November 2018

Dealing with Conflict

This morning (Thursday), we had the opportunity to connect with our Fellowship pastors and leaders in the Hamilton/Niagara area for some encouragement and training. The topic today was on “Dealing with Conflict”. While you might not find that the most interesting of topics, I was reminded that a lot of what we do as Christians and leaders in the church is manage conflict – either before it happens or when it is happening. I am so thankful that we had the opportunity to learn about it and ourselves and how we can deal with it better and in a more Christ-like way.

Our speaker was Bob Flemming. Bob is our Regional Director for FEB Central (of which Calvary is part). Bob helps churches get established, grow and at times, steps in to assist a church that is stuck. A lot of the time the problem causing the “stuck-ness” results in conflict between two parties.

I was thankful this morning to be reminded that working towards oneness, harmony and indivisibility is not just a worthy cause, it’s biblical and it honours Christ.

In a church, conflict can come in many forms. From two people who struggle to work together in a ministry, to a family that struggles to get along, to a marriage that is feeling the pressure, and right up to a church that is in conflict because of changes that have taken place.

No matter what the cause of the conflict, we all have a responsibility for the way that we react. This is so true as we are seeking to follow Christ and grow in Him. Yes, we might be hurt. Yes, we might feel that we aren’t being listened to. Yes, we might feel that we are being taken advantage of. Yet we all have the choice for how we are going to react and respond.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemaker for they will be called the children of God.” (Matt 5:9). If you remember from our sermon series in Proverbs, Jesus was calling upon the OT wisdom writers to instruct the new covenant people on how they ought to live out their faith. Peace-making and dealing with conflict is wise in God’s economy. One proverb I especially find helpful is Proverbs 17:1.

“Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house fully of feasting, with strife”

Do you get it? It’s better to work towards peace in all areas of our life, rather than living with conflict or strife.

Let me ask you a question as I close – “Is there an area in your life that you are harbouring conflict and strife?” My prayer is that we are called as gospel people to work towards peace. What are you doing in order to be a peacemaker. May we seek God’s wisdom to deal with conflict in a Christ honouring way.

By the way, I am so thankful for the peace and unity that we are enjoying at Calvary these days. God has been and continues to be, gracious to us. May we seek to live for Him and the Gospel for His glory in this area for a long time into the future!

In peace,

Pastor Aaron

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Shock Value

There's something about a good shock that invigorates us. It perks us up and brings us focus. I had an Old Testament teacher in Bible College who was very kind, and very knowledgeable. He wasn't one to raise his voice, unless pronouncing how he thought YHWH, the Hebrew name for God, should be pronounced. But once when class hadn't officially started and people were still milling around and talking, this teacher raised his voice and bellowed in a frustrated tone, “WHAT, ARE YOUR EARS PAINTED ON?”

The class went from calm conversation to utter silence.

We stopped what we were doing, frantically found our seats, and did our best to be quiet for fear of more yelling. But after a moment, the teacher burst into laughter and the class quickly followed suit as we realized he was joking. What followed was a really engaging class. There's just something about a good shock that perks you up.

This past weekend, our Junior Highs went to BEDLAM where they had the opportunity to rock-climb and skateboard, spend time with kids their age from all over Ontario, listen to an awesome worship band and be taught the Word – all in a setting that is geared to their own age.

Our speaker spent the weekend on the story of creation. How and why we were created, and what humanity did with that creation. On Saturday night he brought out a baseball bat and mirror. First he talked about how God had created us in His image, how we were created to be a reflection of him. But because of our sinful actions we had broken that creation – we had broken that reflection. And it was at this point that he swung the bat into the mirror and shattered it to pieces.

Every little conversation was silenced.

Those who hadn’t been listening, or who had fallen asleep, instantly perked up. Something big, loud, and messy had just happened on stage, and suddenly everyone's attention was focused on the stage. And then our speaker used the shocked silence to share the Gospel.

Whenever I see Gospel presentations with this kind of wow factor, I think about the scene after Jesus’ crucifixion, when He appears appears to the disciples alive and well.

The Gospel of Luke puts it like this,

Luke 24: 36-37

            ...Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. But the whole group was startled and frightened, thinking they were seeing a ghost!

I can just imagine the silence that overtook that room when Jesus appeared. The teacher they watched die, whom they buried on Friday, the one they were mourning, suddenly standing before them. For anyone doubting who Jesus was, this must have been an instant eye opener, an instant realization.

Can you imagine the response of those disciples? How energizing that must have been? How that must have shaped their lives, their ministry, and their resolve going forward? Is it any wonder that all of these Apostles maintained their belief in Jesus, even when 12 of the 13 (including Paul) were murdered for it? They had seen the risen Christ! The initial shock of Jesus’ return had silenced all their doubt, their wavering, their fear. Instead, they listened, they learned, and they got to work. And the Gospel needs to do the same to us.

What, are our ears painted on?

Mike Sanders, Director of Youth

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Kids Min Update

It’s hard to believe it’s November already! Our CB Kids have had a busy fall.  In September our JK to Grade five started a new curriculum teaching them about the ‘Life of Jesus’. 

Beginning with his humble birth in a manger, our CB Kids have been learning that Jesus is a real person and how He can help them in their lives today. You may have seen our kids leaving Sunday school with manger crafts and glittery stars the past few weeks. It has been great to take our time learning about the Christmas story instead of rushing through it in December. 

We also had our CB kids back to school night and our Superhero night. We learned that God is with us everywhere, even at school, and that He can also use us in super ways. We had lots of fun and look forward to our Ugly Sweater night on Thursday, November 29th.  It will be a fun time of Christmas crafts, games and snacks. 

Our Children’s Ministry has also started practicing for our Christmas presentation happening on December 9th.  Even our little preschoolers have been working on a special poem. It’s always a busy start to pull out the costumes, choose the best poem and find the perfect song. In the end, it’s the message that is most important.  Our children have been learning that presenting the story of Jesus’ birth allows others to hear the amazing story of our King’s birth and the incredible gift that it is.

The song that we chose this year is called ‘Baby King’ by Jason Gray, and our children have been busy learning all the words. Here is just a little part of it:

Come now you don't have to fear anymore
There's never been a king quite like this one before
He knows its not easy to let down your guard
That it might take a baby to open your heart
And tenderly pull your defenses apart
Ring every bell, Shout out the message, all hail the coming of Jesus
Lord of us all, small and defenseless, power comes swaddled in meakness
Don't be afraid, He came as a baby King.

I know this season of celebration and family will pass in the blink of an eye.  Over the next several weeks we will all be in the thick of shopping, wrapping, baking, cleaning, and attending Christmas activities.  I hope too that we can find the Baby King in all the holiday happenings.

Tanya Chant, Family & Children's Director

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