Encouragement From The Word

Worth the effort

This week, our congregation has hosted Bible Fun Camp, our annual outreach to community children.  It’s been great to be back after a pandemic hiatus.

The amount of work involved, and the number of volunteers needed, to pull off a vacation Bible school is massive.  Even with a solid and user-friendly curriculum, the effort required is still significant.

But when it’s all said and done, we may be weary, but we will always say it was worth the work.  Why?  Because we have had the privilege of influencing children’s lives for Jesus.

I put an ad on Facebook for Bible Fun Camp about a month ago.  The first comment to come on our ad – which circulated to users in a radius of only about 20 kilometres around Nobleton – was from someone who was accusing us of brainwashing children.

While it saddened me to read, I replied to the comment, leaving both the comment and the reply visible for a short time before deleting both.  In my reply, I simply said that yes, we would be ‘brainwashing’ children, in one sense.  Parents, in leaving their children with us for five mornings, were giving us permission to influence their kids for the gospel of Christ.  But in reality, parents have a choice:  they can brainwash their kids with Jesus and his love, or they can leave it to popular culture to influence them instead.

I often say to parents at a baptism that when they take vows to raise their children to follow Jesus, they are making the choice to brainwash their children, instead of letting Beyoncé do it.  (You can name your favourite popular culture figure instead; I wasn’t just picking on Beyoncé.)  It sounds a bit rough, maybe even offensive, but the fact is that parents have a responsibility to shape their children’s values.  If they fail to do so with intent, the world around them will pick up the slack, and the parents may not be happy with the result.

Churches are called to equip parents to ensure their children’s values are shaped according to the gospel.  And sometimes, it starts with a five-morning adventure for the kids in the summer.  That’s often how the relationships start.

It’s worth all the work!

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it” (Proverbs 22.6, NLT).

Biblical Messages

Not Ashamed

This online worship gathering focused on Romans 1.8-17, in which the apostle Paul states that he is not ashamed of God’s good news – and neither should we be!  The message is quite near the beginning, starting at 6:15, so you can run from the start if you wish, or if you just want to watch the message, you can click here.

I’m a little ashamed of the technology, though!  My Mevo camera quit part-way through the message, but thankfully, I was also broadcasting it on a phone, so I have it as a backup – so I have spliced in Valerie’s excellent Scripture reading, Paul’s great piano postlude, and the part of the message that was unceremoniously cut off by the better camera.  So I apologize for the variations in audio and video quality.  Everything is there, however!

I still have a lot of learning to do in the tech department.

 

Biblical Messages

One Intentional Day

We had some technical glitches with the recording of this morning’s service, but the message is so important, I wanted to find a way to make it work anyway, so you can try watching it from here.  I’d be interested to know from you if you found it worked.  Make sure the sound is turned on.  You *shouldn’t* need a Facebook account to watch this, but I’d be curious to know if you can.  Apologies for the challenge.  The Scripture focus is from James 4.1-17, and the video I show early in the message can be viewed here.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fjeff.loach%2Fvideos%2F10220359477594203%2F&show_text=0&width=560

Encouragement From The Word

How and why

In a recent message, I cited a conversation that the great 19th century American evangelist, D.L. Moody, had with one of his critics.  His critic said to him, “I don’t like the way you share the gospel.”  So he inquired of his critic how she shared the gospel, and upon learning that she did not share her faith with anyone, Moody retorted, “I like the way I share the gospel better than the way you don’t share the gospel.”

It is our responsibility – indeed, our high calling – to share our faith in Jesus with other people.  How can you do that?  You can tell them what having a relationship with the Lord means to your life:

  • how it gives you strength when you are weak
  • how it gives you hope for the future
  • how it assures you of freedom from slavery to sin
  • how it promises you eternal life in the holy presence of God when you die
  • how it builds your character to be a better human being by God’s grace

And you need to say not only how, but why. In short, talk about John 3.16.

Live in such a way that people see the difference in you, and want to know more.  Then, be prepared to tell them more.

It has been widely believed that Francis Assisi said, “Preach the gospel at all times.  If necessary, use words.”  There is no evidence that he actually said this, and frankly, I think he’d disavow it. If we are not prepared to use our words, how will our righteous living be understood?

If you don’t think you’d be very good at sharing the gospel ‘off the cuff’, then write it out.  Hold it before God as you do.  And share it with a Christian friend who can help you reflect on what you’ve written, and thereby help you learn what you’ve written, so you will be able to share it more freely in the future.

But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?” (Romans 10.14, NLT).