Lock Down, Lock Up or… Lock In

An organization named The Church of God, in Aylmer, Ontario has become a feature in the local and national news media. Although, like them, we use the same Bible-based name “Church of God” we are not affiliated to them, nor they to us. But everyone is taking note of what is happening to them.

In brief, during the present “lock down” to combat the spread of Covid-19, mass gatherings are not permitted, and only certain work is considered “essential”, and only essential travel is to be undertaken. The result is any church with a large congregation has been told to suspend its meetings. In Aylmer, a novel response has led to complications. The minister of that large congregation invited them to gather in their cars in the church car park and listen to his service on their car radios. This caused a stir; the police arrived, and tickets were threatened.

Our objective is not to address any legal aspects, and in any case we may have missed some of the details (so apologies if needed), but it does raise the question about whether it is worth risking getting locked up in jail for one’s faith. The answer from the Bible for Christians is clear: “Yes, in the circumstances described in Acts 4:19 and Acts 5:29.” Those verses read: “Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge…” and later, “But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men…” If we had the slightest idea what being locked up meant in those days, we would be startled by the boldness of Peter and John. They had real faith! Jesus had transformed their lives.

So the first prerequisite is to “listen to God”, because faith in things that aren’t true isn’t so much faith as foolishness. But listening to God to learn what is true is absolutely possible still today, because God is speaking. The Bible is called “the word of God”; it is God’s message to us. It tells us how to be freed from the penalty of all the wrong things we ever did; how to avoid the eternal lock up we otherwise inevitably face (see more here). But the message continues. These days, we are rightly concerned about how to guide released offenders. The jail punishes but may not reform. God’s message for all of us, culprit sinners, is that when He releases us from the punishment we deserved, He will also lay out a plan for our transformed lives. A “church of God” is a big part of that message. But it is no use us just reading the message, we must apply it. That isn’t as hard as it may first seem, since God’s message appeals to our reason. But more than that, it can persuade our hearts too (see more here). A full commitment on our part, what we might call “locking in“, is what God is looking for: He seeks worshippers who will worship Him in spirit and in truth (Jn 4:24).

The Church of God in Mount Forest operates as closely as possible to the instructions we find in the Bible; we are locked in to them. Small numbers are not always a disadvantage, when even just a few people are fully committed to serving God whole-heartedly. So we have not had to meet in cars in a car park. Instead, we continue to meet where we live, and happily this conforms to all local regulations about the lock down. This means that every required activity of a church of God we find in the New Testament continues to be maintained here. To supplement those essentials, it is good that available technology can be used to preach, teach and meet, by “video chats”. So we need not feel we are locked out, or even stuck in the traffic! The biggest need now is to have the right key! Contact us for more details on how this Bible-based model of church activity is implemented.

Here are some Bible passages as starting points for you to verify what is said in this post: 1 Cor.1:2; Job 33:14; Acts 6:7; 2 Tim.3:16,17; Prov.3:5,6; 1 Tim.4:7-16; Acts 2:42

Speaking in Tongues??

Many Christians have been troubled by the difference of views on this matter. It is a great shame that it has marked a parting of the ways between disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, for it seems there is little room for middle ground; either the practice of speaking in tongues ( as we find it today) is right or it is wrong. But it is not inconsequential!

Hopefully there is no dispute that God used this miraculous working of the Holy Spirit in New Testament times. So we may reasonably ask, why should we not see it displayed today? Or again, is what people do when they say today they are speaking in tongues the same as we read about in the Bible? We must examine the Scriptures about this in order to reach a decision.

You may be interested to check out a long-standing view of the Churches of God on this subject, published a long time ago but still relevant! You can check it out HERE.

Ancient history?

No, this isn’t about church elders! Well, not really, but they feature quite strongly in the book we’ve just added to our resource section. The book is called The Search for The Truth of God.

It’s about developments in Christian churches since the middle ages, with a key focus on how the Brethren Movement led to fresh insights into biblical Christianity.

And one of the aspects that was true of the first churches described in the New Testament was how each church was led and overseen by a group of elders. It is almost as if that fact was rediscovered around the late 1800’s. But it was no good just seeing truth in Scripture; the challenge was to put it into practice.

So the book, published in 1947 and written in the wordy, long sentences typical of that era, is worth reading to see why churches of God today teach and practice the things they still do. What we may take for granted was won for us by a past generation’s dedicated study and emotionally heart-wrenching application. Take some time to read it, and by all means feed back your comments.

Food & Friendship

Welcome to Food and Friendship, a free soup and bagel lunch in the lovely basement room at the Mount Forest Library, usually on the second Tuesday each month. Our lunch was arranged for TUESDAY, (but could not be held because of the Covid-19 crisis measures, requiring Library to be closed; please check back here for future dates). We’ll leave this post up with an eye to the future!

Join us at 12noon-1:00pm, and bring a friend.

It’s good to be able to meet in a warm room, check out the book stand, listen to the music and enjoy a good meal.  Share your faith.  Show Christian love to one another. 

We will have a fresh supply of Christian literature, yours for free, so please check out the bookstand during lunch time.

Jesus said: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  He loved us enough to die for us; will we love enough to live for Him?

What are we aiming for?

We expect school teachers to prepare our children to meet further education entry requirements. They have to have a clear idea of what colleges and universities will expect. From the first day of school our youngsters are being prepared for that, and as they build year by year on what they have learned, they too should develop a clear idea of what they need to be able to demonstrate when they “finish”. Their objectives will likely grow clearer on the way; if so, they won’t major in subjects that they know don’t contribute to their goal.

What is the goal of Christian learning? It is not as though we are aiming to achieve entry credentials for heaven; God gives us those from the start of our training! In Rom.15:20 Paul told us about an intermediate goal: to bring the good news about Christ to places never before reached. If we are going to be capable of reasoning and persuading in defence of the Gospel, that will require some learning on our part, before we challenge others. And in 2 Cor.5:9 he made it clear that he intended to live his life in a way that pleased Christ. We are not to see Christian progress as an intellectual goal.

We are getting nearer to the answer when we read in Phil.3:8-14 Paul’s words about what he was striving to achieve. In its simplest terms, like Paul, our aim is to become like Christ. If you wanted to paint a portrait of Christ as a Man, you’d pay attention to what He looked like in every detail. If you wanted to sound like Him, you’d pay attention to every word: what He said and how He said it, and why. If you wanted to act in the same way as Him, you’d focus on exactly what He did and how He did everything, and do the same. Eventually, Rom.8:29 will apply!

Are we on track to graduating? Is that where our studies are leading?

…not neglecting to meet together

For obvious health reasons we cannot meet physically as a church right now. But in the virtual world there is lots going on. Watch this space! And in the meantime, check the posts below in case you missed them on the day they first appeared.

But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24)

Open for business…

NOTE: During the current management of the Covid-19 virus problems availability of public facilities will be limited, and social distancing measures may mean some church activities must be temporarily postponed.  Please check with us about specific church meetings as needed (normal details at the right).

We will continue to use all available means to achieve the objectives of the church, including teaching, meeting the need for fellowship, keeping the commands of the Lord Jesus and continuing in prayer. Don’t hesitate to contact us to enjoy such things, whether they be accomplished “live, in person” or using electronic social networking (or whatever substitute means works best to meet the need)

And, of course, be guided by Public Health instructions to keep yourself and others protected as far as possible from infection.

Safe!

Isn’t it interesting that so many people are concerned about whether they will remain healthy tomorrow, yet so few are concerned about what happens after they die? No one would want the current worsening virus scare to be regarded simply as a wake-up call. However, for a lot of people it would be appropriate to focus more attention right away on eternal things. Christians have answers that non-Christians need.

One issue that sadly seems to result in differences of view among Christians is if you can lose your salvation. We need to pass on the good news that being saved from the penalty of our sins is not something we can ever earn, so God has paid for it in full, by Himself. The sacrifice of Christ is totally sufficient. If He saves us, and gives us eternal life, but would then take that life away, it simply would then not have been “eternal” life in the first place!

If you are unsure on this subject of eternal security, why not read up on it from the material here. It is good news, but it is really great news, and we should not sell the Gospel short by missing out this great blessing it includes.

“So Send I You”


This poem, based on Jn 20:21, was written by Margaret Clarkson, who went to work as a teacher in the far north. There she experienced loneliness as a Christian, not finding like-minded people to share with. Then she realized that actually she was in the place where God wanted her to be, where He had sent her. When God says “Come out from among them” He is always calling us on to the place where He is already. He never sends us to a place He would not go Himself.

So send I you to labor unrewarded,
To serve unpaid, unloved, unsought, unknown,
To bear rebuke, to suffer scorn and scoffing-
So send I you to toil for Me alone.

So send I you to bind the bruised and broken,
O’er wand’ring souls to work, to weep, to wake,
To bear the burdens of a world aweary-
So send I you to suffer for My sake.

So send I you to loneliness and longing,
With heart a’hung’ring for the loved and known,
Forsaking home and kindred, friend and dear one-
So send I you to know My love alone.

So send I you to leave your life’s ambition,
To die to dear desire, self-will resign,
To labor long, and love where men revile you-
So send I you to lose your life in Mine.

So send I you to hearts made hard by hatred,
To eyes made blind because they will not see,
To spend, tho’ it be blood, to spend and spare not-
So send I you to taste of Calvary.

BIBLE Explorers

Welcome to Bible Explorers! 

(NOTE: During the current management of the Covid-19 virus problems availability of public facilities like libraries will be limited, and social distancing measures may mean children’s activities must be temporarily postponed.  Please check the FB page before bringing your children to the Library)


Friday evenings from 6:30-7:45pm kids enjoy Bible Explorers, held in the Community Room in the basement of the Mount Forest Library. Usually they will enjoy a fun activity for starters, followed by time making crafts. Then there is (rather loud!) singing of Camp Choruses and similar fun songs. There is always a Bible story to learn about, and a memory verse that’s worth remembering. The time flies, and judging by the evident desire of the kids to come back again and again, we must be doing something right!.

Kids who attend will make friends with others and can now be planning to go to the Day Camp run by Mount Forest Camp in the Summer.

Apart from the occasional snow day in Winter, we try to operate nearly every Friday during Fall, Winter and Spring.

Check out the Bible Explorers FaceBook page at: FB

The Church of God in action