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 We welcome your feedback and ideas as we explore our vision and values for the coming season, however we would like to put out a gentle reminder that all comments should be respectful and kind as we speak with one another as brothers & sisters in Christ.  In order to comment you will be required to provide your name and email address, however email addresses will not be published. Comments will be subject to moderation and any comments deemed inappropriate will not be posted. If you have any questions about moderation, please feel free to contact the church office. Thank you for your considerate participation!
 
“Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”
-colossians 4:6-

 

We Value Love

Vision & Vales Sermon Series
 
A Summary of Rob’s Sermon for Sunday, November 22nd, 2015
Values: Scripture, Prayer, Generosity, Diversity, Community,Creativity, Outreach, Justice, Love
 
 
We Value Love: We are committed to loving others, seeking their well-being with compassion and mercy.
 
Texts: Colossians 3:12-14, 1 Corinthians 13:1-7, 1 John 4:7-21
 
  1. Read through the texts together. What things jumped out as you read? What do you notice about how love is defined?

  2. What do you think Paul means when he writes, ‘over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity?’

  3. How does love work at binding together all of our values (Scripture, Prayer, Generosity, Diversity, Community, Creativity, Outreach, Justice, Love) in perfect unity?

  4. In what ways do you struggle with being loving or showing love? What is one area of ‘love’ that you would like to grow in?

  5. What is one thing your small group could do collectively to show love in our church community or the broader community of Saskatoon?



We Value Justice

Vision & Vales Sermon Series
 
Values: Scripture, Prayer, Generosity, Diversity, Community, Creativity, Outreach, Justice, Love.
 
 
We Value Justice: We are committed to extending Christ’s reign by paying attention to issues of injustice, advocating for the poor and powerless and working toward healing and reconciliation in our community and the world.
 
Texts: Philemon, 2 Corinthians 5:18-6:1
 
This morning we talked about our role is God’s justice for humanity. The justice of God is one that transcends the dictionary definition of being just, impartial and fair to one that longs for reconciliation.
 
The sermon focused on the book of Philemon and the powerful expectations that Paul places on Philemon in welcoming back the runaway slave Onesimus. Paul doesn’t just expect Philemon to be just, impartial and fair, but for the two to be reconciled as brothers. This is true biblical justice. Paul makes a profound request, but a request that the Gospel demands!
 
We are called as God’s agents of reconciliation to be found in situations of injustice, being Christ in those situations, as part of God’s plan to reconcile the world to Himself.
 

Questions for discussion:

  1. What are your thoughts and feeling regarding the value of justice? 
  1. Who do you resonate with in the book of Philemon? Paul, Philemon, Onesimus?  Why might this be the case? 
  1. How are you presently engaging in justice in your life? 
  1. Are there specific issues or situations you are passionate about that God might be calling you to engage with to enact God’s justice? 
  1. How might Emmanuel Baptist Church foster this value of justice more fully in Saskatoon, Canada and around the world?

 



We Value Outreach

Vision and Values Sermon Series (Fall, 2015)
 
Summary of Brendon’s Sermon, November 8, 2015:
 
 
Text: Genesis 12:1-3; John 20: 19-22
 
Values: Scripture, Prayer, Generosity, Diversity, Community, Creativity, Outreach, Justice, Love.
 
We value Outreach: We are committed to engaging the community beyond ourselves through actions and words that communicate the love of God as revealed in Jesus Christ.
 
Our God is a missionary God. God is on a mission to rescue and restore his creation, and he invites us to join him as partners in his mission.
 
God is committed to working in flawed human beings to renew and restore his image in us, and then he sends us out to partner with him in bringing healing and restoration to the world. He sends us to demonstrate and display his renewing and reconciling power, and to announce to others that the grace and power for such healing and reconciliation and renewal can be theirs as well.
 
Week by week, as we gather for worship and then scatter, we are sent again into our communities to represent Christ and his kingdom, to bear witness to his love and mercy and grace. The quality of our work bears witness to Jesus, whether in the office or in the shop or in the classroom. The nature of our relationships, with our neighbours or colleagues or classmates, bear witness to Jesus. Our interactions with customers or clients, with our teachers or students, or families or friends, all bear witness to Jesus and his love. Wherever we find ourselves, day by day, is our mission field. Wherever we go, we are on mission for Jesus. I feel we should be should be praying for all of us as we go, not just for those who go overseas on mission trips.
 
“Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.” – Charles Spurgeon
 
Like the Mission Impossible movies, Jesus offers us our mission. The question is whether or not we will choose to accept it. And if we don’t, can we really say we are following him as he wants us to?
 
An Invitation to B.L.E.S.S.
  • Begin with Prayer– We begin by asking “God, who would you like me to bless today? God, where are you at work and how can I join you there?” And then pay attention to the promptings of the Spirit.
  • Listen–We take time to listen, intentionally and attentively, to the people we interact with, our neigbours and friends, our colleagues and classmates. We take an interest in them, we ask questions to get to know them better. Questions like: “What excites you?” “What matters most to you?” “What challenges are you facing?” “Do you ever think about God?” “How do you feel about Jesus?” Those last two may come later, but those sort of questions can open the door to conversations about faith.
  • Eat– We look for opportunities to share a meal. We invite people over for a meal and we invite them to join us for coffee. Sharing meals help to deepen relationships. The walls we often put up are lowered and opportunities for richer conversations increase.
  • Serve– As we pray and listen and eat together, we look for opportunities to serve them. We offer to help in whatever ways we can.
  • Story– And when the opportunity arises, we tell our story – the story of Jesus and the story of how we found our way back to God through Jesus.

 

Questions for Discussion (For Small Group and Others):
 
  1. What are your thoughts and feelings regarding the value of Outreach? 
  1. How do you respond to the comment by Spurgeon that “every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter?”
  1. When have you seen outreach being done well? What has been your experience in telling others about Jesus? 
  1. How would you feel about taking up the invitation to B.L.E.S.S others? Consider engaging the strategy to B.L.E.S.S for the next month, and share your progress as a group.

 



We Value Creativity

A Summary of Rob’s sermon from November 1st, 2015.
 
 
Values: Scripture, Prayer, Generosity, Diversity, Community, Creativity, Outreach, Justice, Love.
 
We Value Creativity: We are committed to affirming the role of the imagination and the arts in our community and to exploring and expressing the life of the Holy Spirit in new and fresh ways.
 
Questions for conversation…
 
  1. How do you define creativity? How do you see creativity unfolding in your life? In what ways would you call yourself creative?

 

  1. What do you think Genesis 1 & 2 tell us about creativity? What do you think it means for us to be created in the likeness of God when it comes to creativity?

 

  1. Read Exodus 31:1-11 and Exodus 35:20-25. What jumps out as your read the passages? Why do you think God cared so specifically about the construction of the Tabernacle? What role do you think aesthetics should play in the life of the church?

 

  1. Read and discuss the following quote by Makoto Fujimura. What role does creativity play in telling the story of God?
If theology is a way to illumine how God is to be understood, then visual theology is illumination of the Biblical words as expressed by God. Do images reveal what words cannot? The Word of God is generative, and gives birth to faith. Illuminations, then, should do the same.
 
I am not arguing here to replace or compete with the Word of God at all. One can have the Word of Life at the center of discussion, and the role of visual design as the lens to see through. The Word of Life gives birth to sensory experiences and intuitive, tacit knowledge.
 
Visual theology is energized by the Holy Spirit and happens when we engage the scriptures with the fullness of our imaginations.
 
  1. Read the lyrics to the Sara Groves song “Add to the Beauty”. What jumped out as you read? What do you think it means to ‘add to the beauty’? In what ways can Emmanuel (and you) use creativity to tell a better story?
 

“God has invited us, as mere human beings, to add to the beauty of his plan and creation.”

Add to the Beauty (Sara Groves)
 
We come with beautiful secrets
We come with purposes written on our hearts, written on our souls
We come to every new morning
With possibilities only we can hold, that only we can hold
 
Redemption comes in strange places, small spaces
Calling out the best of who we are
 
And I want to add to the beauty
To tell a better story
Shine with the light
That’s burning up inside

 

It comes in small inspirations
It brings redemption to life and work, to our lives and our work
It comes in loving community
It comes in helping a soul find it’s worth, a soul find it’s worth
 
Redemption comes in strange places, small spaces
Calling out the best of who we are

 

And I want to add to the beauty
To tell a better story
Shine with the light
That’s burning up inside

 

And this is grace, an invitation to be beautiful
And this is grace, an invitation

 

Redemption comes in strange places, small spaces
Calling out our best

 

And I want to add to the beauty
And I want to shine with the light

That’s burning up inside

 

Add to the beauty
I want to tell a better story
Shine with the light
That’s burning up inside

 



We Value Community

Summary of Chris’s Sermon from October 25th, 2015
 
Values: Scripture, Prayer, Generosity, Diversity, Community, Creativity, Outreach, Justice, Love.
 
We Value Community: We are committed to being a community where all are welcomed, known and loved.
 
Texts: Matthew 9:9-13; The Book of Ruth
 
 
Today we talked about the powerful community dynamic in the book of Ruth by considering the various relationship dynamics, with special emphasis on Ruth and Boaz. Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi were part of the most vulnerable in society: widowed and childless women. Boaz exceeds the expectations of the law in his care for them.
 
Ruth, having already experienced exceptional warmth and welcome from Boaz, risk being truly known and requests Boaz to extend grace and protection to her. He does whole heartedly recognizing that he is the one who experiences Ruth’s love (Hebrew: ḥesed). The community joins in celebrating Naomi, Ruth and Boaz’s joy.
 
The calling of Matthew (Matthew 9:9-13) also brings this dynamic to the forefront. Jesus invites Matthew to follow him, but Matthew also invites Jesus into his life world allow Jesus to truly know him.
 

Questions for discussion:

  1. What are your thoughts and feelings regarding the value of community? 
  1. As you consider the book of Ruth, who do you identify with? Why do you think this is the case? 
  1. What other lessons about community can we learn from the book of Ruth? What other biblical stories come to mind? 
  1. Are you currently experience this type of community? At EBC or in a different context in your life? 
  1. What are ways that EBC can live into the value of community? Who are those around us who need to experience being welcomed, known and loved?



 

7 Responses to “Vision & Values Blog”

  1. Kent Anderson says:

    I very much appreciated Brendan’s sermon on Sunday, the larger focus on diversity, need for and community attitudes to encourage, foster, communicate etc. Also, hearing Brendan’s perspective on the difficult issue of same-sex marriages was very much appreciated and in my opinion absolutely necessary. One question or point of clarification from the message. How important is it to support the “principles of the organization” such as our Church’s and the Baptists of Western Canada’s affirmed approach to marriage of gay couples? As there is a variety of “biblical views” on this issue, if one does not support that perspective, can our community and its’ members still function and flourish without demanding conformance?

    • Brendon says:

      Kent,

      Thanks for the comments and question.

      Emmanuel has a history of being open to a wide range of perspectives and positions on many issues. As Baptists we respect the soul liberty of the believer, and the autonomy of the local church. Believers can in good conscience dissent from positions that the church holds and churches can dissent from the CBWC on particular matters. While I have never experienced it personally, I am told that some churches in our denomination exercise that right of dissent with regard to the ordination of women.

      With regard to our positions on sexuality and marriage, our membership class makes a prospective member aware of the church’s position on those issues, and invites them to affirm their agreement with said positions as part of their commitment to membership. However, we have not been in the habit of threatening to remove from membership those who are not in compliance with membership expectations on other issues (that is partly a reflection of the diminishment of church discipline among us as a whole), and I see no reason why we would begin to do that with people who dissent with the church’s position on these particular issues. I recognize that people’s opinions change over time (including church members), and I am well aware that there are differing and dissenting voices among us as a community on the issues of sexuality and marriage. In any perceived violation of membership, the membership covenant would become the basis for a conversation rather than a “club of compliance”.

      With regard to whether one has to support “the principles of the organization”, I think there is a reasonable expectation in organizations, including churches, that their members support their positions. However, I am aware that that is not always the case on many issues. I would say that, at minimum, there would be an expectation of respect for the church’s position on these issues — that leaders in ministry (small group or others) would not teach or “rail” against the church’s position. I appreciate that, often, institutional changes only happen through the work of dissenting voices, so I would never want to stifle or or attempt to command conformity (a futile move if there ever was one). I would much prefer to see us engage in gracious conversation, with love and respect for each other, even if we end up agreeing to disagree.

      And while the statements I made on Sunday emerge from my personal convictions, I always want to respond with grace and pastoral sensitivity to those who may be wrestling with these issues.

      Blessings,

      Brendon

      • Brendon says:

        In last Sunday’s services, I made the following comments as a follow-up to my sermon on diversity. I thought I would share them here as well.

        “Chris will be doing the teaching this morning as we continue our exploration of our core values. He will be teaching on the value of Community, which we describe as follows: We are committed to being a community where all are welcomed, known and loved.

        Before Chris comes, I want to make a couple of follow up comments on last Sunday’s teaching on diversity. Several of you emailed me this past week to express appreciation for what I had to say, but I also received a few comments, which pushed back in one way or another on what I had to say about sexuality. And as I reflected on those comments I would say that I both appreciated and agreed with much that was said.

        My brief comments affirming the historic Christian position on sexuality were, in fact, too brief. Which meant they were not nuanced enough. It sounded as if I was affirming diversity in every way, except in in the area of sexuality. I failed to reflect an appreciation for the degrees of ambiguity and complexity around the issue of sexuality. I did not distinguish between same sex attraction and same sex sexual activity, nor did I include an explicit statement of welcome to gays, lesbians and whoever else may identify themselves on the LGBTQ spectrum. And it sounded to some as if I did not leave room or create space for dissent within our community. To the extent that you experienced my teaching last Sunday from any or all of those perspectives, then to that extent, I failed at my task, which was to communicate with grace and generosity, and I apologize for that.
        As I said last Sunday, it is my hope that we can continue the conversation around this issue with grace and generosity and humility. We received one comment on the blog with some questions, which I responded to this past week. Feel free to add to those and contribute from your perspective.

        We are committed to being a community where all are welcomed, known and loved.”

  2. Vivian Haskins says:

    Thanks for taking this subject into consideration! Tough, yet fascinating question; equally tough, yet fascinating answer! I have a couple of questions: 1) do we know how many potential members have not been accepted into church membership, say in the last 5 years, because they did not ‘affirm their agreement with said positions’? 2) is loving and respecting openly diverse individuals, using Kent’s example of an openly, gay couple, sufficient to making those individuals feel they would be welcomed as fully-participating members? and, 3) in 2015, is it really okay with CBWC membership to choose not to ordain women, when fully qualified women apply? Diversity, according to the dictionary, means “the condition or quality of being diverse; variety.” So, when we talk about diversity in the church, do we simply mean ‘when it aligns with tradition and/or our comfort-zone”? These are, indeed, tough questions, but ones that the church needs to address, in its role as a leader who cultivates the way. Blessings in the searching!

    • Brendon says:

      Vivian,

      Thanks for the comment and questions.

      1) I am not aware of any potential member in the last five years who did not affirm their agreement with the statements. Not to say that there were not any who felt that way, but I was never made aware that the statements prevented anyone from becoming a member. I am, however, aware of one young couple a few years ago who visited for a few weeks and asked to meet with me to learn more about the church. During the course of our conversation, I indicated that we affirmed ordination of women for ministry. As a result of that conversation, they decided that they would explore other churches.

      2) I would be reluctant to say what would be “sufficient” to make an openly gay couple feel welcome as fully participating members. I would hope “loving and respecting” would help them feel welcomed to participate in our community. But I imagine that signing off on our statements for membership would be problematic for them.

      3) Whether it’s okay or not for churches in the CBWC to decide not to ordain women, the reality is that they have been given (or have taken) that liberty. I guess that’s all part of theological and denominational diversity.

      Blessings,

      Brendon

  3. Moira says:

    Thank you Brendon for your sermon a couple of weeks ago. I appreciated your upholding God’s Word in the area of the sacredness of marriage between one man and one woman. Also, that God’s gift of sexual relations is given only to those who are married.
    May the Lord bless you in your service to Him,
    Moira

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