We all need a true friend.


This month we will hear scripture that foretold the birth of our Saviour, read the words Gabriel shared with Mary about her pregnancy and be reminded of different reaction to that news.  Sermons will share that during this time in Israel’s history, being pregnant while engaged was shocking but claiming to be impregnated by the Holy Spirit, while being a virgin, was even more difficult to try to explain. Someone will tell us that Mary was in an unenviable position and another will say Joseph’s was not much better because both were subject to cultural and religious expectations regarding pre-marital activity; any breech of expected behaviour could have had dire repercussions. 

Reflecting on the Mary’s response we know her acceptance of pregnancy was not an indication of indifference to her situation. Being engaged and pregnant (and not by the future husband) was a potential death sentence for her. We know Mary’s conversation with God’s angel allowed her to recognize her condition as a blessings as she shared these words “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me- holy is his name.” Luke 1:46-49. As blessed as Mary felt, her pregnancy could have set off wagging tongues, led to discrimination and mistreatment, and her life could have become very difficult. So what did Mary do when faced with this very real difficult situation? Mostly likely she would have spoken to God seeking comfort and assurance but we know she confided in another person; her cousin Elizabeth. Mary went to someone with whom she knew she could talk with about serious matters. Her visit was immediately corroborated as the right decision because Elizabeth’s child (the future John the Baptist) jumped in her womb as a sign of acceptance. (Luke 1:41). In addition to seeking God, Mary sought out a loving and comforting individual and confided in her. 
Scripture suggests Mary did not immediately tell Joseph she was pregnant and only did so after her visit. After spending a few months with Elizabeth, Mary returned home to talk with her future husband about their situation.  As Mary shared the news, Joseph would know he was not the father and could have suspected adultery and called for Mary to be stoned or publically humiliated.  He himself could have been subject to some disgrace, as people would have assumed he was the father. Betrothed people were not allowed to be intimate until after their wedding, which occurred one year after engagement. Mary did tell Joseph that her condition was the result of the Holy Spirit’s interaction, and although he knew her to be a good woman with a fine reputation, that was a difficult story to accept. In his mind he probably felt she was carrying another man’s child and so he left her presence troubled. There is no indication that he spoke with a friend or discussed his situation with anyone else. He went to bed that evening mulling over the idea of quietly divorcing her; a necessary action to end an engagement. However, that night he was visited by God’s angel who told him not to be afraid and to follow through with the marriage. He was also told that Mary was indeed impregnated by the Holy Spirit and that their son Jesus would save His people from their sin.  
We know Joseph and Mary married, Jesus was born, and salvation was brought to humanity. We can see this as a joyous story and may feel inclined to talk about the next encounter with Jesus without any thought to the fact that two people, not unlike us, were in a very difficult, potentially dangerous situation that was fuelled by cultural and religious traditions that threatened to destroy their lives. If stoning was avoided, the potential humiliation and mocking would have followed both of them and their child for the rest of their lives. We can however conclude that their prior relationship, trust and adoration for God, for whom nothing was impossible, helped them overcome their situation. They willing accepted the truth and wisdom shared by God’s angel, which turned out to be their saving grace. 
Upon reflection we can’t help but wonder if Mary was able to adjust to her situation more quickly because she had someone who loved and supported her; someone she could talk with. The time she spent with Elizabeth certainly prepared her to speak with Joseph. I take liberty to suggest that Elizabeth’s support affected Mary’s mannerism and demeanour during the talk about pregnancy and may have affected Joseph’s positive response. Scripture doesn’t say Joseph screamed or hit Mary but that he still thought of her as good and respectful.  Mary’s interaction with Elizabeth could have prepared for the talk whereas Joseph seemingly goes through this trial without another human to comfort or guide him. Although he made the right choice in the end, it could not have been easy. 
Christmas reminds us, that the gift of eternity with God was realized when Jesus took on human form. It reminds us that we are designed to be in harmony with God and one another and, like Joseph and Mary we must seek God daily in the good and bad times.  The Christmas story also reminds us that life is better when you can share the joys and struggles with another. Do you have a friend with whom you can confide? Is there someone who cares about your spiritual and physical health; who wants to share your joys and your struggles? Will they stand with you and be bold enough to point you in the right direction to get you over life’s obstacles? This friend is not a biological brother or sister or a spouse, but a child of the most high who will speak tough love and truth into your life.  Pray for a spiritual companion of the same gender as yourself, so you can mentor each other in the ways of Christ. Pray for a friend to be there in the time of adversity.  

“Our goal – disciple making disciples”


Our mission at the Military Christian Fellowship of Canada includes disciple building; helping people live daily as individuals whose words and actions glorify God. It is a mission that all followers of Christ are called to participate in and should be the primary focus of our existence. A disciple’s daily life exemplifies their belief in Jesus, their desire to want to know and follow His truths, and leads to an urge to share God’s truth with others so they also want to become disciples. At the MCF we want to help all followers live as Paul shares; so that “whether we eat or drink or whatever we do, do it all for the glory of God” 1 Corinthians 10:31. We want to guide, coach, and support members of the military community to draw close to God.
Why do we want to do this? Frankly, we want to be in God’s will. We know God created us for His glory. We want to help others realize that our existence is a product of God’s love.  People are drawn to God and have been given a hint of His existence as Romans 1:20 shares “we can see God’s hidden qualities, eternal power and divine nature” and we want to help those seekers understand God’s expectation and desires for His creation. We want our military brothers and sisters who do not know or understand God’s promises for them, to be introduced to Jesus’ truths. We want their families to join them in becoming heirs to God’s kingdom and experience a life of hope. We want our military believers to step up and become disciples who live daily with contagious enthusiasm and joy.
Followers often speak with God about their purpose or His plan for their life but somehow can’t seem to accept the idea that God would be honoured if each day they showed signs of being a disciple, signs such as participating in activities that draw them closer to Him. Disciples love God with everything they are such that, by God’s grace, they become more Christ like through a life of faith and obedience. It is not a bystander’s status and requires more than weekly worship. It is a life that glorifies God such that observers become aware of God. A disciple worships God, is confident in Jesus’ truths, and walks in the power of the Holy Spirit; they experience the fruits such as love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control “Galatians 5:22-23”.  A disciple of Christ demonstrates love for God and neighbour, seeks knowledge in scripture, lives in a lifestyle that honours Christ, prays, and shares with others that a life in Christ is a lifestyle worth seeking.
Our desire at the MCF is not outside God’s will but is a response to be obedient to Him.  In the near future we will introduce guides to help disciples on their journey as well as practices to encourage them to be disciples makers. In the mean time ask yourself the following: “Can you identify some characteristics of a Christian disciple in your life? Are there some characteristics of Christian disciples that you struggle with?”  Based on your response, examine your prayer life, your scripture reading and study practices, and your willingness to seek to love God and neighbour more. Ask God to help you be the disciple that He created you to be. Prepare yourself to be part of the mission of the MCF, the mission of all Christ followers, the mission to take the gospel into your world and make disciples.
“Now all has been heard;
    here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
    for this is the duty of all mankind.” 
Ecclesiastes 12:13

“Remember me”

Remember Me
Jesus, beaten, tortured, humiliated, on the cross, crucified, thirsting, bleeding, dying, an object of ridicule, receiving on to Himself the sin of the world for all time for every person who had lived, who lived and who would live.  Jesus, in the midst of the physical and emotional pain, who also was experiencing the rejection and judgement of God the Father, experiencing the most profound spiritual pain, heard the voice of the criminal who had been crucified beside him – “remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
The criminal, who was dying beside Jesus, admitted openly, that he was being punished justly, that he was getting what his deeds deserved.  Incredibly, through the illumination that only comes from the Holy Spirit, the criminal recognized Jesus as sinless, as the King of kings, whose kingdom transcended this world.  In his absolute poverty, the criminal appealed to Jesus, “remember me.”
Paul, in 1 Corinthians 1:27-31, tells us, that God choses those whom society rejects to nullify those whose worldly position gives them reason to boast.  God’s man, the person who is granted entrance into the kingdom, is the one who reflects the criminal on the cross.  Broken in spirit, broken and contrite of heart, aware of one’s lostness and need of a saviour, this is the person whom God remembers (Psalm 51:17).
Some, will appeal to Jesus “Lord, Lord, remember me” but they will not enter the kingdom, and instead they will hear Jesus say “I never knew you.  Away from me, you evildoers.”  What a horrible day that will be for those who Jesus does not remember (Matthew 7:23).
Friday, 11 November, is the day we remember the sacrifice of men, women, families, communities, and countries.  We are grateful for the temporal freedom that we have been given as a result of their sacrifice. As you take pause this day, to show your love and respect, as you bow your head, please take time to plead your case before the Father, to bow your soul in the full acknowledgement of your sinfulness and the just consequences that you deserve and ask Jesus – “remember me.”
God, who has called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9) and keeps His promise and His loving-kindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments (Deuteronomy 7:9). God will sanctify you through and through (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
Jesus, remember me.

Making sense of God’s Word

screen-shot-2016-11-04-at-6-45-15-amHave you ever attempted a mathematical logic problem or do you avoid them because they never seem to make sense to you? For example, what do you believe is the response to the following problem: You have 4 pencils and a friend has 7 apples. You are on a train going towards Ottawa racing at 130 KM and have been told you will arrive Friday. How many pancakes can you fit on your roof? The answer: Purple – because fish don’t wear hats.
Most math logic problems can be solved; however they require that we use a solving methodology different from the one we apply to everyday problems, such as calculating sales tax. Often with logic problem there is no formula to apply; lateral thinking, looking from outside the box, is necessary. With training, guidance and perseverance, we can solve logic problems; however, the reality is that not everyone can solve or even understand every problem. Realizing we may not be able to know the answer to all problems can be very humbling, but should never stop someone seeking to know more or apply what we have been taught.
Scripture shares that many people will not understand God’s plan for humanity. Despite intensive analytical effort they will remain blind unless, as God states, they turn over their quest to Him. People will not understand God’s intent if they have not released themselves to God’s will. This is a significant point to grasp especially as many struggle to understand why family and friends do not seem to understand why they are told they must seek to be Disciples of Christ. They are spiritually blind and no amount of intellectual or emotional arguments will lead them to the truth. We must not stop praying for them or sharing our understanding as God may choose to use our efforts to intervene and allow them to hear and understand the truth.
The response “Purple – because fish don’t wear hats” makes no sense at all. Should that stop us from attempting to understand other logic problems? The reality is that there are statements in scripture and parts of our relationship with God that we may never understand until we are in heaven. However, for those who have sought Christ as Saviour, it is very possible to understand and apply much of what we read in the bible; much more than we may even think possible.
Do you avoid certain passages of scripture because they never seem to make sense to you? Is your prayer life limited to a few mumblings because you don’t know what God expects of you? Would you like to learn more about understanding God? During the upcoming Remembrance Weekend, the MCF will host a spiritual retreat in Ottawa. The aim is to unite our hearts as a community while providing some guidance as to how we can grow closer to God. We want all to know Jesus as saviour and understand how the Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son are part of the answers we are seeking. Scripture is not meant to confuse us but it can’t be properly appreciated with the Holy Spirit’s guidance and Christian fellowship. Consider joining us on this journey of understanding God’s truth so that your purpose makes more sense to you.

Have you been thumped lately?


When a potter bakes a pot, they check its solidity by pulling it out of the oven and thumping it. If it “sings,” it’s ready. If it “thuds,” it’s placed back in the oven. Max Lucado once shared an analogy where he compared the potter’s test to the testing that Christians undergo daily. He suggested our response to the testing/thumping reveals our spiritual maturity. How we react to our day-to-day circumstances reveals whether we merely listen to the Word or whether we do what it says (James 1:22).

James’ letter to Jewish Christians living outside of Jerusalem offers encouragement while sharing some of the basic principles of the Christian walk. He was well aware of the verbal or even physically abuse they encountered because of their belief in Christ. He wanted to suggest that their circumstance are temporary compared to what lies ahead. He wanted them to remember that “there was a crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12); love that is expressed in their response to being thumped. James was not telling them to sing and dance whenever they faced adversity but recognize that our relationship with God can be strengthened if we trust that God’s plan for us is greater than our daily circumstances.

How do you respond when you are in a traffic jam or when your children are fussing as you try to get them ready for school? What is your reaction when your spouse makes a banking mistake or forgets a day you consider special? What do you say to the clerk who puts sugar in your coffee despite your specially saying no sugar or to the waiter who mixes up your order? Do you say or do things that you know are considered offensive to that person and to God? The testing is about an accidental blurting out of some regretful comment but is linked to consistent inappropriate behaviour when life’s little things trip us up. This testing occurs in environments and situations beyond our control. The thumping may not seem as dramatic as being told you have cancer, but never the less it puts our faith to the test. These trials constantly question whether we love God and His creation unconditionally and in all circumstances. Our response can be as God desires when we pray, study His word, and seek spiritual strength to grow with each thumping.

The potter does not throw the pot out when it does not sing, but puts it back into the oven to allow it to develop as it should. The joy associated with the testing we face is the promise that Jesus will not abandon us when we fail a thumping. The Holy Spirit will convict us, prompt us to repentance, and lead us to forgiveness. We are allowed back into the family and can be strengthen by our trial. God does not expect us to giggle foolishly when we face trials but desires that we not lose hope and trust our thumping will only make us stronger.

“Send me”



Have you ever prayed, “send me Lord” but in fact were afraid God would send you? Where you afraid that He would pull you off your comfy couch and send you to some desolate land where simple comforts of life do not exist or are very limited? Does such a thought actually prevent you from praying; “send me” because you know in your mind that you are not ready to go? God will not send us somewhere when He knows it is not in our heart to go. For now God would be more pleased to send us out of our living rooms and across the street to our neighbours.

God will not send us somewhere until He is ready. He chooses to use us in His plan and when He wants us He will be the provider, enabler, supporter and protector of those He sets in motion. His work is not based on whether we feel ready but when He is ready. The Holy Spirit is transforming those of us who truly want to be disciples and is getting them ready to be part of Jesus’ mission. God does not expect us to have memorized the bible or have all theological arguments fine-tuned. He wants us to continue to seek Him and when He recognizes our desire to be disciples, He will use us. Being a true disciple of Christ causes us to want to go and make more disciples.
In a vision, Isaiah stood before God filled with guilt and doubt about whether he could have any impact on his community. He says “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”(Isaiah 6:5). God cleansed and forgave Isaiah of his guilt and sin and then called for someone to do His work – Isaiah responded, “send me”. The work of the Military Christian Fellowship of Canada is to take the Good News of Jesus Christ to the military community in Canada and abroad. We do not pray for a new mission from God because we already have one. We do pray for men and women to step and tell God “send me” so He will consider them to take Jesus’ love into their military environment.  If you have accepted Christ as your Saviour then you have been commissioned by Jesus (Matthew 28: 16-20) to accept God’s call. God used Peter, a fisherman who made numerous mistakes, to take His truth to the world.  Can you, in whatever role you have in society, say to God “send me”?

“Lord I am just a ________ but I accept the calling of the Great Commission that you have put before me. I will need the Holy Spirit to me give me courage and strength to do Your will. I am as ready as I will ever be Lord. Where do you want me? AMEN”

Soldier on

…1 Peter 4:1,5  As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do-living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 
It was during my second posting that I became a follower of Jesus.  Circumstances in my life had become dire. Work was suffering, relationships were suffering, and financial challenges were overwhelming. I came to the end of myself. Christ stepped in front of me and figuratively held out His hand.  I was a broken man, my pride was gone, so I grabbed hold, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and He began His work in me to transform me, my life and my mission to being that of a servant, a Disciple-maker.
The joy and the peace I experienced as a result of my re-birth was extraordinary and, being a person who likes to share experiences, I shared my new found faith with my spouse, my friends and co-workers. Oddly, they weren’t as excited as I was about my experience with Jesus.  Some were polite, some less so.  For a short while I enjoyed a type of honeymoon with Jesus.  When I read His word I understood, when I spent time with other Christ-followers I was inexplicably encouraged and when I worshiped with others, hearing His word preached and singing songs that praised Jesus I was filled with that crazy consuming joy.  I know that at times I was irritatingly joyful, but it was uncontrollable.
Soon, my friends and colleagues began to push back.  On occasion they would avoid me, sometimes walk away, and sometimes maliciously attack me.  I began to learn to temper my enthusiasm. However, the push back began to turn into efforts to get me to compromise the rule that I had chosen to follow.  When I did not compromise, then ridicule followed. It followed me into the work place and it followed me into social settings and I began to withdraw.
The description given in 1 Peter 4 of what a follower of Jesus will experience is real.  It will be different for each of us depending on our life circumstances, but the effects will be very similar.
I came to a point where I had to make a decision between three options: blend in, go along to get along, so that the persecution would stop; continue to withdraw and isolate myself so that I could minimized the frequency and intensity of the attacks; or I could resume my willingness to be transparent about my love for Jesus regardless of the reaction.  After a few weeks of discussions with God, my pastor and my fellow believers, I chose option three.  I admit that the experience did temper my enthusiasm somewhat, and I was not as bubbly with some people as I was before, but I lived my faith openly.
The efforts of others to get me to compromise resumed with intensity, but my temporary retreat seemed to steel my will to follow Jesus.  Instead of withdrawing, I placed the names of my persecutors on a piece of paper and prayed for them daily. I asked God to help me remain faithful, to love those who sought to cause me harm, and to give me opportunities to serve them.  Those opportunities came and I served.  Eventually, the attacks diminished and became infrequent, and some began to ask questions about this Jesus, even going to church to check Him out and some, even becoming Christ-followers themselves.
Jesus tells us that the struggles that Christians face are many times the result of the spiritual forces of darkness (Ephesians 6:12), who use people and circumstances to persecute Christians, but we also are told that those forces are no match for the power of the Living God who lives in the Christ-follower in the form of His Spirit (1 John 4:4-5). “Greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world.”
I have been walking with Jesus for 33 years now.  My circle of friends and colleagues still contains many more non-believers than believers.  The joy I have in Christ continues unabated as does the persecutions, albeit they are more sophisticate and subtle now, yet I know I still fight the same enemy and I still use the same weapons and in Christ I still win.  I am grateful for Jesus and His love for me, I am grateful that He still gives me opportunity to serve in His mission, to be in the fight.
How about you? How goes the fight? We are in this together, and though it might seem at times that the darkness has the edge, it has already lost.
Soldier on.

The Gospel


The two-word phrase “the gospel,” is derived from the Greek word “euangelion.” Though not a commonly used phrase today, on occasion one hears its use within Western English speaking society as a metaphor that attributes the quality of truth to a particular set of assertions. While the roots of the phrase pre-exist its use in the New Testament, the quality that it denotes when it is used to qualify a grouping of ideas is derived from its use in the Bible.

Within Christianity, the phrase has been used to describe various view points as to what Christians should be doing to improve their surroundings and in so doing, working to steadily usher in the Kingdom of God on earth. However, theologically this is an incorrect premise. 2 Peter 3:10 tells the reader that the earth is destined for complete renewal, so no amount of effort on man’s part will hinder what is in store for the earth on the Day of the Lord. Other Christians take the perspective that the gospel is about loving one’s neighbour, commonly referred to as “the social gospel.” The responsibility for Christians to love their neighbour is foundational; it is one of the two core commands pronounced by Jesus, yet it is a command for the right conduct of those who have become children of God, and while it is good news for those who are in need of social assistance, for those who are concerned for the environment; for social equality; for social justice, etc.; it is not the good news of The Gospel.

As communicated in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, which is the clearest, concise and most precise explanation, The Gospel is simply:

  • 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.

Romans 10:9 communicates that if a person declares with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believes in their heart that God raised him from the dead, that they will be saved.  While The Gospel is simple and it can be stated in a few short phrases, man’s comprehension and subsequent response to it requires the supernatural intervention of God’s Holy Spirit, who grants the gift of faith to a person, enabling them to act in accordance with Romans 10:9.
When I was 13 years old, I recognized my need for Jesus and I responded to an offer to confess and repent of my sin, declaring Jesus as my Lord, believing in His death and resurrection as the sole means by which I am forgiven.  Yet, it was not until I was 26 years old and at the end of myself, that I surrendered my life to Jesus.  Today, 33 years later, my awareness of my need of Jesus and my gratefulness for the salvation that I have received continues to increase.  Without Jesus, I am lost: spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically.  With Jesus I have hope: hope for today and for tomorrow; hope for my family and for those whom God has allowed me to have influence with; and I have hope for eternity.
I have heard it said that the Church is the hope of the world, and while the phrase sounds good, I am not sure of its theological soundness.  My understanding is that The Gospel is the hope of the world, and the Church has been assigned the task of communicating it to the world.  The Church is the chosen tool of God with which He communicates His message of hope and He has given it clear, concise and precise orders – “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”[1]  God has not given this directive to anyone else, so the hope that the world needs will come only from the church.  As such the church must be focused on communicating The Gospel.  Though there are many “good” activities that the church could be involved in, if the communication of The Gospel is not its primary intent, if The Gospel does not permeate everything that the Church does, then it is abdicating its primary purpose and the world is lost.

Do you believe?

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Last Sunday I listened to a message about love. The love specifically spoken about was the illogical, unusual love that comes from a determined act of the will, from a joyful resolve to put the welfare of others above our own; agape love. It is that love which took Jesus to the cross and also allows us to love Him with our whole being. Agape love can create a desire in us to be concerned about the salvation of those we encounter daily. Ongoing agape love is a gift that is available to those born again, to those who have been spiritually reborn because they chose to believe in Jesus.

Questions often arise as to what do we need to believe about Jesus and Sunday’s speaker shared the following questions in the hope of getting listeners to question their own understanding and possibly connect or reconnect with God.

  • Do you believe that God created everything that exits and that He intentionally created humanity to have a daily and eternal relationship with Him?
  • Do you believe that when we enter into this relationship we can love God, the Holy Sprit and Jesus with all our heart, mind and soul and that we can also love all those around us?
  • Do you believe that in the process of loving as God desires it can cause others to praise His name?
  • Do you believe that there are things that we can do or say (sins) that are hurtful and offensive to God, to those around us, and even to ourselves and, that it is God’s desire that we do not partake in those activities?
  • Do you believe that sin is so offensive to God’s Holy nature that unless we stop or find a way to be forgiven of sin our eternity with Him will not happen and a dire outcome awaits us?
  • Do you believe that in order to reconcile the damage caused by sin Jesus was sent to earth to show us that a love exists, an agape love, which allows our behaviour to be forgiven and our eternity with God assured?
  • Do you believe that Jesus purposefully allowed himself to be arrested, brutalized and murdered and by His own power rose from the grave showing that He has authority over all life and death?
  • Do you believe the Holy Sprit can help us resist the temptation to sin and although we will never be free from the ability to sin, we can be freed from the desire to do so?
  • Do you believe that we can be born again, born of God’s Holy Spirit, so that our lives will be transformed?
  • Do you believe we must be born again, reborn with God’s spirit, so that daily we can experience God’s gift of illogical agape love?
  • Do believe that there is nothing we personally can do, no amount of good deeds, no amount of community aide, no amount of sacrifice, which alone will cause God to allow us into heaven with Him?
  • Do you believe that while we are on this earth unexplainable joy, remarkable peace, soothing comfort and wonderful hope are possible and that it stems from our belief in Jesus?
  • Do you believe that not everyone will be brought into God’s kingdom and there is judgement and eternal separation from God for those who do not believe?
  • Do you believe that we can be saved from the death caused by sin, which is eternal separation from God, and that our past and future transgressions can be forgiven when we believe and trust in Jesus’ promises and truth?

We may disagree on some aspects of the way we do church however we must not disagree on what Jesus shared which is YOU MUST BELIEVE IN HIM.

Examine yourself on these questions and if required, seek an understanding from your priest or pastor or a Christian brother or sister willing to discuss God’s expectations. Do not rely on your love or abilities but believe. Let God know what you believe and pray asking that agape love drives you to seek a stronger relationship with Him and creates a desire within you to share His truths with those you encounter.

Encourage one another

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This week a young couple that recently moved to our city to serve God had a child.  They came with little but trusted God would provide whatever they needed to share His truths. This couple are not finically irresponsible nor are they avaricious in their desires. They needed a crib and other supplies and did not ask anyone but God. Someone noticed how little they had and word spread that they needed some baby furniture. Brothers and sisters prayed for them but also gave what they could; they responded as Christ expected. The husband recently shared that he and his wife had prayed for God’s provisions and later that day an anonymous Christian family gave them $1000.00 for their baby’s needs.  I didn’t tell this story to communicate that when we pray with the right motives God provides, although that is true. This story is about how Christian brothers and sisters are necessary for the encouragement and support of the body of Christ.
While imprisoned, and in chains, Paul wrote a letter to Philemon telling him about the joy and encouragement he felt because of Philemon’s faithful walk. Paul recognized that the actions of Philemon were doing much to help other followers live for Christ and Paul commended him for that. The book of Philemon isn’t the only book where Paul writes about the need for followers to encourage and support each other. Many of his letters contain similar sentiments. He wrote these words not because they sound nice or polite but because Paul understood that God created us to live in harmonious relationship with each other, a relationship that is very difficult outside Christian community and sadly often lacking within it. Jesus’ direction to go and make disciples of all nations teaching them His truth was also part of His message of loving our neighbours. We tend to think He was only speaking about reaching the unsaved however He was also guiding us to interact with others followers. His messages often expressed what should be happening in Christian community. They highlighted the fact His truth and love is what binds the Church and shows the world what Christ’s love can do to people.
We pray for those who do not know Jesus as their saviour and must continue to do so. But, don’t forget about those who have already made the decision to be a follower; they also need our love and support. Our actions and words put a smile on their hearts and remind them that God has created something special. When people unselfishly bring encouragement to the family His church flourishes. The young couple that received the money are truly grateful and were encouraged. Paul shares that the actions and behaviours of brothers and sisters can also go a long way to bring hope to the Christian community.
Can you make a point of sending a note or making a phone call to another brother or sister telling them that you are thankful you are related in Christ? Can you refresh the heart of another follower so that they are reminded there is joy in being a Christian?