Let’s Talk About Evolution…

ev-screen So you’re sitting there minding your own business with the dude from the office across the hall says, “so you’re a Christian right? Why do Christians says dinosaurs never existed when there’s all the fossils to prove that they did and that the earth is 60 million years old?”

Ok so there’s a lot wrong with that assertive question, but where do you start? How do you begin to cause the skeptic to be skeptical about their own skepticism? Maybe it’s the fact that there is absolutely no evidence of evolution in transition within the fossil records – none, nada, zippo – whereas Darwin said there would be hundreds and thousands!

What do you say to the over-enthusiastic scientist who talks of the origins of life being a collision between Mercury and Earth? Do they have ‘proof’ – no just conjecture. Yet there are those who want to tear your little Christian head off about the galaxies, the universe, or maybe multi-verse because they make the presupposition that there is no God, no Creator – at least not the Creator of the Bible.

Check out the NEXT two-part presentation called “Let’s Talk About Evolution” with teacher Bill Humphreys, a long-time public and Christian School Educator who has more than a few things to say about the theory of evolution.

The sessions are at 9 a.m. till about 10:30 a.m. andimg_2701 will run Saturday mornings January 14 and 21 in the Fireside Room downstairs in the Church.

Bill and Pastor Rick!

Baptism – raised to LIFE!

For over two Millenia, Christians have been dunking people under water and pulling them back up again as a confessional sign of faith, saying “I’m all in!” when it comes to following Christ.

They’re raising a banner, saying, “I was dead; now I’m alive forevermore!”

But it goes back even further than 2000 years actually as Jewish leaders Moses and Joshua both led God’s people through the waters of the Red Sea and the Jordan – a type of immersion or baptism (mentioned in the New Testament) not to mention that the JewisCCLF-5795h people have long had a ceremonial practice of a type of baptism, a ritual cleansing, which took place before making a sacrifice, before going to the temple, or even as a general purification rite. It was done in a Mikvah pool. This is why there are so many ritual baths (Mikva-ot) around the Old City of Jerusalem. It’s reported in Acts that 3000 people were added to the church in one day in Jerusalem just after the resurrection of Jesus Christ… directly after the Apostle Peter answered their question of “what shall we do?” – with the response being “repent and be baptized.” And so they did.

But where would 3000 people get baptized in the middle of a desert mountain city? In the ritual baths around the city, and there are many – bath pools called Mikvahs from the 1st Century are still being discovered archeologically. The fact that there was a readiness to enter into baptism was all prepared ahead of time – the water was ready, the practice of immersion common. All they needed was a new reason. And that reason came in the form of Jesus Christ and Him crucified, dead, buried and risen again as preached by the early Church.

In a culture where ritual cleansing was so common, Peter told the people to repent (turn from your sin) and be baptized.

At that time, it had only been about three years since that wild man “Yohanan the Immerser” came out of the desert preaching the Kingdom of God and calling people to be “baptized” as a sign of repentance. Full immersion, under water and back up again – John the Baptist would not have sprinkled people — in fact, many Jews responded. At one point, this last-of-the-Old-Testament prophets who ate locusts and wild honey, said, “I must decrease, He must increase” speaking of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.

This Jesus, whom we believe to be the unique Son of God, truly God and truly man, was also baptized by “John” to fulfill all righteousness, he said. Think of that. Jesus Christ the Third Person of the Triune God, was baptized by a human being. If Jesus said yes to being baptized, shouldn’t you? He had no sin; we are full of sin.

And yet, it’s amazing to me that there are so many Christians who feel they do not need to bother.

“God knows my heart,” they say.

Hmmm.

It’s true He does know their hearts but there’s another side to baptism called obedience… and then there’s the public declaration, as a testimony of following Christ.

In a world that is full of man-made religions and ‘ways’ we proclaim to be true, Jesus Christ actually is the Way, the Truth and the Life! We need to let people know this! We have a duty and the privilege of joining with the hundreds of thousands believers who have gone before us through the waters of baptism over the centuries proclaiming Jesus as their Lord. Many, many of them have given their very lives to be baptized when persecution was prevalent in their neck of the Kingdom.

Some believers don’t seem to understand that the Lord actually wants them to put feet to their faith and be part of the historic church making this public declaration about following Jesus. Some Christians also fail to acknowledge that the command to ‘repent and be baptized’ is just that – a command! So yes, obedience is also part of the call. Many folks unemotionally and straight up intellectually are baptized simply as a step of obedience in their walk of faith. And it’s a beautiful thing to see adults do this. It really is a testimony to God’s work in their lives.SAM_1891

“Well, the thief on the cross – he wasn’t baptized!” They often say that as a hold out onto the last loop of foregoing baptism. And I get that. He had no time to be baptized, preach the Gospel, hand out tracts, or teach Sunday School. But he still preaches a pretty amazing message even today – and he was not ashamed to call Jesus His Lord in a very public and humiliating place.

Besides, unless you happen to be nailed to a first century cross beside the Unique Son of God, I don’t think you can use that as an excuse anyway.

So are we saved by being baptized? No. We are baptized because we are saved!

But do we have to be baptized in order to get into heaven? No. We get to. And it’s because we are going to heaven, we get baptized.

Yeah, but do we have to do this? No. But the question isn’t why should you; it’s why shouldn’t you? I know there are some instances where immersion baptism is impossible, sick bed, not enough water, legitimate reasons where it might be more appropriate to pour water over someone while they stand in a kiddie pool for instance – it’s been done. But for the most part, a full immersion dunk is possible. The opportunity comes around CCLF quite often.

In fact, well look at that, we happen to be having a baptism opportunity on the weekend of Dec. 4-5. How about you? Will you take the plunge? It can be at the Saturday Night Church at 5:30 p.m., the 9 a.m. service or the 11 a.m. service. Let’s do this!

For more information contact info@cclf.ca or Pastor Rick at rick@cclf.ca.

 

 

 

One Church Gathering

image1 (2)Just because we say it is a One Church Gathering doesn’t mean that every church in the South Cariboo is gathering… but our aim as the Evangelical Pastors’ Association is that all who name Jesus Christ as their Lord, preach His Gospel and love His Word would actually gather together this coming Sunday at the Save-On parking lot. There will be those who want to stay within their four walls. That’s normal.

The original idea to get together in this fashion however, was birthed out of the pastors’ prayer weekly prayer time together. Someone asked, “why don’t we shut the doors of our buildings one Sunday and all just meet together?” Those who were there that day some years back, were excited about the possibilities to “make every effort to maintain unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3).

So the pastors plan out the service and the congregations come together and several surprises seem to take place, such as someone gets healed, someone simply walking by is drawn in and next thing you know, they start attending a church.

I liked it when I overheard one brother look across the Gathering and saw another guy and he shockingly states, “hey, I play hockey with that guy!” That’s very cool when Christians see each other, recognize Christ in one another, and that fact alone changes things. CCLF Poster – Aug 14 Proof (1)

That goes a long ways in maintaining unity of the Spirit in our little town.

So check it out this Sunday at 10 a.m. but more than checking it out, bring someone, look around and connect with someone. Don’t sit back as if it’s a show. The Bible says that “they’ll know we are Christians when they SEE our love one for another. So let’s be out there and represent!

Invite folks. Get involved. Spread the Word. Jesus is in town and there’s a Gathering at 10 a.m. in the Save On parking lot Sunday!

 

3-4-U!

hobbitYou might think that it has to do with parking problems. It doesn’t.

You might think it is because both Sunday services are generally 80% full. It’s not.

You might think our staff and volunteers need more to do. No, it’s definitely not that either.

But we are going on an adventure!

Moving to a third service opportunity for people is primarily for one reason – souls. Last I checked there were still around 20,000 people in our area – and that basically doubles in summer time — and yet a generous estimation of those who would say they are connected with an evangelical Bible-loving, Jesus-centered church here (that’s connected, not even regularly attending or involved!) would only be around 800 folks! There is work to be done!

Yes we are having pretty full services on Sunday generally speaking, and yes there are parking problems at times BUT the main thing is – there are many people yet to be reached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our area. Looking for more to do? Ha! We would love to be doing a better job of looking after the folks we have, however, that is not a reason to stop growing, stop reaching, stop hoping, stop sowing! The harvest is still ripe! We are called to grow. We are called to make disciples. We are called to provide as many opportunities as we can for people in the South Cariboo to hear the Gospel; we are called to be part of the Church Christ is building. If we lose our passion for souls, we lose. We become stagnant and inward focused. We cannot let that happen. We are called to be a healthy church and healthy churches grow. They are not perfect but they do grow if things are being done rightly. Now growing things change, and changing things challenge.

So we know there will be challenges in this experiment – and that is what it is. I am not afraid to look back after we’ve experimented for a couple months and go – “well guys, this ain’t working, let’s do something different.”

3-4-U

So we are going to experiment for 10 weeks starting Saturday September 24th at 5:30 p.m. The content will be the same as Sunday morning; the worship teams the same as Sunday morning; offerings will be cheered at, video announcements will be groaned at — the DNA is the same – but it will be a different sibling, and as a result we will have challenges.

We’ll be facing challenges as far as our volunteers and staff. We are looking at our rotations both in the preaching and in the worship teams, not to mention ushering, greeting, security — so there will be more opportunity for people to utilize their skills as well. This will unfold as we see who it is that become part of the Saturday evening crowd.

Sunday mornings will look or feel a little different as a result of ‘more red space’ in the pews and this is predicted and very normal. We hope though that after a few weeks of adjusting the sails, that all three services will begin to fill in the red space of the pews because of what God is doing — and the contagious result is that people start inviting their friends.

Our leadership team feels strongly this is the right time and space to try this experiment so we are going to give it a go, knowing that we all need to be flexible and fluid, and have great grace for one another in the journey!

So pack your bags, buckle up, chip in for gas cuz we are about to embark on a new adventure!

Norm Strauss in concert!

page-photo-419892Canadian born singer-songwriter Norm Strauss will be here for a ‘living room’ style concert on the Canada Day weekend.

The gifted storyteller will play on Sunday, July 3 in the Fireside Room at CCLF at 7 p.m. Admission will be by donation, like chipping in for gas on a long & beautiful journey. His career spans 30 years and he is a master performer, having made it into the finals even in The Voice Germany last year.

If you like amazing guitar playing, a bard-like passion for stories of life and faith, struggles and joys, you won’t want to miss this amazing opportunity to experience this veteran performer live in concert!

 

Shylo Sharity Worship Concert

shylosharityEnter into an amazing evening of worship with Shylo Sharity Wednesday, June 22 at CCLF at 7 p.m.

Sponsored in part by the Gideons, the concert will also feature some incredible stories of the Word of God impacting people across the globe.

Concert is free to attend, free to enter into, free to engage in and free to be blessed at!

Mark your calendar! It’s coming up fast!

Check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dWDPv8Q7M4

 

 

An encouraging note…

Every once in a while a letter like this comes across my desk and simply cheers the heart. I feel I should share it with a caution, that we boast only in what Christ has done as we are reminded to live out a couple of verses in particular in Isaiah 26 — Isaiah 26:8 “Yes, Lord, walking in Your ways, we wait for You. Your Name and Your fame are the desire of our hearts.” And Isaiah 26:12 – “Indeed everything we have done, Lord, You have accomplished for us.”
Pastor Rick
Where does one begin with Who we have for as such an awesome God? Psalm 119:161 – “but my heart stands in awe of Your words.” Psalm 117:2 – For Great is His steadfast love for us and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.”
I have experienced His love before but never to the depth as this past year in coming to CCLF.
He has created such a melting pot of souls that, this is the most profound Christian family that I have had the pleasure of knowing and belonging to.
His people here give love so freely one cannot help but feel breathless. They are self-sacrificing, humble, kind, generous, good – the words and expressions of their love is endless.
I have been so blessed by all of you – not just the ones I have come to know but the others also with whom I am less familiar. Because we live as one body in Christ, I am blessed in spirit by Spirit. I Cor. 12:12 “For just as the body is one that has many parts so it is with Christ.”
I am sharing this because I have been rendered speechless by the generosity of one or more persons this past week. I am stunned and brought to my knees with praise and thanksgiving, first for such a loving God and secondly for such a people who willingly obey the Spirit of God as they are prompted!
We can never outdo God in generosity Luke 6:38 “give and it will be given to you, pressed down, a good measure, shaken together and running over poured out into your lap – for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”
So this runs both ways – if what God sees you give is the most you can give, even if it seems little to you, He blesses it. And if you think the gift you give will bless someone – even though you may not know how much, I believe if the one who gets it is blessed 20 fold in their eyes, then the one who gave it will be blessed 20 fold as well!
We all come from different places, countries, cultures, churches etc. None of it matters for we are all one in Christ. So let me say Thank You to each and every one of you. May God bless each and every one of you all as richly as the He has blessed me in coming here, back home with God our Father, Christ our brother and the Holy Spirit our Comforter and Teacher.
Your loving sister in Christ, Theresa S.

Newcomer Discovery Luncheon!

indyAre you new to CCLF?

Do you feel new to CCLF?

Have you been here for years yet still don’t know anybody? (that’s sad, but still possible)

Come to our Newcomers’ Discovery Luncheon on Sunday May 29, after the second service. It’s all provided for you and it all takes place at The Rock. What? You’ve never been there? Well let us show you around! Look at the things God has given us to steward — the Rock is a great place to hold a moderate sized gathering, play pool or fooseball, watch a big screen (12′) sports event, come to a Band of Brothers gathering, or hold a birthday party etc. etc.

You’ve obviously been to the church but have you checked out our offices building? Have you seen our Kingdom Kids space? What about the back 40? Do you know who are leaders are? What’s the deal with Israel and CCLF? Why are video announcements so big around here? What is the overarching vision of CCLF? How does this eldership thingy work – are they elected, nominated, have campaigns and win primary votes? No? So are they appointed like the Senate? How does the admin team fit in? What do they do and how come they get pizza?

All these questions and more will be addressed at the 2016 Newcomers Lunch as well as just getting an opportunity to chat with people, including the leaders.

Again, it’s Sunday, May 29 after the Second Service. And it’s at the Rock. RSVP today to info@cclf.ca

 

Peace Meal – Come to the Table

IMG_1584Looking for a unique night out this April? Bring your family and friends to PEACE MEAL, a very special and inspiring event combining music and story taken from the Gospels coming to a church in 100 Mile near you.

The amazingly talented troupe is made up of guitarist Russ Rosen, sought-after keyboardist extraordinaire (meaning he plays a mean saxophone as well) Brett Ziegler and 21st century “bard” Justyn Rees.

Hailing from the UK, Rees uses a wide array of accents from a rich Scottish brogue to a London cockney in playing some of the main characters surrounding the final days on earth of Jesus Christ, and how they interact with their “Boss” as well as each other.

Rosen and Ziegler use a blend of contemporary and classic Christian songs as well as some secular tunes from the current hit parade to highlight the storytelling of Rees. Together they poke a bit of fun at the common church-goer, environmentalists, protestants & Catholics and in the meantime speak a powerful message of reconciliation throughout.IMG_1583

Here’s the schedule as it stands with an offering each night to help cover expenses:

Sunday, April 24 – 7 p.m. at CCLF (Check it out if you’re a little sketchy before inviting your friends to one of the other nights! But then make sure you invite them!)

Tuesday, April 26 – 7 p.m. Bethel Chapel

Wednesday, April 27 – 7 p.m. New Wine Fellowship

Thursday, April 28 – 7 p.m. Lac La Hache Presbyterian Church

Mark your calendars and do something special for Passover Week! Come to Peace Meal at a church near you!Peace Meal

Risen

risenOne of the new movies out this month is called “Risen” and it’s about the Roman centurion’s pursuit of the truth — did this Jesus of Nazareth actually rise from the grave or didn’t he?

This Passover, we ask you to go on that same quest for the truth – and then do something with it. Because truly, if Jesus did not rise from grave, it really doesn’t matter what Christians are saying…they are a bunch of fools if that’s the case ~ but if Jesus actually did rise from the grave… then nothing else really matters at all.

The resurrection of Christ, the catalyst for Christianity to sweep the planet the way it has, has been debated for two Millenia but never once been disproved. All the evidence points to it being true actually — the appearances of the post-crucifixion Christ, the start of the church, the dramatic transformation of skeptics, including members of his own family – the change in many doubters from the depths of depression into a amazingly radical new way of living, not to mention the conversions down through the ages, the launchings of hospitals, schools and orphanages and ministry to the poor of every kind– all of these point to the resurrection being true.

No body was ever found. Think about it. The religious zealots against this whole thing would’ve produced the body if it were all a farce. The disciples of Christ, who were accused of stealing the body, were all doubters themselves but then convinced of the resurrection when Jesus appeared to them, ate with them, cooked fish on a beach with them (hallucinations don’t do that) and laughed with them.

Speaking of hallucinations, there’s no such thing as a mass hallucination. There were 500 people at one time who saw Jesus alive and well after he had been crucified, dead and buried.

Roman crucifixions never failed. People didn’t get down off the cross alive. To make sure of his death, the Gospels records that a spear was driven into the side of Jesus where “blood and water flowed out” — the only place where blood and water can flow out is the pericardium, the sac that surrounds the heart. The Roman Tribune responsible for carrying out the crucifixions was a professional. He didn’t miss a beat. Everyone who was crucified died. It was the Tribune’s duty to make sure of that.risen

The theories that say Christ just went comatose on the cross are not probable, possible maybe but when you look at the details, the evidence says “no” it is ridiculous to think he just ‘appeared like he was dead’ but woke up later in the tomb and made the appearances.

Really? What about the 100 pounds of spices laid on his already torn and beaten body? What about the garrison of Roman Legionnaires standing guard at the tomb? What about the 1000 pound rock rolled up against the tomb itself? What about the wounds of the cross, not to mention the scourge?

What about the appearances he would make in rooms that were locked and barred? Or of the appearances along the beach? The 500 people at one time? What about the skeptics, including his brother James, who was convinced afterward that his bro was indeed the Messiah of God? How could that happen?

What about Saul who became Paul? How did this bruised and beaten up Christ manage all the smoke and mirrors that dramatically changed this religious zealot persecuting the early church contingent into a man who would lay down his very life in preaching that Christ was indeed who he said he was – the Risen Son of God! How did Jesus make him go blind and then receive his sight a few days later just when someone prayed for him if all he was was a country preacher who was beat up but survived?

How do you explain the fact the every one of his disciples, save maybe one, laid down their lives – being literally killed by brutal means – for something they knew was a lie? Men don’t do that. The fact is – they knew it was true! They knew Jesus had actually risen from the grave! They knew he proved every one of his words to be true! They knew that heaven is real, the other dimension is real, the Son of God is real and is alive and everything he said is true INCLUDING THAT HE IS GOING TO COME BACK AGAIN! It is all real and it’s all true – and that’s what changed their lives forever.

That was the fact that launched the church back then, that launches churches and missionaries and every believer today to tell the good news – Jesus Christ is who he said he is – the Living Son of God – and he is the “way, the truth and the life;” no one comes to the Father except by him.

The Good News about Easter is not that we have another religion or another philosophy or just a way of life, or some good rules and moral behaviour to follow- the good news is that He who was dead is now alive, and in Him we too can be alive!

It is salvation for our very souls not only for here and now, but also forever and ever! He is not “a” way; he is the Way! It’s not that many roads lead to heaven; it is Good News to know that there is in fact ONE WAY! There is! And His name is Jesus!

Come celebrate with us at 9 or 11 a.m. on Easter Sunday morning, March 27. It is going to be one very special day!