Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse (Romans 12:14). To be clear, “persecution” here is describing the hostility, and ill-treatment that early believers experienced simply for being Jesus-followers. It is the word for what your brothers and sisters in Christ experience in many countries today – persecution is one of the biggest human rights issues in our era
Time out: take a moment to pray for your brothers and sisters around the world who are being persecuted https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/
The part of the verse that I was wanting to bring to our attention is “bless and do not curse”. Though we are not being persecuted for our faith in Canada, the principle mentioned in this verse is important for us. We are in a season of “cursing”. It seems to have infiltrated our attitudes, thinking, language, and conversations. We are cursing COVID, government, policies, politicians, police, other ethnicities, mask-wearers, or perhaps anti-mask-wearers. The divorce rate has increased dramatically, so clearly there is cursing in the home. I have found that climate change or covid or something unusual has caused my clothes to shrink – I curse whatever that is! You might have cursed that it is already November, or cloudy out, snow on the ground, or the school system. It seems easy to curse.
What spiritual muscles need to be exercised in order for the Church to bless? I define “blessing” as a promise, word or action that God has in mind for someone that you get to deliver to that someone. You deliver and God powers it, or makes it happen in the person’s life. You, as a blesser, are a part of the work of God in the blessee’s life. Blessing is like evangelism and prayer. All three are evidence of the eternal value God places on you! Though He could, on His own draw someone into faith, or heal someone without your prayers, or give someone a promise or gift without your blessing, HE CHOOSES YOU to pray, evangelize, and bless. You are that kind of important to Him!
Blessing requires first of all listening prayer for someone. It is a prayer that waits for God’s answer to this question, “Father, how would You have me bless _____?” Once God gives you a promise for the person from His Word, or a word, or a gift to bring, then you courageously deliver it, “I have been praying for you, and I really felt like making you cookies”, or “I have been praying for you, and this Bible verse keeps coming to mind. I bless you with it, simply ask God if this is something He wants for you to hear.” Always bring a blessing with much humility, “I believe that God brought you to mind, so I am hoping that you would pray about this with people you pray with.” Now back to the question, what spiritual muscle would need to be exercised in order to move from being inclined to curse, to blessing?
Listening prayer. Listening to God for another person, requires faith, patience and perseverance. The other muscle to develop is courage to deliver the word, promise or gift. That’s it. Listening prayer and courage are the muscle groups to focus on in order to bless.
Time out: what specifically can you do to develop listening prayer and courage?)
Canada needs a blessing Church. Recently, Karlene blessed a neighbour with a banana bread (I smelled it baking and assumed it was coming my way – I might have felt a curse welling up when I saw the note, “Cliff not for you”!). The visit lasted an hour, and our neighbour is now a friend and has even started watching our church’s service online.
At the time of writing this, the US election results are not yet in. I am sure that some will be inclined to curse the results. Catch that curse, chose not to allow it to be verbalized or to have any other life; and then bless. Bless a neighbour, friend or family member. Bless a stranger. Cursing is toxic to your soul, whereas blessing is lifegiving.
Church Health Thursdays – I Went to Church: https://www.fmcic.ca/i-went-to-church/
News & Stories Blog – The Job of a Prison Chaplain – https://www.fmcic.ca/the-work-of-a-prison-chaplain/
New Leaf Learning Centre: Canadian Christians in Crisis – https://www.newleafnetwork.ca/events/canadian-christians-in-crisis/
FM VIDEOS: https://www.fmcic.ca/category/fm-video-blog/
SCOD: Topics Worth Thinking About – https://www.fmcic.ca/topics-worth-thinking-about/
The Scoop: October Edition
Freedom Christian Community Church in Brantford, ON has officially changed its name to The Open Door.
ORDINATION AND COMMISSIONING SERVICES
Leonard Bruce – April 25, 2021, Warkworth FM Church, Warkworth, ON
Douglas Smith – May 2, 2021 at 2:00 pm, Fellowship of Joy, St. Williams, ON
Wilder Boutin – Centre Biblique Louange a L’Eternel, Montreal, QC – date and time TBA.
FOUNDATIONAL COURSES https://www.fmcic.ca/foundational-courses/
Register online through the link above (Tuition payment is not required when registering for a course. Payment is due 10 days before the course begins.)
Lay Ministers tracking for credentialed ministry and those transferring ordination credentials into the FMCIC need to take the following two courses for full credit – and if possible, the Heart course first and then Wesleyan Theology.
Heart of Canadian Free Methodism:
November 6-8, 2020 – in-person course cancelled due to pandemic restrictions.
*NEW* – 6-week course via Zoom starting Thursday, January 21, 7:30-9:30 pm EST
Date and location TBA*
(also available online through FMC-USA: http://fmcusa.org/leadership/courses/)
Ministerial Candidates tracking for Commissioned or Ordained Minister are required to take the following two courses for full credit. Those who are already commissioned or ordained are required to either audit these two courses for 1 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) each or take the two courses and complete the assignments for 3 CEUs each.
Culture and the Missional Church:
Date and location TBA*
Personal and Church Stewardship:
5-week online course – Start Date TBA*
(* These course locations are selected based on where the majority of the participants reside – so please register early! )
2021 APPLICATIONS https://www.fmcic.ca/scholarships/
LEADERSHIP SCHOLARSHIP PLAN (LSP):
February 15 is the deadline to apply for LSP for any courses taken during the winter semester of 2021. The 2021 application forms and instructions will be available soon to download from the link above. Please use the application forms marked “rev 2021.”
October 15 is the deadline to apply for the annual Special Scholarships for courses taken during the 2021 calendar year – apply online anytime from the link above. Special Scholarships are awarded in late November/early December each year.
CONTINUING EDUCATION UNITS (CEUs) https://www.fmcic.ca/introduction-to-continuing-education/
Ordained and Commissioned Ministers (except retirees) are to annually report Continuing Education Units (CEUs) acquired during each year. Check the link above for information on CEUs, the report form and a list of examples of many different types of life-long learning that can be applied as CEUs.
Note: For those who attend the fall Minister’s Conferences or the spring Regional Gatherings, add 6 hours of CEU credit for each event when you send in your annual CEU report.
CHURCHES IN TRANSITION
Cedar Street Community Church, Simcoe, ON
Church Profiles available
Contact Davika Dotson in the Leadership Development Office to request a church profile – [email protected] or 416-240-7845 (deadline to apply in brackets)
None at this time
(If you are interested in seeing the profile for any of these churches, please contact Davika in the Leadership Development Office [see above] and the profile will be emailed to you as soon as it becomes available.)
Campbellford FMC, Campbellford, ON (Rev. Jurgen Rausch-Transition Pastor)
Cornerstone FMC, Prince Albert, SK
Dunnville FMC, Dunnville, ON
First FM Church, New Westminster, BC
Harrowsmith FM Church, Harrowsmith, ON
Lakeland Community Church, Spiritwood, SK
New Hope FMC, Bracebridge, ON (Rev. Gary Denniss-Interim Pastor)
New Horizons Community Church, Sarnia, ON
Pineview FMC, Cloyne, ON
Richmond Hill Chinese & English FM Churches, Richmond Hill, ON (Rev. Louis Leung – Interim Pastor)
Trinity Christian Centre, Dresden, ON (Rev. Alan Adams-Interim Pastor)
Whitby FMC, Whitby, ON (Rev. Vic Stonehouse-Transition Pastor)
Executive Director – Arlington Beach Camp and Conference Centre