Check out our latest news below!

Contact Us

Quiet Time in Quarantine

Tuesday April 28, 2020

Good morning C'town CRC,
I hope this finds you well this week. We're into the 4th week of Easter now, and this morning's readings I found particularly appropriate to the Easter emphasis on re-birth in the Spirit of God in Christ Jesus. Also, I think you'll find the song quite beautiful; loads of gorgeous movements that sing of longing to live in the way and freedom of Jesus. Here's a quick excerpt below; but I advise, listen to the song and download the whole album if you really want a worshipful feast.
Am                      F
when I stop and look on you
and meditate upon your ways
seeing how your blood it covers me
      F              C
with never ceasing grace
Devotional: The Psalm and the Proverb sing so innocently of a life that simply attends to God, stripping away everything else that competes for our attentions and affections; that we would see things from the cosmic point of view for what they are; that we were made for glory-revealing in our Creator. Nothing more, nothing less. To walk in His ways, which are ways of freedom and life with Him; rather than our own ways, which inevitably ensnare and imprison us, locking us up in a life that never really satisfies, and only increasingly serves to frustrate. “You that are simple, turn in here!” To those without sense she says, “Come, eat of my breadand drink of the wine I have mixed. Lay aside immaturity, and live, and walk in the way of insight.” Or as Peter puts it, "Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk." Let this morning be morning of rejoicing and renewal in God; let all the complications and worries retreat into the background, and hear the good news of God in the Gospel, the forgiveness and new life in the Son that He has escorted us into. Pray that we learn to follow His lead, rather than our own.

Quiet Time in Quarantine

Tuesday April 21, 2020

Good morning C'town CRC, 
Hope your week is off to a good start. Much to be grateful for in the way God has protected and provided for us here still in the midst of this pandemic. There are positive signs all about to be sure. Still there is much to pray for in the midst of our world and our church community. I know there are countless ways in which you've been praying for and serving each other; so grateful for that and for the way you continue to reach out to one another and renew in creative ways the bonds of fellowship we've been gifted in Christ. I pray this morning's devotional is a hopeful reminder of what God has done and continues to do for us, in hopes that remain hopeful in Him.
Love to you all & the peace of Christ Jesus,
Pastor Josh
Devotional: There is a common theme running through the readings this morning, as the Lection would have us look back on the Resurrection of Jesus. That them is water. It is quite fascinating to reflect on water's presence throughout the Scriptures, both Old and New. From the Garden, to Noah, to Egypt, in the desert where Moses' staff bring forth water from the rock, into the Promised Land; and then of course there's the baptism of John for repentance for Israel, and then the our own baptisms, which are in water, but of course symbolize the Spirit, who is the wellspring of Life itself. Water is often something that is passed through in these aforementioned passages; it tends to symbolize especially in the NT, the fact that Jesus must pass through it in order to bring about new life for the whole world; that as Romans 6:1-4 reminds us; that we are buried in the water of baptismal death, our sins buried in the watery grave, & then raised to newness of life with Jesus. Or as Peter put it, 'God waited patiently in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which 8 persons were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from your body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience.' 1 Pet. 3:21 Let us this morning remember our baptisms; that Jesus has brought us through death and unto new life; and that what we are currently experiencing is no match for Him; that as the devotional song sings this morning, 'Death is defeated, Jesus reigns tell the world there is hope in his name; he pushed back the darkness and conquered our sins, and Christ will make all things new again.'

Quiet Time in Quarantine

Thursday April 16, 2020

Good morning Charlottetown CRC! What a beautiful morning God has given us today. 
I know that these are certainly trying times, and the longer they drag on, the more difficult they become, and we just begin to feel worn thin. I wager God has grown and is growing a tremendously new and fresh appreciation for the gift that is the Church Body, with whom we can be encouraged and hugged and lifted up by in fellowship in Jesus. We're even missing the normal contact we're accustomed to having with neighbors, co-workers, even perfect ordinary strangers. We just miss feeling 'human'; getting to smile at people we pass on the road or in the grocery store, without having to maintain 6 feet of social distancing. The things we have taken for granted, we're realizing, are many. Job security, available health care even, or just plain old ordinary human relating. 
There is good news however, on 2 counts. 
1. There are many optimistic signs that the worst of it is over and that the return back to some sense of normalcy is soon on the way. 
2. As good as that is, the readings today speak of an altogether qualitatively better news, unfailing and without limit. And that news is this, that regardless of the times [and in a way we should not be surprised by them; Jesus seemed to indicate that life in the past days (the days after Jesus, until He comes; that's what the authors mean by 'the last days') that life would be characterized by plagues, and wars, and famine, and rumors of other Christ-comings; and he told us not to get hung up on them; that these were 'just the beginning of birth pangs'; that it does us no good to speculate as to the end, for the fact is that not even the Son himself knows! Matt. 24:36-37. So if even the Son does not know, I would not presume to wager a guess myself!
The Good News is, these days were always marked; this age has been served notice; we know they are relatively few, regardless of how long they are; and that we were made for something better, something more. And that more is God, whose desire is for us, & whose joys are simply incomparable. Read on this morning and see.
But aside from those 
Devotional: Straight out of the gates the Psalmist announces the refuge that our God is, and that apart from Him, he has no good. There is no good apart from God! That's what he's saying; that you can have everything the world has to offer, and it won't console the heart in the least; and if you have everything the world has to offer, in addition to God, then like Paul we'll learn to count the 'everything the world has to offer' as nothing, as refuse, compared to the knowing of Christ Jesus our Lord. That is the power of knowing Him; He is a God with whom we have relationship to the degree that that relationship trumps everything else, hands down, 'every day of the week and twice on Sunday', as the saying goes. He has, and will continue to, 'show us the way/path of life' and that life being the 'fullness of the presence of His joy, the pleasures of which are forever more'.
Solomon's song sings this delight in God--he sings other things as well; this is a song for his earthly beloved, but it's written as a metaphor also for the kind of love God wraps us up in relationship with in Himself. It is far better than any earthly lover can provide; and in the best marriages what we gain is just a foreshadowing of the sort of love that the Father has for us. Solomon's song here reminds us of what Jesus longingly spoke of while with us, 'that he longed for the heavenly wedding day' when we his Bride would be fully united to him. The 'time of singing' is near at hand.
Paul indicates then for us the practice of prayer, a practice of dialogue with the Living God through the Holy Spirit; that we ought to be finding ourselves in a constant running dialogue with God, saturated in prayer. (There are a few good books; the best I've found however, hands down, on developing a prayer life with God is Eugene Peterson's Answering God  
A life started in prayer dialogue with God is one that then can begin to 'declare the mystery of Christ'. Quite simply put, you cannot declare what you do not know. Communicating the Gospel is something that happens not principally by declaring 3 bullet points of information, but is something that happens on a far deeper register; it is the communication of a life that knows a Life. 'We know God', Paul is saying; 'we've been welcomed into a way of being, a path of life with the Creator, abiding in Himself; and it is such that we should pursue it above all other things this life may afford. And when we do, it will shape us into being other-worldly creatures, creatures of the heavenly life to come, life in the new age, life with Christ uninterrupted; and being thus-shaped, we will be contagious communicators of His mystery. And in this, we will have 'made the most of the times'
Blessings on you church this morning; abide deeply and richly in Him who is our feast, 'in whose right hand are delights and pleasures' this world can't begin to touch. And take confidence that your contact with others then--as limited as it may be in this season--is seasoned with the stuff of real & abiding Heavenly Life, and that by it your fellow brothers/sisters in Christ are enriched, as are those who may not yet know & abide in Him.  

Quiet Time in Quarantine

Tuesday April 14, 2020

Good morning-after-Easter Monday C'town CRC. 

I trust you all enjoyed a great Easter Sunday afternoon with your family and friends, or just enjoyed a quiet day to yourself perhaps after virtual worship? It was a beautiful Sunday all around, as God reminded us again of His faithfulness and goodness in the promises He has made good on in His Son.
Devotion: The readings begin to shift this week now to reflecting on the salvation God has provided. The Psalm this morning sings of the steadfast love of the Lord, that the gates of righteousness have opened to him. What he says in poetic fashion we put plainly; that it is God's salvation that makes qualifies us, makes us righteous and fit to enter into the courts of His presence.
Moses sings of the first great act of salvation in the life of Israel, where God delivered His people from slavery in Egypt, defeating their enemies for their sake, and freeing them to be a people who live freely in worship to Him. What God foreshadowed there in Egypt He has done in full for us in Jesus; only our enemy was death. How rich a salvation He has made for & delivered us unto. 
This is what Paul sings of, this life-anew clothed in Jesus and his righteousness. And so Paul exhorts us to return not to the grave, but to wear instead these things which are the life of Jesus, which characterize his nature; kindness, patience, humility & meekness; to forgive each other as he has forgiven us. Jesus' resurrection clothes us from on high, and invites us into an entirely new way of life in Him, & in fellowship and community with each other. By this, they will know we are his disciples, as Jesus reminded in our Maundy Thursday reading. And I love how Paul then exhorts us to sing & encourage, and 'teach' (that's the lit. translation of 'admonish'; which always throws me--in much of the literature of old England you can encounter this word, and it always holds for me connotations of being 'called out' or scolded; but that is not the sense here.) The pt is, Paul wants us to be a people who sing the Gospel to each other. There's a whole bucket of things to explore here, but the early Church was quite anthropologically savvy and aware; God's wisdom is such that He wants to saturate our whole being through the song of the Gospel, bc what we sing has a way, unlike anything else, of soaking into our bones, hearts, and minds; it goes to work on us at the subconscious level, as we soak up the words of the Gospel. Ever notice how even come Tuesday you're still sining songs we sung Sunday? 
Let us sing this morning the Gospel to each other--in the household, to our kids; across the lawn or fence to our neighbors; to each other over text or video, etc. Find a way to sing the Gospel to yourself and others and let the love of Christ dwell richly in you this morning.

Saturday Vigil

Saturday April 11, 2020

Good morning Charlottetown CRC; we hope that you've enjoyed participating in worship this Holy Week, with Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services. We are very much looking forward to Easter Sunday tomorrow! 
Saturday is traditionally a day of 'keeping watch in prayer'. The traditional hours of prayer come to us from Daniel, who while in exile in Babylon, set his face towards Jerusalem and prayed 3 times daily; at the 3rd, the 6th, and the 9th hours. That is, 9am, 12PM, and 3PM. Either this was a tradition Daniel had learned prior to exile, while still in the Land, or it was one begun during the exile. Cases are made for each. Nevertheless, what is important for us is that this tradition remains alive in the corners of the Christian Church, and on days like these we are invited especially to mark them in praying this way.
You can pray whatever you like at these hours of course; but I'll provide the Book of Common Prayer's Morning, Afternoon, & Evening Prayer links as prompts to prayer. As well, let us prayer for peace, for the health of all nations, for the recognition of our sin & death that we might see all nations repent and worship Jesus the Living God and King of kings, Lord of lords.
Morning Prayer:
Blessings on you this day church,
Pastor Josh

Quiet Time in Quarantine

Thursday April 9, 2020

Happy Maundy Thursday Charlottetown CRC,
You can almost feel in the morning sun the hope of Spring and Easter Sunday. Our island, by the grace of God, continues to do well in the midst of the pandemic. And a return to normal life is beginning to feel once again imaginable. God has been good to sustain us thus far, and  give us His Peace and patience. And for those at wits end, don't forget to confess that to God and to one another, and let us bear each other's burdens together in Him. I pray this is a good morning of devotion in the Lord. And I pray also our time together in virtual worship at 7pm, where we celebrate Maundy Thursday is a blessed one.
Devotion: It's a bit of a paradox to say 'Happy' & 'Maundy Thursday' together; just as it is "Happy' & 'Good Friday', for at one and the same time they are both sorrowful occasions, but sorrow that leads also to great rejoicing. They are 'mixed bags' both.
Today is called 'Maundy', from the Latin 'Mandatum', which is the word for 'command'. Jesus said to his disciples on the occasion of washing their feet, that he was 'giving them a new commandment; that they love one another; just as he has loved them, so they also are to love one another. And that by it all people would know they are his disciples.' 
We'll talk a bit more about each these passages tonight at worship together, but they begin with the Passover passage, Ex. 12. It is not by chance or mistake that the last week of Jesus' life happens to coincide with the Jewish Feast of Passover. The Jews went up to or returned to, depending on whether they lived outside The Land, annually to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast, which commemorates the occasion of Ex. 12, when Israel made off from Egypt in the middle of the nite, after God had come through the land of Egypt striking down the firstborn of all houses not marked with the blood of the lamb sacrificed, whose blood had marked their doorposts. 
The blood of the lamb will become the centerpiece of Israel's, the Jewish people's, identity even to this day. It was a foreshadowing of the Law, with all its sacrifices; it told of what must happen if not only Israel, but all tribes, tongues, nations, were to have life restored; that an unblemished lamb would have to give it's own life, sacrificially, on behalf of all, in order that the wrath of God against sin might be extinguished. 
So when, in the beginning of the Gospel accounts, John the Baptizer comes preaching a baptism of repentance, he comes to prepare the way by announcing that Jesus is 'the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.' (Jn. 1:29) He was referring to the Passover Lamb, and identifying Jesus with it. This is how Jesus will see his entire ministry; he is spotless before the Lord, glorifying Him in every aspect of his life and being, and is so for the purpose of death; raised for the slaughter. 
On the nite that he hosts his own Passover meal with his disciples, this is now the evident imagery. The bread and wine which were taken on that evening, which represented the covenant God had made with Israel on the Passover, as God rescued them from Egyptian slavery, Jesus was now transforming, making them about himself, and the real exodus-- from spiritual slavery, from the curse of sin & death. This is 'the new covenant' (1 Cor. 11:25) made in the broken and pierced body of Jesus, his blood poured out for us. We take and do this in remembrance of Him, as an ongoing, perpetual memorial and participation in the life of Jesus, by the Spirit (1 Cor. 10:16). It is, as the Greek Orthodox famously say, 'a mystery.' 
Remember this day, & this evening, that Jesus, on the night that he was betrayed, prior to being betrayed, stooped to wash his disciples' feet (Jn.13); took the towel and played the part of the servant (for that is what the servant of the house did). His disciples were mortified at the act; 'how dare the Messiah stoop to such roles that none but a slave would assume!' But this was what Jesus was showing them (even Judas who would betray him!), that the Son of Man, the King of kings, & Lord of lords, had 'stripped himself of all glory that belonged to him, took the form of a servant, and humbled himself by becoming obedient unto death, even death on a cross.' (Phil 2:5-8), in order that we, who made ourselves His enemies, might become sons & daughters of the Living God & Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

Quiet Time in Quarantine

Wednesday April 8, 2020

Good morning C'town CRC. Hope this finds you well and in good spirits this morning. All signs appear good that we are making progress on our island and around the world, as folks isolate and take good measures. Return to normal life is hopefully not far off on the horizon. Much and many to pray for, both in supplication and thanksgiving.



Devotion: This morning's readings begin again in Isaiah, as he continues to sing the song of the glory of the Suffering Servant. Here Isaiah sings of his vindication; that in the end He has proven faithful to God and to His people, on every score. Of course the ultimate vindication, which is alluded to here, is that this Servant will receive a reward in keeping; resurrection from the dead, triumph over the grave. The cry of the servant then becomes our cry, 'It is the Lord God who helps me; who will declare me guilty?!'

The Psalmists plea then becomes our own plea; it is the way unto salvation. Not by any work or performance or holy strivings of our own, but simply to declare our need of Him; for our help comes from Him. Again & again notice how the Psalmists declare their utter spiritual helplessness, in the recognition of their spiritual deadness. The Psalmists cries out, 'But I am poor and needy; hasten to help me, O God!' You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord (YHWH), do not delay!'

The writer to the Hebrews reminds us this has always been the essence of salvation; looking to God. & it is the way of continuing as well as beginning in faith. Which why the simple remedy offered to us for our continuation in faith is one of setting our eyes squarely on Jesus, who is the author & perfecter of our faith. When all else gives way, when we feel faithless, tired, lost and confused, even about our own faith and faithfulness, we look to Him who was faithful for us, who has secured for us a very great salvation. & in so doing our hearts receive the assurance they need to keep following, for He never fails.

If we had any doubt, the last reading in John assuages it; despite his betrayal, the betrayal he knew was coming, Jesus yet died for sinners, became their very sin on the Cross, nailing it to the Cross with him, taking it down into death & putting it to death there, that we might walk out of the grave with him in newness of life by the Holy Spirit.

Let us do that today, this week, & the coming days & weeks; walk not in fear or worry, but in glad thanks; not hearing the daggers of the enemy's accusations, but instead knowing that Jesus has already triumphed over them in the Cross; he has been vindicated, and we who belong to Jesus by faith, vindicated along with him. Walk in that; that is what the 'great cloud of witnesses' testifies to; this is how.


Love in Christ, 

Pastor Josh

Quiet Time in Quarantine

Tuesday April 7, 2020

Good morning guys, I pray you enjoyed a bit of a respite from the grey yesterday, and soaked in the sunshine. Hopefully got out and saw some of the blue-water beginning to make its way through the ice. We're in the second devotional of the Holy Week. Enjoy your time with and before the Lord this morning.
Devotional: You'll notice a shift in theme in both this week's readings as well as songs, as the focus really begins to shift to Good Friday, and the sacrifice Jesus, the Suffering Servant of the Lord is about to take. Isaiah, for the first time I think in our reading thus far, names him by name, calls him as the True Israel, and the Servant of Israel, in whom God will demonstrate the fullness of His glory, and bring Israel back. But Isaiah also notes that it is too small a thing, too small a glory, for him to bring only Israel back. No, the promise has been from the beginning to bring all nations back, to make all nations descendants (of the spiritual kind, birthed from the Gospel) of Abraham.
The Psalmist's rejoicings this morning are of just this salvation, being known and loved and sheltered of God, who is our Rock and our Refuge. The enemy or accuser is in microcosm a picture of The Accuser, the satan, who accuses us before God. But God will not hear his accusatxs; though many of them are no doubt accurate, at least to some degree. Jesus has paid for our sins, & he stands up with us in the heavenly court room and we are declared not only not-guilty, but innocent, and righteous, all on account of Jesus. 'Not in Me', we sung this week, 'but one You'.
In a world such as ours, fallen as it is, operating on an entirely other order, this is, as Paul notes, 'foolishness'; and 'to the Jews' who were always certain that salvation was to some degree rewarded or earned, Jesus is 'a stumbling block'. The Gopsel confounds us utterly. What kind of God is this whose desire for His rebellious people, results in the death of this God's own Son, made flesh, that we might be children and the righteousness of the very God, whose Cross-taking was made necessary by us?!
Praise Him this morning, Charlottetown CRC! He is the only thing worth praising and hoping in. Rejoice in the God of your salvation. God's blessing on you all today,
Pastor Josh

Quiet Time in Quarantine

Monday April 6, 2020

Good morning Charlottetown CRC,

We're back at it this Monday morning, the first of our Holy Week devotions.



Devotion: The readings open this week in Isaiah, in that stretch of chapters knows as 'The Songs of the Suffering Servant'. They are prophecies announcing and praising the Anointed One (Messiah, in Hebrew, or Christ, in Greek). In particular, this portion of the Suffering Servant song sings of the new covenant that God is making in His Servant, and declaring that He is the True Israel, the only one who lived in such a way as to fully glorify the God of Heaven & Earth and fulfill the demands of the Old Covenant. And that only one such as he, the Anointed, was qualified and capable of establishing justice on the earth. This, of course, he did by the giving of his very own life as a substitute on the Cross, unto death, that we might be forgiven all our sin (past, present, and future) and know reconciliation with the Father, and life eternal therein.

The 36th Psalm celebrates this, praising God for His 'steadfast love' and faithfulness to His promises to us. He is a God who delights to shelter His people 'under His wings', to bring us in so that we would discover that He Himself is our 'abundant feast, a river of delights'. And interestingly, the Psalmist also includes animals in his praise of God's salvation (be sure to tell your kids! Yes, God loves their pets! His promise is not just to save us to some ethereal ghostly existence in some far-off heavens. No, God's plan is to make all things, all of Creation itself, new one day, in a new Heavens & a new earth! How can we even begin to fathom what that might look like?!) Praise God, what an amazing Father & Creator is He, whose redemption extends from the mountains all the way to the heavens, just as the Psalmists celebrates.

This has been accomplished for us in our Great High Priest Jesus, who with the sacrifice of his own life entered into the Holy of Holies, and put an end to sacrifice once and for all, with his own blood. A new covenant he establishes, one wherein we can freely enter into the holy presence (which the holy of holies in the tabernacle/Temple signified) of our Holy God. Jesus, from his birth, was anointed (as Mary's perfume reminds us) for death, to be for us the way, the truth, and the life. 

Let us reflect this morning in glad thanks of what God has accomplished for us in Jesus, the plan from all ages, who when the times had reached their fullness, came to live, die, be buried, and resurrected, for us, to make us whose 'sin it was that held him there' children of God and brothers and sisters to Jesus, the Son of Man.   


Quiet Time in Quarantine

Friday April 3, 2020

Good morning church, I pray you are well this last Friday before Palm Sunday. It is called Palm Sunday because it is the day of the week when Jesus entered into Jerusalem, in seeming triumph, and to the cheering crowds who would crown him king. But he was not the king they were hoping for. Instead, by week's end (next week, Good Friday) he is crowned with thorns. Pray this morning's devotional is one where we are able to gain greater glimpses into His grace towards us, & His worth, as the one who lived, died, and lives for us still, until He comes.



Devotional: The Psalm is the same one from the day before; it is one Jesus quotes from the Cross--as we were saying, the Psalms are about Jesus; every bit of the Scriptures of what we call the Old Testament, are in some way, shape, or form about Jesus. (cf. Lk. 24 and the Walk to Emmaus). At the same time, the Psalms are Israel's prayer-songbook as well as our own. They become a prayer-pattern for us, to rehearse each morning, ideally, that, thereby, patterns our whole day; until days become weeks, and weeks, months, and months years, and years a lifetime, so that in the end our whole lives will have been patterned and shaped by them. 

And in short, the simple pattern of that life is one that recognizes that we are like morning dew on the grass that is quickly fading, gone by lunchtime; failing bodies, in the curse of the Fall. But not hopeless. No, as St. Paul reminds us, 'we do not mourn as those who are without hope', but as those with hope, hope born by the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. (1 Thes. 4:13ff) The Psalmist's hope is in 'the steadfast love of the Lord', that He will deliver him from his enemies; the chief & last enemy being death itself. (1 Cor. 15:26).

The reading from Job requires just a little context to be properly understood. Throughout Job's ordeal and suffering, his friends and family prove worthless in their counsel (and his wife's a peach on top of it; one might remember her choice counsel to her husband, that he should, 'curse God and die'! 2:9) Here in our reading, it's Job's turn to speak. He calls his counselors 'whitewash liars'; their 'maxims are proverbs of ashes' (v.12, just before our reading which begins at v. 13). Here's how ESV then reads at v. 15 (and here's our connection to the beautiful song penned by Shane & Shane featured this morning), 'Though He slay me, yet I will praise/hope in Him.' His hope is in the Lord; the counsel of his friends is nonsense; he will hold fast his hope in the Living God, even though this God may grind him into the dust. For where else is there but Him to turn for life; for as we preached last week even, 'He is the bread of Life' itself. 

This is what Paul is saying in the last reading; that for him 'to live is Christ, to die is gain.' Paul is able to see that Christ is his very life; and that when he departs this world and this life--which none of is long for--then he will depart and be with Christ Jesus, unmitigated, uninterrupted. & What a gain that will be, over anything this life had to offer. When Paul prays that we would 'only live our lives in a manner worthy of the Gospel', this is what he means; that we should live with this sort of knowledge and confidence; that having Him is having all; and that everything else really is perishing, & those who stand on it destined for destruction with it. 'Though the earth below give way, we, with our eyes, would see the Lord'; that's how Shane & Shane put it. Indeed that we would. Amen


Palm Sunday because palm waving was the way to welcome in a king; they would line the roads for miles, waving palms branches, to welcome a royal dignitary to town, or a king-elect on his way to being crowned.