Bring the Gospel

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As a follower of Jesus I am grateful for the mercy and grace of God the Father to me and to my brothers and sisters in Christ.  If not for His mercy and grace, I would be hopelessly lost due to my sin nature and the sins that result from that nature.  However, because I have confessed my sinfulness, accepted Jesus’ sacrifice of His life as the sole payment for my sin, asked God for his forgiveness based upon Jesus’ sacrifice and turned away from sinfulness, pursuing instead Jesus, God has saved me.  I have been saved from a life of hopelessness, being a victim of Satan’s evil torment here on earth, an eternal existence in the unquenchable fire where I would have experienced eternal destruction.  I have been saved for a mission of incomparable worth, a relationship with the one true God, to experience the wonders of God’s mercy, grace, provision and joy.
Yet, with all that I have been saved from and for, there is a warning that God has given me – bring The Gospel.  Several years ago I had a conversation with a fellow disciple, a brother in the Lord, concerning The Gospel.  The MCF has as its mission “Bring the Gospel to the Canadian military community at home and abroad,” so I wanted to clearly state what is meant by the Gospel, so that there wouldn’t be any confusion as to what the MCF was called to bring forth.  My brother immediately and fervently resisted my intent, and I was perplexed by his position.  I had thought that being clear about what is the Gospel was “a no-brainer,” but I was naive.
The gospel of Jesus has been distorted, sometimes out of ignorance, sometimes out of the fear of man, and sometimes with evil intent.  God is clear on this matter, if someone brings a gospel other than The Gospel, whether they are a person of influence, an angel or even an apostle, then they are at risk of being under God’s curse.  What would that be like, to be under God’s curse?  I do not know; however, I do know that all of mankind is under God’s curse of eternal separation from Him, unless they confess Jesus as Lord, and believe that God raised Him from the dead.  I know, that for those who remain in their sin, that eternity in hell is their fate.  So, I know with all certainty that as I pursue the mission that I want to bring The Gospel. So, what is The Gospel?
The clearest, concise and most precise explanation of The Gospel is found in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4:
  • Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures;
  • Christ was buried;
  • Christ was raised to life on the third day according to the Scriptures;
If anyone comes and tries to present a gospel that is different from these simple, yet profound facts; if anyone comes and tries to present any other way for sinful man to become right with God; if anyone adds to this truth then they are at risk of being under God’s curse.

Do you know Jesus?  Do you know that you are hopelessly lost and under the condemnation of God because of your innate sinfulness?  Do you realize that as a sinner, you are under the curse of God and destined for eternity in hell?  Will you confess your sinfulness?  Will you accept the sacrificial death of Jesus as the payment for your sin and do you believe that God the Father raised Jesus from the dead?  If so, then welcome into the family of God!  Let me know if you have decided to follow Jesus so

Until All
Gerry Potter
Colonel (Ret’d)

Prayer/Study Gagetown Group

MCF - SMALL GROUP - ANDREW - FORM SQUARE - 2016-03-23 at 11.34.33 AMPadre Andrew Whitman is a member of the MCF and is currently serving in 5 CDSB Gagetown.  He also serves the MCF on the executive team and contributes to the mission of bringing the gospel to the Canadian military community by leading a prayer/study group on the base in Gagetown, together with Jimmy Damiani and Jeff Page.   With his insights on Scripture, and Jimmy’s humble prayerfulness and Jeff’s cheerful faithfulness to the Lord, they lead the group fervently.  For more info on the Gagetown MCF prayer Meeting, don’t hesitate to contact the MCF office.
It is Padre Andrew’s desire to empower many to be watchmen for our people.
We pray you will find the notes below by Jimmy to be inspiring.
MCF Prayer-Study Group in Gagetown.

Meeting every Thursday for lunch.

Good Morning to you all!!
God is GREAT! Look around you and see His great works, His wonderful creation. His hand is upon everything!

As we move forward into Job we are looking into chapter 2.  Wow! As I read, it makes me think of my Mom.  In chapter 2, we see Job’s health go very bad as my Mom’s, and how she is scared and suffering. But our family, like Jobs friends, come together in prayer and hopes for healing. Like some of the members here on base or the ones that have suffered from war wounds physically and/or mentally, we, as friends and Christian brothers and sisters, need to come together with hope and prayer and to have compassion and comfort.

Please pray…

Dear Lord, our heavenly Father, we know you and only you can heal the deepest wounds in our minds and body. Please place your hands on the ones that need your healing touch. Show them that with hope and your Holy Spirit they can find healing. We see you doing your work; like I have seen you do with my Mom, family and friends. Your love gives me the strength I need to help others in their time of need and through your Son and the Holy Spirit I can be there for whoever needs me. I pray this in your Son’s precious and worthy name… Christ Jesus my Lord and Saviour.

JOB 2 2 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord. 2 And the Lord said to Satan: From where do you come? Satan answered the Lord and said: From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it. 3Then the Lord said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause. 4So Satan answered the Lord and said, Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. 5But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face! 6 And the Lord said to Satan, Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life. 7So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. 8 And he took for himself a potsherd with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes. 9Then his wife said to him, Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die! 10But he said to her, You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity? In all this Job did not sin with his lips. 11 Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place— Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him. 12 And when they raised their eyes from afar, and did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven. 13So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.

Blessing All!
Have a Great Day!
Keep your head up! GOD gives his hardest battles to his strongest SOLDIERS. So as we go through our day let us go out to help and to care for all that need it in… Jesus name…Amen!
Jimmy ;o)

Will you give me a drink?

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The Gospel of John shares a story of Jesus’ meeting and conversation with a Samaritan woman. Those who have read this story know the woman had been married five times and was living in a common-law relationship when she met Jesus. The woman is at the well to draw water for her household needs. The well had social significance to a village as a gathering place. Women, who went there to draw their water would talk and interact with each other. Jesus’ encounter seems to take place at an unusual time as only He and the Samaritan woman are at the well. The woman did not draw her water at the same time as the others probably because they didn’t approve of her marital habits and had shunned her. It was an uncomfortable time of the day when she went to the well adding an extra burden to the Samaritan woman’s already isolated existence.

 

Jesus initiated a conversation, which was counter cultural. A Jew did not willingly speak with a Samarian and a male did not generally speak with an unescorted woman.  But Jesus had been breaking social and religious barriers since His arrival on the scene and He reached out to the woman and asked, “Will you give me a drink?”  Her reaction was direct as she points out their religious differences by asking how he, a Jew, could speak to her. When Jesus asked for a drink He was not using some evangelic trick to initiate a conversation, He was indeed thirsty and had no means to draw water from the well on His own. It would seem that religious and cultural practices didn’t matter to Him.

The woman reacted to His request as her culture demanded but as we continue with the story we know something was happening to her. She was somewhat of a pariah in her own village and most likely had very little interaction with the people. It would be safe to say she was probably not respected. Her multiple marriages might also suggest she had a difficult time with relationships. Was she lonely, sad, or depressed?  Jesus, who had seen past the social practices of the day reached out to her and asked for something that immediately gave value to her life. He allowed her to give to another person without being scorned or judged.  Jesus saw her as the Father did, as His creation made to love and be loved.

Jesus had an impact on this woman’s life.  How do we know?  She left her water behind and ran to the village saying “come see the man who told me everything I did”.  What did He tell her about herself other than she was terrible at relationships!  But something had stirred inside her and she knew He has seen past her label.  He allowed her to be a woman who could contribute to the well being of another.

We are called to share the gospel with those we encounter however we cannot do this if we do not see people as Jesus does?  When we look at a homeless person, an alcoholic, or a friend or family member who hurt us in the past, can we see beyond those labels?  Can we find value in that person and acknowledge they have something to offer?  Can we see that person God created in His own image?  Loving others is not easy.  When we left the garden our ability to love as God desired was corrupted by sin.  Today we have generations of bias imbedded into our nature such that we tend to look at people based on how they affect us.  God wants to restore His nature in us so that we can again be the image He created.   He wants this so we can live in harmonious relationship with our family, with the homeless, with the drug addict.  He wants this so we can freely share His gospel without being blinded by the labels society has forced on all of us.

Pray the Holy Spirit changes you.  Pray He helps us see our fellow humans as children of God deserving our attention and respect.  Then, ask Him to help you go and spread the Good News to all nations

Prayer/Study Gagetown Group

MCF - SMALL GROUP - ANDREW - FORM SQUARE - 2016-03-23 at 11.34.33 AMPadre Andrew Whitman is a member of the MCF and is currently serving in 5 CDSB Gagetown.  He also serves the MCF on the executive team and contributes to the mission of bringing the gospel to the Canadian military community by leading a prayer/study group on the base in Gagetown, together with Jimmy Damiani and Jeff Page.   With his insights on Scripture, and Jimmy’s humble prayerfulness and Jeff’s cheerful faithfulness to the Lord, they lead the group fervently.  For more info on the Gagetown MCF prayer Meeting, don’t hesitate to contact the MCF office.
Andrew has agreed along with his group to share the Prayer-Study notes with the MCF.  We are sharing these notes in our weekly newsletter along with other devotionals and information regarding the MCF activities.  We pray this will encourage and motivate many to serve in the community God has posted them.  It is Padre Andrew’s desire to empower many to be watchmen for our people.
We pray you will find the notes below, by Jimmy to be inspiring.
MCF Prayer-Study Group in Gagetown.

Meeting every Thursday for lunch.

Good Morning to you all!!

We are starting a new book and we will be looking at Job. We will jump right in and read the first chapter. As you know at one time or another we have all felt like Job. While going through trials and times of hardship and suffering, we are often overcome with self-pity and we wonder why God allows this to happen. As we look around to the members on this base that suffer quietly, we know they must be thinking:” why is this happing to me?” This is where we come in! As Disciples of Christ, we show that God is there and will help us through our hard times.

Please pray…

Our heavenly Father; show us your will for us. Help us to see what you do for us. Help us not just to see the bad, but the good in our lives, for we know you have a plan for us all. At times, we may not see it and stumble on what is going wrong in our life. Help us to turn around in your light and look for the signs of your love and not to fill our hearts with self-pity. Give us the wisdom and the words to help others that may fall into this troublesome darkness where they feel that there is nothing left in their life. We ask this through your Son and the Holy Spirit. Help us, oh Lord, to help others understand your will.

In Jesus name AMEN.

Below are scriptures for your reading.

Job 1

1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil. 2 And seven sons and three daughters were born to him. 3 Also, his possessions were seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred female donkeys, and a very large household, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the East. 4 And his sons would go and feast in their houses, each on his appointed day, and would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, it may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts. Thus Job did regularly. 6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present

themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. 7 And the Lord said to Satan, from where do you come? So Satan answered the Lord and said, from going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.
8 Then the Lord said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? 9 So Satan answered the Lord and said, Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face! 12 And the Lord said to Satan, Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person. So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.13 Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house; 14 and a messenger came to Job and said, The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, 15 when the Sabeans raided them and took them away—indeed they have killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you! 16 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, the fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you! 17 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, The Chaldeans formed three bands, raided the camels and took them away, yes, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!

18 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 19 and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you! 20 Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

22 In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.

1Peter 4:12

12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ,

blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. 17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 Now

“If the righteous one is scarcely saved,
Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?”

19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.

Blessing All!
Have a Great Day!
Keep your head up! GOD gives his hardest battles to his strongest SOLDIERS. So as we go through our day let us go out to help and to care for all that need it in… Jesus name…Amen!
Jimmy ;o)

We can never be good enough

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Yesterday, a conversation that had occurred between two family members was shared with me. One individual is providing care for her terminally ill spouse and the other was visiting to provide love and support.  It was uncertain how the topic arose but the family member whose spouse is ill stated:  “I don’t understand what is happening I am good”.  They went on to say “I am not like those who…..” and list names and groups that were engaging in obvious acts of evil. She ended her thoughts with words to the effect “I know God will accept me when I die because I am a good person”.
In the 5th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, we find teaching points that Jesus shared with people who were listening to Him on the occasion referred to as The Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus taught new understanding while clarifying old truths. He shared in Matthew 5:17 “do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”  He was reminding listeners that the law is and will always be relevant and God’s expectations still apply.  He also said “for I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”  These words seem to suggest we have a very high standard to shoot for but we know that all His teachings point to the fact that no matter how good we seek to become it is not goodness that will get us into His presence for all eternity.  It is belief in the Gospel which tells us that Jesus chose to be born as a human and live a life that was exemplified by obedience to the Father’s will.  During this time He brought clarity to understanding the kingdom and God’s desires.  He performed extraordinary miracles and acts of love, freely gave Himself over to be brutalized and crucified and, although He died on the cross and was buried, He rose from the tomb.  He made himself known to many before ascending into heaven to be with the Father.  He will return again to bring those who believe salvation comes through Him into eternity with Him and to banish those who don’t believe to eternal separation from God.  Our goodness does not allow us to bypass the necessity to accept Jesus as the key to heaven.
Prior to visiting the caregiver, the person who went to love and support her, prayed asking God for wisdom so as to be the presence God wanted them to be during that time.  I know the woman who visited is sincere in her desire to tell people about God and, as much as she wanted to shout “you have it wrong”, she sensed God telling her that she needs to just listen to this struggling woman who now knows someone cares for both; her daily struggles and her eternal happiness. During their time together it was the first time this wife was even known to express her belief in heaven and so a door has been opened and Jesus is definitely knocking at her heart.  The time they spent together did result in a sense of hope that God is changing lives.  God will guide someone to share the true way to heaven with this husband and wife but for now we pray.
Many people hope that, when they are standing at the entrance to heaven, they have been good enough to get in.  But as Jesus shared, they are in for a big disappointment.  No matter how good we are, it’s not good enough.  God doesn’t want people focusing on being good enough but on what Jesus has done for them to be invited into eternity with him.  There is much misunderstanding and confusion amongst our family and friends and Jesus’ followers are called to share His love. This may mean God guiding us to speak some tough truth into someone’s life or to be a comforting presence as He tugs at his or her heart.  Pray for God to arrange the divine appointments for you to be His ambassador in the lives of your family and friends.

That doesn’t make sense

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A student is upset at their marks so they shoot the teacher.  A child makes a mistake that almost cost him his life and many want to see his family further punished. Athletes, musicians and movie stars hide their money in off shore accounts to reduce the taxes they pay and when the news reports the issue, their fans who are adversely affected by the underfunded community infrastructures, rally behind them.  Individuals want punishment handed out to those who disagree with their viewpoint and politicians seem to agree.  People are fighting with each other for what they believe matters but, when push comes to shove, the actual fighting seems to matter more. Nothing seems to make sense, as morality, decency and fairness are becoming characteristics of past generations.
The Gospel of John records that as the time drew closer for Jesus’ crucifixion He spoke with followers about how the world will react to His teachings.  Many were expecting Jesus to overthrow the establishment because not much seemed to make sense to them at that time. However, God’s plans were about eternity and not just a few moments in time.  Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33-34.  Jesus reminded His followers that in the days ahead they must seek comfort in God and not worry about the world. He shared He has overcome the world and it senselessness and in His timing, all will be set right again.  The world will one day again function according to His word.
We can’t ignore what is happening in the world.  As it seems to make less and less sense followers need to ensure they remain focused on the bigger picture.  As we are challenged to accept a world view we must be careful and remember:
  1. God’s promises are eternity focused. His plans and desires do not change. And as change happens around us, we must be careful not to compromise our stand in the hope of making our daily lives more comfortable.  After all, we don’t want to be judged along side the world that ignores God’s eternal desire for all of His creation.
  2. Not to give our own wisdom and understanding more credibility that we should.  When we step back from seeking God’s wisdom, we may apply the bias flawed worldview to our lives.
  3. The amount of faith we have is not linked to whether we receive blessings or feel we are being punished.  God is the Creator of all and is a benevolent, redeeming and reconciling power beyond any logical explanation.  He blesses because He chooses to bless not because we choose to behave.
  4. To trust in God’s power and His character.  Many may acknowledge Him as the author of all creation but question His character when comparing our viewpoint to His. God never changes and therefore neither does His view of sin.  The world changes and as it does it tries to change God’s character to suit their viewpoint.
Changes are happening around us that do not seem to make sense.  Christians try to share morality and decency using God’s word to support their stand.  Their viewpoint is at odds with the worlds and they are chastised.  They are often rebuked because of the how they share God’s word.  Instead of approaching people with open arms, many go with pointing fingers accusing all they encounter of sinful behaviour.  We are entitled to an opinion and we can recognize injustice. However we must remain focused on what makes sense to God and not get lost in trying to make sense of the world.