Martha, Mary and A Story About More Than Being Too Busy

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Martha, Mary and A Story About More Than Being Too Busy

Most of us have probably viewed the story of Martha and Mary in Luke 10 as a story that leads us to stop being busy like Martha and spend more time at the feet of Jesus like Mary.

Now... Before we go any further, it goes without saying that it is important to spend time with Jesus. It is well assumed that many of us (especially in the age of the smart phone) are busy, even busy doing stuff for God. All of us need to be confronted with the fact that we are busy, we need to slow down and we need to spend time with God. 

While this is novel and the most popular way of looking at this story in Luke 10,  it appears that there may be something more beautiful going on. Listen close. 

In the first century the culture of a home was much different than it is in Western society today. In the first century there was male space and female space. This even shaped the way a home was set up. The front room was male space and the back room would have been female space.

In Luke 10 we see that Jesus and some of his followers arrive at Martha and Mary’s and while Martha is adamantly working away in preparation,  Luke shows us that Mary is listening to Jesus and sitting at his feet.

Now, here is the point where we need to pause and ask a few important questions. If Jesus was in the house, where would he have been? You guessed it: the male space. And where was Martha? Well, we know she is working away and it is presumed that she is in the female space of the home.

But the big question is this: where is Mary?

Well, Mary is in the male space. And what is she doing? She is sitting at the feet of a male rabbi.

You see this isn’t a story about being less busy. This is about the revolutionary Jesus changing the way we must view women. Mary violated the custom of the day to sit at the feet of Jesus in the male portion of the home.

You also have to get that this is why Martha is upset with Mary. She is not upset because she is lacking help from Mary with the preparations for Jesus' arrival. Martha is upset because Mary is culturally where she does not typically belong.

Mary stepped out from where she culturally belonged and the crazy thing is that Jesus didn’t stop her. He embraces and affirms her right to be there.

Not only did he affirm Mary, Jesus goes as far as rebuking Martha:

...“you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:41-42

Jesus welcomes and defends women where they were not culturally welcomed. No wonder years later the Apostle Paul would echo the heart of Jesus when he said:

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” 

Because in God’s kingdom everything is flipped upside down. Everyone is equal. 


For further teaching on women and the church, listen below:

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4 Views of Revelation

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4 Views of Revelation

On Sunday we concluded our teaching series through Revelation by taking some time for Q+A. In this Q+A we shared the four major views on the book of Revelation.

1. Preterist View

- Sees the book of Revelation being totally, historically, fulfilled in the first century

- The fall of Jerusalem, when Rome destroyed Jerusalem and temple, was the major event it was forth telling

- Revelation was not telling the end of the world as we know it in the West, but the end of the world as the Jewish community knew it

- It is not speaking about future events

- Everything that Revelation is speaking about happened in the first century

2. Idealist View

- Views revelation as a poem or an allegory

- Describes universal and spiritual truths that apply throughout time but don’t contain future, prophetic predictions in the first century or beyond

3. Dispensationalist View (Futurist)

- Believes the book of revelation is about future events

- Has become popular in North America

- Tries to figure out what events it is referring to in our present time

- It’s intent was for a different dispensation (or chunk of time – the end times)

4. Progressive Dispensationalist View

- Balances the tension of the now and not yet

- Has application for the original audience, and for us today

- Resists a literal interpretation – looks at bigger themes

- Resists to see everything about the future, but instead balances the context of the community it was written to and what it means for the church today

- Understands that the bible was not written directly to us (but to its original audience) but it was written for us

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Christmas

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Christmas

Hey everyone! Merry Christmas!

We know that many are traveling and spending time with family and friends this Christmas. Because Christmas lands on a Sunday and we meet weekly in a public building that we rent, we will not be having a gathering on Christmas this year. But! We do have a few things you can do with your family to immerse yourself in the story of Christmas this year. Take some time amongst the hustle and bustle of the season and reflect on Jesus breaking into the course of human history.

Here is what you can do:

1. WATCH THIS AMAZING FIVE MINUTE VIDEO ON THE COMING OF JESUS

2. IF YOU HAVE KIDS, READ THE STORY TOGETHER

Below is the Christmas story from The Jesus Storybook Bible that you can read as a family!

3. LISTEN TO OUR LIFE WITH GOD TEACHING

This Advent our theme at City View was Life With God. In this teaching Dru shares about four common postures of the human heart when it comes to God: 1. Life from God (receiving from God), 2. Life Over God (deism), 3. Life Under God (living in fear and staying within the moral lines), 4. Life For God (doing stuff for God to get his approval). Yet, Christmas is all about the true story that we, as humans, are designed for life with God. Christmas reminds us that God stops at nothing to be in relationship with us!

If you are apart of the City View family we also encourage you to help us reach our year end financial goal. To see where we are at and to give online go to

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Have an amazing Christmas!

Dru + Heather

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God Is Love

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God Is Love

On Sunday we lit the fourth advent candle as a community (the love candle) in anticipation of the coming of Jesus the messiah.

One thing we need to be reminded of this Christmas is that God is love. It is so easy to fashion in our minds that love is an attribute of God. It is easy to think that God embodies love like he does other things like his holiness, mercy, justice, sovereignty, etc.

But John, a disciples of Jesus, makes it abundantly clear that GOD IS LOVE (1 John 4:8). Love is not an attribute of God. In essence, love is who he is. In return God expresses his love to humanity and the world he created through things like grace, mercy, justice and so on. This paradigm shift is important for us to embrace as people who follow Jesus because love is not just what God does, it is who he is.

Let us be reminded this Christmas that God expresses his love in a multiplicity of ways, but in very nature he, the creator and giver of life, is love.

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Christmas Party 2016 Recap

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Christmas Party 2016 Recap

We had a fantastic time at our annual Christmas Party. There was lots of great food, entertainment and fun. Ed shared the Christmas story with us and our gift exchange was bliss.

Below are some photos from the night so you never forget the good times!

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Are You Ready?

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Are You Ready?

I think it is safe to say that a lot of people believe that the Holy Spirit is wild and spontaneous. I often joke that the Spirit has the tendency to be labelled or pushed off as the “weird uncle of the Trinity.”  For the most part we have a pretty good understanding of God the Father and of course we have the gospels that reveal to us God the Son, but the Holy Spirit for many is slippery, out there, and at best—weird. 

While there are undoubtedly a number of instances in both the bible and the history of the church in which the Spirit is wild and spontaneous; I would argue that these instances are more the exception than they are the rule. It seems to me that the Spirit does his deepest work in people and communities that are prepared.

Don’t buy it? Here’s one example.

In Acts 11 and 13 we read about the church in Antioch. Things were happening in the Roman world at this point in history. People were hearing the good news of Jesus and were responding (11:21). The church in Jerusalem caught wind of some of the things that were happening in Antioch and sent Barnabas to check it out.

We learn when Barnabas arrives that there were three explicit things that the church in Antioch was doing that prepared themselves for the Holy Spirit’s activity. Here they are:

1. THEY WERE INTENSE LEARNERS

Don’t miss this!

It was actually intense learning that prepared the church in Antioch for the Spirit’s moving. Acts 11:26 says that “for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people.” 

I often remind our church community that “to teach” in Greek (matheteuo) is where we get the word disciple (mathetes). It may sound nerdy but… what does this mean? It means that when we teach we embody Jesus’ command to make disciples. The bible and learning is never dislocated from the life of Jesus' disciples. Our learning environments as people who follow Jesus cultivate a place for the Holy Spirit to work in and through us. It really isn’t rocket science. 

It also must be noted that when the Holy Spirit is active in the lives of people in the bible they tend to speak the scriptures. Just look at Peter, Stephen and Paul in the book of Acts. All of them quoted scripture when they were filled with the Spirit. Jesus was continually quoting the law and prophets. If you want to get a good handle on Jesus and the gospels then you have to have some handle on the book of Isaiah, because Jesus was quoting it all the time.

The point is this: learning the scripture opens up our lives to the Spirit’s work.

Jack Levison puts it best when he says:

“What prepared the church in Antioch to receive this prophetic word was not a flurry of prophetic words or a spell of ecstatic experience or an outbreak of the Spirit with physical symptoms. What prepared the church in Antioch to received the prophetic word was learning."

 

2. THEY WERE GENEROUS

In Acts 11 it says that a dude (I guess prophet is the more biblical description) named Agabus came from Jerusalem to Antioch and “through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world” (11:28). I think we can all agree that this is not the best news to hear.

What is most remarkable about this is the way in which this multicultural church in Antioch responded. They, as each one was able, “decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea. This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul” (11:29-30). 

Leviston points out two really important things about the church’s generosity here. This can’t be missed so stay awake! First, the church in Antioch didn’t give what was needed, but gave on the basis of what they had to give. They were not pulling out credit cards or pledging money they didn’t have. They gave, “as each one was able” or another way of putting it is "they gave according to their ability." Leviston says, “Their generosity came from their sense of well-being and free will.” I love that! 

Second, notice this. This church gave to something that had not even happened yet! I think about my own context. I’m not sure how well someone would be received coming from another city to our church gathering and prophesying that a famine was coming. Yet, the way in which the church in Antioch responded was by giving generously. 

In all the damage the property gospel has done over the last decade or so I will say this: there is something about being generous that opens us up to the Spirit’s work in our lives. Jesus says if our eye is healthy—which is a euphemism for how we steward money—our whole life will be healthy. There is something that happens when we are generous. It makes our lives good soil for the Spirit to work.

 

3. THEY PRACTICED COMMUNAL DISCIPLINES

We see in Acts 13 that the church in Antioch practiced communal disciples. It says, “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, 'Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the word to which I have called them.’ So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off” (13:2-3).

What do we learn? Well, the church worshiped together, they fasted and they prayed in community.

Now, if anything, please don’t miss this. When you read Acts 13 you begin to see that it was on the back of the church in Antioch in which Paul and Barnabas was sent out to the bring the gospel to the gentile world. This has huge ramifications because if you are not Jewish you are a gentile, and this is the part of the story where the church began to spread to predominately gentile cities. This is really good news for us! The walls were breaking down and because the church in Antioch had postured themselves through their communal disciples, the mission to the gentiles started here. (A pretty nice legacy for the church in Antioch I would say!)

 

I Know What You Are Thinking

Now, I know what you are thinking. Some of you may be thinking, “It’s not about what we do, the gospel is about what Jesus has done for us.” If you’re thinking this I agree with you. We are saved by grace and come into God’s kingdom through faith. It’s simple. Yet, I think one of my spiritual heroes—Dallas Willard—puts it best when he says, “Grace isn’t opposed to effort, but to earning.” If you are not doing anything in the name of “I’m saved by grace through faith” than you are completely missing the point. We have a responsibility to be ready—to cultivate in our lives the things that will make us ready to receive the Spirit’s work.

 

As Leviston says:

“The whole of these qualities—a commitment to learning, generosity, a multicultural church and leadership team, along with the communal practices of worship, fasting and prayer—is greater than the sum of its parts. Together, theses qualities transformed Antioch into a source of favor and grace… The church was a conduit of the grace of God, a spring of hospitality, a place Paul and Barnabas would naturally return to when their work was done and, as Luke put it, stay there for some time."

I don’t know about you but this is the kind of church I want to be apart of. 

So… are you ready?

Grace + Peace,

Dru

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Why Have A Meal Together?

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Why Have A Meal Together?

Hi everyone!

This is just another reminder that this Sunday we are not meeting at Goodwill Industries for our regular scheduled gathering.

Instead we are gathering together at Dustin and Teleha Giffin’s house (rain or shine) for a corn boil, potluck and a great time together. There will be yard games, a trampoline and as I like to say, “other fun stuff!”

Make sure to bring something to share for lunch and if you can go on over to www.cityview.cc/cornboil to let us know you’re coming and what you’re brining that would be fantastic.

I also wanted to take a second and answer the question: why are we doing this? Why would we take a Sunday and simply eat together?

Well. Sometimes as a portable church there are logistical reasons for changing things up. A couple times throughout the year our venue is used for other events.

While this is a reality, I do think there is something deeper and more intentional when we take time to simply eat and spend time together. As a church we take the reading and teaching of the scriptures and corporate worship seriously. We love the weekly rhythm of getting together to sing, celebrate and hear from God’s word. But let’s not underestimate what can happen when we take extensive time to eat together and connect with each other. The primary metaphor for the church in the New Testament is family and taking time to gather as the Jesus community in someone’s backyard is no less spiritual than songs and sermons. If anything we see in the bible the early churches meeting together for the Eucharist: a shared meal in the name of Jesus. There is something deep, profound and spiritual when we do this.

Sunday is not only going to be fun, it will also give you a glimpse—if you are not apart of a Community Group—as to what a number of our groups do on a regular basis. It will give you a snapshot of the kind of community we desire to be!

Hope you can join in on all that God is doing.

Grace + Peace,

Dru

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A Morning With Lee Beach

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A Morning With Lee Beach

On Sunday we had the privilege of having Dr. Lee Beach with us. Lee is Associate Professor of Christian Ministry and Director or Spiritual Formation at McMaster Divinity College and is also the author of Church In Exile: Living In Hope After Christendom.

We had Lee with us because we have been on a journey the last month at City View talking about living faithfully as the church in exile. Yes, exile for Israel in the Old Testament was a physical dislocation; they lost their land, temple and king. Yet we have been talking that exile can also be a spiritual dislocation. We have spent a significant amount of time over the last month pointing to the shifts that have taken place in church and culture in the West and we have reexamined some of the beautiful stories throughout the bible that act as encouragement for us in our mission from the margins.

Lee is one of the leading voices in this idea of the church in exile and his wisdom and insight were truly helpful.

One of the questions that you could ask is: why talk about the church in exile? Why talk about the decline of the church in Canada and give insight to the research being done in the rise of the nones (those who now identify with no religious affiliation) and the dones (those who hold a fundamental belief in God but are done with the church)? We are doing this because it is important to know the context in which we seek to live out the mission of God. Paul was remarkable at knowing the context of his audience. We see this specifically when he goes to places like Philippi (a place that worshiped Caesar), Athens (a place that worshiped a multitude of deities) and Ephesus (a place that was controlled by the worship of Artemis). Paul knew the culture and was used by God to speak into that culture with a better story.

Simply put… we feel the same. If we want to be effective missionaries in London, Canada we need to know where our city is at culturally. To learn to live faithfully in exile means knowing the people, the places and the culture in which we incarnate. This is why we have dived in to THRIVING IN BABYLON: learning to live in exile.    

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Axios

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Axios

In his letter to the church in Ephesus the apostle Paul says, “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received” (Ephesians 4:1).

Now stay awake! Because this verse, right here in Ephesians, is something that exposes exactly what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.

If you’re unfamiliar with the bible you may not know that the versions we have today were not originally written in English. I know that sounds crazy for those of us who speak English, especially as this is now the dominant language in the world. Instead, the original manuscripts of the bible were written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. So… Paul’s letter to the Ephesians was originally written in Greek.

Now you may be thinking, “It’s all Greek to me anyway!” And that’s ok! The point here is that the word “worthy” we see in Ephesians 4:1 is actually the Greek word axios.

Why does this matter?

Well, it matters because the word axios has depth to it. In our minds we should get the picture of an old school, two sided, teeter-totter scale. I recently picked one of these scales up from someone who was selling off pieces from an antique store they had just purchased. Balance on this particular kind of scale means equilibrium. Basically what happens is you put on one side of the scale an object of an unknown weight and you measure it against the weight of another object. If you’re a dad just get the picture of you on one side of the teeter-totter against three or four kids on the other side to stay balanced.

What is interesting is that when the two sides of the scale are in perfect weight they are axios—they are worthy. Axios means to have the same weight or value.

Now if your mind isn’t blown yet, just look at what Paul weighs against each other. In Ephesians 4:1 he says, “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received” What has Paul put on the scale? On the one side he puts our walk and on the other side he puts God’s call.

Paul believes that God’s call and our walk are to be balanced. God’s call and our walk are axios—they carry the same weight.

What’s crazy about this idea is that this is exactly how Paul fashions his letter to the Ephesians. Guess how many commands are in the first three chapters of Ephesians? You guessed it. Zero. Paul spends the first half of the letter identifying and exhorting the church’s call. Over and over he speaks of their identity as the Jesus community. No commands. He calls them adopted, chosen, sons and daughters. Then he spends the last three chapters instructing them in how they are to live. First we are called… then we go and walk.

The interesting thing in all of this is that the verse in which the letter takes its turn is Ephesians 4:1. This is the linch pin. “Live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” Paul uses Ephesians to show us who we are and what we’re called to do and these things should be in balance.

Think of it like this. On June 30, 2007 I stood under a gazebo outside of Sarnia, Ontario and in an instant I became a husband. Did I know anything of what it was like to be a husband? Just ask my wife. I learned about two days in that I knew nothing of what it was like to be a husband. I had to learn. But even more importantly I was a husband and I had to live a life worthy of being a husband.

On July 30, 2008 I stood at St. Joe’s Hospital and after what felt like two days of labour I held my daughter Ava for the first time. In an instant I became a father. Did I know anything of what it was like to be a father? Trust me. I learned that first week that I didn’t know much about being a father. I was a father and I had to live a life worthy of being a father.

This is what Paul is saying about what it means to be a disciple. You are worthy, so live a life that is worthy. The gospel is this epic news that we don’t have to climb a ladder to get to God. He came to us! We are called and then we walk. These things are to work together to balance the scale and above anything else this is what it means to be mature: when God’s call and my walk are in balance.

Is it just me or is it really easy for things to be out of balance? A lot of people believe being a disciple is all about God’s call. It’s all up to Him. I often hear things like God is “meticulously sovereign” or “He is in control!”  These statements are made out as though God is going to do everything whether we like it or not. The problem with this is that it appears in the narrative of scripture that God has always been looking for cooperative participants. When we think God’s call is the only thing that matters then the scale is out of balance.

The problem is that just as much as we can be guilty for thinking God’s call is the only thing that matters there is the opposite dysfunction in thinking that all that matters is our walk. A lot of people, especially millennials, have convinced themselves that if we just do more good than everything will get better. It’s almost like we are trying to bring shalom and the kingdom without the King and His call. The scale is out of balance.

What we need is axios—the balancing of God’s call and our walk. This is what it means to be mature.

My spiritual hero Eugene Peterson puts it best when he says, “When our walking and God’s calling are in balance, we are whole; we are living maturely, living responsively to God’s calling, living congruent with the way God callus into being. Axios, worthy—mature, healthy, robust… When God’s calling and our walking fit, we are growing up in Christ. God calls; we walk.”

So… Are the scales balanced?

(This illustration and quote was taken from Eugene Peterson’s Practicing Resurrection p. 31-32)

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Two Combined Influences: The Vision For Kids + Youth At City View

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Two Combined Influences: The Vision For Kids + Youth At City View

In the Old Testament law God asks His rescued community (Israel) to love Him with heart, soul and strength. For millennia this command has been know as the shema, which can be translated to hear or obey.

Listen to what God says in Deuteronomy 6:
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

The thing that stands out the most here is the fact that there is significant instruction for parents to lead their children in the ways of God. The shema was prayed by the Jewish community continually throughout the rhythm of their day. They would pray this when they woke up, when they left their homes, as they walked the path, as they ate a meal and when laid their head at night. It was something that formed them and the hope is that a love and passion for God would be passed from one generation to the next.

On Sunday we took time in our gathering to continue to cultivate our vision and hope for next generation ministry at City View. Over the last couple of years there are three statements that have come together to articulate our philosophy.

First, as a parent you are the greatest influence in your child’s life. The fact is that over the course of the year your child will be influenced by the church for anywhere from 40 to 50 hours. Compare this to unscripted time as a family over the course of the year—which is approximately 3000 hours (after sleep, school, etc)—it is easy to see that parents are, hands down, the greatest influence in a child’s life.

Second, a parent is not the only influence a child needs. Yes, a parent’s role is the most significant, but we firmly believe that followers of Jesus need the church. Our mission is more than to get together in a building once and a while to put on religious activities. It is much bigger than this because God is not just saving individual souls for heaven someday; He is calling out and saving a community for Himself that will reflect His love and light to the world. We need each other because God’s mission is bigger than our individuality. Our kids desperately need the church.

Third, we believe two combined influences have a greater impact than just two influences. When the church community and the family/home join together we believe it cultivates the best ground for makes disciples of Jesus.

As we look ahead we are excited to offer three experiences on Sunday mornings for children and youth:

Babies – Age 3 meet for songs, stories and playtime in the classroom just outside the ballroom.

Jk – Grade 4 meet in the ballroom for interactive lessons on the Konect Station and small groups.

Grades 5 – 8 will begin meeting September 11 in the foyer of the ballroom for interactive teaching and discussion.

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Day of Prayer For London, Ontario

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Day of Prayer For London, Ontario

Today. Thursday May 19th,  is a Day of Prayer For London, Ontario. It started this morning with our annual city wide prayer breakfast and continues today as we encourage you to pray for our city.

Here are some things we can be praying for:

PRAY FOR THOSE WHO LEAD US

- our mayor and city council

- our provincial and federal representatives

- our leaders in workplaces, schools and churches

 

PRAY FOR THOSE WHO SERVE US

- our justice, police and fire departments

- our health care workers

- our teachers at every level

- our employers and businesses

 

PRAY FOR THOSE AT RISK AND ARE VULNERABLE

- our homeless, orphans and widows - those who are alone

- our weak and frail due to aging and sickness

- our fellow citizens who wrestle with mental illness

- our caregivers of these people at home, in organizations, and in ministry

 

WHAT SHOULD YOU PRAY?

That God would give wisdom to those that lead and serve in the many decisions they make each day and bless them.

That we all would have courage to seek right in spite of many differing opinions.

That justice and freedom would be desired and maintained in our society.

That all individuals would be protected from physical and spiritual harm.

That people would seek to know God personally.

That we would all be good stewards of the resources that have been given to us.

That there would be good co-operation, communication, collaboration, and connection between those seeking to meet the needs in the city.

That churches would be strong and thriving to help meet those needs.

That we all might be more generous in caring for those less fortunate and in need.

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Chad and Ashley McCarty

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Chad and Ashley McCarty

On Sunday we were privileged to have our great friends Chad and Ashley McCarthy with us to give an update on what is happening in Cambodia.

Below is audio of them sharing with us and the slides from their presentation.

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GETAWAY 2016 Recap

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GETAWAY 2016 Recap

We had a fantastic time this weekend in Grand Bend.  About 30 of us got away for a couple days of fun and community building together at our first ever overnight church retreat. 

It was great tomhave Elaine Olson with us sharing on healthy relationahipa.

Thanks to everyone who was apart these community forming days! 

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What If We Viewed Gathering With The Church As A Spiritual Discipline?

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What If We Viewed Gathering With The Church As A Spiritual Discipline?

What if you and I, who are disciples of Jesus, viewed our weekly commitment to gathering with the church as a spiritual discipline?

As church attendance amongst millennials continues to decline in Canada I often wonder if we have actually taught the church to view our gatherings together as something that shapes us. Mark Sayers, in his brilliant new book Disappearing Church, confronts the idea that we are often looking as individuals for something spectacular in our church gatherings. Ingrained deep inside of us is the pursuit for something that will benefit or entertain us and give us immediate self-gratification. Sayers says:

“We get the idea that making the choice to wake up early and read our Bibles or to commit to regularly giving away our money to a charity or to fast may not always be pleasurable, but in the discipline of these things that we become more Christlike. Yet we expect church to always be pleasurable, enriching, and exciting. Maybe the limitations of church, the discipline of regular attendance, the commitment it requires, also teach us to be Christlike. Maybe we need to re-imagine church in our minds as a spiritual discipline, which teaches us the value of delayed gratification, of personally investing in change, of becoming more like Jesus.”

If you're asking me I think we need to be more honest… Our church gatherings may not always be pleasurable, enriching and exciting.

Am I allowed to say that?

Now, this may be hard to hear, especially in a culture that wants to entertain us on every level. From movies and TV to smartphones we all know we have the world at our fingertips. Yet our church gatherings in many ways rebels against consumerism. What if we were more honest? Sometimes being apart of a community isn’t that spectacular. It isn’t always easy to get out of bed and show up. Yet there is something about the weekly rhythm of being with our brothers and sisters that teaches us to be faithful and more like our Messiah. Church gatherings, just like reading the scripture, fasting, giving financially, etc. may not always be fun or feel good but there is something about doing these things that shape us to be more loving, giving and faithfully present. Gathering regularly with the church is a statement that as people who follow Jesus we are more interested in faithfulness than we are feelings.

Sayers goes on to quote Ronald Rolheiser. Rolheiser says,

“Church involvement, when understood properly, does not leave us the option to walk away whenever something happens that we do not like. It is a covenant commitment, like a marriage, and binds us for better or worse… What church community takes away from us is our false freedom to soar unencumbered, like the birds, believing that we are mature, loving, committed, and not blocking out things that we should be seeing. Real churchgoing soon enough shatters this illusion, and gives us no escape, as we find ourselves constantly humbled as our immaturities and lack of sensitivity to the pain of others are reflected off eyes that are honest and unblinking.”

Ultimately, what I am doing when I gather regularly with my brothers and sisters in Jesus is declaring that the sum of my life isn't about me and my individual benefit. It exposes that I am no longer the king of my domain. Gathering is a weekly reminder that I am more than a consumer of Christian goods and services. Instead, I am apart of a community that shapes me.

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International Women's Day

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International Women's Day

Today is International Women's Day!

We are thankful for all of the women apart of the City View story!

Below are a couple of teachings that share the importance of women playing an active part in the local church. At City View we affirm women in leadership and we see every week how important they are in the life of our church.



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GETAWAY 2016

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GETAWAY 2016

This spring we are taking some time to get away as a church!

On April 2 and 3 we are retreating to Oakwood Resort in Grand Bend, Ontario for a couple days of fun, relaxation and an intentional focus on relationships.

 

DETAILS

When

Saturday, April 2nd (Check In at 3pm)

Sunday, April 3rd (Leave at 1pm)

 

Where

Oakwood Resort is located one-hour away from London in Grand Bend, Ontario. It has beautiful rooms, a golf course, driving range, spa, pool, games room and private access to the beach.

 

Cost

Room - $99.99 plus takes

Sunday Morning Brunch - $14.99 (per person)

 

Registration?

Took book and pay for your room for GETAWAY 2016 call Oakwood Resort at (800)20387-2324 and book under CITY VIEW to receive applicable rates.

 

 Who?

This weekend is open to anyone at City View 18 years of age or older.

 

Schedule

Saturday, April 2

3pm // Arrive at Oakwood Resort

3pm - Midnight // Fun, Games Room, Activities, Etc.

(Dinner not included)

 

Sunday, April 3rd

10am - 1pm // Sessions + Brunch

(Pay for brunch at room booking, Guests for Sunday morning teaching TBA)  

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Does God Have A High View or Low View of Sex?

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Does God Have A High View or Low View of Sex?

Does God have a high view or a low view of sex?

A lot of people view the God of the bible as having repressive views when it comes to sexuality. The idea of monogamy today is almost laughable, especially in a culture that claims freedom and self-expression.

But what do the scriptures actually say?

Well. To start, there are a couple of important things to consider.

First, the scriptures start with a positive command. God does not say, “don’t do it!” He says, ““Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

In the scripture the command is to do it. And the context is marriage. “One flesh” (Gen 2:24) is the Hebrew word echad, which can be translated “glued or sown together.” Sex is two opposite humans coming together to be one. It’s more than what we do with our bodies. Sex is soulish.  

Let’s give God some props here. This is his idea!

Second, we can all probably agree that in our brokenness as humans we tend to take good gifts and destroy them. Food is a gift. Obesity in North America is as high as it has ever been. Wine is a gift to us, yet people abuse their soberness. And sex is a gift. Yet when we look at it, this is the gift that is most abused in a broken and fallen world.

Just look at these stats (from the book Real Marriage):

  • Annual pornography revenues are more than $90 billion worldwide
  • In the US pornography revenues were $13 billion in 2006 (more than all combined revenues of the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL or the combined revenues of ABC, CBS and NBC)
  • Porn sites account for 12 percent of all internet sites
  • Every day 2.5 million pornographic e-mails are sent
  • 90 percent of children between the ages of eight and sixteen have viewed pornography on the Internet (in most cases unintentionally)
  • the average age of first Internet exposure to pornography is eleven
  • the largest consumer category of Internet pornography is boys ages twelve to seventeen
  • the mean age of first intercourse in the US is now 16
  • two-thirds to 90percent of young women involved in prostitution were sexually abused as children

It’s safe to say humans have taken the gift of sex in covenant marriage and messed it up.

This also leads to all sorts of questions to think about. Philosophically, who is our authority on these issues? What or who determines what is right or wrong with what we do with our bodies? Are we just governed by our feelings and urges? Are there not people in jail because they followed their feelings and urges?

Ok. With that said, let’s think about the original question. Does God have a high view or low view of sex? While some view God as outdated and repressive when it comes to sex look at how he treats sex in the Old Testament.

Just a couple passages for you:

Exodus 22:16

16 “If a man seduces a virgin who is not betrothed and lies with her, he shall give the bride-price for her and make her his wife."

Deuteronomy 22:28-29

“If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, 29 then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her. He may not divorce her all his days."

Now, I know we don’t live in the Ancient Near East, but think about it. The vile nations are destroying the earth. There were no bounds to sex and abuse. Then God calls a people out for himself to be a light to the other nations… and when it comes to sex he has a high standard. He institutes the idea that in a world filled with abuse you cannot take advantage of other people’s bodies.

Rob Bell puts it best when he says, “Obviously we’re repulsed by the inhumane treatment of women in these passages, and at first glance it seems there’s nothing remotely redeeming about these laws. But the Bible was always ahead of its time. Women basically had no rights in the ancient Near East. A man could do anything he wanted with her. He could rape her and then be on his way. He was free from the consequences of his actions. And a woman who had been raped was considered violated and unclean and would often be considered unworthy to be anyone’s wife. But this passage essentially says to the man, ‘You want to have sex with her? Then you take her as your wife, take care of her, provide for her needs, fulfill your duties as a husband to her. She is your equal, and you will treat her as such.”

Do you see it? God has an incredibly high view of sex. Covenant is for our protection and ultimately he knows best.

Now one last thought, and it’s this… This, right here, is not a very in vogue thing to talk about. Let’s be honest, somehow along the way sexual freedom and expression has become everything in culture. Just listen to our entertainers, poets, musicians and celebrities.

Jenell Paris, professor of anthropology at Messiah College has a great book called The End of Sexual Identity. In it she says, “Sexual desire is considered central to human identity, and sexual self-expression is seen by many to be essential for healthy personhood. The fact that sex is so important, and that sexual desire is seen as a central element of human identity, is new.”

What Paris is saying is that culturally sex has become everything. People have made it their identity and for the most part this is a new way of viewing things.

In the Greek world people would say the phrase, “Food for the stomach and stomach for food.” They basically understood human needs to be a collection of physical needs. If you were hungry you would get some food. If you were thirsty you would get something to drink. And if you were craving sex? Well, their assumption was you would go to a prostitute and have sex saying, “Food for the stomach…”

While that may be a Greco-Roman and even a twenty-first cultural response to sex, the apostle Paul does something radical. He says to the Corinthians, “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own (1 Cor 6:19).  

People, this is provocative language that he uses for the church! The temple was a holy place and now Paul is using it as an image to challenge us with the idea that a human isn’t just a collection of urges. As followers of Jesus we are beings where God resides. He is opening up their eyes to what it truly means to be human because a redeemed view of sexuality is connected to a renewed view of our identity. (Last three paragraphs are a paraphrase from Rob Bell’s book Sex God).

So… sex is like fire. It’s both beautiful and dangerous. It can destroy if it’s abused or it can be life giving if it’s protected. You choose.

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Cambodia 2016

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Cambodia 2016

Hey everyone,

We had a fantastic time in Cambodia this past month. Below is a video montage, over a hundred pictures and some reflection I did while waiting for a flight on the way home. This has been an eight year journey and it was crazy to finally experience Cambodia.

Grace + Peace,

Dru


[Written Friday, January 29 - Bangkok, Thailand]

Well... Here I sit, people all around me as I wait for a my connecting flight in Bangkok airport. Of course the first place my internal GPS takes me in any city is to coffee. I've ordered my $5 Americano and have found a few minutes in this concrete and glass masterpiece building to reflect on the last two weeks.

Before I can even put into words the last two weeks my mind races to January 2008. Eight years ago.

A lot happens in eight years. Birthdays, anniversaries, first homes, second homes. Babies. More babies.

Over the last eight years our family has laughed, cried, partied and mourned with the people in our lives. We have seen so many victories. We have also watched people go through the valley. Accidents, miscarriages, sickness. Life is filled with strawberries and sometimes it's filled with lemons.

Eight years ago this month I led a small team of people to Thailand. Heather was all set to go with us but couldn't because we had found out she was pregnant. While she stayed home our small team of six headed to a brand new place. There we visited some local churches, a bible college and spent time in the hill tribes. It was so much fun. Two weeks filled with laughter, lifetime memories and a ton of fun with our friend Peter Dewit.

On that trip were two people that had quickly become good friends. A newly married couple, teeming with life and an openness to what God wanted to do with their lives. Their story was somewhat unique. She was a classic Canadian girl with a love for horses. He on the other hand had the mother of all stories. Born during civil unrest that was taking place in Cambodia in the late seventies and early eighties, he was adopted from a refugee camp by a loving family from Stratford, Ontario. A true miracle story out of a country that had experienced so much devastation during the reign of the Khmer Rouge. 

As we prepared for this trip in 2008 I remember Chad and Ashley expressing their desire to go to Cambodia after we had visited Thailand as a team. They wanted to go to the bordering country to see and experience Chad's place of origin.

So, that's what they did. After two weeks out team returned home and Chad and Ashley went on to experience life in Cambodia. They came home sharing stories of how people in the streets would come up to Chad, surprised at the fact that he did not speak Khmer. He looked the part but for him this was a whole new world. It was clear that something happened on that trip. There was a passion for Cambodia and slowly but surely the seeds were being sown to return as full time global workers.

Seems simple right? You just feel the call and go.

Not so fast.

It was a journey. I remember in 2012 sitting at PAOC headquarters with a team of well respected leaders discerning if this was actually going to happen. Would this family be sent? I still remember the look on Chad's face when they got the news, "It seems good to us and to the Lord that you would be appointed!"

The joy of that moment brought forth the reality of the coming months. Training. Fundraising. In the midst of this they managed to have four kids in yes, four years. Departure dates and then renewed departure days.

Finally the day came in November 2013. I remember the last visit we had with Chad and Ashley and their family a few days before they departed for Cambodia. As they put their kids in their van and drove away I wept. I remember going to work that afternoon and sitting in my dad's office and just crying. I admit it must have been awkward for people who were coming through the office that day, but it was what I was feeling deep inside.

Why the emotion on that day?

Not only were we sending our best, I also think part of it is that, whether they like it or not, was the fact that I have felt apart of Chad and Ashley's journey. The trip in 2008, the moments of listening and discerning and doing everything we could to see this happen. All of this made us feel like we were along for the ride. Sure, I wasn't packing up my family but I was learning through Chad and Ashley what sacrifice and responding to God's call looked like.

Now, you may be asking yourself, "What about the last two weeks?"

Well. This backstory sets the stage for what I experienced the last two weeks.

Over the last two weeks I have been able to experience first hand what God is doing through the McCarthy's. The little seed that was planted in 2008 has blossomed into a tree that is bearing fruit. The thing with this tree is that it is getting stronger and stronger every day.

I was amazed by the sights and sounds of Phenom Penh and some of the surrounding provinces we visited. I was even more amazed sitting back and watching Chad and Ashley do their thing. The last number of missions experiences I have been on have been filled with preaching or leading other activities. This time I was able to simply sit back and observe.

I observed Chad doing a great work partnering with Asian Outreach to do ministry in the surrounding villages of Phenom Penh. Chad knows the city well and is building relationships for the future. Not only is he a great team leader, he also gave us the full experience in Cambodia, showing us all the sights and sounds. He is the ultimate tour guide.

Ashley is not only doing a fantastic job at raising four young kids, she has also deeply embedded herself in their community. This has manifested itself in gathering some of the ladies close to their house to start a business that makes clothing. Their home is also filled with children from the community throughout the week for English lessons and outdoor activities.

Evie is a spark plug! Ethne loves to sing and create. Eliot is adventurous, always climbing things and discovering new animals in the back yard and Dezmond is dominating everyone at Blockus.

The McCarthy's are on mission. Their lives are not compartmentalized. Everything they do is reaching and touching the people around them.

And...

Cambodia is home. I'm not just saying it. I saw over the last two weeks that the journey Chad, Ashley and their family have been on the last eight years has led them to their home.   

So here I sit. Watching people come and go. Some with tears in their eyes because they have left loved ones. Others hustling to their next flight for business. And as I finish my Americano I am reminded that all of us who follow Jesus are called to this beautiful mission of reconciliation. It may be across the world, it may not. What matters is that we are listening to the voice of the Spirit and following him into the depths of his mission to renew all of humanity. It's as simple and as challenging as that.

 

 

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Sabbath

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Sabbath

Genesis 2:2 says, “And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.”

Think about it for a second. God rested. The Hebrew word is shabath, where we get the word Sabbath.

We learn two things in Genesis 2:3 about the Sabbath. First, it is blessed. In the creation narrative God blesses three things: animals, humans and the Sabbath. In this story God blesses animals and humans with the life-giving power to pro create, which means there is something special about this day of rest. There is life-giving power in the Sabbath.

Second, the Sabbath is holy. Rabbis often talk about something called The Law of First Mention. Basically any time something is mentioned for the first time in the bible we are take special note of the word or idea. This is the first time we read the word holy in the scriptures. Think about it for a second. What does God make holy? God makes time holy.

Exodus 16 shows us that not only did God rest but also that this day of rest was to be something in the rhythm of Israel’s story. We see that God provides for Israel’s needs by giving them food from heaven every day. Each day they are to collect enough for that day. Yet, on the sixth day they are instructed to gather enough for two days so that they rest on the seventh. God says to them,  “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord; bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over lay aside to be kept till the morning’” (Ex 16:23).

The Sabbath is not simply a day off. It is a day of rest and worship. As much as we have said throughout this series that what we do is deeply connected to who we are, the Sabbath is a time to be and not to do.

And think about it. For Israel, what was the place of endless, around the clock work with no rest? You guessed it. When they were slaves in Egypt. The Sabbath is a reminder that as God’s people we are no longer slaves. For us the Sabbath is a reminder that we are no longer slaves to consumerism, the almighty dollar and being workaholics. For Israel there is a new order given and it is the exact opposite of Egypt. This new rhythm is to work hard and take a weekly Sabbath. 

How important is this? Jesus himself says, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27). It is not a legalistic thing. The Sabbath was made for us. It reminds us that we are not machines. It reminds us that we do not sustain the world. The Sabbath reminds us what it means to be human.

At the turn of the century many researchers thought we would work a lot less in North America because of technology like e-mail and messaging. A recent study showed that we actually work 47% more than we did a decade and a half ago. The question has to be asked: Are we slaves to our work?

Our prayer is that we would be the hardest working people on the planet, but that we would also incorporate a weekly rhythm of Sabbath. So lets work together as a community towards being the most rested, life-giving on the planet as we reflect God to the world. 

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