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?
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)
Just to pass on the following impressions after reading a report by a Harvard professor of epidemiology. The findings showed Christian church attendance is enormously valuable. For instance, it contributes positively to physical health, as well as substantially improving mental health. Other positive impacts include making people more optimistic, reducing depression, helping protect against suicide, increasing the likelihood of stable marriage, and generally improving a personal sense of meaning. It also favourably impacts levels of charitable giving and volunteering. And, unsurprisingly, it helps provide a good social network. (Don’t just accept that, be ready to fact-check it, and please contact us for a reading list)
It just goes to show we are right to be concerned about the current necessity to “shelter in”, stay at home, and keep at least 6 feet from everyone else. Those are currently essential, and contribute benefits to health, personally and for everyone around; we strongly endorse public compliance with such advice. But inevitably these temporary constraints can have negative effects too, so by all means count the days until you can get back to a good, uplifting church Bible study! And in the meantime compensate as much as possible for the lack of getting together by using virtual meetings to share your Christian faith with others. We can help with that too.
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.
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.
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.
(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
One night each week we get together to read the Bible and learn from it, by exploring it’s meaning in context, considering parallel accounts in the Bible, and considering the examples found there and from the experiences of each of us. This is for adults, and especially for those with an interest in what the Bible teaches. Join us, won’t you, and enjoy the discussions, and the snacks of course!
We are currently engaged in a series of How To topics. This week we are tackling How To Pray, and here’s how we propose to consider that subject:
There is a great deal in the Bible about this essential subject, so if we are to devote just one study session to it we shall not cover all possible considerations. Many of the relevant passages of Scripture teach us about more than one aspect of prayer, so it may be inappropriate to try to just allocate them to a few starter verses after each study question. Instead, this time let’s start by doing something of a marathon “sword drill”: Gen.18:22-33; Ezra 9:5; Job 35:13; Ps.37:4; Eccles.5:1,2; Isa.1:15; 59:1-2; Jer.29:13; Ezek.8:18; Matt.6:6,7; 7:7,8; 18:19; 21:21-22; Lk.18:1; 22:41; Jn 9:31; 15:7; 16:23; Acts 1:14; 2:41-42; 9:40; 20:36; 21:5; Rom.8:26; Eph.3:14; 6:18-20; Phil.4:6-8; Col.4:2; 1 Tim.2:1; Jas.1:6-8; 4:2; 5:15-16; 1 Jn 3:22; 5:14; Jude 1:20. [It would obviously be best to read the wider context in which each of these verses arise, but that must be left to individual study. After this good spiritual exercise of reading to equip us, let’s attempt discussion on the following points:
What should be our mind-set as we pray to God, and how may it be shown?
Prayer is a general word; what specific kinds of prayer are there?*
What objectives should guide our choice of words when we pray?
If we are to never give up praying, how do we avoid pointless repetition?
What is the right way to confess a sin to God? What is He looking for us to say?
How does a knowledge of the Bible help in our prayers?
What are some preconditions to God answering our prayers?
What is different about a church meeting to pray (rather than just individuals)?
What do we learn about prayer from the example of the Lord Jesus?
For this topic, it may be helpful, when you have 45 minutes (!) to review the video of the recent talk on Approaching God
It’s hard to avoid the focus at present in all the media on the recent general elections in Canada and elsewhere (especially the UK). Many will breathe a sigh of relief that they are over. Some will express joy and others disappointment. In democratic countries around the world Christians are often expected, and sometimes guided, by their church leaders to exercise their right to vote. There are good reasons for this, but perhaps not many Christians consider valid reasons why they should not be committed to using that right.
Check out this article in our section on Big Issues titled Voting: Things to Think About, which aims to fill that gap.
This is the title of a book by Francis Chan*. It is really worth reading. In some ways our small house church here is a picture of what the author is pointing people towards. Why not get hold of a copy of the book, and check it out yourself? It isn’t expensive, and its available for free from our local library if you live in Mount Forest (and have a library card!). And like other books by Francis Chan it will make you think, and hopefully make you want to get closer to God.
When you’ve read it, you may want to also think a little more about the use of the word “church”. Does it mean all Christians everywhere? If so, how could a person ever be put out of such a church (see 1 Cor.5)? It seems to us that all believers since the days of the Apostles do indeed form just one big amazing unified church, what is called by the Apostle Paul “the church which is the body of Christ” (e.g. Eph.1:22,23; Col.1:18). Then again, there are also frequent references in the New Testament to multiple churches in many different places around the world; a quite different concept. It’s worth exploring the Bible to see how God defines these two different groupings, and what His purposes and expectations are for each of them. There is plenty more about that on this website, and if you’re interested to pursue that and want to be helped by being pointed to the right places, just contact us.
In the meantime, enjoy reading!
*Published by David C Cook and also available as a Kindle e-Book