Make Time

I make it a point to wake up every morning at 5:30 and take a walk with my dog, Thor. I value this time to reflect and talk to God before the city wakes up. Thor and I slowly walk to the Dog Park on the beach and there are always the same five dogs and their owners there. I realized recently that Thor has his own community, and he always trusts that his fellow dogs will be there daily before the sun is up. This community was built on a foundation of trust and love; they know they will see one another and spend time together. I have also found it to be a very special time for me as I can have intentional time with God every day.  
Our goal in every aspect of NextGen ministries is to establish and foster a sense of community and to share the love of Christ in an engaging and accessible manner. Two questions arise from this mission. How can we form community? And how do we share the love of Christ? Community seems to be the easier one so let’s start there. The first step in community is establishing a solid foundation… a good example of this seen in the Gospel of Matthew 7:24-27 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” We need a community that has solid foundation, and that foundation is Christ. In our community Christ should be at the centre of who we are. But what does that mean?

For Christ to be the centre of us and who we are we must allow Christ to guide us. We must ensure that we make time for Christ to guide us on what we are supposed to do. We need to explore scripture, have intentional conversations, and have genuine faith that the Holy Spirit will guide us. If you were ever able to join us on a Tuesday for Youth, Drop-In or Impact Young Adults, Friday for Youth Group or Sunday for Youth Bible Study you would see young people who love to be around each other. What led to that community setting was not from the amazing leaders, cool trick shots, or the movie nights, it is from following the Holy Spirit. The NextGen team makes it a point to pray for each other, the ministry, and the entire church family and that we can be guided in what topics we cover in every area of teaching.  


Now how do we share the love of Christ? There are so many ways to answer this question… Make time for your neighbour, get involved in your community, serve your church, and spend time with people who guide you on your faith journey. I encourage you to take time to pray and ask God how you can serve your community. I would like to remind you of this passage in the Gospel of John “When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” John 13:12-14. I also encourage you to reach out to any of the ministry leaders here at City Centre as they are always looking for individuals that have a heart to serve with a vast array of skills.

As I ended my first sermon with a challenge, I will also end my first blog post in a challenge. I challenge each of you who read this blog post to ask yourself the following. Am I leaving room in my life to be guided by Christ? Am I submitting myself for his will to be done through me? If you can answer yes to that question, then you are like the wise man who built his house on the rock. If not… I encourage you to make time for an intentional relationship with Christ. Set aside specific time with the sole intention being an increased relationship with God. Through work, school, hobbies or whatever you have going on make time for your relationship with Christ.
Pastor Tom

Let’s Talk Prayer

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation. Be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12

“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” Colossians 4:2

The Bible is littered with examples as such, calling us to pray.  Contrary to most cultures and religions in the world, the God of the Bible not only commands us to pray for ourselves and one another, He even asks us to pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44).  In 1 Thessalonians 5, the apostle Paul goes as far as saying, “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  If prayer is such an essential part of the Christian life, then what exactly is prayer and why do we need to pray if God already knows everything and our every desire?

What is prayer?

You might think, well, prayer is simply asking God for things your heart desires.  In a way, yes, it can be.  But there’s much more to prayer than what meets the eye, or shall I say, the ear.  Even though the Bible never explicitly defines what prayer is, it gives plenty of examples of prayers from the patriarchs, the psalmists, the prophets, the apostles, and most importantly of all, Jesus Himself.  Through these examples we know that prayer is not a vaguely spiritual activity, nor is it wishful thinking that maybe the “man upstairs” will hear our feeble cry. Instead, it is us as adopted children, confidently and wholeheartedly crying out to our Heavenly Father, saying, “Abba! Father!”  As Dr. J. Gary Millar, the Principal of Queensland Theological College, writes in The Gospel Coalition, “prayer is the act of asking God to do what He has already promised to do.”

If we, in our prayers, are simply asking God to do what He has already promised to do, the most logical question that follows should be, then why the heck do we need to pray at all?  To fully answer that question, we might need to exhaust quite a few books.  Nonetheless, I shall attempt to unpack this and provide you with three reasons why we should pray.

1. Christianity is a relationship.

One of the most striking things about Christianity is that the Bible does not tell a story of humans striving to work their way to heaven.  Quite the contrary, it’s a story of how we as fallen creatures are truly enemies of God, where we constantly run away from Him and do what’s good in our own eyes.  The almighty God, out of His unsearchable love and grace, reaches down from heaven to offer us salvation.  In fact, He loved us so much that He sent His only Son, Christ Jesus, to die in our place and atone for all of our sins (John 3:16).  We are not praying to a distant God who turns the other way.  We are praying to the God who loves us infinitely more than we can possibly love Him.  And for this very reason, we are to bring all our needs and desires in front of Him and ask Him to be our good Father.

2. Prayer is a spiritual discipline.

The Christian walk, like any other good endeavor in life, requires discipline to bear fruit.  Praying, among worshiping, serving, reading, etc., is an essential spiritual discipline.  When we pray, we remind ourselves of His goodness and faithfulness, we surrender our control to rely on Him, and most importantly of all, we align our desires with what God desires for us.  Through prayers, we learn to possess a child-like faith, completely and solely trusting in God.

3. Prayer has incredible power.

Last but not least, prayer has supernatural power that surpasses our understanding.  This point might be the hardest of the three to demonstrate.  The power of prayer, put simply, comes from the power of God, who hears and answers them.  The effectiveness of our prayer does not depend on how beautiful and long our prayer is, nor how many Bible passages we quoted while we prayed.  It comes from the All-Powerful God who readily and lavishly pours out His love on His children.  Perhaps Charles Spurgeon’s remark on prayer is the most poetic I’ve read, “Not a leaf will fall earlier from the tree, not a star will stray from its course, nor will one drop of water trickle more slowly from its fount – all will go on the same, and yet your prayers will have affected everything.  The prayers of God’s people are but God’s promises breathed out of living hearts, and those promises are the decrees, only put into another form and fashion.”

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  To Him be the glory, forever and ever, Amen.