Thursday, April 21, 2016

Ministering to the Sick - Some Practical Considerations

I came across this little list the other day and thought it might prove helpful for young pastors in particular. Much of this I learned from tagging along with my father-in-law to hospital visits during our summer vacations. But this is the kind of stuff every Christian can do. 

Your Demeanour - - You should be humbly confident.
  • the sick are already struggling to not be anxious, they don’t need you to add to their anxiety
  • “pray yourself up” before meeting with them; yours is a spiritual work
  • enter the room slowly, but with a smile that is full of love 
  • don’t let your eyes rivet on tubes and monitors... look into the eyes of the sick or the family that attends them
  • hospitals are not modest or clean - just deal with it
  • have some idea of what you are going to say before getting there --> a plan breeds confidence (I like to have a Psalm in mind that I have read over in advance)

Your Speech - - You should get to Christ and the Gospel.
  • there is lots of time to talk about physical conditions, but not everyone has someone in their lives to remind them of Christ
  • remember to speak in a calm, conversational, not-too-loud voice (this is where nervousness can kill you - getting too loud or stuttering, etc)
  • have a specific passage of Scripture to read and comment on
  • I like to use whatever the Lord has blessed me with recently in my own devotional time
  • you do not need to read all of a passage
  • admonish through the Word (e.g. “Here the Psalmist says that God’s voice can still a war or move a city... how glad I am that our Saviour is that strong.  He is still that strong and will be for you.”)
  • keep your admonishment simple, and clear... no need to “preach the whole counsel” today; avoid obscure thoughts or things that do not relate to suffering
  • don’t shy from asking simple questions that remind them of Jesus
  • don't shy away from asking difficult questions. The very ill often want to speak of death, their salvation, heaven, their assurance, etc. Often some of the sweetest fellowship happens when you ask a saint if they are prepared to die.

Your Timing - - You should serve the sick, not your schedule (whenever possible).
  • ask family and/or medical staff when the sick one is at their best
  • if you visit in hospital, avoid shift changes (frustrates nurses) and mornings (when much lab work, etc completed)
  • if visiting in hospital, it is great to tell duty nurse who you are (“I am an elder/deacon from Grace Fellowship Church, their home church”) and who you plan to visit
  • usually 5-10 minutes per visit is good for those recovering from surgery or suffering from serious ailments (you have to be careful here to not appear rushed like you have other things you would rather be doing, and not to overstay a welcome.  People are usually quite tired when very sick and long visits only wear them out -  you become counter-productive)
  • you may stay longer for new births, etc... again, offer to leave within 10 minutes and stay if they beg you to do so
  • the dying: you will get to know when things are drawing near to the end; I always pray that I might be there as they pass, if not, be ready to stay for long seasons to minister to the family and to be with them afterwards
  • prior to surgery is a great time to pray with someone
  • day of surgery, give plenty of recovery time

Your Prayer - - To the point, to the cross and for their good.
  • keep it simple
  • keep it short; don’t be offended if a person duped up on morphine falls asleep!
  • pray the Gospel
  • pray the Truth you have taught/admonished with
  • intercede for what they need most: Christ
  • pray believingly 

Your Person - - A live body visiting is better.
  • emails are okay
  • a card is better
  • a live visit is best
  • being there communicates love: you have taken time out of  your busy life to come and see them
  • it will cost you gas, time, parking, etc. (If you do a lot of hospital visits, we will gladly reimburse your parking!)
  • make sure you don’t stink (body, breath, etc)- odours take on a new life to many sick folks
  • take a Bible with you
  • usually holding a hand is a nice gesture; some kind of human touch tells the sick they are not disgusting
  • do not sit on bed of sick unless invited
  • try to stand still, not wiggle around or move quickly (just think how you feel when you have a flu)
  • dress appropriately (I have a theory that if you are dressed “better” you will get more help from hospital staff and also subtly communicate more confidence to the sick)

Your Optimism - - The Lord can do things
  • the Lord can use you in the lives of staff, family members, other patients
  • the Lord may use you to greatly encourage a fellow saint
  • the Lord may answer your prayer and heal someone.  Why not risk praying.

A Few Other Things

  • read up on their medical condition
  • be careful of what you ask female patients
  • a little gift of flowers is always nice

Friday, March 04, 2016

Friday Fun: A Little Hip Hop From My Boy

A few months ago the boy's dreams came true and he got some studio time with a couple of musicians in our church.

What you are about to hear is a one-take wonder. Remus had a basic track laid down and the boy just went to town. One take. Over. See ya.

It pops up on my iTunes feed every couple of weeks and every time it makes me smile. Everything is perfect about this. :-)

You can listen here.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Canadian Winter of the Soul

The Canadian winter can wreak havoc on the Christian soul. I see it every year. Good people just wear down under the cold and grey and shortened sunlight hours. This winter has been the mildest I can remember, but that doesn't solve everything. In fact, not even July solves everything.

John Newton made this observation in this wonderful hymn. He compares his soul to the winter ground pining for spring. I have always enjoyed that imagery and found this hymn in particular a tonic to the soul. Lewis's famous, "always winter, never Christmas" line captures what many of us feel by the end of February. If that is you, use Newton's words to direct your heart back to Jesus.

See how rude winter's icy hand
Has stripped the trees, and sealed the ground;
But spring shall soon his rage withstand,
And spread new beauties all around.

My soul a sharper winter mourns,
Barren and lifeless I remain,
When will the gentle spring return,
And bid my graces grow again?

Jesus, my glorious sun, arise,
'Tis thine the frozen heart to move;
Oh! hush these storms, and clear my skies,
And let me feel thy vital love.

Dear Lord, regard my feeble cry,
I faint and droop 'till thou appear;
Wilt thou permit thy plant to die?
Must it be winter all the year?

Be still, my soul, and wait his hour,
With humble prayer, and patient faith,
'Till he reveals his gracious power,
Repose on what his promise saith.

He, by whose all commanding words,
Seasons their changing course maintain;
In every change a pledge affords,
That none shall seek his face in vain.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

An Open Letter to Jemima Kirke (Star of Girls)

An Open Letter to Jemima Kirke
(Star of Girls)

Dear Jemima,

Besides sharing the lovely name of my grandmother you also have this in common: Your life has had its share of difficulties. I thought of her in some of her trials as I watched you share the story of your abortion.

I assume the intention of a video like this is to make me think. It worked and how I wish we could sit down over a dinner at my house and talk in person. In lieu of that, may I interact with some of your ideas here? Your words are in italics. Mine follow.

In 2007 I became pregnant with my boyfriend at the time

I know you know this, but you did not have to get pregnant. You and your boyfriend could have had a very meaningful, enjoyable and sexless relationship. I simply want to point out that although your pregnancy might have surprised you, it was not by accident nor was it spontaneous. You became pregnant because you had sex with your boyfriend. That was a choice you made. 

I think that is important because all of our decisions have consequences. How we respond to them is so crucial to who we become as a person.

I wasn't sure I wanted to be attached to this person (your boyfriend) for the rest of my life - my life was just not conducive to raising a healthy happy child - I just didn't feel it was fair, so I decided to get an abortion and I went to Planned Parenthood

I can understand your concern about marrying the right person. I stressed over that decision, too. But there is a jump in your logic. You go from concluding the relationship was not conducive to raising a child, directly to aborting that child. Did you notice that you called your child a “child?” I did. 

But if your concern was really for that child in your womb, you would have never killed it. Lots of wonderful people I know adopt children. Sometimes family members who understand the predicament you are in offer to take the child. There are hundreds of options for that child. You say you did not feel it was “fair” to your child to bring it into the complex world in which you then lived, but was it fair to her to end her life?

Because I couldn't tell my mother that I was pregnant I had to pay for it out of pocket

I understand this, too. There is a stigma attached to unwed pregnancies. I don’t know enough about your relationship with your mom to comment much more than that, but I do know that every major city in North America has a Pregnancy Care Centre where very kind and loving women will help you navigate those waters. 

We are terrible predictors of the future. I have watched many delicate situations between mothers and daughters end up wonderfully. Not every time. But often. Especially when they realize that regardless of the circumstances of the pregnancy, new life is here. 

reproductive issues are something women especially should be able to talk through together

Again, I agree with you. In fact, that is what I am trying to do, even though I am a man. But I have noticed that you need a man to get into this situation. Oh, for more men to step up and exercise their responsibilities. I honour the man who has the courage to tell the women he got pregnant that he will take care of everything. Whether that is financially supporting the new mom  and child or helping arrange an adoption.  Men are more of the problem here than we often admit.

(I’m) a mother of two… I have two daughters and I would love it if when they're older… that the political issues surrounding their bodies were not there anymore

I respectfully disagree with you here on two fronts. 

First, these are not political issues, but issues of right and wrong. I realize that sounds pre-historic to a culture that has abandoned itself to moral relativity, but we still think things like theft and murder are wrong and there is a reason for that. Just as we know, intuitively, that the fetus in a woman is a living person. We can deny these things and spin our words, but our consciences tell us differently. So, this is not politics in the way that budgets and highway planning are. This is right and wrong. And abortion is wrong. 

Second, I think you are counting incorrectly. Like you said at the start, you chose to abort a person. And that means you are a mother to three, not two.

I could be wrong, but I think your talking about your abortion has more to do with assuaging your conscience than it does about reproductive rights. I think you know what you did was wrong in the eyes of your Creator. 

Did you know the most surprising pregnancy of all happened 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem? Mary was young, poor, single, about to endure social scorn and (miraculously) pregnant with Jesus. He was born into the world to live the perfect, sinless life we never could and to be our substitute when it came to the punishment for all our sins. 

I needed a Saviour. So do you. Your abortion was wrong and sinful, but God sent Jesus into the world to die in the place of wrong and sinful people like you and me. If you admit that guilt, rather than bury it and justify it, you can be sure God will forgive you. He forgave me and I am sure I have done far worse than you. And with that salvation He will give us that peace and wholeness for which our hearts crave.


Paul Martin

Monday, December 28, 2015

Pastoring a Culturally-diverse Church

I have been thinking a lot lately about cultural diversity in the church. Toronto is still widely regarded as one of, if not the single most ethnically diverse city in the world. And thankfully that is reflected in many of our churches.

But guys like me did not grow up with this kind of diversity. There were two visible minorities in my public school. Yet that demographic has completely flipped in my lifetime. I love it! Standing with my daughter at a college expo a few months ago I looked around the massive room and saw one other white person. One! That was amazing for a guy who grew up here.

And I am not lying about loving it. I find the process of learning another culture totally fascinating and at times, dumbfounding. As a pastor, I am constantly asked to step into people’s lives and ask, “What does the Bible say about this?” which is an entirely different question than, “What do I think they should do?” I think (or hope, at least) that our situation has made me a better reader of the Word.

Cultural Idolatry
Our church really does enjoy cultures. There is, in my opinion, a very healthy mix of culture-respect, culture-denial and culture-enjoyment and so much of this is fuelled by a kind of self-deprecating humour toward one’s own culture. I think that is one of the ways the Gospel changes people. We stop idolizing culture, learn to enjoy parts of it for what they are worth, and even laugh at some of our weird eccentricities. All because we worship a Saviour who rescues souls out of “every tongue and tribe and nation.” The Gospel is of far greater importance to us than our culture.

Cultural Dominance
Still, I worry sometimes about how to keep things good. I recognize that my culture is the dominant culture of my church, if for no other reason than I planted this church. I watch with real interest certain countries struggle to understand the needs and pains of their non-dominant cultures. It is almost like one of those conversations where two people are yelling at each other in two entirely different languages. They just cannot comprehend what the other is saying. So, I worry that the same thing might creep into our church. But the Gospel answers this. If Christ left the glory of heaven to die in my place, it ought be my joy to leave the comfort of my culture and actually give preference to the culture of another. Isn’t this what Paul was doing when he became “all things to all people?”

Fake Oneness
I also worry that we will feign oneness in the church, without risking cultural offense. This might seem the opposite of what I was saying before, but I think part of learning to really love folks of wildly different cultures from your own is learning to ask questions that might get you in a lot of trouble. If we let fear control our church relationships, we will never come out and ask the things that would really help us understand each other. But this too, is exactly where the Gospel is needed. If you and I are both saved by the grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ, even if my question is dumb and offensive, you have to confront me, I have to repent and you have to forgive me. Done deal. 

That is why I think Christians are the ones leading the way when it comes to crossing ethnic barriers. I recognize that place and history have put me in a very unique and advantageous situation to live an ethnically-diverse church life. But it will take more than immigration and social policy to make it work. Praise God for His one Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ. The Saviour of the world.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

When You Don't Delight in God

At Grace Fellowship Church we have one primary mission; to delight in God, to the glory of God, for the good of all people. We think this best summarizes the purpose of every Christian’s life.
But choosing to be happy in God is not easy. We contend with the world, the flesh and the devil, and at any given moment might be fighting against all three. At our prayer meeting last night we tried to come up with the most common ways we fail to delight in God. After that, we tried to answer each from the Word. This gave us a great framework from which to pray for our church family.
I was so blessed by this I thought I would share it with you.

Obstacle to Delight    
    --> Answer

Fear of man  
    --> Fear of God

    --> Self-forgetfulness

    --> Contentment

    --> Prayer

    --> Faith

    --> Worship of God

    --> Joy

    --> Humility

    --> Single-mindedness

    --> Deliberateness

This list helps in several ways.

  1. It helps identify what might be going on in our heart when we are not delighting in God.
  2. It provides a possible antidote for what ails us.
  3. It gives us a great list of things to pray for fellow church members any day of the week. 

Thursday, October 08, 2015

About that Tim Challies Guy

I no longer have the first email I received from Tim Challies, but I remember the first time I saw him. Tim had found me from my “world famous blog” and had suggested we get together for lunch. I pulled up to a local restaurant and spotted a computer-programmer-looking guy standing sheepishly by the door. “That must be him,” I thought. And I was right.

Little did I know where that first meeting would take us. Soon after that lunch, the Challies family made Grace Fellowship Church their home. It was not the easiest transition, but it was certainly deliberate. Tim knew where he wanted his young family to worship.

After becoming members, Tim and Aileen began to serve in various parts of church life. And one of the first things Tim did was to sit down our elders and ask for spiritual oversight. Whatever this blog phenomenon was, Tim knew it could prove dangerous to his soul unless he was submitting to the elders of his local church. To be clear, this was never intended to be a kind of editorial oversight, but the kind of shepherding that every worker should seek. Tim wanted to be grounded, held to the Truth and have people in his life who really knew him and pursued his soul. 

Over the years, the church began to recognize a teaching gift in Tim. Soon, the elders saw gifts of leadership and the training of others. We spoke to Tim about the potential of becoming an elder in our church (a long and thorough process) and he was eager to pursue it. He was ordained to the office of elder on May 16, 2010.

Not long after this, our church began preparing to plant another. The elders thought it best to add to our pastoral staff in the process and Tim was asked to join the team. Tim jumped in with both feet and began full-time pastoral work all the while keeping this thing running. Every day. For, like, 9 million days in a row. 

When Tim came on staff, we knew about this website. And we agreed it was good for him to keep it going. The fact that he managed to do that for the next five years while never shirking his pastoral responsibilities had a few of us, well, I guess just me, wondering if he was actually a superhero. Alas, such was not the case.

About a year ago we began to recognize that Tim was going to have to turn away from one of his commitments. This was not an easy thing. For any of us! Grace Fellowship Church loves her pastor. And Pastor Tim loves his church. But both the website and blog had grown to the point where they needed more than Tim could give. We prayed, talked, and thought. 

As elders, we loved having Tim as one of our pastors. But we saw and believed in the value of what he was bringing “the outside world” via his website. We also thought that Tim had been uniquely gifted by God to do it. (Not many people have the consistency, integrity, theological chops and wisdom to do this.) 

So, we affirmed our love for Tim and our total approval of his stepping down from full-time pastoral work in order to focus on writing and the website. Tim remains an elder along with our other outside-employed elders, but resigned his duties as a paid staff member effective September 30.

A couple of notes.

1. At a later date, I hope to talk about my personal love for my brother. Working with Tim these last five years has been one the real joys of my twenty years of pastoring. I count it a big personal loss to not have my brother in the office anymore. 

2. God remarkably supplied a replacement for Tim in the span of about two weeks. One of our church plants sent her interns to our offices for a week this summer. One of those interns was a young man we had sent out with the original group to help plant Grace Fellowship Church, Don Mills. Steve Kim’s unique gifts, love of Christ, desire for ministry and providential availability made him an incredible fit to take Tim’s place. He is already on staff. 

(This picture was taken in June, 2006, as Tim and I made our way down to the very first Together for the Gospel. The very introverted blogger was not used to having his picture taken. Especially in public. On a moving walkway. Where other people might see! I have always loved this photo.)

The most touching moment in this process was when we announced this transition to our members on September 27. The very first question asked was, “You’re not leaving the church, right? You are staying here, right?” And that is everyone’s sentiment. We love our brother and thank God for how He has used Tim to extend the grace of His love to our little church. 

In less than ten years, Tim went from being a guy behind a keyboard to a well-loved, well-known, relationally-invested, Shepherd of God’s sheep. Let the example of his faithfulness and zeal spur you on to more love and good works. I know it has done that for me.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Gospel Coalition - Ontario: Another Radio Interview with Neil Boron and Robbie Symons

It was a delight to spend time with my friend Robbie Symons yesterday talking about The Gospel Coalition Ontario Conference. We were hosted by Neil Boron of WDCX fame. Neil is a good egg. 
I was able to spend some of the morning working talking around the them of my workshop. I plan to show how prayer, the preaching of the Word and a spirit of gospel-centred cooperation between churches are signs of potential revival to come. It led to some discussion about what marks a true reviving work of the Sprit as opposed to some manufactured, synthetic and man-centred work. I noted these three foundations, but Robbie added a fourth being an overall sense of brokenness and humility in God’s people. I think he was right. 
Already we are seeing some glimmers of what might be the Lord’s work. I know of pastors forging prayerful partnerships with men outside of their “tribe” and churches that are financially supporting new works in which they have no vested interest. Besides this are the little meetings to pray that are popping up on the radar. None of these things are being advertised or promoted. Just God’s people doing His work in the world.
I remain very hopeful that the conference will be a catalyst to even more of this. When Neil asked me yesterday why people should come, part of the answer I gave him was so they could be at the start of something great. At least, if the Lord is going to do something, how good to be in on the ground floor and be a part of a movement toward all the things Jesus prayed for in John 17, not the least of which is the truth-fuelled unity of all of God’s people. 
The reach of radio is quite remarkable. Anyone that thinks that medium is finished because of the interwebs had better think again. I continue to have people visit our church or call or introduce themselves to me at events from that one interview we did earlier this year. I am praying that the Lord uses yesterday to draw out a few more of His own who perhaps have not heard of us yet. 

Pray then, that God will use all of these things to make His Name greater in Ontario.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Ethics of Undercover Operations, Secret Videotapes and Stings

A recently released video exposes Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services for Planned Parenthood, discussing over lunch the “intentional harvesting of organs and other tissues from babies aborted in Planned Parenthood clinics.” It is a very difficult video to watch for several reasons, including wondering what it was like for Dr. Nucatola to wake up with an assumed private conversation plastered all over the world-wide web.

I was targeted once by a Jehovah’s Witness in an undercover operation. Initially, he portrayed himself to be an earnest spiritual seeker, but as the conversation progressed it became obvious he was a pro and I was the subject of a rather elaborate sting. It was a very unpleasant feeling to realize I had been “had” and even more unpleasant to speculate that I had been recorded in the process. I felt violated and exposed.

This was primarily due to one statement I made. Feeling angry that this guy was wasting my time, I said something like, “Look, I’ve been a student of Greek for 7 years and you don’t know what you’re talking about.” Unfortunately for me, he did know his Greek, or at least the bad Greek he had imbibed from that cult and he started to run circles around me. It was a rookie mistake. But a rookie mistake on a private phone call is one thing. What if it was being played back to a Jehovah’s Witness National Convention? 

So, I squirmed watching the Nucatola video. First, I squirmed from the sheer horror of her casual description of tearing apart babies to harvest their organs for money. But I also squirmed over the ethics of the sting. Was it really fair to set her up with questions and edit that material together?

Of this, I am not so sure.

First off, I am not naïve. I realize there is no way any high-ranking official of Planned Parenthood would openly admit this “procedure” was being practised with the cameras rolling in their face. Not without gallons of nuance, distraction and spin. In all likelihood, it would be flatly denied. This is why police departments use under-cover officers. The bad guys generally don’t admit their wrong-doing when a uniformed officer walks up and asks them, “Did you rob the bank?” Just watch one episode of Cops if you don’t believe me. The undercover operative is a con man, gaining the confidence of the criminal so that he will admit his crimes.

The actors in the video did just that. They gained Nucatola’s confidence and led her to admit without prejudice a potential felony. (There is some debate about the criminality of her admission.) So, they exposed a potential crime through deception. But keep in mind, they were actors, not agents of the state.

The Bible is clear that no Christian is to lie. Ever. 

That said, there are three cases of deception that deserve careful attention. John Murray unpacks them very helpfully in his book, Principles of Conduct.

The first is called concealment or evasion. An example from the Bible would be Samuel going to Bethlehem to anoint David as Israel’s new king. God instructed him to say only that he was going there to sacrifice. That’s all. And that was true, but it was not the whole truth. Saul was an agent of evil in the land. He was intent on holding on to his rule at any cost including killing any threat to his throne. On this sinful trajectory, Saul did not deserve to know the whole truth. However, no untruth on Samuel’s part was involved. Samuel never lied about what he was going to do in Bethlehem and he, in fact, did it. He made the sacrifice… and secretly anointed David.

Second, there are cases of deliberate or strategic deception. When Joshua was instructed by God to retreat from Ai, it was understood that the army of Ai would interpret that retreat as defeat. Of course, the plan all along was that a second division of Joshua’s army would then attack the defenceless city and the “retreating” division would turn back and fight for real. And it worked. And Ai was defeated.

The question arises whether this action was a lie? The first thing to observe is that the terms of the relationship were not such that mutual understanding was a foundational prerequisite. These nations were at war. So, Israel was not under obligation to ensure Ai understood all of her actions. Secondly, there is no indication that Israel did anything other than turn and run. What I mean is that they did not send a messenger to Ai telling them they were in retreat. Obviously, they counted on Ai misunderstanding their actions, but they did not speak untruth in order to accomplish it. 

Finally, there are certainly cases of people outright lying and still being used of God. Rahab lied about the spies and that enabled Israel to prepare to sack Jericho. Most understand, however that God was faithful to Rahab in spite of her lie. In other words, there was some other way for her to navigate that situation that did not involve speaking an untruth. She just didn’t see it or use it. But God, who is able to work all things “together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” redeemed the situation, without approving of the lie. He neither instructed her to lie nor approved of the lie, but he used the lie to accomplish good.

That leads to an evaluation of the Nucatola tape. It appears that the actors playing the part of organ-purchasers were deliberately telling an untruth. I think that for this they are not to be commended. 

Secondly, consider Matthew 7:12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” I know some folks in the US who estimate their crisis pregnancy centre is visited by hostile undercover reporters at least once a month. I would not appreciate that. I do not believe any one of us would like it. This is not living out the Golden Rule. I am not suggesting that those on the other side of this issue play fair. I am suggesting that Christians ought to lead the way in doing so and not adopt the world’s methodology.

I judge this situation similar to the Rahab case. This ought not to have been done this way, but now it has been. And in the providence of God, the exposé on Nucatola is being used for good. What Planned Parenthood and every other abortion-on-demand provider is doing has been wrong for decades. In one sense, is the selling of infant organs any different than tossing them in a dumpster? But for some reason, it seems this generation has been grabbed by this story and if that is what God has to use in order to bring us to our senses, then to Him be all the glory. And may we Christians use much more truthful methods in the future. 

If you would like to comment on the Christian ethics of undercover operations, please do so below.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Gospel Coalition - Ontario Chapter (Update)

It has been a real joy for me to lead the Ontario Chapter of The Gospel Coalition over the last year. In a meeting with a large group of interested pastors yesterday, I detailed what the Lord has done so far.

On April 25, 2014, John Mahaffey (West Highland Baptist Church), Dwayne Cline (Hughson St, Baptist Church)  and Tim Kerr (Sovereign Grace Toronto) invited a small group of us to meet together in order to talk about the history of TGC-ON and what purpose moving forward might serve. The best part of this meeting was getting to know some men I had only heard of before and sitting in a room with a bunch of brothers who all understood the significance of striving for Gospel-cooperation. From this meeting, we determined to call an even broader group together to continue the conversation.

On May 21 we met in Mississauga with 40 pastors and church leaders. Introductions were made and a lively discussion followed concerning the place of TGC and in particular, how it might fit into our Canadian context. All agreed that something was needed and from the 40 attendees an executive team was chosen.

That executive met on June 25th and decided, among other things, to maintain the name (TGC-ON) and to start the re-birth of this movement with a conference. We determined this conference ought to have a predominantly Canadian voice and the search for speakers and workshop leaders started.

By December 10 we had enough in place to call “the 40” together again to Young Nak Presbyterian Church since this would be our conference home. After announcing a speaker lineup that included Don Carson, John Neufeld, Robbie Symons and Mark Clark, we asked the representatives to consider underwriting the expense of the conference with financial gifts. The executive alone pledged to give over $20,000. We also announced our desire to start talking to other Canadian TGC chapters and Gospel-movements to discuss forming a TGC Canada.

Yesterday, we updated our group again with these tidbits:

Paul Carter (First Baptist, Orillia) announced more details of this conference for young church leaders being held at Muskoka Bible Conference May 14-15 with Dr. Andreas Kostenberger. There are only 20 spots left so if you are thinking about it, think no more. Register! Dan MacDonald and Paul have done a fantastic job getting this event together.

TGC Ontario Conference Update
John Mahaffey updated the group on the 12 workshop leaders and their topics. He also informed us that registration for the conference will go live on April 30. This is important as there are only 800 spots available. The conference will run over two days on October 16-17, 2015. Personally, I expect the event to sell out. At 

TGC Orlando Update 
Dwayne Cline explained to the men how an email had been sent to all the Canadian registrants at TGC Orlando inviting them to a brief meeting at the end of the conference. A very large contingent showed up between two meetings furthering our contacts and giving men like Yanick Ethier (Quebec) and Steve Bray (Newfoundland) an opportunity to connect with everyone as well. 

On the whole, it is exciting to see how much the Lord has done - especially when you consider this whole thing is run by a bunch of busy pastors who have many other things they could be doing. But men are investing in this movement because they know its great value in the work of God in our day.

The day ended for me with a live radio interview courtesy of Neil Boron on WDCX. We set up shop in the lobby of Harvest Bible Chapel, Oakville and Robbie Symons (HBC) and I did our best to describe something of what the Lord was doing. 

There are about 400 other things that fill in the blanks of this post, but I want you to be encouraged with what God is doing. Probably the best thing of all are all the new friendships springing up between pastors of at least a dozen different denominations. Men who love the supremacy of Christ and His glorious Gospel. May the Lord raise up a thousand more in this land!