Christmas: A Solution for Rebellion

We all have different tactics for dealing with rebellious, angry people.  Some of us try desperately to change people’s behaviours and thoughts, and others pray desperately for God to do this.  What should be our approach?  I’ll explore both below:

Option #1 – Our efforts:

After 12 years of leading the Israelites, Nehemiah was at his wit’s end.  Witnessing their disobedience, he admitted, “I rebuked them and called curses down on them.  I beat some of the men and pulled out their hair.  I made them take an oath in God’s name…” (Nehemiah 13:25)  Ouch! He was mad!

Nehemiah had invested years attempting to reform the Israelites.  He travelled to Jerusalem to help them rebuild the city walls, and fend off attackers.  He lead them in a ceremony of confession and restoration of their vows before God and, after all this was completed, returned to his job in Susa.  When he came back for a visit, he found that all the reforms he instituted had fallen apart;  the temple was neglected, the sabbath was being desecrated, people were intermarrying with foreigners and he was beside himself with frustration. Despite his best efforts, he simply could not “make them” behave because their hearts were not inclined towards obedience.

Option #2 – God’s efforts

Throughout the entire Old Testament, we read of God’s faithfulness and human fickleness.  Time after time, people pledge their allegiance to God and then fall.  Eventually, God unveils His solution to our disobedience.  Ezekiel 36 records this promise:  “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you;  I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27).

“You can’t and won’t obey”, He says, “So I will help you.”

Which option sounds better to you? If we expend our time and energy trying to change people’s thoughts, actions and behaviours we will end up frustrated like Nehemiah.  If, however, we recognize that God needs to give people a new heart and new spirit before they can obey, our effort will be spent in prayer instead.

Why am I telling you this now?  Because its Christmas time and Jesus came to make these changes possible. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus instituted a “new covenant” between God and man;  a new relationship through which God’s law could be in our minds and written on our hearts (Jeremiah 31:31-34), and through which we could receive the Holy Spirit.

This Christmas, thank Jesus for coming to give you a new heart and a new spirit. If friends and family members are still rebelling against Him, don’t pull out their hair (!! :-)) but pray for them;  they need a new heart too and only God can provide it.

Blessings on You

Kristal Toews

Pastor of Women

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Want some more input and ideas this Christmas?

The Christmas Praise Night at Northview is tonight at 7:00 pm.

Come out for the Christmas Home Tour this Sunday from 1-6 pm.

Check out Rhonda Fast’s blog – a woman from our congregation who is also thinking and reflecting on Christmas.

This week’s podcast on “Christmas Angst” was recorded yesterday and will be posted soon. Check back to this page to find it!

 

 

 

Updates & Opportunities

Hello everyone, here’s some updates on Women’s Ministries, and some opportunities to get involved,

New Podcast with Kristal, Thaleia and Brandie

Kristal, Thaleia and Brandie have started a bi-weekly podcast! You can listen to the first episode here.

Christmas Home Tour

The Women’s Christmas Home Tour is on Sunday, December 8, 2013. Participants pay $10 each to tour through beautifully decorated homes between 1:00 pm and 6:00 pm. All funds raised will be donated to Your Pregnancy Options. Your Pregnancy Options provides tangible support to people in the community facing an unplanned pregnancy. They provide free pregnancy tests, peer counselling, community referrals and supplies to support youth, women, and men.

The Christmas Home Tour team is currently searching for people who are willing to put their homes on the tour. If you would be open to allowing others  a glimpse of how you prepare for Christmas, or if you have a unique idea on how to present the gospel message in your home at Christmas,  contact Anita Geertsma at christmashometour@northview. org.

Women’s Missions Trips 2014

Northview is sending a team to Odisha, India from February 7-23, 2014.

The team will have the opportunity to fellowship with believers in the Indian cultural context, connect with local ministries in prayer and encouragement, and serve alongside local ministry leaders in ministry events including a Women’s ministry conference.

Women from all skill sets and backgrounds are welcome and needed!

For more information, email women@northview.org

Northview Women is also sending a team to Mexico in the Spring of 2014. Doreen Schellenberg leads women on short term (10 day) trips to Mexico every Spring. The trip will include leading kids’ programs at an orphanage, ministry to single moms, crafts and painting, sewing and doing outreach projects in the community.

Contact: Doreen Schellenberg, women-missionstrip@northview.org

Jaaja Barb’s Home of Angels

Jaaja Barb’s Home of Angels is an orphanage in Uganda that Barb Giraud raised funds to build by selling banana bread. One loaf for one brick! Visit Barb’s blog for more information about the ministry.
Now Barb is looking for some donations to help furnish the home.
 Below is a list of the items that they could use.
 – large area rugs
- coffee tables (2)
- bedside tables
- living room set

If you would like to donate, email Barb at jaajabarbshomeofangels@gmail.com

Northview Women’s Weekend

The Northview Women’s Weekend is coming up from Jan 31-Feb 2 at Stillwood! Mark your calendars, registration will be available soon!
We’d love to hear from you, feel free to email us at women@northview.org :)

Reading Your Bible Isn’t an Option

As Christians we are encouraged to read our Bible regularly.  Can I propose that this isn’t really an option?  If we want to finish the race that God has called us to run, reading our bible is a necessity. Why?

1) Because God’s Word purifies us.  Just before he was betrayed, Jesus prayed for all those who would believe in Him: “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. (John 17:17)  To sanctify means to make holy, to purify or free from sin.  Jesus tells us here that God’s Word is the agent of sanctification.  Biblical Truth frees us from the stain and power of sin.

2) Because God’s Word transforms us.  Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  We are inundated with advertising, ideas and messages which run contrary to God’s will and His values.  If we are not actively seeking to “be transformed” by renewing our minds in His Word, we will conform to this world.

3) Because God’s Word corrects and trains us.  Paul reminded Timothy, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

4) Because God’s Word puts us in our place and humbles us.Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven, and you are on earth, so let your words be few” (Ecclesiastes 5:2).  JI Packer says “Christian minds have been conformed to the modern spirit;  the spirit, that is, that spawns great thoughts of man and leaves room for only small thoughts of God”.  Our God is great, we are not!  We need to read His Word to be reminded of our own limitations and His infinite power.

5) Because if we don’t know God’s truth, we will be deceived:  “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

“But I don’t want to read the Bible,” you say? “I don’t have time. I don’t like to read. It feels like I’m doing it for the wrong reasons if you tell me I have to.”  Well, I’ll let you in on a secret; it’s a daily decision for me too.  Each time I sit down to read God’s Word there are many other things calling for my attention and sometimes I succumb to laziness and distraction.  I have to consciously decide to read as an act of obedience. As I do, I pray that the Holy Spirit will speak to me through His Word; I pray that He will make me “hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6).  I meet regularly with a study group because I need accountability.  Left to my own devices, I would be  ”Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love; Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above”.

If you still need convincing, read Psalm 119 and list all the benefits of knowing God’s Word.

Happy Reading! (Or, if reading isn’t an option, Happy Listening!) Follow this link to subscribe to an ESV Podcast.

Kristal Toews
Pastor of Women

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Northview Women Updates

  • 140 women are participating in our “Overview of the Bible” study on Wednesday Mornings, and many more are working through the study on their own;  watching our on-line teaching and working through the workbook.  Check out the sessions and email us if you want to join in.  Scroll down to the bottom of the Wednesday Morning Study page here and click on the button that says “View Sessions”.
  • 60 – 70 women are participating in the ‘Jesus the One and Only’ Study on Monday nights.
  • Our Tuesday morning MOM’s group is a great place to visit with other MOMs and grow in your faith!  This week Rebecca Schroeder, a family counsellor will be speaking on connecting with your child. View info on MOMs here.
  • Brandie (Director of Youth), Thaleia (Pastor of Care) and me (Kristal) just recorded our first podcast yesterday :-).  We will inform you when it is on-line so that you can listen in. We plan to do this every other week; our goal is to talk through biblical responses to issues that all of us face everyday.  If you have suggestions for a podcast name or topics, feel free to email them in!  You can reply to this blog post, or email brandie@northview.org.
  • Stay tuned for info on our upcoming Women’s Retreat: Jan 31 – Feb 2, 2014.

 

Beth Moore Simulcast 2013 – Three weeks away!

The Beth Moore Simulcast here at Northview is only three weeks away!

The simulcast will be featuring teaching from Beth Moore, and worship led by Travis Cottrell.

The event will take place here at Northview Church on September 14, 2013 from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM.

There are still tickets available, and you can purchase them at this link here. All tickets purchased before September 9 will include lunch :)

Are you interested in volunteering for this event? We would love to have your help. For more information email us at women@northview.org

Living Proof Live 2013 – A Simulcast With Beth Moore

We are going to kick off the ministry year this September with a live Simulcast! The simulcast will be featuring teaching from Beth Moore, and worship led by Travis Cottrell.

The event will take place here at Northview Church on September 14, 2013 from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM.

Get your tickets early, the first 100 tickets sold will be at the discounted rate of $15, and tickets purchased before September 9 will include lunch!

Tickets are available to be purchased on our website here.