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St Ninian's Online

St Ninian's Online

By Stewart Cutler
Weekly sermons and thoughts from St Ninian's Church in Stonehouse, Scotland.
You can find us on facebook @stninianschurchstonehouse, twitter @stniniansstonehouse and instagram @stniniansstonehouse.
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It's not about the money!

St Ninian's Online

It's not about the money!

St Ninian's Online

Advent is here.  The long wait has begun.  But the wait isn't for what you might think...
November 27, 2021
truly a king?
Their conversation is pure political theatre.  It’s a dance of very carefully spoken words.  Questions asked but never quite answered.  Charges are made and identities confirmed, but not in a way that helps Pilate.  Are you a king?
November 20, 2021
This week we remember on this Sunday closest to Armistice Day when the guns of the Great War fell silent and we will explore what it means to remember and why it is so important for all of us, not just to honour the past but to shape the future.
November 13, 2021
A widow is watched placing 2 small coins, all she has, in the temple treasury.  Why is it that this woman finds herself in this position?  Why does she only have two small coins left?  And why is she there giving her last to a system that very obviously doesn’t care about her?
November 6, 2021
not far
One of the scribes has been watching and we hear that he’s impressed with Jesus so he goes to talk to him. The scribe asks what seems like the most obvious question ever… which is the greatest commandment? So… which is the greatest commandment? What would you say? And why doesn't Jesus say what he probably should?
October 30, 2021
open my eyes
What should we think when a blind man can see more than anyone else? What should we recognise when someone on the very edge of society names the solutions to all our problems but nobody is paying attention? And when Jesus asks, “What do you want me to do for you?”, what would our answer be?
October 23, 2021
A time to serve
You want to be great?  Then you must learn how to serve.
October 16, 2021
what's the entry cost?
"What can I do to inherit eternal life?" asks the rich man. It's a good question, met with an answer from Jesus that challenges everything we think about success and even blessings.
October 9, 2021
heart broken
Today we’re tackling a really hard and often painful passage in Mark’s Gospel. It’s about divorce, something that has touched all our lives in some way. It’s a passage that has been used to do untold damage over the years and so today we’re going to see what’s really going on and why it’s really a wake up call for all of us, especially us men.
October 2, 2021
removing millstones
We all carry things. Each of us has stuff that weighs us down. But what about the things we pile on to ourselves? The things that choose and indulge and turn to, even when we know we shouldn’t. And what about the times we tempt others to do the same?
September 25, 2021
everything you know is wrong
What if the way we have all been told the way that the world works is wrong?  What if the things we value most are the things that are actually worth the least?
September 18, 2021
They say you should think before you speak. That’s not always easy because we haven’t always though it all through. We don’t know what we don’t know. Or we know a little but not enough to see the whole picture. That’s where we find Peter in our story today, and where we find ourselves more often than we might like to admit.
September 11, 2021
you too
How would you feel if someone you looked up to, someone you thought was, well, perfect, turned out to be less than you had hoped for?
September 4, 2021
What makes you clean?
How do you love God? That’s the big question at the heart of our passage this morning and it’s a pretty big and important question so we should probably try to pay attention and not be distracted by other things. And that’s kind of how this conversation comes about.
August 28, 2021
what about you?
In the flesh. There. Present. Right in front of them. Just like them.  In John’s Gospel it matters that Jesus is human. But it also matters that he is God’s Son. But that’s a hard idea to get our heads around so today we’re going to think about why it’s important and why it leads to a crucial choice for all of us.
August 21, 2021
even more bread
More bread.  Again.  Isn’t that dull?  What more can there be to say?  But what if this is an opportunity to savour something so amazing that it needs time.  Not to be rushed so that we can full appreciate it in all its complexity and wonder?
August 14, 2021
Who am I? Where do I fit in? Where do I belong? Identity is important and so it’s no surprise that the people Jesus meets want to know about his.  But when he starts talking about eternity they really don't understand!
August 7, 2021
What are you looking for?
What is it that you are looking for?  Do you really know?  Is it the thing that’s most immediate?  The thing that will make you feel better for now?  Or is it something deeper, more filling, more lasting?
July 31, 2021
When Jesus takes a few loaves and a couple of fish given to him by a child nobody expects what will happen next.  After all, there are thousands of hungry people there.  How could he possibly feed them all?
July 24, 2021
what you need
There are moments when we get just what we need, rather than what someone else tells us we should get.
July 17, 2021
the truth hurts
They say that power corrupts and that absolute power corrupts absolutely. That’s certainly what we see with Herod in our passage today.  Speaking truth to power doesn’t always end well. Just ask any of the Old Testament prophets. Calling out those with power, those in charge, those with much to loose can put you in a position where all of their power can be focused on you.
July 10, 2021
who do you think you are?
What do you need to change? Throughout the pandemic behavioural scientists have played a key role in helping explain how people can be helped to change behaviour. Fear and reward are two of the most powerful motivators. Usually fear stops us doing something and the promise of reward encourages us to take action. But it’s not always that straightforward. Sometimes both are in play at the same time. That’s what Jesus and his disciples face in today’s readings.
July 3, 2021
How do you make real change? Especially to something like the way a society thinks or acts? Perhaps it takes someone to show how the new way can work? Someone to live out the new priorities. Or just to be what they hope to bring for others? Today we explore a passage from Mark’s gospel where the stories of a woman in great need of healing and a little girl on the threshold of death come together.
June 26, 2021
As a storm is calmed the disciples are left with a question... Who is he? That’s the question at the heart of the Gospel. Who is Jesus? Like, who is he really? Is he just some miracle man? A guy with nice stories with a healing touch? Or is there more? Much, much more…
June 19, 2021
a measure of hope
23 years… just over half of my life.  That’s a long wait but it’s almost time for Scotland to take their place in a major tournament again.  But what on earth does that have to do with two Bible stories about some seeds and a measure of hope?
June 12, 2021
do not cross
He isn’t like us. He does things we can’t and we’re the good guys so he must me bad… We’ve heard it a million times. Power used to protect those in authority and keep things the way they want. It’s no surprise that when Jesus challenges the status quo he’s met with opposition from places expected and even close to home.
June 5, 2021
and the left their nets
An old man goes to see Jesus at night to ask more, to find out who he is and what he is all about, and perhaps more importantly, what does all this mean for me? And what has any of that got to do with nets?
May 29, 2021
dreams & visions
Dreams and visions... what are yours?  And what can you with God do to make them a reality?
May 22, 2021
Prayer Matters
Does it matter how you pray?  Or even what you pray for?  Yvonne Hamilton helps us explore prayer and what Jesus showed us.
May 15, 2021
Anything for love?
Love is…  Well… what?  What does it mean to love and be loved?  And when Jesus talks about love to his friends and to us, what does he mean by that?
May 8, 2021
What does it mean to be fruitful?  And why does Jesus talk about being the true vine?  What does it mean for us and for the church to be grafted in to him?
May 1, 2021
Being pursued is a bad thing, right?  It’s when something is after you and you can’t shake it off and it’s always there.  But what if you were being pursued by something good?  Something brilliant… something life changing?  Would you stop and let it catch you?  Or would you keep running?
April 24, 2021
I have questions
Would you believe it? I mean really? Some story about Jesus appearing to a couple of second tier disciples as they went home before any of the proper disciples had seen him?  And what would he be like? What would he say? Where had he been? So many questions…
April 16, 2021
missing out?
How would you feel if you missed out on something really important but at the same time pretty unbelievable?  What if everyone else was given a gift that would change their lives and you didn’t get it?  Would you take everyone else’s word for it?  Would you want to see for yourself?
April 10, 2021
Easter Day
Jesus is risen! We celebrate the resurrection as told by Mark.
April 3, 2021
Good Friday
A reflection on the events of Good Friday from St Ninian's Church in Stonehouse with Stewart Cutler
April 2, 2021
what love looks like... Thursday of Holy Week
Washing feet is a shocking act of humility and service... but the story is more about whose feet get cleaned...
March 31, 2021
betrayal... Wednesday of Holy Week
Judas, the one who betrayed Jesus... or just the one who got there first?
March 31, 2021
When the going gets tough... Tuesday of Holy Week
It's easy in the good times, but when things get tough people start to lose faith...
March 29, 2021
an anointing and an accusation... Monday of Holy Week
Mary anoints Jesus' feet and Judas weighs in...
March 29, 2021
Palm Sunday
What’s the big deal about this week for Christians? Why is a strange parade with hosannas and palm branches a big deal and why does it all go so wrong so quickly?
March 27, 2021
It's Time
When some travellers appear asking to see Jesus he tells his followers that the time has come. But when is the time for us?  And what are we waiting for?
March 21, 2021
identity crisis
Naming the problem is the only way to begin to fix something, but what on earth does a bronze snake on a pole have to do with you and me?
March 14, 2021
who are you?
Who are you?  It's perhaps the most important question we could ask.  Surprisingly, Jesus throwing the stallholders and moneychangers out of the Temple is actually about the answer to that question...
March 7, 2021
cross purposes
Jesus says some strange and difficult stuff sometimes, perhaps none more than in Mark 8 where he starts talking about taking up your cross to follow him.  But Mark's gospel is about empire v the kingdom of God so why would you want to embrace an instrument of torture and suppression?
February 28, 2021
We're back in chapter 1 of Mark as we journey with Jesus into the wilderness.  But what could two short sentences possibly have to tell us?
February 20, 2021
The transfiguration is a strange story that pops up in the middle of Mark's gospel.  But what if it really belongs somewhere else?  And what would that help us to understand about this moment on the mountain?
February 13, 2021
Stuck in a moment
Have you ever been stuck in one of those moments where there seems no way out?  Or stuck in a moments where you just want to stay forever? Stewart explores a story from Mark's gospel where Jesus gets a whole village unstuck.
February 6, 2021
What are the things that fill our minds and grasp our attention, diverting us from our focus on God?
January 30, 2021
Breaking Barriers
From the very beginning Mark's Gospel is revolutionary. As soon as Jesus turns up God breaks down the barriers...
January 30, 2021
This is not it!
Jesus needs some witnesses, people who will tell others what they have seen and experienced. Could that be you?
January 23, 2021
Come and See
Come and see... it sounds so simple.  Come and see... but come and see what?  Come and see who?
January 16, 2021
What is God like?
Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, helps us to consider the lessons of Epiphany and wonder what God might be like...
January 3, 2021
Now, go in peace
Today our guest preacher Right Rev. Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland explores the story of two people who waited a long time for something special.
December 27, 2020
Watchnight 2020
We wait... 
December 24, 2020
Our young people lead worship this week, telling us the story of the birth of Jesus... in a lockdown fashion!
December 19, 2020
Can I Get A Witness?
'Who are you?', they ask John the Baptist.  But he wants to tell them about someone else... someone greater.  That's his testimony.  What's yours?
December 12, 2020
prepare the way
Prepare the way! shouts John the Baptist.  That's the work of Advent... to get ready.  But what does it mean for us to prepare the way?  Where should we begin?
December 6, 2020
The Long Wait
In this first week of Advent we explore the long wait... and wonder what exactly we are waiting for?
November 29, 2020
What did you do?
At the end, the questions that faces all of us is perhaps one that we didn't really expect... what did you do?
November 22, 2020
It's not about the money!
The parable of the talents is a story about... what happens when we have the wrong idea about who God is and what God is like...
November 15, 2020
Amos gives the people a stark warning... maybe the day of the Lord isn't what you expect it to be!  But why?  What is that they, and we, are getting wrong?
November 8, 2020
How can you help?
When Jesus calls out the leaders he also gives a pretty stark warning to his followers... do as they say, not as they do.  Which begs the question... how can you help?
November 1, 2020
love, love, love
When Jesus is posed one last trick question his answer is pretty straightforward... Love God, love your neighbour and love yourself.  But it can't be that simple, can it?
October 24, 2020
A question of tax
Should we pay tax to Caesar? It's the million dollar question, but perhaps not for the reasons we think. This week Stewart Cutler explores a question Jesus' enemies ask him about taxation from the Empire and Jesus' surprising response...
October 17, 2020
Invitations almost always come with a catch. A present to buy, or dress code to follow. But what happens when it's God who is doing the inviting?
October 10, 2020
Turns out, it is about you!
Leadership is tough. That's why we often leave it to other people. But what is our part in keeping them honest? And what leadership roles do we find ourselves in?
October 3, 2020
time to change
Today Stewart Cutler explores Matthew 21:23-32 where Jesus tells a story about two brothers to call out the hypocrisy of the religious leaders... and us.
September 26, 2020
fair pay?
Kingdom economics... What does justice look like when it comes to pay day?  Stewart Cutler explores the parable of the workers in the vineyard from Matthew 20:1-16.
September 19, 2020
77 times
77 times. That's a lot of chances. Some might say too many. But nobody ever said forgiveness was easy...
September 12, 2020
Sort it out!
We all argue and disagree, and we all need help to resolve those conflicts. This week we look at some good advice Jesus gives on how to sort things out and where that advice comes from...
September 5, 2020
from rock to stumbling block
It doesn't take Peter long to come crashing back down to earth with a bump!  Join us as we explore Matthew 16:21-17:8 and celebrate communion together. Hymns: Ye gates recorded at the general assembly of the Church of Scotland, Words: Psalm 24, the Scottish Psalter 1929, Music Andrew Mitchell Thomson (1778-1831)  Lord of life, we come to you performed by the Scottish Festival Singers, conducted by Ian McCorie. Words: Catherine Walker / St Mungo Music, Presbytery of St Leo the Great, Glasgow. Tune: Scottish folk melody CCLI: 632609
August 30, 2020
Who do you say I am? It might be one of the most important questions of all.  Why?  Because it's a question about identity... our identity!  Stewart Cutler explorer Matthew 16:13-20 in this week's service from St Ninian's Church in Stonehouse, Scotland.
August 22, 2020
wash your mouth out!
What you say comes from your heart. How often do our words betray our feelings, our prejudices and our real thoughts? In today's reading from Matthew's gospel at chapter 15:10-28 we find Jesus talking about watching your language then the very next story had him calling a foreign woman a dog... so what's going on? Stewart Cutler explores this difficult encounter and sheds some new light on it.
August 15, 2020
passing by
Stewart Cutler considers the story of Jesus walking on the water and Peter getting out of the boat was really about.
August 8, 2020
moved to care
Stewart Cutler explores the feeding of the 5,000 in Matthew 14: 13-21 and discovers it might tell us much more about ourselves than we imagine.
August 2, 2020
Be careful what you pray for
Jillian Storrie explore some of Jesus parables in Matthew chapter 13.
July 26, 2020
wait for it!
Wheat, weeds and lots of waiting.  What's that all about? This week Stewart explores Matthew 13: 24-30, 36,42, the parable of the weeds and Jesus' explanation.
July 19, 2020
Arable Parable
Stewart explores a parable about seeds, weeds, rocks, paths and good ground and wonders where we fit in this story?
July 11, 2020
Stewart wonders what we might need to lay down
July 5, 2020
Stewart Cutler explores Matthew 10:40-42 and wonders what it is like to be on either side of a welcome...
June 27, 2020
choices... not divisions
Jesus has what seem like pretty harsh words for us in Matthew's gospel this week, but perhaps they are not all they seem... Yvonne Hamilton helps us explore.
June 21, 2020
do something great
The service for 14th June 2020 from St Ninian's Church in Stonehouse, Scotland, led by Stewart Cutler. 
June 13, 2020
Go... yes you!  Go!  Go and make disciples.  Everywhere!
June 6, 2020
Just who is this Jesus?  This passage from John's gospel tells us all we need to know!
May 24, 2020
A gift... a gift of presence. Someone to be there with you though everything. That's what Jesus promises.
May 17, 2020
What does it mean to abide in God?  When Jesus says 'I am the way, the truth and the life' what is he talking about?  And what does that have to do with us?
May 9, 2020
Jesus said 'I am the gate', but what does that even mean? And should I go in?
May 2, 2020
It's late on Easter Day but so far only Mary has seen the risen Christ. The disciples are locked in the upper room, scared and wondering what happens now... apart from Thomas...
April 29, 2020
They had had enough. It was all too dangerous. So Cleopas and whoever was with him were heading home. As they walked along full of questions and grief and wondering what had happened and why they were joined by a stranger... who turned out to be Jesus.
April 25, 2020
It's Easter Sunday!  The darkness has gone.  Love wins!  Resurrection is real!
April 12, 2020
Save us!!!
The king is coming on a donkey. The people are shouting Hosanna! But do they know what they are asking for?
April 5, 2020
A valley of dry bones and a dead man walking... stories of hope in dark times.
March 29, 2020
Jesus encounter with a blind man is more than a story about mud and spit and even sight.  It's about who we are and who Jesus is and why that matters to all of us.
March 24, 2020
Living Water
A chance encounter at a well in the heat of the midday sun brings an unexpected revelation and a opportunity for mission for a most unlikely disciple, a Samaritan woman...
March 15, 2020
Nicodemus comes looking for illumination and gets more than he bargained for.  Being born from above... what does that mean?  And what does the story of Abram have to do with it?
March 8, 2020
The moment it all goes wrong.  It's an ancient story of a man, a woman, a snake and some forbidden fruit, but mostly it's about shame.
March 1, 2020
Get up!
On the mountain with the transfigured Jesus, and Moses and Elijah, God speaks to three disciples, Peter, James and John. Then Jesus tells them to 'get up, and don't be afraid!'  Is that our response when we encounter God?
February 23, 2020
Where do you end up when you start pulling on the thread of an idea or an issue? Where does something really start? Today we consider some threads that Jesus unravels for us in the Sermon on the Mount.
February 16, 2020
It's You!!!
After the beatitudes comes salt and light and the law... and a challenge to the people... it's up to you!
February 9, 2020
The beatitudes... that list of the blessed that we would never want to join; the poor in spirit, the meek and those who mourn.  So where is the blessing?  And why is this teaching so central to Jesus' message?
February 2, 2020
2020 Vision
Repent means 'to see things in a new way, as they really are'.  So when Jesus asks some fishermen to follow him he is helping them to repent, to see the kingdom of God which is close by. Following Jesus is an invitation to live into that new way of being.
January 26, 2020
come and see
Jesus invites us into a relationship with him and asks us to invite others into that relationship... come and see...
January 21, 2020
little epiphanies
In the season of Epiphany, what does Jesus' baptism tell us about who he is and what God's mission is?
January 21, 2020
commas save lives!
Words matter, especially when we are talking about God. The prologue of John's Gospel paints an amazing picture of Christ, who was there at the beginning of all things but who chose to become like us.  Christmas... in just one sentence.
January 21, 2020
Christmas is a dangerous business!
January 21, 2020
hail Joseph
Joseph is often overlooked, but Matthew's Gospel puts him centre stage in the story of the birth of Jesus.  But why? What's so important about a man who played no part in the birth?
January 21, 2020
are you the one?
When the night is darkest the questions come. As John the Baptist sits in his cell he begins to wonder... Are you really the one?  It's a question for all of us this Advent.
January 21, 2020
Kingdom Signs
Judgement is about recognising the parts of ourselves that aren’t right and stripping them out. That's the preparing that John the Baptist asks of us as he tells us to prepare the way.
January 21, 2020
your kingdom come
Welcome to Advent, to the waiting season, where the light prepares and the angels stir and the stars shift and the word begins to put on flesh, waiting to move among us… But that’s not quite what we are presented with in our readings from scripture this morning... or is it?
December 1, 2019
Wellbeing Sunday
Wellbeing matters to Jesus.  We explore the story of Jairus and the bleeding woman to discover how Jesus is interested in much more than physical healing, but also our mental and spiritual health, as individuals and as communities.
November 17, 2019
On Remembrance Sunday we explore James's advice to listen more than to speak and to be doers, not just hearers,
November 17, 2019
finding the new Jerusalem
Revelation 21 paints a beautiful vision of a new world.  A world of peace and harmony.  A world as it was meant to be, where God and people live together and all suffering and pain is ended.  But is it all just a fantasy?
November 17, 2019
Wake Up
Part 2 of our series on Revelation explores more of the letters to the seven churches in Asia. 
November 3, 2019
What's stopping you?
Revelation 1/4.  That book we often avoid because it seems so strange and difficult... so, what's it all about?
October 27, 2019
Careful what you wish for
Jephthah made a promise, a promise that was ill-conceived and cost him and his daughter dearly.  And we still make the same kind of promises for the same kinds of reasons... our own greed, our own ambition, our own insecurities.
September 15, 2019
well, what did you expect?
When Naaman, the commander of the army of the Amarites, comes to Elisha to find a cure for his leprosy he doesn't get what he was expecting... but he got what he needed!
July 14, 2019
Taking on the mantle, being the next in line, the new person, the successor is never easy.  Elisha had some big shoes to fill when Elijah was gone.
July 4, 2019
seeds and weeds
The parable of the sower in Matthew 13:18-23 is one of the few parables Jesus explains.  But that doesn't mean that it's not worth talking about!
June 12, 2019
new foundations
When the people returned from exile they rebuilt... but things were not the same as they had been.  A new community needed new foundations, just like the new Temple would.  Some of the people who remembered how things had been before wept while those who didn't remember shouted for joy.  Such is the way of change.
May 27, 2019
Love, actually
Jillian helps us discover through that Jesus' new commandment that love is actually all around.
May 27, 2019
As we gathered around the Lord's Table we heard the words Jesus spoke after the Last Supper in John 14:1-27.  They were words of comfort, words of trust, and words of peace.
May 12, 2019
Follow me!
At the end of John's Gospel, Jesus' reinstatement and renewal of Peter after he had denied even knowing Jesus 3 times is a painful conversation, but a conversation full of hope for all of us.  Jesus' instructions to Peter; feed my lambs, tend my sheep, feed my sheep, and the renewal of the invitation to 'follow me', are a manifesto for the church and for each and every one of us.
May 7, 2019
You've Changed!
After a long and unsuccessful night fishing a man on the shore suggests the disciples throw their nets out the other side.  It turns out the man is Jesus, but he's different.  He's changed.  What would our equivalent be?  Where might we try something different?  Where might we cast our nets?  And where do we still meet the Risen Christ in our lives?
April 28, 2019
Love wins!
It's Resurrection Sunday!!! Easter Day.  The Lord is risen!!!  The tomb is empty... Love has won.  It's a story of faith.  Their faith and ours.  Where will you encounter the risen Christ?
April 21, 2019
Is it him?
On Palm Sunday at St Ninian's we join the crowd and the religious leaders as they all wonder who on earth this Jesus really is.  We read from John 10:22-39 and John 12:12-16.
April 14, 2019
Love is all you need
Love... Agape.  The kind of love God has for us and wants us to have for each other.  Compassionate, tender and unconditional.  And really hard to live out!
April 8, 2019
Romans 12 tells us what it look likes to live a life of love.  But it's hard... really hard.  And that's what makes it so important that we try our hardest and perhaps consider just how loveable we are.
March 31, 2019
the one about friends
Philia, the love between friends.  As we continue our journey through Lent Yvonne Hamilton helps us to reflect on what it means to love our friends by reflecting on how the friends of the paralysed man act in their quest to help their friend see Jesus.
March 24, 2019
The gift of erotic love
Eros... erotic love... sex... one of the four Greek words for love, and part of the gift of love that God has given to us all.  So why don't we talk positively about it?
March 17, 2019
Susan Brown, Moderator of The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, is this week's guest preacher.  In the first week of Lent she considers the temptations Jesus faced in the wilderness, the same temptations we still face today.
March 11, 2019
Living Water
We continue from where we left off last week... in John 7:32-52.  Jesus tells the crowd that they can drink from him and never be thirsty again.  But what is he talking about?  And why don't some of them believe him?
March 4, 2019
John's gospel is all about the universal Christ and that's what we explore this week through John 7:1-31, a strange story where Jesus visits Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles.
February 25, 2019
Bread of Heaven
What does the space shuttle have to do with John 6?  Listen in and find out!
February 19, 2019
our daily bread
Prayer isn't always easy. We get so caught asking for what we want that we forget that prayer is about our attitude and orientation... always trying to seek God's will.
February 11, 2019
This week we go back into the archive to a sermon preached at St Ninian's Stonehouse on 18th November 2018 by Stewart Cutler on Numbers 11:16-35 and Luke 10:1-17.
February 4, 2019
What are your foundations?
A sermon preached by Stewart Cutler at St Ninian's Church in Stonehouse, Scotland, exploring Luke 6:46-49, the wise and foolish builders.
January 28, 2019