When The Great Resignation Comes to Church

We aren’t colleagues. We aren’t comrades. We aren’t neighbors. We are family. If we are to understand the nature of the relationship between believers, we don’t need to understand work, politics, or geography. We need to understand family. The Bible displays this truth in any number of ways. Together we call God “Father,” and if he is Father, then we are sons and daughters. We call Christ our elder brother, making us his siblings as well as one another’s. Young …

Her Weakness Is Her Strength

Have you ever known a family who has learned that it will soon welcome a child with special needs? It could be that prenatal testing has shown a developmental abnormality or it could be that they have deliberately chosen to adopt a child with disabilities. But either way, the family will necessarily undergo a time of preparation as they ready themselves for the inevitable special challenges to come. They will prepare their home, they will prepare their community, they will …

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You Just Can’t Have It All

Charles Spurgeon said it. Billy Graham said it. And even though it’s not really all that funny anymore, most of us have probably said it as well. It goes something like this: “Don’t bother looking for the perfect church since, the moment you join it, it won’t be perfect anymore.” Zing! There’s truth behind the quote, of course. It would be impractical and, frankly, ridiculous to expect that a bunch of sinful people could join together to create a sinless …

A Pastoral Prayer for Unity Amid Pandemic

Every now and again I like to share one of the pastoral prayers from Grace Fellowship Church. This particular one was prayed by Paul Martin on a recent Sunday. The context, as is obvious from the prayer, is the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and, perhaps more specifically, the vaccine mandates that are taking root in our city and country. This context provides many opportunities for Christians to disagree with one another and, therefore, to become disunited. This, then, is a prayer …

Little Seeds that Split Great Rocks

In the warmth of a Canadian summer, in the reaches of a distant forest, a maple seed falls from the sky. This seed, called a samara, is a masterpiece of design that looks and behaves much like the blades of a tiny helicopter. As it falls through the air it spins, and this spinning action generates lift, and this lift keeps it aloft long enough to fall far from the smothering shade of its parent tree. As that seed helicopters …

The Greatest Christians and the Most Visible Gifts

I’m convinced we’re prone to make entirely too much of the most public gifts and entirely too little of the most private. We laud those who stand at the event podiums to preach the Word. We celebrate those who sit on the conference panels to answer our questions. We honor those who pen the few bestselling books. When given the opportunity, we surge forward to shake their hands, to snap a selfie, to share encouraging words. None of these actions …

I Am, You Are: A Call to Worship

I have mentioned a number of times that one key element of worship at Grace Fellowship Church is the Call to Worship. This call sometimes involves reading a passage of scripture, but other times combines several texts into a responsive or back-and-forth format. Here’s an example that might bless you this morning as you prepare to worship. It contrasts who we are with who God is and, in that way, reminds us that God alone is worthy of our worship. …

Solemnity and Celebration, Exclusivity and Inclusivity

The Lord’s Supper is an occasion that is both solemn and celebratory. In the Lord’s Supper we remember the suffering and death of the innocent Son of God and we confess that it was our sin that made it necessary. In the Lord’s Supper we rejoice that God made a way for us to be saved and we proclaim with confidence that Christ is alive and will come again. In these ways we express, in turn, both sorrow and joy, …

The Local Church Was Made To Serve The Christian, Not The Christian The Local Church

The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. Sabbath is a gift God has given us for our good. We are feeble creatures who need rest, yet foolish creatures who would otherwise work ourselves to the bone. The sabbath is a reminder of our weakness, of our finiteness, of our inability. It is a reminder of all of these in a physical sense and, more ultimately, in a spiritual sense, for so much of what is true …

Learning To Thrive as a Diverse Church

Toronto is the most diverse city in the world which means that Toronto churches are among the most diverse churches in the world. If over fifty percent of the people who live in the city were born in a country other than Canada, which is exactly the case, then in all probability over fifty percent of the people who attend church in the city were born in a country other than Canada. It is rare that a church here does …