Churchie Feeds

Parent Cue Cards – August 16

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Sun, 08/16/2020 - 03:00

Hi Parents,

You can use the below activities to engage in fun and conversation with your kids over the week.

Preschool
Elementary
Salvation Guide
Kidz Rock Spotify

Check out our ongoing resources for each age group:

The post Parent Cue Cards – August 16 appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Preschool – August 16

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Sun, 08/16/2020 - 03:00

ACTIVITY PAGES TO DOWNLOAD
SPOTIFY PLAYLIST

Worship Video

 

Check out our ongoing resources for each age group: And don’t forget to follow Kidz Rock on Facebook and Instagram!

   

The post Preschool – August 16 appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Elementary – August 16

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Sun, 08/16/2020 - 03:00

ACTIVITIES FOR THIS LESSON

Worship Video

 

Check out our ongoing resources for each age group: And don’t forget to follow Kidz Rock on Facebook and Instagram!

   

The post Elementary – August 16 appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Collide – August 16

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Sun, 08/16/2020 - 03:00

Survival Skills Discussion Questions
Check out our COLLIDE Spotify Playlist!

Decision

Check out our ongoing resources for each age group:

And don’t forget to follow Kidz Rock on Facebook and Instagram!

   

The post Collide – August 16 appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

COTR Youth Events – August 10th!

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Mon, 08/10/2020 - 15:14

This week!

Colour Wars
August 12th, Wednesday 7:00pm- 9:00pm
Red, Blue, Green & Yellow to face-off in this Holi inspired colour war! Bring white T-shirts for better results!
PLEASE SIGN-UP FOR THE EVENT HERE!

The Week After!

Flying Squirrel Trampoline Park!
August 19th, Wednesday 7:00pm- 9:00pm

COST: $11 to jump at Flying Squirrel, trampoline park! Meet at the church as we head over! It’s an extra $3 if you need socks!

PLEASE SIGN-UP FOR THE EVENT HERE!

SUMMER ACTIVITIES!


 MONTHLY CALENDAR

  Click here for this month’s calendar

The post COTR Youth Events – August 10th! appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Repost: How Susanna Wesley Home-schooled Ten Children

Just Call Me Pastor - Mon, 08/10/2020 - 11:00

For parents worried about their children’s education in the era of Covid-19, here is an encouraging story from more than 200 years ago.

Susanna Wesley home-schooled the surviving ten of her nineteen children, teaching them to read. The famed John and Charles Wesley, leaders of the Methodist movement of the eighteenth century, were among them. How did she go about this daunting task?

She had the background to be their teacher. She was the youngest of the learned Puritan minister Samuel Annesley’s twenty-five children. Before she was out of her teens she knew Greek, Latin, and French and was proficient in theology and philosophy.

She married Anglican clergyman Samuel Wesley when she was twenty and he twenty-seven. As children began to come along, she designated one room of the parsonage as the school room. In that room there was to be no loud talking, and no coming and going except for good cause. For Susanna and her brood, formal learning was scheduled to last six hours a day during weekdays and it was serious business.

The day before a child’s education was to begin, as Susanna described it to her son John years later, the house was set in order, his or her work appointed to them, and a charge given that none except the child involved should come into the room from nine till twelve and from two till five. These were the inviolate school hours.

Formal learning began the day after each child’s fifth birthday. Each was then given one day to learn the alphabet. Susanna reported that two children, Molly and Nancy, took a day and a half before they knew the letters perfectly. In this she implied that they were slow, but she later revised this view when she saw how slowly children outside her family accomplished the same task.

She would have followed her start-at-age-five rule with Kezzy also, but she complained in her letter to John that her husband overruled her and insisted she be started earlier. She reported that Kezzy was more years learning than any of the rest had been months.

As soon as the children had learned the alphabet, they began in the first chapter of Genesis by spelling and reading a line, then a verse, then two verses, and so on.

They never left a lesson until they could do it perfectly. As Susanna wrote: “It is almost incredible, what a child may be taught in a quarter of a year, by a vigorous application, if [the child has] but a tolerable capacity, and good health.”

This kind of regimentation might make a modern educator groan in protest. And Susanna Wesley’s pedagogy might not work equally well with a random sample of twenty children today. After all, the Wesley children were extraordinarily bright. As well, it is worth noting that she was teaching them to read one at a time, not in a group as we tend to do in today’s classrooms.

In any event, at that time illiteracy was high among men and even higher among women — and close to universal in their village of Epworth. Susanna’s method is validated by the fact that her little flock all learned to read well and this gift was given them for a lifetime of usefulness and pleasure.

If this slice-of-life makes Susanna Wesley seem like a severe parent, consider one other aspect of her pedagogy. In a letter to her husband, Samuel, during one of his long absences in London, she gave this glimpse into her mentoring practices.

I take such a proportion of time as I can best spare every night to discuss with each child, by itself, on something that relates to its principal concerns. On Monday I talk with Molly; on Tuesday with Hetty; Wednesday with Nancy; Thursday with Jackie (John); Friday with Patty; Saturday with Charles; and with Emily and Sukey on Sunday.

Think of the emotional or intellectual enrichment that could be added to many an emotionally impoverished or neglected child today by a one-hour face-to-face with a parent genuinely interested in sharing the child’s agenda for that hour. It would be far more enriching than the time so commonly devoted by children and parents these days to the Internet and television.

Who can deny the wisdom of a Christian mother who insisted that her children master the objective tools of learning like words and numbers and facts and who also encouraged them to explore personal experiences of their choice during a dedicated time for each child?

Photo credit: Shawn Campbell (via flickr.com)

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Preschool – August 9

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Sun, 08/09/2020 - 13:54

ACTIVITY PAGES TO DOWNLOAD
SPOTIFY PLAYLIST

Worship Video

 

Check out our ongoing resources for each age group: And don’t forget to follow Kidz Rock on Facebook and Instagram!

   

The post Preschool – August 9 appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Collide – August 09

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Sun, 08/09/2020 - 03:00

Survival Skills Discussion Questions
Check out our COLLIDE Spotify Playlist!

Decision

Check out our ongoing resources for each age group:

And don’t forget to follow Kidz Rock on Facebook and Instagram!

   

The post Collide – August 09 appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Parent Cue Cards – August 9

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Sun, 08/09/2020 - 03:00

Hi Parents,

You can use the below activities to engage in fun and conversation with your kids over the week.

Preschool
Elementary
Salvation Guide
Kidz Rock Spotify

Check out our ongoing resources for each age group:

The post Parent Cue Cards – August 9 appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Elementary – August 9

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Sun, 08/09/2020 - 03:00

ACTIVITIES FOR THIS LESSON

Worship Video

 

Check out our ongoing resources for each age group: And don’t forget to follow Kidz Rock on Facebook and Instagram!

   

The post Elementary – August 9 appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

A Fire in an Old Parsonage: Who Saved John’s Life?

Just Call Me Pastor - Mon, 08/03/2020 - 16:52

In 1709, at age six, John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, came precariously close to losing his life in a raging parsonage fire.

That parsonage, Epworth rectory, was an old house. It appears that it was at least 200 years old when the Wesley family first occupied it near the beginning of the 1700s.

It was a three-story house constructed of ancient timbers, lath, and plaster, with a thatched roof. It was dusty and dry and in 1702 (the year before John Wesley’s birth) that same parsonage had been damaged by a mysterious fire, but had been saved and repaired.

Then came the raging fire of August 24, 1709. It could well have wiped out the whole family. It began near midnight. Susanna was ill and she and Samuel were sleeping in separate rooms. She had two boys with her. Samuel, hearing the cry of “fire” in the streets, ran to Susanna’s room but the door was locked and he could not break in.

Fortunately all the commotion awakened her and she and the two boys hurriedly walked through the flames on the front stairs. Only her hands and face were scorched. Samuel then raced to the nursery where the younger children were in the care of a maid and hurried all of them out through the back part of the house. But once he was outside he realized that Jackie (son John) was missing.

Just then John’s face appeared at the upstairs window of the room where he had been sleeping. He had been awakened by the fire that was already playing along the ceiling of his room. There was no time for the crowd to get a ladder. Samuel, sure his son would die, knelt and commended him to God.

But a strong man in the crowd stood against the wall beneath the window and another man was hoisted onto his shoulders, bringing him close enough to the height of the upstairs window to reach John.

The appearance of the man frightened John and he disappeared from the window to try the door of his room. It was already in flames. He returned to the window and fell into the arms of the man. At that very moment, the roof collapsed and the burning thatch dropped into his room. John was saved — but just in time.

The cause of the fire was never established. Someone blamed it on Samuel’s carelessness. There were also hints of arson. Ruffians in the town of Epworth had often threatened the rector and his family. Samuel’s cows had been stabbed, his dog lost a leg, and the children, while at play in the yard, had been menaced by men who came by.

John’s amazing rescue registered deeply with the parents. All the children had been saved, but Susanna was particularly grateful for the mercy shown to John.      Two years later, May 17, 1711, she wrote a prayer, saying she intended “to be more particularly careful of the soul of this child that thou hast so mercifully provided for, than ever I have been, that I may do my endeavours to instill into his mind the disciplines of thy true religion and virtue.”

In his adulthood, John Wesley himself saw his great deliverance as an expression of God’s providence — his governance of the affairs of all mankind — and was convinced that he had been spared for a special reason. This event had a profound effect on his ministry.

In 1737, at age 34, he began to ascribe to the event the biblical expression “a brand plucked from the burning” (Zechariah 3:2). A modern version (NIV) says: “Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?” Wesley came to believe he was saved from a fiery death by the Divine Hand so he could carry out a special ministry at God’s behest.

We all have had such providences. For some, they are obvious — a reprieve from cancer or financial ruin — for others, they are not as dramatic but equally real.  After all, our very lives and the breath we breathe day after day are the result of God’s provide-ence. And therefore should we not, as did John Wesley, reflect on them as evidence of God’s immeasurable mercies toward us to serve His purpose?

In the light of God’s daily mercies, dare we take lightly His call to salvation in Christ Jesus, and then to lives of committed service?

Photo credit: Ada Be (via flickr.com)

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Parent Cue Cards – August 2

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Sun, 08/02/2020 - 03:03

Hi Parents,

You can use the below activities to engage in fun and conversation with your kids over the week.

Preschool
Elementary
Salvation Guide
Kidz Rock Spotify

Check out our ongoing resources for each age group:

The post Parent Cue Cards – August 2 appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Preschool – August 2

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Sun, 08/02/2020 - 03:00

ACTIVITY PAGES TO DOWNLOAD
SPOTIFY PLAYLIST

Worship Video

 

Check out our ongoing resources for each age group: And don’t forget to follow Kidz Rock on Facebook and Instagram!

   

The post Preschool – August 2 appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Elementary – August 2

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Sun, 08/02/2020 - 03:00

ACTIVITIES FOR THIS LESSON

Worship Video

 

Check out our ongoing resources for each age group: And don’t forget to follow Kidz Rock on Facebook and Instagram!

   

The post Elementary – August 2 appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Collide – August 02

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Sun, 08/02/2020 - 03:00

Survival Skills Discussion Questions
Check out our COLLIDE Spotify Playlist!

Decision

Check out our ongoing resources for each age group:

And don’t forget to follow Kidz Rock on Facebook and Instagram!

   

The post Collide – August 02 appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

COTR Youth Events – July 27th!

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Mon, 07/27/2020 - 14:56

This week!

Wednesday, July 29th -10:30 – 4:30pm
Beach Day!
Birds Hill Park. Cost: FREE – Bring lunch or $$ for Canteen. Check twitter.com/hsm_winnipeg by 8am for rain updates. Meet at church @ 10:30am. Pickup @ 4:30pm
WAIVER FORM HERE

PLEASE SIGN-UP FOR THE EVENT HERE!

NEXT WEEK!

WEEK BREAK!

The Week After!

Colour Wars
August 12th, Wednesday 7:00pm- 9:00pm
Red, Blue, Green & Yellow to face-off in this Holi inspired colour war! Bring white T-shirts for better results!
PLEASE SIGN-UP FOR THE EVENT HERE!

SUMMER ACTIVITIES!


 MONTHLY CALENDAR

  Click here for this month’s calendar

The post COTR Youth Events – July 27th! appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Repost: Should Christians Make Sunday a Holy Day?

Just Call Me Pastor - Mon, 07/27/2020 - 11:00

Our culture as a whole has clearly embraced secularism and the absolute autonomy of the individual as the credo for living. In keeping with this change, over the past several decades former societal practices that put God collectively above the individual, such as Sunday store closings for family, worship, and rest, have vanished.

Many Christians appear to have followed this change. Rather than making Sunday a true Lord’s Day for worship and rest, Sunday might include any-day tasks such as laundry, shopping for groceries, washing the car, mowing the lawn, cleaning house, or spending hours in hard study.

The question to a believer such as I is whether we give up something precious when Sunday becomes like any other day of the week.

The Sabbath originally referred to Saturday, but for the largest part of Christendom it has become Sunday. That’s because Sunday is the day of Christ’s resurrection and is therefore “the Lord’s Day.”

Consider as well that on the Sunday of his resurrection, Jesus also appeared to his followers that morning (John 20:1-19), afternoon (Luke 24:13-32), and evening (36-49). These meetings set the stage for the weekly celebration on Sunday of our Lord’s resurrection and the promise of our salvation and eternal life with Him!

For further support of Sunday observance, note Luke’s documentation that a generation after Christ’s resurrection, when he and Paul were in Troas (now Western Turkey), “On the first day of the week we came together to break bread” (Acts 20:7). And as well, Paul instructs the Corinthians to set aside their special offerings “on the first day of the week” (1 Corinthians 16: 1-2).

The Sabbath principle really begins with the account of creation. The Book of Genesis tells us that after six days of creation, “on the seventh day God rested [ceased] from all the work of creation that he had done” (Genesis 2:2-3). This “rest” is sometimes referred to as a Sabbath rite, a standard to be observed by God’s creatures.

Then, in Exodus, the second book of the Bible, we learn that during Israel’s wilderness wanderings, God gave the miraculous gift of manna as daily food (16:12). Each morning the Israelites were to go out and collect enough for the family for only that day. But, on the morning of the sixth day, they were to gather enough for two days so they would not need to gather on the Sabbath (16:29).

Again, this arrangement reflected God’s merciful call for them to desist one day out of seven from their weekly labors in order to rest in his mercy and celebrate his care.

Then, later came the giving of the Ten Commandments. The fourth (20:8) said, “Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy” (setting it apart, sanctifying it).

The first three commandments all start with the phrase “You shall not…” Commandment four begins with “You shall” — it is a positive command to remember and observe the special day.

Many centuries later, the Israelites were well settled in the Holy Land and had become prosperous. As so often happens when people feel wealthy and secure, their sense of self-sufficiency had led them to neglect God’s laws. Prophets like Isaiah prophesied against their disobedience, pinpointing as one major piece of evidence their disregard of the Sabbath. To speak to their offense Isaiah prophesies:

“If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” The mouth of the Lord has spoken. (Isaiah 58:13-14)

Do New Testament teachings agree with these examples from the Old Testament? In the four Gospels there are at least 58 references to the Sabbath. However, the problem with Sabbath observance then was that several generations of rabbis had embellished the basic Sabbath laws with all sorts of picky regulations, making the special day burdensome rather than renewing. In response, the Gospels do not cancel the Sabbath principle. Instead, Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man.” He humanized it as the Father intended for creaturely renewal — a day to throw off the labors of the week, worship God among his people, and launch the new work week refreshed in body and soul.

Wise and devout Christians to the present see the wisdom of making Sunday a special day of worship and a day of rest from the ordinary labors of the week. They find joy in meeting with a company of Christians for the worship of the resurrected Christ, to renew faith and clear their perspective on life through the living Christ. In this way, we acknowledge God’s merciful provision. As well, we bless ourselves and our families by turning our thoughts heavenward and consciously resting in God’s faithfulness.

Photo credit: sean mason (via flickr.com)

Categories: Churchie Feeds

What to Do When Falsely Judged

Just Call Me Pastor - Mon, 07/20/2020 - 11:00

While still a young shepherd from Bethlehem, David came to the attention of Saul, King of Israel, when he offered, in the name of God, to fight Goliath, the Philistine warrior-giant. He proved both his faith in God and his unusual skill with his sling when the first stone he released brought the giant crashing to the ground, killing him (1 Samuel 17:48-53).

Israel’s soldiers were ecstatic. The Philistine army panicked and fled. Even the dwellings of the Philistine soldiers were plundered.

David came later into King Saul’s service at the palace. There, he saw that Saul was given to dark moods and murderous impulses. Twice the king tried to pin David to the wall with his spear.

As a loyal servant of the king, David could not understand. Why would the king want him dead? In it all he became a fast friend with the king’s son, Jonathan. David told Jonathan: “… there is only a step between me and death” (20:3). Jonathan attempted to protect David from his father’s rages.

David fled the palace to live as a fugitive throughout the land. A natural leader, he gathered a defensive band of followers, up to 600 in number. They hid in wilderness areas from Saul’s armed forces.

It is easy to imagine that such constant flight prompted an intense debate between David and some of his followers. That debate may well be reflected in the three parts of Psalm 11. In the first section, David declares his intention to be courageous in the face of undeserved hatred. In the second section he summarizes what some of his more timid followers were apparently advising. And in the third, he gives reasons for being steady under false charges and perils.

David declares: “In the Lord I take refuge” (Psalm 11:1a). Coming before all other declarations this is David’s bottom-line understanding of how he must gain strength to survive his predicament.

The reader can speculate that the timid and hopeless in his band may have said something like: “For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart. When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (11:2-3). That’s how they saw the situation.

He chides such fearful followers with a metaphor: “How then can you say to me: Flee like a bird to your mountain?” (11:1b) Living in the outdoors as he and his men were doing, David had seen little birds fleeing a bird of prey. Such a little bird might eventually flee to the mountains where there is the protection of solitude.

We may rise to the challenge of lesser threats, but when life’s foundations seem about to crumble we become vulnerable to the temptation to fly to a safe hiding place in the mountains.

With every reason to descend into helplessness, David declares: “In the Lord I take refuge.” And in answer to a feeling of victimization he elaborates: “The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne” (4a). The worship center of the Holy City is intact; heaven is not under attack.

Psalm 11 also tells us that the Lord observes everyone on earth (4b); his eyes examine not only the righteous, whom he allows in this life to be tested; the Lord also sees (and despises) those who love violence. That God sees, and knows, and will judge righteously, encourages us, too.

David’s final reason to be courageous tops them all: “For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face” (7). The hidden jealousy of a close associate can create a storm in one’s life, but a steady faith in God will bring a believer safely through the storm.

Photo credit: Mike Prince (via flickr.com)

Categories: Churchie Feeds

What to Do to Seek God’s Blessing

Just Call Me Pastor - Mon, 07/13/2020 - 11:00

Blessings from God are noted frequently throughout the scriptures. This word, blessed, occurs as many as 51 times in the Psalms alone. And as the first word of the whole Psalter it appears to stand as a sentinel over all 150 of them.

Human life is saturated with daily blessings — adequate sunshine to sustain life, shelter from stormy weather, nourishment for the body, and so much more. But in Psalm 1 special favor is promised to those who meet certain conditions.

This psalm begins in verse 1 with a blunt exhortation to avoid ungodly companions. “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.”

This does not mean we must strictly isolate ourselves. But it holds that if we intend to live out the blessing promised we should avoid walking in the paths of wicked companions — persons lacking reverence for God and the morally casual.

Nor are we to stand around those doing evil, or make common cause (sitting with) persons who mock known standards of godliness. Sinners know what is good or righteous, but they act contrary to this knowledge, offending God’s righteousness.

The psalmist says don’t walk, stand, or sit with them — not so much in the physical sense as in the participatory sense — or you may find yourself sharing their ways.

This is a good psalm for young people to ponder as they choose companions from school, work, and leisure.

There is a progression in the commands: Dont walk! Dont stand! Dont sit!

Each instruction seems to emphasize and become more urgent in warning the reader to avoid the wayward life. 

The psalmist recommends not only what to avoid, but also what to pursue; verse 2 says, “But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.”

He who would be blessed must at the same time make heart commitments that are carefully centered on God’s Law. At the time of writing the Psalmist may have been referring to the first five books of the Bible, a rich resource for the understanding of the mind of God and his way of dealing with his chosen people.

The pondering of God’s Word “day and night” is an exercise of the soul that God promises to bless. The pondering of the complete Bible we have today would be even better.

What will be the results of all this? The psalmist reaches for a simile and offers that the faithful seeker after God’s blessing will be “like a tree planted by the water” (verse 3). Even during parched times this blessing seeker might expect abundance of fruit. As well, as the tree’s leaves will not wither so whatever projects he attempts will succeed.

But what about the person who ignores God in his life plan, who chooses the paths marked by wickedness? Blessedness is of no concern to him. In fact, while appearing to have the world in his wallet, he may be hard or indifferent to righteousness. To all appearances, he has it made. One could almost be envious.

But the way of the wicked is not to be envied when long-term consequences are taken into account. Verse 4 says, “They are like chaff that the wind blows away.” When the winds of adversity blow he will respond like the worthless, inedible paper-like husk of grain that flies into the air in all directions at the harvest.

Psalm 1 ends with a summary of the two destinies: “For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous; but the way of the wicked leads to destruction” (verse 6).

Some may argue that there are many paths in life. Ultimately there are only two, the psalmist contends. And only one of the two promises rich blessings and escape from destruction.

Photo credit: Stephanie Young Merzel (via flickr.com)

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Repost: Reviewing Life’s Difficult Decisions from a Distance

Just Call Me Pastor - Mon, 07/06/2020 - 11:00

Kay and I were 35 and serving a growing church in Western Canada back in the 1950s. After five years of rich ministry there we received an unsolicited phone call from a conference superintendent inviting us to come and serve a congregation in the mid-western United States. The church was a broad and challenging field of service and included large numbers of college students. He said that he and his committee were sure we were a match.

The invitation created conflict. We loved the people where we were and they loved us. The growth of the church was strong and exciting. We also loved the city and our children were settled in a good school. Why, then, might we accept? Because the challenge of this invitation also had its strong pull. I had even told a favorite professor while in seminary that I was interested in being a college pastor someday. Here, it seemed, was the opportunity.

Day after day I wrestled with the invitation. Kathleen did the same. We talked over the pros and cons. We committed the issue repeatedly to prayer. In the end, Kathleen entrusted the decision largely to me with one stipulation: our profoundly disabled son, John David, would not have to be moved. He was happily situated and well cared for in a nearby institution.

The dilemma we struggled with was not about furthering my career. I was ordained for a lifetime of ministry and we were trying to live out a calling — a vocation — not merely a career. The decision had to be in harmony with a divinely-approved plan. In our denomination a conference Ministerial Appointments Committee assigns ordained personnel to their place of service, while moving from one conference to another is more of a personal decision.

One morning I went from my study into the sanctuary of the church and knelt by a green pulpit chair. I had to decide. In that moment of anguish, with resolute finality, I believed I knew the answer. We would go. I told Kathleen. I phoned to inform the conference superintendent.

We weren’t prepared for what followed. When we told our congregation and leaders of our conference we became acutely aware of the strength of the bond between us. There was grieving to the point of tears on both sides. We felt forlorn and bereft, as did our congregation. I now question from a position of greater maturity: Could we have broken the news better? More gradually?

In my distress, I phoned the superintendent who had invited us. I told him I had given his committee my word and would not break it but asked if he would release me from my commitment. He would not, he said, because his Appointments Committee was counting on my coming. That closed the door with a thud.

My turmoil was so overwhelming that I walked the streets of our city seeking relief from a kind of deep suffering. Kay and I both lived with this anguish for several weeks.

Then, with the furniture we had put up for sale beginning to disappear, the reality of our move became tangible. Finally, on the day of our departure, two members of our congregation took us and our three children, Carolyn, 12, Donald, 9, and Robert, 7, to the train for our trip across Canada. We would stop a few days with family in Ontario and then enter the United States at Detroit to buy a used car there and start the 400-mile trek to our new field of service 250 miles south of Chicago.

We grieved painfully for at least a year: first for the loss of our beloved and lively congregation, then for the loss of an urban environment we had come to love and the beautiful landscape of the Lower Mainland of British Columbia ringed by mountains.

And it took us that same year to become comfortable with a less active college church congregation in a very different community. But we see all of this now as the inevitable stress of making a major change. And, painful though it was, we also see it as God’s will for us at that time.

That move began a thirteen-year ministry at a college center with many heart-to-heart interactions, many lifelong friendships, countless treasured memories, and numerous ministry connections and responsibilities locally, across the continent, and beyond. We still hear from people speaking of the help they received in their Christian journey during those years, or at this or that crucial time of decision. Some were students back then and now are grandparents living in retirement.

Knowing God’s will is a mysterious undertaking. As we pore prayerfully over the issues and dilemmas of life, we do not always arrive immediately at a sense of certainty that introduces calm and security. Sometimes, in fact, we only see clearly, weeks, months, or even years later, that we have made the right decision.

And it is some comfort to know that even when we must proceed without a clear answer to our prayers for guidance, or when in our humanity we choose less than the best path, our Lord can confirm our decision or redeem our blunders or missteps. His Spirit is available for every need, and his Providence is a great consolation to those who sincerely attempt to live in obedience to him by faith.

Photo credit: deargdoom57 (via flickr.com)

Categories: Churchie Feeds

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