While in college, John Wesley, an Anglican minister, and the founder of the Methodist movement, started a small group with his brother and a few friends. They did believe their society had some moral deficiencies but were concerned about themselves. They felt that when followers wholly gave themselves to Jesus, their lives would be transformed and different from the world. Their behaviour earned them the name The Holy Club.
Scripture says, “for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16), and so they believed it was possible to live a humble and holy life. Our North American version of Holiness includes images of revival meetings, gospel trios, old-time religion, and stern prohibitions against drinking, dancing, and playing cards. Today Holiness is often associated with moral behaviour such as sexual purity, financial honesty, and commitment to private prayer. As discussed in scripture, Holiness has a strong moral purity connotation, but its basic meaning is about being “set apart” or “dedicated” to God—to belong to God. Being holy is about belonging to God and making Him our first love and loyalty?
The Holy Club met intentionally to pray, read scripture, and help their community. They did have a set of questions (22 in all) that they would ask each other. The questions did not identify a Super Christian’s characteristics but were related to daily life that could be changed when Christ is our focus.
Do you have a Christian friend whom you could go to confidently and discuss your daily walk as a Christ-follower? Could you allow this friend to make suggestions about your walk, and would you be willing to listen to them? If not, why not? We are designed to live in community. We are guided by scripture to seek assistance and assist others. Nothing would be more beneficial to your walk if you allowed an honest appraisal to occur from time to time, not to make you hear you are perfect but to help keep you “set aside” for Jesus.
After a few days of cloudy skies, freezing temperatures, and snowstorms, it is nice to see blue skies and a blazing sun. In addition to providing light and warmth, the sun’s ultraviolet rays are converted by our body into vitamin D affecting our muscles, nerves, and, therefore, our life. Several food products as tuna and mackerel, contain vitamin D, but the best source exists because of the sun.
Genesis 1:14 tells us that on the fourth day, God created the sun, which He declared “good.” Health advocates have shared that we must protect ourselves from too much exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays as it can lead to accelerated aging or some skin cancers. It seems extraordinary that the item God made good could cause us harm. Still, Paul warns about taking everything in moderation in 1 Corinthians 6:19 when he says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honour God with your bodies”. The sun is good, but we must not be exposed to it all the item.
Driving into town, I can see neighbours who require another Son, the one who is at the source of life itself. Jesus spoke about this in John 10:10b when He said: “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” There is no need to protect our neighbours from exposure to this Son; the more we bring them to this light, the better it will be for their lives.
What prevents us from sharing Jesus? Pray to ask the Holy Spirit to prepare you and your neighbour for a conversation about Jesus. Introduce someone to the Son.
Saturday, 25 February 2023 the MCF will be hosting the Annual General Meeting (AGM). Time TBD. We will meet using the teleconferencing application called “ZOOM”. All members are invited to join us and if you are not a member yet support the MCF and receive this newsletter, you are most welcomed to join us as well.
It is crucial that members attend the AGM and to help us ensure that the AGM proceeds smoothly, pre-registration for attending is required no later than 24 Feb at 4:00 pm EST. We will send everyone the zoom connection information Friday evening. Please reply to the MCF office. We do need your correct email address to be sure you can log in on Saturday 25 February, 2023.
For the best experience please download the application to whichever device you will use to connect to the AGM. You should likely use a device that will permit you a viewing screen larger than a smart phone. There may be documents and power point viewing necessary during this meeting. You can access the application either through your device’s application functionality or at this web-site – https://zoom.us/signup.
We know that He can do infinitely more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, so to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus in this generation and all those that are to come. Blessings on you, chat with you soon.
Have you ever wondered where James (the gospel writer and brother of Jesus) was during Jesus’ earthly ministry? Was he one of the brothers mentioned in Matthew 12:47, where we read, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you?” Was he one of the family who comes to take Him away because they had thought “He is out of his mind” (Mark 3:21 b.) Did James hear Jesus say, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Did he witness Jesus’ point to His disciples and say, “He are my mother and my brothers? For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother”. Did he hear those words, take them as a rebuke, and then shut himself off from Jesus and the truths He had to share?
In the books of Acts, we read James is a leader in the church and not just a leader but the church leader in Jerusalem. What affected James such that when we read about the first gathering to address church matters, James is the one who responds with direction and authority? Does Paul offer a hint in 1 Corinthians 15:3–7, where he records that after Jesus’ resurrection, He visits James? There is no record of what was said between them, but that simple conversation and encounter appear to have changed James forever. What great reconciliation took place during that meeting for James to recognize what Jesus spoke about and what was the truth?
There is power in the name of Jesus, and even the most seemingly insignificant encounter can be life-changing. Once someone meets Jesus and recognizes what He offers, their life changes. Once someone chooses to follow Him, Jesus awakens them to a different world perspective and guides them to His kingdom. Jesus did not promise that His followers would have a life of ease and luxury but shared that we will have an encourager with us as we go through life. He said He would be with us during difficult times when life seemed to be going poorly. But more importantly, Jesus said He would be with us so that we could live life fully, become loving and compassionate, and see the world around us and change it, especially for those in need.
When we pray for our family, our neighbours and our colleagues, we should pray they have an encounter with Jesus. We know that Jesus will initiate a life-changing transformation in them. We should pray that they have a simple conversation with Jesus so he can speak truth into their lives. We should also pray that we can be part of this simple conversation to continue to be changed. Pray Jesus changes someone you know.
Do you recall the story of Elijah, who spoke for God, raised a young boy from the dead and called fire down from heaven? During his time, he was the voice of God, telling those around him to repent and seek God. He knew God’s power firsthand, yet he is found hiding in a cave at one point in his story. He had been a part of some incredible displays of God’s power, but he hid in a cave when Jezebel threatened his life. Although he had been involved in many dramatic miracles, he wanted to tell God he had had enough. He was ready to throw in the towel. He expressed concern that he alone was working for God’s kingdom, and that seemed a task too big for him. When you read Elijah’s story, you could become dispirited, wondering what chance we have in this spiritual battle if someone like Elijah felt the desire to give up.
God spoke to Elijah, who was hiding in a cave, afraid and self-focused, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Elijah, who has witnessed God in action, moans about his situation. God tells him to go outside because He will make His presence known, and Elijah leaves the cave. God shows off His power with windstorms, crashing rocks, earthquakes, lightning flashes and fire. All this happens before Elijah’s eyes, but he cannot see God and goes back into the cave. As Elijah huddles in the corner, he hears a whisper, and God asks him again, “What are you doing here?” God, who had been with Elijah for a long time, seemed to have slipped from Elijah’s mind. He feared a woman who threatened Him, not the God who called Him. When Elijah is thinking, “why bother?” God reminds him that he has a purpose linked to serving Him.
Unfortunately, many have similar cave moments when they feel discouraged. Sometimes we have days when we enter the world, look around at the people or things we have prayed about and see no change. We are devout in our prayer and worship practices and yet feel inadequate. We may question our usefulness and ask ourselves, “why bother.”
Elijah’s story reminds us that we are never alone and that although we may not comprehend God’s plan, we have been invited to play a role in it. We are on a mission with God and are invited to be the Light in this dark world. He is at work in us and in the world, so rejoice. Get up, listen, trust, and obey God whether you see results or not.
It’s time to consider whom to invite to our next Alpha course. Registration is underway and we would love for you to join us on the online Alpha course the MCF is offering this winter.
The Alpha course is an excellent tool we use in accomplishing the core mission of the MCF, “to bring the gospel to the Military Community”.
If you haven’t been on an Alpha course, please consider joining us this February. If you have been on the course, then talk to your military community friend or family member about joining us, we are using the online platform and there is plenty of room for everyone.
Watch the ‘trailer‘ then get out there and invite (virtually) your colleagues, your friends and your family, and register soon for the MCF Alpha course. The experience will change them and you…forever.
Are you ready to join us, is someone you know ready for an extraordinary life change? Here are the coordinates for the group:
Sunday, 05 February online at 7:00 pm EST Leading the sessions: Gerry Potter Alpha Coordinator: Nicole
“Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” Luke 5:16
I am not sure what busyness was like in Jesus’ time, but He found it necessary to isolate himself from His followers and spend time alone with His Father. Since He was God, I imagine He wouldn’t need to go to a lonely spot. He could shut His eyes and close off the world around Him. However, He was a man and a teacher who taught and showed us that it is important to be alone with God.
Do you have a personal prayer closet? Do you have somewhere in or outside your home to be alone with your thoughts and God? Do you have a place where you can pray and where there will be no disturbances or distractions from computers, phones, and even family? If you don’t, you owe it to yourself and God to find such a place. We all need a place to be isolated from the world to talk and listen to God.
Our weekly posts have spoken about praying when you wake up or before bed. We have shared the importance of praying with others. We have reminded you to pray for yourself and others throughout the day as good and bad circumstances arise. However, we want to remind you about the prayer practice recorded in Luke 5:16 that even Jesus found necessary: the quiet, alone time prayer.
What does your alone prayer time look like? Where do you go, what time will you start, and how can you ensure you will not be interrupted? If you do not already have a quiet time or location, consider creating this habit. Don’t take your bible or a writing pad with you. Let this be alone time with God and not a time to study scripture or make notes. Use it as a time for prayer and nothing else. Make it a time to listen to the Holy Spirit and pray for what He puts in your heart. Listen to God.
We rarely hear from God when we are busy or surrounded by noise and distractions. Put the world aside for a few minutes daily, withdraw to a lonely place, and pray.
“God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” 1 Corinthians 10:13b
Early in Jesus’ earthly ministry, He went into the wilderness and allowed Satan to tempt Him. Satan elicited Jesus to prove Himself by turning stone into bread or jumping off the temple without injuring Himself. He offered Jesus the glory, power, and recognition humanity often seeks. Satan sought to seduce Jesus by misusing scripture. However, Jesus refused and rebuked Satan. Being tempted to do wrong is not a sin but giving in to temptation allows sin to thrive. Later in His ministry, Jesus would change the laws of the universe when He fed the multitudes with a few loaves of bread and pieces of fish, when He calmed the storm with His words alone, and when He walked on water. Jesus gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf and freedom to the demon-possessed. Jesus did all this not because He had to prove something but because He wanted to show us what we could do if we honour and believe in Him alone.
We should note these two points: (1) God allows temptation, and (2) Satan never gives up trying to tempt us to go against God’s plan. We should especially consider these points as we participate in the MCF mission to share the gospel with the military community. We can learn from Jesus’ response to temptation and draw from Jesus’ temptation that speaks to our own lives.
Suppose we are not connected to God and recognize His authority over all creation and eternity. In that case, we can be tempted to believe we have the skills and abilities to convince someone to be a follower of Jesus. If we set out without God’s grace and support, we are ripe for temptation that makes us think we must modify the message to reach our culture. We can be tempted to promote a plan that may not give God complete honour and glory. Satan can tempt us to think less about God’s role and focus more on our own.
We need partners to pursue our vision to see the gospel shared with all of our military community. We need you to be battle-ready to participate in this mission, so we need you to be prepared to recognize and resist temptation. Scripture provides the guidance, the battle plan, and the expected outcome, while prayer enhances and strengthens us so we are combat-ready. Jesus prayed and quoted scripture to combat Satan and guided us to do the same.
If we accept our calling as disciples of Christ, we will be motivated to reach out to the lost. However, we will face struggles that can derail us, especially as evil tempts us to call on Jesus to prove Himself to us. Pray, read the Word, and join us as we share the gospel.
Have you heard people say that Christianity and the Church are just crutches for the weak and naïve who need them to get through life? A crutch is a medical implement used by people for support when injured. A crutch does suggest the user is wounded. A crutch is temporary, but what Jesus and His church offer are everlasting.
What better support can we receive if seeking God and going to church is considered a crutch? Especially when the creator of the universe invites us to lean on Him while we gain our footing and to remain with us as we face a world that will hurt us again.
Who is not wounded or injured? Who does not need hope?? What do people rely on to get themselves through life’s struggles and difficult times? People count on all things for their comfort or self-esteem, from material possessions, money, and food to cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, and sex. Many of these crutches only offer a short-term release from the struggles of life and sometimes only cover up more profound problems. To begin to recover, we need support, encouragement, and hope. We need to realize that we were created in the image of God for God. Trust and belief in Him can help us throw off the crutches that slow us down and prevent us from doing what He desires for us.
Many believers testify to the transformative effect that becoming a Christian has had on their lives. This change includes delivery from worldly crutches. In Matthew11:28-30, Jesus invites us to Him, to let Him help us with our burdens. He says: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Jesus invites believers, through His church, to support others as they seek to cast off their crutches. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 shares: “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labour: If either of them falls, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up”.
God wants what is good for us. He does not desire life’s troubles to cause us to turn to a world that offers temporary relief with a placebo that hides or mask our needs and may even make life worse. When asked why Jesus hung around the hurting, sinners and broken, He replied: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. Luke 5:33
Jesus invites all His followers to help one another, but the truth is that Jesus never offered a crutch, only a cross. We must eventually move from our dependence on the world to trusting Him. His invitation wasn’t a call to be a better person with high self-esteem or a plan to help us scrape through our existence. It was a call to acknowledge that what we need can be found in Him. Proverbs 3 shares: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” As we grow with other believers’ support, we learn to depend on Jesus. He is the one who delivers us from the crutches we have rested upon, and with the Holy Spirit’s prompting and support, we willingly submit to the Father’s will and trust Him.
As 2023 is upon us, don’t be afraid to lean on Jesus and His Church.