Connecting

Points from the President


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.

In Matthew 16:16-17, Peter had just given a clear statement concerning who Jesus really is. Peter confessed that Jesus is the “Christ, the Son of the living God” (vs.16).  Jesus responded by saying that this knowledge didn’t come through human understanding, but rather from a direct revelation from God the Father.

  • Scripture is clear that salvation is only available through Christ.
    “no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
    No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them” (John 6:44).

  • There are several passages in the Bible that speak of the Holy Spirit’s role in carrying out God’s plan of redemption, reconciliation and restoration. 
    “… when the Helper (Holy Spirit) comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness about me (John 15:26).
    “And when He (Holy Spirit) comes He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgement, concerning sin because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness because I go to the Father….” (John 16:8-9).
    “… except a man be born of water and of the Spirit he cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven” (John 3:5).
    In writing his first epistle, addressed to the dispersed people of God, Peter says, “To God’s elect … who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by His blood.” (1 Peter 1:1-2)

  • He’s instrumental in the preaching of the Gospel.
    Peter testifies to this when he writes about the gospel hidden to the Old Testament Prophets, “in the things that have now been announced to you though those that preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven” (1 Peter 1: 12).

Therefore, it is crucial to understand that the person and the work of the Holy Spirit in this current age is to lead people to hear, understand, have faith in and accept the redemption that Christ secured for us on the cross.  Yet, how do men come to Christ? Scripture makes it clear that in and of ourselves we have no righteousness to offer to God in exchange for our rebellion, nor do we have a natural inclination to seek God. Scripture, as I have noted above, is clear that God must work on our behalf and in our place. How does He do this? God does this through the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the world through creation, through conscience, through God’s Word and by direct impression upon our spirits to come to God. John Calvin calls this ministry ‘irresistible grace’ and in the next blog we will explore the concept of how man deals with the working of the Spirit on his life.

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Willem Fietje

President, AGC

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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“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)

 

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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.’

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Summer Rest

Posted by donna on August 2, 2016

summer rest.jpgHow 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.

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Evangelism

Posted by donna on June 30, 2016

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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.

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Run the Race - For His Glory

Posted by donna on June 14, 2016

runner.pngOur 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.

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