Churchie Feeds

LONG-HAIRED FREAKY PEOPLE NEED NOT APPLY

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Wed, 01/03/2018 - 23:07

A few months ago I was standing in a church lobby in Edmonton when a young woman approached and asked me if I had every heard of the Five Man Electrical Band. Without missing a beat, I sang the opening verse of their iconic 1970 hit ‘Signs’.

And the sign said “Long-haired freaky people need not apply”
So I tucked my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why
He said “You look like a fine upstanding young man, I think you’ll do”
So I took off my hat, I said “Imagine that. Huh! Me workin’ for you!”
Whoa-oh-oh… Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?

What followed next can best be described by saying, we shared a moment. It turns out her father was one of the founding members of this Ottawa based rock band which produced multiple hits in the ’70’s but is still best known for this song.

Lead singer Les Emmerson wrote the song after taking a road trip on Route 66 in California, where he noticed gigantic billboards that he felt littered the roadway and obscured the beautiful scenery. He wondered aloud: Who is allowed to put up signs that interfere with nature? This led to another question: Who gets to make the rules that appear on so many signs?

The song was an attempt to give voice to the powerless masses that have rules placed upon them by arbitrary forces. Half a century later not much has changed, except the signs have a new target – Christians. Our Federal Government has erected a new sign that says Christians need not apply. Literally! Now before you dismiss this as another anti-Justin Trudeau rant about our dope dealing Prime Minister, hear me out. This is something quite different this time and even more insidious. There is an agenda at play in Canada to systematically strip Christians of their right to freedom of religion and conscience.

This past December the Federal government announced that it will double the funding for the successful Canada Summer Jobs program from $35M to $70M. This is where grants are made available to organizations to hire students for the summer. When we were a new struggling church we used to take advantage of the program to hire one or two students every summer. That will no longer be an option as bible-believing freaky christians need not apply. You see the grants will only be made available to groups that first sign an “attestation” saying they agree with the government’s views on abortion and gender identity. “These include reproductive rights, and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.” In other words any business or organization that holds a pro-life position on abortion or a traditional view on marriage and sexuality is ineligible.

To conclude that this is just a mere inconvenience would be to miss the fact that this is systemic religious discrimination at its worst. We have been specifically singled out as ineligible because of our religious beliefs. As bible believing Christians we cannot sign the aforementioned attestation since we simply cannot disregard the sanctity of life or of marriage. These things are part of our core beliefs and that will never change unless God does a rewrite of the scriptures, which I do not see happening any time soon since Jesus said, Heaven and earth will pass away but My Word will never pass away. This is also just the latest in a long list of overt attempts to curtail the Christian faith in Canada.

In 2014 when Justin Trudeau became leader of the Liberal party he declared that he would not sign the nomination papers of any prospective candidate that did not uphold his party’s pro-choice position on abortion. This effectively eliminated any practicing Catholics or Evangelicals from running for his party. Which was the intended goal. Our Prime Minister once remarked, “Evangelical Christians are the worst part of Canadian society”.

In 2016 after taking office the Trudeau government shut down the Office of Religious Freedom, launched by the previous government, to defend the rights of persecuted religious minorities overseas. Later that same year the Federal government pressured Prince Edward Island into offering abortion services in their hospitals for the first time by threatening to withhold heath care funding.

In 2017 the Liberal government announced $650 million in funding towards sexual and reproductive rights in developing countries. International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau defended the decision by saying that “contraception and even abortion is only a tool to end poverty.” Yikes!

There are of course many more examples but these should be enough to convince any skeptics that there is something nefarious going on in Canada and most of us are not even aware of it. It pains me to be the doomsayer. I would much rather write funny and ridiculous blogs about Trudeau, like how much he reminds me of Derek Zoolander.

But as bible believing Christians there is no question that we are heading towards very troubled waters. Not only are our values now in the minority position, they are no longer regarded as valid to even hold. We are already routinely accused of hate speech when we talk about biblical morality. And with the pace in which things are changing we are a hairs-breath away from this discrimination we  face, becoming criminalization. I realize I sound like one of those nutty alarmists… but at least this way when we are all sitting in concentration camps, I can say, “I told you so”.

What we are seeing today is nothing new. The first century church faced the same kind of opposition from the Roman Empire. Christians were thrown to the lions, sawn in half or torn limb from limb and yet the church continued to grow and make a difference in the world. Persecution has a funny way of bringing out the best in believers. One can no longer sit on the fence but must decide whether they are going to live out their faith or not. Under threat of persecution, lukewarmness, that is so common in many churches today, gives way to radical committed followers of Jesus that are no longer intimidated in the face of opposition. They live their faith out in bold proclamation without regard to the worldly powers (that will eventually have to bow their knee to the living God). “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word” (Acts 4:29)  When the disciples were confronted again on why they continued  to proclaim the name of Jesus, “Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)

Hey, I don’t want it to get to this point any more than the next guy, but I’ll be damned (literally) if I am going to stand by silently and just let it happen. And maybe, just maybe if we let our voices be heard, we wouldn’t end up this mess in the first place.

 

Categories: Churchie Feeds

God Knows

Just Call Me Pastor - Mon, 01/01/2018 - 11:00

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year,

“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”

And he replied, “Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the hand of God;

That shall be better to you than light, and safer than a known way.”

May that Almighty hand guide and uphold us all.

Minnie Haskins (1875 – 1957)

Photo credit: fruity monkey (via flickr.com)


Categories: Churchie Feeds

Christmas Greetings, And a Personal Note

Just Call Me Pastor - Mon, 12/25/2017 - 11:00

Christmas Greetings to my readers near and far! This is a season of both joy and hope — joy that Messiah has come and hope that through him the long term future is assured.

A shared note: This week Kathleen and I have celebrated our 70th Christmas together.  Seventy years ago, on December 20, 1947, we stood side by side under a homemade arch in a simple cottage on North Street in Niagara Falls, Ontario.  There, we exchanged marriage vows.

We were only 21, and unsophisticated by today’s standards, but the conservative religious backgrounds from which we both came, and the generally positive attitude toward marriage permeating society at the time gave us cultural as well as Christian standards to live by.

Those solemn promises we made under that arch before God and to each other — for better, for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health — we believe made us husband and wife in the sight of both God and man.

We enter our 71st year together knowing that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ guided us faithfully through the past 70 years.  And we are confident that He will guide us in the uncharted days ahead.

On several occasions people who learn of the long span of our marriage have asked Kathleen, “What’s the secret?” Her one-word answer has always been the same: “Respect.”

That may at first sound too simple for anything so complex as the “total shared union” marriage turns out to be. The Bible calls it appropriately a “one flesh” union which must mean it involves a shared identity, family responsibilities, resources, sleeping quarters, opinions, successes, and on and on. In a sense, two become one. If respect is lacking, each of these areas of life can become a source of conflict.

We know that after a commitment to mutual respect is made, lots of details are left to be worked out as the relationship grows. Every marriage has its moments of stress, disagreement, disappointment, misunderstanding. The key to a strong, satisfying marriage is to retain respect as the umbrella under which adjustments are made, opinions reconciled, and misunderstandings corrected.

Mutual respect is a good cornerstone on which to build the day-to-day ins-and-outs of this shared life. In a strong marriage there’s much more than respect involved in the relationship, but there’s never less. Disrespect, whether occasional or constant, gradually chokes out love.

The Apostle Paul had it right when he summarized his simple instructions to what may have been a congregation of first generation Christians in the pagan city of Ephesus:  

…Each one of you (husbands) should love his wife as himself, and wives should respect their husbands (Ephesians 5:13 CEB). That requires respect shown in both directions for sure.

A blessed Christmas and a wonderful New Year to all!!

Photo credit: Kenneth Lu (via flickr.com)


Categories: Churchie Feeds

It’s Christmas – Come On Down

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Sat, 12/23/2017 - 17:08

In the TV show “The Price is Right” audience spectators are called down onto the game floor to become part of the participants.  The host would then have individuals compete to determine who would be the closest in guessing the retail value of a displayed item.  The person with the closest estimate would win that object and then move on to another level of competition for more prizes.  Good purchasing skills and good guessing are necessary to successfully proceed to higher levels of competition.

It is interesting that in all the major world religions, except one, it is human effort that is necessary to proceed to higher levels of spiritual success or winning the ultimate prizes of life.  In simple generalized overviews we see that within:

  • Hinduism – The participants believe that the individual’s own destiny is determined by the actions of the individual. They believe in Karma, the law of cause and effect by which each individual creates his own destiny by his thoughts, words and deeds.
  • Buddhism – It is important to remove oneself from suffering. This is done through: Right knowledge – Right intention – Right speech – Right action – Right livelihood – Right effort – Right mindfulness – Right concentration
  • Islam – It is important that one be a follower of Allah and that their good actions outweigh the bad actions.
  • New Age – Adherents believe that all is god and individuals just need to release the God within themselves and this will bring about self-actualization.

But Christianity is different from the other religions.  In Christianity, instead of progressing from one level to the next by trying to be better, working harder, trying to believe more, etc. we realize that we will never be good enough to please God in our own efforts.  Instead of people trying to work their way up to heaven, we see God coming down from heaven to help us.  Christianity is unique in that only in Christianity is the understanding that God comes down to help us, instead of mankind trying to rise to be with or to be like God.  It is because of our sinfulness, our inability, and God’s desire to walk with us that God comes down to be with us.  We do not force Him to come to us, He lovingly desires to come to help us walk with Him.

Contrary to the game show “The Price Is Right”, we do not need to compete, be good enough or know enough to try to earn the prize.  Instead, Jesus – God Himself, comes down to help us!  At Christmas we celebrate that God came down to earth.  Jesus, the living word of God, takes upon Himself the limitations of a human so that He ultimately would help us walk with God.  All that is required on our part is that we trust that Jesus will forgive us and that He will help us walk with God.  This is the good news of Christmas and Easter, combined into one message.

This Christmas season, take some time to thank God for how He has come to help you walk with Him.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Thurs. Dec. 21 – Christmas Movie Night

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Wed, 12/20/2017 - 05:20

Christmas is almost upon us so we thought we’d take it easy
with a laid back Christmas themed night.

Christmas Movie Night
Thursday, Dec. 21
7:30 PM
Youth Room

We’re going all out with this Christmas Party!
Christmas sweaters, a Christmas movie, eggnog,
hot chocolate, and decorating a Christmas tree!

Join us in the Youth Room at 7:30 PM
and don’t forget your sweater!

We’ll be watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,
making popcorn garland for the tree – along with other decorations,
and enjoying each other’s company – one of the best things about Christmas!

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Christmas Movie – Threshold Jr Dec 20

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Mon, 12/18/2017 - 22:07

 

THIS WEEK

Christmas Movie

This is our tradition of relaxing while watching a Christmas movie with lots of popcorn in hand! You get to vote on which movie to watch!

Wednesday Dec 20, 2017
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Church of the Rock
Cost: FREE
 

NO YOUTH DECEMBER 27 & JANUARY 3

 

NEXT THRESHOLD JR

Whisper Challenge!

Try to get your friend to say the phrase by your whisper!
Our new series is called “Know God”
We will learn how to know God better!
Plus Hangout/Cafe in The Cage

Wednesday Jan 10, 2017
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Church of the Rock
Cost: FREE
 

 

MEET OUR SPONSOR CHILD!

Each week we collect an offering
for our sponsor child Simon
& for other missions projects

 

MONTHLY CALENDAR

Click here for this month’s calendar

 

If you no longer wish to receive these emails, please reply and say “Unsubscribe” (DO NOT click on the “Unsubscribe” link below).

Church of the Rock 1397 Buffalo Place Winnipeg, MB R3T 1L6 Phone: (204)261-0070 or 1-877-700-ROCK (7625) Email: tim@churchoftherock.ca (Tim Hamm)

Categories: Churchie Feeds

High School Ministry Weekly December 22th!

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Mon, 12/18/2017 - 17:32


This week…


Christmas Formal
December 22nd @ 7:11pm—10:00pm

FULL ON CHRISTMAS & JESUS! Dress your best as we celebrate Christmas together with worship, games, message with small groups. We also finish up our Supernatural series!

The following weeks…

December 29th & January 5th
No youth! Take time with your family over the Holidays!

In the New Year…

Archery Tag
January 12th @ 7:11pm—10:00pm
COST: $5— OR BRING A FRIEND & IT’S FREE

Another one of HSM’s favourite pastime is Archery Tag!
Totally safe and fun! Bring out your friend and it will be free for the both of you! Otherwise, pay up! See you there!

MONTHLY CALENDAR

  Click here for this month’s calendar

Categories: Churchie Feeds

How Joseph Struggled over Mary’s Pregnancy and How God Comforted Him

Just Call Me Pastor - Mon, 12/18/2017 - 11:00

Luke tells the Advent story from the perspective of Mary the Virgin (Luke 1:26 – 38). Matthew gives greater attention to the way Joseph got the information and how he dealt with it (Matthew 2:18 – 25).

Joseph was engaged to marry Mary. Engagement in first century Israel was like a first phase of marriage, and much more binding than it is today.

When a man and woman were pledged to marry, their engagement was sealed by a public ceremony. Matthew gives us a sense of the firmness of the relationship between engagement and marriage: First he writes that Mary “was pledged to be married to Joseph (v.18). But in the next verse, though nothing has changed, he refers to Joseph as Mary’s husband (v.19).

Moreover, to break an engagement required the signing of divorce papers. And if the male should die during the engagement his pledged bride was regarded in society as a widow.

Then at the appointed time (sometimes after time allotted for the groom to build a house) the marriage itself would be celebrated with a flourish and the husband would take his bride into his home where the marriage would be consummated.

Imagine Joseph’s shock when word reached him that during their engagement Mary was found to be pregnant. Questions must have raced through his mind. There are indications that he struggled with the question: How shall I cancel my sacred pledge? 

To characterize Joseph, Matthew uses only one descriptive word: He was a “righteous” man. That meant he was a serious practicing Jew; a respecter of God’s law; a religious man set on doing God’s will. Society would not likely have looked down upon him if he had divorced Mary in a very public and humiliating way.

But his righteous character had a compassionate counterbalance. Though profoundly disappointed, his love for Mary was protective. He decided he would divorce her quietly so as to cause her as little humiliation as possible.

At that point, an angel appeared to him in a dream to help him through his quandary.

The angel addressed him as Joseph, son of David — David being Israel’s most honored King from whose line the Messiah was expected to come to Israel. 

The angel said, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus (meaning Jehovah the helper) because he will save his people from their sins.

Matthew adds the following words from the prophecies of Isaiah made 700 years earlier: A virgin shall conceive and the son she bears will be called Immanuel — God with us (Isaiah 7:14).

Jehovah the helper? God with us? Joseph would need those words. There were to be hard days ahead as he took Mary into his house to live out the pregnancy. Though the community would not understand, he was resolute both as a righteous man and Mary’s protector.

His name shall be Jesus! That’s what the angel announced. He will be Immanuel — God with us!  That’s what the prophet Isaiah prophesied!

Advent brings home to us afresh those words. In the birth of Jesus through the agency of the Holy Spirit and the obedience of Joseph and Mary God came into the human family. In the power of the Holy Spirit Jesus is with his people to this day. And to this day he has the power to save us from our sins.

Jesus! God with us! Savior! Oh blessed Christmas!

Photo credit: Barta IV (via flickr.com)


Categories: Churchie Feeds

Christmas Game Show – Threshold Jr Dec 13

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 20:09

 

THIS WEEK

Christmas Game Show
+ ‘Tis the Season

Christmas Game Shows are simply the best! Join us as we spend time hanging out in the cage! We also start our new series called ‘Tis the Season.

Wednesday Dec 13, 2017
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Church of the Rock
Cost: FREE
 

 

NEXT WEEK

Christmas Movie

This is our tradition of relaxing while watching a Christmas movie with lots of popcorn in hand! You get to vote on which movie to watch!

Wednesday Dec 20, 2017
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Church of the Rock
Cost: FREE
 

NO YOUTH DECEMBER 27 & JANUARY 3

 

 

MEET OUR SPONSOR CHILD!

Each week we collect an offering
for our sponsor child Simon
& for other missions projects

 

MONTHLY CALENDAR

Click here for this month’s calendar

 

If you no longer wish to receive these emails, please reply and say “Unsubscribe” (DO NOT click on the “Unsubscribe” link below).

Church of the Rock 1397 Buffalo Place Winnipeg, MB R3T 1L6 Phone: (204)261-0070 or 1-877-700-ROCK (7625) Email: tim@churchoftherock.ca (Tim Hamm)

Categories: Churchie Feeds

High School Ministry Weekly December 15th!

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 17:58


This week…


Whisper Challenge
December 15th @ 7:11pm-10:00pm
We continue with our Supernatural series, but we don’t stop the fun!  Join us as we play Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Whisper Challenge’ and learn more about the supernatural world we live in!

The following week…

Christmas Formal
December 22nd @ 7:11pm—10:00pm

FULL ON CHRISTMAS & JESUS! Dress your best as we celebrate Christmas together with worship, games, message with small groups. We also finish up our Supernatural series!

The week after that…

December 29th & January 5th
No youth! Take time with your family over the Holidays!

MONTHLY CALENDAR

  Click here for this month’s calendar

Categories: Churchie Feeds

When Mary Meets an Angel — What Then?

Just Call Me Pastor - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 11:00

The Annunciation by John William Waterhouse, 1914. Public Domain.

In Saint Luke’s compelling story of the Virgin Mary’s conversation with the angel Gabriel, the chief actor is God himself. (Luke 1: 26.)

It is He who sends his angel to Mary with a specific message. And, even though myriads of angels appear elsewhere in the Scriptures, only two — Gabriel, and Michael (Jude 9) — are named. This suggests Gabriel’s great elevation.

Mary lived in a little town called Nazareth in Galilee. She was committed to be married to a man named Joseph who was a descendant of Israel’s ancient King David.

In those biblical times marriage could be solemnized at an early age. One historian suggests that Mary might have been as young as 14.

If the Eternal God would send an elevated angel with an understandable message for a fourteen-year-old, the message must have been really important. So it turned out to be.

As Gabriel appeared to Mary he greeted her, “Rejoice, favored one! The Lord is with you.” (CEB)

Rejoice indeed. But that was not her first impulse. Gabriel’s words troubled her greatly. She puzzled over them; what could they mean?

The angel addressed her fear, “Don’t be afraid.”  He then gave Mary his message — a message never delivered before and never to be heard again: “You are going to be the mother of a son, and you will call him Jesus” — the Messiah.

Gabriel went on: “Your son will be great and will be known as the Son of the Most High.” The Most High? That’s the Almighty God. That’s the Sovereign over all creation. The angel continued, “the Lord God will give him the throne of his forefather, David, and he will be king over the people of Jacob forever. His reign shall never end.” (JBP)

Mary asked the obvious question: “How will this be since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1: 34).

Gabriel, answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, the power of the most high will overshadow you. Your child will therefore be called holy — the Son of God.” (JBP)

These words sound like the echo of Genesis 1:2 at the moment the Creator called all creation into being: “the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said….“ (Genesis 1:2). This birth was going to be unique — a miraculous act of God.

Once, Gabriel referred to the eternal God as “The Lord” and twice as “The Most High” and then, as “The Lord God,” ending his part of the conversation with the assurance that “… Nothing is impossible with God.” God was the authority behind Gabriel’s message.

But in this exchange the Virgin Mary was far from passive. Once she understood, she declared, “I am the Lord’s servant.” There was no long struggle; her heart was already obedient to the Lord and she responded quickly and with great freedom of spirit.

Luke tells us nothing about Mary’s heritage, or her physical appearance, or even her location. The issue was her willingness to be God’s servant in his great miracle.

She concluded with: “May it be to me as you (Gabriel) have said.” In effect: I’m ready for whatever the Lord wants.

The angelic messenger vanished: mission accomplished! In time, Mary was God’s agent to provide a Savior for the world. We honor her greatly for accepting with humility her part in the drama of the world’s redemption.

CEB, Contemporary English Bible; JBP, JB Phillips Paraphrase

 

 


Categories: Churchie Feeds

Are You Smarter Than a Youth Leader? – Threshold Jr Dec 6

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Mon, 12/04/2017 - 21:16

 

THIS WEEK

Are You Smarter Than a Youth Leader?
+ Stuck Pt 3

Let’s put your knowledge to the test against your small group leaders!
Also Hangout & Cafe in The Cage

Wednesday Dec 6, 2017
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Church of the Rock
Cost: FREE
 

NEXT WEEK

Christmas Game Show
+ ‘Tis the Season

Christmas Game Shows are simply the best! Join us as we spend time hanging out in the cage! We also start our new series called ‘Tis the Season.

Wednesday Dec 13, 2017
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Church of the Rock
Cost: FREE
 

 

MEET OUR SPONSOR CHILD!

Each week we collect an offering
for our sponsor child Simon
& for other missions projects

 

MONTHLY CALENDAR

Click here for this month’s calendar

 

If you no longer wish to receive these emails, please reply and say “Unsubscribe” (DO NOT click on the “Unsubscribe” link below).

Church of the Rock 1397 Buffalo Place Winnipeg, MB R3T 1L6 Phone: (204)261-0070 or 1-877-700-ROCK (7625) Email: tim@churchoftherock.ca (Tim Hamm)

Categories: Churchie Feeds

High School Ministry Weekly December 8th!

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Mon, 12/04/2017 - 15:49


This week…


Ask Anything
December 8th @ 7:11pm – 10:00pm

We live in a world full of information. But do they really answer our deepest questions?  Ask anything you’d like about life and faith as we sit down and allow our conversation to go anywhere!  Text or write in questions and send them in!

The following week…

Whisper Challenge
December 15th @ 7:11pm-10:00pm
We continue with our Supernatural series, but we don’t stop the fun!  Join us as we play Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Whisper Challenge’ and learn more about the supernatural world we live in!

The week after that…

Christmas Formal
December 22nd @ 7:11pm—10:00pm

FULL ON CHRISTMAS & JESUS! Dress your best as we celebrate Christmas together with worship, games, message with small groups. We also finish up our Supernatural series!

MONTHLY CALENDAR

  Click here for this month’s calendar

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Let Advent Heighten Our Love for the Gospel

Just Call Me Pastor - Mon, 12/04/2017 - 11:00

It’s the longest book in the New Testament, written by the only Gentile contributor to that sacred collection. Some would say it is also the most beautiful literary work found there.

Luke, a long-time companion of the Apostle Paul (Acts 16:10-11), is its author, and he is a first century doctor by profession (Colossians 4:.10-11.14).

But in our skeptical times, critics question the trustworthiness of Luke’s claims. Are they real history? Confidence in his message has loosened its hold even on some believers.

Luke almost seems to anticipate our skepticism. And so, he begins his message with the longest sentence in the New Testament, carefully crafted to lay the groundwork for everything he wants to say.

To help you feel the seriousness of what he claims I’m going to break down that original sentence into several even shorter sentences as follows:

(To Theophilus, to whom he is writing): Remarkable things have happened among us. Many have believed and attempted to draw up an account of these events. Their accounts were handed down to us by people who were first-hand witnesses. They were people who gave themselves to spreading the word. Not just they but I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning. I feel compelled to write an orderly account of it all. This is for you, most excellent Theophilus. You have already had basic teaching of the faith. But my purpose is to be sure you feel the certainty of what you have been taught.

Theophilus may have been a Roman government official and a relatively new convert to the faith. Here, in his Gospel account, Luke goes to great lengths to enrich his faith by giving him a fuller grounding in the historical facts and claims of Our Lord Jesus Christ as his diligent investigation has uncovered them.

Here, I want to point out the first and last miracles Luke reports.

The first miracle, recorded nowhere else in the New Testament, has to do with an elderly priest named Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth, both of them from Israel’s priestly line. They were childless and while Zechariah was ministering in the temple the angel Gabriel came to him and announced that, in spite of their great age, he and Elizabeth would have a son, to be named John.

In spite of Zechariah’s great piety, he did not believe Gabriel’s message, and for that disbelief he was rendered speechless for several months until after the promised miracle was fulfilled. The son born to them became none other than John the Baptist.

The second miracle is the one with which Luke closes his Gospel (Luke 22-24). It is the greatest miracle ever — Jesus’ resurrection! Although he suffered disfiguring brutality brought about by Israel’s religious rulers and carried out by his Roman executioners, nevertheless, on the third day he was raised from death as promised in the freshness and vigor of resurrected life.

In the telling of these two miracles after careful investigation — the miraculous conception of the herald of Jesus’ coming, John the Baptist, and the astonishing resurrection of Jesus — Luke is faithful to his declared purpose. He has done his research.

To be blessed by his account it remains for us to read his report with eyes of faith, embrace it, rejoice over it, and sing again the song of personal resurrection promised every believer.

Photo credit: Luz Adriana Villa (via flickr.com)


Categories: Churchie Feeds

Why Christian Dating is Brutal

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 20:51

Post written by Young Adult & Singles Director at Church of the Rock: Danica Hughes. 

I’ve been on a lot of dates with a lot of men. If I had to put a number to it, I’ve been asked out roughly 60 times in the last 7 years by about 40 men. That’s a disgusting amount of coffee dates for a lady who doesn’t drink coffee. Most, approximately 95%, were solid, Christian men building deeper relationships with God. I don’t say this to brag, but to prove a point: even with those impressive statistics, not one of those dates bloomed into a relationship. Why? Because dating isn’t so simplistic.

It wasn’t until I began to go on dates that I discovered Christian dating wasn’t as rosy and innocent that it appeared from the outside. Values and morals were confused, purity was optional, strangely intense pressures to marry came from every direction, and struggles with substance and sexual addictions all suddenly became issues that I had never considered would be points of conflict.

I went to a Christian school, and the extent of our sex-ed was: “don’t have sex”. As long as two people had a relationship with God and were virgins, there was no reasons why they couldn’t get married. If my Christian influences weren’t willing to get real about relationships, where was I going to learn it?

I remember we had a question box during our sex-ed class way back in high school. But early in the year, our teachers removed the box because we asked too many questions on sex and they weren’t comfortable answering them. I think that’s pretty standard of how Christians deal with these questions & issues: we pretend they don’t exist.

I didn’t learn healthy boundaries, things to look for in a potential spouse, what masturbation was, or how widespread pornography addiction is, just to name a few. By the time I started dating at 18-years old, I had no idea what I was in for. It’s only by God’s grace that I didn’t start relationships then and make mistakes I could never take back.

I point to the lack of information and mentoring on Christian dating as a main source of the relationship disasters that are rampant today (the unspoken, taboo issues too). The amount of conflicting or straight-up bad advice is overwhelming in Christian circles, yes, even by beloved pastors and godly married couples.

Little Timmy can hardly believe it either!! But I’m sure we all have had some bad advice we’ve received in the past – give me some of your “best” ones in the comments!

It’s hard to lay all the blame on one group though. Dating itself is a relatively new social construct: it’s only been around 100 years, but even since then, the dating scene has shifted dramatically. Online dating sites, apps, and a widespread hookup culture are just a few reasons the playing field has changed so rapidly, it’s hard to keep up. But the reality of the matter is that Christian dating calls us to a much higher standard than a Tinder hookup for example, and with peer pressures and socially acceptable promiscuity, by the time we start to figure out what Christian dating should look like, we’ve already made serious blunders with serious consequences.

The solution many Christians have resorted to is marrying quickly (I’m talking a couple months) so as not to stumble into sexual sin. While this may help the couple uphold their sexual purity, I would argue that they don’t even know each other yet, driven to the marriage altar by infatuation and lust with the intent of figuring everything else out later. What a dangerous way to start a marriage.


“We have no idea what we’re doing. Cheers.”

I want to offer you a different solution: Biblical and applicable information to help you have the best relationships you’ve ever had and to date in a way that honours God. My intent is to equip you with practical tools for your relationships and wrestle with challenging topics to achieve a higher standard in your dating life. By applying Biblical wisdom, we will achieve greater relationships with others, and ultimately, a greater relationship with Christ.

In other words, let’s have a date with God. Dating, marriage, and relationships are the most important areas of our life, it only makes sense to consult and prepare with God to do them well. So I think He would have an important question for you:

Would you like to grab a coffee?

~ Danica

Looking to tackle the unique problems singles deal with, Danica Hughes outlines the struggles and confusion she has observed in her ministries and lived as a single. Her hope is to equip singles with biblical tools to have better relationships with others and Christ, as well as to live a more exciting and fulfilling life as a single.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Human Curling – Threshold Jr Nov 29

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Mon, 11/27/2017 - 21:06

 

THIS WEEK

Human Curling!
+ Stuck Pt 2

You and your friends become the curling rocks
as we hurl you down the gym floor on a scooter!
Not to worry, we have safety restraints!
Also Hangout & Cafe in The Cage

Wednesday Nov 29, 2017
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Church of the Rock
Cost: FREE
 


NEXT WEEK

Are You Smarter Than a Youth Leader?
+ Stuck Pt 3

Let’s put your knowledge to the test against your small group leaders!
Also Hangout & Cafe in The Cage

Wednesday Dec 6, 2017
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Church of the Rock
Cost: FREE
 

 

MEET OUR SPONSOR CHILD!

Each week we collect an offering
for our sponsor child Simon
& for other missions projects

 

MONTHLY CALENDAR

Click here for this month’s calendar

 

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Church of the Rock 1397 Buffalo Place Winnipeg, MB R3T 1L6 Phone: (204)261-0070 or 1-877-700-ROCK (7625) Email: tim@churchoftherock.ca (Tim Hamm)

Categories: Churchie Feeds

High School Ministry Weekly December 1st!

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Mon, 11/27/2017 - 18:08


This week…


Dr. Seuss Rap Battle

December 1st @ 7:11pm – 10:00pm
Pick a Dr. Seuss book to rap to and face off against your friend!  Then we will all see who is truly livin’ the thug life! We are starting a new series called ’Supernatural’.   It’s about exploring the idea that our reality is more than what we see in the natural world.


The following week…

Ask Anything
December 8th @ 7:11pm – 10:00pm

We live in a world full of information. But do they really answer our deepest questions?  Ask anything you’d like about life and faith as we sit down and allow our conversation to go anywhere!  Text or write in questions and send them in!

The week after that…

Whisper Challenge
December 15th @ 7:11pm-10:00pm
We continue with our Supernatural series, but we don’t stop the fun!  Join us as we play Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Whisper Challenge’ and learn more about the supernatural world we live in!

MONTHLY CALENDAR

  Click here for this month’s calendar

Categories: Churchie Feeds

If Jesus Was Really Human — So What?

Just Call Me Pastor - Mon, 11/27/2017 - 11:00

The Finding of the Saviour in the Temple, by William Holman Hunt, 1859

St. Luke says little about Jesus’ development from his nativity through his childhood other than giving this terse summary: And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52).

Christians believe that Jesus had two natures, the divine and the human. Skeptics often ask dubiously if Jesus was fully human. The reality of the human side of Jesus’ nature is affirmed in four key markers of healthy human development found in this sentence.

Wisdom is a word with many applications: it means good judgment; prudence; the ability to foresee consequences and the self-discipline to respond appropriately; even when to speak and when to remain silent; etc.

Stature in this case has to do generally with physical development. Normal children have a passion to grow up. I remember as a young lad backing up to the kitchen door jam where I asked mother to make a pencil mark to show my growth from time to time.

I recall a driving goal to grow up to the full stature of manhood, with no particular height specified. God had put the passion there. It was so also with Jesus in his humanness — Luke notes that he grew physically toward manhood.

In favor with God: Here, Jesus’ earthly parents led the way. Their concern was that their son develop well spiritually. This was evident when, at twelve years of age, they took him with them on a five-day walk from Nazareth to the temple in Jerusalem for Passover.

In favor with man: As an expression of his human nature Jesus developed socially. The Gospels show this to be so in abundance by the essence of his teachings, his wise response to opposition, his attractiveness to humble people, and in his obedience to his parents (Luke 2:51).

Some might fault Luke’s account for telling us so little about his childhood, saying a good biography deserves full details about the subject’s earliest years.

But Luke’s account is not a biography; it is a Gospel, requiring a different form. The Gospel puts together the story of how and why Jesus came, and the achievements of his time on earth, majoring on the purpose of it all. Thus little about his childhood, but five chapters to cover mostly the events of a little more than one week — telling of his crucifixion and resurrection.

With that in mind, Luke’s simple four-point description of Jesus’ human development explodes with meaning. Jesus was not a phantom, an angel in disguise, or a failed prophet. He was fully God and fully man — God in human form.

As an ancient creed says: he was as much man as though he had never been God and as much God as though he had never been man. The New Testament glories in this certainty.

Jesus’ mentoring of his disciples across three years had revealed him to them as authentically human. As they grew to understand the deeper truth of incarnation they saw him as the co-equal Son of God the Father who came in human form.

But they had seen more. St Peter, when called to answer Jesus’ question ‘Who do you say I am?’ answered, You are the Messiah of God (Luke 9:20) Still later, Thomas blurted out, My Lord and My God! (John:20:28).

That’s how we should worship Our Lord this Advent. He is God Incarnate! The Gospel is clear and convincing. But this Incarnate God is also fully human and thus our brother, and he comes near to us in our times of need as our high priest (Hebrews 2:17).

 


Categories: Churchie Feeds

What If I Can’t?

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Mon, 11/27/2017 - 03:23

In 1 Chronicles 28:3, David is told that he would not be able to build a temple, a house for God to dwell in.  There were character flaws within David’s life that prevented him from being used in the next phase of what he wanted to move into.  By the command of God, the door was closed, there was no opportunity to move forward into that phase.

   In our lives there are times when we, by our actions have closed the doors to what could have been an aspect of our future.  Perhaps our sinful conduct has prevented us from moving ahead into something that God had once planned for us.   Poor parenting, immoral actions, selfishness, wrong companions, laziness, wrong motives, or other bad choices may have altered relationships or closed opportunities to such as extent that they seem irreparable.  This was the situation that David had found himself.  Yet there is no indication that David argued over this with God, or that he was bitter over what God had decreed.  He did not have a pity party, he did not forsake God because an opportunity for his life had been missed, nor did he go into months of depression.  He did not blame others for the closed door.

   Instead he made a choice.  Though the door was closed for one area of his life, David still chose to look ahead.  If he could not personally make a temple or dwelling place for God, he would do all that he could so that the next generation could do so.  He was not just looking at the closed door and then giving up hope. In 1 Chronicles. 29:2 says that David “prepared with all his might” in arranging the resource and supplies so that his son could walk out what he was not able to.

   We make many mistakes and sometimes these errors have long term consequences.  Sometimes opportunities may even be permanently closed to us.  In these situations we need to have the heart and mentality that David did.  We should pour our lives into the next generation.  Helping others to go further and do greater things than we can.  Imparting what we have learnt from our successes and also what we have learnt from our failures.  We may not even know what doors or opportunities have been closed for us, but nevertheless we can always be pouring our lives into those that come after us.

   Take some time to pray, and reflect.  What have you learned that God would want you to share with others?  You may not know whom you should be sharing with, but ask our Lord to bring the right people into your sphere of contact, so that you can prepare others to go where you are not able to.

 

Categories: Churchie Feeds

High School Ministry Weekly November 24th!

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Wed, 11/22/2017 - 16:51


This week…


Coffee House / Talent Show
November 24th @ 7:11pm – 10:00pm

Show us how talented you are by signing up and performing onstage at HSM. Any act is welcomed—use your imagination! Invite your friends as well!
Performers must come at  6:00pm to setup!

The following week…

Dr. Seuss Rap Battle

December 1st @ 7:11pm – 10:00pm
Pick a Dr. Seuss book to rap to and face off against your friend!  Then we will all see who is truly livin’ the thug life! We are starting a new series called ’Supernatural’.   It’s about exploring the idea that our reality is more than what we see in the natural world.


The week after that…

Ask Anything
December 8th @ 7:11pm – 10:00pm

We live in a world full of information. But do they really answer our deepest questions?  Ask anything you’d like about life and faith as we sit down and allow our conversation to go anywhere!  Text or write in questions and send them in!

MONTHLY CALENDAR

  Click here for this month’s calendar

Categories: Churchie Feeds

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