Blog

Each week Fellowship President, Steve Jones, encourages and challenges those within The Fellowship through his weekly emails.

We are pleased to be able to make these available online.

We trust you, too, will be encouraged and challenged by what Steve shares.


Archived Posts

HOPE FOR TOMORROW among refugees in Lebanon
posted September 18, 2017

There are one million Syrian refugees registered with the UNHCR in Lebanon. There are an estimated additional 400,000 unregistered refugees. Of the 1.4 million refugees, 650,000 are children under the age of 17 and only 250,000 are receiving some education. An entire generation is growing up uneducated. A staggering problem.

 Steve's Emails - Steve with Anayssis  Steve's Emails - Karkafi
Steve with Karim and Rita Anayssi
and their two daughters
Bechara and Roula Karkafi
and their two sons

Recently, I visited our Fellowship International missionaries, Karim and Rita Anayssi and Bechara and Roula Karkafi in Beirut. As part of their ministry in Lebanon, both couples are seeking to care for the future welfare of children in the country in different ways. The Anayssis direct Cedar Home; a girl’s orphanage currently caring for 26 girls mostly from a Muslim background. Previous FAIR appeals have helped to build and outfit new rooms so that more girls could be cared for. 

Bechara and Roula Karkafi are serving the church in Lebanon to help mobilize a disciple-making movement which, Lord willing, will begin in the neighbouring MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Region. One of their churches, Adonis Baptist Church, is seeking to reach Syrian refugees for Christ. Four years ago they began a school for 15 Syrian refugee children called the Clementia Learning Centre (CLC). Since that first year, the number of students has grown and the school facility is currently at maximum capacity with 60 children. The centre is led by Director Sarah and three other teachers: Micheline, Nadine and Kamil. The purpose of the school is to care for the whole person—physically, emotionally, educationally and spiritually. This is reflected in the name: “Clementia” which means human.

We have an opportunity to partner with the CLC to help double their capacity to 120 Syrian refugee children. I will let our FAIR Director, Dan Shurr, explain the project and the financial goal. As you read, will you prayerfully consider how the Lord would have you respond to this worthy project?

 Steve's Emails - Hope for Tomorrow Banner

Hope for Tomorrow appeal: A FAIR appeal

 Steve's Emails - Dan Shurr
FAIR Director Dan Shurr

Last fall I traveled to Lebanon to witness the school ministry at the Clementia Learning Centre (CLC). As I entered the classrooms, eager smiling faces captured me. I had little understanding – no way of knowing the horrors hidden behind these faces. Most of the 60 students in the CLC – all Syrian refugees – had no previous opportunity for education because of the ongoing civil war in their country. One little boy, traumatized by images of war, told his teacher that he had a nightmare that men (terrorists) had entered his school bus and cut everyone’s head off. These innocent little ones have experienced the tough realities of the ugliness of war.

I am thankful that Christians are reaching out to these children through the local church to provide an education for them. They deserve this.

Fellowship International missionaries Bechara and Roula Karkafi have recently been deployed to Lebanon. They have a burden to see Christ’s love brought to needy refugee children through the CLC. The centre provides opportunities for children to attend classes that they wouldn’t have otherwise. Qualified teachers bring excellent education coupled with stories from the Bible that are naturally shared with the students. The CLC wants to reach even more children, but is currently maxed out in space and unable to accept any more.

 Steve's Emails - CLC Students and Teachers
Clementia Learning Centre students and teachers

I am so pleased to announce that through the fall project, Hope for Tomorrow (Lebanon), FAIR has committed to help the CLC double its size and capacity. With the completion of a rooftop facility including classrooms, washrooms, kitchen and group area, the centre will be able to accept 60 more students. The project also seeks to bless the students with school supplies.

We are trusting God to provide $120,000 to expand the Learning Centre and bless the students through the Hope for Tomorrow project.

Will you prayerfully consider a special offering for this project; possibly Thanksgiving or Christmas this year?

Have a blessed week,

Steve

SLAVERY still exists… learn and pray for its end on FREEDOM SUNDAY
posted September 11, 2017

For the past two years our Fellowship has had a wonderful partnership with IJM (International Justice Mission). I want to commend this ministry to you. Through this partnership, FAIR’s Winter 2017 appeal Rebuilding Innocence focused on establishing an aftercare program for children rescued from cybersex trafficking in the Philippines. With the support of many generous churches, individuals and businesses, FAIR has received $152,000 [DW1] through this appeal to launch a two year pilot foster care program for these children. I look forward to being able to share stories of the progress and impact of this project with you in the future.

 Steve's Emails - Freedom Sunday

FREEDOM SUNDAY is September 24

I wanted to communicate to you another opportunity to partner with IJM this September. Read the following from Rachel Brouwer of IJM:

“The Bible tells us that God cares deeply about all aspects of spiritual devotion (worship, prayer, fasting) when it engages His people in confronting injustice. Isaiah 58:6 says, ‘Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the ties of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free…’ These words are not just for the people of Israel, but for us today.

Slavery still exists. But God has a plan for it, and it begins with God’s people. Transformation happens when the global church prays and acts. To that end, we invite your local church to join the global movement called FREEDOM SUNDAY. On September 24, join hundreds of faith communities globally as they focus on the reality of slavery in our world and pray for its end. We’ve developed information and prayer resources to help facilitate this time of prayer.”

 Steve's Emails - Broken Chains

You can find and download the resources HERE:

  • IJM Freedom Sunday poster
  • PowerPoint slides
  • Scripted prayer for Sunday, September 24

SLAVERY STILL EXISTSFREEDOM SUNDAY is an invitation for your congregation to learn about present day slavery and pray for its end.

Fellowship Pacific Church involved in helping to END Slavery

I recently connected with pastors Mark Clark and Randy Watson of the Village Church, Surrey, BC. This is a recent Fellowship Pacific church plant that has grown to approximately 4,500 people. The church has been working with our partners at IJM in recent years. I learned that they sent a short-term mission team to India to learn more and minister to those caught in slavery. The close partnership between IJM and Village Church is led by pastor Randy who serves as the missions director:

 Steve's Emails - Village Church Logo

“Village Church desires to see justice and empowerment advanced in our community and around the world. This spring a team from Village Church arrived in India to see the work of one of our partners that focuses on rescuing and restoring people trapped in slavery.

“During our time in India we met with over 20 rescued survivors of slavery and heard their stories of trauma, loss, and redemption. All of these individuals had completed a two year restoration program and were being equipped to return home to spread awareness in their own communities.

I sat and listened to the story of a young woman who ended up enslaved because she borrowed money to pay for her husband’s funeral. He suddenly passed away, and she wanted to provide a funeral that would honour his life. The lender enslaved her and her two young daughters were left with another family in her community. Seven years later she was rescued and reunited with her daughters. Her vulnerability and bravery to share her experience was incredible and it made tangible the redemptive work of Jesus in her life.

 Steve's Emails - Randy Watson

“One of the organization directors said, ‘We have been able to see lives transformed, our lives have been touched, and we have been transformed too.’

“It was a privilege to be able to meet these individuals and the team that have spent their lives rescuing and serving those caught in this horrific situation. I believe that the church should be known to run to meet the needs of the most vulnerable.

“When we were speaking with the executive director of the office she said, ‘Church is our hope for ending slavery, be it in India or the other parts of the globe. If church is not involved we are not going to eradicate slavery at all.’

“This statement is a commission to us all, that we as the church must rise to the challenge of being aware of, and involved in the injustices in our community and around the world and work together to bring them to an end.”

What can your church do on FREEDOM SUNDAY?

Have a blessed week,

Steve

Start praying for your Pastor and church leaders
posted September 04, 2017

September is here but October is coming. In the midst of the busyness of starting up all the ministries, don’t forget to share your appreciation for your pastor in October.

Start by praying for your pastor.

The famed leadership guru, Peter Drucker, has said, “Not taking into account the U.S. President’s job, the most difficult jobs to be in today in North America is:

  1. A University President’s position.
  2. A city Hospital Administrator’s position
  3. And the pastor of a local church
 Steve's Emails - Pastor in Church

Admittedly, I was surprised reading that quote but, I’m assuming this leadership guru to corporate North Americans knows the landscape well.  Knowing the terrain as well as Drucker does, gives this statement weight.  Bill Hybels, pastor of one of the largest churches in North America said, “Most lay people have no idea how difficult it is to run a church.”  Hybels believes the church is the most leadership-intensive enterprise in society.  The work of the church is building and redeeming lives; which is an intangible process.  You never know when you’ve actually accomplished doing this work.  The workers are all VOLUNTEERS who can simply leave when disciplined or called to commitment.  Even when recruiting workers, the church leader cannot offer monetary incentives or benefits.  The best he can do is promise them work without pay, time away from their families and IF, things go according to Scripture, they will know suffering as part of their reward.  Now there’s a benefit/reward package.  At times pastors feel alone in the midst of the spiritual battle.  They need our prayers.

 Steve's Emails - Moses

Moses needed Prayer

Moses was one of the greatest spiritual leaders who ever lived.  He spoke to God face to face (Ex. 33:11).  Yet, STILL, HE COULD NOT DO IT ALONE!!  He, too, needed support and encouragement for the enormous responsibility that was his.  Aaron and Hur recognized his need and helped him.  Many in our churches need to recognize the need and come alongside their pastor and pray fervently for him.  Ministry is not a one-man-show, but a team effort.  Many in our churches need to start partnering with their pastor, especially in PRAYER.  For the sake of your pastor’s spiritual/emotional health and the sake of the church’s well-being, pray.

In Peter Wagner’s book, Prayer Shield, he writes: “I’m personally convinced that the following statement is true:  ‘The most under-utilized source of spiritual power in our churches today is intercession for our Christian leaders.’”

Preachers need Prayer

Dr. Wilbur Chapman often told of his experience when he went to Philadelphia to become a pastor of Wanamaker’s church.  After his first sermon, an old gentleman met him in front of the pulpit and said, “You are pretty young to be pastor of this great church.  We have always had older pastors.  I am afraid you won’t succeed.  But you preach the Gospel and I’m going to help you all I can.”

Dr. Chapman looked at him and said to himself, “Here’s a crank.”

But the old gentleman continued, “I am going to pray for you that you may have the Holy Spirit’s power upon you and two others have covenanted to join with me.”

Then Dr. Chapman related the outcome.  “I did not feel so bad when I learned that he was going to pray for me.  The three became 10, the 10 became 20, and the 20 became 50, and the 50 became 200 who met before every service to pray that the Holy Spirit might come upon me.  In another room the 18 elders knelt so close around me to pray for me that I could put out my hand and touch them on all sides.  I always went into my pulpit feeling that I would have the anointing in answer to the prayers of the 219 men.  It was easy to preach; a real joy.  Anybody could preach with such conditions.  And what was the result? We received 1,100 into our church by conversion in three years, 600 of which were men.  It was the fruit of the Holy Spirit in answer to the prayers of those men.  I do not see how the average pastor, under average circumstances preaches at all.  Church members have much more to do than go to church as curious, idle spectators, to be amused and entertained.  It is their business to pray mightily that the Holy Ghost will clothe the preacher with power and make his words like dynamite.”

What an incredible impact a church can make when it’s people pray!  Have you ever thought of the potential for your church if you committed to pray for your pastor and church often?  Imagine what would be accomplished.  How many lost people saved — and saved people transformed?  How many pastors would remain in ministry and not flare out, drop out or burn out?  Think about it.  Better yet, pray about it.

Steve's Emails - Praying Group

Pastors need Prayer: October is “Pastor’s appreciation month”

In four weeks we all have an opportunity to share our appreciation for our shepherds.  Hopefully we do this all year round.  However, can I encourage you to start thinking and praying what you might do for your pastor(s) during the month of October?  Start praying about it today.  Bless you.

Have a blessed week,

Steve

Gender Identity Given Human Rights Status in Canada (Bill C-16)
posted August 28, 2017

Gender identity rights are now enshrined in our Federal Law.

A “brave new world” begins...

Gender identity given Human Right status in Canada (Bill C-16)

I couldn’t sleep one night in June. I got up and turned on the TV channel that hosts the House of Commons debates and Senate Committee hearings. I thought it was the perfect remedy for my insomnia. On the contrary. At 2:00 a.m. the Senate hearing on Bill C-16 was inspiring television viewing.

Steve's Emails - Parliament

The Bill passed Thursday, June 15, 2017 in the Senate and has become law. It amends the Canadian Human Rights Act; adding gender identity and expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination. It now sits alongside things like race and creed; providing protection under hate-speech and hate-crime provisions in criminal law. Many of its proponents say the Federal Law finally joins the provinces who have amended their human rights codes to recognize and protect gender diversity. I heard New York City recognized over 50 trans and gender non-binary individual types.

Those concerned with the law say it will lead to injustice toward women and children, for Bill C-16 separates sex from gender and then legislates that gender has no specific meaning. Neither “man” nor “woman” mean anything anymore. People of faith, women’s organizations and some feminists are concerned about women not receiving adequate freedom and identity protection.

Steve's Emails - Gavel

What’s at stake? The Bill enshrines the transgender ideology currently being advanced by progressive educators in Ontario and Alberta; soon to arrive in all the other provinces to be in compliance. Children will be taught about gender “fluidity” and pronouns such as “Hir” and “Zhe”. The result will be more impressionable young children will seek gender transition amid their confusion.

What about open bathrooms in our churches and other public spaces? Locker rooms in Christian schools? Camp cabins at Christian camps? Lodging in Christian women shelters? Will any of these survive the court cases that will be brought when they struggle to comply?

What about free speech and the legislation of state speech when it comes to the use of state sanctioned gender neutral pronouns? I listened for two hours on the CPAC TV channel to lawyers and professors eloquently point to the Senate committee about the “foundational” failings of this state-sponsored speech. All our text books need to be rewritten as they are incongruent with current transgender ideology.

Steve's Emails - Ontario Flag

On a different but related legislative story, Ontario Bill 89 passed June 1, 2017. The law focuses on regulation of foster care and adoption among Children’s Aid and other child protection societies. These societies must now consider, among other things, a list of protected grounds of discrimination from the Ontario Human Rights Code. While the Ontario Human Rights Code is intended to apply to government, employers and service providers, the “list” is now being applied to “family life”. Further, the statutory context of the Human Rights Code, which included protection for freedom of religion and conscience is not included in Bill 89. Included among the list, when evaluating the best interests of a foster child, will be closer attention to potential foster or adoptive parents based on their beliefs about gender identity and sexual orientation.

Will followers of Christ who do not comply with these beliefs be able to foster or adopt children? The story continues…

“Oh Lord, may your Spirit move the hearts of your people, making us vigilant in these perilous times.”

Have a blessed week,

Steve

From debutante to Bible translator in the jungles of Brazil
posted August 21, 2017

From November 5-19, 2017, I’m challenging all Fellowship churches and people to join our Bible Engagement Project called #TheGreatestBook.

For 14 days and three Sundays we desire to read God’s Word together. On the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, we long to study God’s treasured gift, the Bible.

Flash images main page - Bible Engagement 2017

A Word from Brian Stiller About a Modern Gospel Champion

I recently read a blog post written by Global Ambassador for the World Evangelical Alliance and fellow Canadian, Brian C. Stiller. He tells the story of missionary Ruth Thomson who was recently featured in an article in the National Post (click HERE). Both Brian’s post and the National Post article show her deep commitment to bringing God’s Word to an unreached people. It’s truly an inspiration.

Brian tells us how Ruth Thomson was born into a life of privilege in Toronto high society. Instead of pursuing the life of a debutante for which her parents had groomed her, she graduated from Toronto Bible College (now Tyndale University College), and went on to study linguistics. She headed out as a team member with Wycliffe Bible Translators to live among the Kayapo people in the jungles of Brazil. These tribal people had a reputation for killing foreigners who strayed into their territory. Through unbelievable physical struggles and overcoming significant barriers, she lived with them for five decades.

 Steve's Emails - Jungle Waterfall

Ruth Thomson’s story is remarkable. She was one of tens of thousands of women called by God to go to places that most others wouldn’t go at a time when ministry leadership options for women were unavailable. Her work focused on developing a written language for the Kayapo people; making God’s Word accessible to them in new ways. Her story is one of bravery and resiliency. A great example of obedience to the call to see the Gospel go forth to the nations.

In his blog, Stiller goes on to comment about the incredible power of the written Word of God. He writes, “Three hundred years after Martin Luther and William Tyndale triggered the Protestant and English Reformation by translations of the Bible into the vernacular, a shoe cobbler from England set loose a fire storm of translations which in this century is still one of the most sustaining and critical elements underlying the outward move of Christian witness and prevailing faith.

“In 1793 William Carey, Father of modern missions, sailed for India where he translated the Scriptures into Bengali, Arabic, Hindi and Sanskrit. What he did became the basis of a strategy for Protestant missions generally. However, it wasn’t until the mid-twentieth century that a global movement devoted to Bible translation was organized.

“In 1942, Wycliffe Bible Translators was formed, bringing together translators already at work. It is one thing to translate, but another to get the Scripture into the hands of people. The numbers are astounding. In 2014, the United Bible Societies distributed a total of 428.2 million Scripture portions around the world. This is just this one Bible society, although the largest.”

I strongly encourage you to read Brian’s article in its entirety (for the full post, click HERE). You will be encouraged and reminded once again of the life-impacting gift we have been given through God’s Word.

 Steve's Emails - Open Bible

#TheGreatestBook

Being in God’s Word daily is so essential to a healthy spiritual life. I pray that each one of our Fellowship churches and people will enjoy the benefits of being in relationship with their Saviour in this way. We’ve created #TheGreatestBook Bible Engagement Project to encourage our brothers and sisters in their walk with Christ.

Please go to www.thegreatestbook.ca where you’ll find a #TheGreatestBook toolkit available for download. This toolkit includes:

  • 14-day devotional book
  • age-appropriate studies for adults, youth and children
  • sample sermons
  • promotional material including a Video

Plan for involvement in #TheGreatestBook from November 5-19, 2017. Post about your progress on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and use #TheGreatestBook to join in the conversation and share the truths God is revealing to you through His Word.

Don’t miss this opportunity to be studying God’s Word together as a church or believer within our Fellowship family. Check out the website today and download these free resources and tools.

Have a blessed week,

Steve