Monday, 22 June 2015

Baptized and Professed!

Last Sunday, June 21, 2015, we celebrated the baptism of Brielle Groen, baby girl of Ian & Krista, and sister of Carlee & Emma.  Baptizing babies reminds us that it's all grace! Congratulations Ian & Krista!
And then we heard the public profession of faith of Jordan Ellens and Nick Wiersma and the reaffirmation of faith of Gerda and Harry deWitte. In doing so, they took a stand for Jesus and affirmed the promises that God had made to them in their baptism.

It was a wonderful worship service and we thank and praise God for working in the lives of all!

Friday, 19 June 2015

Take a stand

Say it, believe it.  That's all you have to do, says Paul (Romans 10:9). Then why are we so hesitant to take a stand and say what we believe?  This Sunday, June 21, 4 people will be taking a stand for Jesus as they profess their faith. During this service we will celebrate both sacraments:  Brielle Sela will be baptized and we will share the communion meal.  You don't want to miss this!  10 a.m. Ancaster Christian Reformed Church, 70 Garner Road E.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Wednesday at Synod

Yes, we are here to do the work of synod, but the best experiences of synod have been our times of worship and our conversations with one another.  Maybe I'm just more relaxed than the last time I attended synod, but I am being blessed in being here in ways that I didn't feel in 2011.  There seems to be a genuine confidence, hope and expectation that the Holy Spirit is going to do amazing things in the CRC.

This morning we continue with the our discussions on the role of deacons within our churches and at our broader assemblies.  The report of the Task Force Reviewing Structure and Culture was to be presented this evening but it may appear on the floor already this afternoon.

Oh, and I had a great time with the under 40 crowd last night!

Monday, 15 June 2015

Synod in session

 On Saturday we experienced some Iowa hospitality with a pig roast, hosted by the president of Dordt College. No, that's not a beer I'm holding, it's a Sarsaparilla, a local favourite.  Sunday worship was great - a joy to sit in the pew for a change.  I hope all of you remember what a privilege it is to join in worship!  Sunday afternoon we gathered a second time for a service at First CRC which included Holy Communion. The singing at this service was awesome - great acoustics for sure, but also much joy in praising God together.  There is a really positive atmosphere at synod, with lots of first time delegates.
After spending our first few days of synod doing committee work, today we met in full session.  Some of the business included the interviews of two new faculty members at Calvin Theological Seminary, a listening session where we discussed pastoral situations concerning same sex case scenarios, and the appointment of the new Banner editor.  While we applauded that appointment, someone whispered in my ear, "Why do I feel like we just send a lamb to the slaughter?"  Being editor of our church magazine is not for the faint of heart!

Two of the more major items to be dealt with will be discussed during the evening sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Tomorrow we consider the role of deacon in our churches and on Wednesday we tackle the report which my committee discussed:  the report from the Task Force Reviewing Culture and Structure.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

At Synod

This Sunday we have a guest pastor at Ancaster Christian Reformed Church.  I am in Sioux Centre, Iowa, attending the meetings of Synod, the CRC's broadest assembly.  We begin each day in plenary session which includes a time of worship. There was a time, not that long ago, when only men attended Synod.  When I hear voices raised in song, some singing in 4-part harmony, I am reminded that the diversity God created is a beautiful thing.
Our work at Synod, so far, has been done in committee.  The committee to which I have been assigned is dealing with a variety of matters, but the one that has taken up most of our time is a review of a report from a task force that was appointed to study the culture and structure of the denomination.  They have come with a recommendation for restructuring which is sure to generate much discussion when it comes to the floor of Synod next week.

At our plenary meeting tonight, Steve Timmermans, Executive Director of the CRC, spoke on the state of the CRC.  He reported some very positive things, including an increase in membership this past year, steady giving.  We were reminded again that this is Christ's church.  With that assurance we can anticipate God's blessings.

Tomorrow morning I will be worshiping in one of the Sioux Center churches where one of my colleagues from my seminary class is pastoring.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Welcoming skepticism

The elevator scene in the movie, God's Not Dead, is one of the most intense moments of the movie.  Student Josh has taken on his philosophy professor to argue that God is NOT dead.  Josh has been persuasive and winsome, but his professor holds the power and the authority in this competition.  Josh is waiting for the elevator and when the doors open, the only other occupant is Prof Raddison. Josh would probably have preferred to take the next elevator!  But he behaves with "gentleness and respect."  That's how we are told to answer for the hope we have: with "gentleness and respect" (I Peter 3: 15).  We can welcome skepticism, but we must remember to always address our skeptics with gentleness and respect.  Sunday, June 7, 10 a.m.
This service will also celebrate the graduation of our oldest KidzKonnect students.