We Can Make Great Things Happen

5 04 2013

http://www.northumberlandtoday.com/2013/04/04/we-can-make-great-things-happen

A Repost from today’s local newspaper!

In May 2010, I wrote my very first article for Northumberland Today. It was given the heading Great Things Can Be Accomplished If We Work Together. I confess that at the time of that article being published, the reality of several different church denominations and other Christian community groups coming together for the same cause seemed more like a veritable “pipe dream” than a possible reality.

Yet, today as you read these words something truly remarkable has taken place within the town of Cobourg, and I feel so honoured to have been able to play even a small role in this great expression of unity.

Just over six weeks ago, five churches in our community (Calvary Baptist, Church on the Hill, Cobourg Alliance, Fellowship Baptist, and The Salvation Army), began a pulpit exchange, where for five consecutive Sundays, the pastors from each congregation took turns visiting each other’s churches to present the sermon. I’m not sure any of us really knew what we were getting ourselves into when this series entitled “Better Together” began, but very quickly we learned that what we were doing was much bigger than anything we had ever dreamed.

Speaking from just my own experience, it was so refreshing to truly sense denominational and theological barriers being put aside in the interest of unity, and to witness the many similarities that each church shares with my own. Yet it really was the differences in expressions of worship, the various uses (or non-use) of the sacraments, and the different ways that people accepted what I was offering through my teaching that I found so beneficial, both educationally and spiritually. But what was truly remarkable for me was the impact that this exchange would have not just on the members of each of these five churches but also upon the community in which we live.

What began to take place during this time frame was what I like to call a “melting of our hearts”  for those members of our community that are in need, and a great reminder of the greatest commandments to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” And to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:30-31)

While there are many ways that we can put these words into action in our community, the five aforementioned church pastors, along with the prayerful support of community groups like UCB Canada and Northumberland Youth For Christ, and the financial support of other churches in our area, partnered with Habitat For Humanity Northumberland to complete a Faith Build in our community. Essentially the goal was to raise $60,000.00 and then provide the manual labour to build a home as a “hand up” for a family in need of this type of support.

On Good Friday, these groups gathered together at the Best Western Cobourg Inn and Convention Centre to first and foremost reflect and acknowledge the significance of this day in the Christian calendar, but also to take up an offering that we hoped would offset at least a portion of the costs associated with this Faith Build. The result was an amazing $57,851.59 given in love and left many of us stunned once again at the Blessings of God. Today (April 5), the groundbreaking for this project is taking place on Alexandria Drive, and we already know that it will be a huge success for great things can happen when God’s people work together!

Capt. Sheldon R. Bungay, The Salvation Army Cobourg Community Church





Reimagine

21 01 2013




I’m Still Here!

8 01 2013

Just a note to let everyone know that I am still alive and anticipating a break in the craziness very soon! Christmas and New Years have come and gone for another season, now its on to budgets and my final course before grad in April. Prayers would be appreciated for my immediate family as they are the ones who have to live with me while I slowly lose my mind!!!! HA!

IN HIS TIME, IN HIS TIME
HE MAKES ALL THINGS BEAUTIFUL IN HIS TIME
LORD, PLEASE SHOW ME EVERYDAY
AS YOU’RE TEACHING ME YOUR WAY
AND I’LL DO JUST WHAT YOU SAY
IN YOUR TIME.

IN YOUR TIME, IN YOUR TIME
YOU MAKE ALL THINGS BEAUTIFUL IN YOUR TIME
LORD, MY LIFE TO YOU I BRING
MAY EACH SONG I HAVE TO SING
BE TO YOU A LOVELY THING
IN YOUR TIME

BE TO YOU A LOVELY THING
IN YOUR TIME.





And now for something entirely sensible!

13 12 2012




God Still Answers Prayer!

11 12 2012

It’s been a difficult day! My mother had brain surgery this morning for the second time in less than a year. While we had great faith in God and the assurance that her Doctor was very good, it was still BRAIN surgery, and I have watched enough episodes of Grey’s Anatomy to know that anything can happen when doctors enter the human brain!

However, as the day draws to a close I have been reminded of two very remarkable and equally comforting realities.

1.) People are awesome! There have been so many people who have posted on my Facebook wall that they would pray for my mother and my family during these last few hours. So many people have crawled out of the woodwork of my past to offer an encouraging word or to send a text saying that they are supporting me from a distance, and that really is awesome!

2.) God Still answers prayer! The People Prayed and This time once Again God answered! This afternoon while awaiting news from my Dad, I decided to drive to Peterborough Ontario to pick up a few things that we needed at the Church, Being alone for an extended period of time when you are experiencing stress, anxiety, or fear of the unknown like I was dealing with today can be somewhat rewarding as I was able to sit back and put things in perspective as I drove. Interestingly a song that I haven’t heard since moving to Ontario kept creeping up in the back of my mind. I can remember hearing it several times during our appointment in Newfoundland, and I guess it was simply the right message that God wanted me to hear today:

GOD STILL ANSWERS PRAYER (c) Scott Thomas

THE LORD  IS NOT TOO BUSY

THAT HE CAN’T REACH DOWN

AND MEND  A BROKEN HEART

AND MY BURDEN  IS NOT  TOO HEAVY

THAT HE  CAN’T HEAR  A PLEA  OF FAITH

GOD  STILL ANSWERS  PRAYER

CHORUS

GOD  STILL ANSWERS  PRAYER

IN HIS TIME  HE’LL WORK  A MIRACLE

HE WILL NEVER  FAIL

SATAN  HAS LOST  THE BATTLE

WHEN  TO THE LORD  YOU HUMBLY BOW

GOD  STILL ANSWERS  PRAYER

IF YOU FEEL  THAT LIFE  IS HOPELESS

AND THE NIGHT  HAS NO  END

THERE’S HOPE  FOR YOUR  HURTING  HEART

FOR HE’LL  BE THERE  WITH YOU

NO MATTER  WHAT  YOU’RE  GOING THROUGH

GOD  STILL ANSWERS  PRAYER

SATAN  HAS LOST THE BATTLE

WHEN  TO THE LORD  YOU HUMBLY BOW

GOD  STILL ANSWERS  PRAYER

Yup, He sure does!!!!!!!!!!





Sunday Worship: Learning From Atheists!

2 12 2012

I really enjoy Sundays when I can sit back and be a participant with our fellow congregation members, and not have to be the leader! Which was the case today, as my wife took the lead and with the members of our iKids program (our weekly children’s program for kids 4-12) led us in our annual Christmas Pageant. Because of the lack of responsibility today, I felt very relaxed and took advantage of the free time following the pageant to accomplish two very important things: 1.) Quality time with my family which included a trip to McDonald’s which always makes my two munchkins very excited and 2.) Personal time alone to read and reflect and to just BE!

It was during the later that I managed to finish book 35 for 2012 (Just 5 more to go for my goal of 40!!!)

I have to admit that I am not an avid reader of works written by atheists! When I enter a Chapters bookstore, or when I peruse the shelves of my local book dealers I am not eagerly anticipating the latest works from Dawkins or Hawking, nor do I frequently browse the “Letting Go of God” stacks that one bookstore boldly displayed during one of my recent visits! However, I was very intrigued when several months ago I entered my local Christian Bookstore – Searchlight Books, and was met by a little sign above a stack that read: “The only book in our store written by an Atheist!”

That sign was referring to this book:

c802810ae7a079a6e6a43210.L

I Sold My Soul On Ebay: Viewing Faith Through An Atheist’s Eyes, is a book that every church leader should read….seriously!!!! I admit that when I made the purchase, I wasn’t expecting a great resource, and for reasons I can’t explain, I was expecting a lighthearted examination of some of the rituals and practices of “Church” that are so often mocked and derided by media, and by many individuals in our society. Instead, what I really received was some words of encouragement, and several helpful insights from a man who dubs himself as the “friendly atheist!”

I don’t want to spoil the results of this book for those who may be intrigued and have some desire to read it for themselves. But, I will provide the following description: Hemant Mehta is a young adult who grew up in the Jainism faith, but in his early teens walked away from Jainism, and began living his life as a non-believer in a God, gods, or the supernatural. However, instead of being a promotor of evil, a devil-worshiper, or a corrupt and harmful citizen as many Christian publications would refer to the Atheist culture, Hemant was and is a stand-up guy, a man who desires to live a decent life, an individual who wants the world around him to make sense, and who encourages people of different groups, races, and people from different faith backgrounds to engage in conversation and relationship with each other, and learn from each other instead of making false accusations with absolutely no factual evidence to support such hateful words.

Because of this outlook on life, Hemant claims that he didn’t want to be someone who claimed to be an Atheist, but who had never actually tried to educate himself on all things pertaining to Christianity and its God. So in a very risky, but equally impressive move, Hemant decided to place himself on eBay, and offer to the highest bidder an opportunity to send Hemant to church! And that’s exactly what happened! In fact, Hemant spent close to a year visiting different churches from small congregations of approximately 80 people to vast megachurches that host 30,000 members weekly. In this book he provides a small snapshot of what he liked or disliked about each church, what he found impressive, or irritating, what was helpful and what was detrimental to his experience, and even offers a critique on the pastor’s sermons from Rob Bell & Joel Osteen, to Ted Haggard and Ben Young!

But what I found most impressive about Mehta’s offering was that he concludes the book with two chapters that deal with practical advise to church leaders about how to appeal to the non-churched, and how not to appeal to the non-churched, and also provides a very honest explanation of where his life stands today as a result of this experiment, the results may actually surprise you. Included in these practical tips is the startling and equally disturbing reality that it is often the Christian and not the Atheist or the non-believer who is guilty of hate, and hurtful words, shunning, and who show a lack of desire to communicate. Does this sound like Jesus? I don’t think so!

Is this the best book I have ever read? No! Did I agree with everything He said? Absolutely not! Did he say a few things that made me uncomfortable? You betcha!

But that is exactly why you should read this book!





Duck Dynasty: Not Just a Hit TV Show!

29 11 2012

Over the last couple of months I have become a huge fan of the Hit A&E program Duck Dynasty. If you really think about it, what’s not to love about it? It has everything: Men being men, a successful product and business venture, beautiful women, Squirrel Brain Soup, humour, and I obviously can’t leave out Uncle Si! But what I find really great about this program is that it really offers some wholesome teaching that is so often missing from our society today.

It has Men teaching boys how to live, Women teaching girls how to grow up to be great women, an emphasis on teaching wholesome values and in the words of Uncle Si, it teaches the importance of showing “R-S-P-E-C-T!” And weaved throughout each episode is an overarching theme of faith, and each episode concludes with Phil offering up a word of prayer of thanksgiving to God.

I’m hooked, and I love it.

Tonight as I was doing a little blog surfing I came across the following blog from Royce Ogle at gracedigest.com.

Click the picture for the link:

If you are not sure what Duck Dynasty is or if you want to learn more about the show, it offers a great insight into this remarkable program.

Read it……..JACK!

http://gracedigest.com/2012/06/10/duck-dynasty-what-you-probably-know-and-what-you-probably-dont-know/








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