A Word From Steve Jones
May 14th, 2018
Dear Prayer Team,
Happy New Year!
Please find attached a copy of my January – March 2018 Prayer news.
Thank you for your ongoing support. Blessings, Steven Jones
Steven Jones, President
The Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada
(519) 821-4830 ~ fax (519) 821-9829 ~ www.fellowship.ca
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Remember the occasion when David introduced the Ark back into Jerusalem. What was his response?
He strips and dances before it and one of his wives is disgusted. In her mind his behaviour was not befitting a King.
David’s response is he doesn’t care what she thinks. He even warns he might become even more undignified worshipping Jehovah. Indirectly, he was stating I’m not thinking about you when I’m worshipping God. I’m thinking only of God. If my passion in praise is offensive to you, that’s your problem, not mine.
Now, David did not have the privilege of those New Testament passages that talk about limiting our freedom for “weaker” brethren. Regardless, the principle is sound. As I worship, my first and foremost thought should not be what others think of me, but what God thinks of my heart.
I asked some of our worship leaders what was the thing they loved most about leading God’s people in praise and worship. The thing that makes you smile. Seeing the response of God’s people, what brings you joy….gratitude. Listen to what our “worship prompters” said:
“The thing I love most about leading God’s people in praise and worship is"
…it prepares people for a week in the trenches. Often people come in with the burdens of the week – you can see it on their faces. As we worship, God gives us a bigger perspective. Often we see tears as people reflect on the love and grace of God. As we leave the worship service, we are set for another week... out there in the world!” —Gary Sharpe, Forward Baptist, Cambridge,
“…seeing and hearing God’s people worship together. Whether that is them belting out a Gospel song with passion and unity, or reflecting on Jesus and His cross during communion in silent contemplation. Seeing and hearing people respond to God’s grace is why I do what I do.” —Luke Cuthbert, Summerside Church, London, ON
“…the hush right after a moment that has declared the Holiness, Righteousness, and Glory of the Triune God. There is something about the quietness of God’s people in a moment of awe and adoration that gets me every time. It’s a sacred obligation and trust we have as worship leaders to lead people into the Presence of the Lord.” —Don Salmon, Westney Heights Baptist, Ajax, ON
“…hearing God’s people praise His Name in full-voice, and with full hearts. I can lead an awesome praise team with great guitar, epic drums, and stirring piano, but nothing compares to the people of God, joined in one voice, lifting up the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. That moves my heart in the most wonderful way.” —Daniel Dayton, Emmanuel Baptist, Bloomfield, ON
“…seeing the look on people’s faces when they “get it”. While everyone in the congregation is typically looking at the projection screen or the band, as a Worship Pastor, I often have the privilege of looking out at the body of Christ. There are few things more satisfying to me than pouring my time and energy into thoughtfully planning a Christo-centric service, then stepping back, listening to the church sing praise to God, and watching faces light up as they reencounter the deep love of Jesus Christ!” —Jacob Elliot, Grandview Church, Kitchener, ON
“I love the opportunity to see the transformational power of the liturgy in people’s lives. Whether it is through a corporate prayer, a song, a time of confession, or reciting the apostles Creed – it’s neat to see people respond to the historical and biblical components of corporate worship and be shaped as a body.”
—Paul Turner, Emmanuel Baptist, Barrie, ON
“…playing my part by being able to help our people realize that they haven’t left God’s presence, that in corporate worship we refocus, resettle and readjust our minds and hearts to be aligned with our created purpose, to Love God and enjoy His pleasure for us as we sing, think, pray, and reflect together.”
—Corey Brown, West Park Baptist, London, ON
“…that it is a picture to me of the future, eternity spent in worship and in God’s presence. We have been created for community with one another and with God, and lifting our voices together in song, in prayer, in reading of God’s Word together as we worship, fosters a sense of community and belonging that we simply cannot experience on our own.” —Patrick Timney, Bramalea Baptist, ON
“…being able to encourage, strengthen, and urge each other to fix our eyes on Christ! Worshipping in community has this unique place in our lives which we can remind each other of the Gospel and how it applies to our lives with a freedom that many people struggle to have outside of this setting because of personality, awkwardness, barriers, etc.” —Sarah Quartel, Forward Baptist, Toronto, ON
“…the blessing and privilege to be a part of a biblical calling that God has used and continues to use to help prompt, encourage, focus, and support his people as they raise their songs and prayers together. I’m blown away by the many times and ways that God chooses to use our efforts (despite our weakness) to invade our gatherings with his transcendent glory and transform us for his purposes. It’s an amazing experience to see God at work as His people seek to glorify Him in praise and worship. However the thing I love best is when God chooses to intersect our corporate worship in such a powerful and moving way that clearly has nothing to do with human effort.” —Steve Cottrell, Calvary Baptist, Oshawa, ON
“…seeing Psalm 108 come to pass in our congregation. As the Spirit of God spiritually “awakens the dawn” in people’s lives, I have the privilege of experiencing hundreds of voices raised in praise. I know that I am doing my part in facilitating the worship of God, and the encouraging of people.” —Lee Brubacher, West Highland Baptist, Hamilton, ON
“I love most the moment when we as a church collectively forget ourselves, together enraptured by a tiny glimpse of the beauty of our Lord and Saviour, God and King. To be used by God to effectively point people to Jesus. Worth living for.”
—Ben Smith, Bonnyville Baptist, AB
Praise our great God without any thought of yourself, only the Lord. I’m not suggesting you dance like King David, but I am suggesting you give your all in your next worship service. Consider the joy you might give your worship pastor, more importantly, consider the joy you might offer the Lord!
Have a Blessed Week!
Imagine a tooth extraction under the shade of a tree in 30 degrees Celsius and 100% humidity. A few years back I had the privilege of watching Fellowship International missionaries Oeut and Nhep Pech during one of their mobile dental clinics in rural Cambodia. Professional dental care was administered to dozens of people with the Gospel clearly presented. Several patients received Christ that day. A national pastor was later assigned to visit and disciple these new believers in the hope that a new church might be planted. The Pech’s ministry has been very effective.
Our current FAIR appeal, Brightening Smiles, Winning Hearts, seeks to resource the Pechs to continue their ministry. Let me allow FAIR Associate Director, Norman Nielsen, explain the appeal, the goal, and how you can get involved:
Brightening Smiles, Winning Hearts
Rural Cambodians have little to no access to dental services, making oral hygiene an issue for many. Through Fellowship International missionaries Oeut and Nhep Pech, Cambodians can have access to free dental care, courtesy of FAIR's mobile dental clinic.
While this ministry has focused on providing Cambodians the dental care they so desperately need, it has also taken every opportunity to effectively share the love of Christ with patients and their families. Since arriving in Cambodia in 2007 and launching FAIR’s mobile dental clinic ministry, the Pechs have helped 8,638 patients — 414 of whom have placed their faith in Jesus. Of the students who serve as a part of the dental staff, 54 have come to know Christ. Without the clinic, these people would never have heard the Gospel!
Vong Doeun and his wife Los Horn were among the first patients treated by FAIR's mobile dental clinic when the ministry started in Bosknor, Cambodia. They came to the clinic for dental treatment and, while waiting the prescribed 30 minutes after the procedure, they heard the Gospel for the first time. They invited Oeut and Nhep back to their home and introduced them to the rest of their family. After only two visits, both Vong Doeun and his wife, as well as two of their children, accepted Christ!
Vong Doeun, who had been severely disabled from injuries he sustained in the 1970s during the reign of dictator Pol Pot, became instrumental in the spread of the Gospel in the area of Bosknor. A home-church gathering was held at their home each week until the number of believers exceeded the space available and a church building was built. God used Vong Doeun and his family to expand His Kingdom, displaying His strength through weakness.
Not only has this ministry been instrumental in leading many people to Christ, it has also facilitated the planting of three churches across Cambodia, each of which has a Cambodian national serving as pastor. In this country that has been so ravaged by war, churches are few and far-between. The goal is to plant two new churches in the next few years, a goal which cannot be met unless the Pechs are able to continue ministering through the mobile dental clinic.
FAIR is seeking to raise $80,000 which will go towards purchasing much needed medical supplies enabling rural Cambodians to receive the dental treatments they desperately need and, at the same time, introducing them to Christ. Something so seemingly simple as receiving dental care is having an unbelievable impact on Cambodians. Please prayerfully consider how the Lord would have you respond to this appeal.
Have a blessed week,
Do you remember this historical vision communication?
On May 25, 1961, John F. Kennedy said,
“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”
By July 1969 the vision was completed with Neil Armstrong standing on the moon. Vision must be short, sweet, and memorable. But vision is mandatory if mission is ever to be completed.
While serving as a pastor, I shared “vision vignettes” from time to time. They were brief challenges, stories and parables that succinctly crystallized the vision or mission of our church. Answering, why do we exist:
Here is one of those vision vignettes:
“Let me ask you a question. What is the oldest profession? I know what half of you are thinking right now! You’re wrong. The oldest profession is actually gardening. Adam and Eve began as gardeners and the world will end in an eternal gardened city.
Imagine with me the Church as a garden. The church needs to be a green garden with peaceful spaces where parched people can find rest for their lives. One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 58:11 (NLT): “The Lord will guide you continually, watering your life when you are dry and keeping you healthy too. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.”
People need nourishing green spaces in life to connect with God. But, there is a danger in thinking the church’s mission is to solely be a lush, green garden. A safe green space for people to gather and grow and flourish spiritually. The reality is that we do not yet live in heaven. We live in a fallen world surrounded by sinful people. And unless we tend to our little garden regularly with care, the weeds of this world will invade our garden.
I read W.O Mitchell’s book, “Jake and the Kid”. It’s a story of a twelve year old boy growing up in the Canadian Prairies during the 1940s. There is a line in the book that struck me. It went something like this “The prairie will take over if your backyard don’t fight back.” Our garden is not a playground. It’s a garden we must continually tend and fight for. It’s a green space surrounded by the ravages of war. A spiritual battle that is constantly “fighting back”.
So our mission as a local church is not to build nice, lush, peaceful gardens to protect us from the battle, but, to use our gardens (churches) to prepare us to assult the beaches of our common enemy.
My son Alec, and I, took a trip together to visit the War Memorials, mostly found in France. An awesome experience shared with my boy. We visited the beaches of Normandy where 70+ years ago brave Canadian soldiers stormed Juno Beach.
On D-Day the allies established a beachhead and repelled the enemy further inland. But the War (the work) wasn’t finished in one day. They had another 11 horrifying months before their mission was complete. However, the beachhead on June 6th, 1944 became a “green-space” to rally the troops, re-equip the soldiers and direct the army to continue inland.
This is what I’m picturing when I call the church to be a “well watered garden” (Isaiah 58:11). Not a place to get comfortable and meet my needs; but, a green place, a stopping off point, to get refreshed and prepared to go back out there into the battle and advance the beachhead inland for the sake of Christ. It’s not a playground out there. It’s a war zone where spiritual battle is taking place every day.
I know you know this. That’s why I love you for leading the charge. Spiritual orphans all around us are counting on us to lead the charge forward. Jesus, our Commander in Chief, once said to us, “GO!” (Matthew 28:19)
Leadership author, John Kotter wrote:
“In every successful transformation effort that I have seen, the guiding coalition develops a picture of the future that is relatively easy to communicate and appeals to people. A vision always goes beyond the numbers that are typically found in five year plans. A vision says something that helps clarify the direction in which an organization needs to move. Sometimes the first draft comes mostly from a single individual.”
That individual is you. The leader, in consultation with others. It is the responsibility of leaders to cast vision. It is a dereliction of their duty not to state clearly, simply, often, and memorably…. The preferred picture of the future. Go cast vision!
Have a blessed week,
During my address at our Fellowship National Conference (November 13-15, 2017) I introduced our theme verse for 2018 by reminding ourselves we live in troubling times.
We have a God and Gospel of hope, however our hope is in the context of trouble, and so, we must PRAY! Our theme verse for 2018 is Romans 12:12 (NIV) during our year of prayer:
“Be joyful in HOPE, patient in AFFLICTION, faithful in Prayer”
The following is the last point I made during my FNC address:
“The 17th Century Poet and novelist, John Dunne once told a story of early Spanish sailors who reached South America. They sailed into headwaters of the Amazon River, an expanse of water so wide, so immense, that the sailors presumed it was just the continuation of the Atlantic Ocean. It never occurred to them to drink the fresh water below them for they assumed it was the salty Atlantic. As a result, some of the sailors died of thirst.
“The scene of the men dying of thirst as their ship floated into the world’s largest single source of fresh water is a perfect metaphor for our age: a society thirsty for meaning but dying of thirst, spiritually speaking, because of its head-strong refusal to receive their Saviour.
“We are living in one of the greatest nations in the world… ranked #1 by the UN since 1994. Like other favoured nations we got this way because of the preeminent Christian foundation many of our founding fathers embraced and Christianity flourished for 100 years. (1867-1967). Christian mission and influence still floats everywhere in Canada today, but millions would rather die of thirst than drink from the Living Water. On this, the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, we need to take Luther’s advice and PRAY.
“This is a year of Anniversaries in Canada:
375th Anniversary of Montreal (May 17th, 2017) ($1 billion price tag)
150th Anniversary of Canada (July 1st, 2017 ($500 million price tag)
100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge (April), and it was 100 years ago when the Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings was reconstructed after the great fire of February 1916.
“On July 2 1917, Prime Minister Sir. Robert Borden dedicated the grand new Centre Block. The peace tower is the Centre Piece and is a vibrant symbol of Canadian Values. In the reconstruction, scripture verses were inscribed throughout the Peace Tower.
Over the east window is Psalm 72:8 – “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea”.
Over the south window is Psalm 72:1 – “Give the King thy judgments, O God and thy righteousness unto the King’s son” (KJV)
Over the west window is Proverbs 29:18 – “Where there is no vision the people perish.” (KJV)
And seven more Bible verses are carved into the Centre Block’s Memorial Chamber into the Peace Tower. Scriptures, carved in stone, permanent reminders, accessible for all to see in the very centre of our democracy. I imagine many MPs likely to see this today as politically incorrect in an age of “Charter-values” rather than “Christian Values”. But we must remain vigilant reminding our Nation that permanent peace can only be found in Christ. The largest of the 53 Carillon Bells that ring across Ottawa from the Peace Tower is a 10,000 kg bell, installed in 1927 named the “Bourbon”. On the bell is inscribed Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill to men.” I imagine some of our MPs have plans to melt down the Bourbon Bell. But do not let this dissuade us from continuing to ring loud and clear the Gospel across our nation. Displaying Jesus and the Spirit of Christian love so brightly that people see their Saviour. In my July 1st weekly blog, “A Word from Steve”, I encouraged us to pray for our Nation on our 150th Birthday. You’ll see that prayer on the screen. Would you kindly stand and join me in this prayer. A declaration to love our country back to God:
“A Prayer for Canada
“Father, renew and embolden the Church in Canada to take its rightful place in our nation so that our nation might take its rightful place in the world. Father, help us, your children, to be salt and light in our country. Enable your children to be examples of your grace, mercy and love. Our nation’s greatest need is spiritual renewal. Father, our plea is that You would renew your church, chasten it, revive it again. May your bride become a radiant influence for godliness in our blessed nation. Bend us, break us, do whatever necessary to bring your glory to our shores. For your glory and great good. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Joyful in Hope….
Patient in Affliction….
Faithful in Prayer….
Join me in making 2018 our year of prayer.”
Have a blessed week,