Monthly Newsletter — January 2014

Posted by colin on January 1, 2014 under Monthly Newsletter | Comments are off for this article

Family of Faith Christian Fellowship

London Newsletter

January 2014 / Issue 47

In this issue:

  • Upcoming events

  • January Letter

  • Prayer as Response and Participation (part 2)

  • Things to pray for

  • Online Materials

  • Quotations Worth Thinking About

Upcoming Events:

  • Communion – Sunday, January 12, 2014

    Our Communion service takes place on the second Sunday of each month.

  • Discipleship Discussion – Sunday, January 19, 2014

    Our discipleship topic will be “Scripture: God’s Gift.” Please try to read the series of articles by Gary Deddo beforehand.

  • Movie Night – 7:00pm, Saturday, January 11, 2014

    Please join us in our home to watch the movie Les Miserable on Saturday, January 11, 2014. Plan to arrive before 7:00pm as we would like to start the movie promptly at 7:00pm.

January Letter

Dear Brethren,

Best wishes for 2014! I hope this new year will be a productive and meaningful one for you.

Thank you to all who helped out at this year’s Christmas lunch. Numbers were up significantly over last year and everything went extremely smoothly.

This newsletter continues a series of articles on prayer centered around the theme that prayer is our response to who God is and what He has done and our participation in what He is doing. This month we look at the Lord’s prayer through this lens.

Thank you for your continuing donations to the food bank. Your faithfulness in supporting this cause is much appreciated.

Warmest regards,

Colin and Sue

Prayer as Response and Participation

Article Two: The Lord’s Prayer

Prayer is a vital part of our Christian life. If our prayers are to be effective we need to know how to pray and what to pray about. The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1ff). His response was to give them a model prayer that they could use as a framework for their own prayers. Let’s take a look at this model prayer as it is recorded in Matthew Ch 6 and examine whether Jesus viewed prayer as a response to who God is and what He has done, and a participation in what He is doing and will yet do.

Matthew 6:9This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,…’

The first thing Jesus teaches us to do is to acknowledge who God is: God is our Father – He has adopted us as His sons and daughters. He is a God who is in heaven – He is a transcendent Being, not limited by time and space. Because of who God is our response should be praise: “Hallowed be Your name.” God’s name is to be revered because of who He is. He is the Holy God. Our praise of God is our response to who He is. This praising and hallowing of God’s name is an important part of prayer. It reminds us of who God is and helps us to pray with the proper reverence and awareness of who it is we are praying to.

Matthew 6:10your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Here Jesus shows that prayer is not primarily about our needs and desires. Prayer is about God’s will being done. It is not about us, it is about God’s kingdom coming, about His good and perfect will being done on earth as it is in heaven. This is what God is doing, establishing His Kingdom. Prayer is our opportunity to participate and contribute to that work. God has ordained that He will not establish His Kingdom apart from the prayers of His saints (cf. Rev. 8:3-4). Prayer is God’s invitation to us to participate with Him in what He is doing.

Matthew 6:11Give us today our daily bread.”

This is what God does. He is our Provider. He gives us all the things we need to sustain our lives, both for this temporary physical life as well as our eternal life. God wants us to come to Him for our needs – He wants us to realize our dependence upon Him. We are not independent self-sufficient beings. We are dependent on God for every breath of air we breathe. When we pray for our daily needs we are acknowledging that God is the Provider and that we are the recipients of His grace.

God also wants us to think of others. We do not pray, “Give me my daily bread,” but, “Give us today our daily bread.” As we pray for others and their needs, we are participating with God in His work of fulfilling their needs. God can supply their needs whether we pray or not, but He has invited us to participate with Him in supplying the needs of others.

Matthew 6:12And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

We pray, “forgive us our sins” in the knowledge that our sins are already forgiven in Christ. We are not begging God to do something for us that He is unwilling to do. We are responding to what God has already done for us. Our repentance of our sins is an entering into and a participation in what God has already done for us in Christ. In praying for God’s forgiveness of others, we enter into and participate in His forgiveness of their sins.

We also pray, “as we also have forgiven our debtors.” We pray for God’s forgiveness of others in the knowledge that Jesus Christ has died for their sins too – including their sins against us. In forgiving our enemies, we are participating in God’s forgiveness of them. God has already forgiven them. As we forgive them, we join God in what He has done. An unwillingness to forgive those who have hurt us is to oppose and reject what God has already done for them – and for us.

Matthew 6:13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

We acknowledge that God is at work in our lives. He has promised to complete the work of salvation He has begun in us. But He is not going to complete this work against our will or without our participation. Our prayers that God would keep us from temptation and from the influences of Satan is an expression of our desire to be conformed to His image. It is our response to the work God is doing and our participation in that work. Jesus promises, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matt. 5:6).

Again, it is a work that we enter into, not just on behalf of ourselves, but on behalf of others also. We don’t pray, “Do not lead me into temptation,” we pray, “lead us not into temptation.The apostle Paul has given us numerous examples of the kind of prayers we should be praying for each other. Take as one example:

Ephesians 3:16-19I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

This is what God is doing in each of our lives – He is conforming us to the image of Christ. But He has chosen not to do this without the prayers of His people. We are called to participate in the work of sanctification by praying for each other, just as our High Priest in heaven is daily interceding for each one of us. In prayer we join Him in His High-Priestly role. This is what it means to be a part of a royal priesthood (I Peter 2:9).

Paul tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Phil. 4:6). But prayer is not primarily about us presenting our wish lists and seeking God’s intervention on our behalf. Prayer, as we have seen from Jesus’ teaching in Matthew Ch 6, is our response to who God is and what He has done and our participation in what He is and will yet do. Prayer is God’s gift to us by which we can deepen our relationship with Him and participate in His life.

Things to Pray for:

Please pray for:

  • Bill Schaap (Bonnie’s husband) (cataract surgery); Larry Prekup (cancer); Lloyd Mitchell (failing eyesight); Lisa Masse (continued improvement in health); Gabriele Hodgins (arthritis and tendonitis; loss of job); Scott Blaine (MS).

  • Philippines: Please pray for God’s blessing and protection on the Philippines as it recovers from the devastation caused by typhoon Hainan.

  • Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Please pray for peace in a country that has been in a state of civil war for over 25 years (it is estimated that 6-8 million people have died in this conflict). Recently, the United Nations has been providing troops to try and bring the war to an end. We have congregations in the DRC and members who have fled to neighbouring countries to escape the fighting.

  • Pray for one another that our love “may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight”; that each of us “may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ”; and that we may all be “filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God” (Phil. 1:9-11).

Online Materials

Many of the presentations that were made at the denominational conference last August are now available online. Please visit http://www.gci.org/media/conference2013 to check them out.

Quotations Worth Thinking About

“In the last resort, a love of God without love of humanity is no love at all.”

Hans Kung

“I know of no better thermometer to your spiritual temperature than this: the measure of the intensity of your prayer.”

Charles Spurgeon

Monthly Newsletter — December 2013

Posted by colin on December 6, 2013 under Monthly Newsletter | Comments are off for this article

 Family of Faith Christian Fellowship

London Newsletter

December 2013 / Issue 46

In this issue:

  • Upcoming events

  • December Letter

  • Prayer as Response and Participation

  • Things to pray for

  • Quotations Worth Thinking About

Upcoming Events:

  • Communion – Sunday, December 8, 2013

    Our Communion service takes place on the second Sunday of each month.

  • Christmas Dinner – Sunday, December 8, 2013

    This year we will again be helping out at the annual Christmas Dinner at St George’s church.

  • Discipleship Discussion – postponed

    We will postpone our next discipleship discussion until January in order to focus on Advent. Our discipleship topic will be “Bible Study – how can we study God’s word more effectively.

December Letter

Dear Brethren,

At this time of the year we are again reminded of the most significant event in human history – the moment when God joined Himself to mankind in the person of Jesus Christ. It is an awesome thought that God was willing to humble Himself to the point of becoming one of His own creatures so that we could enter into a deeper loving relationship with Him.

It is also a reminder of the value of human life in a world which tends to denigrate human beings as little more than a chance chemical reaction in some primordial swamp. The Biblical testimony is that God created us in His image and that it was very good – so good that God was willing to become one of us so that we could enter into fellowship with Him.

We will postpone our Discipleship Discussion this month in order to focus on this season of the year. Next month we will discuss Gary Deddo’s series of articles entitled “Scripture: God’s Gift.” Please let me know if you need a copy of them.

We again have the opportunity of participating with four other churches in hosting a Christmas Dinner for the underprivileged and disadvantaged members of our community. This event takes place this coming weekend, so hopefully you are all aware of your responsibilities.

I am planning to do a series of articles on prayer centered around the thought that prayer is our response to who God is and what He has done and our participation in what He is doing. In this month’s newsletter I look at how Christian prayer differs from pagan prayer. I hope that you will find these articles helpful and interesting, and that they will encourage you to follow Paul’s admonition to pray continually (I Thess. 5:17), at all times, and in every situation (Eph. 6:18ff).

Thank you very much for your continuing donations to the food bank. Your faithfulness in supporting this cause is much appreciated.

May this Christmas season be a blessed and meaningful on for you and your family,

Colin and Sue

Prayer as Response and Participation

Article One: Avoiding a Pagan Concept Prayer

Have you ever felt like your prayers are going no further than the ceiling above your head? I suppose all of us have felt this way from time to time. But have you considered that this feeling reflects a wrong concept of God and of the nature of prayer?

Every religion has some form of prayer by which its adherents beseech their god(s). Jesus warns us not to pray the way pagans do (cf. Matt. 6:7). The pagan attitude towards prayer is that God is somehow remote, distant, and probably not that concerned with what is happening in our lives. To reach God, you need to pray in certain ways or do certain things to get his attention. If your prayers are not answered it is because you have not prayed long enough, fervently enough, or often enough. If you can get the formula right then perhaps God will answer your prayers.

We see this pagan approach to prayer illustrated by the priests of Baal in I Kings 18:18-26. You remember the story: Elijah confronts Ahab, the king of Israel, and tells him that the reason the nation is experiencing a severe drought is because they have forsaken God. Elijah says to Ahab, “summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah.” The king did as Elijah requested, and when the crowd had assembled, Elijah said to the people, ““How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”

Elijah then proposed a test to identify the true God. The prophets of Baal were to build an altar, place a sacrifice on it, and call on Baal to send down fire from heaven. Elijah would do the same calling on the God of Israel. The one who sent fire would be the true God. The people of Israel agreed to this test, and so we read in I Kings 18:26 that the prophets of Baal “… took the bull given them and prepared it. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.” They prayed long and loudly in an effort to get Baal to hear their prayer.

Elijah mocks this pagan concept of prayer: “At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened” ” (I Kings 18:27). God does not hear you if you don’t pray long enough, loudly enough, or fervently enough: “So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed” (vs 28).

Notice their attitude: ”if we do something – like slash ourselves – then perhaps Baal will hear.” We know from other Old Testament passages, people even sacrificed their own children to try and get their gods to answer their prayers.

We can fall prey to this same attitude. When God doesn’t seem to be answering our prayers then we think it must be because we are not using the right techniques. If we pray longer, or more fervently, then perhaps God will hear. Or maybe if we fast and pray then God will hear – but fasting is not about trying to get God to do our will. Fasting is about examining ourselves and repenting of our sins (cf. Isa. 53:2-6).

The fundamental problem here is that people have a wrong concept of God. They see God as remote and distant – uninvolved in their lives, unconcerned and unresponsive, even unwilling to answer. The Christian approach to prayer comes from a right understanding of who God is and of His love for us. The Bible testifies that we are not praying to a remote God. We are praying to a God who loves us and is vitally interested in us, and who is more anxious to hear from us than we are to talk to Him. Christian prayer flows out as a response to who God is.

More than that, we are not praying through our own efforts alone – trying to reach up to God. In Christian prayer we recognize that God has joined Himself to us. God is with us, and praying with us. The Holy Spirit is interceding for us, helping us in our prayers, and even praying for us when we don’t have the appropriate words to express our feelings. Not only is the Holy Spirit praying with us and in us, but the Son is ever interceding for us. Our prayers are joined to His prayers. This is how Christian prayer differs from pagan prayer. Christian prayer is a participation in the life of the Triune God – the God who is for us, with us, and in us.

This is why I have entitled this series “prayer as response and participation.” Our prayers are a response to who God is and what He has done in our lives and they are a participation in what God is doing (more on this in future articles).

Things to Pray for:

Please pray for:

  • Larry Prekup (cancer); Lloyd Mitchell (failing eyesight); Lisa Masse (continued improvement in health); Fred Zamostny (back problems); Gabriele Hodgins (arthritis and tendonitis; loss of job); Scott Blaine (MS).

  • Philippines: Please pray for God’s blessing and protection on the Philippines as it recovers from the devastation caused by typhoon Hainan.

  • Our brethren in Mozambique. Please pray for peace in that country as the threat of another civil war grows. A 16-year civil war came to an end in 1992 with a peace agreement between the Frelimo government and Renamo rebels. That agreement has recently been terminated and there is concern that fighting could break out again.

  • Our local congregation that we might fulfill God’s will for us. Pray that we might each be a light in our community, manifesting the love of God to friends, family, co-workers and neighbours.

  • Opportunities to share the gospel with others, the courage to do so, and the wisdom to know how.

Quotations Worth Thinking About

Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strengths

Charles Spurgeon

“The pollution of the outward environment we are witnessing is only the mirror and the consequence of the inward environment, to which we pay too little heed. I think that this is also the defect of the ecological movements. They crusade with an understandable and also legitimate passion against the pollution of the environment, whereas man’s self-pollution of his soul continues to be treated as one of the rights of his freedom.”

Joseph Ratzinger

Monthly Newsletter — November 2013

Posted by colin on November 1, 2013 under Monthly Newsletter | Comments are off for this article

 Family of Faith Christian Fellowship

London Newsletter

November 2013 / Issue 45

In this issue:

  • Upcoming events

  • November Letter

  • The Great Giveaway

  • Things to pray for

  • Quotations Worth Thinking About

Upcoming Events:

  • Communion – Sunday, November 10, 2013

    Our Communion service takes place on the second Sunday of each month.

  • Discipleship 101 – Sunday, November 17, 2013

    Our discipleship topic this month is “Prayer – how can we pray more effectively.

November Letter

Dear Brethren,

Last weekend we had a wonderful service with special guest, Elizabeth Deveau, leading our worship. We had forty-five people in attendance. Thank you to all those who worked so hard to make it a special service and lunch.

October also saw us complete our two-and-a-half-year odyssey through the Discipleship 101 Course. I think we all felt that the discussion format of these sessions was a blessing to each of us and an opportunity to get to know one another better. We would like to continue with this format on a monthly basis. Each month we will select a different topic for discussion. This month the topic will be “prayer – how can we pray more effectively.” You may want to reread the chapters on prayer in the Discipleship booklet in preparation. If you have any particular topics that you would like to see discussed, please let me know.

This month we will be continuing our sermon series in the book of Jeremiah. I would encourage you to read ahead in the book of Jeremiah as part of your personal Bible study.

Thank you very much for your foodbank donations. Your faithfulness in supporting this cause is much appreciated.

Finally, I would like to remind everyone that the clocks go back one hour on Sunday.

Warmest regards,

Colin and Sue

The Great Giveaway 

Some things we have a choice, in some we don’t. In this we don’t. It is the kind of world into which we were born. God created it. God sustains it. Giving is the style of the universe. Giving is woven into the fabric of existence. If we try to live by getting instead of giving, we are going against the grain. It is like trying to go against the law of gravity – the consequence is bruises and broken bones. In fact, we do see a lot of distorted, misshapen, crippled lives among those who defy the reality that all life is given and must continue to be given to be true to its nature.

There is a rocky cliff on the shoreline of the Montana lake where I live part of each summer. There are breaks in the rock face in which tree swallows make their nests. For several weeks one summer I watched the swallows in swift flight collect insects barely above the surface of the water then dive into the cavities in the cliff, feeding first their mates and then their new-hatched chicks. Near one of the cracks in the cliff face a dead branch stretched about four feet over the water. One day I was delighted to see three new swallows sitting side by side on this branch. The parents made wide, sweeping, insect-gathering circuits over the water and then returned to the enormous cavities that those little birds became as they opened their beaks for a feeding.

This went on for a couple of hours until the parents decided they had had enough of it. One adult swallow got alongside the chicks and started shoving them out toward the end of the branch – pushing, pushing, pushing. The end one fell off. Somewhere between the branch and the water four feet below, the wings started working, and the fledgling was off on his own. Then the second one. The third was not to be bullied. At the last possible moment his grip on the branch loosened just enough so that he swung downward, then tightened again, bulldog tenacious. The parent was without sentiment. He pecked at the desperately clinging talons until it was more painful for the poor chick to hang on than risk the insecurities of flying. The grip was released and the inexperienced wings began pumping. The mature swallow knew what the chick did not – that it would fly – that there was no danger in making it do what it was perfectly designed to do.

Birds have feet and can walk. Birds have talons and can grasp a branch securely. They can walk; they can cling. But flying is their characteristic action, and not until they fly are they living at their best, gracefully and beautifully.

Giving is what we do best. It is the air into which we were born. It is the action that was designed into us before our birth. Giving is the way the world is. God gives himself. He also gives away everything that is. He makes no exceptions for any of us. We are given away to our families, to our neighbors, to our friends, to our enemies – to the nations. Our life is for others. That is the way creation works. Some of us try desperately to hold on to ourselves, to live for our­selves. We look so bedraggled and pathetic doing it, hang­ing on to the dead branch of a bank account for dear life, afraid to risk ourselves on the untried wings of giving. We don’t think we can live generously because we have never tried. But the sooner we start the better, for we are going to have to give up our lives finally, and the longer we wait the less time we have for the soaring and swooping life of grace.

Excerpt from “Run with Horses” by Eugene Petersen

Things to Pray for:

Please pray for:

  • Larry Prekup (cancer); Darlene’s brother (cancer operation); Paul’s sister, Diane (recovery from back surgery); Lloyd Mitchell (failing eyesight); Lisa Masse (continued improvement in health); Fred Zamostny (back problems); Gabriele Hodgins (arthritis and tendonitis; loss of job); Scott Blaine (MS).

  • Bangladesh: Please pray for God’s blessing and protection on John Biswas’ mission trip to Bangladesh in November.

  • Our brethren in Mozambique. Please pray for peace in that country as the threat of another civil war grows. A 16-year civil war came to an end in 1992 with a peace agreement between the Frelimo government and Renamo rebels. That agreement has recently been terminated and there is concern that fighting could break out again.

  • Our local congregation that we might fulfill God’s will for us. Pray that we might each be a light in our community, manifesting the love of God to friends, family, co-workers and neighbours.

  • Opportunities to share the gospel with others, the courage to do so, and the wisdom to know how.

Quotations Worth Thinking About

Through our union with Christ we share in his communion with the Father and in his mission from the Father to bring others into that communion. The mission of the church is the gift of participating through the Holy Spirit in the Son’s mission from the Father to the world.”

–  James Torrance

“Experience is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you. Don’t waste your pain; use it to help others.”

Rick Warren

“It is partly because sin does not provoke our own wrath, that we do not believe that sin provokes the wrath of God.”

R.W. Dale

Monthly Newsletter — October 2013

Posted by colin on October 23, 2013 under Monthly Newsletter | Comments are off for this article

London Newsletter

October 2013 / Issue 44

In this issue:

  • Upcoming events

  • October Letter

  • Eternal Punishment

  • Things to pray for

  • Quotations Worth Thinking About

Upcoming Events:

  • Communion – Sunday, October 13, 2013

    Our Communion service takes place on the second Sunday of each month.

  • Discipleship 101 – Sunday, October 20, 2013

    Our discipleship course takes place on the third Sunday of each month. The topic this month is “Sharing the Good News” (Chapter 30 of the booklet).

  • Special Worship Service – Sunday, October 27, 2013

    Elizabeth Deveau, a Christian singer-songwriter from Nova Scotia, will be visiting us and will lead the worship service. Please consider inviting friends and family to attend this special service.

October Letter

Dear Brethren,

This month we look forward to having a special guest at our services: on October 27th Elizabeth Deveau will be leading the worship service. She is a Christian singer-songwriter, who became a Christian through the witness of one of our members in Nova Scotia. You can check out her music on her website at www.elizabethdeveau.ca . This might be a good opportunity to invite a friend or family member to church.

This month we will also be starting a new sermon series in the book of Jeremiah. This weekend, October 6, we will be covering the historical background to the book of Jeremiah. It will be helpful if you are able to read through II Kings Ch 21-25 and II Chronicles Ch 33-36 before then.

Thank you very much for your food bank donations each week. As I showed last week, the demands on the food bank continue to increase, so your faithfulness in supporting this cause is much appreciated.

Recently we covered Matthew Ch 24-25 dealing with the end-time and God’s judgment of all nations. I thought that the following article from Dr Tkach might be helpful in adding some perspective to the subject of judgment.

Warmest regards,

Colin and Sue

Eternal Punishment 

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” – John 3:16-17 (NIV

Have you ever punished your child for disobedience? How long did the punishment last? More to the point, Did you declare that that punishment would last forever? Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? We, as weak and imperfect parents, forgive our kids. We might punish them, but how many of us would think it fitting, or even sane, to punish them for the rest of their lives? 

Yet some Christians would have us believe that God, our heavenly Father, who is not weak and imperfect, punishes people forever and ever. And these same people say God is full of grace and mercy! There seems to be a large gap between what we learn from Jesus and what some Christians believe about eternal damnation. Jesus tells us to love our enemies and even to do good to those who hate us and persecute us. But some Christians think that God not only hates his enemies, but literally roasts them mercilessly and relentlessly for eternity. Jesus prayed for his executioners, but some Christians teach that God only forgives a precious few that he predestined to forgive before he even created the world. 

As much as we human beings love our children, how much more does God love them? It’s a rhetorical question – God loves them infinitely more than we are even able to love them. The truth is, God really does love the world. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” The salvation of this world depends on God, and only on God. God sent Jesus to do the job, and Jesus did that job. 

We are, however, blessed to be able to take part in the process of getting the gospel to people, but the actual salvation of the people we love and care about, and also of those we don’t even know, and even those who it seems to us never even heard the gospel – in short, the salvation of everybody – is something God takes care of, and God is really good at what he does. That’s why we put our trust in him, and in him alone! 

Joseph Tkach

Things to Pray for:

Please pray for:

  • Darlene’s brother (cancer operation); Larry Prekup (cancer); Paul’s sister, Diane (recovery from back surgery); Lloyd Mitchell (failing eyesight); Lisa Masse (continued improvement in health); Fred Zamostny (back problems); Gabriele Hodgins (arthritis and tendonitis; loss of job); Scott Blaine (MS).

  • The situation in Pakistan, where 78 Christians were killed and over 100 injured in a suicide bomb attack on an Anglican church in Peshawar last month – just the latest incident in the mounting violence against Christians in that country.

  • Our local congregation that we might fulfill God’s will for us. Pray that we might each be a light in our community, manifesting the love of God to friends, family, co-workers and neighbours.

  • Opportunities to share the gospel with others, the courage to do so, and the wisdom to know how.

Quotations Worth Thinking About

Our primary authority is Jesus Christ our Teacher and our Lord, and our submission to Scripture is only the logical outcome and necessary expression of our submission to him. It is to Christ that we come; but Christ sends us to a book. Not that the book to which he sends us is a dead and wooden letter, or an authoritarian ogre. He bids us listen rather to his own voice as he speaks to our particular situation by his Spirit and through his written Word.”

—  John Stott

Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. Humility is thinking more of others

Rick Warren

Monthly Newsletter — September 2013

Posted by colin on September 3, 2013 under Monthly Newsletter | Comments are off for this article

Family of Faith Christian Fellowship

London Newsletter

September 2013 / Issue 43

In this issue:

  • Upcoming events

  • September Letter

  • Responding to God with Worship

  • Things to pray for

  • Quotations Worth Thinking About

Upcoming Events:

  • Communion – Sunday, September 8, 2013

    Our Communion service takes place on the second Sunday of each month.

  • Discipleship 101 – Sunday, September 15, 2013

    Our discipleship course takes place on the third Sunday of each month. The topic this month is “The Resurrection – Our Hope for the Future” (Chapter 29 of the booklet).

September Letter

Dear Brethren,

Our annual “Church-in-the-Park” service last month was a great success. This year we had 120 people in attendance, which was a 14% increase over the previous year. The consensus was that this was the best one to date. The new venue and the use of the sound system greatly enhanced the experience, and we look forward to continued success in future years.

With summer now over, hopefully we will be able to increase our contributions to the Foodbank once again. The need has been increasing: in July, the Foodbank had 59 visits (vs. 47 visits in June) and 77 bags of groceries were given out (vs. 67 bags in June), 9 bags of children’s clothing (7 bags in June),and $420 in cash (June’s total was $370). It is interesting to take note of how much importance God attaches to taking care of the poor in Scripture (cf. Acts 9:36; 10:41; 24:17; 2 Cor. 9:8-9; Gal. 2:10); and this is an opportunity for us to help the less fortunate in our own community in London.

This month we will be continuing our series of sermons in the book of Matthew. We will be covering the fifth and final teaching section in the book, which deals with Jesus’ teachings about the end-time. You might find the article, “What Matthew 24 tells us about the End Time,” a helpful addition to reading through Chapters 24-25 of Matthew. The article can be found at the GCI Website – see:

http://www.gci.org/prophecy/matt24

Warmest regards,

Colin and Sue

Responding to God With Worship

We respond to God with worship, because worship is simply giving God what is fitting. He is praiseworthy, not only for his power but also for his gentleness.

God is love, and all that he does is done in love. This is praiseworthy. We praise love even on a human level, don’t we? We praise people who give their lives to help others. They did not have enough power to save their own lives, but what power they had, they used to help others – and that is praiseworthy. In contrast, we criticize people who had the power to help but refused to do it. Goodness is morepraiseworthy than power, and God is both good and powerful.

Praise deepens the bond of love between us and God. God’s love for us is never diminished, but ours for him often grows weak. In praise, we rehearse his love for us and, in effect, fan the fire of love for him that the Spirit has started within us. It is good for us to remember and rehearse how wonderful God is, for that strengthens us in Christ and increases our motivation to be like him in his goodness, which increases our joy.

We were made for the purpose of praising God (1 Peter 2:9), of giving him glory and honor, and the more we are in harmony with God’s purpose for life, the greater joy will be ours. Life is simply more satisfying when we do what we were made to do: to honor God. We do that not only in worship, but also in the way we live.

Worship is a way of life. We offer our bodies and minds as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-2). We worship God when we share the gospel (Romans 15:16). We worship God when we give financial offerings (Philippians 4:18). We worship God when we help other people (Hebrews 13:16). We say that he is worthy, worth our time and attention and allegiance. We praise his glory, and his humility in becoming one of us for our sakes. We praise his righteousness and his mercy. We praise him for the way he really is.

This is what we were made for, to declare his praises. It is simply right that we praise the One who created us, the One who died and rose to save us and give us life eternal, the One who works even now to help us become more like him. We owe him our allegiance, and we owe him our love.

We were made to praise God, and this is what we will do eternally. John was given a vision of our future: “I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!’” (Revelation 5:13). This is the right response: awe at the awesome, honor for the honorable, and allegiance to the trustworthy.

Joseph Tkach

Things to Pray for:

Please pray for:

  • Paul’s sister, Diane (recovery from back surgery); Lloyd Mitchell (failing eyesight); Larry Prekup (cancer); Lisa Masse (continued improvement in health); Bob Shepard and Fred Zamostny (back problems); Gabriele Hodgins (arthritis and tendonitis; loss of job); Scott Blaine (MS).

  • The situation in Egypt, where the unrest and the action of Muslim extremists has led, during the month of August alone, to the burning of at least 100 churches and Christian institutions. This number does not include attacks on the private homes, shops, businesses, and vehicles of Christians.

  • Our local congregation that we might fulfill God’s will for us. Pray that we might each be a light in our community, manifesting the love of God to friends, family, co-workers and neighbours.

  • Opportunities to share the gospel with others, the courage to do so, and the wisdom to know how.

Quotations Worth Thinking About

“At the heart of all temptations… is the act of pushing God aside because we perceive him as secondary, if not actually superfluous and annoying, in comparison with all the apparently far more urgent matters that fill our lives.”

– Joseph Ratzinger

“The good life is not about looking good, feeling good, or having goods; its about being good and doing good.

Rick Warren

Monthly Newsletter — August 2013

Posted by colin on August 9, 2013 under Monthly Newsletter | Comments are off for this article

 Family of Faith Christian Fellowship

London Newsletter

August 2013 / Issue 42

In this issue:

  • Upcoming events

  • August Letter

  • Living for God

  • Things to pray for

  • Quotations Worth Thinking About

Upcoming Events:

  • Communion – Sunday, August 11, 2013

    Our Communion service takes place on the second Sunday of each month.

  • Discipleship 101 – Sunday, August 18, 2013

    Our discipleship course takes place on the third Sunday of each month. The topic this month is “The Importance of Doctrine” (Chapter 26 of the booklet).

  • Church in the Park – Sunday, August 25, 2013

    Instead of our normal service at 10:30am, we will be meeting at the Guy Lombardo Pavilion, Springbank Park, at 3:00pm.

August Letter

Dear Brethren,

As I write this, Sue and I are attending the Grace Communion International Conference in Orlando, Florida. The theme of the conference, “Participation – Fellowship – Communion”, reflects the church’s increased focus on God’s plan to include us in His triune life. It is great to bump into people that we have not seen in years. We are looking forward to hearing from our guest speakers, Gerrit Dawson and Jeff McSwain, both of whom have been interviewed on the “You’re Included” TV program.

I would like to remind you of our annual “Church-in-the-Park” service, which will be held on August 25th. This year, unlike previous years, we will have amplified sound so hopefully this will enable us to increase the attendance.

Also, please remember the foodbank.

Warmest Regards,

Colin and Sue

Living for God

There is a popular worship song called “The Proof of Your Love.” The song talks about being a living advertisement for God’s love. The chorus says, “Let my life be the proof. The proof of your love.” I find the lyrics interesting because this is my daily prayer. I want my life’s advertisement to be a positive message.

I believe all of us want to follow the apostle Paul’s words, “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:19-20). …

Paul’s point was that any “good living” we do is actually Christ living in us and working through us. And this is good news. It is especially good news on those days when we are tired, feel worn out, or we err in something we said or did – when we realize we aren’t being the salt of the earth or the light on a hill we want to be. We all have days where we don’t feel fresh or new – as if the old us is still there – and we realize our living for God hasn’t set a good example. Paul describes his own struggles in Romans 7:14 by saying, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” He then says, “What a wretched man I am!” (v. 24). This is how many Christians feel too much of the time.

Fortunately Paul continues this thought. “Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:24-25). Paul realized there was more to life than what he was feeling or even doing at a particular moment. There is a reality we hold on to; that reality is Jesus Christ. When Jesus gave himself to humanity, he gave himself to you and me. That’s real. He is the proof of God’s love. My dad used to say we should be “walking, talking advertisements for the kingdom of God.” And we are, when we are focused on Christ and on what Christ has done in and through us. This is why the scriptures constantly point us to Christ. After all, when we look inward, we find the same struggles Paul faced.  We don’t see pure light in ourselves; we see darkness. We don’t see certainty; we see doubt.

One of the greatest enemies of the Christian life is a preoccupation with our unworthiness, our failings and ourselves. Martin Luther recognized this. He pointed out that the condition of man is fallen and incurvatus in se ipsum – bent or curved into himself. That’s the bondage we sometimes face because of our brokenness. We somehow end up taking sin more seriously than grace. We don’t look up to God and his grace but look inside ourselves and see our hurts, our failings, the wrongs we’ve committed, and we feel despair. But the gospel of Jesus Christ proclaims that we can take God’s grace even more seriously than our sin – because of who he is and what he has done, is doing, and will do for us.

Paul teaches us to not be impressed with our own faith or spirituality; we can, however, be impressed with the faith of Jesus. It is when we look to Christ that we begin to see light and joy and assurance. It is the faith and faithfulness of Jesus that strengthens us. It is what he has done that enables us to live for God. He is the proof of God’s love. It is the sharing of this gospel and his love that enables us to truly live for God.

The gospel invites us to look away from ourselves to what God in Christ has done. It was while we were yet sinners that Christ died for us. It was when we were powerless that Christ reconciled us. Our life in Christ is continually upheld by the faithfulness of Christ. The best advertisement we can be for God’s gospel of grace is to allow Christ to live and love others through us. When we let the love of God flow through us and reach out to others, we are truly living for God.

Joseph Tkach, May 2013 Letter

Things to Pray for:

Please pray for:

  • Lloyd Mitchell (failing eyesight); Larry Prekup (cancer); Lisa Masse (continued improvement in health); Bob Shepard and Fred Zamostny (back problems); Gabriele Hodgins (arthritis and tendonitis; loss of job); Scott Blaine (MS).

  • Paul Coates has requested prayers for healing of his sister, Diane, who is facing major back surgery if her condition does not improve.

  • Our local congregation that we might fulfill God’s will for us. Pray that we might each be a light in our community, manifesting the love of God to friends, family, co-workers and neighbours.

  • Opportunities to share the gospel with others, the courage to do so, and the wisdom to know how.

Quotations Worth Thinking About

“The remedy for discouragement is the Word of God. When you feed your heart and mind with its truth, you regain your perspective and find renewed strength.”

–  Warren Wiersbe

It is only because he became like us that we can become like him.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Monthly Newsletter — April 2013

Posted by colin on April 5, 2013 under Monthly Newsletter | Comments are off for this article

 Family of Faith Christian Fellowship

London Newsletter

April 2013 / Issue 39

In this issue:

  • Upcoming events

  • April Letter

  • Joseph Tkach on the Resurrection

  • Things to pray for

  • Quotations Worth Thinking About

Upcoming Events:

  • Communion – Sunday, April 14, 2013

    Our Communion service takes place on the second Sunday of each month.

  • Discipleship 101 – Sunday, April 21, 2013

    Our discipleship course takes place on the third Sunday of each month. The topic this month is “What is the Church?” (Chapter 22 of the booklet).

April Letter

Dear Brethren,

I hope this Easter season has been an encouraging reminder for you of Christ’ victory over sin and death. In keeping with this theme, I have included in this month’s newsletter Dr Tkach’s comments on the Resurrection and some quotations on the same topic.

Last week Sue and I visited the Aylmer Conservation Area to see the tundra swans making their annual migration up to the Arctic Circle. I thought Spring had arrived, but the recent cold weather seems to have delayed things. Still, it’s a good time to start making plans to take advantage of the warm summer months.

I would like to continue to remind you to remember the Foodbank. We collect donations each week, and make a delivery at the end of every month.

Please remember also to pray for one another. It seems that at the moment a number of us are going through particularly challenging trials.

 

Warmest Regards,

Colin and Sue

Joseph Tkach on the Resurrection

For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” – John 6:40 (NIV UK)

The resurrection of Jesus stands at the heart of Christian faith. We believe in Jesus because he did something no other human being has ever done: he rose from the dead to life eternal.

It’s funny how we sometimes believe things that don’t make sense or that have no supporting evidence whatsoever. The tabloids carry a multimillion-dollar business by tantalising believing readers with a steady diet of the sensational, if not the ridiculous. You’ve seen the headlines: Elvis is still alive. JFK was abducted by aliens. Miners discover an opening to hell.

And then there are the facts we simply take for granted in our modern scientific world: The earth is a sphere, not flat like a pancake, and it revolves around the sun, not vice versa. A virus causes measles. Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone.

Most of us believe these things, not because we have personally proven them, but because we trust the authorities who tell us they are true. We use the ’phone; who invented it doesn’t really matter to us. We go to the doctor when we get sick; it doesn’t matter to us who discovered a given vaccine. And we can enjoy a beautiful sunset without giving much thought to Galileo, telescopes or star charts.

We live in a world of facts, but most of the facts we know have little, if anything, to do with who we are and how we live. The resurrection of Jesus is different. It might be easy to believe Jesus rose from the dead as though it were just another fact for a history exam. But this fact is not like other facts. It’s the one fact that changes everything.

If Jesus Christ really rose from the dead, then he is far more than just another great figure in history. He is who he claimed to be—the Son of God. And if that’s so, then he, and everything he said, has to be taken seriously. The resurrection of Jesus stands at the heart of Christian faith. We believe in Jesus because he rose from the dead. He told his disciples he would be raised on the third day after his crucifixion—and he was!

The fact of his resurrection verifies that what he said about himself was true: He was indeed the Son of God and God was acting decisively through him to deal with human sin. Jesus said in the Gospel of John, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24).

Greater words of comfort have never been spoken! It doesn’t matter how far from God we have been. It doesn’t matter how dark and vile our sins have been. When we believe the word of God, the good news that God is redeeming sinners through his Son. God forgives us, accepts us and gives us fresh, new life in his eternal kingdom.

Things to Pray for:

Please pray for:

  • Lisa Masse (health); Bob Shepard (intestinal problems); Wayne Vickery (high blood pressure); Gabriele Hodgins (arthritis and tendonitis; loss of job); Scott Blaine (MS).
  • Mozambique: please pray that the flood waters will subside so that aid can reach our brethren in central-northern Mozambique. Please pray that there will be no outbreak of cholera or other water-borne diseases.
  • Our local congregation that we might fulfill God’s will for us. Pray that we might each be a light in our community, manifesting the love of God to friends, family, co-workers and neighbours.
  • Opportunities to share the gospel with others, the courage to do so, and the wisdom to know how.

Quotations Worth Thinking About

Only one act of pure love, unsullied by any taint of ulterior motive, has ever been performed in the history of the world, namely the self-giving of God in Christ on the cross for undeserving sinners. That is why, if we are looking for a definition of love, we should look not in a dictionary, but at Calvary.

John Stott

We are not to regard the cross as defeat and the resurrection as victory. Rather, the cross was the victory won, and the resurrection the victory endorsed, proclaimed and demonstrated.

John Stott

In the Bible, the opposite of Sin, with a capital ‘S,’ is not virtue – it’s faith: faith in a God who draws all to Himself in His resurrection.

Robert Farrar Capon

Monthly Newsletter — March 2013

Posted by colin on March 2, 2013 under Monthly Newsletter | Comments are off for this article

 Family of Faith Christian Fellowship

London Newsletter

March 2013 / Issue 38

In this issue:

  • Upcoming events

  • March Letter

  • Joseph Tkach on the True Gospel

  • Things to pray for

  • Quotations Worth Thinking About

Upcoming Events:

  • Communion – Sunday, March 10, 2013

    Our Communion service takes place on the second Sunday of each month.

  • Discipleship 101 – Sunday, March 17, 2013

    Our discipleship course takes place on the third Sunday of each month. The topic this month is “The Goal of the Christian Life and the Purpose of Blessings” (Chapter 20 & 21 of the booklet).

March Letter

It is hard to believe that we are already into March and Spring will soon be here.

Please remember the Food Bank. Our monthly donations have been declining recently. Hopefully, this coming Sunday we will be able to give a boost to our donation for the month of February. The Food Bank is in immediate need of canned fruit, tea and coffee. They have an oversupply of pasta and peanut butter at the present time.

I have included an article from Dr Tkach’s recent weekly update on the difference between the true gospel and what is often taught as the gospel. It is well worth another readand reminds us that the gospel is indeed good news.

Warmest regards,

Colin and Sue

Joseph Tkach on the True Gospel

Christians often say that the gospel is good news, but then add a great big “IF.” I’m sure they are sincere, but this addition turns the gospel into a proposition or a possibility of what could be true if certain works are first performed. For them, the gospel is good news, but only for those who qualify. For everyone else, it is not good news at all.

The wonderful truth is that the actual gospel is not a contract, which tells us what God will do “IF” we first do our part. Rather, it is the announcement concerning what God has already done – what he has already established in and through his Son, Jesus Christ. It is vital to understand the difference.

The actual gospel speaks of the fact of our forgiveness in Jesus and gives us something real to believe in. The gospel with an “IF” appended speaks of the possibility of our forgiveness, but then proclaims that we must also believe in something else, such as our faith, or our repentance or our performance, before that possibility becomes reality. One is the truth of God’s grace; the other is legalism.

This legalism projects a false reality that Jesus’ forgiveness does not exist unless you first measure up. However, no one can measure up to the perfection of God. Even when we become believers, we still have our times of failing to do what is right. And the blessing of the grace of God is that we are forgiven in Jesus Christ. He stands in for us as our great high priest and takes our weak and imperfect repentance and faith and then by the Holy Spirit shares with us his perfect faith and repentance on our behalf. And God gets all the glory.

Sadly, some reject this, objecting that it means that you can just sit back and do nothing. But that is not where a correct understanding of grace leads you. Presuming upon God’s grace is not receiving God’s grace. It is not responding to grace as grace. Grace is not an impersonal abstract fact or principle, like gravity. Grace is not an exception to the rule of law. It is God’s offer of a restored, reconciled relationship of fellowship and communion with him in faith, hope and love. Grace, then, calls for a particular response. The apostle Paul tells us that God has reconciled the cosmos to himself. He then goes on to implore us to be reconciled, to live in line with the reality of that reconciliation (see 2 Corinthians 5:18, 20) – to wake up and smell the coffee! Such an ordered or disciplined response is not the enemy of grace but how we receive and benefit from it, or rather, benefit from our restored relationship to God through Jesus Christ!

In Colossians 1:29 (NIV, 1984), Paul explained how he proclaimed Christ: “To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.” The gospel of grace in Jesus Christ energizes and moves us just as it did Paul. It brings about “the obedience of faith,” which was the aim and goal of his entire ministry (see Romans 1:5; 16:26 RSV).

Accepting God’s grace is not a license for laziness. We should remind ourselves every day what Christ has done and is doing for us. Our motivation is the fact that he has accepted us, not the fear that he might reject us. Paul tells us: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:11-12 NIV, 1984).

Before I began to really understand grace, I regarded the Bible largely as a rule-book that God gave to tell us what to do and not do. In doing so, I missed the point of many of the narratives in the Bible. I saw God as detaching and not attaching, disconnecting and not connecting with us. Do the right thing and you belonged to his “in” crowd. Disobey and you were “out.” The more I focused on obeying the law, the more I also seemed to miss God’s purpose to develop a loving relationship with each of his children. My view became one of seeing God as ruling people out, breaking them with “rods of iron.” Thankfully, I did not totally lose sight of God’s mercy, but I really did see him as a cosmic sheriff and myself as his deputy!

I know that many of you grew up believing as I did. Our experience was not as unusual as we may have thought. As I have gotten to know Christians in other denominations, I find that this is typical, even among many who have been Christians for many years. That is why we need to understand and be reminded daily that it is his grace – not law – that disciplines us. He is the author and the finisher of our faith.

Things to Pray for:

Please pray for:

  • Mozambique: please pray that the flood waters will subside so that aid can reach our brethren in central-northern Mozambique. Please pray that there will be no outbreak of cholera or other water-borne diseases.

  • Our local congregation that we might fulfill God’s will for us. Pray that we might each be a light in our community, manifesting the love of God to friends, family, co-workers and neighbours.

  • Opportunities to share the gospel with others, the courage to do so, and the wisdom to know how.

Quotations Worth Thinking About

The repeated promises in the Qur’an of the forgiveness of a compassionate and merciful Allah are all made to the meritorious, whose merits have been weighed in Allah’s scales, whereas the gospel is good news of mercy to the undeserving.  The symbol of the religion of Jesus is the cross, not the scales.

–  John Stott

The unity of God and man in Jesus Christ guarantees the fact that God and man … belong together, are bound together, and are in fellowship with one another. In Him the covenant has its irrevocable basis. In Him it cannot be broken.

Karl Barth

The tragedy of life is so often the tragedy of the unseized moment. We are moved to some fine action, we are moved to the abandoning of some weakness or (bad) habit, we are moved to say something to someone, a word of sympathy, or warning, or encouragement; but the moment passes, and the thing is never done, the evil thing is never conquered, the word is never spoken… the moment of fine impulse is never turned into action and into fact.

William Barclay

Monthly Newsletter — January 2013

Posted by colin on January 18, 2013 under Monthly Newsletter | Comments are off for this article

 Family of Faith Christian Fellowship

London Newsletter

January 2013 / Issue 36

In this issue:

  • Upcoming events

  • January Letter

  • Reflections on Being the Light of the World

  • Things to pray for

  • Quotations Worth Thinking About

Upcoming Events:

  • Communion – Sunday, January 13, 2013

    Our Communion service takes place on the second Sunday of each month.

  • Discipleship 101 – Sunday, January 20, 2013

    Our discipleship course takes place on the third Sunday of each month. The topic this month is “Responding to Grace” (Chapter 17 of the booklet).

January Letter

It is hard to believe that another year has passed. It is a reminder to each of us of how fleeting this life is, and an incentive to resolve to make each day count in the coming year.

Thank you to all the volunteers who helped to make the Christmas dinner such a success. I have not heard the final number of attendees, but more than one hundred people were expected and it seemed to me that we had at least that many. Hopefully in the coming year we will be able to continue to expand our participation across denominational boundaries in furthering the work of the gospel.

During this past week Sue and I were able to visit our son, his wife, and our two grandchildren. Our newest grandchild, Aria Grace, was born on December 22, just two days before we arrived.

Over the next two weeks we will complete our series on the Sermon on the Mount. As a follow-up to last month’s reflections on being the salt of the earth, I have included below some thoughts on what it means to be the light of the world (Matt. 5:14-16).

I hope that the new year will be a blessed one for you all,

Warmest Regards,

Colin and Sue

Some Reflections on Being the Light of the World

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

  • The first implication is that the world is in darkness. There is no other source of light other than the Christian (the “you” in the Greek is emphatic: i.e. you and no-one else).

  • We are the light of the world. We don’t have to “become” the light of the world. The issue is will we let our light shine? Or will we “put it under a bowl”?

  • Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12), therefore the only way that we can be the light of the world is if we are living in union with Jesus. It is His light that shines through us into the world.

  • Individually we are like John the Baptist, a lamp (John 5:35). A lamp in those days was a small clay receptacle containing olive oil. We are that vessel of clay. The Holy Spirit in us is the oil that gives light to the world (cf. 2 Cor. 4:6-7)

  • let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven– the implication of this is that allowing our light to shine is primarily a matter of actively doing good works. This means reaching out to friends, neighbours, co-workers, strangers and even enemies, and performing acts of kindness. Matthew 25:35-36 mentions several kinds of good works that are pleasing to God.

  • Light is also associated with knowledge. Isaiah prophesies, “I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth” (Isa 49:6; cf. Acts 13:47). If people are to receive the light of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, they have to hear the message of the gospel (see Romans 10:14-15 – the church has been commissioned to preach the gospel in all the world). It is a fallacy to think that because light does not make any sound, we do not need to share the gospel with others. This is stretching the metaphor beyond its intended meaning.

Things to Pray for:

Please pray for:

  • Gabriela Hodgins (arthritis and tendonitis); Lisa Masse (health); Barb Dutton (health); Scott Blaine (MS); Ian Palmatier (rheumatoid arthritis); Sue Robbins (cancer).
  • Our two churches in Myanmar (Burma) – as restrictions are lifted in Myanmar, opportunities to preach the gospel are growing, but Christians could also face increased persecution in the future.
  • The situation in the eastern Congo where we have a number of churches and where Lisa Jutsum, daughter of Ross Jutsum, is currently serving with Samaritan’s Purse. (An overview of the situation here can be found at: www.nytimes.com/2012/11/26/world/africa/as-rebels-gain-congo-again-slips-into-chaos.html).
  • Our local congregation that we might fulfill God’s will for us. Pray that we might each be a light in our community, manifesting the love of God to friends, family, co-workers and neighbours.
  • Opportunities to share the gospel with others, the courage to do so, and the wisdom to know how.

Quotations Worth Thinking About

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” (cf. Matt. 6:19-20)

Jim Elliott

You are the branch.—You need be nothing more. You need not for one single moment of the day take upon you the responsibility of the Vine. You need not leave the place of entire dependence and unbounded confidence.

Andrew Murray

So often we have a kind of vague, wistful longing that the promises of Jesus should be true. The only way really to enter into them is to believe them with the clutching intensity of a drowning man.

William Barclay

Monthly Newsletter — December 2012

Posted by colin on December 1, 2012 under Monthly Newsletter | Comments are off for this article

 Family of Faith Christian Fellowship

London Newsletter

December 2012 / Issue 35

In this issue:

  • Upcoming events

  • December Letter

  • Reflections on Being the Salt of the Earth

  • Things to pray for

  • Quotations Worth Thinking About

Upcoming Events:

  • Communion – Sunday, December 9, 2012

    Our Communion service takes place on the second Sunday of each month.

  • Discipleship 101 – Sunday, December 16, 2012

    Our discipleship course takes place on the third Sunday of each month. The topic this month is Salvation (Chapter 16 of the booklet).

December Letter

It was with sad hearts, but also with a sense of relief, that we said our good-byes to Dougall Clutton, last week. Sad because we will miss him and his quiet example and faithfulness, but relieved that his struggle with failing health is finally over. Dougall became a member of the Worldwide Church of God back in 1967. The family – he, his wife and five children – initially drove to Toronto from Goderich for services each week. He served as a deacon in the London church for many years. Dougall was pre-deceased by a son Keith (1966), wife Grace (1985), and daughter Valerie (Van Hende) (2007). He is survived by his brother, Ed; 4 children: Brenda (Knapp), Darryl, Lisa (Robbins), and Penny; 11 grandchildren; and 6 great-grandchildren. Please remember the family in your prayers.

This month we will again be participating with several other churches in hosting a Christmas Dinner for the under-privileged. We will need volunteers to help prepare on Saturday, December 15, and to serve and clean-up on Sunday, December 16.

We are continuing to work our way through the Sermon on the Mount on Sundays. I have included below some thoughts on what it means to be the salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13).

I hope that you and your families will have a wonderful time over the Christmas season as we celebrate the incredible fact that God has joined Himself to humanity in the person of Jesus Christ. Our Creator loved us so much that He was willing to humble Himself and become one with His creation so that He might draw us into communion with Himself. What glorious news!

Warmest Regards,

Colin and Sue

Some Reflections on Being the Salt of the Earth

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men” (Matthew 5:13)

  • Salt has two main purposes: it is used as a preservative (to preserve meat and fish) and as a seasoning. The role of the Christian is the same:
  • to act as a preservative in society: This we do when we refuse to take part in any underhanded or dishonest schemes, when we refuse to join in listening to offensive jokes, when we refuse to use inappropriate language. We act as a deterrent to the corruption in our society. People no longer swear in our presence because they have noticed we never swear. The presence of ten righteous people in Sodom would have preserved it from destruction (Gen. 18:33).
  • to act as a seasoning: when we are willing to wait patiently in line, treat the cashier kindly, are polite in traffic, patient and gentle with someone who is angry and unreasonable, we are making the world a more pleasant place to live.
  • The efficacy of salt is not dependent on its being used in great quantities. Each grain of salt contributes to making a difference. This verse is speaking to us as individual Christians, not as a corporate body, the church.
  • You are the salt of the earth” – This is not something that we have to become. People know that we are Christians. The question is: what is their experience of Christianity through us? They either see that there is a difference in our lives or they do not.
  • But if the salt loses its saltiness” – Salt is a very stable chemical compound. It does not “just” lose its saltiness, even if it has not been used for a long time. The only way that salt can lose its saltiness is if it becomes contaminated with other substances which interact with it. In the same way, Christians only lose their “saltiness” when they become contaminated by the society around them. If people fail to see anything different about us, we have lost our saltiness. We are no longer making a difference.

Things to Pray for:

Prayer remains one of the great and glorious mysteries of the universe – that the all-knowing, all-wise, all-sovereign God should ordain to run his world in response to our prayers is mind-boggling. But that is the uniform witness of Scripture. God hears and answers the prayers of his people. O do not neglect this amazing way of influencing nations and movements and institutions and churches and people’s hearts, especially your own.” – John Piper

Please pray for:

  • Dougall Clutton’s family; Gabriella Hodgins (arthritis and tendonitis); Lisa Masse (health); Barb Dutton (health); Scott Blaine (MS); Ian Palmatier (rheumatoid arthritis); Sue Robbins (cancer).
  • John Biswas, who is on a mission trip to Bangla Desh.
  • Our local congregation that we might fulfill God’s will for us. Pray that we might each be a light in our community, manifesting the love of God to friends, family, co-workers and neighbours.
  • Opportunities to share the gospel with others, the courage to do so, and the wisdom to know how.

Suggested Items for the Food Bank

  • Canned Meat or Fish

  • Rice

  • Spaghetti

  • Powdered Milk

  • Flour

  • Spaghetti Sauce

  • Saltine Crackers

  • Breakfast Cereals

  • Baking soda

  • Canned or Dried Soups

  • Peanut Butter and Jam

  • Salt & Pepper

  • Canned Fruits and Vegetables

  • Macaroni & Cheese

  • Sugar

Quotations Worth Thinking About

“What a man believes is the thing he does, not the thing he thinks.”                                      George McDonald

“The Christian hope is not the immortality of the soul (a shadowy, disembodied existence), but the resurrection of the body (a perfect instrument for the expression of our new life).”                                                 John Stott

There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why.

William Barclay