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.

Don’t fear the hate!

Jesus was straightforward with his disciples when He spoke about the type of life they would face once they declared being His followers.

He spoke about heavenly rewards that will be given to God’s children. At the same time, He did not avoid talking about what they would face once they decided to follow Him. The Gospel of John records Jesus as saying the world will HATE His followers. The Greek word used implies being detested to the point of persecution. Knowing this, we must ensure that we do not hate those in the world. 

It difficult to comprehend how spreading the Gospel can lead to hatred. We know Jesus often spoke of God’s love for His children. He also mentioned several times that we are to love our neighbour as ourselves. So, where does the hate come from? Jesus’ teachings go against human instincts, against killing, abusing, making a profit, and so on. He spoke against the things that drive this world today. 

God has stated that He is against sin, against anything offensive or causes harm to us, to other humans and God. We must speak the truth, but the fear of offending someone may interfere with our relationship with God. We can worry about “political correctness” to the point that we could stop sharing the truth. We point people to Jesus and scripture because the Holy Spirit prepares them. We can be offended by sin, and as the expression goes, we can hate the sin, but we must not hate the sinner. We are not called to condone or accept behaviour contrary to God’s plan. We must trust the Holy Spirit to help the unsaved see sin as offensive while we love them with our words and lifestyle.  

Pray that you can be an example to others by asking the Holy Spirit to help you love others. Pray for strength to live in the world and ask God to protect you from the pressure to compromise your beliefs. Pray and ask God to use you to share His love. 

Workplace Prayer Groups Leaders Networking Meeting

Get Connected – Get Inspired – Learn and Grow

June 2nd  – 12:00 – 1:00 pm EST

PLEASE JOIN US – REGISTER TODAY

Are you leading a workplace Christian prayer group, bible study or support group?

Or would you like to start one?

One Way Ministries Workplace Network is organizing a lunchtime networking event Tuesday, June 2nd bringing together Christian leaders from across Ottawa, different workplaces, denominations, and the public and private sectors.

Workplace Prayer Groups are groups who pray together, do a bible study together and/or share what is happening in their work and seek guidance from a Christian perspective. Members have enough in common, so they understand each other, can help each other and pray for one another and their workplace.

There are already several workplace prayer groups in both the private and public sectors operating in Ottawa. One Way Ministries Workplace Network’s heart is to see a multiplication of these groups and be a coordination point for those interested to join or start such a group.

Click here to register for the June 2nd session.

Help us build a stronger community of Christians living out their faith in the workplace by inviting a colleague or friend. It’s as easy as forwarding this email to them with a personal invite from you!

This virtual session is complimentary.

AGM 2021

The 2021 MCF Annual General Meeting (AGM), will take place on 27 February beginning at 1:00 pm (EST).  Again, this year we will be able to meet without having to physically travel to a specific location for the AGM.  As we did in 2019 and 2020, we will be using the teleconferencing application called “ZOOM”, which the executive team has been using for a few years. We have had great success with this application and have expanding its use in support of the AGM.  For the best experience please download the application to whichever device you will use to connect to the AGM.

While COVID-19 has closed the doors of many institutions, the MCF has expanded its ministry footprint through the online environment We are excited over what has happened during the past year and over what we are planning to do during the coming year.  Please note that more information will be provided in the coming weeks.

To help us ensure that the AGM proceeds smoothly,  pre-registration for attending the AGM is required no later than 26 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 27 February, 2021.

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.

Lent a time of Preparation

Forty is a significant number in the Bible. It signals a state of waiting and preparation. Genesis shows us Noah and his family shut up in the ark, enduring the rains for 40 days and nights (Gen 7:17). Moses spends another 40 days and nights atop a mountain, neither eating nor drinking as he experiences the presence of God (Exodus 34:28). Numbers 14 shows the Lord, fed up with the grumbling of the Israelites, condemning them to 40 years of wandering in the desert. Mirroring the Old Testament, the gospel writers of the New Testament show Jesus spending 40 days in the wilderness, fasting, and being tempted by Satan: “At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.” (Mark 1:12, NIV).

Following this pattern, Christians from many church traditions have marked the occasion of Jesus’ death and resurrection by a similar period of fasting known as Lent. The traditional calendar for Lent goes from Ash Wednesday to Easter, with exceptions for Sundays (always a feast day). This devotional follows that format—40 devotionals spanning 46 days.  Devotionals will be posted on our FACEBOOK site starting Ash Wednesday.

Lent is a time of preparation; a season of prayer, fasting and repentance. It’s a time for reflecting on our shared experience of the suffering, death and glorious resurrection of Christ, the very center of our faith. Lent is a time of self-examination that should lead us to the end of our self-sufficiency and to full dependence on Jesus. However you mark this season, we hope that this devotional will enhance your meditations on Christ’s redeeming work. May this season be one of repentance, hope and joy in the resurrection of Christ; one that will last beyond these 40 days.

ALPHA WINTER SESSION

I am looking forward to what the Lord has determined that the MCF will be involved in over this next year.

Our year starts off with our third online Alpha Course.
This season we offer two online Courses.
Sunday, 31 January online 7:00 pm EST and
Wednesday, 3 February online at 7:00 MT

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 winter.

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

Are you ready to join us, here are the coordinates for the groups:
Sunday, 31 January online at 7:00 pm EST
Leading the sessions: Gerry Potter – mcfoffice@themcf.ca

Wednesday, 3 February online at 7:00 MT
Leading the sessions: Padre Oliver Edwards Oliver.Edwards@forces.gc.ca

Happy New Year,

Welcome to 2021. I am looking forward to what the Lord has determined that the MCF will be involved in over this next year.

Every year during the week leading up to the New Year I think about what the Lord might bring about and what part I am called to play in His grand plan.  Sometimes my expectations are reasonably accurate and other times I miss the target by a country mile. Good news is, He is the master planner and all, and I mean all things happen in accordance with His sovereign will. All I can say to that is…Thank God! It gives me immeasurable peace knowing that He is the conductor of the orchestra and by His grace I get to play one of the instruments.

For the MCF, our year starts off with our third online Alpha Course. 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 31 January.

I have heard people speak about various experiences they have had which they say, “changed their life forever.” It is a phrase that is used in a great variety of contexts, but it really is just a throw away statement used to describe an experience that, after a few weeks or months, has little relevance for the rest of their lives.  Not so in the case of an encounter with Jesus.

The music artist Kim Walker said during one of her live recordings that if a person experienced Jesus they would know it because they wouldn’t be the same…ever! Well said Kim!  Honestly, the only experience that a person can have that will change their life forever is to become a follower of Jesus.  Forever is forever, and only through Jesus can we live forever with Him. Amen to that brothers and sisters!

So, get out there and invite (virtually) your bud, your bro, your sis, your mom, your… to register for the next MCF Alpha course starting on Sunday night, 31 January at 7:00 pm EST. The experience will change them and you…forever.

Stay connected, we have more info to follow.

Equip, Engage
Gerry Potter
Colonel (Retired)
President

Hope-Filled and excited for what is coming!

During the last few days prior to my posting to Germany, a friend came to me with a short passage, saying that he was moved by God to recommend a passage to me.  I had been in Moose Jaw for the previous five years working, raising my family and working in a local church as a teacher-preacher. The move to Germany was in response to God’s call, to which my wife and I responded. Unbeknownst to us we would form part of a core team of five military families and plant a Canadian-military community church that continued until the Canadian military was repatriated and the two bases, Lahr and Baden, were closed.  Those were exciting times, working as a military officer and as a church planter.

During this past year, Proverbs 3:5-6 has again defined not only my life but that of the MCF as well. In spite of the restrictions and heartbreak imposed upon us all due to a previously unknown virus, my faith has grown as I was privileged to be part of the MCF’s expansion through the use of internet-based ministry.

  • A conference that had been planned to coincide with the anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands by Canadian soldiers was cancelled only to be reinstated and delivered through a webinar setting.

  • The MCF launched online Alpha courses which involved participants from New Brunswick to Alberta.

  • The MCF expanded its internet based Nextlevel discipleship model.

  • The MCF conducted its AGM online garnering increased interest and participation.

  • MCF communications through social media and the newsletter continued unabated.

I am grateful for what the Lord has guided us through and I look forward to what He has determined we will be engaged in this coming year.

Thank you for your support both in prayer and financially. I have witnessed not only an increase in engaged believers but a notable improvement in the financial support received. None of us know what 2021 will look like, what we will be called to do or to sacrifice. However, we can have absolute certainty that if we trust in the Lord with all of our heart, and lean not on our own understanding, in all of our ways give honour and praise to the Lord, He will guide us in accordance with His perfect will.

I am hope-filled and excited for what is coming. Please join us as we bring the gospel to the military community at home and abroad.

Gerry Potter
Colonel (Retired)
President

Thank You – Giving Tuesday

I asked you to consider supporting the MCF this past Giving Tuesday. You responded generously. Thank you.

I am aware that to give of your finances is a sacrifice. It is a decision to choose between many, many options where best to contribute, to invest the monies that you depend on for your daily needs.  I am humbled by the trust that you place in the MCF and I am encouraged that God is with us.  So, I have one more request, please pray, please intercede on behalf of the military community, on behalf of the mission that has been given to the MCF.  Please.

Many of you are very aware of Jesus parable in Luke 11:5-10 in which He taught us to pray with unrelenting persistence. Such prayer honours God.  Such prayer pleases God. Such prayer moves God. So, please pray so that God may be honoured, so that He may be pleased, so that His Spirit moves amongst military community members, so that His Spirit empowers the workers as they share the good news.


One more thank you.

Last week I told you about Innercity Veteran Outreach & Support (IVOS) which is a ministry of Ottawa Innercity Ministries. Some of you responded with your offers of financial support. You have blessed those involved in the ministry.  They are both encouraged and increasingly determined to continue the good work that they have been called to do.  I visited with them again this past Wednesday and I could see that they were grateful for your expressions of support.  Thank you.

Brothers and sisters may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen (2 Cor 13:14).

Gerry Potter
Colonel (Retired)
President MCF of Canada

A Note of Thanks & A Request

Today, the 1st of December, is Giving Tuesday, which I am sure is not a surprise. Like you, I have received numerous notices in the lead up to today letting me know that this day is the time to turn our thoughts towards non-profits and charitable organizations and consider providing your preferred agencies with an end-of-the-year contribution. For those of you who have done so already I offer my sincere thanks. The causes that you support could not accomplish what they are called to do without you.

Since, you are receiving this notice I know that you have a heart for what the MCF seeks to accomplish as well. We have been given a simple mission – bring the gospel to the military community at home and abroad. To this mission the MCF team has been unrelentingly dedicated. While COVID-19 has closed the doors of many institutions, the MCF has expanded its ministry footprint through the online environment. We have an established online men’s discipleship model; we have been preparing to launch a January 2021 online women’s discipleship group; we have held an online seminar in partnership with Ellel Ministries Canada aimed at bringing Christ-centered healing to those suffering from trauma; we are in our second season of running online Alpha courses and have established both Eastern Canada and a Western Canada-based teams; we are in the early stages of participating with Ottawa Innercity Ministries to reach homeless veterans with the love of Christ, and we are beginning the planning for a 2021 seminar on bi-vocational ministry for military community members. There is a lot to get excited about.  But… we need more.

We need more of the Holy Spirit to move in the lives of military community members drawing them to Jesus. We need more of the Holy Spirit’s power in the lives of those who are serving so that they will not grow weary, but rather be increasingly energized to accomplish what God is placing before us to do each day. We need more of your prayers of intercession for the lost, the broken hearted, and the workers who bring the message of Jesus. And we also need your financial support.

If you have already completed your allocation of charitable giving for the year, then again, I express to you gratitude for your generosity to those needy organizations.  If you have the capacity to give more then please consider the MCF and its work to bring the gospel to the military community.  There is no other entity in Canada that is exclusively focused on this mission. We have only one staff member and the rest of the team are bi-vocational volunteers. We have no buildings, and we have no inventory thus our expenses are kept low. But we have a big mission, and a consuming passion for our Lord and His call to reach the military community, and we do need your help.  Please consider supporting the MCF financially, today.

Sincerely and with gratitude,
Gerry Potter
Colonel (Retired)
President
The MCF of Canada