From the pastor, 1997 - 1998

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    SIX SHORT RULES FOR YOUNG CHRISTIANS   (September 1997)

          September is a month when we have an emphasis on Christian Education, especially with our children and youth. With this in mind I want to share with you some rules for Christian living which I have taken from Brownlow North.

          1. Never neglect daily private prayer; and when you pray, remember that God is present, and that He hears your prayers. (Heb.9:6)

          2. Never neglect daily private Bible-reading and when you read, remember that God is speaking to you, and that you are to believe and act upon what He says. I suspect that most disobedience to the known will of God begins with the neglect of these two rules. (John 5:39)

          3. Never let a day go by without trying to do something for Jesus. Every night, reflect on what Jesus has done for you, and then ask yourself, "what am I doing for Him?" (Matt.5:13-16)

          4. If you are in doubt as to a thing being right or wrong, go to your room, and kneel down and ask God's blessing upon it. (Col.3:17). If you cannot do this, it is wrong. (Rom.14:23)

          5. Never take your Christianity from others, including Christians, or argue that because such and such people do so and so, that therefore you may. (2 Cor.10:12). You are to ask yourself, "How would Christ act in my place?" Then strive to follow Him. (John 10:27)

          6. Never believe what you feel, if it contradicts God's Word. Ask yourself, "Can what I feel be true, if God's Word is true?" If both cannot be true, believe God instead of your feelings. (Rom.3:4, 1 John 5: 10,11)

          Whether we are children, youth or adults, these simple rules can help us live obedient and Christ-centred lives.

      In His love,

        Floyd McPhee

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    THANKFULNESS TRANSFORMS   (October 1997)

    "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5: 16 - 18

          In the early days of the settlement of the West in the United States, travellers encountered considerable difficulty. One party of pioneers on the Oregon Trail had suffered greatly from a scarcity of water and grass. Some of the wagons had broken down, causing delays in the stifling heat. Along with these adverse circumstances came a general feeling of fretfulness. Optimism and cheer were gone.

          In the early days of the settlement of the West in the United States, travellers encountered considerable difficulty. One party of pioneers on the Oregon Trail had suffered greatly from a scarcity of water and grass. Some of the wagons had broken down, causing delays in the stifling heat. Along with these adverse circumstances came a general feeling of fretfulness. Optimism and cheer were gone.

          The next night a meeting was called for the purpose of airing their complaints. When they had gathered around the campfire, one of them arose and said, "Before we do anything else, I think we should first thank God that we have come this far with no loss of life, with no serious trouble from those outside our camp, and that we have enough strength left to finish our journey."

          After the prayer, there was silence. No one had any grievances which he felt were important enough to voice. Thankfulness often transforms a grumbling spirit into one of contentment, enabling us to see the many mercies of God that we ordinarily would overlook. As a magnet drawn through the sand picks up particles of iron, so a grateful heart finds some God-given blessing in every hour of distress.

          Today, you may be experiencing frustrations and difficulties that tend to make you complain. As the burdens rest heavily upon you, and the temptation to murmur increases, take time to thank God for His enduring mercies. In counting your blessings you will find that thankfulness will transform your attitude of pessimism to that of praise.

          The sure cure for depression is praise!

      In all things give thanks,

        Floyd McPhee

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    CAN YOU BE A GOOD CHRISTIAN AND NOT GO TO CHURCH?   (November 1997)

          What is the Church? Certainly not just a building. The Bible describes the Church as a family in which we are all brothers and sisters, bound together by love for Christ and for each other. It also describes the Church as a body, Jesus being the Head and we being members, each with his own job to do. We belong to Jesus and we belong to each other. We need Him and we need each other.

          There is a great world-wide Church consisting of all who trust in Jesus Christ, whatever their colour, background, or intellect. There are also local Churches, parts of the One Church, yet belonging to various denominations.

          To be a Christian means to be belong to Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. To know Christ as Lord, is to recognize that His will for each believer is to be part of His body, the Church. To be a Christian means to belong to a local church and to support it loyally.

          "You can be a good Christian and not go to Church." This is as ridiculous as saying, "You can be a good football player, but never join a team." A football player is one who plays on a team. He spends time training with rest of the team, learning more about the game from them, and especially from the team coach. Football is a team game. It is the same for the Christian. You cannot call yourself a Christian if you stay at home and do not go to church regularly. It is a different matter of course for the elderly or sick people who cannot get to Church.

         If you are a Christian, you go to Church to:

      • praise and thank God for all His love and goodness to you
      • show openly that you belong to Christ. Going to Church marks you out as a disciple of Christ
      • meet with other Christians to pray together; and
      • learn more about the Christian life and to receive strength and guidance for the coming week.

          If a piece of wood falls out of the fireplace, it very soon goes cold and dead. If you stay away from Church and Christian fellowship, your love for Christ will very soon go cold and dead. You will lose interest in reading the Bible and praying. You will lose any desire to win other people for Christ. Your faith will slowly dry up and remain dormant. Never miss being with Christians in Church on Sunday. Even when you are on holidays, there will be a group of believers nearby who have gathered to worship Christ. Join them.

          Going to worship is not an option for believers; it is natural as well as absolutely necessary. You cannot live the Christian life without gathering together with other believers to worship God, to listen to His Word, to be with fellow Christians.

    "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy." Exodus 20:8
    "Let us meet in the house of God." Nehemiah 6:10
    "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." Matt. 18:20
    "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:25

      In Christian fellowship,

        Floyd McPhee

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    WHO IS JESUS??   (December 1997)

    Who is Jesus? This a question which has gained front page coverage in the papers lately, and highlighted on National TV News. The Bible is consistent in its response to the question. Jesus is God. He is everything that God is. We see this throughout the New Testament, and indeed in the Old Testament.

    The prophet Isaiah looked forward to the day when God would reveal Himself to His people, and he said some amazing things. In Isaiah chapter 9, verse 6 he writes: "For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders, and He will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

    We want to consider the four titles that Isaiah gave to God promised Messiah.

    1. First, WONDERFUL COUNSELLOR. As a counsellor, Jesus has no equal. He said to the discouraged, "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." For those who worried about the necessities of life, His counsel was: "Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." He cheered the downhearted, He gave hope to the discouraged. No one ever spoke like this Man, the people declared.

    2. The next title is the most daring of all, MIGHTY GOD. The apostle Paul gives us a picture of this mighty God in his second chapter to the Philippians. Paul describes that before He was born as a babe in the stable at Bethlehem - Jesus was in the form of God, and was God's equal. He possessed the very nature of God, very God of very God. He possessed the knowledge of God. He possessed the dignity and glory of God. All angels and created beings bowed down to adore Him, and stood up to sing His praises. He possessed the power of God. He was the MIGHTY GOD.

    3. The third Title is EVERLASTING FATHER. Jesus taught us to pray: "OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN." Because of this revelation we know that our almighty God is kind, our powerful God is gentle, our righteous God is merciful, our holy God is loving. Our Father in heaven wants us to know that He will be with us as a father, as a shepherd, through all of life's difficulties.

    4. And lastly, PRINCE OF PEACE. Christ is the answer to the heart's deepest need. He makes it possible for man to be at peace with God and for men to live at peace with one another. Paul the apostle believed that the heavenly Father is the giver of peace. The Prince of peace is the real source of peace. And with the peace of God dwelling in us, we can be peace givers, and peace makers, at home, at church, at work, in the community, because our days and lives are committed to Him, whose name is, WONDERFUL COUNSELLOR, MIGHTY GOD, EVERLASTING FATHER, PRINCE OF PEACE.

      Sincerely,

        Floyd McPhee

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    OUR ALL SUFFICIENT SAVIOUR   (January 1998)

    "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:16

         One of the most heart touching stories in all the New Testament is about a woman, sick for 12 years, but who knew Jesus was able to cure her diseases. In fact she had said to herself, "if only I could get near enough to touch Him, I would be made whole." One day while Jesus was walking through her town, she was able to get near enough to Him to reach out and touch the hem of His garment . . . and she was healed.

         Such great faith this woman had in God and in Jesus, that she reached out in trust and was healed. And Jesus could feel the urgent cry for help, the strong touch of faith, and he turned and said, "Woman, your faith has made you well." That's a beautiful story, but we may well ask, "where is the border of Christ's garment today? Is there a hem for us to touch? Has Christ gone to be with the Father, and we are left helpless and hopeless?"

         No, our living Lord still walks in our midst today. Up to the very heart of God, to the very throne of grace, go the sorrows, the tears, the hurts of our lives, and the joys and thanksgivings. We come with our ailing bodies, our anxious minds, our sin-sick souls, and in faith touch the hem of His garment to made whole again.

         Down through the years Jesus has been doing in His risen life the same wonders of grace and power that He did when He walked in Judea and Galilee during His life here on earth. Since then, millions of crushed hearts have heard Him say exactly what He said on earth: "Come unto me all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

         How many a defeated soul has heard Him say, "Be clean. Go and sin no more." How many a repentant person has heard Him say as to the dying thief: "Today you will be with me in paradise." To how many a bereaved soul has He repeated the words, "I am the resurrection and the Life, he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." How often has he said to trembling and dispirited disciples just what he said in the Upper room, "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." Through the years His voice has been heard speaking peace and comfort and hope, and His presence has been sharing and giving these words meaning.

         Paul reminds us, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace in time of need." We are invited to the throne of grace, the very throne of God, where a risen and glorified and loving Saviour reigns. How fully, openly may we speak to God in the name of Him who went through all our sorrows and trials and heartaches and temptations. He is filled with tender love and compassion. He knows from His experience on earth how poor, weak, sinful, His disciples are. He is prepared to receive the wounded, sin stained believer, to dry the tears of Simon Peter, to say to Paul, oppressed by the thorn in the flesh, to us who face a New Year not knowing what lies ahead with the words: "My grace is sufficient for You."

      Sincerely in Christ,

        Floyd McPhee

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    WHAT PRESBYTERIANISM STANDS FOR   (February 1998)

          1. The Presbyterian Church, of all ages and countries, stands, first and chief, for the Sovereignty of God. She puts God first, Supreme, in Doctrine, Creed and Work. In the conception and expression of no other great system has God been given the supreme place that He has been given in the Calvinistic system and in the Standards of the Presbyterian Churches of the world.

          2. The Presbyterian Church has stood pre-eminently for the Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and His vicarious atonement for sin. The doctrine is very prominent in our standards to which all are voluntarily pledged.

          3. It stands for the supremacy of the Word of God. It holds that the "the Word of God which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him." "To the Law and to the Testimony" is its final appeal.
          All other Doctrinal Standards of the church are but a setting forth of the truths contained in that word. This is but another way of saying that the Presbyterian Church stands simply and wholly and only for a Scriptural system of Doctrine.

          4. Presbyterianism stands for a Scriptural form of Church Government. When the Christian Church was first established, and the apostles had to provide for the well being of the churches which they founded in different countries, they chose elders (presbyters) in every church, to manage its spiritual affairs, and the central Synod at Jerusalem had a general oversight of the whole. That Apostolic system is the Presbyterian system of today throughout the world.

          5. Presbyterianism stands for the liberty and right of the individual member. It knows no privileged or titled or powered ecclesiastical classes who can impose their will upon the people, either in the intrusion upon them of a minister whom they have no called or in any other way.
          In every Presbyterian Church Court, from the lowest to the highest, the elders chosen by the people have an equal voice and vote with any minister.

          6. With the right of the individual member and the individual congregation, the Presbyterian Church stands for the Unity of the whole, so that the strong may help the weak, and guard their interests, and any member has the right of appeal to the highest court of the Presbyterian Church, for redress of any wrong that comes within the sphere of spiritual government.

          7. The Presbyterian Churches throughout the world are merely separate disconnected units but are banded together in The Alliance of the Reformed Churches holding the Presbyterian System -- which meets once in four years -- and is made up of representatives from all the Presbyterian Churches of the world.

          8. Looking out from herself to other branches of the Church of Christ, The Presbyterian Church stands pre-eminently for the unity of all true believers. While maintaining h er own system of Doctrine and government as in her judgment the best and most Scriptural, she sees, in all true children of God, members of the household of faith and brethren in Christ.
          It is not too much to say that in this respect the Presbyterian church is the broadest and most liberal, and the least sectarian of all the great religious families of the world. In all undertakings of an inter- denominational character, she has ever been in the forefront."

          Although this article was written 74 years ago, It is still valid and true.

      Sincerely in Christ,

        Floyd McPhee

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    SOME THINGS WHICH CANNOT BE SHAKEN   (March 1998)

          ICE STORM '98 is still very fresh in our minds, and it has served to remind us that we take many things for granted, like hydro for lighting and cooking and heating. Accessible water, safety on our roads, unlimited supply of food and other necessities in life are items we normally never have to worry about. Then they are taken away temporarily and we are a "disaster zone."

          As I thought about this, I realized that as Christians there are certain things which cannot be taken away from us. There are some certainties in life, things which cannot be shaken. I WANT TO SUGGEST FOUR.

      1. THE THRONE OF GOD CANNOT BE SHAKEN.
            In Psalm 45, verse 6, we read, "Your Throne, O God, will last for ever and ever." We can lift up our hearts with gratitude that whatever else may happen, God's throne remains secure. Isaiah 34 predicts that even the stars in the skies will one day be shaken, but God, who is above all, is eternal and immutable. Nothing can shake or change Him. Hebrews 1: 10 - 12 says, "In the beginning, O Lord, You laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your Hands. They will perish, but You remain." It is a great encouragement to every child of God to know that when everything else is shaken, the throne of God can never be shaken.

      2. THE WORD OF GOD CANNOT BE SHAKEN.
            We are assured of this in Mark 13:31: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away." When we take the Bible in our hands, we can be assured of two things: its promises cannot be shaken, and its power cannot be shaken. There are promises for every situation and circumstance in life; these become ours when we put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

      3. THE CHURCH OF GOD CANNOT BE SHAKEN.
            The words of our Lord recorded in Matthew 16:18 assures us of this. "And I tell you, that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it." In this amazing statement, Jesus was assuring His disciples, and us, that the church is built on the solid foundation of His person and His work. There is no other foundation. The visible church is to be tried and tested and shaken. But the invisible, true church is secure, stable and abiding.

      4. THE CHILD OF GOD CANNOT BE SHAKEN.
            There are scores of wonderful promises in the Word of God that assure us of God's concern for every one of His children, and of His pledge to keep them secure until they are safely at home with Him in heaven. The apostle Paul, because of his unrelenting faithfulness to Christ, was in prison, abandoned by his friends, and awaiting his death. Yet, he writes these words to Timothy: "That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day."

          In spite of ICE STORM '98 and all the other things which threaten our security and well being, the most important things in life cannot be shaken: GOD'S THRONE, THE WORD OF GOD, THE CHURCH OF GOD and THE CHILD OF GOD. These will stand and stand for ever.

      In Christ

        Floyd McPhee

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    THE POWER OF THE RESURRECTION   (April 1998)

          A few years ago I stood inside of Jesus' tomb, in Jerusalem. Actually there are two tombs in Jerusalem, both of which are said to be the original.

          I visited what is called Gordon's tomb, and it has a very convincing air of authenticity about it. It could well have been the very tomb in which Jesus was laid after His crucifixion. It is not decorated; it's just a cave carved out of rock. The only thing man-made about it is a door at it's opening made of wood, with a sign painted on it which says, "He is risen, He is not here." And there is the light bulb inside, and the the wiring that leads to it. Other than that, it is perhaps just the way it was when Jesus left it.

          There in one of the compartments of the small cave is a shelf cut out of the rock, on which the body of Jesus may have rested. And I immediately visualized in my mind's eye, the grave cloth which was wrapped around the body of Christ, along with spices anad perfumes, lying on the slab of rock, still in the shape of a body, but caven in, because the body of Jesus had disappeared. And it was for me a moving experience. How much more so must it have been for those who had placed Him in the tomb. It was the final act of a devastating defeat.

          The two disciples who walked to Emmaus described in Luke 24 felt such a defeat. They were disappointed, hurt, lonely and frightened. The darkness and gloom of Christ's tomb hung over them like a smog over Los Angeles. Verse 14 says, "They were talking with each other about everything that had happened." They talked about the crucifixion, the death and burial of the man whom they had thought was the Messiah. The only thing they could now see was that His death meant the end of all they had believed in and hoped for.

          However, as they talked , the risen Jesus joined them. They did not recognize Him, but they did not seem to mind His intrusion into their company and conversation. And graudally, according to Luke's account, Jesus did three things: He opened their minds with Scripture; He warmed their hearts by His words; and He unveiled their eyes so they knew who He was. And that encounter restored to them three essentials of the Christain faith: Joy, Hope and Witness. The experience of those early followers of Jesus deserves our attention because an encounter with the reality of the resurrection should have the same effect upon our lives.

          1. FIRST, THEIR JOYFULNESS WAS RESTORED. Luke 24:3 says that they "got up and returned at once to Jerusalem." They had walked seven miles back. They did so because their mourning had been turned to joy, their gloom to gladness, their sorrow to shouting.

          One of the marks of the Christian faith is joy. Christians should be joyful people. Jesus told His disciples the night before He died, "Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy," John 16:22. The Christian Church meets on the first day of every week to remind itself that there is a reason to be joyful.

          Unfortunately though, we often entomb Him in the sepulcher of neglect and forgetfulness. In the routine of living we can forget that He is alive. Too often, we live as though He were dead. Sunday reminds us He is alive, risen, and living. On this day, we plant anew the flag of joy deep within our hearts.

          2. THE SECOND THING THAT HAPPENED TO THE TWO DISCIPLES WAS THAT THEIR HOPE WAS RESTORED. When Joseph and Nicodemus rolled the heavy stone in front of the tomb, they sealed the hope of the early church inside. Thus, the disciples of Luke 24 walked a road paved with hopelessness. It was a road with nothing at the other end, a road leading to despair and fear. How different the road back to Jerusalem was for them. They were walking in the light of the Ressureciton. They were traveling with a new companion - hope. They passed the same scenery, but it had a different hue than before.

          Before becoming Christians, we see life differently. We interpret reality differently. However, after believing in Christ, we begin to see life with Him as the focus. Everything is coloured by the "risen Christ factor". We see our families, our time, money, work, present life and future against the backdrop of Christ. The risen Christ brings hope.

          Which way are you headed - to Emmaus, without hope or joy; or to Jerusalem, buoyed by hope and animated with joy? Regardless of how things look, Jesus is alive. And whether we consider today's headlines, our daily uncertainties, our past sins or tomorrow's challenges, we can be hopeful because the Jesus of Galieee, Gethesemane and Calvary is alive.

          3. THE THIRD RESULT OF THE ENCOUNTER WITH THE RESURRECTED CHRIST BY THE TWO DISCIPLES WAS THAT THEIR WITNESS WAS RESTORED. Verses 34 & 35 show these two people doing what we called to do - witnessing to the living Christ. On the way out of Jeruusalem, they were reporters, not witnesses. On the way back to Jerusalem, they had a faith that functioned. They had something they wanted to tell.

          The heavy stone shut the tomb and silenced the disciples. When the stone was moved and the tomb opened, their tongues were loosened. Their witness was "the Lord is risen indeed". And it has been the witness of the church ever since. They did not fabricate it; they found it. They did not invent it, they experienced it. They did not look for it, it looked for and discovered them.

          The resurrection set the church singing as the joyful news was made known. It set the church to hoping as the impact of all that Jesus said and did was now assured by His great victory over death. And it set the church to witnessing as Jesus' disciples went far and wide announcing the glad tidings that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. So may it be with us.

      In the name of the Risen Christ,

        Floyd McPhee

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    LIVING IN FAMILIES   (May 1998)

          "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honour your father and mother -- which is the first commandment with a promise - 'that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth. Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." Ephesians 6: 1 - 4.

          Many people in Canada are predicting that the children of the so called "baby boomers" will be the most violent citizens in modern times. Violent acts by children and youth, already common place in the United States, are increasing at an alarming rate in Canada. Who or what is to blame?

          It is a very complex issue, and I believe that there are many causes, some of which are - family breakdown, both parents spending more time outside the home working, a lack of clear moral standards, declining Sunday School and Church attendance, violence on Television, a permissive age where discipline is often considered an assault, a lack of respect of people in authority and other people's property and rights, etc. Two things are clear, there is no one cause and there is no one solution.

          However, we are not to despair. Scripture is consistent in pointing to the home, as the place to turn things around. Christian parents can lead the way. The Apostle Paul in writing to the Christians at Ephesus summarizes Scriptures' wisdom in developing strong, moral, productive citizens. We are told to bring our children up in the "training and instruction of the Lord." I suggest that this includes the following four principles.

    1. OBEDIENCE. " Honour your father and mother". "Children, obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right." One way we honour our parents is by obeying them. It is God's intention that children obey their parents, because parents are wiser and more experienced, and have been given the responsibility to protect, love and teach their children, and to help them to develop into confident, secure, morally strong and God loving adults. Children are to obey their parents, and it is the parents' responsibility to see that they do. Indeed, children are not to be mistreated or abused. All correction and discipline ought to be enforced in love.

    2. TEACHING. The parent is commanded by God to nurture the child, to teach him. This is to be done in every aspect of family living, at the table, during play time, at bed time, in our little special times together. Words of truth and wisdom are to "whispered in his ear, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little." The Word of God is to be taught, by parents, and to be led by parents to believe and trust and depend upon Jesus as Saviour and as Lord.

    3. EXAMPLE. The third responsibility of parents is to set an example before their children. How wrong it is to discipline a child for stealing a cookie, when the child dries his hands in the bathroom on a Holiday Inn towel. Andrew Murray, a famous minister from South Africa had four brothers and three sisters in his family. Each one turned out to be a most outstanding individual. One day his mother was asked how she managed to raise seven of the most marvellous children that had ever graced that state. She said that her only secret was to live before them exactly the kind of life she wanted them to live. Children learn far better by the example given than through the word spoken.

    4. LOVE. The fourth responsibility of parents is to love their children. We are to discipline them, teach them, give them an example, and to love them. We are to tell our children we love them , and we are to demonstrate in a thousand ways how much we do love them.

          May God in His grace raise up families where children love their parents, and parents love their children; where children honour their parents and parents love, teach , set an example and discipline their children in love.

    ". . .do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."

      Sincerely in Christ's love,

        Floyd McPhee

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    PARKWOOD'S MISSION   (June 1998)

          Why does the Christian Church exist? Why does the Presbyterian Church exist? Why does Parkwood exist? A few years ago, our congregation considered these questions and we came up with a Statement of Purpose for Parkwood. It goes as follows:

    "THE PURPOSE OF PARKWOOD IS TO ENABLE INDIVIDUALS TO DISCOVER, GROW IN, AND SHARE THE LOVE OF GOD FOUND IN JESUS CHRIST."

          "Help people discover" and "share the love of God" are missionary terms. Two thirds of our Statement of Purpose have to do with reaching out to others with the Gospel. How are we doing? The Billy Graham Mission coming to the Corel Centre in a few weeks ought to remind us of why we primarily exist. The following parable highlights the necessity of keeping our Mission in focus:

    "On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur, there was once a crude little life-saving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat; but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought for themselves, they went out day and night, tirelessly searching for the lost. Many lives were saved by this wonderful little station, so that it became famous. Some of those who were saved and various others in the surrounding area, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money for the support of the work. New boats were bought and new crews were trained. The little life-saving station grew. Some of the new members of the life-saving station were unhappy that the buildings were so crude and so poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the refuge for those saved from the sea. So, they replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in an enlarged building. Now the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they redecorated it beautifully and furnished it exquisitely, because they used it as a sort of club. Fewer members were interested in going to sea on life-saving missions, so they hired life boat crews to do this work. The life-saving motif still prevailed in the club decorations, however, and there was a liturgical life boat in the room where club initiations were held. At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club's life-saving activities as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life of the club. Some members insisted that life-saving was their primary purpose, and pointed out that they were still called a life-saving station. But they were finally voted down, and told that if they wanted to save people shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own life-saving station down the coast. They did."

    "As the years went by, the new life-saving station experienced the same changes that had occurred to the old. It evolved into a club, and yet another life- saving station was founded. History continued to repeat itself, and if you visit that seacoast today, you will find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore. Shipwrecks are still frequent in those waters, but most of the people drown."

    The parable is clear. A church, to survive, must be obedient to her Lord's command:

    "GO INTO ALL THE WORLD AND PREACH THE GOOD NEWS TO ALL CREATION" Mark 16:15.

      In Christ's love,

        Floyd McPhee
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