We Are In This Together

During the pandemic, one of the slogans that quietly irritated me was “we’re in this together.”  I wasn’t thinking consciously about it, but I knew that it was bugging me.  Then, it dawned on me.  At best, it was a sincere attempt by well-meaning people to encourage the public.  Good for them.  At worst, it was a slogan created as propaganda offering a false hope.  But the biggest reason it aggravated me was that it just wasn’t true.  It wasn’t true because we live in one of the most fragmented times in modern history.  Data and experience tell us that we are divided right down the middle in a host of opposing opinions.  Proof that we are not in this together is the resulting anathema upon those who dare to question the public health decisions that are forced upon all people without regard for personal and/or principled objections.  Don’t even get me started on the gross duplicity on this front.  For several decades now we have celebrated the freedom of individuality.  The “your life, your choice” mantra has been the guiding principle of personal freedom for a very long time.  But now that the majority sees the vaccine as the only choice, God have mercy on the woman who chooses to say no for her own personal reasons.

The pandemic or the vaccine is not the point of my blog today, the slogan is my point.  We Christians are in this together.  Often, we appear to be nearly as fragmented as the world, but in reality, the Church stands as one in Christ.  We are the “one body” of Christ in the world today.  For all our differences, we are very much the same.  That’s not to say we all believe the same Bible doctrine.  I know we don’t.  But where Christ is mysteriously present in His people, there is the Church.  And we are in this together.  We are united by the Cross.  All who hope only in Jesus’ blood and righteousness are the Church.  Period!  He is our Cornerstone. 

We are in this together “to lift up the fallen.”  Remember Paul told the Galatians that it is the responsibility of each Christian to restore those who are caught in any fault or sin.  It turns out that we are our brothers and sisters’ keeper.  Christians are notorious for pouncing on any evident weakness in their fellow believers.  But the aim is to patiently restore the fallen because we know full well that we are just one step away from a stumble ourselves.  If we understand the Cross correctly, we are all equally loved and equally guilty.  So, when we see our loved ones trip into a fault, we need to bring them back.

We are in this together “to bear one another’s burdens.”  Paul also says in Galatians 6 that it is the aim of every Christian to look for ways to lighten the load that other Christians are carrying. He so much as says, “don’t be conceited” and think yourself stronger or more spiritual than others because they are weighed down by the burdens of life.  Watch for ways that you can encourage someone whose heart is broken.  I don’t remember a time in recent history when so many are tossed about with so many cares.  Burdens of fear, insecurity, poor health, relational hurt, emotional pain, etc., weigh heavily on the hearts of many Christians.  We are in this together.

We are in this together “to sow generously into each other’s lives.”  Paul adds a third way that we can be a blessing to one another in Galatians Chapter 6.  Basically, he tells us to watch for ways to live generously.  If your spiritual siblings need prayer, lay it on them.  If they need cash, give it freely.  If they need friendship, pull up a chair.  If they need counsel, speak wisely.  This gets very practical, doesn’t it?  Perhaps a senior needs a ride to a medical appointment.  Make the offer.  What if a single mom needs a car repair?  Can you help?  What if a student needs a room for a semester while they finish their degree?  Can they stay with you?  The list is endless.  But you get the point. 

The Church really is “in this together.”  Ingeniously God created us for community and we, the Church, can showcase to the world what living in love really looks like.  I can’t wait to be back in the pulpit this Sunday to study God’s Word in Galatians Chapter 6 focusing on what it really looks like to be “in this together.”

See you Sunday morning @ 9 or 11 AM. 

Pastor Deric

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