A Word From Steve Jones
December 10th, 2018
I recently had one of those moments when I had to carefully re-read an email to discover if I had read it correctly.
One Fellowship church had just sent their entire weekly offerings, for the month of January (2018), to another Fellowship church in need. Grandview Church (Kitchener, ON) sent Ecclesia Church (St. Jérôme, QC) $107,350.70. Yes, you read that correctly.
A few years back, Grandview entered into a partnership with this young church in Québec, an hour north of Montréal. Some of you have heard me challenge you to enter into a “7 x 7 = 1” partnership. Seven partners for seven years to establish one French church plant. In the past three years, 110 partners across Canada have partnered with church plants in Québec. It’s a wonderful story for which we praise God.
A Word from Pastor Bob and Pasteur Jacob
I asked Pastor Bob MacGregor (Grandview) and Pastor Jacob Mathieu (Écclésia) to comment on this recent “love gift”:
Grandview Church sanctuary
“Grandview is one of many churches that have partnered with sister churches in Quebec. Our particular partnership is with Ecclesia in St Jerome. This young congregation stewards a strategically located, but badly rundown, facility in this spiritually-needy city. Their vision and “crazy” faith has reminded our fifty year old congregation what it was like to be on mission for God, a mission that must always be renewed. While at National Conference in November 2017, some of our leaders had breakfast with Pastor Jacob Mathieu. We learned that our partners had grown weary in their good work and that renovations were stalled due to funding. Our elders took it personally and soon found ourselves infected with the same “crazy” faith we saw in them. We announced on Sunday that all offerings received in the month of January would go to Ecclesia. The total amount given was $107,350.70. The announcement was met with tears of joy and shouts of praise in both of our congregations. This is fun!” — Pastor Bob MacGregor of Grandview (Kitchener, ON)
“‘Our elder board voted to give all our January offering to Ecclésia,’ said the Chair of the Mission Board to me over the phone a few weeks before Christmas. ‘That might represent up to $80,000’. That’s when I stopped breathing. ‘We see God moving in St. Jérôme and we want to help you finish your building project.’ Ever since we had started our construction project to transform the old REX theatre into a city outreach centre I had never doubted one bit that it was an amazing opportunity to reach the 10,000 student population that live and study there and much more. However, after two years of fundraising and construction, and still $195,000 to go, many in our church, including me, were starting to get discouraged. That phone call from Grandview was like the voice of Haggai and Zechariah to me and our leadership team: ‘You guys finish the job. This is not a human endeavour: the living God is drawing Québécois to his Son, Jesus Christ!’ I still cannot find the words to praise God for the love He pours in English- and French-speaking hearts towards the lost sheep of Canada. All to His glory!" — Pastor Jacob Mathieu of Ecclesia (St. Jérôme, QC)
I love this story. I wanted you to know about it. This is an example of the Fellowship family working together to advance God’s Kingdom in Canada and beyond. We are stronger TOGETHER. This story models our Fellowship National motto: “SERVE, UNITE, THRIVE”. United together in mission, we serve one another, and thrive in winning the lost to Christ.
My dream has been, since we changed the Fellowship paradigm in francophone ministry in 2015, to see English and French Canadians love one another. We’ve not done a very good job at that as Canadians. But, in Christ, we can model a new way. It has been very gratifying to see so many churches and donors in Ontario, Alberta, and other places enter into Seven year partnerships to see French churches planted in Canada’s biggest mission field, Quebec.
My next Québec Vision Tour is June 4-6, 2018
Join in with Grandview and Ecclésia and enter a partnership with a new church plant. Twice annually I take leaders or donors on a 48-hour “Québec Vision Tour” (QVT). You get yourself to the Montréal Airport and I care for your accommodation, travel, and food for two days traveling to seven to eight French church plants. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will direct you to the church plant He wants you or your church to begin a partnership and growing relationship with over the next seven years.
The next QVTs are June 4-6, 2018 and October 15-17, 2018. Contact me if interested, and I’ll send you more information. Please watch the brief video ( CLICK HERE ) to learn more about joining my next QVT.
Have a blessed week,
Compelled speech, value attestations, and religious rights thrown under the bus seem to be in our Nation’s headlines on a weekly basis these days.
I heard recently on the radio that several doctors lost their bid in an Ontario Court to not be compelled to refer patients for doctor-assisted suicide. In June of 2016, Canada’s MAID law enshrined doctor assisted death as the right of every Canadian. Some doctors fought for the right not to participate nor refer patients to other medical practitioners who would assist in their patient’s death. These doctors lost their fight. The judge admitted their “religious rights” were being violated for the greater good of society. My heart sank.
A Call for Conscience Campaign (February - March)
This should concern us all. Physicians and medical practitioners no longer (at least in Ontario and possibly elsewhere in Canada) have freedom of conscience or religious rights to refuse participation in assisting people to end their lives. Their rights should be defended.
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) with the Coalition for HealthCARE are calling on all people of faith to a “Conscience Campaign”, especially in Ontario, in February and March 2018.
The following plea comes from the EFC:
Today in Ontario:
Physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other caregivers are compelled to participate in euthanasia against their moral convictions, by providing an effective referral for their patients. Euthanasia advocacy groups are threatening court action against faith-based hospitals, nursing homes, and hospices unless they allow euthanasia on their premises. Only a third of the population has access to adequate palliative care, which leaves many without real choice on end of life issues.
Please take the time to review a short, >three-minute video< that introduces you to physicians and nurses who are being forced to choose between their conscience and their careers.
How you can help:
Have a blessed week,
There is a scene in the movie “Gandhi”, where Gandhi, a young lawyer in South Africa, is walking a boardwalk with a white clergyman. Walking and talking together in public was against all proper societal decorum in the Apartheid state. During their chat, a young man accosted them for being together. His mother yells from her upstairs window and the ringleader leaves the two friends alone.
As they continue their walk, the clergyman exclaims their “good luck”. Gandhi is surprised by this view of what just happened and says, “Good luck? I thought you were a man of God.” The clergyman replied, “I am, but I don’t believe God plans His day around me!” The audience around me laughed at the comment. It’s a common attitude that in everyday life, God isn’t really interested in giving us divine guidance in the little stuff of life.
The Bible’s record shares a very different reality. Over and over again we read of God choosing to plan His day around those He chooses.
In one of my favourite passages of Scripture, 1 Samuel 3:1-10, we learn of God speaking to a young boy. Young Samuel lay on his cot in the Temple when he hears someone call his name. He rose and ran to his old master, Eli, thinking he had called him. However, the third time young Samuel comes running to Eli’s side, thinking he had been beckoned by his master, Eli realizes what’s been happening. He tells Samuel to tell the voice, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” And so begins one of the most remarkable relationships our Heavenly Father would ever have with one of His children.
God was heard clearly by an innocent, humble child. God’s voice is best heard by the humble.
Moses probably holds the all-time record for lengthy conversations with God. Why Moses? The possible clue is found in Numbers 12:3 which says, “Moses was very humble, more so than anyone else on the face of the earth”. There is an obvious close connection between his humility and his close working relationship with God. Wisdom literature tells us, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble,”(Proverbs 29:23), while the Psalmist (David) in Psalm 25:9 writes, “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.” Pastor A.T. Pierson was personal friends with C.H. Spurgeon, D.L. Moody, George Muller (wrote his biography), C.L. Scofield, Adoniram Judson and he was the elder statesman of the Student Missionary Movement that influenced thousands of the early 20th Century. He commented on Psalm 25:9, saying:
“Humility is a real preference for God’s Will. Where this holy habit of mind exists, the whole being becomes so open to impression that, without any outward sign or token, there is an inward recognition and choice of the Will of God.
“God guides, not by a visible sign, but by swaying our judgment. To wait before Him, weighing candidly in the scales every consideration for or against a proposed course…. Is a frame of mind and heart in which one is fitted to be guided; and God touches the scales and makes the balance to sway as He will.
“BUT OUR HANDS MUST BE OFF the scales, otherwise we need expect no interposition of His IN OUR FAVOUR.”
What this 19th Century Bible commentator is saying is God’s preferred vehicle of choice in making His Will known, His “still small voice”, is a humble follower of Christ. A believer who displays a meek mind and life. A mindset that God can “sway judgment” or open up to His “impressions” or “tip the scale” and make His voice clear.
God loves to speak to the unassuming, the humble:
Some uneducated fisherman from a back water Roman province who become spiritual Kingdom builders.
God’s tendency is to clearly inform the unpretentious, those who are careful to not tip the scale. The humble hear his voice.
Have a blessed week,
What community in Canada is closed to the church? There are actually many communities in Canada where Christians are not permitted to freely enter and engage with the residents. Have you guessed? They are the police stations, hospitals, prisons, nursing homes, military bases, fire halls, school campuses of our nation.
It is becoming more difficult for clergy to enter these communities to be the hand and feet of Jesus. However, over 70 Fellowship chaplains seek to provide the presence of Christ on a daily basis in these closed communities across Canada.
I recently heard chaplain Garry Francis talk about this reality in his own ministry as a police chaplain. Listen to the special access our chaplains receive in places the church or clergy no longer have the privilege of access.
“As a police chaplain I’m given a badge and an ID card which gives me “access” to people and places that are “out of bounds” for the majority of our population. I consider it an exceptional opportunity and a tremendous honour to have access behind the division/headquarters counters/doors and beyond the “blue line” to access the hearts and minds of the people in those restricted areas.
“Here are some of the places God has opened up and has given police chaplain’s access:
“Here are some of the unique circumstances that police chaplains have access:
Our Fellowship Chaplaincy ministry is home to 72 chaplains seeking to demonstrate the love of Christ in their ministry of presence.
If you are interested in chaplaincy, or know someone who might be, please take a peek at our website at www.fellowship.ca/Chaplaincy and contact Thomas HERE for more information.
Several of our pastors became “volunteer” Fellowship chaplains this past year as a means to be credentialed, so they might access differing closed communities in their neighborhood.
Have a blessed week,