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Why Do Church As Family?

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.    -   Ephesians 5:15–21 ESV What is the big purpose of your earthly life now that you belong to Jesus Christ?  The New Testament reveals that God's explicit will for your life involves serving Christ by pursuing his way of life and joining him in making disciples.  All of which brings glory to his name. (Col 2:6-8, 5:17, Matt 28:18-20, Acts 1:6-8) How are you going to do this? Well, that's the million-dollar question! And it is really
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The Gospel Is Attractive: By Charlotte E. Craig

I am grateful for the insights and gift of words God has blessed Charlotte with and the blessing she is to our family.   This short piece from her Instagram feed is a helpful reminder of the kind of 'countercultural' movement that characterized the early churches and turned the Roman Empire upside down.  There is s a great need for believers and churches to return to the way of Christ and his Apostles.       Something that has always struck me about the personhood of Jesus is how countercultural He is. Love your enemies. Forgive those who hurt you. Submit to governing authorities. Align yourself with the poor and oppressed. These are only a few of the controversial, yet beautiful teachings of Jesus. As followers of Christ, these are principles that we are called to mimic in our own lives. Yet, I find more and more that the focus of modern Western Christianity is to simply make being a Christian “look cool.” Not only does this come across as being super cringey, but

Not Today Satan!

Dear Lucifer, I know you want me to be worried about what's happening in our country.  I know you want me to join in the protest but quite frankly, vaccines and mandates do not threaten my freedom because my freedom is not dependent on hanging on to my personal rights.  I know you want me to feel like I'm losing control of my life but even under pandemic mandates I never lost control of my life.  The truth is I  gave it over to Jesus a long time ago so that it wouldn't be about me being in control anymore.  My sinful nature and stubborn independence are my worst enemies.  I know you want me to be afraid but I have no fear of dying from COVID nor of taking vaccines.  I'm not afraid over where things are going in our country either because    my God is way bigger than COVID and way better than the political agendas of both the left and the right.   The God I serve gave up his rights to hang with sinners and show them the way.  My aim is to adopt the same attitude (Philipp

The Gospel Has Two Shoes

  The Gospel has two shoes.  The church reformers of the sixteenth century were right when they insisted that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.   Yet the good news of the gospel is not only that we are saved by grace, but also that we are called by grace into Christ's plan for his church.  The pattern of teaching throughout the New Testament often referred to as 'the faith' or 'sound doctrine', lays out the basics for both our salvation and  for fulfilling our calling.  "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." - Ephesians 2:8–10 (ESV) Christian faith is not merely mental assent to the facts about Jesus.   Just agreeing with the great truths of the gospel; is something daemons do! (Jame

Wearing a Mask for the Sake of the Gospel?

This week the city of Toronto, in response to COVID-19, made wearing a mask mandatory in any public building, no sooner did the bylaw go into effect and there were people protesting their rights and refusing to wear a mask.  This seems to be the typical response of a number of people, many of whom are Christians.  I can sympathize with the concerns about government restrictions yet I wonder if our response is really any different from those who have no knowledge of Christ.    I've been studying Luke chapter twenty and looking closely at how Jesus responds to the religious authorities who oppose him which has raised a couple of important questions:    How should followers of Jesus respond to the authorities in this world?   And how are we responding to God’s authority in our lives? The question the spies bring to Jesus in Luke 20:20-26 is meant to be an impossible question.  Should we pay taxes to Caesar?  (This question is very similar to ‘Should we wear a mask in public.’)  I

Back to Church: Fellowship

Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul,  and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own,  but they had everything in common.   - Acts 4:32 (ESV) While many Christians miss getting together in a church service the ‘church service fellowship’ we miss and enjoy is barely a taste of what true fellowship in the Gospel really is.    It only scratches the surface of the depth, blessing, and power of what God really desires for us.   Many Christians today attend church services week in and week out but never experience the fellowship and unity God wants for us.   God, in His sovereignty, has allowed the church service to be taken away for a while.  Ironically it is during this time we are seeing some Christians enter into fellowship more than when they met regularly for church services!    Some have gone out of their way to make phone calls, to offer assistance, to share resources etc.    Also in a strange way using Zoom to hold m

Back to Church: Teaching

As we rethink church in light of this pandemic, God is giving us an opportunity to take a fresh look at the scriptures and get back to the heart of being his church.   The New Testament scriptures do not teach anywhere that we must meet in a special building and hold a church service to have real church!  The early church didn’t meet in front of a pulpit, they met around the table.  So what according to the bible constitutes a real church meeting? So far we know the following…   Hebrews 10:23-25 - A church meeting is for encouraging us to be a true family, God's people in this world.   We meet to hold on to the Gospel and spur one another on to love and good works.    There is no mention of how often or any specific location only that we should meet regularly. 1Cor 11:23-26  - A church meeting remembers and proclaims Jesus. It is centred on Jesus and shaped by the Gospel.  Using the Lord’s Supper as a framework for gathering together helps keep the Gospel as the central