On behalf of Redemption Baptist Church, I want to wish all of you all the best for the coming year, and I wanted to share a thought which I hope will be a help to you.
As the new year dawns, it is always a time of looking back on the year that was and looking forward to the year to come. Unfortunately it is easy for us to dwell on the past year's mistakes we made, and the struggles and disappointments we experienced. With such a focus, we tend to look at the future with anxiety and dread, convincing ourselves this years challenges are once again going to be overwhelming, and we are destined to fail.
We cannot change the past, we can only learn from it, and we have no way to predict what the future will bring. The failures of the past do not guarantee failure in the future, nor to the successes of the past year ensure success this year. Furthermore,we don;t want to borrow trouble by worrying over things that may not even happen. Jesus said, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” - Matthew 6:34. We cannot live in either the past or the future, we can only live in the present, and take one day at a time.
Thus, no matter what may be the failures and disappointments of this past year, I would encourage you to look not only this year , but each day of this year as a fresh start for you – twenty four hours you didn't have before that are bursting with opportunity. Make the most of each day you are given. A good year is made up of good days, and good days are made of good moments, so live in the moment for what counts for eternity. Sow good seed, and make good decisions now, even though you may see no results in the present; it will be worth it. Keep moving forward; each step, however small is progress.
I don't necessarily know you and your struggles that well, but I want to encourage you in them – as Steve Smith's character Red Green used to say “Remember, I'm pulling for ya; we're all in this together.” As well, I want you to know that in whatever struggles you face, God is ready, willing and able to give you what you need to face each day.
One day at a time, I hope you have a great 2019.
It is now less than a week away from our first night of meetings, as we launch the Kindersley Chapter of the RU Recovery Program. Being familiar with the program, we at Redemption Baptist Church are very excited about bringing RU Recovery to Kindersley, and are confident that the program can make a tremendous difference in your life if you are struggling with an addiction or a stubborn habit. Nevertheless, since we are only the second chapter to open in the entire province of Saskatchewan, we realize most people are unfamiliar with the program, and might naturally be unsure if the program is right for them. To alleviate what concerns you might have, I wanted to share a few thoughts of what to expect, and hope that you will join us each Thursday Night.
For those of you who may not be familiar with our location, the RU Recovery Meetings will take place at 419 5th Avenue West in Kindersley, near Westberry School. The building we meet in was once the Ukranian Orthodox Church, so its distinctive domes are hard to miss.
For the present, our meetings are geared for adults and older teens, with childcare for younger children provided onsite downstairs. The meetings are open to people of all faiths, or of no faith at all; if you are struggling with any kind of bad habit or addiction, be it drugs, alcohol, smoking, gambling, porn, an eating disorder, self harm, anger, depression, or anxiety, you are welcome, and we are confident this program can hep you. If you don't struggle with an addiction yourself, but you have a friend or family member who does, you can a learn a lot from this program as to how best to help them.
The meeting itself starts at 7:00, so you will probably want to come five or ten minutes early . You would enter our main door facing 5th Avenue West, and upon entry you will be greeted and directed to the Registration Table. As a first time visitor, we'll give you a name tag, and after filling out a registration form you will receive Our Bulletin, a Prayer Request Card and a Beginner's Introductory Packet. If you have young children, we have volunteers which will be glad to provide childcare , and will help you out in getting them settled downstairs before the meeting begins. As you wait for the meeting to commence, help yourself to a hot chocolate and feel free to check out the resource table.
The meeting begins at 7:00 pm, and we aim to be done by around 8:30pm. We divide the meeting into three segments, which we call Talks, with short breaks in between:
In First Talk, we talk to God through prayers and testimonies. We begin with prayer, and then give students an opportunity to share stories of victory. This serves to give encouragement to other students and credit where credit is due - we don't like to talk about what we've done to God, we like to talk about what God has done for us! At the end of this talk, we gather the prayer request cards each person received, and then myself as director will lead in prayer for those requests individuals have indicated are for sharing with the group.
In Second Talk, we talk to each other, breaking into challenge groups to share each of our burdens or blessings. As a new visitor, during Second Talk you will be in the beginners group, in which you will watch a video explaining the program and how to use what you received in your beginner's packet. After your first week, you will then become part of a challenge group, led by a challenge leader. We take the first part of this time to review our curriculum for the past week and complete our challenges. Then, as those present feel comfortable, they share their struggles and we as a group provide encouragement. AS a rule, what is said within challenge group is kept confidential.
In Third Talk, God talks to us as the director gives a message from the Nevertheless I Live Curriculum, laying our Biblical principles which can help all of us to find lasting freedom from addiction.
After Third Talk is complete we have a brief awards ceremony for those who have completed challenges, after which we have refreshments available downstairs. We encourage you to stay and visit if you can, to get to know the group better and develop good friendships. During this time, the director and other workers are available if there were more specific, private areas of concern you needed assistance with.
Before and after class, and during the breaks, we encourage you to check out the Resource Table, in which you will find not only the RU Recovery Curriculum, but also a lot of books which give help for various issues we all can struggle with. We sell all books at cost, just so that we can replenish our stock.
As we move closer to the launch of RU Recovery in Kindersley on October 11th, we recognize that as members of the community, you might have many questions – What is RU Recovery? What does the program offer? How does it work? To answer those questions, we have provided links on the RU Recovery page on our website to the main RU Recovery Page. However, we realize at least one question remains to be answered, and that is “Why is Redemption Baptist Church bringing RU Recovery to Kindersley?” We have many reasons, but below are three of the main ones:
Reason # 1: We recognize Kindersley has a great need, and we as a church want to do what we can to help meet that need.
Having been a part of the community for almost 10 years now, and having worked with and connected with various groups within the community, we recognize addiction has been and continues to be a significant problem within Kindersley. The RCMP detachment, the Crisis Centre and the Addictions/Mental Health Intake have at many times been overwhelmed in trying to deal with and help those who are either suffering from an addiction themselves or are suffering as a result of someone else's addiction. Many issues of theft, domestic violence and suicide within West Central Sasaktchewan can be traced back to addictions of one form or another.
Whether we would like to admit it or not, addictions are a significant issue within our community, and as part of the community we at Redemption Baptist Church want to be a part of the solution, not part of the problem. We don't want to just wring our hands and wish the problem would go away, nor do we at all want to sit back and criticize the many people in our community who are doing their best to combat the problem. We as a church instead have been praying and searching to find the best way we can do our part in providing a positive contribution to the addictions issue within our community, and thus become an ally with others in addressing it. As we discovered and became more familiar with the RU Recovery program, we recognized it to be what we had been seeking for.
Reason # 2: RU Recovery has proven itself to be a high quality, professional program that has been very successful in helping the addicted find lasting freedom.
The RU program started small, with just a few people attending in its early days in Rockford Illinois in 1996, but in less than 25 years, the program has spread to over 40 countries worldwide, helping thousands gain freedom from a great variety of addictions. Over the course of its history, RU Recovery has seen over 80% of those who have passed through its program find full recovery without relapse.
Such results are not a fluke; a lot of work, thought and care has gone into ensuring individuals get the help they need. Much consultation has occurred with medical professionals to ensure all areas of an individual's health are addressed – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Through study and experience the staff of RU Recovery has recognized the necessity to deal with the root issues that lead people into addictive & destructive behaviour, and have been committed to guiding people to practically and effectively deal with those issues, so that their addiction is not simply managed but overcome. As well, the program is focused upon getting people connected with the resources and relationships they need for help, support and encouragement, so that they will never again return to that place of defeat and discouragement.
As a church we wanted to help people in the Kindersley community that are struggling with addictions, but we realize we lacked the knowledge and the resources to do so. Through the RU Recovery Program, we have been provided with extensive training, and we are connected with a tremendous group of experienced individuals whose expertise we can draw from. We are entirely convinced that RU Recovery is the best addictions recovery program available today, and so we are committed to doing what we can to see it established within West Central Saskatchewan.
Reason # 3: We can personally attest to the benefits of the RU Recovery Program.
As we became familiar with the program, we soon recognized we needed the RU Recovery Program as much as anybody else. It became clear to us we had reacted improperly to many of the challenges, stresses and disappointments we had been facing and were dealing with our own issues of stress overload, grief, depression and unforgiveness. Being confronted with those issues via the RU Recovery Curriculum we were forced to address them, and found the healing we needed. Having been helped ourselves, and seeing the difference it has made in our church and family life, we would be remiss to keep it to ourselves. Instead, we want everyone else to discover for themselves what we have discovered.
Please understand, you don't have to be an addict to benefit from the RU Recovery Program. In many ways, the program teaches you how to live an abundant, fulfilling life, and to deal with the challenges of life in a healthy manner so that you are not overwhelmed and discouraged. RU Recovery fosters optimum physical, mental,emotional and spiritual health, and because of that we wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone and everyone.
For these three reasons, and many more, Redemption Baptist Church is partnering with RU Recovery Ministries to bring an RU Recovery Chapter to Kindersley, and we look forward to partnering with you in finding freedom, hope and recovery.
Since we first became a part of this community over 9 years ago, we as the members of Redemption Baptist Church have always been seeking ways in which we can reach out and be a help to the people of Kindersley and the surrounding area. In that search, we have discovered RU Recovery, a faith based addictions recovery program which has proven to be incredibly effective in helping the addicted gain lasting freedom from their destructive habits. Since its founding in 1996 in Rockford, Illinois, RU Recovery has seen 2500 chapters started in 40 countries around the world, with over 50,000 students enrolled worldwide. Seeing firsthand the difference it can make in people's lives, we have for some time desired to bring the resources of the RU Recovery Program to Kindersley, so that those in West Central Saskatchewan that are struggling with addictions can find hope for lasting freedom. After much prayer and preparation, I am pleased to announce that those desires are becoming reality; beginning this fall, RU Recovery will be opening a chapter in Kindersley, with Redemption Baptist Church as its sponsor.
Beginning October 11th, each Thursday night at 7:00 pm the doors of Redemption Baptist Church will be open to anyone in the community that is looking for help in overcoming a stubborn, destructive habit. Whatever your background, and whatever your struggle may be – drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, gambling or pornography – you will be welcomed without judgment, and your confidentiality will be assured. As you participate in the program, you will learn of various principles that can help you overcome your addiction, and you will have the opportunity to enter into and develop relationships with those that can compassionately provide help, encouragement and support to you on your road to recovery.
In the next several weeks leading up to our launch date, I will be providing further information on our Facebook Page and website, both for those struggling with addictions and those desiring to help loved ones with their addictions. If you had any questions or concerns, feel free to call or text me at 306-460-4688.
Challenges, difficulties and struggles are a part of life, whether we like it or not. Unfortunately, when confronted with difficulty, our tendency can be to run away from the problems we face rather than deal with them.
Certainly, there are situations in which making a quick exit is wise; if you are in a toxic, abusive relationship or work environment, you need to escape from that for your own physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Not only does delaying your departure not help you, but it also prevents the abusive individual with being confronted with their need to get help. In such a situation, removing yourself from the situation is taking the necessary steps to deal with the problem you face.
What I am talking about instead is when we come under any form of stress, we immediately enter into a flight response, when such a response is neither necessary or helpful. Before us lies a problem that needs to be confronted, but we refuse to do so. Many times, the real issue is not what is happening around us, but what is going on within us - the external stimuli are only drawing attention to a weakness or insecurity we have, and we would rather shut ourselves off from the world than have to admit there are areas in which we struggle.
There are always challenges that arise in relationships, disagreements which we must find ways to work through. As we do so, resolution and reconciliation of differences can occur, and the relationship can become stronger as a result. Sadly however, we are not willing to take the time and invest in those relationships, and quick leave them in search of another – another job, another friend, another spouse, another church. We always convince ourselves that the new relationship will be better, and the change will solve all our problems. Yet, as difficulties crop up again, the flight response becomes our learned response, and we move on again, leaving behind us a trail of broken relationships and laying in front of us a very lonely existence.
Sometimes we do something we are ashamed of, and rather than trying to make it right we move far away from the scene of our crime, thinking that will prevent our feelings of shame from rising to the surface again. Yet, something inevitably happens that reminds us of the sins of our past, and no amount of distance can separate us from the guilt and shame we feel.
Sometimes we are wronged and hurt by someone we loved and trusted, yet instead of confronting that person or learning to heal from the wound and show forgiveness, we withdraw, not only from the one who inflicted the pain but from anyone else that could potentially hurt us again.
Sometimes we are overwhelmed with grief, or stress, or anxiety, and instead of reaching out for comfort or encouragement we do whatever we can to get our mind off what we are struggling with. Many of us may not physically run away, but we grab hold of various coping mechanisms which we hope will give us a mental and emotional escape from our problems. For some, it might be alcohol or drugs; or others it might be overeating, shopping, playing video games, binge-watching movies or porn. None of these various tactics we use solve any of our problems; they only delay our having to deal with them, and they add a whole bunch more physical, mental, and emotional problems to our lives.
Ultimately, the reason why we run from our problems is we do not want to be confronted by the truth that what we face is more than we can handle alone. Essentially, we are trying to run away from ourselves - our own weaknesses, fears, inadequacies and insecurities – and such an exercise is only an exercise in futility.
As a pastor and a friend, I thus encourage you to stop running, for two reasons.
First, running away from your problems is not going to help you; they need to be confronted, sooner rather than later, and the sooner you learn to deal with them properly the more fulfilling life will be for you.
Second, all the while you have been running away, there has been someone who has been pursuing you, not because he wants to hurt you or punish you, but because he knows your struggles and wants to help you. God wants to give us all the help we need; he wants to strengthen us when we are weary, and he wants to comfort us when we are broken hearted. He, and he alone can take away our guilt and shame, for good. Whatever we need for whatever situation we find ourselves in – wisdom, discernment, courage, calmness, endurance – he is ready, willing and able to abundantly provide.
Thus, regardless of what your situation may be, and what struggles lie before you, stop running. Allow yourself to be overtaken. It is only when we confront our own weaknesses that we can find the strength we need.
On Monday, myself, my wife, our second son Caleb and our two youngest headed out to Saskatoon. With our growing family, I had a few errands to complete – Caleb had some birthday money that he was eager to spend, Meleah was looking for some spring decorations for the church, and I was looking to spend the Canadian Tire money I had saved up.
All in all, God greatly prospered our trip. With minimal searching, I was able to locate just what I was looking for. Meleah and Caleb both found what they were looking for. I was able to pick up a new ladder and a new hammer drill at Canadian Tire that were on sale, so what normally would have cost $500 only cost me $30. In addition, we were able to have some wonderful pizza at Ringer’s for lunch. We were also blessed to connect with our good friends, the Boyce’s, from Borden. We got all our various errands done by just after 5:00, and headed out of the city, expecting to get home before nightfall.
That didn’t happen…
While our Yukon has been very dependable for us, lately we had been having some strange electrical issues with it. When we first started it up, it would say the battery was not charging. I took it in twice to our trusted mechanics in town, but the problem was, half way to town, everything would suddenly go back to normal, so that once I got it to the shop the technicians couldn’t find anything wrong with it. From time to time it would do the same thing again, usually when it was cold, but then once things warmed up the problem would go away.
So, it was unexpected, and a little unnerving, that as we left on of our stops I saw that the same warning light came on again, even though the vehicle was warmed up. As we made our various stops, it persisted. Once we completed our final errand, we prayed to God that it would kick back in again, as it always had before, once we got on the highway.
As we approached the town of Vanscoy and I began to reduce speed, I saw that the light had gone out, so for a moment I was relieved, until I realized that the entire instrument panel was dark, and no gauges were working. As quickly as I could, I turned into the Tempo Gas Station, parked the Yukon, left it running and went inside to see what help could be found.
Had I been a wise man, I could have easily driven around the other side of Canadian Tire, which was our last stop anyways, and asked their mechanics to diagnose our vehicle’s issues before we left Saskatoon. Had I done so, they likely could have discovered the problem and may have even had the part available to fix it. Even if they did not, or would not be able to fix our vehicle before closing, we still would have been in a much better position; we have friends in Saskatoon we could have called, and even stayed the night with, if necessary.
Unfortunately, none of those thoughts passed through my mind at the time. Instead, we were in a town in which we knew no one, and as it was nearing 5:30 now, any mechanics shops that would be in Vanscoy would likely be closing soon. We definitely couldn’t keep going as we were, but we likely would not be able to make it safely back into Saskatoon. Quite quickly, we went from our expected plan of being home before dark to likely having to find a hotel and not get home until the next day at the earliest.
From a purely human perspective, I had made a poor choice, and now both my family travelling with me and my family waiting for our return would have to deal with the consequences of that poor choice. We needed help, but help seemed unlikely. One could immediately draw the conclusion that God didn’t hear my prayer or chose to ignore it. As we soon found out however, God had heard our prayer; he just chose to answer it in a way that was better than expected.
Upon entering the gas station, I asked the attendant it he knew of any mechanics in town that could help us. He gave me the phone book and directed me to call Sid’s Auto Service. I got ahold of Sid, who said to bring our vehicle over and he would check it out. I proceeded to head back to the Yukon, only to find that it had died, so I had to call him again to see if he could come and boost us. He said, he would after he had moved around a few things in his shop, and so we waited for his arrival. Having never met Sid, I did not know who I was waiting for, and so with each vehicle that came in we were hopeful it was him. Shortly a minivan pulled up, and an older gentleman of Jamaican descent wearing work clothes, a coat a ballcap and a kind smile got out and introduced himself. He had brought a battery and got us boosted, and we headed to his shop, only to have the Yukon die again on the way. He boosted us again, and we got into his shop for him to begin his diagnosis of our problem. It was by this time 5:45, fifteen minutes until he closed.
He started charging the battery, and after doing a few different checks found the source of our problem – the alternator was no longer functioning at all. He looked through the alternators he had in stock, and none were the right size, so it looked like we were going to be spending the night in Vanscoy. However, he made a call, found that his parts supply store in Saskatoon had the alternator he needed, and then said “make yourself at home, I’ll be back in an hour.”
He returned as promised, installed the new alternator, got everything put back together and we were back on the road by 8:00, making it home again safely by 10:30. He could have, and should have charged overtime for the work, but he chose not to.
As we conversed with him as he worked, he spoke of God, so I asked him “Do you know the LORD?”, to which he replied, “Oh yes” and proceeded to speak of how much we all need him at this time in history. Upon mentioning that I was a pastor, he asked “what church?”, and when I replied Baptist a big smile crossed his face and he reached out his hand saying “put er there, my brother!” Thus, our time together ended up being a time of fellowship, as we talked about our churches and our families. In talking with him, I found that he often ends up staying late to help people who have mechanical trouble coming out of the city; often they are cancer patients returning home from treatments. With them, and with us, his mind wasn’t on the clock, but on making sure whoever came into his shop needing help would get home safely that night.
Thus, our trip to Saskatoon did not at all go as expected; instead, it went better than expected. It was a tremendous blessing and privilege to have met Sid, who faithfully serves God and his fellow man in his own way, and we realize God’s hand in bringing us together. The unexpected happens, and our natural tendency is to panic, but in such situations, God seems to say “step back, I got this.” He could do everything the way we wanted, but when he changes our plans his way always ends up being better.
So, if you ever are passing through Vanscoy and are having mechanical issues, Sid is the man to call (306-668-2013). As well, in any difficult situation you are in, I can attest that you can call on God and he is ready, willing and able to help you. His help may not always come in the way you expect; often, it will come in away that is better than expected.
This past Sunday was our Anniversary Sunday, as we marked 9 years since we first started having services in Kindersley. Looking back, it is amazing to think of all that has happened in those years.
We have a lot of good memories:
Of course, along with the good memories, there are sad ones as well:
In the history of any church, there are always ups and downs, highs and lows. As a church family, we look back in thankfulness to God, for his faithfulness to us through those ups and the downs, and for the lessons he has been teaching us along the way.
We recognize the work God has been doing in each of us through these past years, and though at times we each have struggled and stumbled God has not given up on us, nor abandoned us. Day by day, he continues to work in each of us, so that He can do His work through us as we help those in our community.
Thus, we are excited as a church as we step forward according to God’s leading. As led by him, we are preparing ourselves for a new chapter of ministry in our community to begin this fall, the details of which I will be announcing soon. We recognize the challenges we have faced over the years have all been a necessary part of our preparation, to prepare our hearts for the work He is calling us to do. We look back in thankfulness for the great things God has done for us, and we look forward in hope and faith that God will do even greater things in the years to come.
(Note, I was going to post this on Monday night, but Monday ended up being a very unusual but amazing day; I will share the events and blessings of that day in my next post...)
In a few weeks Redemption Baptist Church will once again be hosting another series of seminars, this time on the topic of forgiveness, and I thus wanted to speak to that, and give some of the back story as to why this subject was chosen.
Last spring, I was asked to speak at Bounce Back week at Kindersley Composite School on the topic of spirituality, specifically about practical strategies for regaining and maintaining mental health. For many of the students, I recognized that some of what I spoke of would be entirely new to them, but I wanted to provide them with some basic principles that I knew could be a help to them.
Of all that touched upon during the session, none effected a greater response than when I spoke concerning the subject of forgiveness – both receiving it for ourselves and giving it to others. Some were visibly moved to tears, while others responded in anger to the proposition that an individual could find forgiveness for what they felt as being unforgiveable. As the time we had was limited it was not feasible at the time to properly elaborate on the topic, but I recognized it was a subject in need of an opportunity for deeper discussion. Therefore, as I began to plan out sessions on our Help for the Hurting Series, it was clear that the subject of forgivness need to be included in the list of topics we tackled.
The fact is, our ability to find forgiveness for ourselves, and to show forgiveness to others that have wronged us is an essential component of our mental, emotional and spiritual wellness. On the one hand, guilt and shame can drive us away from those who care about us into depression, addiction and suicide. On the other hand, bitterness causes us to relive the hurt over and over again and can hold us back from developing positive relationships that could bring healing. With both sides of the equation, we are in bondage to the past, and it is only through forgiveness that we can find freedom, peace, and hope for the future.
The problem is, we often don't understand forgiveness. When we have done wrong, we don't know where to go to find forgiveness, and we often go in entirely the wrong direction in our quest for relief from the shame and guilt we feel. When we have been wronged, we are unsure if we can or should forgive the one who has hurt us, and even if we could or should we don't know how.
I don't know where you are at in life - what you have done in the past that you are ashamed of, or what hurt someone else has inflicted upon you. I do know, however, that you can find forgiveness, and that for your own sake, you need to find forgiveness. Thus, if this is an area of life you are struggling with, or you know someone who is struggling in this area and you want to learn how to help them, I encourage you to attend our sessions.
Both begin at 7:00 pm each evening at our church building, located at 419-5th Avenue West in Kindersley. We will be dealing with finding forgiveness for yourself in the first session, on April 3rd, with the April 10th session focused on the topic of finding forgiveness for others. If you had any questions, or wanted to register for either of the sessions, call or text me at 306-460-4688, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hope to see you there, and hope we can be a help to you in finding forgiveness.
After many months of expectation, my family and I were pleased to welcome into the world our new son, Joseph Douglas Holloway. The little fellow has already captured our hearts, and we are so very thankful to God for him. Along with his safe delivery, there are many other things for which we are thankful.
Through the whole delivery process, my wife and I have also been recognizing some of the lessons God has been teaching us. For all of us, we do the best we can to be wise, careful and to prepare ourselves for what is to come, but we can never fully anticipate what will come, and we ultimately have very little control over what happens. We are thus faced with a choice; we can either choose to worry and get frustrated, or we can choose to pray, trust and rely upon the good hand of a loving God to guide us through.
Such was the case as my wife’s due date approached, arrived and passed, with no significant indication that baby was at all interested in making his appearance. All but our first child came early, so this delay was unexpected, although with the weather and the road conditions at the start of that week being unfavourable, the delay was to a certain point welcomed.
My wife had been directed a few weeks earlier to have a third ultrasound, which had not been the norm either, but through that we found that the baby had flipped and was in the breach position. This gave us some concern, and so we prayed and had others pray that he would flip back before it was time for his delivery. So, it was much to our joy that when her doctor examined her the following week, she found that he had indeed returned to the head down position. Praise the Lord!
Finally, on Sunday morning during Sunday School, Meleah started to have regular contractions, and thankfully we were able to get through the remainder of the morning services. We returned home, had lunch, got the kids settled, with their Uncle Preston there to help, and then headed back in to Kindersley. Since Kindersley does not do regular deliveries currently, we were going to head straight to Rosetown, but we thought it might be wise to get assessed at Kindersley first. Much to our surprise, we found that the baby had flipped back to the breach position, and we were advised to head straight to the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon, where they would have to perform a C-section. With my wife having delivered all of our children naturally, this would be an entirely new situation, and we knew that the recovery time for her would be much longer, but during the two hour drive we were able to talk through it and were resigned to its necessity, trusting it would be our only option that would ensure the safety of my wife and our newborn child.
From our arrival onward, we were entirely overwhelmed by the quality of care provided by the staff of the Royal University Hospital. Upon their assessment, however, we were informed by the doctor on staff that while a C-section was always an option if necessary, delivering regularly was still an option, if the baby’s position was favourable. Another ultrasound confirmed that his legs were not in the way, and so after being very honestly informed about the risks of each option we decided to proceed with natural delivery, knowing that they would have various doctors and nurse teams available not only for delivery but also for surgery and neonatal intensive care, if either was necessary.
We were still waiting for Meleah’s water to break, during which my wife was asked it she wanted an epidural. Having only received an epidural once, 13 years ago, which had not been all that effective, Meleah was going to say no, but the nurse told us of the great advances in epidurals over that 13-year period, including an epidural that had been invented at the RUH called a walking epidural. She thus agreed, and the remaining hours of labour were not nearly as painful and taxing as she was accustomed to.
As it turned out, things went far better than any of us could have anticipated. Meleah’s water broke just before midnight, after which she was rushed into the operating room. 8 minutes later, Joseph was out, with no complications whatsoever. Both he and my wife were doing so well that we were able to head back home the following afternoon, and since then we’ve been trying to wrap our heads around all that happened, and how good God was to us throughout.
As the unexpected happens, all of us are tempted to panic, and instantly envision the worst-case scenario. Yet, nothing is unexpected to God, and he is our very present help in trouble. As we look to him for help in time of need, and calmly trust our lives in his hand, we can find that he has by no means forsaken us; indeed, he is right alongside us through the challenges we face, and he is able to do exceedingly abundant above all that we ask or think.
Thus, every time I look at my son, I will remember the circumstances of his delivery, and praise God for his mercy, his compassion and his goodness to us.
Note: Now that my wife has safely delivered our newest child, and her and the baby are doing well, we will be having the next sessions of our "Help for the Hurting Series" On the evenings of April 3rd and 10th. I will be giving further explanation of this upcoming series in my next blogpost.
The clothes and shoes collected for relief of the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela were loaded up yesterday, and are now on their way! First to London, Ontario, then to Miami, Florida, and then to Caracas, Venezuela for distribution by Pastor Paez.
Many thanks are in order:
-Thanks to all of you individuals in Kindersley that donated funds and dropped off donations at the church;
-Thanks to Spokes Family Resource Centre, the Kindersley Salvation Army and the Saskatoon Salvation Army for their generous contributions of clothing and shoes;
-Thanks to Dylan Bublitz for taking a trip to Saskatoon and back to pick up clothes donated by the Saskatoon Salvation Army
-Thanks to Wilmer and Vanessa Gonzales for helping us collect clothing and pack the tubs;
-Thanks to Kindersley Transport for agreeing to ship out the clothes for us and giving us a good deal on shipping; and
-Thanks to Edith Bublitz for all her work in getting everything organized.
Well done, all!
With the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela becoming increasingly desperate, Redemption Baptist Church will be accepting donations of new and used summer clothes and sandals for all ages, as well as monetary donations which will be used to purchase food, which will be sent along with the clothes by guaranteed delivery to Pastor Victor Paez in Caracas. The church building will be open the next three Saturday afternoons (February 3rd, 10th and 17th) from 1 to 4 PM to receive donations, with the plan to ship out all donations received on Tuesday, February 19th. We are currently determining the most economical way to get the clothes down to London, Ontario, where a church there will pay delivery costs to Venezuela via Miami, Florida; any suggestions would be appreciated. For more information, please call me at 306-460-4688
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth: for he hath not another to help him up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9,10
All of us, at certain times in our lives, struggle. The challenges of life can get to be too much for us, and we can feel entirely overwhelmed. At such points in our lives, it is wise and healthy for us to reach out to others for help and support. Ironically, however, we instead withdraw from the company of others and isolate ourselves, choosing to struggle alone.
Why do we do this? Sometimes it is our pride that holds us back from reaching out; we want everyone to think we are strong and have it all together, and don’t want to admit to anyone that we have problems. Sometimes it is shame that causes us to withdraw, or the fear that we will be rejected or mocked by those to whom we make ourselves vulnerable. Sometimes we simply don’t understand what is going on within us, and it easier to isolate ourselves than to try to articulate our struggles. Finally, we may feel that there is no one that we can turn to that will really understand us or be willing or able to help us.
The reality is, there is a much greater commonality to our struggles than we think, and God in his love has placed people in your life which have gone or are going through the same things you are. If we learn to move past our pride, shame and fear, we can unexpectedly discover that we can find strength from one another, and can take turns helping each other up when we falter.
So, if you have been struggling alone, I encourage you to step out of the shadows. Talk to a parent or sibling; call a friend; find a counsellor; join a church. Above all, recognize there is a God that is near, that knows your struggles and desires to be your refuge, strength and very present help in trouble. You are not alone in this world, and you need not go through the struggles of this life alone anymore.
As promised, I wanted to share with you what has been happening, and will be happening at Redemption Baptist Church. My announcement is three-fold:
1) As of today, we now have a Facebook page! Feel free to check it out. We are praying it will be yet another way in which we can connect with people in Kindersley and the surrounding area.
2) For the year 2017, we were able as a church to assemble a total of 16,800 John and Romans Booklets! Of these we have some going to the Philippines, some going to Uruguay, and some going to Sierra Leone. We rejoice that God was able to provide us the funds and the enabling to get this much done, and we hope that we will be able to exceed that total in 2018.
3)We now have dates set for the next two Help for the Hurting sessions. We will be focusing on the topic of Depression on January 23rd and 30th, and then we will be focusing on the topic of Grief on February 6th and 13th. Sessions will start at 7:00 pm each Tuesday night, and there is no charge for attending; all are welcome. I will be posting further information on the upcoming events page in the next few days. We will be still be having sessions on Forgiveness in March as previously indicate, but as my wife is expecting our child in early March the Sessions will probably come in later March. Of course, if you are struggling with nay of these issues, it isn't necessary to wait until the scheduled sessions; we would be happy to help you between now and then as needed.
Wishing you all the best in the year to come,
I will be uploading some more content later today, and be making an announcement, but for now I wanted to share with you the notes from my message yesterday, hoping that in will be an encouragement for you this new year. I have also uploaded the audio, if you would prefer to listen to it; it can be found under the Resources tab.
From all of us at Redemption Baptist Church, may you have a Happy New Year.
Sermon for 12/31/17
Title:Hope for the Coming Year
Text: Lamentations 3:18-26
We come today to the very last day of the year 2017. I don't know about you, but it seems so much has been packed into this year that I am still struggling to process it all. As individuals, as a church family, as a community, as a nation and as a world many events have occurred which have affected our lives and shattered our assumptions. AS we stand on the edge of 2017 and gaze ahead to what 2018 will bring, my question to each of you here today, is Do you have hope for the year to come?
Now, we can try to be overly optimistic Pollyanna's and naively insist that everything is going to be simply wonderful, but we know there will be challenges and disappointments in 2018 as there was in 2017, and if we are not expecting or preparing for those challenges they can overwhelm us and cause us to despair. On the other hand, we don''t want to be overly pessimistic Eeyore's, who just figure everything is going to be as horrible as possible. Certainly, if we completely lower our expectations, we are not going to get disappointed, and we might be pleasantly surprised that things were not as bad as we envisioned they could be, but who wants to live like that? We want to have some hope – that is what makes life worth living, and gives us strength to endure difficulty – if we can see some light at the end of the tunnel, it encourages us to move forward; if we know there will be some kind of reward or achievement in the future, we can put up with a lot in the present. However, it is important for us to have hope in the right things. We can cling to hope for many different things to occur, but if they don't it can lead up to disappointment, discouragement and despair. As it declares in Proverbs 13:12, “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick” – when we are waiting for something, and expecting it to come, only to have that thing we hoped for be further delayed, or events transpire which make the realization of that hope an impossibility, it can devastate us, and at a certain point we can even lose hope. That is a place none of us want to find ourselves in. We want to have some hope for the future, but it is crucial that our hope is grounded in the right source.
As we look at the world in which we live, what hope does it offer unto us?What in this world can we place our hope in? Albert Einstein once quipped that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. We need to learn from our mistakes; when we have experienced disappointment, we need to evaluate why and how we were disappointed, and what we were hoping in that did not come through for us. We can place our hope in our circumstances; we see how things are going, and we see possibilities of what could happen, so we run ahead of ourselves with our expectations. That is one of many reasons why we as believers are to walk by faith, and not by sight; things are not always what they seem, and we should be expecting the unexpected. Humanity's ability to predict the future has always been embarrassingly pathetic; we can't get even get the weather right half the time, ad over and over again expert's predictions end up being wrong. We can place our hope in our circumstances, or in the wisdom of men, but if we do so we are going to be disappointed.
We can place our hope in ourselves, and what we are certain we can accomplish by our own grit and determination. We try our hardest to do our best, to bring real change to our lives, but despite all our best efforts, we cannot control our circumstances; indeed sometimes we can't even control ourselves. Too often, we let ourselves down, and others as well.
A lot of times, when things are bad and getting worse we look outward, and place our hope in various individuals whom we convince ourselves will be able to save the day. How often have we placed our hope in a politician or in a political party, that they are going to bring real hope and change, only to find that was just an empty slogan given to convince s to elect them – once in power, it is just the same old thing. No politician, and no political movement will ever fix what is wrong with our country, and we as Christians need to stop placing our hope in the political process to effect the necessary changes. People all over the world are looking for a Saviour, a Messiah, but they keep looking in the wrong place, and to the wrong persons.
I say all this not to bring discouragement to you, only discourage you from placing your hope in things and people who are going to disappoint you. We can live lives filled with tremendous, but that hope must be placed in the right source, and in the right person, and that brings us to this passage in the Book of the Lamentations of Jeremiah.
As one reads through the book of Lamentations, and understands the historical context in which it was written, We find the prophet Jeremiah in a very sad, discouraging situation. He loved his nation, and his city of Jerusalem, and had been sent by God to warn his people of the judgment that was sure to come if they did not repent and turn to the LORD. He preached his message faithfully, despite persecution, but no one listened, and as he had prophesied, destruction came – his people were taken captive, and his beloved city was burned to the ground. He now sits among the ashes of his city, mourning what has happened, knowing it needed to happen had people only listened and repented. Looking at his circumstances, and Jeremiah's great sorrow, we can understand that he is struggling to find hope; as we read in verse 18, “And I said, my strength and my hope is perished from the LORD” - as he focused on the tragic situation before him, and his feelings of disappointment and misery, he could find no hope, and was overwhelmed by despair. Nevertheless, in v 21 we see him redirect his thinking, and that makes all the difference in the world:
This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.
Jeremiah got his eyes off his circumstance, and got them on God instead, recognizing God's abundant mercies, his unfailing compassion and his enduring faithfulness. There is nothing and no one else to put his hope in, so he puts it in the LORD, and his testimony serves to this day as an encouragement to us all.
Again and again, throughout the scriptures, we are exhorted to place our hope in the God and in his word. We read in Psalm 78: 5-7:
“For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.”
This was a principle that was to be passed down to each succeeding generation – to set their hope in God.
In Psalm 130:5-8 we see the Psalmist's personal pledge, and his exhortation to his nation:
“I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning. Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.”
Indeed, we find the Psalmist to be reminding himself to hope in God – In Psalm 42:5, we see a thought given in verse 5 which is repeated later in the the same Psalm and again in following Psalm - “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.” The writers of the Psalms found themselves in very difficult, discouraging, and depressing circumstances, but placing their hope in God entirely changed their attitude and their lifted their spirits, and as we learn from their example we can have find hope as well.
As it declares in Romans 15:4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” It is in God and his Word that we can find hope.
From Romans 15:13, we recognize our God to be the God of Hope - “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” We don't always think of God in those terms, and by that title, but we should – if we want hope he is the source. Furthermore, as with all things God offers to us – whether it be grace or life or strength or blessing, he doesn't just give us a little but of hope, he wants to give us an abundance.
Thus, when we are in trouble and despair, and in need of hope we can flee to him. As it is written in Hebrews 6:17-19:
“Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil...”
Though the storms can rage all around us, we have an anchor of hope in God himself, and in God alone.
It is in God, and it God alone that we can find hope in the midst of trying circumstances. We have no real power to change our circumstances, but he does, and as we pray to him, and wait upon him, we can find, again and again that he can bring deliverance far greater than anything we ever could have attempted.
It is in God and in God alone, that we can find hope for victory in the struggles we face. We can get ourselves stuck in horrible habits and addictions and try and fail to break free from them, but as we turn to God in our weakness, and deepen our relationship with him, he can bring to us the freedom and victory that so long was elusive to us.
We can look upon the state of our nation and weep, as Jeremiah did, as we see our society being engulfed by sin and led astray by the devil's deceptions, to the point that society as a whole is becoming openly hostile to Biblical Christianity. We can throw up our hands in despair, but instead we need to lift up our hands in prayer to the one who is our nation's only true hope. God himself declares in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” thus we must put our hope in God, and in the promises of his word, and get on our knees in prayer, as God alone is our hope.
When we have our hope in God, it affects us deeply, and makes such a difference in our lives and in the lives of others. As it speaks of in 1 Thessalonians 4:13, we need not to sorrow as those that have no hope – we have hope for eternity, hope for Christ's return, and hope to be reunited with our loved ones in glory. As we have hope, it strengthens our faith – as Hebrew 11:1 states, faith is the substance of things hoped for – as we hope in God and in his word it builds our faith, and leads us to victory. As Romans 12:12 declares we can and should rejoice in hope, and rejoice in the Lord who is our source of hope – he never changes, and is he is the source of our hope and our joy we should hope evermore, and rejoice evermore.
As well, we read in 1 Peter 3:15 – “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” Lost people around us should be able to see a hope within us, and it should lead them to ask why we have that hope. The hope we have can thus be the greatest open door to witness to others about the Lord Jesus Christ – they should see what we have and have what we want.
Having meditated upon the Christmas story over the past few weeks, we recognize that when Christ came to this world, hope came to this world – The world needed a Saviour, and in Christ Jesus God the Father provided the world a Saviour, the only Saviour this world will ever need, the only true Saviour this world will ever know. For every person on this earth, in any era of history including our own, Christ remains our only hope – for salvation, for deliverance, for victory and for eternal life – he gives us hope, not only in this life, but for the life that is to come. Our hope in him must serve as the anchor to our soul, and it is a hope we need to share in a world gripped by depression and despair. As we reflect upon 2017 and look forward to the coming year, may our Hope be in God, knowing that he will be our guide, our strength and our help through whatever challenges we will face.
Remembrance Day Message
Text: Psalm 124
We are gathered today as a community to pause, reflect and remember. With the busyness of life, such moments are increasingly rare, and we can be thankful that our forefathers had the wisdom to establish this day of Remembrance, not only for the sakes of those who have served, fought and died, but for our sakes as well.
Our focus today is not so much what we remember, but who we remember. We can spend much time in relating the facts and figures of the various conflicts our nation has passed through, and the victories and horrors that accompanied those conflicts, but our pledge as a Legion has always been that "we will remember them" – those individuals who have served, and continue to serve.
This year we mark the 100th anniversary of some very significant victories by our soldiers in World War 1. In April we commemorated the 100th Anniversary of The Battle of Vimy Ridge, where We as a young nation came of age, and achieved victory where other nations had only found defeat. The same was true of the Battle of Passchaendale, which ended 100 years ago yesterday. For us, such battles seem far away and long ago, but we as community have a very significant connection to those events. Many individuals from the Kindersley area fought in those battles, and several died in those battles. Of the over 60 individuals from Kindersley who were killed in action in World War One, more than a third were killed in the year 1917 – 3 perished during the Battle of Vimy Ridge, 4 fell during the Battle for Hill 70, and 6 lost their lives during the Battle of Paschaendale. John Kenssac, age 30, who had a few short years before imigrated to the Kindersley area from Russia, was killed October 27th in the first phase of the Battle as his division advanced up Passchaendale Ridge. Anton Haugen and Wilford Godkin, both 20, gave their lives in the capture of the village on November 6th . Reginald Lawrence, 28, wounded in that engagement, died of his wounds on the 14th. Wilfred Fakeley, 23 and Martin Wallberg, 20 both were killed on the final day of the battle, November 10th as victory was secured.
There is much that has been writtten concerning the Passchaendale Offensive – that it was a mistake, and a disaster, but in all that discussion we must never want to minimize or disregard the service and sacrifice of the men who fought and died that day. Through all the conflicts our soldiers have faced through the years, we honour the sacrifices they made, we celebrate the victories they achieved, we recognize the freedom they brought to the peoples they liberated,and we cherish what they secured for us as a nation through their victories.
In The Boer, War, the first and Second World wars, the Korean War, various peacekeeping missions and the more recent War in Afghanistan, our soldiers have sacrificed much for us. All sacrificed some of the best years of their lives, and time with their loved ones, to fight on our behalf. Many sacrificed their physical health, and returned home unable to function as they once did. Many more sacrificed their mental health, and may spend decades haunted by the images of their wartime experiences that they wish they could forget. Many, as well, have sacrificed their lives. For all they have given, we have received much. For most of us, war is only something we read about, few of us have experienced it firsthand, and we have those who fought to thank for that – they fought far away from home to ensure such conflicts never made it to our shores. We live today in freedom, paid for in blood, a freedom we should always cherish and never take for granted.
We honour today those from our community who served, and we honour as well those who serve our community today - the men and women of the RCMP, Fire Department EMS and Conservation. They help to keep our community safe, and come to our aid in times of crisis. We saw this so clearly during the wildfire southwest of us a few weeks ago. While many were driving away from the fire, the firefighters were racing towards it, and placing themselves in harms way to save towns and farm sites from destruction. Once the fire jumped the river, and seemed ready to threaten the town of Eatonia, great fear ensued, and as rumours swirled it was hard to know what reports to believe. Ye,t through all of that the local RCMP detachment was a continual source of accurate information and calm, enabling those who looked to be in the fire's path to get prepared without panicking.
As we get consumed with the busyness of our lives it can be easy for us to take these men and women for granted as well, and it sometimes takes a time of terror or tragedy to realize how much we need our first responders, and how blessed we are to have them.
Those who have served, and continue to serve we honour today. They need our support, our encouragement and our appreciation. As well, they have passed to us the torch that we must hold high; through each generation, we must not break faith with those who die – there remain causes worth fighting for, worth investing our lives in; there remains evil in this world that must be confronted, wrongs that need to be righted. We are greatly blessed as a nation, and we have many to thank for that.
In all of this we realize there is one more individual deserving of our gratitude and remembrance. As a Legion we close every meeting with a prayer – "Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, lest we forget, lest we forget." Those words came from a poem titled “recessional”, given by Rudyard Kipling upon the occasion of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897. At a time when those of the British Empire were celebrating the zenith of their advancement and prosperity, Kipling struck a different tone, reminding them that many empires had risen and fallen, and that theirs could perish as well if they turned their backs on the one who had blessed them as a nation.
For us as Canadians, through all the conflicts and crises we have passed through in our history, we recognize anew God's mercy upon us. World leaders of the late 1930's, in their quest for peace for their time, failed to confront the menace that was Nazi Germany, and by the time they acknowledged that war was inevitable Hitler seemed virtually unstoppable. The early years of World War 2 were dark days indeed - Poland, Holland and France fell, and Britain was being threatened, with invasion. However, events began to unfold that were entirely out of control that worked to bring the turning of the tide. Hitler began to stop listening to his generals which had brought him victory after victory; he chose to break his treaty and attack the Soviet Union, expending countless resources and many of his best troops in a war of attrition in the east. Even at d-day, Hitler failed to send the reinforcements necessary to collapse the beachhead secured by the Allies, convinced that the Landings at Normandy were a ruse, and that the real invasion would occur at Calais. We can attribute all of this to luck or fortunate coincidence, but through the eyes of faith we cannot help but recognize an unseen, Divine hand moving on our behalf, and blessing our efforts so that victory could be won. Thus do we recognize the truth found in the words of the Psalmist, "If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, then the proud waters had gone over our soul. Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth."
Even in the recent wildlfire which threatened many communities in West Central Saskatchewan, we see God's hand of mercy. It seemed at one point, after the fire crossed the river, that Eatonia would have to be evacuated. However, at a cerain point the wind changed directions, and rain began to fall, and the firefighters took full advantage of the change in conditions to bring the fires under control. They were doing all they could to fight the fires, and how thankful we are that on that terrible night, God fought the fire with them. Well did the prophet write, "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not, they are new every morning. Great is thy faithfulness."
So today, as we pause to reflect, we recognize the dangers we have passed through, and bow in sincere gratitude, honour and appreciation for all those who have brought us through those dangers. We remember the fallen, we remember the veteran, we remember those that continue to serve our nation and our community. And as well, we remember the Lord of our God, our refuge, our strength and and our very present help in trouble.
Having been part of this community for the past eight years, and having been involved with various community groups, our church family here at Redemption Baptist recognize that there are a lot of people hurting in Kindersley and the surrounding area. With oil being down, there is definitely a greater financial strain on many, but many more struggle with various other issues, including stress, depression, grief, loneliness, and finding forgiveness. In trying to find a way to cope with the pain these issues cause, many in our community have fallen into substance abuse, and some have even begun to contemplate suicide as a way to escape from the pain.
Knowing of this struggle, we as a church family want to do what we can to help as many as we can. For this reason, Redemption Baptist Church is launching a new ministry this November - "Help for the Hurting".
For the month of November, each Tuesday night at 7:00 pm we will be hosting seminars with a two-fold purpose: to provide those that are struggling with help and encouragement, and to provide wisdom to individuals who desire to help friends or loved ones they know are struggling. November 7th will be our introductory session, during which we will give an overview of our format and focus. The remaining three evenings (November 14th, 21st and 28th) will be a three-part seminar titled "Stress Relief: Avoiding Burnout and Finding Balance". With the busyness surrounding the Christmas Season, we will have no sessions during the month of December, but we will recommence in the new year, with seminars on Depression (January) Grief (February) and Forgiveness (March).
We as a church will be covering the costs of these seminars, so they are free for all that are interested; we would ask, however that you would register for the November sessions by November 1st, to ensure we have the neccessary materials supplied for each of you. You can register by either calling me at 460-4688, or by e-mailing us at email@example.com.
Of course, if you are struggling with any of these issues mentioned above, you need not wait until the specific sessions are offered to get the help you need. As a Pastor, I am willing to make myself available to help you sort through the issues you may be facing, so that rather than struggling alone in silence you can find the mental, emotional and spiritual healing you need.
We look forward to ministering to you, and pray that you may discover the comfort, wisdom and strength God provides.
May God bless you,
News came yesterday morning that Allan Ironside, a man loved and respected by all who knew him, had passed into eternity. He was a faithful servant of Christ, having spent decades of service as a missionary in India, and he was a beloved friend to our family. His brother Gordon Ironside was our pastor growing up, and so from boyhood I fondly remember the times he and his wife stopped in to visit. Since we first started here in Kindersley, it was a tremendous encouragement to know he was praying for us, and it was a tremendous blessing to have him come and speak to us. The messages he gave still resonate with us, whether it was him giving his testimony at Men’s breakfast or speaking during special meetings. Our kids greatly loved him, and we were blessed that he was able to come and dedicate three of them to the Lord. We knew he had not been well, and had hoped to stop in to see him last fall, but our family caught a cold a few days before we were to pass through and so did not want to pass that along to him. We would have loved to have spent just a few more hours with him, and so while we are happy for him - that his race is run and he is now with his Saviour - we mourn his loss and will greatly miss him.
In this time, however, I recall something he used to say – that as Christians, we never say goodbye, only goodnight – and that whenever he would have to part from his students in India he would say “Goodnight! See you in the morning!” That is the hope we have as believers; parting is not forever, that one day we will all be reunited in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, whether it be when we each have our turn to pass through the gates of death, or whether it be on that glorious morning of the resurrection, when Christ returns for his own, as spoken of in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18:
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
Thus, were he able to hear me, I would say to him, “Goodnight, old friend. Thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for your friendship. See you in the morning!”
“… Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13,14
As the new year dawns, we are each confronted with a choice as to what our attitude will be as we face 2017; we can meet the new year with hope, anticipation and optimism or fear, dread and pessimism. The latter response generally comes from looking backward, seeing only the struggles and disappointments of the past year and assuming things are going to be the same if not worse. The former response, however, comes as we focus, not on the disappointments of the past, but the possibilities of the future. With such an attitude, the New Year becomes a new beginning, a fresh start.
As we enter this new year, we need to purpose in our hearts that since we are no longer in 2016, we should no longer be living in 2016. The successes of the past year do not ensure success for this year, nor do the failures of the past year make failure a certainty this year. We don’t have to carry guilt for past wrongs into the new year; we can come to Christ for forgiveness, and by his grace start anew. Furthermore, we need not, and ought not, to carry into the new year the bitterness over those who wronged, disappointed or abandoned us this past year; for our own mental and spiritual health, it is best to let go of those old grudges and show to those individuals the same forgiveness God has shown us. In any year there are lessons to be learned and blessings to be thankful for, but so much of the rest needs to be left behind in the year that was, lest they take away of the blessings and possibilities of the year that could be.
So, as we all look upon the new year, let us forget those things that are behind, and reach forth to those things that are before. As believers, we recognize there to be a calling on our lives, a goal we are to be striving for – to know Christ, to be transformed into his image, and to fulfill his Great Commission. That is where our focus needs always to be, and we must not allow anything to obscure our vision of that goal God has laid out for us. Let us purpose to start anew, to live his abundant life in 2017, and live in hope and expectation for the great things God will do in this coming year.
We spent some time this evening as a family thinking about some of the blessings of the past year, and, as always, once you start counting blessings you always end up finding more than you might expect. So, we wanted to share with you some of those blessings, and testify of God's goodness and faithfulness through the past year:
-Our youngest daughter, Lillian Faith was born, and has brought many smiles
-We as a church began the scriptrue assembly ministry, and were able to assemble more than 10,000 John-Romans, for distribution not only in Canada but in India and the Philippines
-Our daughter Kiersten, upon profession of her faith, was baptized in September
-We had a wonderful time of encouragement and fellowship with other church families during our family vacation in October
-Our second youngest daughter, Adelaide, trusted Christ as her Saviour
-We had the wonderful opportunity to put on a Christmas Eve Service for the residents of Caleb village
Sorry for the delay in posting these; we headed up to Prince Albert immediately after the morning service last Sunday, so I didn't have time to post them before we left. It was a great day of working and having fellowship together, and with help from Pastor and Mrs. Friesen from Saskatoon we were able to put together about 2500 John and Romans to send to India; we will be continuing to produce more Kannada John-Romans in the weeks to come; our next Scripture Assembly Workday will be Saturday, July 16th.
Starting the Collating
Getting set up for Stapling
All Tired Out!
We are greatly looking forward to this Saturday, as Brother Phil Smith and his wife Hilda, representatives from Bearing Precious Seed Mobile Ministry of Vision Baptist Church in Leduc Alberta, will be making a stop in Kindersley, and we will be spending the day with them at the church assembling what we refer to as "John-Romans" - copies of the Gospel of John and the Epistle to the Romans form the Bible, printed together in booklet form. All the booklets are marked editions, with a list of various verses underlined, so that anyone reading along can have God's plan of salvation clearly laid out to them. These booklets have been distributed in many places throughout the world, and have been very effective tool in getting God's words into people's hands so that they might have the opportunity to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for their own personal salvation.
We have had Brother Smith come a couple times before, and greatly enjoyed the time of work and fellowship. This time, is going to be a bit different, for two reasons:
First, this time we will be assembling John-Romans that are in Kannada, a Dravidian language spoken by people of South India, into which the scriptures have just recently been translated. These John-Romans we assemble will then be shipped over to India to missionaries for them to distribute. So, we are excited to be able to help our brothers and sisters in Christ on the other side of the world, and pray that the scriptures we assemble would be used of God to bring many individuals to a saving knowledge of himself.
Second, while in times past Brother Smith has come for the day and we assemble as much as we can for only that day, This time he will be leavign some of the equipment behind so that we as a church can continue to assemble scriptures through the year to come.
Thus, I am pleased to announce that Redemption Baptist Church in Kindersley is going to become a partner with Bearing Precious Seed Ministries. We are not a big church, but we have never wanted our size to limit what what we can do as a church family, and we wanted to find a ministry which we can all be a part of. That is one of the great blessings of the Scriture Assembly Ministry, that people of all ages can participate. In times past, we have had children from age 6 to seniors in their 80's helping to collate and staple, and it has been a great encouragement and blessing to all. Many might feel that there is very little they can do at their stage in life to be a part of the ministry of reaching people for Christ, but this is a very tangible way that they can be a part. Thus, by taking this on, we as a church want to provide people with that opportunity, and we look forward to the time spent together.
We will be working away on this specific project through the year, but in time to come we hope to work on many other projects as well. Currently, Bearing Precious Seed has printed Scriptures in not only English and Kannada, but also in Spanish and Tagalog (a Filipino language), and they are working to have even more languages available. We figured in future we would be able to assemble and send John- Romans to Missionaries we know in the Phillippines and Mexico, and we also thought it could be a way we could be a blessing to the Filipino Community here in Kindersley.
So, if you wanted to help out in with this minstry, or were wanting some John- Romans to read or distribute yourself, feel free to contact us.
As mentioned in the previous post, we are currently in the midst of a series on Bible Worldview, and I wanted to take a moment to speak on why we are going through this study, and why I hope that it will be a real help to you in your daily life.
One's worldview, obviously, is how one views the world in which we all live. It is founded upon basic assumptions of what is true, and it affects how one approaches and lives in this world - one's views of right and wrong, one's values, one's purpose in life that they seek to fulfill. Understanding this principle helps us to understand each other; we think and act differently because we have differing world views, and so understanding the lens through which we each view the world helps us to understand where we are each coming from.
Now, since our worldview is founded upon basic assumptions of what is true, it is essential that we know what the truth is, otherwise the very basic principles by which we govern our lives will be fundamentally flawed. Imagine if, based upon your worldview, you spent your life in the pursuit of a goal which you were certain would provide you with fulfillment in life, only to find that it was an empty pursuit? Or imagine, you were part of a cause which you were convinced was to the benefit of humanity, only to discover that many were harmed by the cause to which you so dedicated your life? You would say, 'If I had only known, I would have done things so differently." Your worldview, in a sense, is an equation for life; and what information you plug in to the equation are going to affect the outcome of your life; if you plug in the wrong information, you are going to have a wrong outcome. Thus, it is important to ask, am I seeing the world as it truly is, or are some of my basic assumptions wrong? How can I know that I am plugging the right information into the equation?
That is what brings us to the importance of having a Biblical Worldview. The Word of God, we recognize, is absolute truth from cover to cover; it was given to us by the inspiration of God to help us understand the world in which we live and to enable us to navigate our way through it. As well, as we look into the scrip trues, we understand that the world in which we live is very much under the power and influence of the Devil, who is described as "the father of lies" and the one who "deceive the whole world" (John 8:44; Revelation 12:9). The Devil's intention is to blind men from the truth, in the hopes that they might never come to salvation (2 Corinthians 4:3,4). To accomplish this, he wants to convince that what the Bible says is false and untrustworthy, and he wants to replace the true narrative of the Bible with a false narrative.
Since we live in this world, and are constantly bombarded by his lies, we can easily make assumptions which are false - concerning our origins, concerning our purpose on this earth, concerning right and wrong, and concerning God and eternity. For instance, if we have a false view of God, or we falsely believe there is no God at all, that is going to affect a lot of how we live our lives. As well, many of those false assumptions can have eternal, devastating consequences - if we spend our lives thinking there is no eternity to prepare for, or that we can rely on our good works to get us to heaven, and we then enter eternity finding that all our assumptions were false, it is then too late to make the necessary corrections. The Devil, through his deceptions, hopes to keep us in bondage so as to bring us into destruction. But as Jesus himself declared, if we know the Truth, it will set us free (John 8:32).
In our series of studies on various aspects of this topic, we are thus endeavouring to identify what are false assumptions, and then get down to what the Bible says to be true. In this, we recognize that not only do we need to have a Biblical Worldview, we need to have a balanced Biblical worldview. The thing is, a lot of people can take one verse or one thought out of the scriptures, and use it to justify all manner of behaviour for which the Bible, taken as a whole provides no such justification .
Some of these are not that serious - for example, one might read Genesis 1:29 & 30 and declare that God's Word says we should all be vegetarians; however, after the events of the flood we find God's declaration that we are now to eat meat as well (Genesis 9:3).
Unfortunately, there are others that are much more serious. For instance, we find that Augustine, in his writings against the Donatists, used the phrase "compel them to come in", found in a parable given by Jesus in Luke 14, as justification for the use of force and the threat of pain to compel people to come into the Church.1 Now, today we would recognize that to be a completely outrageous interpretation of that text, but since Augustine's teachings have been held in high esteem by both Catholics and Reformers alike, we find that this, along with various other errors that Augustine taught, to have been carried through many centuries of church history to the shame of Christianity as a whole.
Thus, it is so important that, in studying the Bible, we are carefully in our interpretations and applications of its truths. We need to get the full picture, and not just use certain verses, devoid of their context to prove ourselves to be right and others to be wrong. As well, we need to be able to recognize when we may have an unbalanced view, and make the necessary corrections.Sometimes we get an unbalanced view simply by putting more emphasis on something than the scriptures warrant. At other times, we can get an unbalanced view by reacting against a false or unbalanced view of the scripture; in veering away from one ditch of error, we end up falling into another. The Devil wants us as believers to be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, but we instead need to become grounded in the truth. It takes time to study things out fully, and it takes humility and a teachable spirit as well - we need to be able to accept that some of our basic assumptions might be wrong, and not allow our hurt pride to lead us to double down on arguing in favour of what is actually error. Ultimately, we as believers want to have the Bible as the final, infallible authority in all areas of our lives; we want our faith to be put into action, and we want God's word to truly be a lamp to our feet, and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105).
So, in our Bible Worldview Series, I've attempted to provide as comprehensive and balanced view of what the Bible declares to be true on various subjects - the world in which we live, God, man, sin, salvation. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to click the e-mail button on the right, and I will be glad to respond. Until next time, God bless.
On behalf of Redemption Baptist Church, I want to thank you for visiting our site, and for the interest you have shown in our church. I thought it would be good have a means by which I can share with you what we are up to as a church, as well as share some thoughts with you, which I pray will be a help and encouragement to you, at whatever place you might be in life.
I am hoping to have this page set up in such a way that it will facilitate and encourage discussion, so that if you have questions I can do my best to answer them. I once attended a church in which immediately after the main service they had Sunday School classes, one of which was for sermon discussion. I found it to be a really edifying time, in which it helped everyone there break down what was said in the message so that they could better apply it to their lives in the week to come. Now, at this point in our history as a church, the logistics of having such a time after the main service are not presently feasible, but it is my hope that for the present, this blog could serve in that role. So, if you had questions or thoughts you wanted to share with me, feel free to click the e-mail button on the right, and I will be glad to respond to you. If you want, I can then post our discussion on this page, but if you would rather it just be a private conversation between you and I, that's fine as well.
Now, as we begin, I just wanted to share with you a bit of what we have been up to lately in terms of Bible Studies and Sermon Series, all of which you can check out under the Audio Sermons page.
For some time now, I have been giving a series of Bible Study messages which are essentially Bible Institute courses. Part of my job as pastor is to edify and equip the saints, and thus, with each of the series we have gone through, my purpose is to provide you with the tools you need so that you can study out the Bible for yourself and rightly divide the word of truth. There is such an abundance of teaching out there today, and it is so hard sometimes to discern who is speaking the truth and who is teaching false doctrine. Now, I am not at all trying to say that I have the corner on the truth, and that I have got it all figured out; I am still learning as well. Nevertheless, I want to enable you be able to study God's word for yourself, so that, as the Apostle Paul wrote "Your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." - 1 Corinthians 2:5
We have thus far gone through three such studies:
Principles of Biblical Interpretation, in which we recognize the basic rules which govern the proper interpretation of the scriptures;
Bible Overview, in which a brief synopsis of each book of the Bible is given to help you understand what is going on in that book; and
Our current study, Bible Worldview, in which we, based on faith in the Bible as absolute truth from cover to cover, seek to get a full understanding of the world in which we live from God's perspective. I will be speaking more on this study in future blog posts, but I hope it can be helpful and thought provoking to you.
Well, I had better go for now, but I look forward to conversing with you in the weeks to come!