Archive

Archive for May, 2009

So we loved Winnipeg…

May 31, 2009 Leave a comment

So we loved Winnipeg today…

LW_AKC.jpg 

 Love Winnipeg is a city-wide multi-Church initiative where we join forces and express God’s love for our city in practical ways – helping neighbours with their yard work, hosting free barbeques, giving away water & pop…you name it. This year was particularly good, because our Church had the opportunity to fan out and Love Winnipeg in more than one way.

In our Hampton neighbourhood, Vic, one of our elders at LivingStones, spearheaded a team of about 20 adults, along with many children, who volunteered to help people on our street with their Saturday projects. They donned their red Love Winnipeg t-shirts and worked hard alongside the neighbours, helping them get jobs done in a fraction of the time. It was an excellent opportunity to make contact with our neighbours, and to express God’s love to them in down-to-earth ways. Come to think of it, Jesus came down to earth to express the Father’s love for us in down-to-earth ways, so it’s fitting for the Church to treat the world like Jesus did. He said, “The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve…”. So, great job, Vic & crew! Thanks so much for the many hours of cheerful work that you did. The neighbours are grateful, and our Father in heaven is pleased. Not bad for a Saturday afternoon!

LW_George.jpgLW_Kids_2.jpg 

LW_LAM.jpgLW_Dawn__Zack.jpg

Meanwhile, across town…

LW_Rob.jpg Brad, Jake, John and I were part of the musical entertainment at a gala free neighbourhood pig roast out in the parking lot of Mission Baptist Church, hosted by a number of Churches and ministries. The pigs were being cooked in GIGANTIC roasters, and about 100 people were there to enjoy the food, the people, the music and the sunshine. We had great fun playing two half hour sets of music, mostly popular songs that were rewritten to be all about Jesus. Brad and I both had a chance to preach the good news of Jesus Christ between songs. It was a privilege to proclaim the good news of the Father’s love and salvation in Jesus in a neighbourhood that all too often has experienced the bad news of the Enemy’s grip on people’s lives.

The pigs weren’t the only things that got roasted. Even though the air was cool, I think it probably would have been a good idea to put on sunscreen… my face hurts (insert joke here).

 

LW_Band_1.jpg

 As I watched people today, it was obvious to me how beneficial it is when the Church does what it was created to do. I saw it in the smiling faces of red t-shirted people who were working hard to bless their neighbours, I heard it in the cheerful words of those who were happily sweating over the pig roasters, and I even felt it – a warmth – not in my face, in my heart – as we blessed people with music that had a message of hope in Jesus. When we as the Church love the world by blessing, serving and bringing a message of hope in Jesus to it, WE COME ALIVE! Even though there is hard work involved in relating to the world as Jesus did, there is abounding energy and joy that comes as the Lord empowers us to do His work. It seems that the Church here in North America is too often fatigued, lethargic and distracted – we often feel maxed out. Perhaps it’s not because we are just too busy. Perhaps it’s because we are busy doing the wrong kinds of things, and need to focus on doing the kinds of things Jesus did while He was here, the things that bring joy to the Lord, and to us as His Church. Love Winnipeg gives us a taste of that. I think we’re on to something… 

May the Lord bless you,

Rob (www.weccwinnipeg.ca)  

Categories: Rob's Blog Tags: , ,

It’s Sunday soon…

May 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Dear Doc,

It’s me again…

Have you seen that show – Doc? It’s got Billy Ray Cyrus in it, and he plays the role of a doctor. Some might find the show a little corny – not enough swear words or spurting blood – but I have been rather refreshed watching it, mainly because a number of characters are people of faith, and in this show prayer, scripture, talking about God, etc. aren’t as conspicuously absent as in most of the “real” shows. To me, this obvious and artificial extraction of God from Hollyworld makes those other shows look really fake to me. So, go Doc go!

Karen and I ran an interesting errand today. We drove out to Emerson to do a wedding. So now Randy and Mikel are hitched! As for Mikel, she wore a nice dress, and Randy wore a nice suit – sorry, I don’t do much Me_Mikel_Randy.jpgbetter than that when describing fashion. It was a small wedding – they will be having a larger reception in the summer, when more of the out of town famly can attend. After a beautiful outdoor ceremony, we had pictures (Shivvon was our photographer – she did a really great job of rounding us up and getting our pictures taken real good!), then it was off to Nettie’s for a steak dinner. It was scrumptralescent! (not my word. If you are the first person who can tell me whose word it is, I will give you a nickel).

Tomorrow (Saturday, May 30th) is an opportunity for many of us to serve our communities for the Lord’s sake in some very practical ways. Yes, it’s the WECC Love Winnipeg Community Helping Hand Workday! Vic, one of our elders at LivingStones, spent time visiting homes in our Hampton neighbourhood, offering our help for any projects that needed doing around our neighbours’ yards. We heard from a number of grateful neighbours, so if you are inclined, come on out at noon on Saturday, and be part of a neighbourhood helping hand crew! Many hands make light work. Unfortunately, I will not be able to personally be there to tote that barge and lift that bale, because I will be playing music at that time (1 & 3 pm) along with some of our other players at a Love Winnipeg mega-BBQ at Mission Baptist (Sargent & Home) that some other Churches in the city are getting together to serve their neighbourhood with. We should also be getting a chance to preach the gospel too! I love Love Winnipeg. It’s a great chance to be the Church in our city.

This Sunday at FireLight, we are happy to have George come back to deliver the second half of his sermon entitled “Getting Along”. So far it has been a very practical reminder that our unity in the Church is a treasure to be guarded, not a football to be punted at the least sign of trouble.

That’s all for now. May the Lord bless you, and I hope to see you on Sunday (or even Saturday!)

Rob (www.weccwinnipeg.ca)

Categories: Rob's Blog

So we marched…

May 15, 2009 Leave a comment

Well, we just got back from the March for Life. I was amazed at how many people there were – about 300! I was really happy to see people from so many Churches and Church organizations who crossed denominational lines to participate in this worthy event. I was also very happy to see so many people from WECC there! It seemed thatMarch_banner.jpg wherever I looked, I saw a smiling WECC face.

We had heard that the pro-choice activists had caused problems picketing the Crisis Pregnancy Center earlier today, so we were wondering if they would visit the march and try to annoy people. But as it turned out, they didn’t show up. All they did was litter the legislative grounds with coat-hangers in the flower beds, and they wrote some nasty things in chalk on the sidewalk. So we were able to march and listen to speeches in peace.

Heather did a great job with her speech, and I felt good about the message I was given the opportunity to deliver. All in all, it was a great time, although I found myself feeling a deep sadness about the tiny casualties of this unfortunate social war that has been waged on unborn babies over the last 40 years.

If you didn’t get a chance to attend the march, here’s the speech I delivered…Before_I_formed_you.jpg

            Good evening. My name is Robert Baron , and I am a pastor here in the city. I have been asked to say a few words about why we are marching for life this evening. We are marching to call attention to our nation’s need to respect human life, especially at its most vulnerable points, namely pre-born life and old age. Actually, it feels kind of strange to be here at an event that reminds everyone of the need to value something as obviously valuable as human life. It shouldn’t be any more necessary to march for life than to march for being polite or to march for helping someone who has fallen down. These things are normally self-evident.

 But unfortunately, our nation has a habit of losing its way sometimes. Sometimes the sheer volume of popular or emotionally charged ideas drowns out the voice of reason and makes it necessary for someone to speak up – for someone to march. Such is the case today. Heather.jpg

 Here in Canada , our love of individual rights and freedoms – in itself a good thing – has become jaded by self-seeking agendas and disturbing social trends, and is being forged into something that rights and freedoms were never intended to be: a weapon, turned on others. As a result, many things have been done – and are being done – in the name of rights and freedoms that are just plain wrong, and are hurting others, ironically, hurting the most vulnerable in our society – our babies and our elders. Ideally, common sense should win the day, but unfortunately, in these days common sense seems to have become  unfashionable. These days many Canadians are afflicted with what George Orwell called Doublethink, or the disturbing ability to insist on believing two things at the same time that don’t make sense together, apparently not noticing that the one thing calls the other into question.Rob_speaking.jpg   

 For example, here in Canada , on the one hand we are rightly indignant about any hint of child abuse, yet at the same time many Canadians proudly applaud abortion, which is frankly child abuse in its most extreme form. Out of compassion, we have rejected the death penalty as inappropriate, even for violent criminals, yet at the same time many Canadians advocate for assisted suicide for our most vulnerable elders, volunteering to be their executioners. We easily see a terrible crime when a pregnant woman is shot and loses her baby, yet at the same time we don’t see any wrongdoing when, instead of a gunman, it’s the mother who takes the life of her unborn child. We are vocal advocates for defenceless animals, yet at the same time we are silent when it comes to defenceless people, especially those whom it is not presently popular to defend. And to our unique shame among the nations, Canada ’s legislators have courageously churned out bill after bill championing human rights, and yet at the same time they have not had the courage to enact even one law to govern aggression against the life of an unborn child right to the point of birth. And so, in the face of such dangerous nonsense, we must speak up. We must march.Of_Life_for_Life.jpg

 We are marching because we see something – a truth – an inconvenient truth perhaps, but a truth nonetheless – a truth that is being drowned out these days in politically correct Doublethink. We see the simple, unalterable truth that human life has inherent value, from beginning to end. We see that life begins at conception, when God starts it, and ends when God ends it. Even though this should be evident to all, it is not, and over the last number of decades in Canada, the principle of rights and freedoms has been abused by those with a social axe to grind, as the rights and freedoms of some have been fashioned into a weapon against others, as unborn children by the thousands have been killed by parents who simply didn’t want them, and as our elders live under a subtle but ever-increasing pressure to be productive or be gone. And so we must speak up. We must march.

 We are marching today because a day is coming when it will dawn on our nation that we as Canadians have made a terrible error in judgement, and that this error has cost many, many innocent lives. On that day, our nation will not need someone to say, “I told you so.” They will need someone to tell them about a God who forgives those who acknowledge their wrongs against Him – a God who lifts up those who have been humbled by their sin, and shows them the way to forgiveness, healing and restoration. A day will come when we will not be called to march, but we will be called to be ministers of reconciliation, hope and healing to a broken nation. Until then, we must continue to speak the truth in love. Until then, we must march for life.