A Word From Steve Jones
January 15th, 2018
By Steve Jones on Jun 28, 2017
Several years ago I got a phone call from an Ipsos-Reid poll, asking if I might complete a short survey on the state of our nation; My opinions on Canada. I said yes.
After 20 minutes, the caller came to the last question, “What do you believe to be the greatest need in Canada today?”
I told her my answer would be something she had not heard from any of her previous (or future) callers. She told me she had heard it all.
I said, “Canada’s greatest need is a great spiritual revival.” That Canadians might turn their hearts and lives back to God through Jesus Christ.
There was silence on the other end. “Has anyone else suggested that yet?”, I asked. She admitted my suggestion was the first she had heard of this need.
The greatest need. But few are talking about it. Even less are praying about it.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY CANADA!
This week we celebrate the 150th birthday of our blessed nation. Most of us will sing our national anthem at least once this week. “O Canada” was proclaimed Canada’s national anthem on July 1, 1980, one hundred years after it was first sung on June 24, 1880. The chorus reminds us: “God keep our land glorious and free!”
However, most of us never get a chance to sing one of our anthem’s less familiar stanzas. The fourth stanza is quite moving:
“Ruler Supreme, who hears our humble prayer,
Hold our Dominion in thy loving care.
Help us to find, O God, in Thee,
A lasting rich reward.
As waiting for the better day,
We ever stand on guard.”
A PRAYER FOR CANADA
The very foundation and calling of Canada, as reflected in our anthem, is a call to reflect the glory and presence of God. May the words of our national anthem, “God keep our land”, be reflected first in the churches of our land.
Father, renew and embolden the church in Canada to take its rightful place in our nation so that our nation may take its rightful place in our 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 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 these shores.
For your Glory, and our great good.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
P.S. Some trivia:
What is the motto of the Dominion of Canada?
The motto of the Dominion of Canada is A mari usque ad mare.
The Latin phrase has two official translations. In English it reads, “From sea to sea.” In French it reads, “D’un ocean à l’autre.”
The phrase, from Psalms 72:8: “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea and from river unto the ends of the earth,” impressed the Fathers of Confederation who adopted it for official use in 1867.
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Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve Jones here… The United Nations declared June 20 World Refugee Day and the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) is encouraging Christians and churches to mark in their calendars the two Sundays (June 18 and 25), falling on either side of World Refugee Day, as World Refugee Sundays.
These Sundays are an opportunity for local churches, small groups, and/or individuals to demonstrate their concern for the welfare and protection of the world’s displaced people.
My recent experience with Syrian refugees
In March 2017 I visited a number of ministries in Lebanon that are ministering to the over one million Syrian refugees that have poured into Lebanon due to the Syrian civil war.
In northern Lebanon we met with Pastor Michel and his team, including Anthony, Melody, Stephanie, Adna and others. Their centre is associated with six Baptist churches in the area and ministers largely to Syrian refugees and Lebanese families. Since the civil war began in neighbouring Syria, many refugees began entering northern Lebanon. Thousands came to the Centre. In 2013-2014, the centre distributed vouchers of $80 USD each month to 825 families, provided for by Lebanese Baptist Churches. With each passing year, their capacity to give has dropped. They currently care for 35 families with a voucher of $60 US each month, along with caring for other families and women through the Centre’s women's ministry. Pastor Michel explained that refugee women are invited to join a friendship group and many have done just that. How encouraging to hear the news that 650 refugee women have come to faith in Christ in recent years through this ministry.
The Centre hosts classes for refugee children and also provides medical and dental clinics, in addition to offering ESL classes. We visited two classes during our visit: one teaching Arabic writing skills, and the other French. Pastor Michel hopes the Centre will soon become a church-plant of the Baptist churches in the area.
We were accompanied by two members of the Centre’s team, Anthony and Melody, as we visited five Syrian refugee families in the immediate area. One family escaped Syria four years ago and now the mother, three sons and a daughter are all living in a small cement block enclosure, farming their small patch of land to make $300 a year selling vegetables. Another family lives in a small cement block building – a husband, his wife and five children – rent-free because they care for the flocks and land of the landowner. We visited three other families living in a triplex strip mall with loads of very young children. The wives of these three families had their papers submitted with the U.N. authorities with hope of sponsorship to France. With each home we visited, a box of food stuffs was presented, the Gospel was shared, and we prayed for the family.
Refugee Highway Partnership Resources
The World Evangelical Alliance and the Refugee Highway Partnership have developed a number of resources for churches to promote and observe World Refugee Day (June 20). Go to Refugee Highway’s >website< for posters, an excellent video and other resources.
Have a blessed week,