Points from the President
Posted by donna on February 1, 2017
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.
First Paul says, we are to display the grace of God so freely given to us in a way that the world can see it. We are to do so whole-heartedly. It is as if we were sacrificing ourselves for the gospel. It will take great effort; at great cost. Just as the sacrifice of Jesus to pay the penalty of our sin was at great cost. It is a most dramatic, yet realistic picture of what it means to be a disciple of Christ. Jesus said we are to take up our cross and follow Him daily if we are to be His disciples. If we are ashamed of Him, He will be ashamed of us at the judgment. These are hard words, but again, a stark reality of what it means to be a true believer (Mark 8:34-38).
Secondly, it means we must deny ourselves the comfort and benefit of conformity to this world’s system of thinking and motives. We must have a value system that is not world centred. The result will be that we can discern what the mind of Christ is in every situation. This gives us a confidence (not an arrogance) to live transformed lives. When tolerance and licence is the new morality in our western world, true believers will stand out when they do not conform. There is a cost to pay. The persecuted Church understands that cost all too well. That may be why they experience renewal. What is the role of the indwelling Spirit of God in this process? It is vital. As the Spirit of God indwells and informs, He also compels us to turn from this world to the true nature of Christ, which is holiness. “Be holy as He is holy.” (1 Peter 1:15)
The Holy Spirit is the transforming power that captures our spirits to inform our souls to deny the flesh and to live and keep in step with Him. We become ‘slaves’ to the person of the Spirit rather than ‘slaves to sin’ (Romans 6). In doing so we can hear His clear voice, discern what is perfectly in line with the heart and mind of God, and have the courage to live it out. This is true revival and it will bring the power of God in renewal to the Church and to our society.
“So, what is true revival? It is not revivalism, not individualism, not emotionalism, and not idealism. True revival is marked by a rediscovery of the Word of God, a restored sense of the fear of God, a return to God through confession and repentance, a renewed spiritual commitment and accountability and finally, a reformation of true piety. If this is the longing of your heart, preachers, get preaching; and everyone, start praying.” - Kevin DeYoung
Posted by donna on January 3, 2017
This 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.
Posted by donna on December 1, 2016
Christmas 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.
Posted by donna on November 2, 2016
A 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.
Posted by donna on October 5, 2016
“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)
Posted by donna on September 7, 2016
“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.’
Posted by donna on August 2, 2016
How has your summer been unfolding? Were you able to get away? Are you taking time to refresh, refocus and relax or are you just fooling yourself by thinking you don’t need it?
I struggled with this issue when Lois and I were overseas. I remember a saying that was around back then that went something like this … “we need to come a-part before we come apart!” Kind of cheesy you might think, but there’s a lot of truth imbedded in it.
Posted by donna on June 30, 2016
Many of us in the AGC family are still basking in the memories of our wonderful "Run the Race" Conference in beautiful Banff, Alberta. A record number of delegates, pastors and their spouses came to our AGC National Conference. The challenge to run the Christian race reached home through the inspiring messages of our theme speaker, Tim Schroeder. You can find all of Tim's messages in video and audio form at this link.
Posted by donna on June 14, 2016
Our National AGC Conference 2016 took place this year in beautiful Banff Alberta and the theme of the Conference was “Run the Race.”
Here is a portion of what I shared with the delegates and pastors at Conference.
The world is rapidly changing and at times it may seem like the earth beneath our feet is shifting.
I have recently been challenged by the words of Dr. Greg Thompson. Greg is the Executive Director of New City Commons and lives in Charlottesville, Virginia where he is the Senior Pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church. In addition, Greg lectures at the University of Virginia, is a writer and a conference speaker. Dr. Thompson understands the challenges of our changing Western culture.
Posted by donna on May 3, 2016
"We are God's workmanship ..." Ephesians 2:10
We are one month away from our AGC National Conference (June 2-4, 2016) hosted this year by our AGC church in beautiful Banff, Alberta. Our theme is "Run the Race" and our guest speaker is Tim Schroeder, well known across Canada for his writings and speaking. Tim is a marathon runner and we are looking forward to seeing how he will unfold the theme “running with endurance the race set before us.”