In June of this year, the men at Calvary had the privilege of hearing Dr Michael Haykin speak at a Saturday morning breakfast. He gave several different stories regarding physical presence as being important for friendship, and one stood out to me. Recently Michael had injured himself so that he could no longer travel. As a professor in a southern US seminary, Michael would travel there to teach but since he could not travel, Michael used Skype to give the lectures. What he noticed was that while he was doing the distance education, no one asked questions or shared comments. It was not until he resumed going to the campus that the two-way dialogue resumed. Can you relate to his experience?
As a church, we need each other. Some members of our church are longing to come to church but cannot because of their health concerns. Do you have a similar attitude of longing, or are you satisfied just listening to a podcast or a video? These things are good for the short term but you need human touch, a friendly hello, to be helping someone, discipling someone and being discipled.
When live theatre, concerts, are lectures still a big part of our society, why do we have such an issue with meeting together regularly as a church? When you listen alone, sing alone, or pray alone you should miss the power and impact of corporate or small group prayer and worship. You should long for it.
I've included a link to an article titled, "Seriously, Go to Church". Please have a read, it is not long. Then let’s meet face to face to discuss why the local church should be important in our lives and what we can do to make it so. I’ll buy the coffee.
Please remember that being a Christian is not a solo event. We need each other ( I Corinthians 12).
Peter Klahsen, Elder Chair
So, the worship team has been working through a devotional over this past month or so, using a plan titled “What Does it Mean to Worship?”. Over these past weeks, we've looked at the definition of worship, why we worship, and different ways that we can worship. This week we're looking at what it means to worship God by serving.
The opening quote of the devotional says this, “It is impossible to serve God without serving one another” (Allistair Begg).
Which seems right, right? It does.
Unfortunately, that doesn't make it easy.
The truth is - for me at least - there are times when it is incredibly difficult to serve others.
Just to illustrate, I'm going to share with you guys a snippet of the vows Mike and I made to each other on our wedding day (taken from the book “Blue Like Jazz”... yeah, that's how cool we are)
“I will love you like God, because of God, mighted by the power of God. I will not expect your love, demand your love, trade for your love, game for your love. I will simply love. I am giving myself to you, and tomorrow I will do it again.”
No pressure, right? No big deal, this is exactly the kind of love I show to Mike every. single. day. Because if there's any person in your life that should be easy to serve, it's your spouse, right??
Nope! (sorry Mike!)
I get lazy, and I get selfish.
Even the person I've vowed to love and cherish for the rest of my life I find difficult to serve, and I even like him!
What do I do about the people that rub me the wrong way? The ones who say inappropriate things at inappropriate times? The people I'd rather avoid?
Further into the devotional are these words, “We'll never lock eyes with someone whom God doesn't adore. Those are the people we get to serve.”
Man, that's tough. That's REALLY tough! But it's only tough until I realize the undeserved love I have in my life from the one who gave me life. It's tough until I am humbled to the fact that we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. It's tough until I remind myself that we don't serve others to glorify ourselves or the people we are serving, we serve to glorify God!
And that makes it a little easier.
The devotion closed this way, and I'll leave these words with you.
“Our aim in serving God is to bring Him glory. Whatever it is and however we're able, we can serve God by serving others. Let's commit ourselves to making a difference in the body of Christ with our gifts, abilities, and traits. It doesn't have to be a full-time job, but it should be our full-time calling”.
“Whatever you do, work heartily as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ” (Col. 3:23-24).
Jolene Sanders, Director of Worship
I have some potentially shocking news for you, so perhaps you should sit down.
Ready? Here goes.
Not everyone likes small talk.
Shocking, I know, but true.
Small talk is crafted around the idea that you have a small window of time to engage with someone, usually a stranger, so it’s best to keep the conversation light and shallow. Acceptable topics: Weather (“beautiful day!”), general health (“fine”), observable circumstances (“Look at that cute puppy!”), and common aggravations (“The bus is late again!”). Unacceptable topics: Politics, politics, and politics.
For close friends, small talk is the stuff we use to get to the bigger conversation. “How was your week? Not good? Tell me more about that…”
Each week after the service we serve coffee and snacks with the intention of slowing us down a bit. Connect time keeps us from running for the parking lot and jumping into the next thing in our day. It allows us to linger in the presence of other believers, strengthen friendships, and build into one another.
Unfortunately, we tend to speak with the same group of people each week. They’re the people you came with, you sit with, or you socialize with outside of Sunday morning. Those are the people you have actual conversations with, and for everyone else it is just small talk.
As we have come through the Convictions of Discipleship series and have been made aware of the importance of helping others “take a step to the right”, I wonder if we might better use the minutes after the message to encourage one another and to build one another up to be Christ-learners. Could those first five minutes build into someone, strengthen their faith, challenge their thinking, and deepen their connection to the local church?
On Thanksgiving weekend we gave everyone name tags with coloured stickers, and after the service you were encouraged to talk with someone outside of your normal circle of friends who had the same sticker as you.
Greens greeted the greens, purples parlayed with purples, yellows yelled at yellows (Not really, but there’s not that many ‘y’ words).
Those stickers made it much easier for those who don’t have a close circle of friends to talk with others, and to make some new connections. Plus there was the added benefit of a name tag, so you could try to learn a few names! Sure there was some small talk at first, but it was really fun to overhear some of you go out on a limb and ask about family, holiday traditions, and your favourite pie recipes!
What do we take from this? In the weeks leading up to Christmas, we want to challenge you to spend the first five minutes after each service speaking with someone outside of your usual group of friends. You might find that what begins with small talk can blossom into a disciple-making relationship of helping someone else take a step to the right and grow in their faith as they follow Jesus Christ.
If you need come conversation starters, come and talk to us. We’re putting together some material to help you better engage with others after the message, and we’d love for you to test it out and give us your feedback.
This week, let’s give our first five to God and His mission, and see what He can do as we encourage one another in the faith.
Each week we post about a range of things from the Christian life, faith and more.
In these posts we hope you'll catch a glimpse of ordinary people who serve an extraordinary God.