We had a fantastic time at our annual Christmas Party! Below is a recap of an incredible night!
On Sunday we took time to light the first advent candle. Lighting the advent wreath is an annual tradition for us at City View. Advent is a season in the church calendar that anticipates Christmas. It is four weeks of preparation. The funny thing is that Advent, in many ways, is the beginning of a new year for the church. Yes we celebrate New Years when December turns to January, but there is also a sense that this is the beginning of a new year as we anticipate the birth of Jesus.
With this in mind, we do take this season of anticipation seriously! We hope you can join us as we anticipate Christmas. Our gatherings will follow the Advent themes of Hope (yesterday), Peace (December 10), Joy (December 17) and Love (December 24). There is something revolutionary, subversive and counter-formative in learning to wait in a world that is distracted, consumed with stuff and stressed out. If any time our world needs Advent it is now.
We also have a daily devotional posted for Advent. It includes time to reflect each day leading up to Christmas both in the morning and evening. It is a great tool for you and your family.
Last Sunday we had the joy of baptizing three amazing people in our community! Well done Devin, Alex and Karen.
Tonight marks the beginning of 24 Hours of Prayer. We believe over the next day that significant breakthrough is going to happen in our church and city. We are seriously believing for the Spirit to do a deep work in the hearts and lives of our community and we are thankful that you would take some time to pray.
As you know we have been praying for specific things all week long for SEEK WEEK. You may be wondering: what can I pray for in my hour (or two). Below are some things that have been on our hearts this week and can be some things that we can continue to pray for this weekend!
// OUR CITY
- our mayor, city council, city and community leaders
- teachers and educators in the city
- all the kids and youth in London that have returned to school this week
- the college and university students that now make London home
- those on the margins of society in our city
- the different ministries that are bringing care to individuals in need in our city
- the salvation and renewal of our city, praying that people will turn to Jesus!
// OUR CHURCH
- the growth of our community in prayer, the spiritual disciples and our engagement of scripture
- that our kids ministry would continue to reach, teach and train children
- that our Jr. High ministry would make disciples of students
- that our community groups would flourish and fill the city with people living on mission
- for those hurting in our church both relationally and financially
- for the financial health of our community, that people would join in on the financial vision of our church
- that our community would be postured towards people outside the community, reaching them with the gospel
- for the strength and health of our leaders
- that God would raise more leaders to lead within our community
- that those who hear the gospel in our Sunday gatherings would turn their hearts towards Jesus and his kingdom
Ultimately our pray is that God’s kingdom would come to London as it is in heaven.
Thanks for praying with us! We are also getting together at the bandshell at Victoria Park tomorrow morning from 10-11am if you want to join us!
Grace + Peace,
This week we are engaging in an attentional time of prayer and fasting as a community. From September 4-8 we will be sharing specific things you and your family can be praying for. From Friday, September 8 to Saturday, September 9 we will once again be participating in 24 hours of prayer. Then on Saturday, September 9 from 10-11am we will be gathering together at Victoria Park for a time of corporate prayer together.
Monday, September 4
Pray for our mayor, city council, city and community leaders, teachers and educators.
Tuesday, September 5th
Pray for kids and youth in London and at City View Church as they return to school.
Wednesday, September 6th
Pray for the college and university students attending school in London this year.
Thursday, September 7th
Pray for our city and its redemption, those on the margins of society, and for the different ministries that are brining care to individuals in our city.
Friday, September 8th at 8pm - Saturday, September 9th at 8pm // 24 Hour Prayer
As park of SEEK WEEK we are concluding with 24 hours of prayer from Friday, September 8 at 8pm to Saturday, September 9 at 8pm. We encourage you to sign up for a time slot throughout these 24 hours. You will receive an e-mail, hours before, reminding you of your time sot and things you can be praying for.
Take an hour for 24 HOUR PRAYER by signing up here - http://www.slottr.com/cityviewprayer
Saturday, September 9th
We are prayer together as a church at the band shell in Victoria park from 10-11am.
We have had a great Spring season at City View Kids and City View Youth! On Sundays our Elementary Kids have been learning what it means to follow Jesus as disciples. Our Jr. Highs have been learning about things like prayer and relationships through our interactive curriculum! We are also thankful to have Maria Quinones once a month in Jr. High to walk our students through age related leadership curriculum. It has been fantastic!
City View Kids and City View Youth were also apart of some exciting events this Spring. On June 3rd City View Kids went to BOUNCE at Braeside Camp. It was a fantastic day of games, activities, songs, and learning about God’s love for us.
Later on in June City View Youth held their year end part at Palasad. This was a night to celebrate our first year of Jr. High at City View and also welcome any grade 4s now graduating in Jr. Hight. It was a great time with bowling, pizza and a dozen students leaders spending time together!
This is just a reminder that anyone going into grade 5 in September is invited to now participate in our Jr. High curriculum on Sunday mornings.
Now, we look to the future, with a couple of exciting events coming up!
// City View Kids Party - Friday, July 21st
On Friday, July 21st City View Kids is throwing a party! This party includes a BBQ, lots of games and activities and will conclude with an outdoor movie. It is going to be a fantastic evening together.
Location: Dru + Heather Fess’ House (10 Fairlane Rd)
Let us know you child is coming at www.cityview.cc/kidsparty
// Play In The Park
Throughout the summer City View Kids is hosting some play times in the park together. This is for parents and children of all ages. Each morning will include playtime at the park and splash pad and City View kids will be providing a snack and short interactive Bible story. These play times in the park will be happening at Springbank Park from 10.30am-Noon on Wednesday July 19, August 2 and August 9.
// Momentum Jr. High Convention
On November 3 and 4 City View Youth is heading to MOMENTUM Jr. High Convention. It’s a great time, joining a thousand other Jr. Highers from around Ontario, with amazing services with teaching and music, games and a night away together!
Date: November 2 and 3
Location: Oakville, Ontario
Looking forward to the future!
We had a fantastic time away at GETAWAY 2017. It was a weekend full of great food, friends, and time for reflection on what it means to walk in the Holy Spirit and what it means to be a mature follower of Jesus.
The notes from Garry Fess' second session called "The Holy Spirit and Christian Maturity" is below:
THE HOLY SPIRIT AND SPIRITUAL MATURITY
How do we measure spiritual maturity?
- Character of Jesus as revealed in the Fruit Of The Spirit
“fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” Galatians 5:22
- Fruit of the Spirit NOT Fruits of the Spirit
- One Fruit with 9 qualities or attributes
- These are the positive attributes of a Godly nature which describe the very character of Jesus
- The character of Jesus is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control
- This is to be our character too!
- Interesting that the list begins with LOVE…because “agape” love (unconditional/selfless love) is the foundation upon which all these other qualities are built
- They are the “fruit of the Spirit” which means they come from the Holy Spirit and not from ourselves…not from human effort…but through the Holy Spirit that already resides within us
- Scripture teaches that we are partakers of the “divine nature” of God
Key Thought: Spiritual maturity (fruitfulness) comes through walking in and yielding to the Holy Spirit
1. You Pick Your Own FruitGalatians 5:16-18
- Vs 16 – every person has to decide what kind of fruit they will have in their life
- Vs 17 – there is an inner struggle between the flesh and the Spirit
2. Fruit Of The FleshGalatians 5:19-21
- Vs 19 – Sexual temptation
- Vs 20a – Worship temptation
- Vs 20b-21a – Relationship temptation
- Vs 21b – Discipleship temptation
3. Fruit Of The Spirit Galatians 5:22-23
- The character of Jesus is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control
4. What Produces Spiritual Fruit?
24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
- Through Christ we are set free from sin - vs 7-10
- Consider ourselves dead to sin - vs 11
- Make a choice, NOT to let sin reign in your life - vs 12
- Present ourselves as instruments of righteousness - vs 13
- Vs 25 – What we must do – Yield to the Holy Spirit
- Total Dependence Upon The Holy Spirit
- Spirit filled life begins when we are absolutely convinced that we can do nothing apart from the indwelling strength of H.S.
- Overwhelming realization that we are absolutely helpless and hopeless without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit
- Total Dependence Upon The Holy Spirit
- When we realize we are absolutely helpless, we are then ready to surrender everything to the Holy Spirit
BE FILLED AND KEEP ON BEING FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
Ephesians 5:18 - greek construction - “keep on being filled” - present tense
- We should be so completely yielded to the Holy Spirit that He can possess us fully
- To be filled with the Spirit implies freedom for Him to occupy every part of our lives, guiding and controlling us. Then His power can be exerted through us so that what we do is fruitful to God.
- The filling of the Spirit does not apply to outward acts alone; it also applies to the innermost thoughts and motives of our actions.
We had a fantastic time away at GETAWAY 2017. It was a weekend full of great food, friends, and time for reflection on what it means to walk in the Holy Spirit and what it means to be a mature follower of Jesus.
The notes from Garry Fess' first session called "Life In The Spirit" is below:
LIFE IN THE SPIRIT
John 14:15-17, 25-27; 16:4-15, Romans 12:6-8
What Does Life In The Spirit Look Like?
KEY: The Holy Spirit was given to enable Christ followers to live a Kingdom Life
THE HOLY SPIRIT AS A PERSON
The Holy Spirit is not some vague, ethereal being or an impersonal force. The Holy Spirit is a person.
Characteristics of Personhood:
“who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:11
“And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” Romans 8:27
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Ephesian 4:30
“All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.” 1 Corinthians 12:11
The Holy Spirit Acts Like A Person:
He Speaks - Revelation 2:7, Acts 13:2
He Teaches - John 14:26
He Witnesses - John 15:26, Romans 8:16
He Guides - Romans 8:14, John 16:13
He Convicts - John 16:7-8
He Commands - Acts 8:29
He Helps - Romans 8:26
He Reaches Out To Sinners - Genesis 6:3
The Holy Spirit Is Regarded As A Person
¥ He Can Be Lied To - Acts 5:3
¥ He Can Be Resisted - Acts 7:51
¥ He Can Be Grieved - Ephesians 4:30
¥ He Can Be Quenched - 1 Thessalonians 5:19
¥ He Can Be Insulted - Hebrews 10:29
¥ He Can Be Blasphemed - Matthew 12:31
¥ He Can Be Obeyed - Acts 10:19-21
This person of The Holy Spirit desires to have relationship with us!
- to be involved in our everyday lives…
How do we develop a relationship with the person of the Holy Spirit?
How do we develop relationship with people?
- Spend time with them, be open to developing a relationship
- Talk with them, Listen to them, Be influenced by them (value their thoughts and opinions, take advice and receive help from them)
- Same is true as we develop a relationship with the person of the Holy Spirit
- We walk in relationship with the Holy Spirit and allow Him to influence our lives - “walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16) - “keep in step” with the Spirit
- A constant “yielding” ourselves to the Holy Spirits leading
THE HOLY SPIRIT GIVES US…
We have been given “another Helper” – paracletos – one who comes and stands alongside
- we are never alone - John 14:16
- “He dwells in you and will be in you” - John 14:17
- The Holy Spirit constantly brings comfort and strength which gives us confidence to live the Christian life
- Holy Spirit gives peace – John 14:27 – We don’t have to be afraid of what life brings because the Holy Spirit calms our fears and brings peace
- Practical - The Holy Spirit gives confidence (comfort, strength, peace
- The Holy Spirit is like having Jesus with us all the time
The Holy Spirit brings clarity to life’s questions as we follow His leading in our lives
The Holy Spirit Guides Us - John 16:13-14
- The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth
- The Holy Spirit speaks on behalf of Jesus
- The Holy Spirit will give us the resources of Jesus
- The Holy Spirit reveals Christ - makes the Kingdom real to us(John 14:16-17)
The Holy Spirit Teaches Us - John 14:26, John 16:14
- The Holy Spirit will teach you all things
- The Holy Spirit will bring to your remembrance things Jesus has taught
- The Holy Spirit will give you the power to live out the principles of the kingdom
• The Holy Spirit Exhorts Us – John 16:8
- The Holy Spirit convicts us concerning sin and righteousness
- The Holy Spirit encourages us to do what is right
- The Holy Spirit wants to release God’s gifts in your life. He wants you to use what He has given you to bless others
- The Holy Spirit is a creative force (ex creation) that resides in us. We need to allow the creativity of the Holy Spirit touch our minds and heart
- Follower of Jesus are gifted by God’s grace – Romans 12:6
- God wants us to develop and use the gifts He has given us – Romans 12:6-8
How To Cultivate Daily Fellowship With The Holy Spirit
- Develop a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit
- Cultivate fellowship with the Holy Spirit through conversation
- Grow in fellowship with the Holy Spirit by reading the scriptures
- Grow in intimacy with the Holy Spirit through prayer
- Increase your friendship with the Holy Spirit by developing a passion for Him
- Partner with the Holy Spirit in ministry
1. Why do people struggle to view the Holy Spirit as a person? How does this effect their relationship with God?
2. What can we do personally to develop our relationship with the Holy Spirit?
3. Sight practical examples of how the Holy Spirit can help us in our every day living.
4. Making decisions in life can be difficult. How can the Holy Spirit help us in making decisions? How can the Holy Spirit clarify our decision making?
5. Discuss how the creativity of the Holy Spirit can impact your everyday life.
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.”
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:
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
This past Sunday Dru referenced some great resources on the book of Revelation.
Here is a list of books below:
Rescuing Revelation – Michael Gorman
The Most Revealing Book of The Bible – Vernard Eller
Revelation For Everyone – N.T. Wright
The Theology of The Book of Revelation – Richard Bauckham
Reversed Thunder – Eugene Peterson
The NIV Application Commentary – Craig Keener
A New Covenant Commentary – Gordon Fee
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
Have an amazing Christmas!
Dru + Heather
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.
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!
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,
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,
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.
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)
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.
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.