Friday, April 22, 2011

Telling a Teller About Jesus

I had the joy of talking to my bank teller about Jesus yesterday. She is from India, a very pleasant and kind woman, and we got to chatting about Easter. I told her that Good Friday commemorates the death of Jesus for sinners and that Easter commemorates the third day after his death when God raised Him from the dead. She looked shocked. Having lived in Canada for over twenty years she had no idea that was what Easter was all about.
I was shocked, too. It is so easy for me to forget how little people know of the Gospel. And how distorted the world’s perception of true Christianity can be (she later innocently assumed that “Canadian” equaled “Christian”).
I say all of this just to remind you, if you are a Christian, to be careful to not assume too much when talking to others about Jesus. It is a post-Christian world we live in and the most basic tenets of Christianity that my generation grew up understanding (even if rejecting) are unknown by most today.

Good Friday Service Tonight! (7PM - Winter Garden Theatre)

This is going to be a beautiful, amazing time of worshiping together and remembering the dying love of Jesus on our behalf. A couple of helpful hints for the night:

  1. Arrive early – around 6:30 – if you can. The doors open at 6:30, and by all indications from the other participating churches, we could have a pretty full house. The intriguing thing is that we are going to need tickets to get into the event. They are free, and can be picked up at the box office – but to get in, get your tickets and then take the escalator or elevators up to the theatre could easily eat up 15 minutes. 
  2. Only take as many tickets as you need. If you are meeting people, let them get their own; the area around the ticket box office is too small and easily will get congested, from what we can tell. Take your tickets and then head up to the theatre up the escalators, and grab some seats for your friends.
  3. The service begins with a theatrical meditation on the Cross by a professional actor, Ins Choi. It begins the service – you do not want to miss it! So don’t straggle or you will regret it!!
  4. There is a suggested donation of $20 per person to defray the costs of hosting this event. Please come with checks made out to Grace Toronto Church, or if you have cash, please grab an envelope from an usher as you enter the theatre. The envelopes have room to put your info on them for tax receipt purposes.
  5. There will be refreshments, for sale, after the service. The theatre is manning these concessions for us.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Good Friday Service - Some Important Updates

The Good Friday service will be framed around the Seven Sayings of Jesus from the cross. AW Pink wrote a great little book on these statements that would be wonderful reading in preparation for Friday. You can find those sayings in these passages:
  • The First Word – Luke 23: 32-38
  • The Second Word – Luke 23: 39-43
  • The Third Word – John 19: 25-27
  • The Fourth Word – Mark 15: 33-34
  • The Fifth Word - John 19: 28
  • The Sixth Word – John 19: 29-30
  • The Seventh Word – Luke 23: 44-46
You will need to get a ticket to get in to the Winter Garden Theatre. This is one of the few “double-decker” theatres left in the world and the Winter Garden sits atop the Elgin. As there will be an event going on in the Elgin at the same time, you will need to pick up a free ticket for our service in order to get in the building. Those tickets will be available at the ticket counter at the front of the theatre.

Again, the easiest parking looks to be at The Eaton Centre. Park there and walk across Yonge Street and you will be at the Elgin/Winter Garden.

More important than all of this, however, is what you do today. It is the week we remember the single most important event in human history.
  • Have you been reading the Gospels?
  • Praying?
  • Thinking about Jesus?
  • Talking about His death around your family table?
  • Confessing sin?
  • Remembering that Christ died for your sins and was raised?
Redeem these precious days.

Anticipating great things with you!

Perspective: Your trial is smaller than you think

Have you ever gone back to an old school or the house in which you grew up? Did the place seem a lot bigger in your memories of it?
I popped into my grade school a while ago and was flooded with recollections of seven of the most formative years of my life. But the most shocking realization was how small the building was. In my memories, those halls were hundreds of meters longer.
Today my office is located in a Christian school and just a few minutes ago the First Grade class ran by my window three times. There was a sweet little something trailing pretty far behind by lap three with a look on her face that said, “This is impossible!” I am sure that once around this little school building seems like quite a haul when you are less than three feet tall.
Some day, though, she may come back and chuckle to herself as she sees how short the distance really is.
What will it be for us, Christian, as we look back on this life? The trials that seemed so long and up hill and endless will be puny and insignificant. That can be hard to remember in the middle of your run unless your eyes are set on the finish line.
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4)