“Sharing life, hope and Jesus on Alpha in 2022 ” 

Sessions have started and we are excited to explore with friends, family and many the experience of seeing first-hand the work of the Holy Spirit in salvation. This encouragement helps the entire military community recapture the joy of evangelism. The MCF is offering an online Alpha where people bring their friends for a conversation about life, faith and Jesus.

Watch the ‘trailer‘ and pray for us as we connect with a group from across the country this fall. 

For more information don’t hesitate to contact at mcfoffice@themcf.ca

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ALPHA 2022 New Year’s SESSION

I am looking forward to what the Lord has determined that the MCF will be involved in the New Year.

2022 we will offer our sixth online Alpha Course.
Sunday, 16 January online 7:00 pm EST

I love this course as it presents the fundamentals of the Christian faith in an easy to understand yet sufficiently profound way that participants have all that they need to become followers of Jesus.  And for those who already know Him, their faith will be steeled.

The MCF’s core mission, the reason that we exist, is to bring the gospel to the Military community at home and abroad. The Alpha course is an excellent tool to use in accomplishing that mission.

If you haven’t been on an Alpha course, please consider joining us or some other Alpha course in your local setting.  If you have been on the course, then talk to your military community friend or family member about joining us on Alpha this fall.

Meet Christina, she accepted a friend’s invitation to our Alpha online course in early 2021.  There was plenty of time for great discussions on different topics and questions.  

Christina continues to participate because of the wonderful relationships that developed during Alpha and now has joined our team as a volunteer.  

Get out there and invite (virtually) your bud, your bro, your sis, your mom, your… and register for the MCF Alpha course. The experience will change them and you…forever.

Are you ready to join us, here are the coordinates for the group:
Sunday, 16 January online at 7:00 pm EST
Leading the sessions: Gerry Potter – mcfoffice@themcf.ca

Mission ImPossible

Prior to my entrance into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) my understanding of the term mission was based upon the 1966 television series “Mission Impossible,” which ran for seven seasons. A mission was a seemingly impossible task that a hero received via a pre-recorded message that itself would self-destruct after having delivered the information. Each week a new impossible mission would be assigned, and the hero given the option to accept or reject the mission. The hero always accepted, and the impossible mission was always completed. It seemed odd to me that those impossible missions were rather simplistic and could always be accomplished.
 
My experiences in the military shed new light on the term mission. Unlike the task assigned to the Impossible Mission Force (IMF), military missions were complex, involving both willing and not-so-willing participants and at times were frustratingly unachievable. Welcome to real life Gerry. Military missions notoriously suffer from insufficient resources, partially engaged personnel and uncertainty due to multiple foreseeable and unforeseeable factors. Reality tends to foster an attitude of partial commitment towards the mission. Passionate engagement is difficult to find.
 

In the book of Matthew, chapter 28 verses 18-20, Jesus, like the deep voiced operations officer on the self-destructing tape, offered to his disciples an impossible mission – to go to all the nations and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that Jesus had commanded the disciples. Bringing liberation from the eternal catastrophic consequences of personal sin and subsequent alignment with the principles and precepts of the Living God to all the world is an impossible mission that trumps any the IMF were called to accomplish. In fact, the mission of Christ is truly impossible. So, why would the disciples or even myself for that matter undertake to pursue this mission?
 
For one, unlike military missions, Jesus has promised to not only be with me, but He has assured me that He will bring to bear all the authority that has been given to Him.  How much authority? All authority. This means unlimited power, unlimited resources, unlimited effects. With that kind of support, the mission is not only possible, its accomplishment is 100% assured. For that reason alone I would be keen to join the winning team. Yet, there is a second reason, the object of the mission – saving people’s lives. Serving the Supreme Commander as He changes lives forever. 
 
There are a lot of different missions that people choose to undertake. Some are for a short time, while others are for extended durations. At its inception in 1973 the Military Christian Fellowship (MCF) chose to accept the impossible mission of bringing the gospel to the military community at home and abroad. Members of the MCF are Christ’s IMF to you, your neighbours, and your colleagues in the military community. 
 
Join us.

The Biblical Role and Responsibility of a Man

Article by: Col (Ret’d)  Gerry Potter (President)

This article is an exploration of the biblical role of a man.  Genesis 1-2, a unique biblical narrative, records God’s initial design for the Creation, so this articulation of the role of a man will rely principally upon the framework described within these two chapters.  While the Fall described in Genesis 3 corrupted God’s initial design, it is my understanding that follow-on biblical references to the role of a man are intended to provide both further detail regarding God’s primordial framework and to facilitate a man’s reorientation with the original and perfect design.  At the outset, it is important to define what is meant by the term role. In the context of this assessment the term role is used as a descriptor of the fundamental duty or activity that a man is responsible and accountable before God to perform.  Since a man’s biblical roles are that which have been given by God in his Word then they are neither bound by time nor socio-cultural contexts.  Biblical male roles are universal.  Yet, the practical expression of those roles is greatly influence by the socio-cultural contexts in which Christian men live.  Though most of the passages referenced refer to both a man and a woman, the focus of this study is the roles of the man.

Genesis 1:26-28 (NASB)

In the Biblical narrative of the Creation, Elohim (God) declares that the plurality of Himself, identified in Genesis 1:2 as Elohim (God) and Ruach (Spirit), and creates human beings out of His unity.  While this portion of Scripture shows God only as Elohim and Ruach, John 1:1-5 and 1:14-18 further reveals that Jesus Christ was also present during the Creation fulfilling a central role. Thus, the Trinity, in perfect unity, created man as a binary male-female construct that He describes as imaging Himself.  The purpose for which God created man according to this passage was two-fold: the first was to procreate and the second was to rule over all living things.
There was no distinction made between the male and the female regarding the initial two-fold purpose, but rather God’s declaration clearly implies that the accomplishment of the purpose was intended to be through the unity of the male and the female, which is a reflection of the unity of the Trinity.  The implied purpose for the male-female construct was to image the Trinity in His unity.  Looking at the male and female individually then, there is an additional implied role for each of them, that being to execute their two-fold purpose in unity such that they together in the fulfillment of the roles of procreation and ruling reflect the Trinity in oneness.  A further implication is that whatever the male and female do, they do as a unity. So, from this passage there are three original roles for the man: to procreate, to rule over the creation and to perform the first two roles in unity with the female thus imaging the Trinity’s oneness.

Genesis 2:15-17 (NASB)

Though in Genesis 1, the narrative describes the global purpose of man, in Gen 2:15-17 the reader is exposed to some of the specifics of ruling and subduing, as the male, Adam, is specifically assigned the activity of cultivating and keeping the garden of Eden. The context of the verb to cultivate can be generalized to mean “to work.”  It is reasonable then to conclude that work that serves to rule and to subdue over the earth is a role that the male has been given.  This is not to say that work is a role exclusive to a male, since this would contravene the general purpose assigned to both the male and the female in 1:26-28.  However, given that the male is singled out in the role assignment there is an implied assigning of responsibility and accountability for the fulfillment of the role. Additionally, Adam was tasked to “keep” the garden which can be understood to mean that he was to protect the garden.  The requirement to protect introduces the concept of an existing threat, yet no such threat has been previously identified.  However, the requirement for protection is revealed in later passages. So, from this passage the male has two roles: to work within the creation to fulfill a general improvement agenda and to protect the creation from threats.  A third role that is obedience to God’s commands.  Obedience renders two results: the freedom to enjoy creation within a limited restricted structure.

Genesis 2:18-25 (NASB)

While in chapter 1, the narrative describes the purposeful creation of both male and female, in this passage additional details are provided as to the reasoning and the sequencing behind God’s decision to create females.  First, God announces that it is not good for a man to be alone.  A resultant implied role for a man is to avoid an independent existence and be in relationship.  God rectifies the specific “not-good” situation by creating a female as a compatible helpmate for the male. God gives further specificity to a man’s role to be in relationship, that is to be in a unity with a woman in which the two work in a integrated manner, reflective of the Trinity, to fill the earth and subdue it.  Additionally, since the woman is referred to as a helpmate to the male there is an implied role of leadership with associated responsibility and accountability for the effects of that leadership.  Also, in Genesis 2:24, a man is to leave his parents and become united with his wife, a female, becoming fully integrated with her.  There is a sense of a new entity being created in this passage, one that consists of one male and one female that together become “one flesh.” The image is that of a complete integrated unity.  It is worth noting that there is an implied role for the man of being the responsible agent for the unity.  The last implied role in this section is that of being exposed before each other and before God, and given the male’s leadership role, it can be conclude that the male had a responsibility to lead this as well.

Thus, according to Genesis 1 and 2 a man has five fundamental roles.  The first is to image God. The role of imaging God as a male is repeated in Genesis 5:1-2 and in the post-deluvian narrative in Genesis 9:6. In 1 Corinthians Paul refers to a man’s role of imaging God when he describes the complementary aspects of the male’s and the female’s specific roles in their imaging God.  For the male, he images God by having his head uncovered when he prays, which serves to reflect the image and glory of God.  In Ephesians 4:24 Paul provides additional commentary on the meaning of imaging God, a person is to “put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.  The image referred to in this passage is that of the “new self,” which is to put on Christ (Rom 6:5-7; 13:14).  Putting on Christ requires a renewal of the mind (Rom 12:2; Col 3:10).  So, to image God, is to emulate Christ (Rom 8:29; 1 Cor 15:49; Philp 3:21), and to emulate Christ requires a renewed mind that manifests thoughts and behaviours that reflect Christlikeness. Further, a component of imaging God is the implied role of unity in community.  Unity in Genesis 1-2 is described as an integration between a man and a woman that is so complete that the two become one.  This degree of male-female oneness is repeated in Matt 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9 and Eph 5:28-33.  However, as evidenced in Gen 3:16b, unity between a man and a woman has been frustrated due to the Fall resulting in an innate struggle between the man and the woman to control the other. Yet, a man is called to over-ride his base programing through Christ-like love for his wife (Eph 5:25-33).

A man’s second role is to procreate. The man-woman construct is jointly assigned the role of procreation.  God repeats this assigned duty in 9:1, when He speaks to Noah and his sons after the deluvian flood.  In Leviticus 26 God dictates to Moses His moral code of conduct restating the role of procreation as part of a conditional promise – if God’s decrees and commands are carefully obeyed (26:3) then the consequences of the fall will be reversed including God-orchestrated procreation.  Psalm 127:3-5 describes successful procreation as evidence of God’s favour.  Yet, because of the Fall, procreation is filled with pain (Gen 3:16a).  There is no Scriptural reference that indicates that this aspect of procreation in a post-Fall world will be redeemed prior to Christ’s Second Coming.

A man’s third role is to subdue, rule and protect the Creation; or in other words to work. While the role of subduing, ruling and protecting was a permanent assignment, as a result of the Fall, the Creation has been cursed frustrating this role resulting in painful toil.  However, in conjunction with procreation, Lev 26:2-13 indicates that the effects of the Fall upon man’s role to subdue, rule and protect can be reversed if a man will follow and carefully obey God’s decrees and commands.

A man’s fourth role is to obey God. In Gen 1-2 the man was given several commands, one of which had a stated consequence should the man disobey.  The man was not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, if he did then he would die (Gen 2:17).  The man disobeyed God, and then he blamed God and the woman for his failure.  The effects of the man’s disobedience were catastrophic resulting in: not only his death, but the death of the woman and the death of all mankind; and the frustration of all assigned roles.  Yet, as mention previously, in Lev 26:2-13; Deut 7:12-26; and 28:1-14 God provides an opportunity for the redemption of all that had been lost.  In Deut 6:5; Matt 22:37; Mk 12:30-31 and Lk 10:27 the Scriptures reveal the core commandment of God. Love the LORD God with all heart, soul, mind and strength; and love one’s neighbour as oneself.  According to John 14:15, 21, 23; 15:10; 1 John 5:3; and 2 John 6 a man expresses love to God through obedience to God’s decrees and commands.

The fifth and final general role of a man is to lead.  A man’s leadership role is described in relation to a woman with whom he has entered into a relationship of unity. Characteristics of this role are described in Eph 5:25-33 and in Col 3:18-19 in which a husband is called to love his wife, like Christ loved the Church, like he loves his own body, and to avoid becoming embittered against her. A further amplification is given in 1 Pet 3:7-6 in which the man is commanded to exhibit understanding and honour towards his wife. Col 3:21 extends the man’s leadership role to his children in which he is cautioned to not exasperate them such that they lose heart. The man’s role of Christ-like loving leadership within the male-female unity construct was frustrated by the Fall which resulted in conflict and an unloving-style of leadership. Yet, the commands contained in the New Testament reveal that the man is required to counter the effects of the Fall, by imaging Christ.

Within the Creation narrative, there are several roles assigned to a man, all of which are expressed within the male-female construct, and all of which are shared with the woman with whom he is in a unity relationship, except for one, leadership. This is not to say that the female does not possess or is gifted with leadership within the family or societal context, but it is clear that God holds the man principally responsible and accountable for the couple’s state of oneness; obedience; procreation; subduing, ruling and protection of the Creation; and for imaging God.  The practical cross-cultural implications of the male’s unique role of leadership are that the man is responsible and accountable for: all decisions affecting the male-female unity; all actions affecting the subduing, ruling and protecting of the creation; modeling the imaging of God; modeling obedience to God’s commands; advancing procreation and the nurture of children and conducting his roles along with his wife in a loving, understanding and honouring manner.

The Creation narrative sets the stage for the existence of all things. God decreed that a man and a woman in a unity relationship would form the base construct for all of humanity and assigned them four fundamental roles: image God; procreate; subdue, rule and protect the creation and obey God.  To the man alone, God assigned the responsibility and the accountability to lead the fulfillment of the four joint roles.  An important next question is – What is Godly leadership?

40 Days of Prayer – Week 5

EQUIPPING & ENGAGING YOU IN 40 DAYS OF PRAYER.

“How to pray throughout the day”  

“Rejoice always, pray continually….” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

Paul’s guidance to the Thessalonians has caused some anxiety amongst followers today because they can’t imagine what it means to pray continually. They envision the requirement involves praying as 18th-century spiritual leaders who often woke very early in the morning and prayed for hours, only to repeat the same later in the day and evening. They can’t imagine talking with God for long periods of time after all “what do I have to say to Him”.

As we have been learning on this journey, there is more than one way to talk with God and the wonderful news is that He does not expect us to adhere to a format, posture or even schedule. He wants humility, sincerity and honesty and will guide us to find ways to pray in this manner.

This week’s lesson touches on what it means to pray continuously and offers suggestions on how to do that. When you listen to the lesson and reflect on what is being taught you will look at the ideas and say “ “I can do that”.

To assist you with this week’s study, download the material below and listen to the video link include for this week.

HERE IS THE MATERIAL NECESSARY FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION.

1.  Week 5 video is called: “How to pray throughout your day

2.  Download this copy of Week 5 – How to Pray Throughout Your Day  (blanks). 

3.  Download this copy of Week 5 – How to Pray Throughout Your Day (blank responses)

4.  Download this copy of Week 5 – How to Pray Throughout Your Day (sermon transcript)

5.  Download this copy of Week 5 – How to Pray Throughout Your Day (small gp guide)

6.  Daily thoughts – the daily thoughts are available in weekly increments.  However, you can find them daily on the MCF FACEBOOK PAGE.

One great way to grow is to discuss your faith understanding with others.  Several people have started a small group to look at the 40 Day of Prayer study and are finding their time together rewarding.  If you’d like to engage in a discussion group you may join us on-line Monday evenings as we gather for an hour, starting at 8 PM Atlantic time.  We connect using a video conferencing tool call Zoom.  You will need to download a Zoom app for your computer or mobile devise to participate.   Those wishing to join can advise us by contacting the MCF office and indicating you wish to join in the Zoom discussion. An email with further instruction will be sent to you.


DAILY REFLECTIONS – WEEK 5

Preparation:

Find a quiet place where you know you will be uninterrupted.
Have your bible and journal ready.
Read the suggested verse several times.
Consider reading the verse using different versions of the bible.
Contemplate the questions being asked and then record or verbalize your response.

NOTE: the same questions are asked each day.

DAY 29 – Jeremiah 29:13  

DAY 30 – John 15:7  

DAY 31 – Proverbs 8:17  

DAY 32 – Daniel 9:4   

DAY 33 – Daniel 9:9  

DAY 34 – Daniel 9:18  

DAY 35 – Daniel 9:20-23  

40 DAYS OF PRAYER

Lord, teach us to pray” Luke 11:1b

If you have an awareness of the Jewish culture during the time frame of Jesus’ ministry you might find the request made to Jesus to be strange. The disciples were part of a culture which prayed a minimum of three times daily. Over the centuries the Jewish religious leaders had developed prayers for all occasions and the practice of prayer had been engrained in the mindset of the community. So why did the disciples need teaching?

The answer is found in the same passage; they wanted to pray like John the Baptist’s disciples. They noted that there was something different in the way John’s disciples connected with God. They probably recognized Jesus also prayed differently from them and wanted to experience a similar enriched prayer life. We at the MCF want you to pray in a way that allows you experience a deeper connection with God. We want you to examine your prayer practices by joining us on 8 February 2018 as we start a prayer journey. We invite you to participate in a study developed by Saddleback Church called 40 Days of Prayer.

The topics covered include:

Week 1 – Do you really want to grow?
Week 2 – A beginner’s guide to prayer
Week 3 – Who do you think you are talking to
Week 4 – Praying in 5 dimensions
Week 5 – How to pray through your day
Week 6 – How to pray for healing and restoration
Week 7 – When God says no

All journeys require intentionality on the part of participants and this journey is no exception. There are teaching videos to watch, questions to contemplate, and discussions to participate in. It is believed that participating in this study with others will enhance your learning, so we ask that you consider doing this as a small group study; use your present group or start one specifically for the 40 Days. Additionally, if there is interest, we’d like to connect online on Monday evenings for approximately 1 hour. We will use an easy-to-use program called ZOOM. If you are interested in this activity reply to us via the office indicating as much and you will be sent connection details.

The MCF, like all who call themselves Christ followers, are part of God’s mission;
a mission to make the world aware of God’s love and plan of salvation. God has invited us to be on mission with Him. Part of the MCF’s purpose is to engage the military community and assist them to become disciples. We know that as disciples of Christ we have been empowered with the Holy Spirit to do wonderful things but how do we know what these things are? Prayer connects us with God helping us understand our purpose and mission. As such, it would make sense to ensure we have an appropriate way to hear and discuss God’s intentions. The 40 Days of Prayer journey can help your understanding of prayer.

Join us as we seek to grow our personal prayer practices, so we can become closer to our Lord and Saviour, so we can be on mission with God.

Blessings

Anton Topilnyckyj
Prayer Coordinator

Pressing Forward

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do:Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14 NIV)

We have called this section “Pressing Forward,” in reference to Paul’s passionate pursuit of taking hold of that which Jesus took hold of him.  God ordained that Paul would be the apostle to the Gentiles and while doing so he would endure many challenges and suffering.  Paul was undeterred by the difficulties that he faced because of the knowledge he had been given of Jesus, of the kingdom, of Paul’s calling, and of the power of God to change lives forever.  Paul was singularly focused and totally committed.  Paul’s passion was not the norm for Christ followers of his time nor for those of us who follow Christ today, but he is the example we are called to follow.  Paul told his readers to “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ (1 Cor 11:1),” and the MCF takes Paul’s call to heart.  As members of the MCF team we endeavour to assist and encourage each other as we collectively and increasingly know God more.  Join us.