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.

My Refreshing Summer Plans: Ordination, Conferences, Sabbatical.

I want you to know some of my summer plans. I hope, pray and work towards the realization of these goals. Please pray and encourage my pilgrimmage! 🙂
I need to finish my Ordination Paper. This is a written statement of what I believe about major categories of theology. It is a requirement for ordination as a Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Pastor (FEB)Pastor. Ordination, to me, is a really special process of the local church blessing me with the subjective affirmation of being a called and competent minister as well as a legal credential from our religious order for acting as an agent of the Ontario government during weddings. Once the paper is done, a council will evaluate me on everything and hopefully set a date for an Ordination Service in late June. I have seen a few ordination services in the last years and they are special events! Once I have a date, I will invite you to celebrate God’s goodness at HPBC! Please pray for the meaningful culmination of this beautiful and challenging process. 🙂
Moody Pastor’s Conference at Chicago’s Moddy Bible Institue: May 21 – May 24.
Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Pastor’s Conference at Muskoka Bible Conference: June 11 – June 14
July Sabbatical/Restorative Vacation:
I plan to take all of July off as restorative vacation. I want to be ready to rumble for the challenges and opportunities of the new fall ministry season. I am brian storming and planning for destinations. I’ll gratefully accept any travel tips and recommendations. People have suggested a train tour of Europe, Canadian costal cottages, African adventure, etc. My Sunday morning preaching responsibilities can be fulfilled from our church leadership, a partner church and/or FEB friends. The goal is to rest, reflect, gather my thoughts and feelings. It has been a very active 12 years of ministry. The last four years of my life have presented unique ministry and personal life challenges. I am grateful to God for every one of the experiences he has allowed me so far, yet they have taken a toll on my heart and head! Sometimes my emotions and energy are not where I want them to be! I am tired and want to refresh and heal so I can keep loving God and serving people well! A sabbatical of one month allows me to temporarily disengage from normal surroundings in order to rest, heal, grieve, refresh, reload, resharpen my passion. I want to recharge my battery in order that I can return ready to rock in September! Leaders who last take time off to recharge their battery! I want to be a leader who lasts!
This summer, I look forward with hope to my Ordination, Conferences and a Sabbatical so I am ready to embrace my role in the exciting stuff God has planned for many people during this coming fall ministry season in the Parkdale-High Park neighbourhoods and the precious city of Toronto! 🙂

My Mother’s Day Sermon: 4 Verses on the Motherly Love of God the Father.

Our Father God relates to his people like a good mother relates to her children.

During personal distress of work changes, moving house, relational conflict, physical and mental illness it is comforting to know that God the Father (Matthew 6) will soothe our souls with his love, as a mother nurses and protects her children.  Mother’s can relate to this imagery.  The Bible uses the analogy of motherhood to describe God the Father’s love for us during distress so we learn about the character of God and motherhood.

Here are 4 passages that I shared with the church on Mother’s Day:

  1. Psalm 131:2. David’s soul was like a weened child in prayer relationship with God.
  2. Isaiah 66:7-12. God promises the hope of satisfying abundance for his distressed people like a child who is nursed, carried n Mom’s hip and bounced on her knee. Read the imagery of verse 11-12!
  3. Matthew 23:37-39. Jesus longs to protect and shelter God’s people, as a mother hen gather’s her chicks.  Now Jesus is not a hen, but it is an analogy of God’s the Father’s motherly heart through the ministry of God the Son.
  4. 1 Thessalonians 2:7. God’s ministry to the church, through the Apostle Paul, was like the motherly gentleness of a nursing mother. In verse 11-12 of the same chapter, Paul’s ministry is balanced by the characterization of fatherly guidance.

On Mother’s Day, my Mom was present for the sermon and we went out for brunch at a nostalgic restaurant.  In both settings, I was grateful to have the opportunity to thank my Mom for her love over the years. She has given me the experiences over time that enables me to better understand this side of God’s character.  Good mothers glorify God’s character in words and deeds! Thanks for your comfort over the years Mom. 🙂

If you are reading this and wonder whether God’s arms of love are open for you to receive his love, then you need only to look to Jesus on the cross.  There he spread his arms wide for all to see that God’s love is available to any who come to him and seek refuge there. He quiets the greatest distress of sin’s guilt through making an atoning sacrifice for us.  What a comfort to know he died and rose again for me.  Jesus’ arms are open wide for us.  Will we find solace there?  I hope and pray that the motherly love of God the Father becomes a deep comfort to your soul during your distress.

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.

High Park + Westminster? 7 pictures of prospective ministry partners praying together.

Dear RumBloggers,
As I have posted on previously, High Park Baptist Church (HPBC) is exploring options, including a merquisition with Westminster Chapel (WC). Norm and I made up the combo-term “merquisition”. 🙂
Here is a photoblog update on what it looked like as the boards and staffs of HPBC and WC bowed their heads in reverence for Jesus and spoke their hearts to the Father in the unity and power of the Holy Spirit.   The event included name tags for a meet and greet, building tour for vision casting and deeply meaningful prayer together (as pictured below).  Initial impressions from tonight’s event were strong and positive. The purpose was to explore the possibility of merging churches for greater gospel impact here in Toronto, centred at 9 Hewitt Ave.  In due course, this may prove to have be an important event is a historic process of merging two faith families in to one blended family.  There are many pros and cons. Many opportunities and challenges to be realistically assessed and prayerfully discerned.  If there are circumstances that could be negotiated in which we can be better for God together than we could be apart, then super.  If not, we want to perceive that ahead of time. Change is part of growth! Pray for us we reflect and seek God’s vision together. There were observational comments made that indicate perception of natural chemistry, good will, sincere faith and dynamic hope.
This process is teaching me leadership lessons about unity.  One is that it is important to have united, respectful and honest communication among all interested parties, at appropriate levels and times in the process.  Reflective conversation (with God and each other) helps maximize the collaborative power of respect and reduces destructive conflict potential.  The sentiment is represented by what Dr. David Robinson prayed last night from Psalm 133:1 “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers (AND SISTERS) dwell in unity!”.

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Do you know your calling? Knowing and fulfilling your calling is a mark of maturity.

Knowing and fulfilling your calling is a mark of maturity. Do you know your calling?

This past Sunday I talked about “calling”.  In Christianity, the word is used often, but requires definition.  The root word is the same root as voice.  We get vocation from the root word. I define a calling as a distinct and personal divine invitation to redemptive faith action that couldn’t be clearer if it was a text message or phone call.  I asked the congregation if they have discerned what God was calling them to do?  I explained the Apostle Paul’s calling to reveal the mystery of God in preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to the unreached Gentiles. Read about it in Ephesians 3:1-2 & 7-10.  One piece of supporting material I used was from John Polhill‘s chapter in Preparing for Christian Ministry called “Towards a Biblical View of Call”.  It it he lists 6 types of call after the general call to salvation.

The Call: Some Biblical Examples – by John Polhill

  1. The Dramatic Call: Exodus 3:1-6, Isaiah 6:1-8, Ezekiel 1, Acts 22:6-21, Luke 1:26-38
  2. The Reluctant Call: Jeremiah 20:7-10, 14-18, Jonah, Exodus 4:1-17, Isaiah 6:6-7, 1 Corinthians 15:9-11, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
  3. The Family-Influenced Call: 1 Samuel 1-3, Luke 1:5-23 & 67-80; Mark 3:21, John 7:5
  4. The Community Call: 1 Timothy 4:14, 2 Timothy 1:5, 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 & 14:32
  5. The Redefined Call: Acts 6:1-6
  6. The Misdirected Call: Mark 5:1-20

Do you know what God is calling you to do?  When he invites you to join him, go for it.  Jesus said, “Follow Me!” first salvation and then into ministry.  I hope you hear his voice invite you to join him in a special role of redemptive action.  May you experience joy and fruitfulness in your calling.  May God use you as a custom made tool in his kingdom work. 🙂

  • What is your calling?
  • How did/will you discern it?
  • Has it developed over time?
  • Have you ever prayed, asking God to call you into ministry?
  • Ask someone about your calling!