The internet as we know it today remains a strange animal. It brings us together, and isolates us. It showers us with information, and deepens our ignorance. Blockbuster goes under in the U.S. while Netflix grows, newspapers go bankrupt while bloggers take their place, Amazon sells more e-books than paper ones for the first time, and I’m writing this here instead of telling you in person. The world is changing fast!
A couple friends joked that I should blog about it (can anyone say “irony?”), so here we are. I’ve been thinking about this a lot ever since reading this book on the topic. Your thoughts?
I can blog again! I haven’t been able to login to my blog for months because of a rogue plugin, but I finally prevailed. Anyway, last night we participated in a food drive at Oshawa’s annual Tree Lighting in Memorial Park. Several volunteers were on deck to help out and we collected several boxes of food for local food banks. Thanks to Rosemary Mason from the City of Oshawa for inviting us, the donors, local newspapers, our own volunteers and Feed the Need, who picked up the food afterwards and delivered it to the food banks.
If anyone is still reading after my long silence, I thought I’d say a few words. I’m excited about this summer and fall. God is up to something!
Our recent Encounter Retreat blew the doors off. It was so inspiring to see people cry out to God with such desperation. There were reports of physical healing, marriages being renewed, and bondages being broken.
Our prayer ministries are really growing! Our Encounter prayer team really experienced a new level of prayer and agreement, which is undoubtedly why this Encounter was especially powerful. Our Thursday prayer group continues to pray for your needs, our Wednesday Prayer and Intercession group is going strong, the Walk-in Prayer Clinic is changing lives through personal prayer ministry, and our Prayer Wall was launched this spring. In addition to this, our staff has been meeting from Tuesdays to Fridays in the morning for over a year now to pray together.
Our vision for an outdoor sign and community message centre has finally come to pass! Several folks have already called us or visited us because of this. One person told us she walks past us every day, but never noticed us before. Now, her entire family is coming to OCC! Yesterday, a new person to our neighbourhood met us, and was overjoyed when she found out we go to OCC. She has been driving past our sign, and told us how excited she is to come to hear Carol Kornacki this weekend, after not going to church at all for a long time.
There is an expectation and excitement among our staff that God is moving and He is about to do some great things!
Cafe 71, our new Wifi Cafe, will be completed over the summer for you to enjoy on Sunday mornings. It will also be available during the week for UOIT students returning in the fall!
So this summer, make sure you get plugged in at OCC, if you’re not already. When God is moving, it’s not time to step back, but to step up and join in!
Manasseh means “make forgetful.” Mannaseh represents Jesus, because He’s so wonderful and what He did is so powerful, He can wipe out our past and make us forget. In our case, our Mannaseh (Jesus) has already been born. We just need to find Him. We can do this every time we’re reminded of our past. Just choose to leave it behind and worship Him until He becomes bigger than your yesterday.
Ephraim means “make fruitful.” Forgetfulness (of the past) always precedes fruitfulness. No one who habitually rehearses the past will be fruitful. God didn’t erase Joseph’s past. God didn’t take Joseph out of the land of his suffering. He made Him fruitful right there. Before God gets you out of debt, He’ll first teach you to steward your cash. Before He fixes your marriage, He’ll first make you a fruitful member of the marriage. If you’re a Christ follower, you can be fruitful anywhere, as long as you put the past in its place – behind you.
If you missed it, you can catch the message here – it’s the one listed as “Finding Mannaseh (Leaving the Past Behind).” Audio is there now, video will be there next week (media person away in Cambodia this week).
Have a great week – and don’t forget to leave yesterday where it belongs!
In this insightful interview on the 700 Club today, Mousab Yousef shares his story of Hamas member turned Shinbet agent. Mousab began to question Islam and those questions ultimately led him to Christ. After this, he spent 10 years as an informant, working with Shinbet, Israel’s security service, to help foil suicide attacks. He has now written about the experience in his book, “Son of Hamas.”
This past Sunday, we had two great baptismal services at OCC. If you weren’t here, you missed some great stories, as people shared what Christ has done in their lives. I still need to obtain permission from some of them before I can share their videos online, but for now I can start with Stephanie’s:
This morning, Pastor Frank preached on this passage, talking about our need for personal cleansing. As I was reflecting on this story, I realized we often try to cleanse ourselves the wrong way, as Naaman wanted to do, and complain there is no change in our lives.
Naaman was from the kingdom of Syria, or Aram. As the commander of its army, his loyalty was to his own nation. This is why he was offended when Elisha told him to wash himself in the Jordan river, in Israel, for cleansing. He was used to raiding Israel, and taking its children as slaves, not coming to its rivers for healing, as though his own kingdom could not solve such problems.
This story isn’t just about rivers and washing. It’s also about two kingdoms. We demonstrate Naaman’s attitude when we come to the kingdom of God seeking blessing, then opt for the rivers of Aram anyway, because we like them better. Funny how we know they don’t work, but we’d rather return to the rivers of psychiatry, philosophy, entertainment, materialism, good works, and denial time and again.
When he humbled himself, Naaman experienced something in the rivers of the kingdom of God that he had never found in all the rivers of Aram. What else could make a proud Syrian patriot proclaim that there is no god in any other nation than in Israel?
“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.” (Ps. 46: 4)
Have you sought cleansing, and been left feeling as though you still were not clean? Even after all these years, there is STILL power in the blood of Christ. Only He can wash away guilt, shame and regret, and truly cleanse us on the inside, where we need it most.