A Word From Steve Jones
december 9th, 2019
He attended the Council of Nicea in 325 AD where he supported the Biblical doctrine of the trinity. There is a rich tradition that speaks of his commitment to Christ despite much persecution and threats of martyrdom.
Stories abound of his compassion and shepherding character that compelled him to love and care for children. He became well known for giving gifts to young children. Gifts that would symbolize God’s ultimate gift…our Saviour.
Nicholas would somehow morph into today’s Santa Claus and largely be forgotten. Born of wealthy parents in 280 AD in the small town of Patara in Asia Minor, his parents died in an epidemic when he was very young. But, they had instilled in Nicholas a strong faith.
He was later made Bishop of Myra and imprisoned for his faith by Roman Emperor Diocletian and later released by Emperor Constantine. Stories abound about his generosity and compassion. He begged for food to feed the poor, gave a girl’s dowry to marry her future husband, but the best known story is the disguise he wore while giving gifts to the poor children. He gave away everything he owned and died penniless.
Poets and writers have written strange things about him. Clement More gave him a red nose and eight tiny reindeer. Thomas Nast illustrated him as big and fat wearing a red suit trimmed with fur. Others renamed him Kris Kringle, Belsnickle, St. Nick, Pelznickel, Father Christmas, Père Noël, Babbo Natale, Kanakaloka, Julenissen, Ded Moroz, Kerstman, and Santa Claus.
But most important Nicholas possessed the self-giving character of Jesus…. Their love would touch the whole world.
We celebrate Jesus, not Santa, at Christmas. We rejoice that our Saviour was born in a cradle to later die on a cross offering all humanity the gift of salvation.
On behalf of the entire Fellowship National staff, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a blessed 2018!
Merry Christmas from the Fellowship National Staff
You won’t receive a “Word from Steve” for a couple of weeks… we will connect once again on January 8, 2018. Happy New Year!
Have a blessed week,
I love movies. I studied film-making while in Art College before I was persuaded, by God’s call into the ministry. Other than the inspirational power of a single extraordinary communicator speaking live and passionately to a crowd, I believe film is the second most powerful communication medium in our world. I’m convinced of its emotive, cerebral, transcendent power.
I watched a movie a year ago which I watched again recently. It was even more inspiring the second time. The movie, Arrival, by French Canadian director Denis Villeneuve, explores so many cool questions about life. WARNING: it’s a Sci-Fi flick, but I encourage you to watch it anyway.
He delves into eternal themes as we “terra firma” creatures grasp our time-bound world. The film got me asking, “How does the majority of our society, as professing secularists, deal with the transcendent and supernatural as they listen to “Joy to the World, the Lord has Come!” while Christmas shopping in their local shopping mall?”
Villeneuve touches on diverse themes such as time, sanctity of life, foreknowledge, and free will. Is reality predetermined? And if I could know the future, would that be helpful or make life a drudgery as I walk, step by step, toward the end?
This is the Advent season. Jesus arrived in a cradle, and played out His role on earth knowing His future. How hard would that be?—forever showing compassion, and kindness to the same ungrateful creatures who would one day nail you to a cross.
There are no Christ-figures in the movie Arrival, but there is Christlikeness. The main character (played by Amy Adams) chooses to sacrifice and love even though she sees the pain ahead. She chooses suffering ahead. In some small infinitesimal way the film alludes to the agonies Jesus must have felt in His incarnation; knowing His suffering awaited, but choosing to show up anyway “for the joy set before Him” (Hebrew 12:2).
Brett McCracken, “Christianity Today” magazine film critic, writes:
“Arrival is a perfect film for Advent, the season when we contemplate the mystery of an eternal God taking on temporal form “in the fullness of time” (Gal. 4:4). It’s a film that helps us approach the incarnation with fresh insight and appreciation, an invitation to revisit a familiar story and consider again the mysteries the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us, a beckoning to go back to Bethlehem and see it with fresh eyes. Who knows? Perhaps, in the words of Eliot, “to arrive where we started / and know the place for the first time.”
I encourage you to read McCracken’s critique of the movie, “Arrival” by clicking > HERE <
Have a blessed week,
I recently attended the Momentum Church Planting Congress in Montreal. Our Fellowship sponsored 53 church planters to be there and take part. Fellowship National hosted a Fellowship Night during the conference and 60 of our leaders showed up. A sweet evening together!
Fellowship National church planters "Fellowship Night" during Momentum
Our Fellowship Regions and churches are currently involved with 35 church plants. There are still others in the gestational phase of being established. God is so good!
First Filipino Baptist Church Multiplication
Back in the early summer I spoke at the 40th anniversary of First Filipino Baptist Church (FFBC) in Toronto. After the morning service we went to a large banquet hall to continue the celebrations. I was surprised to see over 700 people there. They came from multiple churches that have all been birthed from this one church. Honestly, I was blown away! With the help of some of the pastors present, I started to map out the church planting family tree of this one Fellowship Baptist Church on my serviette. I quickly ran out of room. It’s amazing to see, and God gets all the Glory!
First Filipino Baptist Church 40th Anniversary Celebration
FFBC started with four young adults gathering at the foot of Roncesvalles Avenue and Lake Shore Boulevard. during the summer of 1975 in Toronto. The Bible study grew and two years later (May 1977) they formed First Filipino Baptist Church. Their first pastor was Godfrey Catanus who moved to the USA as a missionary in 1982. His brother, Eliezer, became the lead pastor and served 31 years, retiring in 2015.
From 1984-2017, First Filipino Baptist Church planted eight churches out of which nine granddaughter and great-granddaughter churches were born… a total of 18 churches. They honoured the four founding believers at the Celebration Banquet… all still attend the church. Pastor Henry Manansala of North Victory Baptist Church, one of the daughter churches of FFBC sent me the attached Church Plant Family Tree. Take a peek!
Looking at the Church Plant Family Tree above I’m reminded of something my old friend Dr. Roy Lawson used to say: “If that don’t light your fire, your wood is wet!”
First Filipino and its daughters and granddaughters have much for which to thank God. Our Fellowship has much to be grateful for as dozens of new church plants have been established in recent years. Please be regularly praying for our church planters and their young churches.
Have a blessed week,