June 22nd, 2018

The Bucket List

(pastor Lincoln Vellacott – Living Faith Fellowship Church, Herbert, Sk.)

       Have you watched the movie, “The Bucket List”? I know, that movie has been out for awhile. It often gets referenced by people today. People want to know what is on your bucket list, or they tell you about their bucket list.

       For those who are unfamiliar with the movie, it is about two fellows that get to know each other in the hospital. They both have a short time to live. They talk about what they would like to do before they die, and then they leave the hospital and start to do a bunch of those things together. One of them is quite rich and so they are able to do things that we could only dream about.

       Having heard about the movie before, and now having finally watched it, I got a different understanding of the message of the movie. I always thought it was encouraging people to figure out what amazing things they wanted to do before they die, and then to do them, so you could check them off your list. Many of us live like that is what we are trying to do with our days.

       But if you follow thru to the end of the movie, what is most fulfilling is not elaborate trips, exotic experiences, illicit relationships, some rare, powerful or sporty vehicle, or even seeing the most majestic things you could imagine in this world, first hand.

       Instead what becomes really meaningful is showing kindness and friendship to someone who needs that. Sharing conversation and a good laugh was significant. To cling to faith in the One who has made you and to talk to Him is what the one man does. After missing out on seeing a majestic mountain that he had always wanted to see, because of poor weather conditions, and then rejecting the temptation of a young, attractive and available woman, he decides the most majestic thing he could do was to go home and look into the face of his wife. His most desirable thing was to sit down for a meal with his family. Although he was a laborer, who looked to the needs of his family above his own needs, it was shown that he was richer than the other fellow who didn’t lack for anything.

       The billionaire rich fellow, played by Jack Nicholson, comes to see that his money, businesses and position will one day not matter. His greater fulfillment comes when he is able to check off his list that he has a reconciled and restored relationship with his daughter, as well as kissing the most beautiful woman in the world when he meets his only little granddaughter for the first time.

       What could be on your “bucket list,” that would fit under the “really meaningful,” or the “greater fulfillment,” category? What will really matter, and last forever?

       Romans 14:11-12 in the Bible tells us, “As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’ So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” Luke 12:15 says, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." In John 5:24, Jesus teaches us with these words, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”

May 17th, 2018

So What’s Your Story?

(pastor Lincoln Vellacott – Living Faith Fellowship church, Herbert, Sk.)

       Sometimes in the midst of conversation, someone might ask you, “So what’s your story?” Most of us enjoy a good story. All of us have a life’s story.

       Have you heard the story of the of the hard-living, hard-drinking, vulgarity-spewing captain of a slave ship in the 1700’s, who in the midst of a terrible storm, cried out to God for deliverance from the wind and waves - and mercifully received it. His name was John Newton, and he later told of how that experience was used by God to dramatically reorient his entire life and perspective, - including his views on slavery. His story and experiences became key influences in the life of William Wilberforce, who decades later, succeeded in abolishing the slave trade in the entire British Empire.

       John Newton, the former rough slave trader, who called out to God from his ship in the middle of a storm, became a committed follower of Christ. He powerfully shares his story this way: Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound - That saved a wretch like me! - I once was lost, but now am found - Was blind, but now I see!

       My Story Is This: I grew up in a family that was often in church, learning about the Bible. At one meeting that our family went to, I came to understand that it’s more than just going to church and learning things about God, but that I needed to make a decision about Jesus. I knew that if I was to die, I was not ready to go to heaven. I ignored that truth for a time, but God must have got my attention, and a short while later I asked someone to help me to pray. I asked Jesus to forgive my sins, and invited Him to come into my life. I am not perfect; I struggle and do things that are not pleasing to God. But I know that God accepts me, will forgive me and He helps me in this life. I don’t have to be afraid of the future, as I believe that Jesus will take me to be with Him when I die. And, my life on earth now also has meaning and purpose to it, thru Jesus.

       What about you? Do you have a salvation story? If not, what are you going to do about it? You can believe in the Lord Jesus, what the Bible says about Him, and that His death on the cross is the only sufficient payment for your sin. Ask Christ to forgive your sins, and turn to trust fully in Him.

       Do you already have a before Christ, met Christ, and after I met Christ story? If so, what are you going to do about it? You can be used of God thru telling others about your experience with Christ, what that can mean to them, and encourage them to act on that knowledge by repenting of their sins, and turning in faith to follow Jesus.

March 15th, 2018

Have You Done Enough?

(pastor Lincoln Vellacott – Living Faith Fellowship church, Herbert, Sk.)

       Many of you could take pride in your hard work and effort. You’re to be credited for much of what you have done. I’d hate to think about what things would be like if it wasn’t for people like you.

       But when it comes to spiritual matters, we can’t take that same approach. Often we think if we just do enough good, or religious, or even sacrificial things, that will out weigh anything wrong we might have done. Eternal life with God can never be earned, no matter how hard we work for it, or how much self effort we put forward. It is not about how good or religious one is that makes us right with God. It is not a bunch of rituals, ceremonies or rites that make us God’s child while we live, and fit for heaven and being with God for eternity when we die.

       It is God’s amazing grace that saves us from being lost eternally. It is the work of Jesus, the sinless lamb of God, suffering and dying on the cross, that gives us a pardon before God the Father. Jesus said of Himself, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except thru me.” (John 14:6).

       In John 3:16, we read, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

       We should ask ourselves, how can I know that I have a good standing with God, and how can I be sure that I am ready for what comes after this life. That verse told us that if we believe in Jesus – if we put our trust in Him and His work on the cross – then our situation will be different.

       In John 3:18, we are told by Jesus, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

       This is important for us to deal with - we can’t do enough to compensate, or make up for our misdeeds before a Holy God. We can’t make our own way to heaven. The only way is to take the way of the Lord Jesus. We need to put our trust in Jesus for His salvation. Jesus will forgive us our sins and make us God’s saved child - opening the way for a life with God while we live, and a home in heaven at our passing.

       The Bible says of Christ, “But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:26b-28)

       Eternal life is found in Jesus Christ. He did the work. He did all that was required. We can’t, and don’t need to add to His work, we can only receive it by faith. He wants each of us to have His salvation. Are you waiting for Him and the salvation that only He can bring?

       We all need to call out to Jesus, and turn from ‘our way’ to ‘His way,’ trusting Jesus work on the cross to save us, for now and forever?

Dec. 15th, 2017

You are the Reason for the Christmas Season!!

(pastor Lincoln Vellacott – Living Faith Fellowship Church, Herbert. Sk.)

       Who is the reason for the season? You may have been asked that question during Christmas. You may have been given an answer to that question at some time. I want to give you a response to that question that you may not have considered. You are the reason for the Christmas Season!! I am too. You and I are the focus of the Christmas Season.

       You may think that sounds kind of selfish, but it is true from the Bible. In Luke 2:10-11, the angels brought good news of great joy, that will be for who? - For all the people - for you and for me. And then they give the good news: Today in the town of David a Savior has been born – to YOU. You and I are the reason for the Christmas season.

       You & I were the reason that Jesus needed to come into the world. Romans 3:10 says, “There is no one righteous, not even one.” Later on in that same chapter it says, “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by observing the law;” and “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Isaiah 59:2 tells us, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you.” We are under a curse and headed for condemnation. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

       In Matthew 1:21, Joseph was told to name Mary’s baby, Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. In Mark 10:45, Jesus said that He had come to give his life as a ransom for many. In another place He says he “came to seek and to save what was lost.” The Bible also tells us that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Although He is God, Jesus came to earth as a man, and humbled himself, even to death on a cross. Jesus Christ came into this world to save us by giving His life for us.

       You matter to God far more than you can imagine. One author says that you have never locked eyes with anyone who isn’t valuable to God – and that includes when you look into the mirror. Whether we recognize it not, or want to admit it or not, we are desperate without Jesus Christ. Christmas is God’s rescue mission towards us. That’s why I say that you and I are the reason for the Christmas Season.

       “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

       I invite you to respond to why Christmas was necessary. Admit that your sins have separated you from God. Turn from them and ask God to forgive you. Reaching in faith for the gift of the Savior will be good news of great joy for YOU!!

       Merry Christmas from myself, my family, and from Living Faith Fellowship Church. Let me encourage you to take in a church worship service in this season and God bless you thru the gift of Jesus.

Sept. 28th, 2017

A Changed Father thru the SON

(pastor Lincoln Vellacott – Living Faith Fellowship Church, Herbert, Sk.)

       Josh McDowell was telling a fellow about his new life, when the other guy interrupted with “are you trying to tell me that God has changed your life? Give me some specifics.”

       Here is one of the things Josh McDowell told him about:

       “I hated one man more than anyone else in the world— my father. I hated his guts. I was mortified that he was the town alcoholic. If you're from a small town and one of your parents is an alcoholic, you know what I mean. Everybody knows. My high school friends would make jokes about my father's drinking. They didn't think it bothered me because I fell in with the joking and laughed with them. I was laughing on the outside, but let me tell you, I was crying on the inside. I would go to the barn and find my mother beaten so badly she couldn't get up, lying in the manure behind the cows. When we had friends over, I would take my father out to the barn, tie him up, and park his car behind the silo. We would tell our guests he'd had to go somewhere. I don't think anyone could hate a person more than I hated my father.

       About five months after I made that decision for Christ, a love from God entered my life so powerfully that it took that hatred, turned it upside down, and emptied it out. I was able to look my father squarely in the eyes and say, "Dad, I love you." And I really meant it. After some of the things I'd done to him that really shook him up.

       After I transferred to a private university, a serious car accident put me in the hospital. When I was moved home to recover, my father came to visit me. Remarkably, he was sober that day. But he seemed uneasy, pacing about the room. Then he blurted out, "Son, how can you love a father like me?" I answered, "Dad, six months ago I despised you." Then I shared with him the story of my research and conclusions about Jesus Christ. I told him, "I have placed my trust in Christ, received God's forgiveness, invited him into my life, and he has changed me. I can't explain it all, Dad, but God has taken away my hatred and replaced it with the capacity to love. I love you and accept you just the way you are."

       We talked for almost an hour, and then I received one of the greatest thrills of my life. This man who was my father, this man who knew me too well for me to pull the wool over his eyes, looked at me and said, "Son, if God can do in my life what I've seen him do in yours, then I want to give him the opportunity. I want to trust him as my Savior and Lord." I cannot imagine a greater miracle.

       Usually after a person accepts Christ, the changes in his or her life occur over a period of days, weeks, months, or even years. In my own life the change took about six to eighteen months. But the life of my father changed right before my eyes. It was as if God reached down and flipped on the light switch. Never before or since have I seen such a dramatic change. My father touched an alcoholic beverage only once after that day. He got it as far as his lips before thrusting it away. Forever. I can come to only one conclusion: a relationship with Jesus Christ changes lives.” (More Than a Carpenter, by Josh McDowell, p. 162-165)

June 15, 2017

Heaven’s Passing Grade - 100% Perfect

(pastor Lincoln Vellacott – Living Faith Fellowship Church, Herbert, Sk.)

       It is just about time for final report cards in the school year. What grade will be enough?

       When my son was getting ready to take his driver’s test, he asked how I did on my drivers test. I was the first in my family able to pass on my first try. Four brothers before me had not accomplished that feat. That may sound like bragging, but then I had to go on to say, because of issues with the car I took to the driving exam, I had to go borrow someone else’s vehicle, and get squeezed into a different time slot that day. My test was only about half as long as usual, and even then I lost several points.

       Talking with a dentist friend of mine, regarding a child of his who was trying to get into the school of optometry, he told me about how hard it is to get into certain post-secondary professional programs. He said, besides getting good grades in High School, the student needed to show activity in volunteering, and maintain top level marks in university. They could apply to be picked as one of very few people across the whole country to get into a particular professional course. If accepted, they would then have to be picked out of that small group, into a much smaller group, to make it into a very rigid and stressful interviewing process. They would also have to pass, by nearly 90%, some specialized and broad exams that took almost a whole day to complete. That was just to get into a certain professional program of studies for several more years.

       The 2012 summer Olympics were nick-named the ‘bronze Olympics’ for Canada, by some Canadian broadcasters, where Canada received only one gold medal, 5 silver and 12 bronze medals. To try to get a gold medal at the Olympics, you need to get noticed in your local area. Then you would train and compete for several years at regional events, being so exceptional there in your particular sport, that you might go into a small pool of national athletes. Out of that pool of people, the National participants, to go to the Olympics, eventually get picked. Then on the world stage, you might do your personal best and end up outside of the medals, with a 12th place finish.

       In his book, Cross Purposes, Author James Kennedy says, “Today, many people think that when they sin, they can simply pile a few more good works on the other side of the scales. They do not know that they have no hope of ever being good enough – that the passing grade is not fifty-one percent, but one hundred percent.” (p. 115)

       To stand okay before a Holy God, and to be accepted into His presence, we would have to be perfect. That might be hard to understand for those of us who can get a driver’s license with an imperfect score, end up in a professional school or win a gold medal by doing exceptional - but not being necessarily perfect.

       James 2:10 in the Bible reads, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” Exceptional won’t get us into heaven or into a proper connection with Almighty God. Perfection will only do, and there was only One who was perfect. That is why we need Jesus. He was without sin. But if we say that about ourselves, we deceive ourselves.

       1st Peter 3:18 tells us, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” We need to acknowledge our moral imperfection, repent and turn from our sin and futile self-effort to be right with God, and place our trust in Christ, the only Righteous and Perfect One.

       Thanks for reading. As I close, let me encourage you to take in a Church Worship Service this coming week-end. God Bless you thru faith in Jesus Christ, life’s only Savior!!

December 2016

From Humbug to Hallelujah – Born to Set Us Free

(pastor Lincoln Vellacott – Living Faith Fellowship Church, Herbert. Sk.)

In our Christmas Sunday morning services, we’ve been going thru a series titled, “From Humbug to Hallelujah.”  Here’s a story I told in a recent message:

“A young slave girl was placed on the slave blocks during the U.S. Civil War. She caught the eye of a wealthy plantation owner riding by. He immediately sized up the situation, had compassion on her, and began bidding. The bidding began in the hundreds of dollars but soon reached into the thousands. The leaders of the prostitution syndicate were furious but could do little about it.

Finally, the bidding ended and the stranger had purchased the girl, finished the paperwork and received the keys to her chains. He approached her and she immediately spat in his face. He wiped the spittle away and continued to unlock her chains. She cursed him violently.  The chains dropped away, and to her utter amazement, he said to her very gently, ‘Woman, you are free.’

She was astounded, not knowing what to say or do. She had been purchased from the slave market and set free.

The plantation owner who had redeemed her climbed into his carriage and began to drive away. Overwhelmed, the girl chased after him shouting, “Sir, let me serve you. I want to be your slave.”

The man stopped his carriage and turned to her. “You cannot be my servant.” 

The girl’s face dropped, and she turned to walk away. His gentle hand turned her around, and he said, “But you can come share my home as my adopted daughter.”

In the movie “A Christmas Carol,” Ebenezer Scrooge, and his deceased business partner Jacob Marley, wore chains – chains that they weren’t even aware of in this life.  Like them, and some that 1st Christmas, we need to be released from our chains, some that we might not even be aware of. 

A Christmas Carol sings: “Come, thou long expected Jesus, born to set they people free.  From our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in Thee.  Born thy people to deliver, born a Child and yet a King, born to reign in us forever, now thy gracious kingdom bring.” 

All of us are in need of deliverance, release, saving and freedom.  People, in the days Jesus physically walked the earth, told him they had never been slaves of anyone.  Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.  Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”  (John 8:34-36) 

An angel of God said that the virgin Mary would give birth to a son, and that they were to name Him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)  In the gospel of John 1:12, we are told that “all who received Jesus, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” 

This Christmas may the Holy Spirit of God show us what chains we need to be released from.  May we thru faith and repentance be adopted into His eternal family, and be delivered from the things that even now bind us and have us weighted down.  Jesus came to give His life as a ransom.  May faith in Him who came to set us free, turn your Christmas from Humbug to Hallelujah. 

June 23, 2016

Sports Figures Who Delivered And Were Delivered

(-pastor Lincoln Vellacott, Living Faith Fellowship Church, Herbert, Sk.)

The Canadian Football League regular season has just kicked off for another year and Saskatchewan is hoping that new coach and general manager, Chris Jones, will deliver us a championship caliber team.  Toronto Maple Leaf fans are hoping the NHL draft, and Austin Matthews, might deliver their team and make it respectable again.  Lebron James helped deliver an NBA championship to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers.  With those things in mind, let me recount some God produced deliverance and change that has occurred in a couple of well known to Canada athletes.

“Rocket” Ismail was enticed into the Canadian Football League by some large dollars and was used to promote an ailing league as its superstar.  Followers of the CFL might remember a Grey Cup game in 1991, played in Winnipeg, where the Toronto Argo’s star, Rocket Ismail, ran back a late game Calgary Stampeder punt, to score the winning touchdown. Announcer Don Wittman excitedly spouted out “THE ROCKET DELIVERS.”  It has become a memorable Grey Cup moment. 

When Rocket Ismail was in the CFL he came across as quite arrogant, selfish and a bit of a “character” in the negative sense.  In one incident, during a sideline skirmish, he stomped on the facemask of an opponent who was still in it, and who was lying on the ground. 

I was excited to read that Raghib “Rocket” Ismail who “delivered” in his rookie season in the CFL, had come to know Jesus Christ as his deliverer. 

According to internet accounts Rocket Ismail has become a Christian.  Here is part of what he wrote while he was still playing in the NFL:  “I have been blessed with the ability to play football. But I am more blessed to have God’s joy and love in my heart and home. I have the assurance that wherever I go, the Lord goes with me. One day my football career will be over, but his love is everlasting. That is a feeling that not even a great catch or Super Bowl victory could approach in magnitude. Nothing in life is more important than a relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ.” (www.powertochange.com)

On that same site, hockey analyst/commentator Don Cherry is quoted as saying about Paul Henderson, “You couldn’t find a better role model…There’s not many around like him.”  Most of us know Paul Henderson as having scored the last minute winning goal, to win the famous Canada/Russia hockey series back in 1972.  That hockey goal is often called “the goal of the century.” 

Many of us do not know about Paul Henderson, that having fulfilled most of his boyhood dreams, yet he was restless and had discontentment he could not ignore.

Paul Henderson goes on to say, “Here I was playing in the NHL, doing something that I had always strived for, but I had become more bitter and angry than I had ever been in my life.  I started drinking as a way to soothe the pain but I would wake up the next morning and my problems were still there.  Fortunately, a friend encouraged me to examine the claims of Jesus so I started to read the Bible and look into Jesus. After a two-year search, I became convinced He loved me and wanted me to get to know Him.”

One day I just couldn’t fight it any longer. I threw all my fears aside and I said to God: ‘I am fearful, and I don’t want to tell anyone about this.’ And then I asked Jesus into my heart.  Since that day, I have never been the same. God has had a positive impact in every area of my life. Most importantly, He has taken away my anger and bitterness. My life certainly hasn’t been trouble-free. Now the inner quietness, contentment and peace I experience on a daily basis assures me that His promise to love and care for me is true and real. Best of all, I look forward to spending eternity with Him.” 

The best news is that there is hope and victory today.  Jesus Christ didn’t just change lives in the mid ’70’s or mid ’90’s, with some famous athletes, but He still has the power to change lives today.

Are you open to His power to work change in your life?  He longs to be our deliverer.

As I close let me encourage you to read the Bible, look into Jesus and take in a church worship service this coming weekend.