Oh man, how great was Impact Sunday?? That's a rhetorical question, because I already know it was amazing! It is so encouraging to hear stories of how God is working in and through His church. As I was planning out the music for the service last week, I just kept thinking of how important it was that the service not be a celebration of our own achievements, but instead recognize how God is working powerfully through His people. At our Wednesday practice we talked about how God is the ultimate Creator; that anything we are able to do is because He has enabled us to do it. Anything we can make, anything we can imagine is only possible because He has known it first.
He is the one who gives us life (and life to the fullest)!
This Sunday, we are going to learn a new song together that continues on that same theme. The song is called “Yet Not I, but Through Christ in Me” by CityAlight, and the words of the song remind us that whatever we have, whatever we do that honours Him, we can only do through the work of Christ in us. The words of verse three are especially significant in light of some of the testimony we heard this past Sunday, and they say this:
No fate I dread I know I am forgiven
The future sure the price it has been paid
For Jesus bled and suffered for my pardon
And he was raised to overthrow the grave
To this I hold my sin has been defeated
Jesus now and ever is my plea
Oh the chains are released I can sing I am free
Yet not I but through Christ in me
The gospel message summed up in a beautiful picture of our freedom and forgiveness in Christ. I'm so excited to sing these words with you on Sunday as we worship Jesus together in victory!
“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2
Jolene Sanders, Director of Worship Ministries
Two weeks ago in Sunday school, I began the lesson for our grade 1-5 class with a game. To my surprise, a number of the kids started shouting excitedly that we hadn’t shared our weekly news. Each week we always start class by taking turns sharing anything special we’ve done during the week like a sporting event, a special outing, some time with friends, or anything that brought them joy since we last saw them. This sharing then leads into our prayer and praise time.
I was thinking about praise this week and how to describe it to our Sunday school kids - what does it mean to praise God? Growing up in the church I always believed that praise was simply the time we spent singing at the start of service. However, praise is actually anything we do that expresses our appreciation and thankfulness for what God has done. A quick search reveals that “praise” is mentioned about 340 times in the Bible (NIV). Along with love, praise is one of the most frequently used verbs/action words – there must be a message in this. Psalm 145:3 reads, “Lord, you are great. You are really worthy of praise. No one can completely understand how great you are.”
In order for children to understand the significance of praise, they need to know more of who God is. By learning about trials, circumstances, characters and Scripture in the Bible, God’s attributes are revealed. God is loving, forgiving, holy, all-powerful, all knowing, merciful, just, sovereign and everywhere – to name a few. When children have the opportunity to know God, they can see He is worthy of praise! They can also see that God truly wants the best for them, and that He is concerned with every detail of their lives. That’s why we like to start every week with a time of reflection, and praising the great things God has done over the past week - we want to build this behaviour into the lives and routines of our kids. James 1:17 reminds us that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like the shifting shadows.”
As Easter approaches, with Palm Sunday this week, we have lots of opportunity for praise and worship. We are coming together as a church community to celebrate the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. It is through our risen Saviour that we have forgiveness and the assurance of salvation. What greater reason do we have to give praise this Easter!
Tanya Chant, Director of Family & Children's Ministry
For those of you who don't know, before I started working here at the church, I worked in retail. (Glorious retail!) And, although I loved the people I worked with, I was so happy to move into the role I have now. I'm especially thankful as the Christmas season rolls around.
This past Christmas, our family was celebrating at my sister-in-law’s home. And as we were eating our Christmas dinner, my husband Mike said, “Hey Jo, remember the last time we were here for Christmas, we were packing up to go home at this time because you had to start work the next morning at 5a.m.”. Because, if there's one thing you know working in retail, it's that Christmas isn't truly Christmas if people can't go shopping for great deals on Boxing Day.
It just seems like people are always concerned with the next thing. Never content with where we are now, we constantly look to what might lay ahead.
To keep going with the retail theme, one year in late January I remember trying to buy some winter boots for my son who had grown out of his pair. No luck, they've already got the sandals out in the shoe store. Looking to buy a nice summer dress in July? Sorry, they've already rolled out the fall flannels. Sometimes this incessant looking ahead drives me crazy!
With one exception.
On December 26, after all the excitement of Christmas is over and I finally have a moment to rest, I sit down... and I think about Easter. Because the story of Christ's birth is beautiful and miraculous, but it means little to us without the incredible, powerful, life-giving work of the cross.
Sometimes these days after Christmas can be disorienting. You've spent so much time looking forward to a certain day, and – in a flash – it's here and gone. But Emmanuel, God with us, is as true and powerful today as it is on Christmas day, and as it was 2000 years ago. So after the wrapping paper has been cleaned up and the decorations are packed away, let's remember that, as God's people, we still have so much to look forward to. We have new life in Him, and an eternity to worship our Christ the Lord!
Jolene Sanders, Director of Worship
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.
- 1 Peter 1:3-4
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.