A Word From Steve Jones
October 14Th, 2019
Dear Pastors, Missionaries, Chaplains and friends,
Steve here…Easter is approaching. In my opinion it is the most significant time of the year to share Christ. Although there is a lot of indifference to faith issues in our society, at the same time there seems to be a lot of interest in spiritual things. Easter is one of the best times of the year to scratch where many in your community are itching.
I remember reading several years back that the miniseries, “Jesus” was the first TV show to top the ratings over the hit “Who wants to be a millionaire.” I watched that miniseries. Later, that same evening on “Larry King Live”, he had guest Deepak Chopra promoting his new book “How to Know God.” Larry announced tomorrow’s guest as Billy Graham’s daughter, Anne Graham-Lotz, promoting her book, “Just Give Me Jesus.” At the same time nine of the ten top grossing Hollywood films at the time all had spiritual overtones or supernatural themes (often evil spiritual themes). Some have said North America is experiencing a spiritual revival, however, this is the first time the Church has not been leading it.
There is no lack of spiritual hunger or thirst. People by nature are continuing to seek at least three things in an attempt to satisfy their spiritual cravings:
We are all looking for transcendence—that marvelous sense of wanting to know God, the mystical, the reverence, the divine. We wish to solve the dilemma of the God-shaped vacuum in our heart that only God can fill and satisfy. Jesus’ core message appeals to the transcendent. Mark 1:15(NLT) states, “The kingdom of God is near! Turn from your sins and believe this good news!” Jesus assures us we can know God. He made sure of that at the Cross. In the movie “Forest Gump”, Forest is watching a Bob Hope Christmas special on television with his commanding army officer. Lt. Dan asks Forest, “Have you found Jesus yet, Gump?” Forest is a simple man who answers, “I didn’t know I was supposed to be looking for him, sir.” People are looking but will they find it in Jesus? Tell them. Show them this Easter.
Everyone needs a purpose for living—to have a reason to get out of bed each morning. Jesus addresses this in Mark 1:17 (NLT) saying: “Come, be my disciples and I will show you how to fish for people!” A pastor was on a plane talking to his seat-mate, a CEO of a Fortune 500 Corporation. He was a poster-child for the American dream. The pastor shared that his life’s work was to passionately share the love of Christ and connect people to Jesus and their incredible potential in Him. The CEO’s response was, “I would give anything to do something so meaningful!”
Lastly, everyone needs someone. We need to be connected into meaningful relationships. The Church offers this to a world yearning authenticity. Even Jesus needed a small group of twelve.
The Trinity represents these three needs:
1. The Father calls us to know Him which satisfies our need for transcendence.
2. The Son’s commission offers us significance.
3. The Holy Spirit’s comfort draws us into community.
We can offer all of this. The very yearnings, deep in the hearts of the dear people in our cities, towns and neighbourhoods can be satisfied this Easter. Let’s all ask the Lord for one individual with which to share these truths this next week. That’s a dangerous prayer. One God loves to answer.
Have a blessed week,
Dear Pastors, Missionaries, Chaplains and friends,
Steve here…Without access to my reading glasses, I’m in trouble. I feel blind. That’s why I’ve got a couple in my office and four cheap pairs sitting around the house. I need to find a pair anytime I need to read something. Clarity in my vision is essential if I’m going to be able to read.
The same is true in life. It’s also true in ministry. If my “vision” of a preferred future is “clear”, I’m going to be able to “read” the times with greater clarity, greater accuracy.
We’ve sought to do this over the past year at The Fellowship. Recently, the Fellowship’s National Council approved and gave assent to three directional documents which give greater clarity and direction to the future of the national Fellowship’s three departmental ministries: Fellowship International, Fellowship French Mission and Fellowship Chaplaincy. I encourage you to go to our website at www.fellowship.ca and read them for yourself. They are brief two-page documents that spell out the mission, vision and values of these ministries. The next winter edition of our National magazine, Thrive (formerly The Evangelical Baptist) also features and explains these three directional documents.
The Fellowship’s Vision
I recently met with some Fellowship leaders, including all our Fellowship Regional Directors to continue the work of preparing an overarching directional document for our entire Fellowship of churches, regions, national and international ministries. This is no small task as you can imagine. Please pray for your Fellowship leaders as we complete this important task in 2013.
We retrieved information from hundreds in our Fellowship family throughout 2012 related to the formation of this document. Four different surveys (January-March 2012) were sent out to hundreds; focus groups were held throughout the country asking about and discussing mission and vision (March-June 2012), and a brainstorming exercise occurred at Fellowship 48 (National Convention, November 2012) where delegates got into small groups to discuss the “values” of our Fellowship movement.
All this information (there was a lot of it!) was synthesized and has become the ingredients toward the formation of a single page directional document for our entire Fellowship movement. Pray for your leaders as they prayerfully consider the preparation of this document. I hope to unveil it in the next year as it goes through several stages in its formation process.
Why is this important? Because clarity of vision is essential if we’re going to effectively proceed forward in mission. This document will clarify our vision and shape our identity as a mission organization.
I hope you’ll click on the attachments or go to the Fellowship’s website and spend 10 minutes reading over the three new directional documents for the Fellowship’s international, Francophone and Chaplaincy Ministries. Thanks.
Have a blessed week,
(For your convenience click on the button below to read the documents)
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Dear Pastors, Missionaries, Chaplains and Friends,
Steve Jones here…I thought I would give you an update on our Fellowship’s annual Project 2013: Back to the Future. Our project celebrates the 50th Anniversary of our Fellowship International ministry (1963-2013).
To date, the Fellowship family (churches and donors) have given $67,354 to the overall project goal of $300,000. We praise God and thank His people for their generous and faithful giving. However, our goal will only be achieved if many more of our Fellowship churches partner with us.
May I encourage you to consider hosting a “Back to the Future” Sunday in the next several months. Please contact us at: 519-821-4830 firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to help you host such a special Sunday. A brief downloadable video is available on our website at www.fellowship.ca and we can send you brochures to promote this project offering
You can designate to one or more of the five foci that make up this year’s “Back to the Future” project. Just clearly specify which foci/focus you which your gift to be designated towards.
Let me take a brief moment to explain the five foci of our annual project which will bless ministries in India, Colombia, France, Japan and the Congo.
Fellowship International missionary appointees, Raj and Kim Vannadil, are preparing to carry on the training and equipping of national leadership within India through LeadersFor. Project 2013 funds will be used to launch the Vannadils into this strategic ministry, and provide resources for establishing a new LeadersForproject in South India.
The Church Association in Colombia, blessed with trained and capable leaders thanks to decades of ministry by Fellowship International personnel, is now preparing to begin their own missionary movement. Project 2013 funds will be used as seed money to launch this Colombian-grown missionary sending movement.
God has given Fellowship International missionary, Guy Leduc, a passion for carrying the Gospel onto university campuses. Along with his background as an engineer, archeologist, and apologist, as well as his expertise in the areas of science and creation, Guy has gained much respect in intellectual circles and among non-Christians. Our team in France has become more convinced than ever of the need to use modern media to provide the church with Guy's presentations and resources to enable them to more quickly and effectively take this unique presentation of Biblical truth into the wider community. Project 2013 funds will be used to prepare, reproduce, and distribute videos in the French language. These materials will be used throughout France and the francophone world.
Fellowship International missionaries have been church planting in Japan for decades and Project 2013’s church planting focus will assist in three areas. The March 2011 earthquake and subsequent tsunami which struck and killed thousands of people in eastern Japan provided the Fellowship (through FAIR) opportunities for the love of Christ to be expressed through relief, rehabilitation and rebuilding. On a spiritual level,Project 2013 will provide funds to assist in the planting of two church plants in the hardest hit region. In addition to these plants, Project 2013 will also provide funds in Tsukuba to assist in the completion of the church building and grounds.
The Democratic Republic of Congo, one of our newest fields, is where Richard and Brenda Flemming are involved in ministry. They have noted first-hand the poverty gripping this nation brought on by years of war and political unrest. The Congolese, for the most part, make their living off the land—a land that is generous during rainy season and stingy the rest of the time. Most farmers work at a subsistence level and have few tools, next to no equipment, and no resources to change that reality. Project 2013 funds will be used to purchase cattle, land and a farm vehicle to assist families within the Baptist Church Association.
I encourage you to visit the Fellowship website to find more detailed information about the project and also to watch the Project 2013 video [CLICK HERE].
My hope is that many within the Fellowship family will seek to celebrate our Fellowship International’s 50th Anniversary by hosting a special offering in the next four months. God bless you as you give.
We are also bringing the celebration to you! Several Fellowship International Celebration Events have been planned across Canada. Please consider obtaining a ticket and come to the celebration event closest to you (click the associated link for event details):
April 6 West Park Baptist, London ON CLICK HERE
April 12 Calvary Baptist, Oshawa, ON CLICK HERE
April 19 West Highland Baptist, Hamilton, ON CLICK HERE
April 28 Crossfield Baptist, Crossfield, AB CLICK HERE
May 3 West Edmonton Baptist, West Edmonton, AB CLICK HERE
May 10 City Centre Baptist, Mississauga, ON CLICK HERE
To be announced Halifax, NS CLICK HERE
(Note: Events were previously held in the Fellowship Pacific and AÉBÉQ Regions)
You’ll enjoy an evening of looking back and looking forward to Fellowship International’s ministry via video, missionary testimony an offering for Project 2013 and refreshments.
I hope to see you at one of these events. Contact us for a ticket.
May the Lord bless and keep you this week.
Dear Pastors, Missionaries, Chaplains and friends,
Steve here…I just spent this past weekend speaking at our Fellowship Prairie Region’s Pastors and wives retreat in Canmore, Alberta. It was a joy for Marilyn and me to be with some really choice servants. One of my messages focused on Jehovah-Rapha. The Lord is a God who “heals”. Praise God.
I have been recently praying for some in our Fellowship family who are struggling with significant health issues. Illness seems to be so prevalent among the leaders in our Fellowship. Some of the stories are heart-breaking. Today, I want to leave you with a heart-warming story of one of our pastors, Andrew Gordon. Andrew pastors Chartwell Baptist Church, Clarkson Village in Oakville, ON. He has undergone a significant year of illness, healing and convalesces. We brought him to your attention for prayer via our Thursday “Fellowship Happenings” email several months ago.
Recently, Pastor Andrew sent an update praise letter to his church family and friends. I found his letter so insightful, honest and uplifting that I asked Andrew if I could share it with you today. He graciously gave me permission.
I encourage you to read the letter in the attachment… it will warm your heart. For those in our Fellowship family who are not well or know someone struggling with their health, my desire is that Andrew’s letter will bring you hope today.
Have a blessed week, Steve Jones (click on file below to read this letter)
Dear Pastor, Missionary, Chaplain and friends,
Steve here…Historically, every spiritual awakening began with a movement of intercessory prayer that precipitated the church being renewed and scores of people coming to Christ. If this is actually true, why aren’t we praying?
A.T. Pierson said, “Every step in the progress of missions is directly traceable to prayer. It has been the preparation for every new triumph and the secret of all success.”
The word “intercession” is a compound word made up of two Latin words: inter (between) and cedere (to go). An intercessor is a “go between”. It is the act of meditation. To stand between a cancer victim and death. To stand between lost soul and Almighty God. Annias was an intercessor (Acts 9). Prompted by God he prayed for the Christian-killer named Saul. And because of his intercession the “scales” fell from Saul’s eyes and he became Paul.
Is intercessory prayer happening in your life or your church? There are no fewer than 11 revival movements in the Old Testament. While each revival is unique, a common factor preceding each revival was God’s people gathered together in prayer. Look at the Biblical record:
∙ Exodus 32-34—Moses took the tent and pitched it outside the camp and required everyone who sought the Lord to meet him there.
∙ 1 Samuel 7:5-6—Samuel required all of Israel to gather at Mizpah where they fasted and confessed their sins.
∙ 2 Chronicles 15:9-15—Asa gathered the people in Jerusalem to enter into a covenant to seek the Lord with all their hearts and with all their souls.
∙ 2 Chronicles 20:3-13—Jehoshaphat gathered the tribes of Judah, and the people fasted and sought the Lord.
∙ 2 Chronicles 23:16ff—Jehoiada made a covenant with all the people, that they should be the Lord’s people. They then proceeded to cleanse the land of evil.
∙ 2 Chronicles 30:5ff—Hezekiah and the leaders established a decree requiring all the people to gather for the celebration of the Passover. Fourteen days were devoted to seeking the Lord.
∙ 2 Chronicles 34:31-33—Josiah gathered the people to enter into a covenant with the Lord to walk in all His ways.
∙ Ezra 6:16-22—Zerubbabel led the people in seven days of separating themselves from the impurity of the nations and pledging themselves to seek the Lord.
∙ Ezra 8:21-23—Ezra proclaimed a fast at the River Ahava for the people to humble themselves, put away their sins, and seek the Lord.
∙ Nehemiah 8-10—The people assembled in front of the Water Gate where the Law of Moses was read by the hour, and an agreement was made in writing to put away sin and to seek the Lord with all their hearts.
∙ Joel 1:14; 2:12-17—Joel gathered the people to return to the Lord with all their hearts with fasting, weeping and mourning. They were required to rend their hearts and not their garments.
I came across an email sent to me, posted by Pastor Kevin DeYoung (November 17, 2011) on “How to have a church prayer meeting?”. I thought it might be an encouragement to you.
“A little over a year ago our church began devoting one Sunday evening service a month exclusively to prayer. Honestly, I wasn’t sure it would take. But a year into the switch I think our people are growing to appreciate the prayer service more and more. We don’t get everyone to come back for prayer, but it’s roughly the same size we get for our regular Sunday evening service (around 125 people, or about a quarter the size of Sunday morning).
Here are seven things we’ve learned about having a church prayer meeting.
1. Pray. Don’t make your “prayer meeting” a time for five hymns, a short message, sharing requests and ten minutes of prayer. Get down to business and pray.
2. Start on time and end on time. This may not be true for every culture, but in America (and Canada) punctuality helps. People know what to expect. We will pray together for one hour.
3. Plan. If you are praying with a few mature, seasoned pray-ers, you may be able to get by with little preparation. But leading a church-wide prayer meeting takes, well, leadership. You have to think through what you are going to do. Recently I planned the prayer service around the fruit of the spirit. At other times we’ve prayed for different ministries in the church. We’ve used prayer-books and lots of Scripture. We’ve borrowed from ancient patterns of prayer. We’ve even walked through the building to pray. The point is you can’t wing it with 100 people. You have to prepare.
And once in the meeting, you have to lead there too. Direct people. Get the group back on track. Show your people that this is an important event that has warranted your attention, your passion, and your preparation. If you switch to a prayer meeting because the pastor is tired of preaching every Sunday evening, your people will be able to tell. Make the prayer meeting a priority and plan accordingly.
4. Use variety and break the evening up into smaller chunks. Our prayer services go by quickly because we do several things throughout the evening. We may sing a song (just one or two) as a prayer. We may use a form prayer. We may read a prayer responsively. We may have a time of silence. We may have someone lead in prayer from the front. We may break into small groups for prayer. We do a number of different things over the course of 60 minutes. Usually each piece lasts for 5-10 minutes.
5. Make sure your leaders are there. The prayer meeting won’t fly if the pastor is not behind it. This doesn’t mean the pastor has to be at every gathering of prayer. But if you want to start, prolong, or revive an official prayer meeting, people need to see it matters to the pastors and elders. I usually lead our prayer meetings.
6. Keep the kids. I know that keeping kids in the church service, let alone a prayer service, can be challenging. We do have a nursery for infants and toddlers on Sunday night. But one of the best things about our prayer service is that many children are present. They sit in the small group circles (when we break up into groups) and often contribute with the adults. I can’t tell you how pleased I am when one of my kids prays in our circle. I’m just as pleased that they are seeing prayer modeled by believers from outside their family and from every age group. They get to hear confessions, praises, and supplications just like everyone else. We are teaching our children to pray by having a prayer service. We are also demonstrating that prayer really matters.
7. Keep at it. Prayer is hard work. It is a gift, but also a skill to learn and grow in. Don’t give up if it feels awkward at first or if people don’t show. Be faithful and pray continually.”
Hope this counsel will “spur” many of us to gather God’s people more often for corporate confession and prayer. For God’s glory and our great benefit.
Have a blessed week.
We wish to thank all those who donated Pennies for the Honduras Team! Do you know that all told, pennies raised amounted to $276.00
Little is much when God is in it!
God Bless you all ! -- Honduras Team
Much Thanks to Aerobics First for their donation of these shoes to the Honduras Home! I am sure they will be very much appreciated!
Be sure and thank them personally at the Aerobics First location at 6166 Quinpool Road, Halifax, NS. or visit their web site at