News about My New Ministry Role and Recent Ordination:

This month, I have reached a meaningful ministry milestone and also began pioneering a new ministry role.  Here are some reflections on both. Thanks for your interest in my life!

1. Recent Ordination

On Monday night, my Ordination was approved by a FEB Ordination Council and then enacted by High Park Baptist Church leadership.  I am thankful to supporters and praising God upon this ministry milestone of Ordination.  It is an honour to be formally and fully set apart for the Baptist ministry in Canada among our FEB association’s many amazing Pastors, Chaplains and Missionaries! :)

This is me in the process of reading and defending my formal statements of personal conversion, ministry calling and theological convictions to the council of FEB Pastors at 9 Hewitt Avenue for about 3 hours.

The difference that ordination makes is both objective and subjective: ability to officiate marriages in Ontario; ascribed the Reverend title (Rev.); access to discounted golf at some golf courses on Mondays; meaningful peer recognition and affirmation of my calling.  It is somewhat comparable to a lawyer passing their bar exam or a thesis defence for an academic.  Ordination is a meaningful ministry milestone for which I thank God.  Rev. Dr. Darryl Dash gave a memorable charge to me from 1 Timothy 1:12-17.

2. New Ministry Role

I am grateful to have learned so much as I have served the Lord as Lead Pastor at High Park Baptist Church from 2008-2012.  I am grateful and motivated for the opportunity to continue serving the Lord among the newly merged community of his people called Westminster Chapel at High Park (WC@HP), which I started on October 1, 2012.  My new role at WC@HP is Pastor of Community Outreach and Institutional Chaplaincy.  Click here is my staff profile on the Westminster Chapel website. Take some time to read about the church by exploring the website.  In the “Institutional Chaplaincy” efforts of my new role, I am “asking, seeking and knocking” for “open doors” of ministry with the following groups.  Please pray for contacts, discernment,  wisdom and favour in exploring service to/with:

  1. Clergy of all religions.
  2. Political Agencies, Parties and Leaders.
  3. Secular Business Leadership through BIAs and direct visits.
  4. Hospitals and Health Centres (UHN, CAMH, etc).
  5. Schools, Universities & Libraries.
  6. Police, Fire, EMS and Canadian Forces.
  7. Other NGOs. (Habitat For Humanity, etc)

Many initial indicators of the church amalgamation all point towards beneficial results for the faithful “flocks” and the broader community because two churches choose creative partnership through crisis.  Come by and experience worship among us one of these autumn Sundays at 10:30am!  I hope that the newly merged churches can carry out more for the Gospel as one new community together than we could as two independent communities.  I am enjoying the teammates in the staff and the opportunity to specialize in an area of passion and gifting! :)  During the transition, I have been praying the following Biblical benedictions as pastoral “wish-hopes” for all people who are interested, impacted and involved in the positive changes:

“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” – Romans 15:5-7

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” – Romans 15:13

“May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.” – Romans 15:33

Thanks for reading my reflections on my new ministry role and recent Ordination in this edition of the RumBlog.

Adam aka Reverend Rumball, Pastor of Community Outreach and Institutional Chaplaincy.

Summary of my short funeral sermon for your reflection: Do you believe this?

Today, I gave a short funeral sermon on the unique and exclusively Christian hope. Here is a polished summary of what I think I remember saying. :)

Funerals are important times to aid the processes of grieving and teaching.

I tried to be brief (7-10 mins not my normal 45-55min) and clear to benefit the audience and occasion.

I started by suggesting that on this occasion, they may be wondering, “What will happen to me after I die?”

I stated that my intention was to explaining the Christian hope as the resurrection of believers to eternal life with God, modelled by Jesus himself and offered to them.

I read and explained John 11:25-27:

John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”

I made some observation and asked some questions that emerged from the text:
1. Jesus states the claim that he is Resurrection and the Life. The Christian hope is centred on the person of Jesus. Is he your only hope?

2. Jesus explains the condition that believers in him will have life, in spite of physical death. The Christian hope is unstoppable life winning over unavoidable death. Eternal life is a term referring to both quality and a quantity. Do you want eternal life with God after you die?

3. Jesus asks if she (Martha grieving Lazarus) believes his condition and claim. THe Christian Hope requires a personal profession of faith in Jesus. Today I asked the congregation at the memorial service if they believe that Jesus is their Resurrection and the Life. Do you believe this?

Believers trust Jesus to be their Resurrection and Life. The word “resurrection” means stand again. The female name “Anastasia” comes from the greek word for “resurrection”, meaning “to stand again” or “return to status”. This promise of standing alive again in God’s presence is achieved exclusively through believing in what Jesus did through his death for sins and resurrection to life. Living Christian’s look forward to their future, bodily resurrection after their death. Read 1 Cor. 15 & 2 Cor 4&5 for more texts that explain this. Here are two succinct ones:

For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. – 1 Corinthians 15:22-23

…knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. – 2 Corinthians 4:14

PROMISE: You will be with Jesus before and after you die, if you believe that he is the Resurrection and the Life proven by his death for sins and resurrection to life.
Do you believe this? Martha and I do. I hope the whole congregation and all of you do too! :)
Do you know what will happen to you after you die? I hope you share the Christian hope of resurrection to eternal life! :)

One Day of Extending Christ’s freeing love to the Spiritually Hungry in Roncesvalles and Parkdale.

Cheming and Marion led HPBC in a great outreach day!

Today was a great day of stepping out in faith to bless our neighbourhood through service and conversation then reflecting on the experiences as a group. Cheming is our Food and Clothing Bank Director. Marion is our Intercultural Initiaves Director. They are a dynamic ministry couple whom God has used to help churches overcome barriers in the way of them fulfilling their God-given desire in reaching out. They have been residents of this local Roncesvalles area for over 28 years!

Schedule of Activities:

10am-12pm: 9 people walked 2 out of 4 planned prayer routes around our neighbourhoods. The goal was to lovingly connect with our neighbours through conversation, service and general visual observation. We prayed for neighbours we met as we picked up garbage and prayer walked the planned routes. It was fun to be active outside together for a good goal!

12-1pm: When we returned to the church, we swaped stories and initial impressions over lunch. My mom and I picked up lunch from Village Bakery, one local donor of food to our Food and Clothing Bank. It was nice to eat with the people who had just reached out together. There was a sense of team solidarity as we shared meal after serving together in the cold spring weather. :)

1-3pm: 15 people joined the discussion time to de-brief the experience and discuss personal “burdens and barriers” to personally extending Christ’s freeing love to the spiritually hungry. We reflected on biblical passages, personal stories and guided reflection questions. The numerous questions and passages could be blog posts in and of themselves.

My personal highlights were 1. my direct conversations with numerous neighbours on Dundas and in Sorauren Park as well as 2. knowing that our church was stepping out in faith together in order to bless our neighbours. I believe we pleased God with these steps of love and faith together.

Tomorrow 10:30am: Join us at 1030am tomorrow for an outreach training message from John 4 followed by more discussion groups afterwards.

This was a soul-satisfying day of integrity for me and many others because we extended Christ’s freeing love to the spiritually hungry.

May God give us many more resources and opportunities do impact lives in High Park neighbourhoods.

An electoral map of our neighbourhoods.

4 prayer walk route maps plus garbage bags and gloves to pick up garbage.

9 High Parkers planning our 4 prayer walk routes. This means asking God's spiritual and practical blessing on people we see in our 'hoods. :)

Picking up garbage and chatting with neighbours behind the Sorauren Dog Park, near the train track fence.

Marion leading us in discussion and reflection on our individual and group learning experiences of the day.

Cheming is telling a personal story about overcoming barriers to friendships.

Group discussions about personal barriers and burdens to reaching out.

When and How to Pray for Spiritual Strength from Ephesians 3:14-21. The POP method.

Pray for spiritual strength when…

You are faint-hearted from sufferings of serving the Lord (Ephesians 3:13).

The darkness of doubt closes in on your emotions.

You feel powerless to change circumstances.

How do you pray for strength? Here is the POP method I invented.

  1. Pick it. Select a passage on prayer or a topic you are experiencing.  You can find these using the tools found in the back of most translations or from experience with previous readings that you have recorded.  For example, look at a passage I preached on recently: Ephesians 3:14-21 copied below from the English Standard Version.
  2. Observe it. Read it with an eye for attributes of the Triune God (Father, Son, Spirit) and the promises in the passages.
  3. Pray it. Ask that those promises become actualized and those attributes are recognized in your life.

Prayer for Spiritual Strength (Ephesians 3:14-21)

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

What response does that beautiful prayer evoke from your soul?

Here are some responses of mine.  Please pray them for me too, in support of God’s work in me and others.

  • Heavenly Father, I know you hear me as I kneel and pray.
  • Heavenly Father, help me comprehend of the expansive love of Christ, which is like an ocean, enveloping me.
  • Christ, teach me your love for me so that your way of love can overflow from my heart.
  • Holy Spirit, fill me and empower me.
  • Heavenly Father, strengthen me by the Holy Spirit, in my inner being because this is consistent with your rich glory.
  • Heavenly Father, root me and ground me in Christ’s love so I can be filled to your fullness of character.
  • Heavenly Father, I believe that you are abundantly able to do more than we can ask, dream, think, plan or imagine.
  • Heavenly Father, use Christ in me as an instrument of your glory in the church for generations.
  • Triune God, give me spiritual strength to know your love and power at work in me when I am discouraged, faint-hearted, doubting or powerless.

Next time you need spiritual strength POP a passage on prayer, like Ephesians 3:14-21!

My Top 10 personal devotional themes with Bible verses from 2011 plus a prayer verse for 2012.

Lake Scugog, Christmas 2011. Scenic views of nature help me reflect on biblical ideas for my life.

Christmas and New Years week is a natural time for looking back and reflecting on 2011 as well as projecting and planning for 2012.  It feels like our lives come under the microscope of analysis as we do things like see family and friends at reunions, read and make “top ten” lists and/or resolutions.  At this time of year, we naturally evaluate how we used the 365 days and what look for gems of what profited us in our most valued relationships.  For me 2011 was an especially steep and taxing year of growth and learning through tests and trials.  I know I will learn a lot in 2012 as well, but I hope for a smoother road and protective grace to buffer my heart and mind.  I’m an ironic mix of tired and enthusiastic these days.  I hope and pray that 2012 to be my best year ever, personally and professionally.  You probably do too. :)  So, in order to fuel your seasonal reflection, here are some Bible verses that God has used this past year of 2011 to set me in the right direction of heart and mind for a fruitful 2012!  Perhaps you might want to look at this list as you plan 2012.  Perhaps you have some key verses from 2011 to share in the comment section.  Maybe you want to memorize one of these for 2012.

In 2011, God used these verses to teach me about my calling:

1. Contentment:

Philippians 3:8 - Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.

1 Timothy 6:6 - But godliness with contentment is great gain,..

2.  Effectiveness:

John 15:5 - I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Micah 6:8 - He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

3. Opposition:

Hebrews 12:3 – Consider him (Jesus Christ) who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

4. Interpersonal Attitudes:

Colossians 3:12-13 - Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

5. Teaching:

2 Timothy 2:1-2, 22-26

1-2 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

22-26 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

6. Progress:

1 Timothy 4:15-16 - Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

2 Corinthians 4:7-9 - But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;…

7. Temptation:

1 Corinthians 10:13 – No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

1 Timothy 6:9 – But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.

8. Joy:

Nehemiah 8:10 - Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

9. Mindfulness and Though Life.

Romans 12:2  - 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.

2 Corinthians 10:5 – We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,…

10.  Heaven:

Revelation 22:3-5 - No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.  They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

My encouragement prayer for everyone of you readers in 2012 is from this verse, which has been massively encouraging to me during tough times of this year:

Colossians 1:11-12 - 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

4 Images of Spiritual Growth Plans after you Receive Christ: Walk, Rooted, Built Up, Established

I really want my RumBloggers to be syncronized with what I am teaching. This past Sunday I totally loved teaching the HPBC fall launch message! The 1 hour presentation was organized like this:

(1) 37 minutes to describe a deep, clear vision of spiritual growth from the Bible passage Colossians 2:6-7 called “4 Images of Spiritual Growth Plans after you Receive Christ”.

(2) 23 minutes to explain our Root Group Strategy through a live testimony and then explain the HPBC Enfolding Process Diagram PDF below that was part of a larger handout.

Listen to my fall launch message here: Rooted In Christ

Read the stuff below as well. :) If you want the original handout, then I can get you a copy.

Colossians 2:6-7 breaks into the following phrases.

  • Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord,
  • so walk in him,
  • rooted and
  • built up in him and
  • established in the faith,
  • just as you were taught,
  • abounding in thanksgiving.

HPBC Discipleship Process of Enfolding Diagram PDF: Sept 2011 HPBC Enfolding Process

HPBC Root Group Strategy:

  • Everyone who wants to be in a root group can have one before summer.
  • I have been praying that God will raise up godly, organized, hospitable, caring root group facilitators.
  • Root Group Strategy: Incarnate the 4 values by gathering in groups of 3-8 around the city by sign up sheets and informal invitations.
  • Let’s get organized into root groups again this year.
  • The biblical call to growth is served by groups.
  • You may feel the need for RG in these symptoms: individual isolation, need for knowledge, capacity to care, burden burnout, spiritual stalling.
  • Sundays are not enough to become Christlike fast enough.
  • Experience shows the cultivating supportive community is important for you to become more effective in mission and more exhibitive of the values by this time next? September 2012.

Personal Reflection Questions on Root Groups:

Q: How would a Root Groups make you more like Christ?

Q: What has you past experience been with small groups, growth groups, bible studies, prayer meetings? What will be different this fall?

Q: Who are the 3-8 people would you put roots down with this fall in a Root Group? When?

Q: What does the picture of growth described in Colossians 2:6-7 make you want to do differently this fall?

How to Pray for Your Church Leaders, including me.

In his book, “The Prayer Shield”, C. Peter Wagner states that, “The most underutilized source of spiritual power in our churches today is the intercession for Christian leaders.”  He further states, “No question exists in the minds of those who have experienced it; committed, faithful intercession brings increased spiritual power to Christian ministries.”
How to pray for your Church Leaders:
1.  Read over Hebrews 13:17, 1 Timothy 2:1-2 before you pray t0 remind you of your duty to pray supportively for their place in God’s sovereign will being accomplished.
2.  Pray for the leaders of your church by name and office.  At HPBC we have Pastors, Deacons, Leadership Council, Root Groups, Task Forces and Committees.
3.  Pray for the vision and values of your church to be accomplished through effective leadership. Click here for HPBCs.
4.  Pray for things like these: Deep roots in Christ through personal quiet times and supportive discipleship community (we call them Root Groups at HPBC), protection against burnout, harmonious efforts and communication skills, new leaders to be developed, increased favour with God and humans, purity and power in the Spirit, physical healthy and vitality, protection from sin, selfishness and Satan through schemes of intimidation, deception, temptation and oppression, pursuing prosperous priorities, emotional needs, building the strong bonds of family dynamics.
Thank you for praying for me in this way as I seek to take joyful refuge in God’s character of Holy Love and remain content and abiding in Christ as I serve him and his church here at HPBC.
I love preaching, praying, leading and listening.

Success Story of Truth from Ruth: God’s Loyal Love Leads us Forward into Fulfillment.

Dear RumBloggers,

Today’s national news story is the death of Jack Layton.  My condolences to his family, friends, followers and colleagues. Canada has lost a leader.  A family has lost a lover and provider. (I have tweeted a few obituaries and a video from Rick Mercer Report.) When the hopelessness of loss hits any of us, we need hope found in God’s word.  I am posting this trusting that the thoughts will give you hope in your famine of faith.  Yesterday, I the biblical success story of hope and faith I shared in church was God’s redemption story woven through the loyal love found in the book of Ruth.  Trust that God is at work for your benefit even during our hopeless feelings and desperate times.  He is faithful to lead us with love into the life he plans!  Ruth displays that truth in a beautiful story.

A Sacred Short Story

I love the story in Ruth.  The story speaks for itself. That said, my sermon preparation always involves studying secondary sources and literary features of the text in order to grasp the message God intended in the text. This week I benefitted from study aids recommended by Terry Sanderson, Calvary Church. Thanks Terry.  Ruth reads like a Jane Austen novel: cultural practices, strong characters, rich dialogue, reversal of fortune, loyal love! In this one, Jesus is our hero! :)  Ruth reads like a Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet except in reverse.  In Romeo & Juliet, tribal conflict and tortured love result in tragic loss. In Ruth, God moves people from famine to feast by overcoming tribal difference, providing loyal love in family leading to a prosperous future including marriage, children and grateful praise to God.  The characters are strong and there is rich dialogue.  I recommended that you take 20 min to read the Bible book called Ruth. Enjoy the beautiful story of faith in 4 short chapters.  Here are some major lessons we see in the verses, themes and characters.

A Success Story of Faith

  • The light of loyalty in Ruth shines in contrast to the darkness of apostacy in Judges. That light points to Jesus!
  • God secures the redemption of desperate people in desperate times. His loyal love causes our loyal love!
  • God led this family from a famine into a feast through faith. Do you want Jesus to lead and feed you too?

God’s providential care in what we might call random events or happenstance:

Ruth 1:22. “And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.” (Bethlehem means house of bread and they fled a famine of no bread).

Ruth 2:3 “…She happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech.” (The name Elimelech means “God is my King”.)

Ruth 4:22, “Obed fathered Jesse, and Jesse fathered David.”  (David would become the King of Israel and Jesus would be his descendent and become our King.)

The Characteristic of Loyal Love, Covenant Faithfulness, Kindness.

I tried to show that the characteristic of loyal love, shown by Ruth (the transliterated Hebrew verb sounds like HESED) paved the way for God’s redemptive plan and that theme finds fulfilment in the person and work of Jesus Christ who demonstrated loyal love to his Church.  Jesus is the greatest loyal lover of his people.  He is the Ultimate Ruth.  Trying to be loyal like Ruth is a noble moral goal, but we will fall short in our relationships due to our selfishness, but there is one who never fails to be loyal to us.  God promises never to leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6)!  Ruth reminds me of God’s love for me, his Child.  Thank you Jesus, for loving me with perfect loyalty.

The Character of a Kinsman-Redeemer.

I tried to also show that the character of Boaz, who is in the role of ‘Kinsmen-Redeemer” (the transliterated Hebrew noun sound like is GOEL) chose to take up his responsibility to purchase the rights to marry, love and provide for Ruth and Naomi (Ruth’s mother in law).  This cultural practice was God’s gracious provision for socially and physically vulnerable and marginalized widows or divorcees.  It may sound like a patriarchal practice that is very offensive to us, but it was God’s gracious provision for (1) Ruth and Naomi, (2) Boaz, who had been alone and childless and (3) Elimelech the deceased patriarch, whose linage would end otherwise.  This role of “kinsmen-redeemer” points me to Jesus, the one who chose to redeem/buy us through the cross so we could be the Church, his bride, whom he loves and provides eternal life in the present, with all our spiritual blessings.  Jesus is our kinsman because he was God in the flesh, sharing our humanity yet without sinful nature or behaviour.  Trying to be like Boaz is a noble ambition, but we will fail in our relationships in trying to fulfill our responsibilities and obligations perfectly because of sin.  Thankfully, there is one who is greater than us and greater the Boaz at being a redeemer and provider: Jesus Christ.  I am so thankful that Jesus spread his cloak of love over me and chose to ‘married’ me.  Boaz reminds me of Jesus.  Jesus is the Ultimate Boaz.  Thank you, Jesus, for redeeming me.


I drew great inspiration from this story!  Please draw hope during hopeless circumstances from the providential care of God through the loyal love in Ruth’s success story.  I tried to share that hope, rooted in Christ on Sunday and in this post.  I hope that people feeling the loss of loved leaders will draw strength from a relationship with their Permanent Lover, Great King and Ultimate Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

4 Life Lessons from Lydia’s Success Story of Faith.

Dear RumBloggers,

I hope you had a restful Monday.  On Sunday July 31, I preached to 41 people about Lydia’s success story found in Acts 16:11-15.  Here is that source text and 4 life lessons from Lydia’s life to help us share our faith in the God who opens hearts. In Lydia’s day and age, purple dye for regal outfits came from Mediterranean seas shells!  She dressed majestic men in purple, but then she feel in love with King Jesus and became the first European convert to Christianity.  Here is the story:

The Conversion of Lydia - ACTS 16:11-15

So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. 13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. 14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. 15 And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.

4 Life Lessons from Lydia’s Success Story.

1.  God opens our hearts to hear the Gospel.

See verse 14.  John 6:44, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.  He changes hearts, not us.  That is a relief because it is not up to our clever and convincing lifestyles to make someone see God and live for him.  Also, he will open hearts to know him.  We can trust him to do that.  He is the God who opens hearts, like Lydia’s!

2.  Preaching of the Gospel changes people into Christians.

See verse 13 and surrounding chapters.  God sends people, like you and me, to preach the Gospel to new people in new places. I can have confidence, as a preacher sent to the HIgh Park neighbourhoods, that God will open hearts to pay attention to what I have to say about Jesus Christ’s saving work and ongoing ministry. The power to save people is in God and his gospel, and has chosen to use human instruments – like us.  Lydia became a Christian through the gospel Paul preached.  Believe the gospel and preach it!

Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,…”

Romans 10:14-17:

14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

3.  The Gospel is a few propositions about God’s saving work in Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:1-6 explains the facts of the gospel.  Do you share this with people very often?

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand,2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.  3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep

4.  After people believe the gospel, the next normal step is to get baptized and join a local church.

Normally, after you get converted to Christ, the next thing that happens is your baptism and belonging in a local church community. Believer’s baptism and participation in church life (exemplified by hospitality in Lydia) are normative outcomes of conversion (See Acts 16:15). Here is a verse about baptism in Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,…”  You will be a success story when God opens your heart and you join his work of evangelism, church building and hospitality.  The early church was build this we and so too will your church be!

How is your personal evangelism going this summer?

Are you confident that God opens hearts to hear the gospel you preach?

People become converted when the sovereign God opens their heart to respond to the gospel.  Normative expressions of saving faith are baptism, evangelism and fellowship/hospitality, all exemplified by Lydia.  That is why she is a success story.  I can have confidence in my evangelistic efforts because I know that God opens hearts.

Colossians 4: 2-6 is a Scripture to pray as you take these 4 life lessons and seek out the next Lydia.

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. 3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.  5 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

Lydia’s Life: Past and Present.

Lydia was a spiritually active , but non-Christian who was the first European convert to Christianity because of Paul travelling to preach to her unreached area.   The result was that Lydia believed, was baptized, influenced her household to do the same, showed much needed hospitality to the church starters and likely leveraged her profitable business status in the fashion and trade industry to advance the Gospel for others.  Acts is not a body spray, but a sequel companion to Luke’s Gospel.  Together they records the work of the Kindgom through Jesus and then Holy Spirit through the Apostles as the gospel expands from Jerusalem to the nations for Christ’s fame.  In fact, Lydia’s story is at the cutting edge of pioneering the gospel into Europe.  As the Gospel advances into Europe from the Middle East, we see this one woman, named Lydia, whom God sent Paul and Silas to save and then use to be the first success story of a convert to Christianity in Europe.  She was the first convert in the pioneering work of the gospel in Europe.  Cutting edge business woman!  She is a good example to us today of following Christ in a big, secular city – like Toronto.

Find balance in your relationship with Jesus Christ. Take this test and become a Success Story of waiting and working.

Take this Balance Checklist and begin to pursue balance before the summer ends and we are into another crazy fall season!

We need balance in our relationship with Jesus.  Jesus is always adjusting the priorities and bad attitudes of his followers so we can become success stories of faith.  He helps Mary and Martha to learn about prioritizing and permitting different approaches to serving Jesus in Luke 10:38-42.  Martha works, Mary waits.  Martha in the kitchen, Mary in the Living Room.  Both were being hospitable to their beloved teacher, just in different ways.  Jesus validates both actions, but corrects the attitude to show balance and joy in service. In relating to Jesus, we each must find balance of sitting/waiting at his feet and serving/working in the kitchen.  There is a balance between being a monk and a missionary.  This test may help get you focussed on where you need balance in your walk and work with God.

I found this Balance Checklist on page 182 of Joanna Weaver’s book “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World“.

Signs That You May Need More Time in the Kitchen

  • Slight Depression. You feel a vague unhappiness, a sense of being down.
  • Resentment of Intrusion. Rather than welcoming people into your life, you find yourself wishing they’d go away.
  • Frustration over direction of your life. You feel a sense of purposelessness and sometime wonder, “Is this all there is?”
  • Increasing self0indulgence. You feel an itch to treat yourself with favourite treats or food or shopping.
  • Apathetic attitude: You find that very little moves you.  You know your compassion level is low, but part of you just doesn’t care.
  • Low energy level: Like the Dead Sea, you may have many inlets, but no outlets – and therefore you are growing stagnant.

Signs That You May Need More Time in the Living Room

  • Irritability and Frustration. You find yourself snapping at people, wound so tight you’re about to “snap” yourself, and especially short-tempered with those you percieve as lazy or uncooperative.
  • Uncomfortable with quiet. Silence makes you nervous so you are quick to turn on the TV or radio.
  • Low joy threshold.  It’s been a long time since you’ve sensed that undercurrent of joy and abundance running through your heart.
  • A sense of isolation. You feel all alone – as if no one is there for you and no one understands.
  • Increased drivenness. You’re haunted by a sense that you must do more and more. You keep volunteering for more projects and more committees, even though you know your plate is full.
  • Sense of dryness and emptiness. No wonder! You have many outlets and demands, but no inlets or source of strength.
Which side of the teeter-totter needs more weight?
What do you need more of: kitchen or living room?
Do you need more inlets or outlets?
The summer allows a good time for reflection and recreation so that you can be balanced heading into the fall.  Get started today!  As I wrote in a previous post.  Secret power for serving the Lord comes from sitting at the feet of the Lord.  The more we know his heart and mind, the better we can be his hands and feet. Jesus himself is the only one who perfectly exemplifies and empowers the balance of communing with the Father and completing his  redemptive will in the Cross.   You will reflect that balance as His Spirit works in your life.  So will I! :)  Whether we tend to be more of  “Mary” or “Martha” types, my prayer is that the Holy Spirit will make us more of a “Jesus-type” in balancing our work and walk with God.
How balanced is your relationship with Jesus Christ right now?  Where does it need to be in September?

John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Psalm 26: 2-3, “Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind. For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness.”
Psalm 90:12, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”

Wheel Chairs and Wrist Watches: Secret strength for serving comes from sitting in Christ.

“We sit forever with Christ that we may walk continually before men.” - Watchman Nee,

Nee, a church planter in China during the 1930s, gives a pair of analogies for the priority of resting in Christ and how it will result in working for Christ on p. 35 of the 1977 edition of “Sit, Walk, Stand.”.  Here are my spins on them.

1.  Wheel Chair: Think of a person in a power assisted wheel chair.  They “go” and they “sit”. They keep going because they keep sitting.  They are seated in the power source.

2.  Wrist Watch: Think of a how an analogy wrist watch (with hands) moves. It moves because it is first moved by something beyond itself.  The hands move because the internal mechanism moves constantly in a healthy watch. He moves us to action.

The lesson I take form this, which I will use in the balance between meditation and mission action is this.

Secret strength for serving comes from sitting in Christ.

I’ll be speaking more about this balancing act on Sunday sermon from Luke 10 where we see two sisters. One, Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus and the other, Martha, working in the kitchen for Jesus.

So, how does that balance work out in your life?

Are you sitting at Jesus’ feet?

Are you serving in Jesus’ strength?

Is it either/or, or both/and?

Which is first in sequence and priority?

Are there risks to being out of balance or out of sequence?

Feeling fear? Take 6 soul soothing steps into God’s power for living.

Dear RumBloggers,

Fear. Many people are living in a period of complex demands. Life is fast, full, dangerous, stressful and risky.  Anticipated negative changes or real disappointments do happen.  Health reports, bad memories, uncertain outcomes, relational conflict, financial pressures. Are you familiar with fear?  I am. Fear is normal in our complex society.  When fear hits it can have minds running scared, hearts pounding, palms sweating, mouth dry. Fearful thoughts can make our behaviours become despondent or aggressive.  If that fear lasts, people are left feeling wiped out, in despair or sorrow where the hope of our faith feels weak and God feels distant. We need help at that point.  Comprehensive resources are available to help us all, here in Canada.  Here are some practical, spiritual faith life tips for faith over fear.

6 Sequential steps to soothing your soul:  

1.  Get physically comfortable. Remove distractions. Get alone and quiet. Settle into a soothing setting, such as the natural surroundings of water or gardens and trees. Take restrictive clothing off, like ties or shoes, even socks.

2.  Control your breathing.  In a comfortable posture,  close you eyes and count deep breathes.  For example, take twenty-five (25) breathes counted as three (3) seconds inhale through the nose, three (3) second hold, three (3) second exhale through the mouth.

3.  Pray for forgiveness and help.

(a) Say out loud, to God, that fear is sin.  Fear is functional unbelief in God’s love and care for me, as his Beloved Child.  “Heavenly Father, I confess the sin of fear. I am sorry for not trusting your promises and so I now need your forgiveness secured in the cross. Please stop these negative thoughts and remind me of the truth. Help me find the path out of this.”

(b) Say out loud, to God, that trust is worship.  Practice your faith by declaring trust in the truth of God’s promises.  Believe the truth.  He is powerful, present and providentially in control. “Dear Heavenly Father, I believe the truth that you are powerful, present and providentially in control of my life. I trust you during this time to protect my heart and mind as well as give me the path of escape. Please help me now.”

4.  Pray through Biblical Promises.  Read the Bible slowly, softly, reflectively, audibly to yourself.  Allow the Bible to re-orient your thoughts to God’s thoughts.  If you like to journal, then write the negative thought and replace it with a Scriptural truth.  Thise step can provide the pathway forward for you to take from fear to freedom.  Write down ideas about what to do if they come to you.

Try these verses, which helped me this week:

2 Timothy 1:7, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

Psalm 56:3, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”

Proverbs 18:10, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.”

2 Corinthians 10:3-5, “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,”

Psalm 20 & Psalm 107.

5.  Connect socially.  Whether you tend to be extroverted or introverted, try calling or visiting a friend to share what truth you have learned and pray the Scripture into your life together. Social isolation can be needed, but excessive withdrawal can be deadly.  Social involvement can be good, but also can be draining.  See how you feel and do what you need to do everyday.  Go to church if you can. See friends, family and neighbours. You are not alone.  A lot of good advice comes from other people. Be discerning.

6.  Take care of your body.  Sleep enough, eat well and be active in the gym or outdoors. Get fresh air.  There is a mind, body, emotion connection. Physical self-care helps.  Take vitamins, and stay hydrated, etc.  This will help you live day to day with greater confidence and energy if you have responsibilities to carry out.

These 6 practical steps matter, but we cannot do the spiritual job in our own strength!  The Lord Jesus Christ, my hero, faced his fears with Spiritual weaponery and courage.  As God, he was still prayerful and Spirit-empowered to fight the devil, engage hostile men, endured the cross – all with a sense of trust in God.  That overcoming life is possible for us in Christ by his Spirit with his arnour (Ephesians 6). Would you like his help?

Next time you feel fear, be soothed by God’s promised, peaceful presence.  Practice your faith with these steps including Scriptural prayer in a comfortable setting.  You’ll know Christ better in the process of feeling better.

Faith. When we are walking in courageous and confident faith, according to our identity in Christ, amazing things can happen as God works his plans through us!  Ephesians 3: 11-12: “This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.”

What are you afraid of? Would you like Jesus to help you with your confidence?

Remember Psalm 56:3, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”

Fight fear with faith. :)

Sneezing Atheist: 2 minute video by comedian Dane Cook on what might happen after you die.

Watch this video and then read my thoughts below.

Morals of the story?  Please comment.

1.  Cover your mouth when you sneeze.  Use your sleeve or a tissue.

2. Saying “God bless you” can open up a spiritual conversation with the “Sneezer”.

3. Some people desire to be trees after they die rather than being with Christ forever.

4.  The decision is fixed once you die, so the joke may be on the “reincarnated-as-a-tree-person”!

5.  Hoping you lived a good life is insufficient grounds for entering God‘s heaven.  Only abandoning our meritorious works for dependent faith in Jesus will proove to save us from hell and secures our future with Christ.

6.  Everyone dies! Are you ready to risk your eternal state on your current belief system? How did you aquire that system of beliefs?

7.  Do you stake your soul on the Saviour, Jesus? Believe and delight in the gospel.

8. [Updated] See comments below about how this video touches on “ultimate justice” and “material goods like trees and bodies”.

This You Tube Video can also be found at:

7 Characteristics for Christian Marriage

Dear RumBloggers,

This is wedding season!  In fact, I am saying a few words at a wedding this weekend and some of them are in this post! :)

I love helping couples on their big day by “doing weddings”.  The diverse events are meaningful: unity candles, Loved Ones, the “Give Away”, prayers and readings, rings, tears, photographs, dresses and suits, signing of the register, beautiful locations like parks and churches, special music, reception dancing and lots of great food.  The event is super important and romantic!  However, what I love more than “doing weddings” is I love “building couples” who wisely recognize that Christian marriage is more than an planning a celebratory ceremony. They grasp that Christian Marriage is all about cultivating a community triangle with Christ and each other.

Before the 7 C’s, Here are 4 fundamentals of Christian marriage theory.  Marriage is (1) from God, (2) for his glory, (3) for our good, and (4) dependent God’s grace to grow – married people need His Word, Son, Spirit and Church! Marriage is exemplified in the Christ-Church bond and the intra-Trinity Divine Community of Father, Son and Spirit.

Now for my story about how this list of 7 C’s characteristic of Christian marriage came to me.  At one wedding that I was honoured a part of, the beautiful and godly couple asked me to (1) pray, (2) give an inspirational call to action (charge) as well as asking (3) the congregation to shout out characteristics of a successful Christian marriage.  It was precious to see and hear the treasures being shared with the couple by their loved ones. It was heart-warming and soul-stirring. Here is what the wise group said and the wise couple heard:

7 Characteristics for Christian Marriage by the congregation at the wedding.

  1. Commitment
  2. Compassion
  3. Communication
  4. Consideration
  5. Character
  6. Courage
  7. Christ
My revised and expanded list follows from their initial, communal creation at High Park Baptist Church. I hope you enjoy wedding season.  I will share this with the couple, use it at subsequent wedding events and counseling sessions. I could add the relevant Biblical passages and some illustrations to make a sermon series and book manuscript. Remember these characteristics in your future and ask God’s Spirit to grow your marriage.

7 Characteristics for Christian Marriage, all starting with the letter C.

  1. Covenant Commitment, not Contractual Conditions.
  2. Cultivate your Chemistry. (keep romancing and dating alive)
  3. Christlike Characteristics and Convictions such as Courage, Compassion and the Great Commission.
  4. Celebrate Changes and Challenges.
  5. Communicate Consistently, Considerately and Clearly during Conflict.
  6. Community Connections both Complement and Compete with Couples. (friends, family, work, neighbours and church)
  7. More than you cherish each other….Cherish Christ!
My single and strongest charge to couples and families is pray together!

Will you consider praying with your spouse or family next time you see them?

Listen to this original worship song called “You Are”

Listen to this original song called “You Are”.  Click here: YouAreTWJune19 2

It was created by a musical worship leader in our church to help our church, High Park Baptist Church, to worship Jesus Christ as we live our mission of faith.

Come hear us sing together live one Sunday! :)

Rediscovering Jesus, Easter and Preaching. Questioning best practices in gospel transformation for adult learners.

Thank you, RumBloggers, for the birthday wishes.  Thanks especially to the 40-50 of you who came to my Bday! :)
I’m taking a break from message rehearsal to ask you a question, now burning in my mind. Please help.
This Sunday, I start a new sermon series “Rediscovering Jesus”, which will lead into “Rediscovering Easter” on April 22 and April 24. I hope you can celebrate Crucifixion Friday and Resurrection Sunday at at local church, like High Park.  Recently, a few people have commended/challenged me to produce written handout/paper outline/notes to aid retention and application of my messages. This has caused me to reflect on my purpose and methods of preaching.  I have been wonder about some best practices of Christian Education for Adults. You could say I am “Rediscovering Preaching”. :)
The question on my mind is this: Should I make sermon handouts?  It would be out of my comfort zone because I have never produced written handouts and rarely use power point.  What do you think?  What has been your experience with handouts?  Are you an experienced talk-hearer, pastor, sales person, classroom teacher, coach, politician or another professional communicator?
Trying handouts as a retention/application/discussion tool would be a new thing for me.  My current approach to preaching has been: The Bible is my “notes”.  Jesus is the “mental focal point”.  Application is not a list action steps at the end, but rather a heart-felt change of mind by the Holy Spirit in the moment!  I do not dispense points, I display a person.  I do not push points, I promote a person.  He is the Lord Jesus Christ – Incarnate, Healer, Teacher, Exorcist, Miracle-worker, Crucified, Resurrected, Ascended and Returning.
So should I make handouts to help the rediscovery process?
YES: It could aid people in worshipping Jesus on the spot.  In order to worship, people need to “internalize information”.  It could aid that process in English Language Learners, the visually and hearing impaired, people who process by a pen or doodle to stay awake through my sermons, etc. :)  People can use them as discussion starters after church – downstairs over a coffee or at their lunch table after church.
NO: It could distract people from worshipping Jesus on the spot. In order to worship, people need more to happen than simply “internalize information”. This is a quote from Dr. Darryl Dash, about using handouts in preaching:
I am more or less against handouts as a retention/application tool. Generally I think that handouts can distract from what should be happening in the preaching act. (The same can apply to PowerPoint too.) I agree with Keller and Lloyd-Jones that the real key moment in the sermon is when people stop taking notes and begin worshiping Jesus.

Maybe a fuller question is: What type of teaching aids, if any, are helpful for real life change during and after my sermons?

I hope gospel transformation will occur as we all rediscover Easter, Jesus and Preaching together.

Now, back to message rehearsal and decisions about handouts and teaching aids that will help us Rediscover Easter, Jesus and Preaching together between now and April 22/24.

Please comment here then listen to my sermons. Live is best!

Take this 7 question survey about your salvation

Our Sacred Seed Series grows this Sunday as we plant Sacred Seed #7 with a sermon on Salvation. How is that for alliteration. :)

As I wrap up my day of message “prayparation” (I made that word up), I thought a fun way to get your mental and spiritual soil soft and stirred for Sunday’s sermon is through a brief diagnostic survey.  It is not exhaustive or perfect, but it originated from my initial study sessions and prayer times for yall.  I am sending you this so that you can begin thinking about this sacred seed and considering which friends, neighbours and colleagues to invite to this seed planting event on Sunday at 10:30am.  Okay, here is your survey:

Sacred Seed 7: Your Specific Salvation Survey

  1. What nagging doubts do you have about your personal acceptability to the Triune God of the Bible?
  2. How can you see the difference between someone who really belong to Jesus Christ, and someone who is a nice person with some religious habits?
  3. How does God “make people right with him” today, according to the Bible?
  4. What did God do, though he didn’t have to do, in order to rescue humanity from our entirely ruined, tragic condition?
  5. Can you explain the gospel to me in 30 seconds, using key religious terms?
  6. Can you explain the gospel to me in 30 seconds, without using any religious words except personal names?
  7. What does “born again” describe?

Sacred Seed 6: Fulfilling the dignified purpose of being human

Good Monday morning Yall, :)

I wanted to tell you how delightful it was to be a part of the beautiful soul care and powerful spiritual ministry among High Park Baptist Church yesterday!  Music, sermon, missionary updates, personal stories, communion, financial offering and prayers.  Wonderful and worshipful stuff!

I spoke about the 6th of 12 Sacred Seeds: fulfilling the dignified purpose of being human.  The purpose of being human is to be reflective icons of God’s character exercising responsible dominion over the rest of creation.  Our Creator King has given all humans, not just Christians, a dignified purpose to fulfill!

Genesis 1:27 (English Standard Version)
26Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

Colossians 1:15 He (Jesus Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

Colossians 3:10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Jesus Christ fulfills that mandate from Gen 1:26-27 as the Perfect Representitive, and as the crucified Redeemer and our image Restorer.  He came in full humanity to be the light of the world, then was crucified and resurrected to restore the broken image of God in us, then delegated that light of the world function to the church, the new iconic representative sample of the new and fullest humanity God will consummate at the end of time.

One of my favorite humans is the historical figure named John the Baptist.  His life a human was dignified and fulfilled by bringing maximum attention to the real Jesus in his own unique way.

The moon has no light of it’s own.  It simply REFLECTS the light of the sun into the darkness.

Jesus is the light of the word.  He says that his disciples are the light of the world.

Reflecting God’s character is the purpose of being fully human.
Think of the purpose of a mirror or the moon when you think about being human.  Think about the purpose of Jesus Christ and
John the Baptist when you think about your life as a human.
I made up a little poem in the process of thinking about my sermon on “Humanity”:

The moral of the story, is gaining God glory
The name of Our game, is the fame of his name

There is a commonly known poem that you may have seen around homes and kitchens:
This life is short and soon shall pass,
Only what is done for christ will last!

Sacred Seed 6: Humanity’s High Calling.

Happy Tuesday from the desk of my study at 9 Hewitt Avenue. :)

Please remember to change you clocks on Saturday night before bed so that you are all on time for church! It is a communion and offering Sunday. :)

I have just completed a morning of sermon prayer and study for this week’s message, “Sacred Seed 6: Humanity”. Here  is a heads up on the sermon and some question to get you thinking.

The sermon will be focussed on the living out the full dignity of being human.

As humans, we all have a high calling with great dignity from Our Creator King.

That truth, or sacred seed, makes me ask a few questions?

Are the purposes that we spend our dollars and days on worthy reflections of our high calling?

What purpose do our neighbours, colleagues, associates and family members live for?  Is it a high enough calling?

Maybe God will use you this week to remind someone of the dignity they have and help them focus thier life on a worthy purpose.  I pray the sermon will have such an effect on your hearts. Lives will be impacted by the sacred seed on humanity’s high calling.

What is your life’s purpose?

When I ask you that question, do I sound like Pastor Rick Warren who wrote “Purpose Driven Life“?

To press even deeper with the probing question about purpose: Can you write your purpose in the 140 characters of a tweet?  Is it observable by those around you?  Is it adequately dignified to be called human?

The purpose of High Park Baptist Church is to make disciple who are “followers of Christ impacting lives in High Park neighbourhoods”.

See you on Sunday for songs, prayers, sermon, communion, offering and socializing.

Value 1: Becoming a Worship Community

We value becoming a Worship Community

At HPBC, Our first value towards impacting lives is to become this: “A Prayerful Community Worshipping Jesus Christ Passionately in Spirit and Truth”.

What might that look like?

Imagine every individual having consistent, long periods of peaceful, restful and refreshing meditative prayer in their private room.

Imagine living daily challenges and chores with a reverent and joy all week, and then entering the Sanctuary to pour out your heart’s praise and pain.

Imagine a circular room crammed full of 500 people.  Many lifted hands and loud voices. People tuned in to the Spirit of God together.

Imagine, in that same circular room, both the floor and balcony packed with people who all look into the written word of God for the Truth to live by as someone teaches inspirationally.

Imagine a cross-generational, multi-ethnic, socially diverse community who prays with powerful results!

Crucified and Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ, only you can make us “A Prayerful Community Worshipping Jesus Christ Passionately in Spirit and Truth”.

Lord, cause all we are to respond to all you are!

On Sunday, I will show you some of the verses that make me believe Jesus Christ can make us into people like that at HPBC.