Healing ON MISSION. EVERYONE. EVERYWHERE. ALL THE TIME.
A MOMENT WITH DAVE On mission. Everyone. Everywhere. All the time.
Our God of Miracles
Alliance Connection magazine is a publication of The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada (C&MA). The Alliance family is a mosaic of ages, cultures, and perspectives. The purpose of the magazine is to inspire and motivate everyone to live on mission.
Founder A.B. Simpson President David Hearn Director of Communications Carol Roycroft Assistant Director of Communications Denise Lodge Editor and Graphic Design Gladys Thompson Copy Editor Katie McNamara Web Coordinator Matthew Caldwell
cornerstone of Alliance theology and thought is the firm belief in supernatural things and a supernatural God. One of the powerful manifestations of this belief is in spiritual, relational, emotional, and physical healing. Over the past eight months, I have personally seen more people filled with the Holy Spirit and more people healed than in all my previous years of ministry combined. Recently, I received the following email from a woman in one of our Alliance congregations. She writes; Due to a traumatic incident in my past, I had suffered with a pain in my back for 42 years. With age, my scoliosis became worse, and because of this spot, I could not fully straighten up on the left side, as the pain there caused me to pitch forward in order to relieve it. After being prayed over, the pain disappeared! I was planning on waiting for a week to see if the pain had actually left before telling the news to my small group. A friend who overheard part of the prayer came to me on Wednesday night saying, “You have news for me, don’t you?” At first I didn’t know what she meant. She was excited and pressed on, “You were healed, weren’t you?” I playfully scolded, “Shh, I haven’t even told my husband yet.” I told my small group the news that evening before our prayer time. The pain was still gone the next Sunday, and so I shared the news with my pastor. He had me share it with the congregation. Praise the Lord!
I have determined to enter every ministry situation with a deep expectation that God will show up in a supernatural way. In the following pages of this magazine, you will be invited to witness God’s power to heal in a variety of situations. Amy Flater will share how God delivered her from demonic darkness. Chris Kehler will describe the miraculous healings taking place in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. Mike Wilkins will share his encounter with God in the midst of battling terminal cancer. A.W. Tozer made the declaration that, “We must declare war on the mood of non-expectation.” My hope is that this issue of Alliance Connection will raise your expectations, and you too will experience a fresh taste of the supernatural power of God. Dave Hearn, President
Alliance Connection - Spring/Summer 2017
All articles are copyrighted by The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada except where indicated. Permission is given for up to 1,000 photocopies for use in a local church or classroom. Reprints must include the credit line indicating Alliance Connection as the source and the date of the publication. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™ Submissions Writer’s Guidelines Advertising Policy Disclaimer Alliance Connection does not endorse every opinion or event reported or every product advertised. Alliance Connection does not endorse any advertiser nor does it take responsibility for the accuracy of any claims made in the advertisements. To subscribe or for more information, contact: Alliance Connection The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada 30 Carrier Dr, Ste 100 Toronto ON M9W 5T7 Phone: (416) 674-7878 ext. 202 Email: email@example.com Canada Post Agreement No. 40064689 ISSN 2369-9469 ISSN 2369-9477 (online)
Contents F E AT U R E S
A Risk Worth Taking A soul’s journey to restoration
My Soul Tingled When God took our founder’s health in hand
Healing Relationships Walking towards truth and reconciliation
PLUS 9 16 19 21 22 28 32 34 36 38 40 48 50 52 53 55 56 60
The Final Count Casting Out Demons Invisible Illness From a Bottle to a Bible When Your Past Hurts Your Present Jesus as Healer Healed A Restored Hand Apart From a Miracle Why This? An Accessible Resource Escaping Exploitation Caught in the Grip The Radicalization of a Son Up in Smoke The Fort McMurray Fire Letting Go of Losses Cycling for a Common Purpose
D E PA R T M E N T S
2 4 5 7 10 18 30 31 35 46 58 61 62
A Moment with Dave • Our God of Miracles Readers Write On Mission Together • Updates from Around the World A Future in Missions • Prepared to Go Reflections • The Ancestry of Ambrose University Asian Spice Region • Victory Over Fear Sea to Sea Region • Taste and See Desert Sand Region • Desperate for a Miracle Caribbean Sun Region • Conquering Chemo Impressions • The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die Perspectives • Awakening the Giant Alliance-Generated Resources • Books by Joy Tira Now You Know • Reclaiming Sabbath
These articles are also available online at cmacan.org/stories. Add your comments or join the conversation on Facebook.com/CMAllianceinCanada and on Twitter at #liveonmission.
FIRST CLASS MAIL
Comments are taken from letters, social media, and our online articles, at cmacan.org/stories. Messages may be edited for space, clarity, and style. We’d love to hear from you! Email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to: Alliance Connection The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada • 30 Carrier Dr, Ste 100 • Toronto ON M9W 5T7
New Intercessors I had a small prayer team from Belleville sign up to join the NMC Prayer Intercessors after reading the article in the magazine! I thought that was very exciting! Thanks for your help with that.
unconditional Love. Praise Jesus for His faithfulness. I’m excited! Joe J. (on Facebook)
Thanks! Thank you for your excellent magazine, Alliance Connection. Very well done!
Great Testimony How cool is this? What a great testimony. Nice to see that our Lord has and is pouring His Spirit on this Church Body. Gifts of the Holy Spirit, i.e.: Prophecy in The Missionary Alliance Church? This is super exciting. A tip? The Spirit of Prophecy never deviates from God’s Word, as it is the testimony of Jesus. (Revelations 19:10) and exists entirely in pure, “Cheeriosity”
Got a new poster for my wall thanks to @CMAinCanada. #Pray #Go #liveonmission #AllianceConnection
Claire (on Twitter)
Resource for Prayer and Vision I receive the Alliance Connection magazine and enjoy it very much. I have just gone through the Fall/ Winter 2016 issue; it is stimulating to prayer and broader vision for
reaching the least evangelized. I commend you on an excellent magazine.
Immeasurable Impact Thanks for posting this. I got saved while participating in the ministry of RAC (Rexdale Alliance Church) as a young man and met the [Krishnan family] at a very impressionable time in my life - so glad I did! The impact they have had on me is immeasurable. Their love for people, for the church and their example of what shepherding a flock looks like has given my wife and me a deep love for the bride as well. Hoping one day to do it [as] well as them! Glen S. (on Facebook)
Thank you for blessing us with SEAC/MCLC’s testimony in the Fall/Winter 2016 issue of Alliance Connection. The reminder of the widow who gave the two very small copper coins exemplifies someone who gave out of poverty. This is a blessed and real instantiation of what I call “cheeriosity.” She gave cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:7) and generously (2 Corinthians 9:6). We are often reminded of Jesus’ promise that it is “more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). We dwell on the blessings in giving. However, when we count the bounteous blessings that we have already received, we can appreciate that our giving will be even much more blessed. Thanks for sharing first-hand God’s throwing open the floodgates of Heaven and pouring out so much blessing upon SEAC/MCLC. And you have blessed us with honouring God with your testimony.
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ON MISSION TOGETHER
Updates from Around the World Praise and prayer items from our workers
Samuel House—Steve and Heidi, CAC After fourteen months of living in our host country, God has called us to a new adventure in another nation. We have enjoyed the culture, climate, and cuisine (especially the coffee) in this lush and picturesque country. We are now settled in our new host country, where we will be establishing Samuel House—a cross-cultural training centre for Latin American international workers. Praise God for the March 2017 launch of this ministry! Please pray that our partnership with the national church will continue to be strong throughout the years.
Regional Developers’ Update The C&MA has a presence in 18 countries in the Sun region, ministering to 20+ unreached people groups, plus diaspora people groups that have transitioned into the region. On one island, there are 63 established churches and 93 church plants in process. This came about because of a significant prayer movement that went way beyond the C&MA. The population of Mexico City is larger than 75% of the countries in the world, with 329 people groups registered in the country, 125 of them being least-reached (2% reached or less). Pray for more international workers to be sent to the 23 million people living in the greater Mexico City area.
God Came Before Us—Gary and Sharon Howell, Senegal We continue to be amazed as we realize that God has indeed come before us to prepare the way. Gary has been invited to join with new
believers and some men who are still seeking the truth as they study what it means to follow Jesus. The decision to follow after Jesus is not always an easy one. Families often respond negatively. One man’s wife has left him and took his child with her, but he continues to believe that Jesus is worth it. He’s quite an encouragement to my (Sharon) own faith. Just a few years ago, this man was on his way to becoming a religious leader. Now he has a heart for the Gospel. Regional Developers’ Update Celebrate with us that many were saved this past year and 29 new believers in a prison in Guinea have been baptized!
Maternal Mortality Rate Niger: 553 deaths out of 100,000 Canada: 7 deaths out of 100,000
Over in Niger, Al is leaving his church family to move to Burkina Faso to help his wife’s family. He left his Nigerian brothers saying, “Don’t let go of Jesus!” In turn, his brothers in Christ sent him off with their blessing. In the region of North Africa, John, the only believer in his family and larger community, is courageous and follows Jesus at the cost of personal persecution and social isolation. Also in North Africa, Moses is open and seeking. Pray with us that he and his family will find Jesus!
Alice—“Wade and Cara”, CAC We first met Alice as our 16-year-old neighbour living with her family. She studied and worked at the local bazaar selling sunflower seeds. She was the youngest of six children and eager to learn English. We kept up our relationship with Alice, and seven years later she was avidly seeking God and reading the teachings of Jesus. We had no idea that she would be the first we would see cross over from death to life (John 5:24)! Ten years later, she is now married and expecting her first child. Regional Developers’ Update We are working in partnership all over the region. In Germany, we partnered with a church near a [refugee] processing centre and did a come-and-go coffee house where we shared the Gospel message. Praise God for the eight refugees that were led to the Lord and discipled as well as 80 others who were baptized. An intercessor team has been established for our region. If you would like to join them, please pray for the least-reached people groups: Algerians in France,
Moroccans in Spain, 10 million Kazakhs, 76 million Turks, and 54+ million Gulf Arabs.
Fake News—Albert and Elaine Lu There has been quite a bit of anger over fake news on the internet. People should get angry when what they have been told turns out to be fabricated lies. But what about faith? It should be based on truth, not something someone made up. For the past year, there have been people coming to Baozhong who claim to be God’s followers but do not preach that it is by grace we can be saved through Christ. For new Christians and those exploring Christianity, it is quite confusing. Please pray for the people of Baozhong, that they will see the true light and not be confused by fake Good News. Regional Developers’ Update
The “T” people of Nepal who follow Christ are diligent teachers, committed to discipling new believers and taking His message to others. More than 100 families in Nepal are following Christ because local believers travelled to remote villages to rebuild homes and share their hope in Jesus. During our recent Holy Spirit Encounter Retreat, God met us in beautiful ways. Besides good teaching, we had many
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opportunities to pray for each other. Several people were healed physically and emotionally.
New Ventures—Dave Enns As I attended the baptismal service of the Uptown Community Church New Venture in Waterloo, ON, I was struck with this realization: the person leading the baptismal service was Jeremy Burke, who launched a New Venture called Downtown Community Church. The person behind him was Raja Stone, pastor of Uptown Community Church, another New Venture. With Raja was Sharon Ninaber, one of the pastors at The Manor, a New Venture in Guelph, ON. Here I was witnessing two New Ventures performing a baptism mediated by a future New Venture. I was in awe by the fact that these three New Ventures wouldn’t exist without the partnership of other churches. Amazing things happen when we work together in His name. Holy Spirit Encounter—Airdrie Alliance Church In fall 2016, we hosted a Holy Spirit Encounter. We had 170 people register and even had to turn some people away! Our ministry team and lead team was used by God in so many ways to pray for people, leading them into freedom or healing in Jesus, and it enabled our own team to go to the next level of readiness and expectancy. Arthritis was healed, feet were healed, wounded hearts were healed, hands were healed, weak bodies were made strong, shame and guilt and lies were cut off of God’s people, and many were encouraged by our amazing God.
A Future in Missions
Prepared to Go New workers follow God’s leading into global ministries
Caribbean Sun/ Mexico Ray and Cindy Perry Both Ray and Cindy have attended and been involved with Alliance churches their entire lives. They dedicated their lives to God in high school and attended Canadian Bible School in Regina, SK, where they met. Right after graduation they served in Cold Lake, AB (Grand Centre Alliance Church). This was followed by ministry in Sherwood Park Alliance, in Gregory Drive Alliance in Chatham, ON, and at Stony Plain Alliance Church, AB, working with youth and missions. Ray and Cindy love to be with students and minister to them. This passion has turned into a calling. The Perrys will serve as Envision Site Coordinators in Mexico City, directing young people as they decipher God’s call on their lives.
Asian Spice Region Lisa
Lisa accepted Jesus at age 16. Due to circumstances around her parents’ divorce, she went to live with a couple from her church. Lisa’s experience with this family led her to give her life fully to Jesus. She made a vow to God to be the kind of person to others that this family had been to her. A few years later, Lisa took a step of faith and served in Mozambique for 10 years. She experienced challenges on the field but never once thought God abandoned her. Lisa experienced the filling of the Holy Spirit while taking an Inner Healing course. After this experience she enjoyed a new hunger for God, His Word became alive; she was filled with joy and her faith grew. As she looks to the future in church ministry, she is excited about the new challenges and opportunities as she journeys with God into new frontiers.
Desert Sand and Silk Road Regions Ricky
Growing up in the church, Ricky was like the older brother in the story of the Prodigal Son— involved in much religious activity but with no genuine affection for God. It was not until his first year of university that God began to open his eyes to the glories in Christ Jesus. Ricky’s passion is for the people of North Africa living in the Desert Sand and Silk Road regions. As an Envision apprentice, he will be joining two respective teams with the same vision. This will involve linguistic and cultural learning to appropriately communicate and display the love of Christ to the people of North Africa. He will focus on developing relationships with university students and local friends.
Silk Road/ Germany Karissa Gilbertson Karissa grew up as a third culture kid in South America. Following high school, she took part in a Discipleship Training School with Youth with a Mission (YWAM) in Germany. At 18, she experienced a sense of calling to full-time ministry. During her first four years back in Canada, Karissa experienced a season of personal and spiritual dryness; however, she also sensed a re-affirmation of that original call into fulltime ministry outside of Canada. In the past two years, Karissa has been serving NewSongHD in Heidelberg, Germany, as an apprentice alongside Ralph and Ruth Shareski. She will continue serving in Germany as a full-time international worker.
Silk Road/ Norway Glen and Ivy Milanowski Glen grew up in a Catholic home, but stopped practicing Catholicism at 18. He believed in Jesus after meeting Ivy at work and attending church with her. An alter call at Urbana in 2012 led him to dedicate his life to the Lord’s work. Ivy gave her life to God at 16. During her first short-term trip to Norway, she felt the Gospel’s lack of influence in the culture. The Milanowskis will be ministering to the young people of Norway. It is their dream to be a part of cross-cultural ministry to youth and ultimately for Christ-centered family values to flourish in Scandinavia.
The Final Count Jaffray Offering Update By Brian Thom
obert Jaffray (1873-1945) was filled with a deep passion for going where the Good News of Jesus Christ had never been preached. He was part of a group of missionaries sent by A. B. Simpson to bring the Gospel to Wuchow, South China, Jaffray’s sending base for the following 35 years. As part of the C&MA, our desire is to keep sharing the Good News—the hope and freedom of Jesus—with people who may never have heard of Him before! This past year, we launched the first annual Jaffray Offering to keep sending the Gospel to leastreached people groups around the world. This year, through donors’ commitment to the Jaffray Offering and to the Global Advance Fund, we are sending people to share the Good News with the Wolofs, Fulanis, and Yazidis in Senegal and Northern Iraq.
Our initial goal for this first year was an offering of at least $500,000. We knew this might be a stretch for an initial appeal, but we stepped out in faith. We praise the Lord for His faithfulness through His people in the C&MA in Canada. Our stats as of December 31, 2016 are as follows: Churches involved: Funds received from churches: Funds received from individuals: Total Funds received:
108 $456,000 $59,000 $515,000
Will we do this again? Absolutely! Let’s trust God together for being a part of His plan in reaching people who still have not heard that Jesus loves them. •
Rev. Brian Thom is director of development for The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada
The Ancestry of Ambrose University Building a strong educational future By Sandy Ayer
e recommend the encouragement and expansion of regional…schools,” reads a motion adopted by the 1920 Annual Meeting of the C&MA. In response, A. W. Roffe, superintendent of the District of Canada*, urged the district to open a national training school in Toronto. By the summer of 1921, the District of Canada Committee had begun to lay plans. Paul Rader, president of the C&MA, informed the committee that neither he nor the C&MA’s Board of Managers approved of the project, since Toronto already had a good Bible school (the Toronto Bible School [see sidebar]). Then, at its Annual Meeting of May 1922, the C&MA unexpectedly approved the project. Walter M. Turnbull, dean of the C&MA’s flagship school, the Missionary Training Institute (Nyack, NY), advised the Committee to seek the blessing
H.R. Pannabecker (registrar and treasurer) and E. Ralph Hooper (principal of CBI), c. 1925
Tuition is $15.00 per term, or $30.00 for the school year; entrance fee is $1.00. Board and room are being arranged for an average cost of $6.00 per week. taken from the Preliminary Announcement of the Canadian Bible Institute, 1924
of Principal McNicol of Toronto Bible School, who later deemed the venture “a very wise and timely move.” Planning then began in earnest, but the Committee was unable to find a principal for the school, and so its opening was delayed for another two years. Finally, in May 1924, a board of governors was formed, with Walter Turnbull as chair. Turnbull’s brother, John, a C&MA missionary on furlough, agreed to serve as principal. That same month, the C&MA purchased land on which to build a 50’ x 50’ facility (which was to include “appropriate stairs for the sexes”). Canadian Bible Institute (CBI) opened on September 15, 1924 with 29 students. Within weeks, another Canadian C&MA training school, Great West Bible Institute (GWBI), began educating leaders. The following year, the principalship of CBI passed to E. Ralph Hooper, the former dean of the C&MA’s Boston Bible Training School. He ensured that
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the school’s curriculum followed that of the Missionary Training Institute, which had become all but inaccessible to Canadian students because the United States had recently implemented a more restrictive immigration policy. Things went smoothly at the new school, and it turned out a steady stream of leaders (21 in 1928, 11 of whom were women) until July 1929, when the Board of Managers decided to close six of the C&MA’s nine training schools to offset a movement-wide decline in revenues. All attempts to reopen CBI during the 1930s were quashed by the leadership of the C&MA. Finally, pastors Willis Brooks (a CBI alumnus) and George Blackett (a former board member) took matters into their own hands. In October 1941, with the blessing of Gordon Skitch, superintendent of the Western Canadian District, they “re-established” Canadian Bible Institute in Regina. Convinced that the initiative would be rejected if they went
Photos courtesy C&MA Archives
CBI faculty and students 1927-28
Canadian Bible Institute, Toronto
through normal channels, they consulted neither the Eastern and Central Canadian District nor the board of managers. As a result, the school had to wait another four years for official recognition. It was also required to change its name to Western Canadian Bible Institute (WCBI). In 1944, the Eastern and Central District received approval to establish a school in Toronto, but the project foundered for lack of leadership and proper facilities. In 1956, WCBI (later, Canadian Bible College) was declared to be the national school for the C&MA in Canada. â€˘
*Editorâ€™s Note: Throughout the early years the C&MA in Canada was governed by the Alliance in the United States. An autonomous Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada came a giant step closer at the founding Assembly held in Winnipeg in June 1980. A constitution was adopted, a president elected, and a board of directors chosen in preparation for full Canadian autonomy on January 1, 1981.
The first Alliance educational institution in Canada was actually the Toronto Missionary Training School. It was founded by Canadian Alliance patriarch John Salmon on October 16, 1893, but it only lasted a couple of years because of competition from Toronto Bible School (founded in 1894), which was better funded and had a broader appeal. Toronto Bible School is the institutional ancestor of Tyndale Seminary and Tyndale University College.
Sandy Ayer is the director of Library Services, Ambrose University and C&MA archivist
I canâ€™t describe the closeness to God and the happiness I felt 12
AllianceConnection Connection- Spring/Summer - Fall 2016 Alliance 2017
A Risk Worth Taking A soul’s journey to restoration By Amy Flater
Photo courtesy Amy Flater
y walk with Jesus is made up of moments of closeness and moments of dryness (as with every other Christian), but I had never had a real experience of His love for me. For a long time, I was skeptical of the supernatural because I had seen it used the wrong way. I assumed those things were for “more spiritual” people, not someone like me. I was encouraged to attend a Holy Spirit Encounter, a three-day weekend based on teaching and on experiencing the Holy Spirit. I kept putting it off but finally decided to go because I was interested in learning more about the Holy Spirit, even if I wasn’t one of those “more spiritual” people. I was blessed in many ways over that weekend. During one of our exercises of listening to God, we were to ask God if He could play a game with us, and which game He would choose. I heard God answer, “Tag.” Then I asked God, “Why that game?” His answer was a picture of me as a child laughing and running around a big playground, and Jesus chasing me. He said, “I love pursuing you, and I love when you pursue me.” Wow. I wanted that. I wanted a filling of His Spirit. Later, practising listening to God for others, a woman in my group told me, “Amy, God knows you want His Spirit, and He wants to give Him to you, but there is a wall blocking Him.” A wall? I was mad. Who says that? I was there, open to what God had for me, and there was a wall? What about pursuing me? That was not what I wanted to hear. Later, it came time for the teaching of the filling of the Spirit. I listened, and I wanted it. I wanted an experience with God. We were told to trust God and not to come with an agenda but to come with an expectation for God to move. I am not good at trusting Him or many people. I like to get things done my way and on my own. I was prayed for but nothing happened. It felt like a heavy blanket. I left thinking about that wall, but I was also excited because I had seen God work in some cool ways, and He had spoken to me. I left wanting more.
The same man who had encouraged me to go to the Holy Spirit Encounter was now telling me I should go to a week-long Soul Equipping Conference. It wasn’t until the week before the event that I decided to commit. Cleaning House I have had a recurring nightmare throughout my life. I am in a big, old house full of random stuff, as if a hoarder lived there. There are always new rooms, and I always feel afraid when I explore them. There is a man there who never speaks to me, but he is always busy doing something, and I always feel afraid of him. He gives me the creeps. This dream has been in my life for as long as I can remember, and I have it a couple of times a year. The week that I registered for this conference, I had a dream of the same house. I felt scared because I know this house. “Not this dream,” I think to myself. But then I notice that the house is empty. The man is not there; it is a different man. I don’t feel afraid of him, but I’m confused because the dream is different. I approach this new man and ask him, “What are you doing?” He replies, “I’m cleaning house.” Over the course of the week, we focused mostly on healing our souls. Dr. Rob Reimer gave us the picture of our souls being a suitcase; we need to empty that suitcase if we want God to fill us. I had moments of resistance within myself during the week, but God is gracious, and He doesn’t give up easily on us. The end of the week was the grand finale. We learned about deliverance ministry, dealing with demonic forces in your life. Deliverance If there’s anything not of God holding on to part of you, it will make itself known when asked some basic questions. The first question asked was, “Is Jesus Lord?” A man two rows behind me screams in the scariest, darkest voice I have ever heard, “NO!”
Healing FAQs What does the Bible say about healing? The Bible has much to say about healing in both Old and New Testaments. Jesus died on the cross to redeem the whole person. Isaiah predicted the healing ministry of the Messiah. Matthew presents Christ as the Healer. Peter notes the ongoing healing work of Christ, and healing continues to be practiced by the Church (Isaiah 53:4-5, 10; Matthew 8:16-17; 1 Peter 2:24). Do people have to be sick with a physical illness to be anointed? No! People have been anointed for depression, bad habits, mental problems, handicaps, emotional difficulties, and things they feel Satan is bothering them with. Jesus can heal every need. What about faith healers? We do not believe in faith healers—they do not heal. We do believe in healing by faith in God. Does God heal in answer to prayer? Of course! Thousands of God’s children have experienced the healing touch of the Great Physician and can testify to complete deliverance from physical illness and suffering. They give God the glory and know that He hears and answers prayer. Based on material written by David Smith, while pastor of Quinte Alliance Church in Ontario from 1994-98
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I started bawling. I was scared. I have never heard something so evil in my life. My heart was pounding, and my mind was racing. All I could think was, “I need to get out of here right now.” Eventually, I found a way to get out of the room. Then I called my husband, Brandon, and cried, “Babe, I don’t want to be here. This is messed up. I don’t know why I’m here, and I honestly don’t want to stay. I’m really scared.” My husband loves me and hates to see me scared, and he hates it when I cry. He normally would have told me to come home if I wasn’t feeling safe, but this time was different. He replied, “You won’t want to hear this, but I really sense that you need to stay.” I did not want to hear that, but I knew it too. Deep within myself, I knew I needed to stay. Brandon’s encouragement to stay pushed me to go back into the main room. At this point, there was a lot going on. People were sitting in groups praying for each other, people were getting delivered from the enemy, and I was totally freaked out sitting in the back watching it all. I was fighting myself. I knew I needed to receive prayer. I knew God was going to ask some hard things of me to find freedom, but God knows more than we do, and His love for us is unending. The week’s lesson that we have to take risks to go deeper with God kept repeating in my mind. This was a risk. Finally, I decided this was a risk worth taking. I saw a group with a woman I kind of knew and asked if I could sit down. We got right into it. I went through a lot of Kleenex and a lot of healing and freedom. There were two demons that had been holding on to me. The first one’s name was Luther, a tormenting spirit. He said his purpose in my life was pain. It had grounds to be there because of lack of forgiveness, secrecy, and a family curse. Yeah, I know, this is crazy, right? The other demon’s name was Dagon. It was a demon of infertility. This caused me to completely lose control of my emotions as Brandon and I have not been able to get pregnant for over a year and a half. We are currently seeking fertility treatments. No one in my circle knew me or that it was a struggle in my life. It was there because of generational sin. After the demons were both sent to where Jesus told them to go, I felt so free. I have never felt so free and amazing in my life. I felt them leave my body. One of the women in my group told me my eyes were different. God is good and loving. I left feeling completely hopeful. I was free of this hold I hadn’t even known was there! Jesus had “cleaned house.” I told my group about my dream, and they all agreed it was a prophetic dream. The new man in my dream was the Holy Spirit coming to set me free.
I was unfettered—free in my spirit, and my soul was being healed. I called my husband and told him my crazy story, thankful to him for pushing me to stay! Joy Flowing Over Later that night, we had the opportunity to be filled with the Spirit. Going into this night was much different than at the Holy Spirit Encounter. I felt so free and so at peace that I wasn’t thinking about an experience. As I worshipped, I was so happy and thankful for who God was in my life. My mind felt clear and all I could do was praise God for His goodness to me. They asked everyone who wanted a filling of God’s Spirit to stand. I sat for a while. I felt so good; did I need to stand? But I remembered how people said all week that there is always more of God. If that was true, then I wanted it. I asked Him, “Father, what do you want to show me?” His response was clearer than ever before, “My heart.” “Okay God, show me Your heart.” One of the prayer team members came over and started praying over me. I remember focusing on God. I was in the presence of Jesus in a way I can’t describe. I felt joyful and overwhelmed, and God spoke again, “Trust me.” “Okay,” and I leaned into the love I felt coming over me, and I physically fell over because of the weight of His love for me. His heart was heavy with love and joy. Thankfully, the man praying for me was taller than I am. If it had been some little old lady, I might have crushed her! I lay on the ground. They taught us the importance of testing the spirits, because the enemy is a liar, so the man asked me, “Do you see Jesus? Where is He? What does He want to show you?” “Yes, I see Him; He is beside me. He wants to show me His heart.” I was sobbing at this point, and then the man who encouraged me to come to this event came over and asked, “Amy, is this Jesus?” “Yes.” I felt so much joy I couldn’t contain it. I started giggling. The man said, “This is God, Amy. This is His joy. It is healing.” He prayed over me, “More joy, Lord!” I started laughing uncontrollably. I felt completely happy and close to God in a way I can’t describe. His heart is joy—immense, overwhelming joy. I can’t describe the closeness to God and the happiness I felt. I couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the night. The risk is worth it! There is always more. His heart of love is for anyone who is willing to come to Him and receive it. There is unveiled, unfettered freedom, and it is not just for the “more spiritual”; it is for everyone. •
Amy Flater, a licensed worker in AB, ministers at Encompass Partnerships Centre and leads Anchored Warriors, which works alongside First Nations youth and leaders
The Power of Touch The practice of laying on hands at the time of anointing gives further emphasis to the work of the Spirit. The laying on of hands in the New Testament is most frequently associated with prayer for the fullness of the Holy Spirit, but it is also clearly associated with prayer for the sick (Mark 6:5; 16:17-18; Acts 28:8). Excerpt from Divine Healing: The Children’s Bread by Keith M. Bailey
When someone has demonic spirits, no therapy or drugs will cure them
Casting Out Demons Five principles of deliverance ministry By Rob Reimer
was one month into my first ministry assignment when a woman walked into my office and told me about her troubles. She was hearing blasphemous voices that told her to hurt herself. As she told me her story, she revealed that she had practised voodoo. This was clearly demonic. I thought I would call in the professionals, so I went down the hall to talk to the senior pastor. I explained the situation and told him she was ready for a deliverance, but he had never done one! This was my first deliverance. Your next level with God always lies beyond the boundaries of your current experience, and the only way you can get there is to risk more than what you are comfortable with. Here are a few principles that I have learned in deliverance ministry. First, recognize the symptoms of demonic activity. Often, people say they are hearing voices or have thoughts in their head that they can’t control. These thoughts are condemning, blasphemous, often calling the person to self-harm or suicide. The people feel tormented. Listen to the person’s story. If their family tree is full of abuse, addiction, any form of witchcraft or occult activity, violence, mental hospitalizations, suicide and/or sexual sin, pay
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attention. This doesn’t guarantee there are demonic spirits present, but it certainly is a common indicator. Second, help the person break the ground. Ephesians 4:26-27 says, “In your anger do not sin… and do not give the devil a foothold.” “Foothold” has the same meaning as “ground.” The most common form of ground is unconfessed sin. We must bring all our sin into the light. Jesus’ blood is greater than all our sin, but unconfessed sin remains unaffected by the superior blood of Jesus. Family secrets and curses can also create demonic ground. For example, when someone is dedicated to anyone other than Jesus, that is a curse, and until the curse is broken, demons occupy territory. I try to break all the ground before I deal with any demonic spirits. Third, do a spiritual test (1 John 4:1). I ask the spirit to answer biblical questions: Did Jesus Christ come in the flesh? Is Jesus Christ the Lord? Do you honour the blood of the Lord Jesus? What is your purpose in this person? The person will know the right answers to the question. But when a demonic spirit is present, the person will hear wrong answers, or see dark images, or feel hatred and resistance. When a negative response comes up, I then gather some key information.
Fourth, get the information necessary to cast out the spirit. These are the key questions I have learned to ask: (1) What is your name? (2) Do you have any ground to stay? (3) Do you have any spirits under your control? If so, how many? (4) Do you have a leader within this person? (5) Do you see any gates, windows, secrets, portals, curses, or access points that will allow you to return? Fifth, cast the spirits out one grouping at a time. Demons come in hierarchical structures. Move from one leader to another and cast them out in their groups. I always simply command them to go where Jesus sends them. For example, if you have a spirit named Anger and he has two spirits under him, I cast those three out together. If Anger has a leader named Rage, then I call him to attention and deal with his grouping. I keep going through the process until I come up with a clean test, where all questions from step three are answered correctly and all the spirits are gone.
Demons are part of the biblical worldview, and Jesus did deliverance. When someone has demonic spirits, no therapy or drugs will cure them. They need the power of God to set them free. If the Church wonâ€™t help, who will? â€˘ Dr. Rob Reimer is a faculty member with the Doctor of Ministry program at Alliance Theological Seminary in Nyack, NY and author of Soul Care, River Dwellers, and Pathways to the King
For a detailed explanation of deliverance, and a fuller understanding of the process, order Soul Care from drrobreimer.com
ASIAN SPICE REGION
Kathy’s life was gripped with a stifling fear
Victory Over Fear How one person escaped her family’s religion By Lauren Spenser*
esus powerfully met Kathy in her dreams, but His law was on her heart long before she knew His name (Romans 2:14-15). Growing up in a devout Buddhist family, she was religious but extremely fearful. She did not know God, but she was keenly aware of good and evil. Kathy’s parents sent her to be raised by a wealthy aunt. At only twelve years of age, she was given the responsibility of appeasing the spirits through daily offerings and the burning of incense. Each day, Kathy would light incense before the idols. The spiritual attachments connected to these idols hold many people under spiritual bondage. Kathy’s life was gripped with a stifling fear. While Kathy saw the religious practices of her relatives, she also saw that they were given to drunkenness, corruption, and adulterous behaviours. Kathy knew
in her heart that this was not right. One dark evening, she walked frightfully to perform her religious duties when she heard a voice, “Why are you up here?” She was terrified, sensing that it was a spirit of death. Kathy gazed down from the fifth-level balcony, wondering if she should jump. Terror-stricken and desirous of life, she ran. She was seventeen years old when she escaped the tyranny of the enemy and ran towards God. Kathy considers her older sister, Dot, to be like Abraham, because she was the first of her family to believe and follow Christ. Dot welcomed Kathy into her home, carefully placing a Bible beside Kathy’s bed. Each night, Kathy would hide the Bible under her bed, and each day Dot would return it to the bedside table. Although she had once
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hated her sister and cursed Jesus, Kathy saw the contrast between their lives. Finally, Kathy cried out, “Jesus, if You are the Saviour, show me that You live!” That night, she saw Him standing at the door. She knew it was Jesus, and she was not afraid. Later that morning, she heard believers worshipping God by singing the hymn, “He Lives.” The Living Saviour had answered Kathy! Kathy has since seen many family members come to faith in Christ, and she continues to lead and disciple countless others. The Lord has given her incredible victory from fear and gifted her with discernment and intercession as she shares the love and freedom that Christ gives. • Lauren Spenser, along with her husband Mark, serve in the Asian Spice Region *pen name
Invisible Illness Stepping out of the shadow of shame By Nadine Hunt
aving been a parish nurse for seven years, I have had the privilege of walking alongside many who live with mental illness, and they have taught me so much. Two of these women have the courage to share their stories of having faith while struggling with mental illness. Carol “I had an alcoholic father and a depressive mother. After the birth of my second child, two years of postpartum depression set in. Feeling lost, sad, and alone, the doctors never named my illness. It was only when I came to Canada from England in the 1980s
that my family doctor began to prescribe different medications, but I continued to slide down. “Along with living with other chronic conditions, I was also diagnosed with macular degeneration and glaucoma. The fear of losing my sight started the worst and longest spiral into deep depression. “In the summer of 2015, I was admitted into a mental health unit for five months. I began to realize I was dealing with an illness, not a problem or a choice that I was making. “Although I am a Christian, I never fully understood how to ‘turn this over to God,’ as people kept saying. Throughout my hospitalization, I felt lonely and
There is no shame in mental illness, even as a Christian cmacan.org/magazine
abandoned by God. I could not read Scripture or pray, and I feared that people would turn away from me. “I don’t think I would have been able to carry on without my supportive church family. Looking back on my hospital stay and Christian counselling, I realize that God had never abandoned me. It was no coincidence that my nurses and doctors were Christians, and God put others in my path to help guide me back to Him.”
would frequently think of harming myself. “After my last suicide attempt, in June 2016, I got down on my knees and gave all of my pain and sorrow to God. “My healing was recently tested when my 22-yearold daughter died of a fentanyl overdose. Previously, this would have sent me on the dark road of self-harm and suicide, but thankfully this has not happened. I am grieving, but I have reached out to my church family and am trusting God for strength and support.”
Stacy “My family surname should have been ‘Chaos.’ There was no such thing as love in our house, and everyone fended for themselves. When I was 10, I noticed that I reacted to things differently and felt alone and scared. This was the beginning of my mental illness. “After the death of my baby when I was 17, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I went through 36 electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) treatments that made me lose most of my memories. The medication helped if I stayed on them. Often, when I started to feel better, I would stop taking them. “From ages 17-30, I tried to battle this illness on my own. Eleven years ago, I asked Jesus to be my personal Saviour. My walk of faith was minimal at first, and even after I became a Christian, I made suicide attempts and
Pressing On Mental illness is a lifelong journey, but as daughters of the King, Carol and Stacy know God is there to support and care for them along this path. There is no shame in mental illness, even as a Christian. If you need help, seek medical assistance; God will place the right people in your life. Yes, Stacy and Carol still live with mental illness, and they take medication for it, but God has healed them by taking away the loneliness, sadness, and despair. The clutches of suicide, self-harm, and depression are gone. They faced death, but by God’s healing power, mercy, and grace, they did not succumb. • Nadine Hunt works part-time as a parish nurse at Southview Alliance Church, in Calgary, AB, and also with Alberta Health Services in home care
BE AN AGENT OF HOPE AND HELP PRACTICAL THINGS TO DO 1. Oppose stigma. Challenge negative ideas about persons with a mental illness. Mention it in sermons and discuss it in Bible studies. 2. Form a network. Create a referral list of mental health services and communitybased groups. Your church doesn’t need to be the expert; partner with those who are already doing it well. 3. Get educated. Learn the dynamics of specific mental illnesses so you can recognize triggers and actions to help stop the downward spiral. But realize that there is no golden answer or cure waiting to be found in a book.
4. Do what you always do. Families suffering from mental illness need the same care as others who are sick: meals, rides to the doctor, benevolent gifts. 5. Words matter. Choose your words with wisdom and understanding. For example, don’t undermine the weight of depression by saying things like, “It’s raining today; I’m so depressed.” 6. Be patient with ongoing struggles. Jumping in and trying to save a person often results in exhaustion and abandonment. 7. Offer healthy outlets. Charles Spurgeon, renowned
preacher who suffered from severe depression, advocated for God’s natural means of survival: “A mouthful of sea air, or a stiff walk in the wind’s face would not give grace to the soul, but it would yield oxygen to the body, which is next best.” 8. Practice the ministry of presence. Just being there, listening, allowing the other person to take the lead. 9. Integrate persons with mental illness into your church family. Be intentional about inviting and then accompanying them to social gatherings. Let them know they are not forgotten. (Taken from cmAlliance.ca, Spring 2014)
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I have been a trauma victim for most of my life
From a Bottle to a Bible Healing from lifelong trauma By Roger Dennie
he phone rang at 7:00am on February 13, 2014. My daughter-in-law delivered the news that my son David had just died in a car accident. At the age of 73, David’s death was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. I have been a trauma victim for most of my life. My father physically and emotionally abused me. I have been molested twice by strangers and once more by a familiar member of a religious order. I was raped by a group of fellow students while at seminary, and I have suffered through two marriage breakups. I also became an alcoholic. Later that spring, I left my apartment with a bottle of sleeping pills in hand. I wandered in search of an alley where I could take a handful of pills and “go away.” At 9:00am, I entered the crisis centre in Sudbury looking for help. It was the first time I admitted I had mental health issues. I was immediately admitted to a treatment facility where I received medical help and counselling for two weeks. It was there that I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and lifelong depression. A chaplain who was also a qualified counsellor daily visited my floor, but there was no way I was going to
meet with a “religious” person. I changed my mind during my second week and began seeing her on a weekly basis. Over the next few weeks, I made progress. One day, the chaplain asked me to read Ephesians 8-10. I agreed, even though I had stopped reading the Bible many years ago. My recovery then took a different turn. I began to trust in a higher power and really believe in my recovery. I took to heart another line from Alcoholics Anonymous, “God could and would if He were sought.” I have come a long way. I no longer feel like a victim. My inner scripts have largely vanished, and I no longer have violent nightmares or self-defeating flashbacks. My friends and family have also noticed the changes in me. I am a very fortunate person for someone my age. With the right medication, some excellent therapy, and a changed inner outlook, I can live a life of peace and serenity. • Roger Dennie is a former teacher and journalist, aged 75, living a spiritual life in retirement thanks in large part to an Alliance chaplain
When Your Past Hurts Your Present Freedom from “drugs of choice” By Lois Wilson
ould it surprise you to know how many people seated around you on Sunday morning are hurting? Many of us come to church wearing masks of happiness and peace, when actually we are crumbling inside. Depression is increasing, marriages are failing, and the wounds of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse grip us with anxiety. Things we are hiding deep in our hearts are flooding us with guilt. Not too long ago, I carried my wounds everywhere I went, covering up with a smile and pills when I was around people and with too many drinks when I was alone. When I couldn’t cover it up any longer, my sister told me about Freedom Session. I felt humiliated as I signed up. Here I was, a Christian, entering the doors of a recovery program. I worried that I would be judged for struggling like everyone else. Guess what? We were all Christians, and we were all struggling. Freedom Session is a twelve-step program based on Christ and His promises, and it’s hard work! It is much easier to live the lives we are used to—destructive and unfulfilling as they might be—than to live examined lives, inviting God’s light to invade dark areas of our past and show us what needs to change. We identified our “drugs of choice,” things or
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behaviours we run to when life gets hard—food, affirmation of others, alcohol, sexual indulgence, work, performance, TV, hobbies—and learned how to run to God instead. As Jesus begins to heal us, destructive habits become less attractive. Shame loses its grip, and lies we believed for so long are replaced by the truth. God used Freedom Session to help me understand why I was allowing my past to still hurt me in my present. It gave me a safe place to share, be challenged, be encouraged, be held accountable, and finally to be healed.
We were all Christians, and we were all struggling Best of all, now that I have turned my pain over to Christ, I have discovered the joy of removing my masks of happiness and peace and replacing them with a real happiness and peace that come from living the abundant life that God has promised to those who love Him. Jesus came that we might have life and have it abundantly. Why settle for less? •
Lois Wilson is the office manager at Aldergrove Alliance Church, BC
My Soul Tingled
When God took our founder’s health in hand By Albert B. Simpson
“All that I know of Divine Healing and all that I have written…the Lord had to teach me Himself in my own life, and I was not permitted to read anything but His own Word on this subject until long after I had learned to trust Him for myself…”
...the last drops of life were ebbing out...
or over 20 years I suffered from many physical illnesses and disabilities, including a nervous breakdown while preparing for college. I was not permitted by my doctor to even look at a book. During this time I nearly died, and on the verge of eternity gave myself at last to God. After my college studies were completed, at the age of twenty-one, I became the ambitious pastor of a large city church. Plunging headlong into my work, I again broke down in one year with heart trouble and had to go away for months of rest. I laboured on with the aid of constant medication, carrying a bottle of ammonia in my pocket for years. I would have taken a nervous spasm if I ventured without it. Again and again, while climbing a slight elevation or going up a stair, a suffocating agony came over me, and the thought of that bottle quieted me. Several years later, I had two other enduring collapses in my health. During these terrible seasons it seemed that the last drops of life were ebbing out, and I was hanging on by a thread. I struggled through my work but my people always thought me so â€œdelicate.â€? I grew weary of being sympathized with every time we met. I asked the Lord to make me so well that they would never pity me again, and I would be a continual wonder to them, through the strength and support of God. It usually took till Wednesday to get over the effects of Sunday, and by Thursday I was ready to begin preparation for the next Sunday. A prominent physician told me that I had not enough strength left to last more than a few months. Divinely Healed I went to Old Orchard Beach, Maine, chiefly to enjoy the delightful air. I went occasionally to the meetings on the campground, and had not, up to that time, committed myself in any full sense to the truth or experience of Divine healing.
I heard a great number of people testify that they had been healed by simply trusting the Word of Christ. It drove me to my Bible, determined to settle this matter one way or the other. At His feet, alone, with my Bible open, I became convinced that this was part of Christ’s glorious Gospel for a sinful and suffering world, and the purchase of His blessed Cross, for all who would believe and receive His Word. That was enough. One afternoon, I went out into the woods, and raised my hand to Heaven, pledging: 1. I solemnly accept this truth as part of God’s Word, and, God helping me, I will never question it. 2. I take the Lord Jesus as my physical life, for all the needs of my body until all my life-work is done. 3. I solemnly agree to use this blessing for the glory of God, and the good of others and to speak of it or minister in connection with it in any way in which God may call me or others may need me in the future.
Every fibre of my soul tingled with a sense of God’s presence. It was so glorious to believe it simply, and to know that henceforth He had my health in hand. Facing the Tests Then came the test of faith. A subtle voice whispered: “Now you have decided to take God as your healer, it would help if you would just go down to Dr. Cullis’ cottage and get him to pray with you.” I listened to it for a moment without really thinking. I staggered and cried: “Lord, what have I done?” I felt I was in some great peril. In a moment the thought came very quickly, “You have just settled this matter forever, and told God you will never doubt that it is done.” In that moment I understood what faith meant. I saw that when a thing was settled with God, it was never to be unsettled. The next test came just two days later. I was invited to preach in the Congregational Church in New Hampshire. I felt the Holy Spirit pressing me to
The Scriptural Foundation First of all we must be sure of our Scriptural foundations. Faith must ever rest on the Divine Word; and the most important element in the “prayer of faith” is a full and firm persuasion that the healing of disease by simple faith in God is, beyond question, a part of the Gospel and a doctrine of the Scriptures. Exodus 15:25-26 Psalm 203:2-3 Matthew 8:17 James 5:14 Romans 8:11
Psalm 105:37 2 Chronicles 16:12-13 John 14:12 3 John 2 2 Corinthians 4:10-11
Job 1 and 2 Isaiah 53:4-5 Mark 16:15-18 Ephesians 5:30 Hebrews 13:8
We traced the teachings of the Holy Scriptures from Exodus to Patmos: we have seen God giving His people the ordinance of healing in the very outset of their pilgrimage; we have seen it illustrated in the ancient dispensation in the sufferings of Job, the songs of David, and the sad death of Asa; we have seen Isaiah’s prophetic vision of the coming Healer; we have seen the Son of Man coming to fulfill that picture to the letter; we have heard Him tell His weeping disciples of His unchanging presence with them; we have seen Him transmit His healing power to their hands; and we have seen them hand it down to us and to the permanent officers of the Church of God, until the latest ages of time. And now what more evidence can we ask? What else can we do but believe, rejoice, receive, and proclaim this great salvation to a sick and sinking world? Excerpts from The Gospel of Healing, chapter 1 by A.B. Simpson
Practical Directions How can one who fully believes in the doctrine receive the blessing and appropriate the healing? 1.
Be fully persuaded of the Word of God in this matter.
Be fully assured of the will of God to heal you.
Be careful that you are yourself right with God.
Commit your body to Him and claim His promise of healing in the name of Jesus by simple faith.
Act your faith.
Be prepared for trials of faith.
Use your new strength and health for God, and be careful to obey the will of the Master. Excerpts from The Gospel of Healing, chapter 2 by A.B. Simpson
give a special testimony. But I tried to preach a good sermon of my own choosing. It was not His word for that hour, I am sure. He wanted me to tell the people what He had been showing me. But I tried to be conventional and respectable, and I had an awful time. I fled into an adjoining field, where I lay before the Lord and asked Him to show me what my burden meant and to forgive me. He did most graciously, and let me have one more chance to glorify Him. That night I spoke again. This time I stated what God had been doing. In a stammering way, I told how I had lately seen the Lord Jesus as the Healer of the body, and had taken Him for myself, and knew that He would be faithful and sufficient. The next day, the third test came. Nearby was a mountain 3,000 feet high, and I was asked to join a little party to climb it. I shrank back at once, remembering the dread of heights that had always overshadowed me. Did I not know how an ordinary stair exhausted me and distressed my poor heart? Then came the solemn searching thought, “If you fear or refuse to go, it is because you do not believe that God has healed you.” My fear would be, in this case, pure unbelief, and I told God that in His strength I would go.
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I do not wish to imply that we should do things just to show how strong we are, or without any real necessity for them. I do not believe that God wants His children needlessly to climb mountains or walk miles just because someone asks them to. But in this case, and there are such cases in every experience, I needed to step out and claim my victory, and this was God’s time and way. And so I ascended that mountain. At first it seemed as if it would almost take my last breath. I felt all the old weakness and physical dread. But over against my weakness and suffering I became conscious that there was another Presence. There was a Divine strength reaching out to me. On one side there seemed to press upon me a weight of Death, on the other an Infinite Life. I pressed closer to Christ and every step seemed stronger until, when I reached that mountain top, I seemed to be at the gate of Heaven, and the world of weakness and fear was lying at my feet. Thank God, from that time I have had a new heart in this breast, literally as well as spiritually, and Christ has been its glorious life. Strength for Each Day For nearly seven years I have been permitted to labour for the dear Lord without a single season
of protracted rest, and with increasing comfort, strength, and delight. Besides the evangelistic and pastoral work of my church, involving several sermons every week, there have been the following additional labours: • the entire editorial charge and much of the writing of a monthly magazine; • the preparation of several tracts and volumes; • the personal supervision of the entire publishing work and the responsibility for a large correspondence; • the oversight of Berachah Home, with the reception every week of many callers and inquirers, and several meetings there; • one or two lectures daily during seven months in the year at the Missionary Training College, requiring the most elaborate and careful thought; • and many meetings and conventions in various places with God’s dear children. I have been conscious, however, that I was not using my own natural strength. Physically I do not think I am any more robust than ever. I am intensely conscious with every breath, that I am drawing my vitality from a directly supernatural source, and that it keeps pace with the calls and necessities of my work. I do not desire to provoke argument, but I give my simple, humble testimony and to me it is very real and very wonderful. To Him be all the praise. •
Rev. Albert B. Simpson was the founder of The Christian and Missionary Alliance
(The above is based on his personal testimony taken from his booklet, The Gospel of Healing, Christian Alliance Publishing Co., 1890)
For more information Check out A.B. Simpson’s The Gospel of Healing for more information on this doctrine, including popular objections, principles of divine healing, and testimonies. Go to cmacan.org/uploads/ content/the-gospel-of-healing.pdf
Jesus as Healer Upholding the sick in prayer By Franklin Pyles and Lee Beach
s a movement, The Christian and Missionary Alliance was founded upon the concepts of Jesus our Saviour, Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming King. What should we make of divine healing today? In many contexts, it is not a doctrine that is talked about much and is practiced even less. We see “faith healers” on TV, and it strikes us as showy and selfaggrandizing. We find their antics and their doctrines misguided and embarrassing. We are hesitant to embrace ideas that might lead us into something that looks like a spectacle more than the faithful interpretation and practice of the Gospel. While these concerns are valid, they do not address the claims of Scripture and history that God is a healing God who wants to demonstrate His love and care for us through manifestations of this truth in the lives of people. We are called to take seriously the fact that Jesus’ life points us towards the God who heals, and His death and resurrection offer us the assurance that our healing has been
This symbol in the C&MA logo represents a pitcher containing oil to anoint the sick for healing that comes through obedience to God’s Word
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provided for in all of the multi-faceted dimensions that healing is necessary in our lives. By His suffering, death, and resurrection, Jesus provides the world with the potential for healing from all that keeps us back from experiencing God and His world in the way that He intends for us to experience it. This transcends just physical healing and moves into other aspects of our lives and even into other realms like relationships, societal structures, and the environment. In James 5:14 the onus is on the sick person to initiate the prayer for healing. This is not to say that there are times when a severely infirmed person may not need others to initiate prayer and anointing on their behalf or to say that the Lord will not honour such endeavours, but it is to draw attention to where the burden for initiating healing prayers lies, that is, in the person who is sick. Why? Because it is an act of faith to call for the elders. It demonstrates our belief that Jesus is the healer and that His life, death, and resurrection create the possibility for transformation in our bodies, minds, and souls. James 5:15 also emphasizes faith. It reminds us that those who engage in prayer for the sick also need to have faith in the fact that healing is found in Jesus and that their faith in the work of Christ to bring healing to our world is essential for healing to flow into the lives of sick people. However, it is important to clarify that this does not suggest that there is something magical in faith or in prayer. Healing prayer is a communal practice. The elders are called not because they have special powers to heal or even special standing before God. Church elders are representatives of the congregation. Their work is to serve the church in leadership and act as representatives for the people that they serve. Their work in healing prayer is to bring the faith of the church to bear on the needs of the sick. Thus, in seeking God for healing, faith is exercised not just by the person who is sick but also by the whole community as they come together to support and uphold the physically needy person in prayer.
When we come to Jesus, we are coming to the One who came to bring wholeness to our world, a wholeness that includes the spiritual, emotional, and physical dimensions of our lives.
Of course all of this raises the question, “Why is it that often times God does not heal?” One reason may be that our sickness is something that can actually have a positive impact on ourselves and on others. Sometimes God uses sickness in order to draw us closer to Him and shape us more fully into the image of Christ. Perhaps another reason is because our sickness can be useful to others (2 Corinthians 1:34). Our suffering can have meaning as we are able to relate to others who are sick and be of genuine comfort to them in their suffering. We all know that there is a depth of compassion that comes from someone who has been in the same kind of pain that we find ourselves in. Finally, it could be that God does not heal because sickness can be a vehicle through which He brings glory to Himself. God can heal, and He does intervene and perform miracles that change circumstances and restore broken lives. When we come to Jesus, we are coming to the One who came to bring wholeness to our world, a wholeness that includes the spiritual, emotional, and physical dimensions of our lives. If you have a need, He invites you to bring it to Him in trusting faith that He is able to minister to your need. • Excerpts from the chapter, “Jesus Our Healer” in The Whole Gospel for the Whole World by Franklin Pyles and Lee Beach Used with permission
Experiencing the Fourfold Gospel Today Dr. Pyles and Dr. Beach have done a masterful job in bringing the historic DNA of The Christian and Missionary Alliance into a modern-day context. The style of the book is accessible and invitational. The authors use a narrative approach that engages the readers in the story and invites them to grow in both their knowledge and experience of the truths being communicated. This is a must-read for any believer who desires to walk in a deeper place with Jesus. David Hearn, president of the C&MA in Canada
Franklin Pyles is a past president of The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada. He has pastored Alliance churches in Canada and the USA for over thirty years and has served as Professor of Theology at Canadian Theological Seminary. He is currently an adjunct professor at McMaster Divinity College, Hamilton, ON. Lee Beach is Assistant Professor of Christian Ministry and Director of Ministry Formation at McMaster Divinity College. He was involved in pastoral ministry with The Christian and Missionary Alliance for more than twenty years and is currently a minister-at-large with the denomination. He is the author of The Church in Exile: Living in Hope after Christendom. The Whole Gospel for the Whole World is recommended reading for elders and other members of the C&MA. It is available at wipfandstock.com and amazon.ca
SEA TO SEA REGION
Taste and See Daily experiences of His goodness By Chris Kehler
...healings started to take place in our church
y dad owned a restaurant for 40 years. An important lesson he taught me was to taste the food before it was served. Tasting is a vital part of being a great chef. You can follow the recipe, but the truth is revealed in the tasting. Over the last year, a verse has been repeatedly highlighted for me, “Taste and see that the Lord is good...” (Psalm 34:8). At first glance, its simplicity is beautiful, but there’s more than meets the eye. To “taste” speaks of an experience. To “see” relates to our
perceptions. Experience shapes our perceptions. A few years ago, healings started to take place in our church. We saw stage-four bowel cancer vanish without treatment. Tumors on MRIs and ultrasounds disappeared after prayer. Even broken bones have been instantly restored! Some people thought it was from God, and some weren’t sure what was happening. Many of us asked, “Why now?” It became important to highlight that something was happening in our church. Some people had experienced a new, personal taste of the goodness of God, such as a healed memory or relationship, and freedom from their anger or selfishness.
Photo courtesy Chris Kehler
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This created hope for anything! People began to understand that, just as God cares about their marriages and jobs, He also cares about their illnesses. That shift moved our church to pursue the goodness of God and see it manifested in all things. Although historically downplayed, experiences are vital. All those who sought Jesus were left with an authentic encounter that helped re-shape their perceptions of God, themselves, and this world. The largest miracle ever done was doubted by Thomas, who hadn’t seen the resurrected Christ. This didn’t faze Jesus. He invited Thomas into an experience to touch His wounds and believe (John 20). We have a God who gave His disciples daily experiences of His goodness. What’s stopping Him from giving one to you? • Chris Kehler is the executive pastor of Prairie Alliance Church, in Portage la Prairie, MB
Chris encountered “James” at a mall and prayed for his broken ankle to be healed. After prayer, all the pain left, his mobility was restored, and he took off his boot, waving it in the air saying, ”Look at me! Look what happened to me!”
DESERT SAND REGION
Charles’ body physically dispelled the infection…
Charles sitting by the river Photo courtesy Michel Dube
Desperate for a Miracle Proving the power of Jesus’ name By Michel Dube
host a Bible study with a group of my Guinean friends, but that was starting to feel like not enough. I asked God to give me another group, even though I thought it impossible. I learned never to say that about God. Jean-Louis was a newcomer who was desperate for us to pray for his sick brother, Charles. A “dentist” had pulled out one of his teeth, but it quickly became infected. His face and eye swelled beyond recognition. I went to Jean-Louis’ home to pray for Charles. This wonderful
family warmly greeted me. Charles was sitting in a chair, sick and lethargic, his face noticeably full of infection. I asked the family and Charles if I could pray in the name of Jesus. I explained that Jesus’ name is powerful. They looked nervous, so I told them that it would not be a long prayer. The next day, Jean-Louis excitedly called me and exclaimed how Charles’ body physically dispelled the infection from his eye; Charlie was healed. The family proclaims that it was
God who healed Charles through prayer. I asked them if they would like to do a Bible study with me, and this is how God provided my second study group. Since then, Jean-Louis has given his life to Christ. Charles was in a terrible motorcycle accident and was severely injured. God has not healed him from his wounds entirely, but through the accident, he accepted Jesus. It has been so encouraging to watch Charles learn from God’s Word and be changed! • Rev. Michel Dube and his wife, Denise, are international workers in Guinea
Healed He Makes the Lame to Walk We come to each annual youth rally hoping to see God at work, but this year He had a surprise in store for us. Joel had been having serious problems with his ankles, a rare case that resisted every effort the doctors tried; amputation was being considered to alleviate the intense pain. The leaders challenged the young people to expect the Holy Spirit to act in a big way. On the last evening, under the impulse of the Spirit, two leaders and I prayed for Joel’s healing, laying our hands on his ankles. Several other leaders joined in, and we took authority in the name of Jesus. Then we asked Joel to stand up. He stood, but nothing seemed to have changed. A leader asked him if something was binding his feet. Joel took off the tape around his ankles, and we saw in his face the realization that he had no more pain. He began to shout, “JESUS
Miracles are happening every HAS HEALED ME,” while jumping all around. The room fell silent as, that night, God manifested His healing power to 150 young people. Many committed their lives to God. Joel is now in his first year of Bible school and senses God’s call to ministry upon his life. •
David Pearson is the assistant pastor at Église ACM de Rimouski, in PQ
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He Hears our Prayers
1. Listen to the Holy Spirit’s instruction. He often gives special direction to pray as we seek Him. Take a few moments of silent listening or quiet praise to wait upon the Lord. Specific ways to pray can include: • Affirming the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross • Claiming the promises of God’s Word • Speaking the word of healing, verbalizing an instance when Jesus healed • Declaring works of deliverance or exalting God in praise 2. Pray in faith with an attitude of praise. Faith is believing what God intends to do— visualize the person well. The Scripture says, “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven” (James 5:15). 3. Gather in a circle around the individual and those closest will discreetly lay hands on the person’s shoulder area. Depending on your position, standing or kneeling is acceptable. Those more distant to the person being anointed can lay hands on the shoulders of those in front of them. • Based on material written by David Smith, while pastor at Quinte Alliance Church, in ON, from 1994-98
He Mends the Broken Heart Recently, after sharing part of our story and the story of Hagar in one of the local churches, we were told that a woman had received complete healing of her enlarged heart while we were speaking. Her condition had deteriorated to the point that she was hardly able to walk or participate in any activity. She had been asking for ongoing prayer and (surprisingly), at one point during our talk, we mentioned the word “heart,” and she felt something leap from one side of her chest to the other. She has since confirmed with doctors that her condition has been fully healed. So while we were trying to be faithful to do our part, God was faithful to do His part in an amazing healing of one of His precious children. • An excerpt from Steve and Heidi’s letter from the Caribbean Sun region
A Restored Hand
The prayers of a believing family By Sylvia Woodman
t all started when our family and friends went on our yearly camping trip about twenty miles from Williams Lake, BC. The site consisted of several cabins and a lovely creek slowly running by. One afternoon, I took one of my granddaughters down to the river shore where there was a small beach. Several old logs and poles were resting against the shore. I had taken a folding chair with me and set it on the logs. I sat down to watch her play in the water, and suddenly, the chair tipped over! As I flew backwards, my left palm was impaled by a wooden knot that was protruding from one of the logs; I couldnâ€™t remove it. I started yelling for help, and my family and friends came running down the bank and pulled my hand free. The wound was very jagged and meaty. My family wanted to take me to the hospital, but I decided to wait, since we were travelling back home the next day.
A bandage was placed around my hand. Next, everyone gathered around me and prayed for healing. The next morning, we packed up and headed home. One of my unbelieving friends who had been on the camping trip phoned me the day after and asked about my hand. I removed the bandage, and to our surprise, it was totally healed, with only a faint scar! This is a simple story, but I truly believe that God sees all thingsâ€”even a small wound like mine. â€˘ Sylvia Woodman attends Lake Country Alliance Church in Windfield, BC, where she is the church librarian This story was originally posted on cmacan.org/stories
CARIBBEAN SUN REGION
Conquering Chemo Peace and praise in uncertain times By Michelle Derksen
he doctor has requested an appointment with you and your husband as soon as possible.” In the 24 hours between that call and the appointment, I cried out for peace in the uncertainty. I heard the Lord say, “I won’t remove this from you, but I will walk with you every step of the way.” One verse dear to me is Psalm 34:4: “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” Six weeks later, I had surgery to remove a tumor from the base of my brain—a rare, life-threatening disorder called acromegaly. The surgery was successful, but the hormone levels never returned to normal. Since 2002, it has been a journey of continual monitoring and regular testing. God’s healing in my life has gone deeper than my physical body. He used uncertainty to call
me closer, and to help me discover “treasures hidden in the darkness” This journey is one I would (Isaiah 45:3, NLT). have never chosen, but one I In 2013, my levels shot up considerably, wouldn’t trade! which indicated the tumor was growing back. I had to start chemotherapy I suddenly realized, “I shouldn’t be right away. able to do this right now.” For the first seven months of We did the same thing five treatments, I felt horrible with every breath and swallow. God was weeks later and again felt well after a few days. We have continued to gracious with me. In December 2014, my husband, do this after every treatment. This journey is one I would have Murray, was encouraged to never chosen, but one I wouldn’t anoint and pray for me after trade! The journey God chooses my treatments and, using the for us is an invitation to know authority we have in Jesus, Him intimately, even if the healing nullify the negative effects of the looks different than we hoped chemo and ask God to enhance or expected. • the good. We did that the day of my next Michelle Derksen, along with her husband treatment. Within a few days, Murray, serves as a Canadian Regional Murray and I were out walking and Developer for the Caribbean Sun Region
Apart From a Miracle... Facing the reality of terminal cancer By Mike Wilkins
Then: April 2013 oing two things at the same time can be tricky— patting your head and rubbing your tummy, for instance. The particular trickiness I am working on these days is “charging into battle” and “standing still” at the same time. My new battle with cancer calls for faith that the glorious Lord Jesus, our Healer, will heal me. My doctors have spoken to me in plain terms (because I asked them to). “Apart from some miracle,” this is a battle I am going to lose. I am working on being like young David, with a sling and five stones in hand, running hard towards a deadly giant “in the name of the Lord.” At the same time, I am working on keeping perfectly still, quietly accepting the reality of my own mortality. I am wholeheartedly fighting for my life, fervently praying and trusting God for healing and for many more years on earth, while at the same time peacefully accepting the reality that God might have always intended me to die sometime about now. “… people are destined to die once…” (Hebrews 9:27).
Now: December 2016 In August 2014, my cancer was declared in remission, but with a 50 per cent likelihood of a comeback. In early 2015, it did in a big way. Once again, I was told, “apart from some miracle,” cancer is the thing I will die of in the next year or two. Loving and serving Jesus is not for sissies. Moral courage and the strength of our convictions are always in order. Dying well is the last duty we need to bravely accomplish in our lives. Reverend Arnold Reimer, the man who taught me to be a pastor, often used to say, “Ready to preach, pray, or die at a moment’s notice!”
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It was inspiring to me in those days, and it still is. Notably, but less nobly, I have also been inspired by that charmingly ridiculous 1987 movie, The Princess Bride. In its own quirky way, that movie also strengthens my striving for the courage I now require. Two of the film’s lines are, for me, particularly to the point. “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father; prepare to die.” “Goodnight, Westley. Good work. Sleep well. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.” No kidding. Both movie lines have helped me to prepare for the possibility that some “dread pirate” might kill, perhaps as soon as tomorrow morning. I know the dread pirate’s name, and it’s not “Roberts.” But why should I not be prepared? And why should I be afraid? The King of kings, our magnificent Bridegroom, “partook” of our humanity “that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Hebrews 2:14-15). And He says to us, “…Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades” (Revelation 1:17-18). • Rev. Mike Wilkins was Senior Pastor at West London Alliance Church until the return of his cancer in 2015
You can read more about Mike’s experience in his newly published book, Glory in the Face, which is available at amazon.ca
Mike and Deb Wilkins
B oth m ovie l ines have hel ped m e to pr epa re f or the po ssib il ity that som e â€œ d read pir ateâ€? m igh t kil l , per haps as soon as tom orrow m orning Photo courtesy Milk Wilkins
Why This? Finding spiritual fulfillment in suffering By Grant McDowell
arly in my ministry, I asked God to heal a physical weakness in our family. Although a medical solution was available, my wife and I sought divine help. God gave a measure of relief but did not remove the condition. A few believers were convinced that our lack of faith prevented healing. We took this seriously, prayed fervently, and searched our souls. No matter how sincere or boisterous our asking, God didn’t answer as we’d hoped. We faced disappointment and even some condemnation when we resorted to a prescription.
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Why didn’t the God of the universe make everything better? We had asked the elders of the church to pray, we had confessed to each other any sin we could think of (James 5:14-16), and we had sunk our faith deeply into the healing power of Christ (Isaiah 53:4-5). God had freely imparted His healing touch at other times, but this time, our sense of failure in the face of pressure to experience healing hampered our confidence to pray for healing and miracles. Some believe that every Christian should be healed just as surely as everyone who repents of sin is forgiven. This conviction rightly cites God’s promises
and reasserts healing as a priority (John 15:7; 16:2324). The irony is that when we promote healing as a law, it can wound the soul. Bad experiences with healing result from being treated as a project. For some, healing is a formula: declare healing with authority, believe, and then witness the healing—yet the Apostle Paul had to make space for suffering while living in the will of God (2 Corinthians 12:8). When healing is acknowledged as a work of the Holy Spirit rather than a law, it draws the sick person to the Father. Eleven years ago, my doctor told me I had a particular form of cancer. His office felt institutional and sterile, not unlike prayer meetings where we expect God to heal on demand, as if He were a digital printer awaiting our command. Later, I questioned God, “Why this? I want to see my children’s future. I want to spend more time with my wife. I have things I want to achieve.” Quietly and unmistakably, the Spirit of God responded to my spirit. “You can face this with anxiety, or you can trust me. Either way, you are not in control.” I chose trust. I asked for healing, which God provided through successful surgery, good follow-up, and—I have no doubt—the loving power of the Holy Spirit.
Healing, like all good things, is a work of the Spirit and requires that we listen, ask, and trust. We are not in control, yet God gives healing and gifts of healing in order to build up His Church Healing, like all good and bring glory to things, is a work of Christ’s name. Ananias placed the Spirit his hands on Saul, announcing restoration of sight and filling with the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17). Jesus Christ, under the anointing of the Spirit, went about healing people (Acts 9:38). We too live in His Spirit. John wrote, “This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us his Spirit.” (1 John 4:13). Healing is neither a law nor a performance. Sometimes I’ve been deeply moved while praying for people who are sick, but God has not healed. At other times, I’ve simply prayed, seeing the Lord heal with quiet power. The Spirit, not our healing ministry, is in control (Zechariah 4:6). • Grant McDowell is lead pastor of Cranbrook Alliance Church, in BC
An Accessible Resource Physical, spiritual, and relational healing in Nunavut By Jackie Williams
Alliance Connection - Spring/Summer 2017
unavut is a land that is vast, with many challenges, but God is present. The community of Arviat has endured many changes in a short period of time. Between the late 1940s and the 1960s, the people of Nunavut moved from a nomadic lifestyle into communities. Most Arviammiut (people from Arviat) who are about 60 years and older were born out on the tundra in an igloo or tent. Now, most Arviammiut babies are born in a modern hospital in Winnipeg. In the whole province, there is only one hospital. This may seem acceptable when the population is about 30,000 people, but access to medical attention is difficult where there are no roads between communities. Each community has a health centre. Some communities have a few doctors, and some have only nurses. In Arviat, our health centre has mostly nurses and a doctor who visits periodically. Most emergencies are sent to either Rankin Inlet or Winnipeg. For many, Jesus provides their strength. Healing through prayer is always an accessible resource. No roads are needed to spiritually
bless our communities. We receive word of health issues, and we pray for them. We pray the doctor will come in, that the medevac can land, or for good communication between patients and health staff. We pray for strength for people who have to travel for appointments and be away from family for a long time. We know that Jesus is the healer, and that He has power to overcome health challenges that people face. By praying for each other, we have witnessed many miraculous healings. Last year, an infant was born two months premature, with major health challenges. The family supported this baby and started a huge prayer chain. The prayer chain encouraged many people in their walks with Jesus, and we saw amazing changes in the baby’s health. Many northerners have experienced traumatic events in their lives. This has caused mental health issues and addictions, but the resources for help are limited. We have seen people overcome their addictions and receive healing. One woman dealing with mental illness was experiencing little
change. We studied what the Bible had to say about her issues and prayed with her. At her next appointment, the nurse wondered why the woman’s attitude had changed so dramatically. Jesus did a great act of healing in her life. Jesus’ relational healing is flowing in our congregation. Before we arrived in Arviat in June 2007, there had not been a pastor for 15 years. The church was still holding services and trying to make it work, but with many struggles. Many people missed not having a pastor. Today, the church is different. People hug each other and talk before service. Friends spontaneously pray for each other. After morning services, fellowship times last well over an hour. In spite of limited access to physical healthcare, the spiritual wellness of our church has improved a hundred-fold since our arrival ten years ago. Jesus has truly answered the prayers of the people, and lives are changing. • Jackie Williams and her husband, Bradley, have been ministering at Arviat Alliance Church in NU for almost ten years; they are originally from Assiniboia, SK
...medical attention is difficult where there are no roads between communities
Photos courtesy Jackie Williams
Healing Relationships Walking towards truth and reconciliation By Joanne Beach
Alliance Connection - Spring/Summer 2017
here was hardly a dry eye in the room as thirtyfive Canadian Alliance leaders experienced the Blanket Exercise, an event that traces the historic relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in Canada. During the reflection time that followed, many shared astonishment of how ignorant we were of the events and policies that have caused so much pain for Aboriginal Peoples. We were challenged and inspired to take part in hearing and telling the truth and in being ambassadors for this that will rebuild relations in our nation. The Difficult Truth One of the truths that deeply moved us was the fact that seven generations of Aboriginal children went through the residential schooling system and were told that their lives were not as good as the lives of non-Aboriginal people of this country. They were taught that their culture, language, and traditions were irrelevant. They were stripped of their identities, removed from their families, and forced to believe that their ancestors were heathens and pagans. At the same time, non-Aboriginal children were also being told that Aboriginal peoples’ way of life was uncivilized. How can healing and reconciliation come quickly when this perspective was taught for so many generations? Reconciliation starts with dialogue. I will never forget listening to Larry Wilson, former director
of the First Nations Alliance Churches of Canada, as he related his own family’s history. This was the beginning of my own conviction that I must intentionally increase my knowledge of Canada’s past. Developing a New Resource While God was working in my heart, another woman was on a similar journey. Tricia Maughan had been moved by reading Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future: Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and had developed a prayer guide to correspond with each of its 94 calls to action. I asked Tricia if Alliance Justice and Compassion could make it available to Alliance churches across Canada. She gave us her blessing, saying, “My intention is for people to be on their knees, seeking reconciliation that can only truly occur through the grace of our great God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If it can be used for that purpose, I will be thrilled!”
Editor’s Note: Tricia Maughan wrote the original prayer guide while living in Nanaimo, B.C., where she worked as a teacher, volunteered at an Aboriginal Centre, and ministered with her husband at the Nanaimo Alliance Church
Check out these helpful resources •
Truth and Reconciliation Prayer Guide
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
Indigenous and Indian Affairs, Canada – find information and resources
Facebook - Learn about programs and initiatives, upcoming events, and interesting content relevant to Aboriginal people and Northerners
Photo courtesy National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Archives, Photograph (Victoria Regional Event): PHVRE_00328, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
The pathway to healing and reconciliation will ultimately depend on prayer and intentional action by individuals
Upon reading Tricia’s prayer guide, we were inspired to expand upon her work and develop a resource that will deepen the understanding of each call to action. One cannot read the report or listen to the stories without feeling deep sorrow for what Aboriginal
The Kairos Blanket Exercise
Photo courtesy Kairos
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peoples of Canada have experienced. Exposure to the truths of the past will cultivate compassion, which I believe will deepen a conviction for prayer. I encourage you to use the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action Learning and Prayer Guide, which is available on the C&MA website, for your own prayer time.
In 1996, the Aboriginal Rights Coalition (which became part of KAIROS in 2001) worked with Indigenous elders and educators to develop an interactive way to learn the history most Canadians are never taught. KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives and its partners have since offered the KAIROS Blanket Exercise thousands of times, presenting Canada’s history from the perspective of Indigenous peoples to churches, schools, and community centres from coast-to-coast-to-coast. The KAIROS Blanket Exercise uses blankets to represent the lands of what is now called Canada. Participants represent the First Peoples—the distinct cultures and nations which live on those lands to this day. When they move onto the blankets, they are taken back in time to before the arrival of the Europeans. Working from a script, the Narrators and Europeans journey with the participants through the history of
First Steps to Reconciliation To be agents of healing and reconciliation, we need to start by examining our own hearts. Do we hold prejudices or misconceived ideas about Aboriginal peoples? Are we aware of the lived experiences that have been harmful to their communities? We must seek to build relationships in order to hear their stories. We can host or participate in events like the Blanket Exercise. We can pray that churches, communities, governments, and institutions will implement the 94 calls to action, which represent hope for a brighter and better future for Aboriginal people, their children, and their grandchildren. The pathway to healing and reconciliation will ultimately depend on prayer and intentional action by individuals. It is my hope that articles, such as this one, and resources, like the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action Learning and Prayer Guide, will inform and challenge the reader to embrace humility, to identify with the suffering of others, and to be intentional in taking actions that contribute to the relational healing between Aboriginal and nonAboriginal people of Canada.
Joanne Beach is the director of Alliance Justice and Compassion for The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada
treaty-making, colonization, resilience and resistance that resulted in the country we today call Canada. The KAIROS Blanket Exercise lasts about 40-50 minutes. Because it can stir strong emotions, KAIROS strongly suggests it be followed by a talking circle or debrief, ideally led by an Indigenous elder, traditional knowledge keeper, or trained health support worker. KAIROS also encourages, if possible, the participation of Indigenous people to provide support, to open and close the event, to acknowledge the traditional territory, and to share how the content resonates with them and the experience of their people. KAIROS invites community members to use the KAIROS Blanket Exercise in their faith groups, Indigenous communities, classrooms, workplaces, or wherever the opportunity arises to have these important conversations about our shared past and future.
Did You Know ... •
• • • • • • • •
There are more than 630 First Nation communities in Canada, which represent more than 50 nations and 50 Indigenous languages. The term, “Aboriginal” includes First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. People identifying as Aboriginal represent approximately 4.5 per cent of Canada’s population. Ontario has the largest Aboriginal population, followed by Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia. Winnipeg has the largest population of Métis, about 6.5 per cent. Aboriginal children aged 14 and under make up 28 per cent of the total Aboriginal population and 7 per cent of all children in Canada. Almost half of all children aged 14 and under in foster care are Aboriginal children. Less than half of First Nations children live with both parents. Inuit have a median age of 23, First Nations at 26, followed by Métis at 31. Source: StatsCan and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
For more resources visit kairosblanketexercise.org Visit the 2:53 minute video on the Blanket Exercise vimeo.com/107962612
The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die Taking her last chance to live By Marianne Jones
hen Linda Stewardson shared her story of abuse, addiction, and recovery with a class in the Child and Youth Worker Program at Confederation College, in Thunder Bay, one student came up to speak with her privately afterwards. The young woman told Linda that she had been planning to commit suicide that evening, but changed her mind after hearing Linda’s story. On another occasion, after Linda was interviewed at church, a man approached her to say, “I’ve never been to church before. I’m struggling with addictions. You inspired me to keep going.” Linda has that effect on people. Since receiving the Courage to Come Back Award in 2004 from
The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die shows that there is no pain too great or darkness too deep for God’s love to transform. Available from amazon.ca, goodreads.com or your local Christian bookstore
again, I was going to die,” she the Centre for Addiction and remembers. Mental Health, she has told her At that moment, Linda story hundreds of times to social agencies, a women’s prison, church surrendered her life to God and experienced a love and relief from groups, a provincial conference for pain that was totally new to her. Child and Youth Workers, on CBC She continued to attend Redwood Radio, and 100 Huntley Street. Linda’s effectiveness as a speaker Alliance, where she found help and support through understanding comes from the pain and triumph friends and the Celebrate Recovery of her life experiences. When she program held at the church. first came to Crossroads Centre, a In 2002, Linda married and began recovery home, in Thunder Bay in 1998, she knew that it was her last volunteering for the Canadian Mental Health Association. chance to live. After an abusive After an abusive childhood, childhood, 50 suicide attempts, and a life 50 suicide attempts, and a of addiction on the streets of Toronto, she life of addiction... had been in and out “I had always felt like a burden of recovery homes and hospital on society. I hadn’t known I had emergency rooms in the city so anything to give until I started many times that most people had volunteering,” she said. Her given up on her. volunteer work led to an invitation The supervisor at a detox centre advised Linda that she needed to get to speak on behalf of the United Way to a roomful of provincial away from Toronto or she wouldn’t government employees. survive. Linda felt a pull towards Her ten-minute speech was Thunder Bay and a new start. greeted with a standing ovation, In Thunder Bay, Linda was able which led to a flood of speaking to overcome her addiction to invitations and media interviews. substances, but she still felt dead inside. She wondered what the point After hearing her, many people asked her to put her life story in of sobriety was if she continued to book form. be so unhappy. They got their wish when Word One Sunday, she slipped into Alive Press published The Girl Redwood Park Alliance Church Who Wouldn’t Die and launched it and sat in the back row. There, she at the Women’s Journey of Faith encountered God calling her to give Conference in Saskatoon in 2015. up running and fighting. There, as Linda was signing “I had an overwhelming copies, a young woman awareness that if I walked away
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Courtesy: Marianne Jones
approached hesitantly. With tears in her eyes, she said, “Thank you for writing this.” Struggling for words, she shared that she had experienced severe abuse in her life as well, but often people didn’t want to hear about it. Linda hugged her and talked with her for a long while, encouraging her. After the young woman left, Linda said, “That’s why I do this.” Linda and her husband, Frank, have opted for a simple lifestyle so that Linda can devote her time to their two adopted sons, Matthew and Brayden, and to share her story with others, especially those who struggle with abuse and addiction. Despite her horrific beginnings, Linda now radiates joy and gratitude to the God who rescued her. “I am a blessed woman,” she says. “My life overflows with love.” •
Marianne Jones is an award-winning poet and author of several books; her work has also appeared in numerous magazines and other publications
Linda signing her book at its launching event
Where Do Broken Hearts Go? All kinds of losses produce grief—loss of jobs, homes, friendships, health, divorce, and death— and we are often unprepared for it. “This is a book born out of the experience of the comfort of the triune God in a loss I never could have imagined. Cancer and death happen to other people, not to me, I had thought, mostly subconsciously. This immersion into the depth of disease and death was an immersion into humanity, into its fallen, broken, dying state, into the desolation of the loss of the emotional centre of my life. But above all, in the economy of God’s grace, it has been a fresh immersion into Him. Recovery is always a process, and it is ongoing. In this book, I tell my story merely because I hope it will be a means for you to find comfort in a God who is there, there for you, there to comfort, there to redeem even the worst of losses. There, never to let you go. There because you matter...” Rev. Dr. Ross Hastings is an associate professor at Regent College, and has served churches in Canada for twenty years, including eleven years as the lead pastor at Peace Portal Alliance Church in White Rock, BC. Applicable to all who go through loss, this book will also offer skills for pastors, pastors-in-training, and friends seeking to offer comfort to grieving people. It is available from amazon.ca and wipfandstock.com.
Escaping Exploitation God breaks the cycle of abuse By Glendyne Gerrard
Courtesy: Defend Dignity; Photographer: Kevin Clark
BridgeNorth, Womens’ Mentorship and Advocacy Services, a community organization based in York Region, ON, is dedicated to helping sexually exploited women and children build the healthy lives they want to live. Glendyne Gerrard interviewed the director, Casandra Diamond, who provides holistic care to these individuals through prevention and exit strategies and safety planning.
Your passion to help exploited girls comes out of your own story; can you briefly summarize that for us? In my early life, I experienced all forms of abuse— sexual, rape, neglect, verbal, and emotional. I don’t remember any time without sexual abuse in my life. We also have mental health problems in my family; we were usually on our own in the home, which set the tone for my future exploitation. I didn’t understand healthy relationships, especially with boys or men. I had difficulty connecting with my peers, so marginalization left me on the fringe of society.
Alliance Connection - Spring/Summer 2017
I tried to overcome these obstacles but became pregnant at 16. God had placed an amazing woman in my life, and she had taken me in. I saw how she cared for her children and realized it wasn’t something I could give to my child, so I picked adoptive parents and did my best for my son. When I had my son and left the hospital without him, a piece of my heart was missing. The pain of leaving him made me feel I couldn’t fight anymore. How did sexual exploitation begin to happen to you? Having no options, I went into stripping. I was 17 years old when I entered the prostitution industry. All of my life’s circumstances left me feeling and thinking I was entirely worthless. Men had been taking what they wanted from me, and when I got to the strip club, I felt that I could dance for whom I wanted. I was getting money for what they used to take from me. I felt like I had power, but it was just deception. I met some people there who had a magazine company. I started working for them not realizing it
was just a front for organized crime. That’s where I met my exploiter—my pimp. The magazine company closed down because the owner was murdered, so I went to work for my pimp at a massage parlour. I felt like he was caring and protective. He ended up taking all my money. He isolated me from my few family and friends and orchestrated events to push me to him. I came to believe that he was all that I had and was all that I needed. Through that reliance, I stopped reaching out to others. I didn’t know it then, but I know it now. He continued to exploit me for another nine years. So how did you get out of this? I wasn’t able to get away, but my exploiter broke up with me. Even then, it took me about eight or nine months to be able to leave the spa. I got out of the industry because he pursued another relationship. In your journey towards wholeness, God has brought healing to you. Can you describe how that happened? I have no possible words to describe the power in which God revealed Himself to me! He’s been so kind and wonderful to me. It was God who got me out of the cycle of abuse. When I left the spa, all I did was sleep and cry for two and a half days. I was exhausted—my soul was exhausted. The family who looked after me while I was pregnant took me in again. I had seen them come to Christ. On the third day, I took a Bible, and it fell open to Ecclesiastes. Depressed people do not need to read from Ecclesiastes! I was crying and lifted my head to pray, saying, “I’m not taking that from You. I’ve seen You working in Kathy and Jim. I know You’re real.” I flipped through the Bible and started reading it while telling God, “I’m a mess!” I read Psalm 102 and literally dropped to my knees. This was the story of my life, and He sent His Spirit to help me repent and take Christ as my Saviour. It felt like somebody was bringing warm blankets and putting them on me—I felt waves of warmth. I felt such relief! I had questions, and the church I started to attend had just started an Alpha group. I couldn’t understand how God could be so merciful. I couldn’t understand why He would want us to forgive people. I believed in this God, but I had trouble reconciling everything. Don’t think I didn’t consider going back to the industry. I had left broke and with no education, no social life, nothing. It’s easier to go backwards than forwards. A woman at church, named Lois, asked me every Sunday what I had done that week. Whenever I thought about going back to prostitution, I would think of her. She kept me from going back. I walked into the church one day and said to the
secretary, “I need help!” She set me up with a Christian counsellor. I learned why I had to forgive people, and my relationship with Christ deepened to a point where I could forgive. This is based on the knowledge of who Christ is and what He did for me. It’s being at peace with people. How is God using you today? BridgeNorth is God’s ministry. I see Him moving to help girls get out of the industry and connect with Him. I see God helping through tangible donations. When I give the girls these gifts, they want to know why someone would do that, and it opens the door for me to be able to communicate the love of Christ to them. As a survivor, these girls pay attention to my changed life. I have a prayer network for crisis cases, and you couldn’t imagine how I see things changing. God is using me at national and provincial levels to raise public awareness of human trafficking. He’s also using me as an agent of hope for the girls to see. There’s nothing they can’t take to God. I just want to remind them that God loves them and to keep their hearts soft. He can be with them in the most intimate and amazing ways in their lives. •
Glendyne Gerrard is director of Defend Dignity, the C&MA’s initiative to end sexual exploitation in Canada
Prostitution in Canada •
93% of sex trafficking victims come from Canada, not other countries.
Trafficking always involves violence, threats, coercion, intimidation, manipulation, deception, fraud, abuse of power, or abduction.
One in nine men in Canada purchase sex.
Women in prostitution have a mortality rate 40 times higher than the national average.
Canada does not currently have a standard system for tracking incidents of sex trafficking; they are recorded only when they involve law enforcement or federal agencies. Like with other types of sexual or physical violence, victims rarely come forward to report being trafficked. Canadian Women’s Foundation Fact Sheet
I wil l f orever b e im pa cted b y m y d si astrous choic es…
I will forever be impacted by my disastrous choices…
Caught in the Grip I was the one in nine
tats regarding women who are victims of sexual abuse through trafficking, prostitution, and sexual exploitation are horrific, complex, and overwhelming. Something needs to be done to stop the pain and abuse. The stats regarding men who are offenders— the purchasers of sex—are perhaps even more disconcerting. One in nine Canadian men purchase sex. One in five men in the church use pornography. I know, because I belonged to that group of statistics. I was the one in nine. I will forever be impacted by my disastrous choices, and the problem, the power, the sin of pornography and prostitution. How could this happen? How could someone who grew up in a good, godly, Christian home be part of the one in nine? How is it possible that I never confided in anyone, even though I had a good relationship with my parents and with people in my church? I purchased my first prostitute while in college, which began the occasional use of prostitutes
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throughout college, over 25 years ago. Even though the purchase of prostitutes ended years ago, the grip of sexual addiction and the effects of sexual images have affected every day of my life, my relationship with my wife and parents, and those in whom I’ve confided since then. I’ve always said that if I could do one day over again, it would be the day that the pornographic pictures got passed around in the playground in grade six. That led to a curiosity and fascination with women and women’s bodies that—even though I knew was wrong—I was drawn into and soon felt that I couldn’t control. I felt powerless to stop it. I was caught in the grip of sexual temptation. I stayed hidden for a long time, and the fascination became an obsession, which became an addiction, and the secret was buried under a façade of niceness and religion. I thought I was a Christian, but I was just trusting in my niceness and religion instead of repenting.
I’m glad that I was able to come clean. I’m glad that a select group of people that included close friends, a professor, pastor, close relative, my parents, and my girlfriend (who later became my wife) listened to my story. They forgave me, supported me, and challenged me to start dealing with the problems I’d created. I am so thankful to God for His love and forgiveness. I am so thankful to Jesus for His healing touch. I am so thankful to the Holy Spirit for His power and conviction. I am so thankful to my wife, who never gave up on me, and who believed in me but wouldn’t let me settle for anything less than the standard of holiness to which God has called us. I am so thankful that after many years of trying to be in control of my own life and relinquishing that control to the power of sex, that God is giving me victory and freedom as I submit to His control. Unless I trust Christ alone, I will fail again. I am finding that community and accountability are critical to my healing journey. As I commit to honest relationships with Jesus and my accountability partners, I am more than a conqueror. •
Motion M-47, directing the Federal Health Committee to examine the harmful effects of sexually violent online images, passed the House of Commons in December 2016. The Health Committee study will take place in early 2017. Pray that the Health Committee does a lengthy and thorough study resulting in the determination that pornography requires a public health response, much like tobacco did decades ago. When an issue such as pornography is considered a public health issue, education, laws, and policies are put in place to ensure the protection of Canadians. Defend Dignity is actively involved in finding witnesses for the committee’s study and strategizing with national and international stakeholders.
The author struggled with pornography for over 30 years and has not looked at it for the past eight years
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The Radicalization of a Son Receiving the news no father should have to hear By Wayne Driver
y son Aaron was a happy seven-year-old when his mother died of brain cancer in 1999. He took her death hard and blamed God. He stopped eating so that he could be with his mom. He lost interest in church and became disruptive. No matter what we did or who we took him to see, we seemed unable to help him through the grieving process.
Aaron remained close to his brother and sister but found himself in trouble with the law, running away and skipping school. He got into drugs and alcohol. At 16, he went to live at a group home. At 19, Aaron found the religion of Islam and had turned his life around. Somewhere along his chosen path, he became secretive and radicalized in support of terrorism. We never gave up on him. We prayed for him and reached out via the telephone and text messages that went unanswered. Because he had shut us out of his life, all we could do was to love him and continue to pray for him. Then he set off Then he set off a bomb outside his sister’s home in a bomb... Strathroy, Ontario. He died from being shot by a police officer because he refused to surrender. I was shocked when I received the news of his death. It was hard to imagine my son doing something like that. Harder still was seeing him on the evening news and reading articles about what had led to his demise. I wondered what had driven him to such extremes and pondered what I could have done differently to help him. It boils down to the fact that we all have the right to choose, no matter how misguided others may think our choices are. To cope with his loss, I choose to pray, and others have prayed for me. I maintain my normal routine, talk about him when asked, go to church, and seek God’s guidance when I hurt. I take refuge in the Word of God. We made all attempts to help him while he was alive, and we grieve for him now, but “I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’” no matter what life throws at me (Psalm 91:2). • Wayne Driver is intern pastor at Harbour Light Alliance Church in Cold Lake, AB
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God can redeem situations and circumstances just as effectively as He can people
The scene after the structure collapsed Photos courtesy Al Voth
Up in Smoke Looking at tragedy through a different lens By Al Voth
erry Christmas; our church just burned down.
There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write, but it happened. Just a few days before Christmas, one of the two buildings of Stony Plain Alliance Church was destroyed by a fire. The fire started around 2 o’clock on a Sunday afternoon. Everyone in the building got out safely and there were no injuries. We know that God is a redeemer, but we sometimes get stuck in the idea that He only redeems people. God can redeem situations and circumstances just as effectively as He can people. Can God redeem the destruction of this building? You bet He can! To see what He can do here, we have to look at this through God’s eyes. The way to do that is through praise.
Paul writes, in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances...” Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Note the use of words like “always,” “continually,” and “in all circumstances” in these verses. Praising God for who He is and what He can do in the midst of difficult circumstances is absolutely vital for allowing God to redeem them. If we don’t praise God in the midst of suffering, we will end up at a place of resentment and anger towards Him. Praising God while in the centre of dark circumstances takes us to a place of greater intimacy that allows us to see how He redeems circumstances. No doubt Satan would like to see every church in Stony Plain burned to the ground in hopes that it would
stop the Kingdom of God from being proclaimed. He’s likely dancing in the ashes of this building thinking he has achieved something; however, as we praise God and give thanks, God will begin to work to turn this into a blessing that we can only imagine at this point. The apostles understood this, and it’s why they praised God every time they were thrown into a prison. They never knew how redemption would come, but they knew it would. Our challenge is to look at this fire through the filter of God’s eyes and bring praise in the circumstance. The photo below illustrates this for us; when we use a star filter over the lens, all the light that passes into the camera’s “eye” has to pass through this filter first. Suddenly, the focus of the image isn’t the fire. Instead, our attention shifts to all the points of light. A streetlight turns into a Christmas star, and the emergency lights become points of beauty. Our praise to God in times of trouble has the same effect a star filter has on this photograph. It takes our eyes off the suffering and places focus on God. Praise allows us to catch a glimpse of how God can redeem this circumstance and turn it into something beautiful. Merry Christmas; our church just burned down. Praise the Lord! •
Al Voth, a member of the Stony Plain Alliance Church, in AB, is a retired RCMP officer doing forensic consulting, freelance writing, and photography
Postscript, a month later Each week since the fire, we have had new families join us looking for a church home. We are doing our best to help them connect through small groups. Our youth Alpha has continued to generate great faith discussions as they meet in a new location with a new youth pastor. Our adult Alpha had a Holy Spirit day in which people experienced deliverance and God’s fullness. We baptized two people who have made recent commitments to Jesus. Every Sunday evening, 50-75 people have been meeting to worship and pray. Thanks for praying, because we are in way over our heads but believe that this is such a turning point in our history. As you pray, we sense that Jesus is meeting us in our chaos and making a way for us through the darkness. • Rev. Graham English, Sr. Pastor
...our attention shifts to all the points of light
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The Fort McMurray Fire Healed by God after the disaster By Brenda Osborne
One year ago, a wildfire raged through Fort McMurray, AB, forcing the evacuation of almost 100,000 residents. 2,400 homes were destroyed.
ur house was in the path of the Fort McMurray wildfires. My son and I were split up from my husband during the evacuation, and there are no words to describe the experience of being separated from him for hours. We had no water, phone chargers, or toothbrushes. Driving through the flames was surreal. All of this was distressing for my anxious son, who was afraid of dying. This was an excellent opportunity to talk about how I’m not afraid of being dead. We had plenty of time to talk about Jesus dying for our sins and how He takes away the consequence of death from us. I led him in the Sinner’s Prayer, and we continued to talk about how we weren’t afraid of death. We did, however, hope that the actual process of dying wouldn’t be painful. When we arrived back home, in July, the forest regrowth was incredible. I spent a lot of time walking in the forest being reminded of how God spared us and how He enabled the firefighters to save our city. It was nothing short of a miracle. This fire made me realize the importance of my little family. I feel a new connection to the people around me, and I have increased compassion for others. It seems that everyone is more aware of their emotions these days. Fort City Church lost about 25 families, who never returned after the fire. That’s a sad loss of friendships for us, as well as a concern; regular giving is down. As a result of the fire, we have had a tremendous influx of people who hadn’t attended church for a long time or possibly had never been inside of a church. A year ago, we averaged 240 at church. Recently, we had 330 people in attendance! Our pastor has been speaking on mental health for many months— courage, anxiety, fear, facing our faults, overcoming obstacles. This is a fantastic opportunity for new people to hear what they need to hear. We are all a bit raw, and God is okay with that. He isn’t intimidated by our anger or bitterness. Many of us struggle with sirens and the smell of smoke. Personally, I am a bit anxious about our gas tank levels, and I still have dreams every once in a while about things being on fire and the need to evacuate. I have several friends struggling to get their lives back together. They still aren’t into their homes, and some have to throw out everything due to smoke damage. They’ve been living in uncertainty for many months. Life is about choices, and I have chosen to move on from the fire. I am using this place in my life to listen to God. My spiritual life has been filled with such hope that I am seizing opportunities to minister to people whom I wouldn’t have noticed before. God is speaking to me everywhere; my heart just has to be willing to listen. • Brenda Osborne is the office administrator at Fort City Church, in Fort McMurray, AB
Letting Go of Losses Grieving the seasons of life By Ron Walborn
y students at Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary are assigned to write a 7-10-page grief journal, which they then process with a spiritual formation group or a counsellor. Rather than waiting for life to give us 20 years of loss to grieve all at once, I believe it is better to make grieving a regular spiritual discipline. Just as we need to keep short accounts on matters of sin, I believe we should deal quickly and regularly with matters of loss. What Do I Need to Grieve? There is a one-word answer to that question: loss. Loss takes many forms other than death. Often, the losses that hurt us most are the “little” ones that we think we need to “get over.”
Alliance Connection - Spring/Summer 2017
Henri Nouwen says, The losses that settle themselves deeply in our hearts and minds are the loss of intimacy through separations, the loss of safety through violence, the loss of innocence through abuse, the loss of friends through betrayal, the loss of love through abandonment, the loss of home through war, the loss of well-being through hunger, heat and cold, the loss of children through illness or accidents, the loss of country through political upheaval, and the loss of life through earthquakes, floods, plane crashes, bombings, and diseases. Perhaps many of these dark losses are far away from most of us; maybe they belong to the world of newspapers and television screens, but nobody can escape
the agonizing losses that are part of our everyday existence—the loss of our dreams. The bottom line is that no one gets out of life without experiencing loss. Even the end of a good season and the beginning of a new season requires a bit of grieving. I recently experienced the joy and tears of walking my daughter down the aisle to give her away to the man of her dreams. As joy-filled as that moment was, I also had to grieve the end of a wonderful season so that I could let go of the past and fully embrace the new season my daughter and her husband have now entered. Grieving helped me to embrace this wonderful transition. Grieving over loss in our lives is a difficult thing to embrace, but we must grieve the painful losses of the past seasons of our lives before we can effectively embrace the present and the future. A few years ago, a woman in her 60s approached me to talk about her lifelong depression. As a young pastor’s wife, she had miscarried a child in the late stages of pregnancy. The women of the church were initially understanding and even brought food to the parsonage. As they were leaving, one of the women began to press her about being in church on Sunday to play the piano and teach Sunday School since they didn’t have anyone else.
As the door closed, this young woman realized she had exactly three days to grieve the loss of her child before she was expected to get back to “normal.” For the last 35 years, she has been in and out of counselling and on medication for severe depression. It wasn’t until she heard a sermon on grieving that the Holy Spirit brought to her mind the connection between her depression and never having properly grieved the loss of her child. She gave herself permission to grieve and the tears began to flow. We held a quiet service that week, naming the child and grieving the loss. The depression lifted. She went off her medication and has experienced great freedom and joy. The failure to grieve traps us in our past and robs us of our future. Simply put, grieving means “to express sorrow.” It is the process Jesus spoke of in Matthew 5:4 when He said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” The process of bringing what is on the inside out to the surface of God’s light is one of the primary ways God heals us and brings us His comfort in a fallen world. •
Dr. Ron Walborn is the Dean of Alliance Theological Seminary and the College of Bible and Christian Ministry at Nyack College, in Nyack, NY
Grieving Exercise The grief journal is best done as a regular spiritual discipline. •
Begin a bullet list of your losses. Start wherever the most pain arises—it doesn’t have to be chronological. Fix your eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2) and pray, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).
Ask the Lord, “Where do you want me to go first?” Allow the Lord to bring the incident or memory to mind. Write down the memory and engage with it emotionally. Do not censor your words or try to be grammatically correct in your writing—just get it out. Let it be raw.
Don’t stop when it starts to get uncomfortable or painful. That is a sign you are getting to the right place where you need to feel and release. This is often the place where the Holy Spirit uproots lies and replaces them with an experiential knowledge of God’s truth and amazing love.
Find a safe person to help you “process” this pain. If you are one to help someone process, remember: do not fix people! Just listen and be quiet. Let the grieving person read their grief journal to you, and comment as they go. They will let you know when they are done.
Weep with those who weep. Ask the Holy Spirit to come and comfort your friend. Continue in the same way with the next incident or memory as the Holy Spirit directs you.
Awakening the Giant Nature’s cry for reconciliation By Joanne Beach
e must wake the sleeping giant, which is the evangelical church!” This statement was made multiple times at a creation care conference organized by the Lausanne Movement’s Creation Care Network. The 100 invited participants were theologians, church leaders, scientists, and creation care practitioners. I was the only denominational leader in attendance and soon began to sense that if the evangelical movement is to be stirred at all, our theological lens needs to be refocused when it comes to the doctrine of creation. The traditional evangelical message of salvation started with the fact that all human beings are sinners in need of God’s redemptive work; however, perhaps our starting point needs to be shifted. The Gospel message must start with the creation account. This is the place where we encounter how God intended His creation to function prior to the influence of sin in the world.
The garden narrative in Genesis 2 describes a place of complete harmony, reciprocal respect, and an intimacy in relationship between God and humans, male and female, and humans with the rest of creation. Creation, as a whole, is at peace in a space where all physical and relational needs are met. In Genesis 2:15, humankind is given the mandate to abad—to work or to serve—and to shamar— to keep, guard, or preserve the creation. We have been given a unique role within creation; a directive to care for it in a way that nurtures and preserves it. Hosea 4:1-3 gives us a glimpse of the effects of sin on the land and creatures: “Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites, because the Lord has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: ‘There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land. There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. Because of this the land dries up, and all who live in it waste away;
the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky and the fish in the sea are swept away.’” Just as humans long for healing and restoration, so does all of creation. The Apostle Paul wrote, “For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:19-21). Paul also wrote, “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him [Christ] to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:19-20). The word “reconcile” in the original Greek is Apokatallassō, which means to bring back to its original state of harmony. When we read passages such as these, we envision that Christ’s work of
…Christ’s work of redemption includes restoring all of creation…” redemption includes restoring all of creation back to the state of harmony that was present in the creation narrative. The church is called to join Christ, by the power of His Spirit, to engage in the work of reconciliation—not just the broken relationship between humankind and God, but with all of creation. We are called to be peacekeepers, restorers, healers, and agents of reconciliation. It is interesting to note that in Genesis 9, when God makes His covenant not to destroy the earth again, it is at this point that God puts the fear of man in the animals. Could it be that a reconciled creation will one day co-exist in peace and harmony again? Isaiah 11 describes a future vision of what a reconciled creation looks like—a place where wild animals and children co-exist. Isaiah 65 depicts the new heaven and the new earth as a place where there is no injustice, where physical needs are met, and where all relationships are restored and at peace. Revelation 21 gives a description of the new heaven and the new earth coming down from heaven, and the sinful and evil order of
things has passed away. This description invites us to envision heaven on earth—a purified, restored, and healed earth where relationships are re-established to God’s original intent. I invite the Alliance family in Canada to begin a dialogue that reimagines a salvation that includes creation healed. Living out this message will nurture redemptive behaviours and deter us from actions that are destructive towards the earth, its resources, and creatures. Every act that seeks to bring healing, dignity, sustainability, and wholeness are foretastes of God’s Kingdom, which Jesus will establish when He returns. My personal commitment is to do my part to wake “the sleeping giant” first and foremost by seeking to live out this reimagined Gospel message in my own home, community, and sphere of influence. I invite you, and your church, to do the same.
Joanne Beach is the director of Alliance Justice and Compassion for The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada
Living Out Creation Care The Lausanne Movement’s Creation Care Network held a consultation on creation care and the Gospel, in Jamaica, in 2012. They are calling the evangelical church to consider the conclusions laid out in the Jamaica Call to Action. The Call includes a conviction that creation care is a “gospel issue within the lordship of Christ.” Visit the Lausanne website to explore the summary of this consultation. Two major convictions: 1. Creation care is indeed a “gospel issue within the lordship of Christ.” 2. We are faced with an environmental crisis that is pressing, urgent, and that must be resolved in our generation. This call includes specific action steps: 1. Commitment to a simple lifestyle 2. New and robust theological work 3. Leadership from the church in the Global South 4. Mobilization of the whole church and engagement of all of society 5. Environmental missions among unreached people groups 6. Radical action to confront climate change 7. Sustainable principles in food production 8. An economy that works in harmony with God’s creation 9. Local expressions of creation care 10. Prophetic advocacy and healing reconciliation
Matt Campbell riding across Canada in support of Love in Motion ministries
Cycling for a Common Purpose Five years of Love in Motion By Wayne Kerr
ove in Motion (LIM) has brought a sense of unity and closeness as cyclists from all walks of life have connected for a common purpose. LIM 2016 took place July 2-7 on Vancouver Island, and July 24-30 in Ontario (Windsor to Midland). Alliance churches opened their facilities for sleeping accommodations and provided much-needed food to replenish tired bodies. This was a great time to bring awareness of the larger Alliance family, meet Alliance family members, and partner with them as they found out about the ministries for which LIM was raising monies. Thankful Recipients •
“u-r home” Board of Directors (Toronto, ON)— Funds raised will help in supporting our efforts to bring dignity and compassion to the victims of human trafficking by collaborating with two other organizations in providing peer support for parents/caregivers of trafficked persons. The funds will also assist us to gain momentum as we aim to expand into York Region. Church at the Manor (Guelph, ON)—LIM brought awareness to our ministry, connecting us with many churches and ministries. We have
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been able to build on those partnerships. The amount of money raised is also a game-changer, as it gives us a solid base to grow our ministry. We are now taking on a part-time mental health nurse to serve alongside us. Ruth and Naomi’s Mission (Chilliwack, BC)— LIM has been a huge blessing to our ministry. We are in a city that has doubled in population since 1994. This has also brought growth in homelessness, poverty, addictions, and mental illness. We at the Mission provide meals, clothing, showers, shelter, and addictionrecovery programs. Between 2014 and 2016, we have been the beneficiary of $77,000, with which we have purchased a modular building for our clothing distribution centre and a muchneeded van.
As God put love in motion by sending His Son to show who God is, we aim to show others who Jesus is, as Paul says in Philippians 4:9: “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me— put it into practice...” •
Wayne Kerr has been involved with LIM since its beginning and has pastored in the Alliance for 48 years; he now serves with his wife, Betty, as National Volunteer Coordinators of POWER Team
Books by Joy Tira God’s mission among peoples living outside their places of origin Dr. Sadiri Joy Tira is the C&MA’s Global Ministries Diasporas Specialist and Sr. Associate for Diasporas for the Lausanne Movement. Here are three of his latest books: Women Working Overseas By Miriam Adeney and Sadiri Joy Tira Be enlightened about the life of diaspora workers through these compelling stories of immigrant women working in the Arabian Gulf. From unscrupulous workers to jobs with dignity, these are stories of persistence, hope, and resilience. You will see God at work among these immigrant women in the Middle East. Following each chapter is a list of probing questions for individuals or group discussion. At the end of the book, you will learn practical ways of reaching out to these workers. Available from omflit.com and ocms.ac.uk Wealth, Women, and God By Miriam Adeney and Sadiri Joy Tira Read true stories of women moving to the Middle East in search of a job to feed their families. Many face insurmountable obstacles such as imprisonment in homes, beatings, and sexual abuse. Read of God’s unfailing love giving them hope,
strength, and perseverance as these migrant workers grow in grace, impacting lives. Here, you will find research not available anywhere else as well as a guide for group Bible study and reflection at the end of each chapter. Available from amazon.ca and barnesandnoble.com Scattered and Gathered: A Global Compendium of Diaspora Missiology Edited by Sadiri Joy Tira and Tetsunao Yamamori This century is marked by mass migration, radically changing how we study and practice missions. “Where the church once rallied to go out into the regions beyond, Christian missions is currently required to respond and adapt to missions around.” This thoughtprovoking
book presents a call to the Church to understand and respond to this accelerating global diaspora, facilitating mission organizations to plan how to be involved. It challenges individuals to move beyond their comfort zone and reach immigrants with the love of Christ. Available from amazon.ca and barnesandnoble.com
NOW YOU KNOW
We have allowed…the Sabbath to be informed more by culture and tradition than Scripture
Rejecting the tyranny of the urgent By Bill McAlpine
e as humans function most effectively under a certain degree of stress; however, excessive stress has been shown to be a destructive influence in anyone’s life. How does one discern the difference between healthy and destructive stress? God has provided a magnificent gift of grace that enables us to function and avoid the effects of burnout. That gift is Sabbath rest. Some of us have allowed our understanding of the Sabbath to be informed more by culture and tradition than by Scripture. We may be prone to consider it an Old Testament phenomenon of Law, fulfilled or done away with by New Testament grace, or we may limit it to a “day off.” Sabbath Defined One word that captures the essence of Sabbath is “unhurried.” The word itself has nothing intrinsically religious or holy about it. It simply means to cease, desist, or stop. Too often, the concept of Sabbath has been confused with
what we call leisure. In his book, The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath, Mark Buchanan said, “Leisure is what Sabbath becomes when we no longer know how to sanctify time. Leisure is bereft of the sacred.” Sabbath implies a rhythm of time anchored in the creation activity of God the Father. How dare we think that we can do without it or marginalize it on the basis of law and grace? Some developed a tendency to relegate it to the realm of legalism and deem it no longer applicable to our context. Sabbath rest is a way of declaring our refusal to be bullied by the tyranny of the urgent. It is both a gift reflective of God’s grace and a command reflective of God’s holiness. Taking a Sabbath reminds me I am not indispensable to God’s sovereign plan; it allows me to get out of the way for a while, knowing that what is really essential is going to keep on being done by the Lord without me. • Rev. Dr. McAlpine is Professor of Practical Theology at Ambrose University and has authored two books:
Alliance Connection - Spring/Summer 2017
Sacred Space for the Missional Church and Four Essential Loves: Heart Readiness for Leadership and Ministry
Helpful Resources A full version of the material contained in this article may be found in Bill McAlpine’s book, Four Essential Loves published by Wipf & Stock, 2013, pages 120-127. Mark Buchanan, The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2006). Eugene H. Peterson, “The Pastor’s Sabbath” chapter in Refresh, Renew, Revive: How to Encourage Your Spirit, Strengthen Your Family, and Energize Your Ministry (Colorado Springs, CO: Focus on the Family Publishing, 1996). Abraham Joshua Herschel, The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man (Boston, Shambhala, 2003).
Passport & visa Pre-departure training $600/yr. $1,500
Moving expenses & setup costs $3,150
The Global Advance Fund (GAF) sends and supports international workers (IWs). These are samples of some of the average costs for an IW family with two children. The countries and contexts in which our IWs serve are very diverse. Cost ranges will vary greatly.
See how your giving to GAF is part of living on mission.
Travel to field $4,000
Field forum $2,500/yr.
Cell phone & Internet $100/mo.
Language school $250/mo.
Childrenâ€™s school $4,000/student/yr.
Volatile exchange rates which cause significant gains/losses when converting IW support
FINISH Retirement $250/mo.
* Travel home $4,000
* Home ministries seminar $2,500
Your donations allow our IWs to share the Gospel! Thank you so much for giving to the GAF. Approximately 80% of GAF directly supports our IWs. For more information or clarification, please contact email@example.com.
* These items take place every four years. March 2017
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