There is no denying that in Canada, public policy today is going to affect our lives tomorrow. Even this week in the debates between the various leaders of the political parties, we heard how every vote for them is going to change the way we live and do business. I am sure that you, like most Canadians, are wrestling with the decision of who we want to lead our country for the next 4 years. I thought I would take the time to help us think biblically about what is going to happen in the next few weeks.
But first, let me make it abundantly clear that I or anyone else in church leadership should ever assert for one party over another publicly in the church. Who you vote for is between you and God, and the role of a pastor or ministry leader is not to endorse one candidate over the other in a public church life forum. This is seen as an abuse of power and I have tried to be careful as I possibly can. I’ve even gone so far as to not have a political party sign on my lawn in case it puts pressure on people to vote for the candidate of my choosing. Even though I know I could put up a sign, I don’t want to ever be criticized for being overtly “one-sided” in my relationships with neighbours. Politics can divide and if I am trying to build bridges with my neighbours, why would I let a sign get in the way? That’s my personal conviction, not that of Calvary.
But what I can do is this – I can call the church (you and I) to respond to the issues and candidates from the framework of what the Bible teaches about society, government, freedoms and conscious. The Bible speaks about issues the issues we face. We can respond biblically to the questions of medically assisted death, religious freedom, palliative care, human trafficking, refugees, child and youth in government care, poverty and homelessness, etc. We need to make sure we understand what the Bible teaches about these issues and seek the candidate that we feel would best lead our country to reflect our opinions. We then vote and trust God. Once we have a government in place, we are then called to support what we can.
Romans 13 teaches the church that the governments that are put in place are ordained by God. This means that we are to submit to their authority and also to pray for them and pray that they lead and govern diligently and honestly. Even if we disagree with their policies, we are still to respond in a Christ-like manner and pray that they are open to God leading their lives and ability to make wise decisions. Also, 1 Timothy 2:2 says that we pray for them that they would let us continue to lead peaceful lives and practice our faith in freedom and security
With this in mind though, it still means that we do have a part to play in the election process. The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada has created a website to help Christians think through the issues and vote in a manner that reflects our faith and practice: http://www.theefc.ca/Election2019
So, what can we do?
- Pray for our current elective officials – pray that God would break into their lives and that they would come to know Christ if they already do not. If they do believe, that their belief would lead them in making wise and thoughtful decisions on policies that affect our society.
- Pray for those who are seeking to be elected or re-elected – God is sovereign and we can ask God to show His power by putting the best candidate in the seat.
- Pray for those who will vote – we have a big problem with people not exercising their freedom to vote. Pray that many would make the effort to get familiar with the issues and vote intelligently. Use the EFC voter guide. Talk to others. Read the websites. Plan to get out and vote.
- Pray for our country – Our country is at cross-roads and we ask that God would provide the peace and love of neighbours to persevere through our differences.
This year, our church facility will be a voting station. We are happy to see our building used to bring the community-at-large together. Voting is important and even though we don’t publicly endorse one candidate over the other, we want Burlington to see that we do care about the process and are praying that God would lead our nation to the right government for the next 4 years.
So we pray, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6: 9-10).
Aaron Groat, Senior Pastor
Have you ever heard the song Magic Power by the Canadian band Triumph? It's a great song, I'd recommend it. In this song, we hear this message about the magic power of music. About how it has this ability to change our mood, pick us up at the end of a long day. The second verse says:
She's had a rotten day, but she hopes the DJ is gonna play her favourite song. It makes her feel much better, brings her closer to her dreams. A little magic power makes it better than it seems.
Now, perhaps this song is elevating the power of music to heights that make music a small-g “god”. But it's also speaking a lot of truth about the power that music can have in our lives.
These last few weeks at Student Ministries we've been looking at the students' favourite songs. We've been taking a hard look at the lyrics, and asking the question: when we sing these songs, what is the message we're projecting to others? When I sing these lyrics, what am I saying about who I am, about who God is, and about the world we live in? Then once we've answered those three questions, we take a step back and look at the truth, and so far, the truth has presented a very contrasting worldview than that of these songs.
It's a practice that I am hoping to ingrain in the minds of our students, but I think it's a skill we could all use, because music is catchy, and it drives us. We could be out for a walk, and someone is cranking a tune from their garage or their car, or we see it in a movie or tv show. Then it's stuck in our brains, and we start to hum it or sing it to ourselves, then, we're the ones cranking it from our garage, or our cars as we drive. And on the surface, it seems harmless, you're just enjoying a song. There's a lot of really catchy songs out there that are just a blast to listen to. Songs that make us feel good, pick us up after a long day at work, or that are singing about something you're going through. But, a lot of our favourite songs, are painting a picture about who we are as individuals that is self-centered, or about a god that is so careless or powerless, or about our world that has no hope, and we really ought to be more careful before we put songs like that on repeat. Sure it's got a great beat, but these themes and ideas can trickle into our worldview if we aren't paying attention.
Now, maybe you're sitting there reading this and thinking “Geez Mike, way to be a bummer...”
Please understand that music is one of my favourite things that God has gifted us with. I have whole mix CD's that are filled with songs that are fun to drive to. There are songs that when they come on the radio I smile because I just love that song. I got a playlist on my phone that is just classic 70's and 80's rock songs that remind me of childhood, and my dad playing rock radio stations on long drives. There are songs that I get to the end of my workday and they're like a little reward on the drive home. Music is incredible, and I thank God every day that he's given us this beautiful gift of rhythm and beat. All I want to make sure we're doing, as a church, and as Christians, is to be wise about what we're consuming, and the subsequently sharing with others. Recognize that a lot of the secular music we enjoy, has this false idea about humanity, about this world, and about the God that we serve. And go into this music knowing the truth about those three things. Because, I'd argue that music does have power, and I urge us to be using that power to glorify God.
Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:16-17)
Mike Sanders, Director of Youth
As I begin to write this blog, we are exactly three months away from Christmas! It seems like just yesterday that we were gearing up for summer camp, but here we are with October just around the corner. Fall is a great season though! Students have returned to their classes and routines, programs and activities have started and we still can enjoy some warm weather.
The other day, someone sent me a picture of a steaming tea cup with the words “TEA (n.) a hug in a cup”, beside it. Those of you who know me will know that I really do enjoy a cup of hot tea, with perhaps a good book and a blanket. Yes, it’s all about comfort!
In Sunday school we have been looking at Exodus and learning about Moses. Moses was given the great task of leading the Israelites out of Egypt, but felt ill-prepared and not confident for such a job. This was a calling definitely out of his comfort zone. As our children have been learning however, God provided the strength and reassurance that Moses needed. We see examples of God’s power, His instruction, and His love and care for us. Moses and the people saw that they could trust God, that He provided for them and that nothing was too big- not even the Red Sea! God truly is the greatest comforter!
As we begin to enjoy the short fall season, with our sweaters, warm drinks and good food; we can rest in the knowledge that God can and will walk through any circumstance with us.
Tanya Chant, Director of Family & Children's Ministries
“May your faithful love comfort me as you have promised me.” (Psalm 119:76)
“Shout with joy, you heavens! Be glad, you earth! Burst into song, you mountains! The lord will comfort His people. He will show His tender love to those who are suffering.” (Isaiah 49:13)
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