members admitted

Our harvest celebration today was Cliff’s last service with us before his departure to the United States. We shared lunch as a congregation to wish him well. Some of our linked congregation friends joined us from Glassary Kilmartin and Ford parish.
We also had the privilege today of welcoming two new members by profession of faith. Nick Smith and Courtney Howlett came to us to explore Christianity a year ago. They were excited to join the Alpha which was held in Achnamara Hall. Their new found faith in Jesus has led them to become active in our congregation where they are involved in Messy Church and Alpha Next.

Farewell from the minister

Cliff at Cafe Connect
Cliff saying goodbye to the Cafe customers

It is with mixed feelings that I bid you all a fond farewell now that my visa to work in the USA has finally come through.  Thank you for all your kindness to me over these eight years when I have had the privilege to be your minister.  My new congregation, the United Presbyterian Church of Middletown have also been very patient waiting for over ten months for my arrival.  So, this year they will enjoy an extra special Thanksgiving in November.

Just as their autumn weather has begun to kick in, their cooler temperatures have dipped below ours in time to make me feel at home.  Thank you for inviting me into your homes and be assured that you will be welcome in mine if you decide to come over for a visit.

Kind regards


Kirk Session Agenda 12 October 2018

Kirk Session meetings are inclusive and anyone may attend whether or not they are a member of the church.

North Knapdale Church of Scotland
Kirk Session Meeting – 12th October 2018.
Tayvallich Church 7.30pm
1 Opening Prayer and Worship
2 Sederunt
3 Apologies
4 Minutes of meeting of the 19th September 2018. See notes
5 Matters arising:
Minute of 19th September:
5.1 Gift for Mr and Mrs Cameron
Items carried forward from previous meetings:
5.2 Audio visual equipment
5.3 Storage
5.4 Development of Tayvallich Church
6 Worship and Mission:
6.1 Service for Public Profession of Faith
6.2 “Shoebox” Service
6.3 Messy church
6.4 Alpha
7 Reports:
7.1 Minister
7.2 Stewardship
7.3 Safeguarding and Notifiable events
7.4 Presbytery
7.5 Treasurer and Finance Committee
7.6 Fabric
8 Correspondence:
8.1 Inverlussa Church Building
8.2 On line Training
8.3 Cross reach.
10 Date of next meeting
11 Close with Prayer

Notes from Kirk Session 19 September 2018

The Local Church Review:
The Review Questionnaire was gone through in detail and a response collated from suggestions made by various members.
The Full response is available with this note and on the Church website by clicking here

Sale of Inverlussa Church
The Moderator noted that he had received correspondence from the General Trustees Law department concerning the valuation of Inverlussa Church.
The Session Clerk had followed this up by phone for clarification, and had received an e-mail from the lawyer dealing with this matter setting out 3 courses of action open to North Knapdale Church, as the sellers, in relation to the potential requirement for any buyer to negotiate with local landowners over private water, drainage and sewage services.

Following discussion the meeting unanimously agreed that the Church of Scotland Law department be notified that North Knapdale Kirk session ask that Course of action number 1 be progressed as this would reduce delay in marketing the building and would put the responsibility for any negotiations with local landowners for water and drainage access in the hands of the buyer rather than the Church of Scotland.

Visit from Kasamba Congregation
The moderator confirmed that 4 members of Kasamba congregation will visit Mid Argyll from the 21st September to the 5th October at the invitation of the Mid Argyll Churches Malawi Twinning Group. The Session Clerk outlined the key items on the itinerary for the visit and asked for support with hospitality and accommodation.

Harvest Service.
It was agreed that the service for Harvest thanksgiving would be held at Tayvallich Church on the 14th October. Gifts of fresh food would be given to
Ardfenaig aged people home, and preserved food would be donated to Moving on Mid Argyll. A retiring offering will be taken for Christian Aid.

In view of time constraints it was agreed to carry forward the remaining items on the Agenda to the next meeting.

The next meeting will be held at Tayvallich Church at 7.30pm on Friday the 12th October 2018.