Prayer/Study Group Gagetown

Good morning everyone!MCF - SMALL GROUP - ANDREW - FORM SQUARE - 2016-03-23 at 11.34.33 AM
Well, it’s getting colder in the mornings! I think old man winter is on his way so get ready… bring in the wood, light the furnace and close the windows. Now, let us take advantage of these cold nights to catch up on our reading, sit with our family and read God’s word and rejoice in the hope that soon Jesus will come for us and we will never be cold no more. We will be warm in his love!
Ok, we are at the end of James and this closing section acts as a summary of various sins and their solutions. In James 5:19-20 he is calling on us to help those who have fallen and encourage repentance because God will give him forgiveness. Amen!
 
James 5:19-20
19 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
 
Please pray…
Dear God, my Father, may the Holy Spirit guide me to my fallen brothers and sisters so I may save them from death; not the physical death but spiritual death. Give me the wisdom to lead them back to repent from their sins so that they may gain your forgiveness. May they once again live in your light and rejoice in your love till the day when you send your Son back to bring us to your kingdom in heaven. I pray this to you, in Jesus name, AMEN!
 
Blessings 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)

Where is Jesus?

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The first “Where’s Waldo” book appeared in 1987 and was designed by Martin Hanford who, since childhood, was fond of viewing and drawing crowd scenes.  While working as an illustrator a friend recommended that he make one character more colourful than the others.  He suggested that as people looked for Waldo they would see the whole drawing more intimately.  Hanford began creating books with Waldo visiting famous world destinations and hiding in crowds of locals.  Soon, as children and adults alike searched Hanford’s detailed images depicting everyday life, they found themselves declaring excitedly “here he is.”  While looking for Waldo, seekers could not help but notice characters at work, play and even in distress.
Can others pick you out of a crowd as being different?  Are you able to identify signs in yourself that suggests you are a follower of Christ?  Are you able to recognize God’s presence in your life?
God want us to seek Him out.  He wants us to discover the promises He has made including the promise to transform us so that we are different from the world around us.  He wants us to look for Him so that by doing so we can find our purpose for existence.
The inability to see God generally stems from a complacency to recognize God’s remarkable involvement in ensuring the required circumstances, which exist so that life on earth is possible.  Unbelievers do not want to acknowledge God’s role while too many believers take God’s participation for granted.  This allows life’s trivial distractions to block their view of God.  We live in a remarkably made world and our existence in it seems beyond comprehension.  Science tries to use time and coincidence as factors, which allows millions of seemingly, unrelated species of flora and fauna to exist alongside humanity.  This theory suggests our existence is the result of an accident and has no higher meaning.  If a follower of Christ cannot see a reason for waking each morning nor recognize the incredible complex circumstance behind each breath drawn, they probably will not recognize Jesus even if His cross hit them on their head.  If followers fail to understand their own uniqueness has a purpose, then life will be seen as a futile combination of accidents and coincidences. If the creative will of a loving God has no real place in the life of a Christ follower, then they will see no purpose for the people and events they encounter daily.
Initially searching for Waldo was exciting but Hanford realized that as people searched for Waldo they were in fact missing the others who surrounded him; characters drawn with the same love and dedication. To help people see the beauty of all his characters he introduced Wilma, Wenda, Woof and others hoping to get people to look closer at the bigger picture.  It did cause people to slow down and see the difference, which contributed to the joy of searching.  God similarity surrounds us with people who are unlike us but just as valuable in His eyes.  People that we casually encounter each day in our community setting; yet don’t notice because we are often distracted by our own needs.  God knows, that often we don’t acknowledge the existence of the business executive, the homeless person, the vendor or the boisterous children whom we see each day; and that is not His will.
The world is colourful and offers excitement and pleasure.  However we have been created for more than short bursts of intense emotions.  We have been created to become children of God so we can experience His presence for all eternity.  In the process of fulfilling our purpose, we have been called to share the news of God’s promises by both our words and our actions.  However we will be unable to fulfil our purpose if we are unable to recognize God’s presence in our lives today or in the faces we see each day.
Do you wonder why you chose to follow Jesus?
Do you recognize His presence daily?
Do you think you can do more to find God?

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.

Keith’s Perspective on the Book of John

The writer
Keith Magee

Some time ago I met Keith Magee, a former member of the Royal Canadian Navy. Keith served in the Navy as a “Rating” (radio communications) from 1965 to 1970. After his service Keith went on to study mechanical engineering and to get married. A few years later Keith became the youngest teacher at the BC Institute of Technology. Keith was responsible for preparing students in overland conveyor design intended for the Tumbler Ridge coal mines. At that time, both the department head and a fellow instructor were Christians. These two individuals would openly share Christ with Keith, and within a few months Keith brought a Bible to his office and started reading it in his off-hours. Bill (Department Head) and Gary (fellow instructor) always seemed to be close at hand to answer Keith’s questions. Within four months (Dec 28, 1983) Keith confessed his sins, repented, and accepted Jesus as his personal Saviour and Lord. Keith joined the local Baptist Church, and was baptized within the year.  Read more

The Buddy System – The Sentinel Program

Early in my military career I was trained to perform the role of Ships Diving Officer by the Fleet Diving Unit – Atlantic.  The training was rigorous and of the 30 candidates who started the course, only 9 finished the program, which was apparently the norm.  Though challenging, I loved the experience of suiting up and entering the underwater world where there was adventure as well as risk.  Because of the risks, every diver was teamed up with a “buddy,” and the primary task that we had was to make sure our buddy was safe – always.  To drive the message home, we practiced sharing one tank through “buddy breathing,” we worked on underwater tasks in pairs and there were times when were literally were tied together at the wrist, particularly during night dives.  Having been trained as a lifeguard prior to joining the military, I had an understanding of the value of the buddy system, but those night dives raised the concept of the buddy system to a new level.  At first, being tied together, was awkward, it slowed me down when all I wanted to do was to complete the task, the mission that I had been assigned, but it was the way we were to do things, so I followed the procedure.  Eventually, being in close proximity with my buddy became second nature and I found myself instinctively always checking my buddy every 10-20 seconds or so, and rarely being out of arms-reach.

Years later, I introduced my oldest son to diving.  He was a natural, “a chip off the old block.”  On one dive we were particularly adventurous and dove on a wreck in the Saint Lawrence River down to a depth of 120 feet.  We hadn’t intended on diving that deep when we started out, but we were so enthralled by the wreck that we neglected to check our depth gauges until we arrived at the bottom.  Upon realizing our depth, we immediately began our assent, but we figured that we needed to make a decompression stop at 50 feet, just to be on the safe side.  We found a ledge on an outcropping and were just looking around, when I caught a glimpse of something falling beside my son, who was about three feet away from me.  I looked directly at him and saw that his weight belt had just fallen off and he was ascending.  I reached out and grabbed his ankle and held on like a pit bull.  At almost the same time I reached down to the ledge and grasped his weight belt.  I then pulled my son back down to the ledge and handed him his weight belt, which I then helped him cinch tight!  We finished our decompression stop and ascended to the surface.  That was a close one!  When we got back on shore, we emotionally decompressed and I was grateful for my training that stressed being within reach of your buddy.  Had I not been able to grab my son’s ankle, he would have ascended rapidly and uncontrollably risking injury to his lungs and even death.

In the book of Luke, chapter 10, Jesus is recorded as explaining to a lawyer what it means to “love your neighbour as yourself.”  The explanation Jesus gave is known as the story of the Good Samaritan.  Jesus’ explanation is similar to the buddy system I had been trained in.  As a follower of Jesus, we are called by Christ to look out for our buddy.  According to Jesus, we are not to be observers, but we are to be actively engaged in assuring the well-being of our neighbour, our buddy.  “Who is my buddy (neighbour),?” the lawyer asked. Jesus’ response was whomever you see in need.  “But, there is so much need that I see!”  Start with the person who is within reach, he is your buddy.

So, nice story, but what can you do practically.  The Commander of the Canadian Army issued an operations order on 9 December 2015 to launch a program called “Sentinels.”  The program leaders are the chaplains, and the program’s purpose “is to strengthen unit cohesion in the collective effort to prevent and identify psychological distress that can affect the well-being of [military] members.”  My read of the Commander’s intent is he is calling out for men and women who will be “Good Samaritans” to their fellow military members.  While designated as the leaders for the program, the chaplains must rely upon you who are in uniform to be what the Commander has called “Sentinels.”  My view, is that the Commander’s call is an opportunity for Christ-followers to love their neighbour as themselves.  So, what can you do… contact your unit chaplain and volunteer to be a “Sentinel.”

The Commander of Heaven has called each of us to be a Good Samaritan, a good buddy, and the Commander of the Canadian Army is inviting you to do that which Christ has called you to within the military.  Please let me know as well as the MCF prayer team when you have signed up and we will pray for your effectiveness by joining the mission.

Until All…

Gerry Potter
Colonel (Ret’)
President
Military Christian Fellowship of Canada/

Fraternité Chrétienne Militaire du Canada.

Link to Additional Resource from CAF website

Serve where you are

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When someone found out I was in the military, the first question always asked was “where do you serve?” I would respond, like many of my peers, and mention my job, my unit and my base or station. If the individual had military experience we would talk about our postings. We knew our postings were the places we worked, lived, raised our families, developed relationships and went to church; they were our homes. The first posting always seemed to be the best and it was the one all others were compared against. Our next posting was the anticipated best one as it was the one we asked for. Often, our current posting was the one we liked the least. How we viewed our postings somehow equated to how we valued ourselves.

I wonder if we think about our relationship with God or the way we serve Him in a similar manner. Do we think about where we are now, where we were and where we should be? Do we remember with joy our initial encounter with God and how we chose to become a follower and had a desire to do anything for Him? Do we use that time frame as a measuring point to which we compare our current relationship with God? Do we long to get back to that initial excitement or desire to have even more in our walk with Jesus? It is not wrong to reflect on our relationship, however, do we allow our past experiences or future expectations to hinder our current service and relationship with God? Do thoughts that “God has a plan for me” blind us to what is right in front of us?

God has a purpose for each of us and it can mean that today we do everything with committed hearts, mind and soul. Churches, Christian organizations, workplaces and even families need us today. They need us to recognize that we are needed now and not when we figure out the PLAN. Our current church, job, and communities are where we raise our families and develop relationship and so we should willingly offer our all? Life is ever changing and so we need to be prepared to change without destroying the homes we have created. Our relationship with God is also ever changing. When we are seeking to give it all, God offers us transforming grace, which is based on our current circumstances, relationships and areas of service. He can choose to physically move us or He can grow us where we are so as to contribute even more to our churches, workplaces, communities and families.

Look to serve. Look to grow closer to God and to those you are in relationship with. Look to become Christ-like. However don’t look too far or you may miss what is in front of you. Believe that where you are is where you can serve.

Are you listening?

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I’m sure many have listened to a song with another person and as both of you sang you heard them misquoting the lyrics.  You may have hesitated to correct them but once you were confident you probably pointed out the error.  Typically joking about who is right ensues until someone pulls out their phone and does a Google search for the lyrics.  Some songs historically misquoted include: Rolling Stones’ Beast of Burden.  Misquoted verse “I’ll never leave you pizza burning” – actual verse “I’ll never be you beast of burden”.  Another song: Psy’s Gingham style.  Misquoted verse “”Oprah got no style” – actual verse “Oppa Gangnam style”.  Lastly, Jesus loves me – misquoted verse “forty bibles told me so” – actual verse “For the bible tells me so”.

If we or somebody else misquoted a song verse there is always an excuse at hand to cover up.  The singer is blamed for mumbling or even purposely trying to send a mixed message.  There also is the possibility that we have been confused by the lyrics for a while but never thought to verify or maybe we knew that we were misquoting but liked our version better.   When all is said and done and put in perspective with everything else going on around us, is it reasonable to ask, “does it really matter whether the song is misquoted”?

We don’t read scripture so that we can quote it correctly to others.  We read and study so we can understand God’s story and live as He intended.  Paul shares in 2 Timothy that scripture is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.  Paul also shares that scripture is God-breathed – inspired by God.  Paul also suggest that scripture enlighten the reader about the gift of salvation; their eternity.  Since God is without error, we can be assured that the teachings and truths that He inspired to be written in the Bible are all without error.  We should not want to misquote God’s words or modify them to our liking otherwise we are suggesting God is wrong.  Many of us also know people who misquote scripture or who like to suggest a certain catchy phrase is from the bible.  Sadly, many who hear this person speak will not pick up on the error because recent church surveys reveal that few Christians read their bible let alone are able to quote from them.  If we are not reading our bibles and corroborating the learning, how then will we know if we are being mislead by man and the evil one?  When all is said and done and put in perspective with everything else going on around us, I think it is reasonable to ask ourselves “does it really matter whether scripture is misquoted”.  When you answer that question it may validate your current bible study practice or cause you to engage in a new one.

Jesus believed in scripture. He reminded people they must seek the truth in it. On one occasion, while sharing God’s truth, someone in the crowd who had acknowledged something wonderful about Jesus shouted, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you”.  Jesus replied: “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it’, Luke 11:28.  Many need to be blessed and take advantage of the fact that we have immediate access to scripture and can discover first hand the path to God.  Yes, it is easier to listen to someone else share the gospel than read it ourselves, but we are meant to experience, which comes from hearing and applying.

“Breakfast event in Vancouver, BC” 15 January, 2016

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The Human Behind the Mission: A Rare Glimpse into Canada’s Armed Forces @ The Vancouver Club

Many ex-Armed Forces personnel say that there is no career more challenging or rewarding than serving in the Forces –  the privilege of defending our country, being part of history-making events, and helping those in need – both in Canada and around the world.

At this January breakfast City in Focus will be inviting a panel of people who have served in the Armed Forces.  Their life, their service and the role that their faith has played in their career will be discussed.

The breakfast discussion will be followed by ‘Continuing the Conversation’ post-breakfast session. Please consider staying on at the Club and joining some of the City in Focus staff and panelists for a further time of conversation around the topic.  So if you have some extra time please join everyone for the extended program. The post-breakfast discussion group will conclude at 10am.

“Breakfast event in Vancouver, BC”

WHEN:
January 15, 2016 @ 7:00 am – 8:30 am
WHERE:
The Vancouver Club
915 W Hastings St
Vancouver, BC V6C
Canada
COST:  $36.80
FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
Nathaniel Bentley   604-687-7292 or by    Email
This Breakfast is hosted by City in Focus

 

God is calling

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In the Spring of 2005 I had sensed God’s leading to be deployed to Afghanistan.  At the time I was serving as the Director of Personnel Management Services for the Air Force, and I had been away from operations for six years.  God’s call though was clear, even overwhelming.  I discussed the call with my wife, who also sense the same intent on God’s part, although neither of us knew why.  So, I advised my superiors of my interest to be deployed.

In the fall of 2005, I was selected to be a member of the first Afghan Advisory Team under the leadership of a colleague; however, when his family opposed his deployment the initial team (me included) was dissolved and replaced by another.  I was left pondering what to do with my understanding of God’s call to go.  I only had to wait a few months.  In late 2005, Canada announced that it would deploy a battle group and the Air Force announced that part of the deployment would include a contingent of Air Force officers to support the air component’s role in the Afghan mission.  I was selected and deployed in 2006 to Afghanistan as part of the Canadian contribution in support of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

Oddly, though I was selected for deployment, the exact military role I would fulfill was not clear until I had been in Afghanistan for several weeks.  However, the spiritual role became clear within 24 hours of my arrival at my base of operations.

I was stationed at ISAF HQ in Kabul, where I arrived late in the day on a Saturday.  My Canadian sponsor helped me find a bunk in the temporary accommodations area and showed me where the mess hall was located.  At supper I read a notice that there was a church that met on Sunday evenings at the chapel.  While, there were Sunday services provided by the HQ chaplain on Sunday mornings, the evening service is where I sensed God’s calling.  So, on my first Sunday in Afghanistan I attended a small congregation of believers who had been gathering together on Sunday evenings for several weeks under the oversight of the chaplain.

I found out that God had given the idea for this church to two British soldiers: one from South Africa (Andrew) and the other from one of the British Overseas Territories (Steve).  These two gentlemen had come together in prayer several months previous asking God to establish a church at the HQ.  While, chaplain services were regularly being offered at the camp, there was a desire for something more.

When I arrived, the congregation consisted of 5-8 believers, so it was like a Bible study group.  On Sunday evenings there was a service, which included singing, scripture reading and a sermon.  While the camp chaplain provided oversight and attended on occasion, the church primarily managed itself.  At my first service on my first Sunday in Afghanistan I was deeply moved by the bond of peace that existed in that small church.  Though I did not yet fully understand what my military role would be, it was clear that my spiritual role involved being a part of that church.  The next day, Monday, I met with Nick, the HQ chaplain, and with Andrew to gain a better understanding of the church and its placement within the context of the spiritual footprint at the HQ.  I learned of its genesis and short history and that Nick was fully supportive of it.  By the end of the meeting I was appointed as Sunday-evening-service coordinator.

The ISAF HQ church met Sunday evenings and Wednesday evenings for worship and Bible teaching and preaching.  Sunday evenings were more formal than Wednesdays, which were similar to a Bible Study.  During my tour, the church grew to between 20-25 members. Several of the members were new believers who had become Christ-followers during their tour and the church played a role in their coming to faith in Christ.  We became the go-to-guys for Nick whenever he needed assistance, which allowed us to serve the camp in a variety of capacities, the most significant of which was leading the camp’s Christmas services.  Attendance at the two services amounted to approximately 80% of the camp’s population.  We sang hymns, Christmas carols, read the Christmas story and gave personal testimonies.  All that God accomplished through the work of that small church is known only to God, but in the midst of all that we were involved in, God’s presence and working was evident, and it was a source of joy.

As I consider the coming year and the hope I have for the MCF, I am reminded of the effect that the small church at Kabul HQ was used by God to achieve.  I am grateful that God called me to Afghanistan and allowed me to be part of His work there.  I see that it was an example of what he wants to do throughout the military community.  The MCF has three strategic objectives: to lead military community members to commit their lives to Christ, to assist and encourage believers to grow in their faith and to support the chaplaincy and the chapel program.  All that is needed is for believers to follow God’s call.  Will you follow?

Until all,
Gerry Potter
Colonel (Ret’d)
President

A Christmas Morning Prayer

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Without choice, Joseph and Mary had traveled a great distance and arrived in the town of Bethlehem.  Their lives together began in difficulty, with Mary experiencing the distain of neighbours and the doubt of family, while Joseph lived with uncertainty regarding their future.  Nothing was happening as he had planned, nor as he had hoped.  The two of them were being carried along by a current of unforeseen, confusing and at times unwanted circumstances and events.  They both had chosen to submit to the will of God, but His will was unclear and it led from one undesirable event to another.  They no sooner arrived in Bethlehem that Mary needed to deliver her baby, but there was no place for them to stay. No one would grant them a room, no one was willing to sacrifice the warmth of their bed, not even for a young new mother having her first child.  All they had was a barn with animals and a feeding trough into which to place their baby.
Though I know how this story turns out, thinking of it stirs within me a sense of outrange as the heartlessness of the world that surrounded Mary, Joseph and Jesus.  Where was the compassion, the mercy, and the grace that should have been exhibited towards this family?  Didn’t anyone care.  We know that God cares and that God provides, but He has expectations of His creation – love your neighbour as you love yourself, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Yet, in general His creation ignores Him and those who have been created in His image.
In Romans Paul wrote about the godlessness of man, and the depth of depravity to which man consistently descends.  Though we know that “the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness” (Rom 1:18); and though we know that God is orchestrating all things for the good of those who love Him (Rom 8:28), events like those that happened to Mary, Joseph and Jesus continue to occur.  Many of us are deeply disturbed by them and want to do something about it.
This morning, there are men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces who are doing something about it.  They are away from their families in locations and circumstances that are characterized by the environment that Paul described in his letter.  Concurrently, the military families are doing the best that they can to normalize their lives as the currents of uncertainty affect their present and future.  For those who know Jesus, prayers of thanksgiving will be offered throughout the day, as they should be.  I ask though, that prayers for protection, for sustainment, for hope and for effectiveness be offered for the members of the military community.  As you celebrate Christmas please remember those who serve and who are serving at sea, in foreign and dangerous countries and who fly missions into hostile environments.  Pray for their safety, pray for their families, ask God to orchestrate all things for their good in the midst of this depraved world.  We want to do something about the kindlessness that exists in our world, that affected Mary, Joseph and Jesus.  We can, we can pray for those who are active today in attempting to affect positive change, and for their families who wait for them to return home.
Peace on you and your family.