Talking about our faith can be intimidating. It brings up a bunch of insecurities and worries about whether we are equipped to answer questions, how people will respond and if we're going to alienate our friends, families and co-workers.
As I was preparing my heart for this coming Sunday, another challenging passage from Andrew Murray's Power in Prayer came to my mind. Here is some food for thought as you turn your heart toward the weekend.
"The name Holy Spirit teaches us that it is particularly the work of the Spirit to impart holiness to us and make it our own.
"The holiness of God in Christ becomes holiness in you because His Spirit dwells in you. The words Holy and Spirit and the divine realities they represent are now inseparably and eternally united. You can only have as much of the Spirit as you are willing to have of holiness. And you can only have as much holiness as you have the indwelling Spirit.
"Some pray for the Spirit because they long to have His light and joy and strength, but their prayers accomplish little increase of His blessing or power. It is because they do not truly know or desire Him as the Holy Spirit. They are not acquainted with His burning purity, His convicting light, His putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and His leading into the fellowship of Jesus, who gave up His will and His life to the Father.
"He reveals and imparts the holiness of Chris. Jesus speaks of 'the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, [who] will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you' (John 14:26). He is the Spirit of Christ. Our hope is awakened to believe that He will work mightily in us."
- Originally taken from The Path to Holiness
Looking forward to being transformed by the Word with you on Sunday,
School of Prayer: Teach Us To Be Holy
On Sunday we continue in our School of Prayer asking God to teach us to be holy. Talk about "praying the impossible!” We understand that God has a standard for us - but holiness? Isn’t that something we should only expect from God? Not according to scripture. Let’s talk about it on Sunday. - Bjorn
I consider myself to be a pretty clean person. I do regular chores at my house and like to keep thing tidy. But something pretty horrifying came to light last week while Rob and I started a small kitchen renovation. We were about to begin the process of painting the cabinets and I decided that it was probably a good idea to paint the ceiling since everything else was being freshened up. I could see that the section around the stove had yellowed a bit so I bought a can of ceiling paint and got started. Within a few strokes of the roller I was equally horrified and fascinated. (Look right to see the picture I snapped.) When compared to the rest of the 14 year old ceiling, it wasn't bad... but compared to the fresh, white paint, the ceiling was a perfect shade of EW!
Immediately, I saw the metaphor on my ceiling. When we compare ourselves - thoughts, actions, attitudes - to others, to our surroundings, or to who we were yesterday, we simply can't see clearly what needs to be changed. But when we allow the Holy Spirit to illuminate the Word to us, to speak truth to us and to show us His ways, we have the opportunity to be truly transformed. That's why we're so passionate about meeting together, about knowing the Word, about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and, in this series, how to be people of prayer. All of this works together to help us see more clearly how to be transformed into the image of Christ.
Looking forward to being transformed by the Word with you on Sunday,
School of Prayer: Teach Us to Pray in the Sprit
We're going to look into Romans 8 on Sunday and talk about another amazing gift that we have from the Holy Spirit. Ever not known what to say to God? (I'd bet that's been all of us at some time or another.) This gift is for you.
Also, we're excited to welcome the Pennings family this weekend! Barbara and Anthony will be sharing about the work they are doing in Manitoulin. I know you'll be inspired to hear about how they've followed the call of God on their lives.
See you then,
Say Hello To... Ray of Hope
Allow me to introduce you to or reacquaint you with one of our missions partners. Ray of Hope works right here in Kitchener and provides life-changing services to people in need. They demonstrate the love of Christ to those who are disadvantaged, marginalized, or troubled. Their vision is: "People investing in people. Inspiring Hope. Transforming Life." Wow - it's no wonder that we count it a privilege to partner with Ray of Hope. Their vision and ours share so much in common.
Ray of Hope works in so many different areas of our community. Specifically, they focus on:
- Community Support
- Refugee Support
- Youth Justice
- Youth Employment
- Youth Addiction
For the past several years we have been sending a team every other month to make and serve a meal at the Ray of Hope Community Centre. This year, even as we continue to do that, we have a plan to raise funds over and above the cost of the food to be able to bless their ministry in some way at the end of the year.
We appreciate everyone who has served with our Freedom team at Ray of Hope and invite you to get involved if you want to participate with us. (Just email Katie and let her know you're interested.)
Thank you for partnering with us as we support this great work in our community and our missions families!
See you on Sunday,
School of Prayer: Teach Us the Holy Spirit's Power
Praise the Lord for Pentecost - the gift of the Spirit empowering us. Now what? Do you ever wish that there was an "owner's manual" on how to use the Holy Spirit's power? Or does the Holy Spirit use us? Or is it both? So many questions. I have an idea. Let's ask Jesus to teach us to use the Holy Spirit's power.
See you on Sunday.
This week's devotional thoughts are again from Andrew Murray's Power in Prayer. On Sunday we are celebrating Pentecost and so this excerpt seemed especially appropriate.
"God's giving is inseparably connected with our asking. He applies this principle especially to the gift of the Holy Spirit. As surely as a father on earth gives bread to his child, so God gives the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him. One great law rules the whole ministry of the Spirit: We must ask; God must give. When the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost with a flow that never ceases, it was in answer to prayer.
"Of all the gifts of the early church to which we should aspire, there is none more needed than the gift of prayer - prayer that brings the Holy Spirit into the midst of believers. This power is given to those who say, 'We will give ourselves to prayer.'
"Prayer links the King on the throne with the church at His feet. The church, the human link, receives its divine strength from the power of the Holy Spirit, who comes in answer to their prayers. Where there is much prayer, there will be much of the Spirit; where there is much of the Spirit, there will be ever-increasing prayer. If prayer was the power by which the early church flourished and triumphed, shouldn't it be the same of the church today?"
From Power in Prayer by Andrew Murray
There are some challenging and encouraging things to consider in this brief passage, aren't there? This is a great time to remind you about three important prayer initiatives that we have at Freedom.
- Pre-Service Prayer - Sundays @ 9:00-9:30 - You are welcome to come early and pray in the sanctuary while the worship team rehearses.
- Deep Roots - Sunday, May 27 @ 6:00 - Spend time seeking God with others in your church family.
- Intercessory Prayer Team - Email email@example.com any time to send your prayer request to our prayer team. They would love to partner in prayer with you.
Can't wait for Pentecost Sunday!
School of Prayer: Teach Us To Ask
There is an interesting difference between Matthew 7 and Luke 11 when Jesus is teaching us how to ask and how good our Father God is. Matthew talks about "good gifts" while Luke defines those "good gifts" as someone very specific - the Holy Spirit. On Sunday we will take a look at these scriptures in light of the amazing events that took place on the Day of Pentecost. I'm looking forward to it. Come with an expectant heart! - P. Tracy
As we approach Mother's Day and continue to focus on prayer, here is a prayer for all of the moms in our lives...
Dear Father, we approach your throne on behalf of the mothers whom you have entrusted with the care of your most precious little ones. We thank you for creating each mom with a unique combination of gifts and talents. We thank you for the sacrifice of self each mom gives for her children. For the late nights spent rocking a colicky infant. For the hands calloused from washing, wiping, scrubbing, mixing, baking, stirring, hugging, patting, disciplining, holding, writing, erasing, painting, and pouring.
We thank you for the gift of time moms give for their kids. We thank you for the flexibility of moms, for their tirelessness, their perseverance, and their devotion.
We pray you give each mom strength. Help her to see in every mundane task the eternal, cosmic significance that you place on motherhood. Help her to understand that the most radical, world-changing events may be happening anonymously in her home.
We ask you to be the daily bread of tired mothers. We ask you to be their living water. We ask you to be their source of spiritual and physical strength. We pray that the same grace that flowed from Father to Son to us in salvation will flow from mothers to their children. We pray that each mother rejects perfectionism and instead embraces the goodness of the gospel. We pray her rhythms of repentance and forgiveness will shape her home.
Lord, give each mother a worshipful reverence of you, the Creator and Sustainer of life. Help each mother to rest in the knowledge that they are but stewards of your children and that only your Spirit can produce change into the hearts of each boy and girl. May each mother find rest in you.
Most of all, Lord, on this day in which we honour mothers, may we love and cherish the special women who have born us, who have nurtured us, and who have prayed for our well-being. May our hearts overflow with gratitude to you.
Adapted from Daniel Darling
Oh, and just for fun... this is to honour you, too, moms!
School of Prayer: Teach Us Discernment
"And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one."
This week as we celebrate Mother's Day, we are focusing on the next section of the Lord's Prayer where Jesus teaches us to pray for discernment. These 13 words are very familiar to most of us but they are packed with meaning. On Sunday we're going to take some time to understand the bigger message behind this simple prayer.
- P. Tracy
This week's prayer challenge comes from chapter 16 of "Prayer" by Richard Foster. As we prepare for Bjorn's message on forgiveness this Sunday, here are some thoughts to prime your heart and mind around Matthew 6:12, 14-15:
"As long as the only cry heard among us is for vengeance, there can be no reconciliation. If our hearts are so narrow as to see only how others have hurt and offended us, we cannot see how we have offended God and so find no need to seek forgiveness. If we are always calculating in our hearts how much this one or that one has violated our rights, by the very nature of things we will not be able to pray this prayer [Matthew 6:12].
"In the affairs of human beings there is a vicious cycle of retaliation: you gore my ox and I'll gore your ox, you hurt me and I'll hurt you in return. Now the giving of forgiveness is so essential because it breaks this law of retribution. We are offended and, instead of offending in return, we forgive. (Be assured that we are able to do this only because of the supreme act of forgiveness at Golgotha, which once and for all broke the back of the cycle of retaliation.) When we do, when we forgive, it unleashes a flood of forgiving graces from heaven and among human beings."
From Prayer by Richard Foster
Be blessed this week,
School of Prayer: Teach Us Forgiveness
"And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."
This week, we jump back into the School of Prayer with Jesus as He teaches us how to pray in Matthew 6.
Just like last week, I want to share some thoughts from a devotional book comprised of excerpts from Andrew Murray's writings. (The book is "Power in Prayer".) In light of my tag-team message with Bjorn this coming Sunday, here is this week's instalment:
"We find the Christian life difficult because we seek for God's blessing while we live according to our own will. We make our own plans and choose our own work, and then we ask the Lord Jesus to watch and see that sin does not overtake us and that we do not wander too far from the path. But our relationship to Jesus ought to be such that we are entirely at His disposal. Every day we should go to Him first, humbly and straightforwardly, and say, 'Lord, is there anything in me that is not according to your will, that has not been ordered by you, or that is not entirely given over to you? What would you have me do today?'"
From Divine Healing by Andrew Murray
Excerpt from Power in Prayer
Be blessed as you surrender to God each day,
School of Prayer: Teach Us Surrender & Trust
"Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."
"Give us today our daily bread."
It's such a simple prayer but it's completely packed with meaning. What does it mean to trust God for our daily needs? How do we learn to rely on Him not ourselves? This Sunday Bjorn and I will be doing a tag-team message that incorporates what we had planned for last week and this week. We're looking forward to unpacking these important truths with you! - P. Tracy
As I mentioned on Sunday, one of the best known authors on prayer is Andrew Murray. I wanted to share some thoughts from a great devotional book with excerpts of his writings that I received several years ago called "Power in Prayer". It's a little hard to find in print these days but here are some thoughts for your week as you consider the posture of your heart in prayer.
"The first thing the Lord teaches His disciples is that they must have a secret place for prayer. Jesus is our teacher in the school of prayer. He taught us at Samaria that worship is no longer confided to times and places, but that true spiritual worship is something that comes from within the spirit and life of a believer. But He still sees it as important that each one choose a location where he can daily meet with Him. That inner room, that solitary place, is Jesus' schoolroom. That spot could be anywhere. It may even change from day to day if we have to move for the sake of family or schedules, but there must be a secret place and a quiet time in which the "student" places himself in the Master's presence to be prepared by Him to worship the Father. Jesus comes to us in that place and teaches us to pray.
"God hides himself from the carnal eye. If in worship we are primarily occupied with our own thoughts and exercises, we will not meet Him who is Spirit. But to the one who withdraws himself from all that is of the world and the flesh and prepares to wait upon God alone, the Father will reveal himself."
Teach Me to Pray by Andrew Murray
Excerpt from Power in Prayer
Be blessed as you seek God this week,
School of Prayer: Teach Us Surrender
We are learning to pray from the Master Himself - Jesus. He is so selfless that even in His prayer He asks for what God wants. Jesus teaches us to address God and say "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done." Does that not go without saying? Does God not always get what He wants anyway? Maybe this prayer has more to do with us then what appears on the surface? On Sunday we will unpack how our attitude and deepest desire in prayer impacts the way we pray. See you then.
OK, so it's snowing a little as I'm writing this and I'm working very hard to see the silver lining in a -5 windchill during the first week of April. Anyone have any suggestions???
However, in spite of the strange "spring" we're having, I'm excited about the new series we're starting on Sunday called "School of Prayer". I've been thinking a lot lately about the vital role that prayer plays in our lives and how much God wants to teach us and change us through communicating with Him. So, what is the best way to pray?
For the next few weeks we're going to be like the disciple who wanted to know the answer to that question, too, so he went right to source:
This is where we're going to start because this is where Jesus' teaching about prayer started. I invite you to come along with us as we learn from the Master.
See you on Sunday,
Did you participate in our Good Friday "Better Than" video?
Did you see it on Easter Sunday? It was absolutely incredible - powerful, honest and heart-felt with the potential to minister to so many others!
We would love to be able to share it online but we won't do it without your permission. If you or your children made a sign and had your picture taken by Walt and Rob, please click the button below and let us know if you're OK with us sharing it online. If you'd like to see it first, simply mention that in your email and we'll send you a private link.
Thank you! He is risen indeed!
#JesusIsAll #BetterThan #AllTheThings
School of Prayer: Teach Us The Posture
The first thing we learn from Jesus about prayer in Matthew 6 is how to posture our hearts. It isn't about following a formula or a 5-step program. From creation until now it's always been about the heart.
Jesus Is All
I have a great little reader board in my office. Sometimes it finds it's way to our Welcome Centre but for this past month it's been parked in my office with this message: Jesus Is All. Leading up to Easter and as we've been walking through Hebrews, my heart has been anchored again in this fact; everything that we need is found in Jesus. I am excited to celebrate that with you on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It's going to be a beautiful weekend.
See you soon,
Very simply today I want to invite you into a celebration of the best season of the year. You're invited to make the most out of every moment; dig a little deeper, pause a little longer, listen a little more closely, sing a little louder and experience even more gratitude for the life-transforming work of Christ in our lives. He truly is better than ALL.
Palm Sunday - March 25
Celebration with Kmotion and palm branches!
Good Friday - March 30 @ 10:00am
Family Communion Service
Easter Sunday - April 1
Come ready to worship.. Jesus is ALL!
Can't wait to see you all on Sunday,
Better Than Sacrifices
I don’t know if you have ever struggled with making the connection between the old covenant and the new covenant. All that stuff about the spilling of blood for the atonement of sin - why was that necessary? And, if it was important, then why is it not important now? Is the Old Testament obsolete and totally irrelevant? Sometimes the significance of where we are is only revealed in the knowledge of where we have come from. Let’s celebrate greater things together.
See you on Palm Sunday,
Say Hello To... The Fellers
I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to or reacquaint you with one of our missions families this week. The Fellers are a truly remarkable family with a missions calling in Ethiopia that resonates strongly with our own life transformation vision.
Jeremy and Teresa have three children - 5-year-olds Bethany and Timothy and almost 4-year-old, Zoe. They live in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia, and use it as a launching point to minister all over eastern and northern Africa.
Recently, Jeremy was appointed the Africa Regional Director for PAOC Missions and so he's using Addis as a home base to give leadership the continent now! He's also uniquely qualified for ministry in Ethiopia because his love of coffee runs very, very deep (if his Facebook photos - 20+ - of cups of "buna" are any indication!).
Jeremy's heart beats to see the transforming gospel of Jesus Christ expand into the the parts of Africa that haven't been reached with the gospel and to raise the next generation of missionaries. Jeremy is a respected teacher and leader in the Ethiopian context. He has worked in training and releasing church planters, discipling young leaders, Bible college ministry, and on the leadership team of Addis Christian Life Assembly.
As we move through 2018 we'll be bringing you updates on what the Fellers are up to in Ethiopia and how our investment in their ministry is transforming lives in Ethiopia and on the continent of Africa.
Thank you for partnering with us as we support our missions families!
See you on Sunday,
Better Than Priests
You may have heard Jesus referred to as our Great High Priest. That sounds very important and powerful but what does it really mean? Our faith doesn't include a system of priests that practice spirituality on our behalf so what is the significance of Jesus being the best of all the priests? On Sunday we're going to be in Hebrews 4 and 5, discovering the incredible gift it is to have a Priest who is, in every way, better than those that came before Him.
See you then,
Click here to join in with our Hebrews reading plan!
On Sunday we started our "Better Than" series. Essentially, we are dropping into Hebrews to hear how the author sets up Christ's superiority to, well, everything. I do lament one thing... that we don't have time to do the whole book in this series. There is so much in Hebrews that helps us "be taken forward to maturity" (6:1) that we could spends many weeks camped right here.
So, let's do something together between now and Easter Sunday (April 1). Let's read Hebrews. It has 13 jam-packed chapters with lots of opportunities to slow down, pray, dig deeper and discover more about who Jesus is.
YouVersion has a 13-day plan that I invite you to join on your device or on the website. (There are 24 days until Easter Sunday so you don't have to rush through it.) Go ahead and click the link to add the plan to your app or account. You can also search the app or site for "Deeper into Scripture: Hebrews" to find it.
Let's read and meditate on Hebrews together this month. I'm looking forward to digging into "better things" with you this Easter season.
See you on Sunday,
Better Than Moses
Jesus is just better! Isn't He? You can tack anything on the end of that sentence and it would be true. This week we will be taking a look at Jesus being better than Moses. To us that seems like a no-brainer. The early Christians needed to be persuaded that their greatest hero could be eclipsed, but we know better - or can we fall into the same trap, ourselves? Let's explore on Sunday.
See you then,
This month’s Community Connection challenge comes from an idea brought to us from one of our Freedom Family members. It was such a good idea I thought, let’s make it our Community Connection for March!
Have you heard that Loblaw’s has committed to giving out $25 gift cards to Canadians that were overcharged for the cost of some packaged breads in their grocery stores? If you aren’t aware, I assure you it’s true! I’ll even provide details on who qualifies and how to register at the end of this email.
Here is the challenge: For those of us that qualify to receive these $25 gift cards, let’s use them to bless three organizations that are doing great work in our community. Sometimes reaching our community happens by coming alongside those who are already doing great work!
If you have already received and spent your gift card or you aren’t eligible, have no fear you can still participate! You can either donate an amount you feel the Lord laying on your heart or pick up a gift card next time you are at a grocery store.
There are many amazing organizations but we've picked three to focus on with this opportunity:
Located in Kitchener and Cambridge, Monica Place empowers young women who are pregnant, parenting or choosing adoption to make informed and healthy choices for themselves and their children. They are a community that provides supportive housing, counselling and on-site education creating opportunities for growth, learning and skill development.
How can they use the gift cards?
To buy fresh fruits, vegetables and milk for the mother’s and children using their services
Ray of Hope
Ray of Hope’s mission is to demonstrate the love of Christ to those who are disadvantaged, marginalized, or troubled. They provide life-changing social services to young people, adults and families, helping them redirect their life journey and realize their God-give potential.
How can they use the gift cards?
To buy food for their hot meal and food hamper programs.
Pregnancy Care Centre
The Pregnancy Centre offer’s support for anyone experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. Their services are designed to help those in need and are free of charge.
How can they use the gift cards?
To help mothers in need.
How do you get involved?
- Check to see if you are eligible for the Loblaw Card Program by visiting: https://loblawcard.ca
- Register for free gift card, purchase gift card on your decide on a cash amount to donate.
- Bring your card to the box at the Welcome Centre on a Sunday morning.
Excited to partner with you to bless our community!
Community Ministries Director
Better Than Angels
We're getting excited around here because in just a few short weeks we'll be celebrating Easter together. On Sunday we are going to launch our Easter series called "Better Than". Each message will move us deeper and deeper into the book of Hebrews where the author sets up a case for Jesus absolute supremacy over anything you might want to compare Him to.
Let me invite you to prepare your heart for this series by spending some time in Hebrews 1:1-4 before Sunday. Meditate on all the amazing truths about Jesus that are found in this short passage and get ready to see all the way that He is better than anyone and anything else this world can offer.
See you on Sunday,
You've heard Bjorn and I make special mention of CP1 over the past few Sundays. Why? Because we are taking the Bible study principles that we're using to prepare our messages and practicing them with more depth on Wednesday nights. The advantages are obvious, of course. We've been able to add to our skill set and do it together so that we can learn from each other while we're at it. It's been excellent.
Maybe you have to work on Wednesday evenings or have another commitment in the calendar and you haven't been able to be with us. I don't want you to miss out on some of the great stuff that we've been covering together because, well, I care about you.
So, here is the content that we've covered on the last three Wednesdays evenings. They are just outlines but they should still be able to give you some extra help and insight into how to be a student of the Word. Here's the content:
- Week 1: The 5 Ps of Bible Study (watch this video first)
- Week 2: Intro to Biblical Interpretation and Biblical Literature (boring title, super helpful information!)
- Week 3: How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth (AKA Hermeneutics)
This has helped us to journey from getting more out of our devotional reading of scripture to learning to dig deeper into the Word and use best practices when we're reading the Bible. Week 4 (this coming Wednesday) will be a culmination of the first three sessions.
If you've been with us for CP1 this month, I'm so glad! Go ahead and use these resources to go back and review what we've been learning together.
As always, if you have any questions just give me a shout!
The Bible Says Whut? "The Lord Hardens Hearts"
There have been times when I have read the Bible and found myself questioning God's ethics. Ridiculous, right? I wish I could say that it has been a long time since that has happened. In truth, I have really wrestled with this week's scripture (Exodus 9:12). I know that I am not the only one to engage in such bouts with God. On Sunday, let's come together and learn how to wrestle with God's word appropriately - with honesty, reverence and humility.
On Sunday I shared our missions giving plan for 2018. If I copy and paste it here you'll just see a lot of text and you'll be tempted to scroll past it. (You know it's true. LOL!) So, I've posted it here. Please take a couple of minutes to read it and get caught up on what's going on if you missed it. No, for real, please do!
We are excited to take this step of faith and see how God wants to use us to bless the world outside of our walls and see the life-transformation vision go beyond our walls. Here are some FAQs that you might have about how this will work:
How do I give to a specific missionary or organization?
You can simply specify that on your offering envelope or when you give online. Be sure to show the amount separately from your general giving. You can specify an amount and write: Fellers, Aragons, Manitoulin Mission (not "Pennings" because we send the money through Daystar Native Outreach) or Ray of Hope.
What if I just want to give to where it is most needed?
Great! Just designate an amount to missions on your offering envelope or when you give online. At the end of the year we will use these funds where they are needed most to fulfill our commitment.
What if we raise more than the amount we've committed to give this year?
Even better! If any missionary or organization receives more than the amount we've committed to them, they will receive the full amount of what has been designated to them. If we receive more in general (undesignated) missions giving than we've committed, the extra will be evenly distributed between our four missions partners.
Thanks for prayerfully considering how you can partner with us this year. I know you're going to love hearing from these great people (Aragons in April, Pennings in June, Fellers in November) and knowing that we are equipping others to take the life-changing message of Christ to the ends of the earth.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to drop me a line. Let's do this together!
The Bible Says Whut? "Because of the Angels"
1 Corinthians chapter 11 gives us a lot to chew on. Is Paul giving the church instructions for a hierarchy of spiritual authority? Should women wear head coverings? Should men always have short hair? And... "because of the angels"? At first glance this passage might make you say... wait, whut? But, of course, there are principles to heed and commands to follow that are for us right now in 2018. We're going to keep using all the tools at our disposal to help us understand how to let this tricky passage teach, rebuke, correct and train us in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16) See you on Sunday!
- Pastor Tracy
Preachers have the amazing privilege of labouring for hours over scripture in order to deliver God's word with accuracy, authority and zeal. Why is this a privilege? The dedication to studying scripture, fighting to understand its meaning, and the time spent in God's presence is always rewarded. Most preachers will attest to the fact that they always learn the most when they have to teach somebody.
The responsibility they feel to their audience has an unexpected by-product. While preachers attempt to feed their congregation they, themselves, are supernaturally nourished.
Pastor Tracy has said before that the best kept secret in the church is that people don't read the Bible. Nobody talks about it but the fact remains. While hearing God's Word on Sunday mornings is a good thing, it is not enough. Our soul knows it and at times even our minds agree.
Our hope over the next few weeks is that anyone who is in that place will tire of surviving off the Sunday morning experience. That everyone, not just pastors, will fight for the chance to be transformed. This is a call to join the well-nourished and recognize the privilege found in the labour.
Let's keep pursuing God's Word together.
See you on Sunday,
The Bible Says Whut? "Not Peace, But a Sword"
In Matthew 10:34, Jesus says, "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword." Wait... whut? Isn't He the Prince of Peace? Didn't He come to reconcile man with God? Didn't He say "blessed are the peacemakers"?
Bjorn is going to walk us through this challenging passage on Sunday morning and help us again to learn to read our Bibles with attentive minds and open hearts. See you then! - Pastor Tracy
Community Connections is back in February with our 2nd Annual Williamsburg Winter Fun Family Day!
This Family Day we have the opportunity to connect with our community by partnering with the Williamsburg Community Centre to host a Family Day event. We did this for the first time last year and I am excited to see it continue.
My Community Connection opportunity and challenge to you this month is to get involved in some way with the Winter Fun Family Day.
I know that Family Day is about spending time with family... i.e. eating pancakes, wearing pyjamas and playing board games. I also know that this opportunity has been handed to us for the second year in a row and I believe God has plans, BIG plans, for every life that is connected with this event.
Why not make part of your Family Day about ministering for Christ together as a family? Maybe this year Family Day doesn't have to be only about pyjamas and pancakes (or insert your preferred activity here). Maybe it can be about that AND serving your community together as a FAMILY!
Here's how you can get involved:
Pray - Pray for this event to be a time of connection with the community and Freedom that goes beyond the event and sees lives transformed.
Volunteer - We need people to hand out snacks, run crafts, direct traffic, play road hockey, set up, tear down and more. Email me if you and your family would like to volunteer: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bring Your Family and Participate - This event needs to be more than just opening our doors to the community. The real impact comes from our Freedom Family being present, interacting and making connections with those who come. Even if you can't volunteer, come and join in the fun.
Invite Other Families - Invite your neighbours to come out and enjoy two hours of free games and activities.
Give me a shout if you have any questions. Thanks for investing in and connecting with our community!
Community Ministries Director
The Bible Says Whut? "Don't...Be Sure"
2 Timothy 3:16 says that all scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. If that's true, what about the things we read in the Bible that we can't figure out or seem to contradict something else? Can the Bible really be understood?
This series is designed to answer some of those questions and give us the tools we need to be able to be confident in the authority of the Bible. I want to show you how to tackle passages that are difficult and I want you to fall in love with the mystery, wonder and practicality of the Word all over again. I'm looking forward to getting started on Sunday! - Pastor Tracy
As we start a new year and once again have had nominations for the Board of Deacons in preparation for our Annual Business Meeting (on March 25 @ 6:00, by the way), I wanted to take a moment to remind you why participating in church life as a member is a great thing to do.
In short, becoming a member gives us a chance to be accountable to one another in the body of Christ. We get to declare that we belong to a body of believers and we are committed to helping each other and serving together for the Kingdom. We know from 1 Corinthians 12 that we are meant to be members of the church body together. This takes submission to our head, Christ, and a heart to serve each other. Through membership we also declare our investment in the local church as well as the universal Church.
If this is a new idea for you to consider, here are a couple of articles about church membership that you might find helpful:
And if you want to consider becoming a member of Freedom in Christ Church, I would love to have that conversation with you. Here is a link to the Membership Application Package so that you can look it over.
I'm looking forward to Sunday when Bjorn takes us through the final verses of Isaiah 43 and we again look at the promise of the presence of God.
Sacred Word: Forgotten
So many great promises have been lined up for us in Isaiah 43, not to mention the reminders of what God's people had seen and experienced in the past. You would think that anyone who saw God move so powerfully would be completely sold out! You might imagine them saying, "I will never forget," "I will never turn aside," or "You are the One True God." When I read scripture I often wonder how God's people could be so blind. It's like they saw God's power, rejoiced, and then moved on with what they were doing before. Unimaginable. Until I examine my own life and the human condition. How does God put up with it? On Sunday I want to talk about God's response to our unfaithfulness. See you then.