From Our Leaders

Back to Normal?

During this pandemic, we may long for things to return to ‘normal’.  Personally, I don’t want things to go back to how they were.  I feel in many ways we have been going along; doing life, doing work, doing church, without really thinking about how we are meant to live as believers.

This morning, I watched a video by John Avant, from the Life Action team, and some of what he was saying resonated with the things I have been thinking.  I wanted to share some of his thoughts and some of the thoughts God has been nudging me with:

Is the North American church lukewarm, have we been sleeping much of the time?  Is God using this virus to wake us up to a time of revival?

We can spend our days worrying about the virus which means ‘spreading poison,’ or we can look to revival which means ‘spreading life’? How we as believers come through this time will have a powerful impact on many lives, especially if we keep our eyes focused on God.

God is asking us to be on fire for Him, He does not want us to be lukewarm.  If we focus on Jesus, we can let go of the worry and anxiety we may have in this time, and we can get our joy back. True joy comes from knowing our God, who is, and who we are in Him.

John Avant says in his video, “We start with rejoicing that God is with us and He longs to see us in relationship with Him – Rejoice!”  He may be bringing us through a time of discipline, but He disciplines those He loves!

The second way John says to see the church change is to Repent. “The Biblical pattern is not rescue, it is revival. God is not interested in rescuing us, He is interested in revival!” God wants us to be transformed and changed from within, and then live a life where others see Him in us.

As a church, what are the things from which we should repent?  John listed 3 main things:

1.Disunity – for the world to know we are Christians, we need to love one another and be unified! We need to let go of unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, etc., and we need to be in unity.  Jesus weeps because He wants us to be one!

2.Complacency – The Miriam-Webster dictionary gives a good meaning of complacency: “self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.”  As believers in the Western world, we have become satisfied with our comfortable lives, and we are unaware of the actual dangers or deficiencies we truly have as ‘lukewarm Christians’.

3.The third thing we need to repent of is our failure to share the good news – We need to repent because God has called us to be on mission with Him, to seek and save the lost. If we are honest, many of us know we have failed Him in this!

We need to take a good look at our desire to get back to normal, to the way things used to be. God does not want to bring us back to what we were doing before this pandemic…. He wants to bring us back to a new church, one that desires to be on fire for Him and a church that is ready to do His will.

How do we do this?

After we Rejoice in His calling us back to a deeper relationship with Him, and after we sincerely Repent, we then Restart.

Restart is when we put Jesus back in the center of our lives, the center of our homes, and the center of our church!

John Avant talked about a missionary couple from Iran. This couple was in the U.S. for a time of refreshing, and they were excited to be able to worship freely, but after 2 months they returned to Iran. Even though they were returning to persecution, they said they would rather have persecution and revival than to have freedom without it. The woman said she felt as if there was a ‘demonic lullaby’ in the Western churches, and felt Christians here were sleepy.

John Avant says, “We have been ‘slow dancing’ to that tune (demonic lullaby) and God has turned off the music, He is knocking on the door of the church and calling us to wake up before we die in our sleep!  Jesus is not mad at us, He is broken-hearted for us. Jesus is saying, ‘Go to the door and open it’!”

2 Chronicles 7:14- “…then if my people will humble themselves and pray, and search for me, and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear them from heaven and forgive their sins and heal their land.”

I pray that Living Hope is not a church that wants to go back to the way things were, but that we would Rejoice, Repent, and Restart!  May God transform us, so we are changed and ready to be on mission with Him. – Christy Stover, Adult Ministry Coordinator

 


Worship?

What does worship look like for you? What is your Sunday experience? We want to hear from you, don’t forget you can fell a little more connected by seeing everyone worshiping at home in our password protected section. Here is a message from our Worship Director, Mike Broersma:

 

 

 


“In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4: 6-7

Did you know worrying is a choice?  If it were not a choice, God would not have told us over and over to have no fear, to not be anxious, and to not be afraid.   God says, “Do not be anxious.  This may seem difficult at times, especially in the days we are in right now, but it doesn’t change God’s word to us.  As His followers, we need to ‘take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ’ (2 Corinthians 10:5).  Dwelling on thoughts that don’t line up with His word is wrong.  Believers must make a choice to not accept these negative and anxious thoughts and replace them with God’s truth.  We also need to bring our concerns to God and cast all our cares/anxiety upon Him (1 Peter 5:7, Psalm 55:22).  As believers, we need to have thankful hearts, because when we are thankful, even in difficult times, we are showing faith in Him. ‘Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him’. (Hebrews 11:6)

Then when we call out to Him by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, and share our requests with Him, His peace, which surpasses all understanding will guard our hearts and our thoughts in Christ Jesus! – Christy

 

Greetings from your Administrative Council, As we all adjust to our new ‘normal’, we give thanks to God for technology that allows us to stay connected with the Living Hope community. I hope you are taking the opportunity to visit our website to access ways to stay connected and draw closer to God. Admin Council has been meeting regularly using video conferencing to continue the work of Living Hope. We have been busy with the staff with their annual reviews. We are thankful for our dedicated staff who have been busy establishing new ways to connect, encourage and build up their ministries. This is the time of year that the new budget is being developed. Thank you for faithful giving to help meet our financial commitments. Check out our website to see the different ways you can continue to tithe and bless the work of Living Hope. We trust that God has a future for Living Hope, with this mind, Admin continues to study the report that was written after our Ministry Visioning Retreat. The Visioning Report will then lead into the Church Growth Task Report – “Our Neighbours, Our Blessings”. We pray that you are staying healthy and finding new ways to stay connected with your Living Hope Family. Grace and peace, Administrative Council – Hilda Van Drunen

 

March 26, 2020

Greetings all. I pray you are well.

 

I would like to thank the many of you who have sent notes of encouragement for our first virtual service last Sunday. Emmy deserves much of the credit for finding a way for us to post that and we are so happy we can still connect as a community. We have already recorded a worship session for this weeks service as well. I must say though, that is it quite strange and a little nerve racking talking to a camera and leading worship for an empty room! No, let me correct that, it wasn’t empty… the Holy Spirit was still there leading us! That being said, the reality is that we are working with limited resources and I feel very blessed for those who have helped out and allowed us to put this together on such short notice.

 

The reality is that this may be our new normal for the next while, how long no one knows. We are unsure as the gov’t restrictions are continually changing. We as a church are complying and maintaining the social distancing protocols, and let me assure you that even recording these virtual services we are taking every precaution. I may end up leading worship from my living room soon, but whatever situation we find ourselves in over the coming weeks, we cannot forget to worship! Our God is a Holy God, He is everlasting, He is a loving and all powerful God. Take this time to deepen your relationship with Him, read the gospels and draw near to the words of Jesus, take comfort in knowing that His love never fails.

 

These may be difficult and uncertain times and often with uncertainty comes fear. I’ve been listening to this song again recently, the lyrics at the end “fear is gone my hope is sure, Christ is mine forevermore”. Such a good reminder that though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death we will fear no evil. Please take a moment to listen to this song, I pray it blesses you as it has blessed me. Love you all.

grace and peace,

Mike Broersma

Worship Ministries Director

 

 

March 24, 2020

 

March 19, 2020

Dear Living Hope Family: Your Pastoral Care Elders and Deacons are actively working to continue to serve our Living Hope family. Any needs and concerns can be directed to Living Hope’s email (office@livinghope.on.ca) or by phone 705 740-9293. These messages will be retrieved once a day and passed on to the appropriate people for a response. During this unusual time of Covid-19, we encourage you to remain in regular communication with your Living Hope friends, leaders and ministry partners. Please stay connected with your Connect Group, Women’s Coffee Break Group, Men’s Ministry, Youth or Young Adult group, Marriage group, Stephen Minister, or Pastoral Care Visitor. While we have been advised to keep a social distance at this time, we all can continue to keep in touch in safe and meaningful ways by phone, email, text, Skype/FaceTime, letters/cards. In doing this we have opportunity to encourage one another. “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Jesus Christ had….Accept one another just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”. Romans 15: 5-7; 13 On behalf of your Pastoral Care Elders and Deacons – Anita Mahy

 

 

 

March 19, 2020

Young moms, are you feeling overwhelmed with all that is going on in the world? Do you wonder how you will make it through the next few weeks or maybe even make it through today?! All of this may seem very scary and overwhelming. However, Jesus is our good Shepherd and He says: “He will tend his flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs in His arms; He will carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those that have young.” ~ Isaiah 40:11 God says that He will tend His flock like a shepherd. One of the rules of being a shepherd is to “tend to the flock, but care for the individual”. To have a healthy flock, a shepherd must make sure he provides for all their needs – clean water, food and shelter. However, the “success of a shepherd is in the compassion he has for each individual sheep.” In these uncertain times, it might feel like God is not watching over you, but He is! (Psalm 23) Jesus cares about what each one of you is going through, and He is calling you to come to Him and give Him your burdens and your fears (Matt. 11:28). Jesus will replace your fears with a peace that passes all understanding that will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:7). Do not despair sister, your good shepherd will take care of you! Place your trust in Jesus ~ He will never let you go! And, may we as His people care for one another so we can have a healthy flock. -Christy

 

 

March 17, 2020

 



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