Dear Colleagues,I suppose that you have had the experience of listening to a speaker, then coming away from the presentation with something that speaks deeply to your experience. This past week, I was in Blind River, Ontario with the pastors of the North Shore Network. Because they are presently without a Network Leader, I lead this network and I am thankful for the opportunity as it helps me to connect with pastors for an extended period of time. Off and on over the last eight years, I have led this network and so have developed a level of relationship with these pastors that I deeply value.
But back to the presentation I heard. Marc McAlister brought a DVD by Timothy Keller, entitled “The Prodigal God.” Many of you who went to Willow Creek’s Leadership Summit this past summer were exposed to his teaching ministry. He is the senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC. He did a masterful job of unpacking the story in Luke 15 that we commonly know as the “Prodigal Son.” (We need to keep in mind that “prodigal” has two meanings- recklessly extravagant or having spent everything.)
In his exposition of this passage, Keller talked about the necessity of the sons repenting in order to have their relationships with the father restored. He reminded us that the father broke the rules of culture and went out to meet BOTH sons. In very clear language, he helped us realize that both sons valued what they could get for themselves more than their relationship with their father. The younger son needed to repent of his wild living, and the older son needed to repent of his righteousness.
It was this last point that got my attention. Why would a person need to repent of their righteousness? Isn’t righteousness what God desires of us? That depends. In the case of the older brother, the motives underlying his righteousness were not healthy. His right living was not out of love for his father; it was out of duty and, ultimately, shallow appearances. As I thought about this, it helped me to understand Isaiah’s comment that “all of our righteousness is as filthy rags.”
Keller went on to explain that, according to middle-eastern culture, the elder brother should at some point taken it upon himself to go searching to see what happened to the younger brother. It was a powerful insight as to what Jesus, our elder brother, through his incarnation, death, and resurrection has done. He left the Father, seeking those who are lost and living in broken relationships. One can’t help but go the next step to think about true elder brothers—what those of us who have lived in fellowship with the Father can be!
I found the Prodigal God website and I am going to download the series of sermons that Keller has preached on this topic. I want to listen to them between now and Easter and let them speak to my soul. If you are interested, here’s the link:
There are pictures of the North Shore Network in the Photo Gallery this week. Also attached is the Prayer Guide [pdf] [doc] for this week’s days of prayer and fasting.
Ah yes! The Annual Report. You intended to send it last week, didn’t you? My thanks to those who followed through on the intention and encouragement to those of you who still need to do this. See below for instructions on how to do this.
Have a great week serving Jesus.
P.S. Remember. If you are wondering about something related to the FMCIC and its ministry, please send your question to [email protected].
Have a look at Dan Sheffield’s blog: http://sheffield.typepad.com
North Shore Network – February 22-24
Chad Vankoughnett – May 2, 2010 at 10:30 a.m. at First FM Church, Moose Jaw, SK.
ANNUAL REPORT – Due now! Please file your report through our website—www.fmc-canada.org—you will find it on the top banner of the home page, or at this link: http://www.formsite.com/reports/form70742026/index.html
Network Leader Evaluation – all who attend Network meetings regularly should file (The Lead Pastor’s evaluation will be included with the Annual Report; all others can file through this link.) http://www.formsite.com/reports/form775276147/index.html
CHURCHES IN TRANSITION
St Joseph Island Free Methodist Church, Hilton Beach, ON
Surrey FMC, Surrey, BC
Wawota FMC, Wawota, SK
Profiles available / Director of Personnel receiving resumes
Asbury FMC, Perth, ON (Alan Adams, Interim)
Avonlea FMC, Avonlea, SK
Barrie FMC, Barrie, ON
Bramalea FMC, Brampton, ON
Charlemont FMC, Wallaceburg, ON
Eastern Koinonia, Toronto, ON
Queensway FMC, Niagara Falls, ON
Trulls Road FMC, Courtice, ON
Vennachar FMC, Vennachar, ON
Functioning with approved local arrangements
Butternut Creek, Kingston, ON
Campbell’s Bay FMC, Campbell’s Bay, QC
Enterprise FMC, Enterprise, ON
Killarney FMC, Killarney, MB
Mainstreet Community Church, Kelowna, BC
Malvern Chinese, Toronto, ON
Marmora FMC, Marmora, ON
Mississippi FMC, Mississippi, ON
Richmond Hill Chinese & English Churches, Richmond Hill, ON
Roblin FMC, Roblin, MB
The FreeWay, Oshawa, ON
Timmins FMC, Timmins, ON
Wyevale FMC, Wyevale, ON
Yarker FMC, Yarker, ON
PASTORS IN TRANSITION
Associate Pastor of Mission and Ministry– Arlington Woods FMC, Ottawa, ON
2010 Regional Gatherings
March 20 – Montreal – Rosemont
March 27 – Wesley Chapel
April 17 – Brantford – Freedom Christian Community
May 1 – Arlington Beach Camp
May 8 – Dryden
May 15 – Athens
May 29 – Sault Ste Marie
June 5 – Ellice
June 12 – Merritt
2010 FMCIC Ministers Conferences
September 28-30 – Wesley Acres
October 5-7 – Entheos Retreat Centre (near Calgary)