A Word From Steve Jones
January 15th, 2018
Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve Jones here… This week we celebrate Canada’s 149th birthday. That’s right, next year our nation turns 150 years old. Most Canadians think our country is pretty special. Studies commonly indicate that Canada is a nation to which many would like to move. We’re special. Often our identity is based on “not being American.” But are we unique?
Well, ask an American what a toboggan, a toque, or a knapsack are. Ask a Manitoban what a jam-buster, a bumper shine, nips, garbage mitts, or matrimonial cake are. Ask any American what a loonie, a Timmy’s, a two-four, Crispy Crunch, Big Turk, or washroom are and you’ll get a puzzled look. A few months back, I asked a waitress in New Orleans for an extra “serviette” and she looked stunned. So I said, “Oops, I mean napkin.” Ask anyone in Saskatchewan where to find Big Arm Bay, Eyebrow, Elbow, Knee Lake, Arm River, Head Lake, Skull Creek, Bone Creek or Moosejaw, and any good, decent citizen in Saskatchewan will point you the way to the many places in their province named after body parts. Ask an American where Saskatchewan is…well, you know the response.
When astronaut Mark Garneau was a passenger on the shuttle Challenger in 1984, he brought along a puck and hockey stick. Canadian Astronaut Robert Thirsk (2009) brought his copy of “The Hockey Sweater”, by Roch Carrier.
CANADA IS UNIQUE
My point is Canadians have many distinctives dissimilar to other nations – in particular to our “cousins” to the south. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not trying to “dis” the States. I admire much about our closest neighbours. But I’m also grateful for Canada’s unique place in the global neighbourhood.
Compare the national anthems of Canada and the US:
While Americans sing of a “perilous fight, ramparts, rockets, red glare and bombs bursting in air”, Canadians sing of “standing on guard for thee.” Kinder, gentler talk when speaking about defending our nation. The States rank as the #1 nation for military power. Canada is #25, just after the Philippines and Australia.
The USA’s national anthem had its beginnings in 1814 as a poem entitled, “Defence of Fort McHenry”, after an American lawyer witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British ships during the War of 1812. The Americans won that battle.
Canada on the other hand created and decided on its national anthem through a consensus, contests and parliamentarian bills. Kind of sounds Canadian, eh?
The music and French lyrics of Canada’s national anthem were written in 1880 to celebrate St. Jean-Baptiste Day. This day in June is now officially known as “moving day” in Quebec. It wasn’t until 1939 that our country settled on, “O Canada” as our de facto national anthem, and not officially until 1980. It took 100 years. Sounds very Canadian, eh?!
The English lyrics of the Canadian National anthem took longer to land on. A flurry of competitions in the early years of the 20th century came up with many possibilities. I read some of them. It’s interesting to note that God shows up in most of them.
- Thomas Bedford was a medical doctor from Toronto who wrote in 1906:
“O Canada! Our father’s land of old,
Thy brow is crown’d with leaves of red and gold,
Beneath the shade of the Holy Cross…
Almighty God! On thee we call…”
- Ewing Buchan, manager of the Bank of Hamilton in Vancouver wrote in 1908:
“O Canada, our heritage, our love,
Thy worth we praise all other lands above…
At Britain’s side, whate’er betide,
With hearts we sing, ‘God save the King’…”
- Mercy E. Powell McCulloch won a national anthem contest for Collier’s magazine in 1909:
“O Canada! In praise of thee we sing,
From echoing hills our anthems proudly ring…
Lord God of Hosts! We now implore,
Bless our dear land this day and evermore…”
After the failure of 14 bills dealing with the adoption of “O Canada” as our national anthem between 1962-1980, Parliament finally voted to adopt the version written by Robert Stanley Weir, penned in 1927 for the diamond jubilee of Confederation. Well, almost. Later, the government changed three lines from Weir’s original, “O Canada, glorious and free” was changed to “God keep our land, glorious and free.”
Have a wonderful Canada Day celebration this weekend. Thank God that Canada is so unique and blessed. Let’s all gather in prayer that God might once again become central to the hearts of Canadians as we call out to the Lord while singing our national anthem this July 1st… “God keep our land, glorious and free.” Yes, Lord, this is our prayer.
Have a blessed week,
Today we are writing to share the news that Dr. Hal MacBain, one of the founders of the Fellowship, passed into the presence of his Lord on Friday, June 24th. Dr. MacBain would have celebrated his 100th birthday in August.
Dr. MacBain played a critical role in the formation of the Fellowship in the early 1950s and served as its first president from 1953–1954. He later pastored many Fellowship churches, served on the Board of Trustees of Central Baptist Seminary (now part of Heritage Seminary and College), and taught courses in pastoral theology, homiletics, and missiology. He also served as the Foreign Mission Board’s first secretary for seven years. After retirement in 1981, Hal took a number of interim pastorates and was preaching up until his ninetieth year!
Visitation will take place at Ostrander Funeral Home (43 Bidwell Street, Tillsonburg, ON) on Wednesday, June 29 from2:00-4:00 and 7:00-9:00. A celebration service will be held at North Broadway Baptist Church in Tillsonburg, ON (6 North St E., Tillsonburg, ON) on Thursday, June 30th at 11:00, with a light lunch to follow.
Please be in prayer for the MacBain family as they finalize details and remember the amazing man who left an indelible mark on their lives.
We thank and praise the Lord for the vital impact Hal MacBain had within our
Fellowship and the countless lives he impacted for Christ.
Administrative Assistant, Communication
The Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada
(519) 821-4830 x 232 ~ fax (519) 821-9829 ~ www.fellowship.ca
Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve Jones here… Every year in June, after our five Fellowship Regional Conferences are complete, I share with you the current number of local churches that make up the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada. The most recent data is as follows:
· Fellowship Pacific: 96 churches
· Fellowship Prairies: 28 churches
· FEB Central: 276 churches
· AÉBÉQ: 85 churches
· Fellowship Atlantic: 20 churches
· Total: 505 churches
Regional Conference Reports
I asked our Regional Directors to give a brief recap of our Fellowship Regional Conferences this past spring (2016). They are as follows:
FEB Central Regional Conference (April 4-5 2016)
Regional Director Bob Flemming writes:
“Our FEB Central Churches met at Morningstar Christian Fellowship Church in Scarborough, Ontario for our Conference “Recharge”. Our speaker, Dr. Don Carson, carried the conference theme in a study of the parables called, “Why Does Jesus Tell Stories.” His messages were very insightful, inspiring and well-received.
“Ministry reports were done through video presentations by and large. We welcomed 12 new church plants into our Region this past year.
“The Membership-Baptism Issue was addressed in a spot called ‘The Exchange’. Our Fellowship National Council Chair Rev. Doug Blair hosted this time, which included two presentations from Stan Fowler and Réne Frey, and was followed by a Q & A period. This was a very informative time with a good, gracious exchange.”
Fellowship Pacific Conference (April 21-22)
Regional Director David Horita writes:
“Our Fellowship Pacific ‘Impact’ 2016 conference, representing the 96 churches of BC and Yukon was held in beautiful Parksville Baptist Church on Vancouver Island. This was a critical meeting in the history of our Region, as our member churches made a final determination on whether or not to continue with our Partnership 2016 initiative. The initiative was started five years ago as a pilot project to ‘leverage the collective strength of our churches in order to make a God-honouring impact’ in the region. We celebrate the strong 96% vote of affirmation, entrenching a cooperative ministry for the name of Jesus and the growth of His Kingdom.”
Fellowship Prairies Conference (May 5-6)
Regional Director, Mark Breitkreuz writes:
“Our time with pastoral staff from our Fort McMurray church was a real blessing. Four of the five NorthLife Fellowship Baptist Church staff had arrived at our Regional Conference just having fled the wildfires engulfing their city. To see a peace that passes understanding among them was a real gift. A classic case of us feeling more ministered to as we ministered to them.
“Mark Wollenberg from IJM spoke powerfully about our need to come alongside the poor. It was an encouraging reminder and he and his talk were a gift to us.
“The spirit of our Membership-Baptism dialogue was of the Lord. I was humbled to see Jesus on display the way I did through our interaction together. Differences of opinion were present, but we were one in the Lord and committed to not let this divide us.”
Fellowship Atlantic Conference (May 13-14)
Regional Director, Glenn Goode writes:
“Our recent annual conference “The Regional”, was hosted by our Lake Echo congregation. Our leaders’ forum was encouraging and thought-provoking as three of our leaders described their ministry blessings, mission strategies as it relates to discipleship and some of the challenges they are facing in their unique communities.
“Our theme was Disciple Dynamics, with messages related to the practical requirements of the discipleship processes.
“Approximately 75% of our congregations were represented, including our three church plants. The updates from these plants are encouraging – they talked of consistent fruit and the need to expand meeting spaces. Our total number of congregations is now 20.
“A new congregation was voted into the Region, Parker’s Cove Baptist Church, which is located in the lower valley region of Nova Scotia. They are currently in search of a lead pastor.
“Our bi-vocational Regional Director is beginning to transition away from his role due to a change in geography with his other work. This transition will continue until a replacement is named.”
AÉBÉQ (Québec) Conference (June 9-10)
New Regional Director, Louis Bourque writes:
“The theme of our 2016 convention was From Dream to Action. This was my first conference since beginning in my role as AÉBÉQ’s Regional Director. This conference was carefully prepared by a wonderful support team. Two years ago we adopted the new “Vision 2020 Strategic Plan.” We use every opportunity to communicate the vision and encourage our churches with it. As we continue to incorporate this vision into all we do as a Fellowship Region, there has been a unanimous feeling of synchronized action and direction.
“Quebec is the largest missionary field in the northern hemisphere. There is a tremendous and increasing need for the Word of God. While we would like to be able to report that we are winning this territory for Christ, we are encountering hardened hearts and there is a significant battle for the souls of the lost. Despite this reality, our faith grows and we increasingly put our trust in God to move in hearts to bring about change. This is why we dream—we believe that God is infinitely more powerful than the enemy. This is why we incorporate, as part of our vision, the bold prayer made by our forefathers 60 years ago: “May God send His divine rain on the Quebec region”. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers before the throne of Grace.”
Thank the Lord for our Fellowship of churches. We are 505 churches strong… and we’re stronger together!
Have a blessed week,
Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve Jones here… Fathers and mothers are different. I guess that’s why we celebrate them on different Sundays. Moms buy a lot of protective gear. Dads buy band-aids. Moms say, “You worry me too much!” Dads say, “Hey, don’t worry too much!”
Jesus loved like a mother, but taught like a father. Jesus coached by doing. He apprenticed through activity. He mentored by walking with them. They watched Jesus do it. Then they did it with Jesus. And then Jesus watched them do it – sending them out in groups of 72, 12, and 3.
This approach helped the disciples build character and finally finish well.
Years back, I read the news story of a pastor and his family driving along Interstate 94 in Wisconsin, when their minivan was hit by a piece of road debris. A large bracket had fallen off a truck in front of them. The pastor and his wife were up front while their six children rode in the back seats. The bracket hit the van’s gas tank and it burst into flames. The parents survived, one child was injured and the other five children all died on scene.
What became so memorable for me was the parents’ response to their beloved children’ death. It was reported that the mother said to their father:
“This is what God has been preparing us for all of our lives!”
That comment still gives me chills. And I assure you, that kind of response, that measure of trust was not generated at the very point of impact. That kind of CHARACTER had been developing for a very long time. A deep abiding conviction that God can be trusted no matter what happens. It is this kind of character that enables men to finish well.
Joe Stowell has a term for the spiritual apathy he sees in so many men. He calls them “SMO Christians” – Sunday MorningOnly Christians.
The issue is not so much our attendance pattern, but our pattern of behaviour divulging the lack of spiritual passion in our lives. We say one thing, but our actions speak louder than words. And our kids and grandkids are watching.
We’re all prone to wander. To do stupid things we regret. We join the ranks of those who did something inconsistent with everything they said they believed:
The top two things men (fathers) must constantly look out for, if any of us are ever to finish well, are pride and purity. Win these two and much fruit follows.
Boast in the Lord, not in ourselves, and keep our pride in check.
Rather than feeding our thought lives, keep it captive and live a pure life.
Do this and we will come to the finish line and find Jesus greeting us with a smile.
HELP from PROMISE KEEPERS Canada
The Executive Director of Promise Keepers is Kirk Giles. Kirk and his family attend a Fellowship Baptist Church in Ontario. I met with Kirk a few months back. I asked him to briefly tell you about Promise Keepers (PK) and how this men’s ministry might help you and your church:
“Promise Keepers Canada’s mission is to ignite and equip men to have a Godly impact. For the past twenty years, they are most known for hosting men’s conferences that reach approximately 10,000 men in Canada each year. But they also have a great passion to see men strengthened in the local church. As a ministry, they provide leadership training, coaching, workshops, and resources for local churches to access in their efforts to help men become, grow and live as disciples of Jesus. You can learn more about PK Canada by visiting www.promisekeepers.ca .”
In a recent email from Kirk, he mentioned that 52% of Canadian men believe watching pornography is always or usually morally acceptable.
Go online to PK for tools to help men remain humble and pure.
In fact, in May PK launched a first in Canada – a Bible College and Seminary course on Men’s Ministry in partnership with Heritage College and Seminary, one of our three Fellowship Schools.
I encourage you to check out Promise Keepers Canada’s website.
Two thousand years ago Stephen was given a very difficult assignment. He was to preach to a hostile religious crowd and present Jesus Christ to them. His speech was brilliant. But the crowd turned against him.
They picked up rocks and stoned him to death. As the stones hit Stephen,
Acts 7:55-56 tells us:
“Stephen full of the Holy Spirit looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus STANDING at the right hand of God.”
The Bible typically describes Jesus as SITTING at the right hand of God. But for Stephen, Jesus was STANDING. The Lord stood and gave Stephen a standing ovation.
Finish well my friends. Finish humble and pure. And know that once in a while you may even “amaze” Jesus along the way.
Have a blessed week,
Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve here....Last week I was traveling through Alberta and Saskatchewan on a Western tour of our churches. We dropped in to Bonnyville Baptist Church in Bonnyville, Alberta and saw something extraordinary.
Pastors Dave McClain and Ben Smith, church staff and members and community volunteers have been caring for the hundreds of Fort McMurray evacuees that have wound up in Bonnyville these past few weeks. In fact, the church has become the central hub of all relief services been given to evacuees in the region.
I had the opportunity to speak with several of those who have been receiving assistance from the church while I was there. The outpouring of support and care displayed by this church has been an extraordinary witness both to the evacuees and the broader Bonnyville community that is watching.
One young mother of two children told us of how she lost her home to the fire. She spoke so highly of the care, love and support she had received from our church in Bonnyville and even mentioned her desire to move to this community and church because of the support given to her. I also met Roger and Jane who attend our Fellowship Church in Fort McMurray, and had been enjoying the care provided by their sister church in Bonnyville while waiting to return home.
They were so grateful and were looking forward to getting back to their home in Fort McMurray and to be part of our NorthLife Fellowship Baptist Church family's plans to minister to the city!
I asked Pastor Dave to share a little about what has been going on during the past few weeks as the church family has ministered to thousands of Fort McMurray evacuees:
Imagine you have just been told that you have a half an hour to leave town because a fire is threatening to destroy everything around you – including your house. You cannot go home, you cannot fill up with gas and you cannot stop to even get a change of clothes. Just go – and do it now!
This is the real-life story for tens of thousands of people from Ft. McMurray, Alberta. They had to drive through the heart of the fire in bumper-to-bumper traffic with no idea of where they were going. The lucky ones who had enough gas wound up in Edmonton where assistance was available. Others had to sleep on cots in the closest community centers, sleep off the side of the road or even abandon their vehicle and catch a transport bus to who-knows-where.
The town of Bonnyville became a destination for over a thousand evacuees – and Bonnyville Baptist Church was the first of many organizations in the area to respond. The church immediately got word out that we were collecting needed items for the large crowds. In the rush, many weren’t able to even grab toothbrushes or a change of socks. The next day we were contacted by the town Mayor and provincial relief agencies who told us they had two semi-trailers filled with supplies. The high school principal offered the school gym for storage while items continued to be distributed from the church. Our church’s quick response to the crisis put us ahead of the official agencies and prompted the Province to make us the official distribution hub for the whole Lakeland area.
Ben Smith, an Associate Pastor at the church, coordinated the hundreds of volunteers, the collection and storage of items, and their distribution. Within two weeks seven semi-trailers of urgently needed items were distributed and the church coordinated free housing for up to 300 people. We served hundreds of meals and coordinated activities (bouncy castles and games) for the displaced kids. Dozens of local businesses assisted us by providing shelving, gift cards, food, underwear, and numerous other things.
The hundreds of stories we have heard in the last weeks are heartbreaking. Grown men and women alike are often in tears as they share their frightening account of what they experienced. Yet we are convinced God has placed our church in this setting and at this time to use this tragic event to show the love of Christ to the evacuees and the Bonnyville community that is watching us. It has been incredible to see God’s love in action and the bridges it has created are unprecedented.
As these people start returning home the needs will be great there as well. NorthLife Church in Ft. McMurray is already planning to assist those returning to a town whose food, clothing and services have been severely disrupted. Many who have lost their homes will need places to stay and support for basic living needs. NorthLife is working with the Fellowship National office to help these people readjust to an uncertain future. I am confident that NorthLife will experience the same opportunities for building bridges and sharing Christ’s love that we have had in Bonnyville. I invite you to take part in helping by donating to the Fellowship National Ft. McMurray Wildfire Relief appeal.
You'll note that Pastor Dave encourages us to give to the current Fellowship "Alberta Wildfire Appeal”. I would also echo that challenge and encourage everyone to send a gift so that NorthLife Fellowship Baptist Church in Fort McMurray, might be able to minister effectively and generously to their community. The Fort McMurray evacuees began to return home this past weekend. Our donations are needed now. Much planning has occurred which will start to be executed in the days and weeks ahead. Thank you for giving generously.
I recently heard from the pastoral staff of NorthLife, reporting that their church members have been meeting Sunday mornings in locations in Edmonton and Calgary. Approximately 50-75 members have been seeking to meet for encouragement and prayer.
Please keep praying for Pastor Les Somers and his team as they prepare to minister to the community in Fort McMurray. Also pray for the financial needs of the church — imagine not receiving the regular weekly offerings for a month in your local church while looking forward to reaching the great needs the church family and surrounding community.
Our Fellowship churches and donors have given $120,496 to date. Thank you!
To find out more about the Fellowship’s Alberta Wildfire Appeal or to donate, click HERE.
God bless you as you pray and give.
Have a blessed week,