Connecting

Points from the President


"Chasing the Lion" - A Personal Story

Posted by donna on June 8, 2017

ChasingtheLion (002).pngThose of you who receive emails from me may have noticed that under my signature, I always have a quote from Hudson Taylor, one of my life’s hero’s. Taylor once said, “Without the element of risk there is no need for faith.”

The life of a disciple of Jesus Christ was never meant or promised to be without risk; quite the opposite in fact. Jesus said “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mark 8:34f)

Jim Elliot, famed martyr, is noted to have said, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he can never lose.” Jim Elliott was killed along with several other young men on the shores of a remote river in the jungles of Ecuador.

I’d like to relate a personal story that illustrates how I came to understand more fully the words that Jesus spoke and that Elliot echoed.

For very personal reasons, I do not often speak of the tragic 1981 death of my brother, which occurred while we served together in Thailand, but I want to share a part of my heart and relate a small portion of the story here.

In late fall of 1981 we began ministry in a new village in the central rice plains of Thailand. It was a very remote and dangerous area, but we sensed the Spirit of God at work in profound ways. Many had expressed a desire to know Christ. This village was used by people who wanted to escape the reaches of the law. These ‘bandit villages’ were not uncommon in the regions where we served among unreached peoples. The exposure that our presence brought was not appreciated by many and as a result, two local men hired a gunman to stop us the next time we were in the village. As a result, my brother was killed while by God’s grace, I was spared.

Soon after the shooting, I was scheduled to stay overnight in a town next to the village where the assault had taken place. One of the two men who had been rumoured to have hired the gunmen lived in the town. I was aware of this, as were the people of that town. That night, as I went to sleep in the open wooden and bamboo home, I felt the dread of what could happen. I lay down facing the open windows of that stilt home, praying that the Lord would be with me and I was ready to trust Him despite my fear. I sensed a measure of peace. Usually, whenever I travelled overnight, I would sleep on the floor, separated from the family who owned the home. That night, as I lay down, I heard the father of the family, a well-respected man of the village, move his thin mattress to lay down beside me. I noticed that he was quite close, and that he had positioned himself between me and the open windows. He was God’s guardian angel, protecting me that night. I thanked him and slept soundly. I knew then, that God was with me even in the shadow of the valley of death and I could by His grace, fear no evil.

That night I understood that as a disciple of Jesus we can bear the cross daily and that God never leaves us to carry it alone.

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Willem Fietje
President


The Holy Spirit and Church Renewal/Revival

Posted by donna on May 2, 2017

holy spirit.jpgThis past January, I joined a team that travelled to Steinbach Manitoba to experience a Church Renewal weekend. For four days, we experienced what God is doing in the lives of the people at Southland Church. For the past two decades, they have walked with God, demonstrating life in the Spirit through confession, prayer, worship, and transformational obedience to God’s Word.

Pastor Ray Duerksen and his wife Fran have experienced God building into their lives. They teach from experience, often through years of real life challenges with which most people could identify. The central teaching is best understood as ‘going back to the ancient basics’ rather than finding the ‘new and improved’ which often captures merely out of our curiosity.


Eph 2vs8.pngFor centuries, church theologians, both scholarly and novice, have been in a bitter struggle about the moment and manner of conversion. This doctrine of salvation has divided serious students and orthodox believers into two camps.

Arminians, following the teachings of Jacobus Arminius, believe that every person, having been made in the image of God, can apply faith in their life. Arminians know that salvation is the gracious gift of God to people, but each person must apply their faith, as small as it is, to receive and activate the salvation freely offered and made known through the Holy Spirit. In short, faith precedes regeneration. Followers of John Wesley and all the denominations that come from that camp would hold to this belief. This would include our friends in the Salvation Army, as well as many brands of the more charismatic or Pentecostal denominations.


The Holy Spirit and Evangelism... Part 1

Posted by donna on March 1, 2017

Evangelism.PNGWhen speaking with Nicodemus, Jesus compared the Holy Spirit to the wind, which cannot be seen, but whose effect is evident.  Perhaps the clearest evidence of the Person and work of the Holy Spirit is seeing unregenerate people continually coming to Christ and receiving salvation … becoming “born again.”

The Scriptures have one central theme from Genesis to Revelation and that is the redemption, reconciliation and restoration of all things back to God the Father through the work of Christ and the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  Ephesians 1:1-10 captures this theme perfectly.  This theme is only made known through the process of revelation.


Holy Spirit and Spiritual Renewal

Posted by donna on February 1, 2017

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The Apostle Paul reveals the secret of Holy Spirit renewal in Romans 12:1-12 - “I appeal to you therefore brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (ESV)

Paul took 11 chapters to outline what God’s grace means to us, His children. It is all the work of God for His elect. It is Paul’s manner to begin with doctrine and move to practice, and he does so here. Paul makes it clear that we have a vital role to play in living out this grace, and it is to our spiritual benefit to obey God’s injunctions to us.


Prayer and the Holy Spirit

Posted by donna on January 3, 2017

invitation to prayer.jpgThis year, from January 18-25th, believers in Christ around the world will observe the Week of Prayer.  The theme for this year is “Christian Unity.” This is also a time when the Protestant Church celebrates the 500th Anniversary of The Reformation. At the heart of The Reformation is the reality of reconciliation to God through faith, apart from works.

As we contemplate this year’s theme, I want to direct our attention to the role the Holy Spirit plays in bringing about unity and reconciliation.


The Gift of the Holy Spirit

Posted by donna on December 1, 2016

Manger.PNGChristmas is my favourite time of year.  Ever since early childhood, the anticipation of Christmas has been somewhat overwhelming. The thought of gifts and presents had something to do with the anticipation, but it was much more than that. It was the sounds, sights and smell of the season.  It was my keenness to be with extended family. It was Christmas concerts, with the memory of bags of candies being placed in my eager hand as I made my way out the door. It was simply a joyous feeling and it remains that way to this day.

Yet, above all else, it was the story of the birth of Jesus that impacted me the greatest. Even when I wasn’t faithful as a teen, the message of Jesus was truly overwhelming to me. God in the flesh. The incarnation. The walking, talking Jesus.  The very image of God and Man without sin. Such a glorious truth.


The Holy Spirit

Posted by donna on November 2, 2016

Capture.PNGA key tenet of the Christian life is a clear understanding of our identity in Christ. In Christ, we are positionally and experientially in right relationship with God.  We are, through Christ, justified in God’s sight, and in a very personal and practical way, we have an intimate relationship with the Father’s heart and love for us.

 


“The Gospel” … a Living Message

Posted by donna on October 5, 2016

circle hands.png“People do not care how much you know, till they know how much you care.”

Last month, I began a two-part message on the Gospel. In particular, I shared that the Gospel is the ‘Power of God unto Salvation’ (Romans 1:16) and the Gospel is the ‘Righteousness of God revealed.’ (Romans 1:17)

Yet, the Gospel is also something that we need to live out. In 2 Peter 1:3, Peter declares that “His (God’s) divine power has given to us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.” He continues by saying, “for this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith (Gospel) goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self control; and to self control, perseverance, and to perseverance, godliness and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love” (2 Peter 1:5-7.)  Peter reminds us “to be eager to make our calling and election sure.” (2 Peter 1:10)

 


GOOD NEWS

Posted by donna on September 7, 2016

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“I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes … For in the Gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last.” Romans 1:16-17

In our current culture the word ‘Gospel’ is used for anything that denotes truthfulness or meaning. Often, it is used “tongue in cheek” to give a sense of religious fervor, which is not necessarily appreciated.

The Bible never uses the word Gospel in the way that our culture does. The word Gospel in Scripture is used as a noun that conveys the GOOD NEWS about who God is and what God has done on our behalf.

In the book of Romans, ‘Gospel’ is a single word to proclaim ALL that God has done for us in Christ’s death and resurrection. Paul calls it the ‘power of God’ and the ‘righteousness of God.’