Thursday, March 28, 2013

Your Child's Profession of Faith by Dennis Gundersen

As Liz and I found out we were expecting Ivy, I began to think a lot about the responsibilities and challenges that I will face as a father. I take it as a serious responsibility, and indeed, we are charged in scripture to intentionally raise our children to Honour God. I am deeply burdened with the need to clearly and effectively teach my child of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate." Psalm 127:3-5
I have a serious obligation to see that my child is raised to understand the Gospel and have a healthy exposure to the Scriptures. As I discussed this with a friend, he recommended this book, shortly thereafter I ran across it again, in my Facebook news feed. So, I decided to order a copy and give it a read.

Your Child's Profession of Faith, written by Dennis Gundersen is published by Grace and Truth Books. In the preface, Jim Elliff says this;
"This practical tool will find a useful place in the churches and homes where pastors, leaders, and parents really care about true conversion. Read it with prayer, talk about it with others, and pass it on. Our children are worth the effort."
For anyone who has spent any amount of time reading this blog, you will be aware that it is our position that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is our most precious treasure; that there is nothing more important in the world than the Glory of God, and that we honour the Lord in a life of obedience and submission to him. It is so important that the Gospel not become a means to an end, that we strive to disciple those around us, including our children.

In his book, Gundersen addresses the challenges, pitfalls and blessings that can and are a part of discipling a child. To begin, he qualifies his book;
"This is not about making less of an effort to evangelize our children. But it is about being in less of a rush to hurry them into a profession which we prompt them to, in our own words, and not from their own heart." p. 15
Throughout the book Gundersen confronts the need to prayerfully and comprehensively teach and disciple our children. His balanced, Biblical approach serves to help impress upon us both the value of the Gospel and the value of the eternal souls of our youth.

At Arrowhead we work with many children and youth during our summer camps. The way in which we teach and disciple them will have eternal consequences. It is so important that we not only provide them with a clear presentation from scripture of just who God is, but also that we not manipulate and coerce them into making a decision they are not prepared to make.
"I urge you, do not try to force a confession from the mouth of anyone, least of all a child. For a truly believing heart will burst forth with it's own confession, without inducements and without "baiting"." p. 21
We have a heavy heart and deep burden that all of our campers come to a saving knowledge of Christ, but how supremely disastrous if we do not strive to ensure that they truly understand as we plead with them with the Gospel. We must teach and evangelize in such a way that the truth can be learned and understood and have a real impact.
"We must guard against putting [children] in a position of temptation to be man-pleasers: to make a profession of faith in Christ merely to win the acceptance of parents, church, leadership, or friends. God forbid that we mislead them into such hypocrisy. Rather, let's continually emphasize to their hearts that the only acceptance of any eternal consequence is acceptance with God through Christ - and that they must seek that." p. 68
Gundersen deals at length with the issue of the Baptism of children. Although this may not directly impact our ministry and evangelism at Arrowhead, it is very relevant and helps frame the readers understanding of the relationship of the believer with Christ.

We will be providing copies of this book to our volunteers this summer at ANBC and requiring that they read it prior to camp. (if you would like to get a head start on reading, drop me a line). It is my hope that the value of the Gospel and the importance of relationship will be impressed upon those who serve with us this year. The children and youth that come to serve with us are not simply a project; it is not simply our goal to see that someone utter the sinners prayer before Friday afternoon. It is our hearts desire to see our campers come to a genuine understanding of just who God is and their state of hopelessness without the redemptive work of Christ. It is our hearts desire to see our campers come into a permanent and genuine relationship with God.

We are called in scripture to disciple and teach, this is what Gundersen implores us to do throughout his book. This is what we hope to achieve at our summer camps.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

J2N: Mission Fest Halifax 2013

Once again we trekked to Halifax, Nova Scotia to represent NCEM at Mission Fest. Liz remained behind this year with Ivy, we felt that with the hours and availability of somewhere for Ivy to nap it might be just a little too taxing on baby girl. I was accompanied by Todd Nielsen this year; and we met Phil & Gracie Welch there. It really was a great opportunity for him to network and help us in mobilization and personnel recruitment.

It was a good to be able to share what NCEM is all about and doing among Canada's First Nations people, but it was equally as wonderful to meet and connect with others who are doing similar work. It is amazing to me to see how the Lord seems to be connecting us together. I do have to say though, that I was very disappointed in the numbers of guests to the event. Last year it was wall to wall much of the time, this year I would hazard to say it was down 40% to 50%. I'm not sure for the reason that this might be, but I certainly hope it is not a reflection of the interest level in global missions.

NCEM'ers and friends! Phil & Gracie Welch, Todd Nielsen and I were hosting the NCEM table; Venus Coté, Martin & Sue Bear hosted the St. Mary's Christian Outreach table. 

 It was nice to connect with Dianne Friesen, I had never met her, but have often heard of the work she is doing in Cape Breton.

It was great to connect with friends.

A cafeteria filled with Christian Missionaries, three Muslim ladies wander in with no attention given them by anyone... except my man Todd who promptly furnished them with a Gospel Tract!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Camps, Concerts & Churches

This past weekend had us serving and ministering in various capacities across the province. It's nice to be getting into the swing of speaking engagements again, and we've hit the road running.

On Saturday morning I had the privilege of sharing in ministry with Todd & Zack Nielsen at the Hampton Bible Camp men's breakfast. Hampton Bible Camp is a CSSM ministry, of which my good friend Ben Lawson is the director. He asked that I come and give a presentation about Arrowhead and share from the word with the men at the breakfast. Initially I felt quite awkward about the prospect of talking about Arrowhead at a CSSM camp. But Ben reminded me that we are not competing with one another, we are co-labourers for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It has been a great encouragement to find that so many of the local Bible Camp directors have this attitude. Along with Hampton Bible Camp, Sandy Cove Bible Camp (CSSM) and Green Hill Lake Bible Camp (Convention of Atlantic Baptists) have both been generous with both resources, advice and fellowship. It was additionally a blessing to be able to share in ministry with Todd & Zack Nielsen. As they strive to raise financial and prayer support, it is fun to be able to minister together.

It was a blessing to have the opportunity to share some thoughts from The Word.

Todd & Zack bringing some "Hoe-Down" music. If you want to know what Hoe Down is all about, you'll have to come out and hear them sing this Spring.

On Saturday evening Liz and I were blessed to attend the Rising Above Fundraiser Concert at Sunset Church in Fredericton. Among performers were Howard Jolly and Richard Paul, the evening was filled with talented musicians sharing in music. It was a blessing to hear hymns sung in Mik'maq. The evening was a success and a wonderful opportunity for fellowship.

Howard Jolly and Richard Paul, along with his band, collaborated for some fantastic songs of praise.

On Sunday evening we had the privilege of sharing an Arrowhead update at Devon Park Baptist Church. The Nielsen Family 5 brought ministry in music and had the opportunity to introduce themselves and share a bit of how the Lord brought them to be candidate missionaries with NCEM.

The Nielsen Family 5 at Devon Park Baptist Church

This week finds us digging out from under another snow storm, as we work to prepare for the ANBC Spring Work Week and then the Men's Retreat. There are exciting things happening, stay tuned, and maybe even come out and join us in ministry.

Monday, March 18, 2013

mawio'mi: the gathering, Lumberjack Chili Cook-Off (ANBC Men's Retreat 2013)

Arrowhead is hosting our third annual Men’s Gathering conference on May 3, 4 and 5, 2013. Men ages 18 and up are welcome to join us for a fantastic weekend of fellowship, worship and time in the Word. Throughout the weekend we will be blessed by guest speaker Dave Storey and special music with Todd & Zach Nielsen.

On Saturday we’re gonna have a Chili Chef competition of EPIC proportions. Bring your favorite Chili recipe and your wife’s slow cooker and be prepared to astound everyone with your Chili Cooking Prowess! We’ll have all the base ingredients and lot’s of additional ingredient options, but feel free to bring along any secret ingredients you might want to include.* We’ll be breaking into teams of 3 or 4 and assembling our Chili on Saturday afternoon. While the meat masterpieces simmer we’ll be working up an appetite during our lumberjack games. Bring your sawing arm, it’s gonna be a manly weekend. You should likely start growing that lumberjack beard now!

We would like to make this event available to as many men as possible. We realize that many of you have responsibilities that may prevent you from coming for the entire retreat, so there are three options available. You can come for the entire event beginning on Friday evening and running until Sunday afternoon. If you are a pastor or simply need to be home for Church you can attend for just the Friday and Saturday portions. Or you may choose to come only to our Men’s breakfast on Saturday morning. The choice is yours, but we encourage you to register as early as possible, space is limited.

You can download the brochure and registration form by clicking the following link:

Don't Forget to Bring:
• Bedding and toilettries.
• A slow-cooker for the Chili Cook-Off

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

ANBC Spring Work Week 2013

A big part of managing and running programs and events at Arrowhead Native Bible Center is maintaining and upgrading the properties and buildings here. It is by God's Grace and the serving hands of many that this is accomplished. This year we are looking forward to our work week, April 22 to April 27, to help us accomplish some very important projects. As it always the case here in the woods of New Brunswick, we will have lots of leaves to rake up and brush to burn; we are also planning a major renovation of our Tuck Shop and the installation of bathroom fixtures in our larger cabins. There is always work for every skill set and ability, and we welcome you to join us for a day or two or three this year. Whether you can paint, plumb, wire, build or tear down, or would like to help with the landscaping, we can certainly use your help.

This video was created by Michael Parrington, a member of a ministry team from Ontario that has joined us in ministry for our work week for the past several years. It is always astonishing what can be accomplished by determined hands.

If you would like to join us for our work week this year, or if you would like to organize a team from your church, please contact me directly to make arrangements.