Musings: Why I am a Christian
Features Musings: Why I am a Christian 3 Look What Has Come to the World 7 Erwin McManus and The Controversial Jesus 10 Redeeming Halloween One Conversation at a Time 16 Between the Testaments: Alexander the Great to Antiochus IV 24
Departments Resource Centre 18 Discipleship Ministries 22
Information Contact Information 30 Community Corner 32 Calendar 33 Cover & Design: Clement Lee Contributors: Karen Cassel Jesse James Greg Kay Sam Lee Ben Reynolds Victoria Shipmaker Gene Tempelmeyer
Delve submissions are due on the LAST MONDAY of each month. To submit for the next issue of Delve, please email: email@example.com 2
Copy Editors: Greg Kay Suzanna Lai Gene Tempelmeyer
“Gene, you’re well informed about other faiths, why have you remained a Christian?” Mark Groleau asked this excellent question in an interview for a WikiGod podcast (WikiGodPod.com.) My answer is only five letters long: Jesus. It would be naive to think that growing up in the 50’s and 60’s in the southern US has nothing to do with this. My earliest faith development came in a time and place where the only available religious options boiled down to what brand of Christian one was going to be. Even those choices were limited to the western options of Roman Catholic and wide assortment of Protestants. That said, I now do know quite a bit about the possibilities offered by other religions and understand why people are drawn to those faith systems. I do not regard other faiths as the enemy, or even as the competition. It seems to me that if there were no truth in other ways of believing there would not be millions of Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, Muslims and so on in the world. Still I remain very, very firmly in the tent where Jesus is. 3
I have never wanted to preach out of habit so whenever I have gone through prolonged periods of questioning or doubting my faith (which I believe to be both inevitable and beneficial to thinking people) I have tried to strip away every belief I have that is contingent upon some other belief. Whenever I have done so I come to one core conviction that has remained unshakable for four and half decades: I love Jesus. I love Jesus. I can’t get away from him. I don’t want to get away from him. I love what Jesus said. I love how he treated people. I love how, when he was brutally humiliated and killed by the authorities, even in his experience of despair he was concerned for his mother and his instinctive response to those who killed him was to forgive them. A friend recently told me she is a Christian after studying world religion at university because the umbrella of grace and mercy offered by Jesus is unique in the religions of the world. Meaning no disrespect to other faiths, I agree with her. A religion in which I had to lift myself out of the pain, failure, violence, sin and turmoil of this world would only depress me. I know that despite the rules for a good life, despite meditating and lifting my mind to a place of peace and serenity, I would still screw up. I would tumble back into the shame, hurt and disappointment of life here. And my religious knowledge would only fill me with more shame. I love the doctrine of “incarnation” (God in a body) that tells me instead of trying to inspire me to rise above the world, God came into my world and lives with me here and now, loving me when I am holy, and loving me just as much when I am not. Jesus got God’s hands dirty because he cares more about me than he cares about purity. It is this consistent, unconditional love for me that draws me through the pain and disappointment of life toward finding a pure way to live in this world. The dirty hands of Jesus teach me I can only be holy by getting my hands dirty, too. To love and follow Jesus is to live under an umbrella of grace and 4
mercy. This is why I am Christian instead of something else. It is not just a thought, a proposition or a doctrine. It is a way of life. If you have been following American politics you know that Presidential hopeful Jeb Bush has suggested only Christian refugees from Syria should be welcomed into his country. When asked how they would be identified as Christian he shrugged and answered, “They can prove they are Christian.” But how? By reciting the Apostle’s Creed and affirming that they agree with every world of it? As the Apostle James wrote, “Even demons believe and tremble.” By praying in tongues and describing ecstatic religious experiences? The Apostle Paul wrote that without love all that makes us is a “clanging cymbal.” Paul even says that even “if I donate all my goods to feed the poor” I could do so without real love and though that might be helpful to the poor, it says nothing for me. To follow Jesus is to give away love freely, unconditionally and even dangerously just as Jesus did. If proof of being a Christian rests on what Jesus or the New Testament teaches, Jeb Bush has a problem. It’s a good thing for Mr. Bush that Jesus forgave the authorities and places us under an umbrella of grace and mercy because his policy fails the test. His philosophy of protecting one’s own power and privilege is exactly the kind of expediency that put Jesus on the cross. Someone recently asked me, “If Muslim countries don’t accept Christians why should Christian countries accept Muslims?” Because they are Christian, not Muslim. (Whether nations can actually be Christian is a discussion for another time.) If I want to act like my religion is not built on a foundation of grace, mercy and unconditional love, I need to join a religion that is not Christian. Christianity is unique. It teaches forgiveness and love while we remain in a painful, troubled, and unfair world. I’ve always enjoyed a story told by a Buddhist monk who became a Christian after reading the Gospels. He says a man fell into a deep hole where he lay bruised and bleeding. A Buddhist walked by and said, “This is bad karma at work. But if you enter into a deep state of meditation your 5 mind can transcend that horrible hole.” And he walked on.
Next came a Hindu who said, “It is sad that you have fallen into such a hole, but perhaps you will die there and be reincarnated as a bird able to fly free from any such trap!”
Look What Has Come to the World
A Muslim came by and said, “Alas, Allah wills it.” Confucius walked by and commented, “A wise man would have observed the hole and not fallen into it. Next time strive for greater wisdom.” Finally Jesus walked by. Seeing the man at the bottom of a hole he ran off to get a ladder, climbed down into the hole with the man, gathered him in his arms said, “Brother, let’s get you out of here!” I am well aware that is an over simplistic overview of comparative religion! Nevertheless, it is why, with all of the religious options available, I remain and will remain a Christian. Jesus is unique in his willingness to get his hands dirty because he cares for us more than he cares for religious purity. Christianity is unique in its offer of simple forgiveness and love. I just wish more Christians understood that. Gene Tempelmeyer
I don’t know about you, but my heart has been consumed and overwhelmed by the world events in Syria, Paris, Beirut and Mali (not to mention our own domestic human trafficking, child and adult poverty, climate change…). And to add to the pain and human suffering, the response of so many voices around the world, particularly in North America, have made me feel so discouraged, angry and at times hopeless—people proclaiming in fear and bigotry that a whole people are potential terrorists. And many of those voices coming from people who in other parts of their life love Jesus. How heart breaking. What has the world come to? Then I read this. E. Stanley Jones, a Methodist missionary in the mid 20th century, once wrote, “the early Christians did not say in dismay, ‘Look what the world has come to,’ but in delight, ‘Look what has come to the world’”.
Advent, the season before Christmas, is a time of longing; of awareness of the desperate need for something to change; of wrestling with the reality that human beings have the capacity for so many terrible things, and that this capacity is within each of us. Me. You. Advent is also however a time of looking forward; of hope that God will come into the world to make things right—whether that be in the past tense coming of Emmanuel (God with us) in the Christmas story or in the future tense of his coming again to usher in the new heaven and new earth. Look what has come to the world. I want to be an Advent person who isn’t stuck on the question ‘what has the world come to?’ but to be a person who, in delight and hope says, ‘look what has come to the world’. To see not simply humanity at its worst, but to see God at work in the world. The presence of Christ and his Kingdom. I believe all have capacity for hate and capacity for love. I think most would agree with that statement, regardless of their personal beliefs or religious affiliations. I personally believe the capacity for love comes from being made in Gods image. In life, we always have to make personal choices to hate or to love. These are daily decisions, whether it be our responses to those living with and around us, with people we run into on the street (or who run into us in our cars), or with people who have differing (and infuriating!) opinions on social media. But sometimes we have opportunities to choose love over hate as a collective—not individually but as communities, churches, cities, countries; opportunities to choose the riskiness of love over the safety of exclusive fear. This is one of those times. Do you long for God to break in? For Love to come? For Emmanuel, God with us? Do you long for an absence of fear? Choose love. 8
This is our individual and collective opportunity to either reject or to welcome one who desires to come into the world bringing peace and love. I recently saw a video where someone was arguing that in all the major world wars and violent events in history, “the peaceful majority were irrelevant.” Their point was that although most Muslims are peaceful people, those peaceful people make no difference, as it is only the violent unloving extremists (and therefore our violent extreme unloving response) that win the day. I believe that this is only true when the “peaceful majority” are immobilized by fear, remain silently on the sidelines and do not stand up for love. My heart longs to for one who enters our world and, with great fearless courage and love, breathes peace into the world. Oh wait… that ‘one’ was Jesus, and is Jesus, and will be Jesus. And that ‘one’ is Jesus in you, and me, and any who refuse to live with bigotry and fear as acceptable, but who choose to live the ways of Jesus in courageous love, breathing peace into the world, one “irrelevant” peacemaker at a time. This is our individual and collective opportunity to either reject or to welcome one who desires to come into the world bringing peace and love. Look what has come to the world. “Through the bottomless mercy of our God, one born on high will visit us to give light to those who walk in darkness, who live in the shadow of death; to lead our feet in the path of peace” Luke 1:78-79
Greg Kay 9
Erwin McManus and The Controversial Jesus
Beginning on Sunday, January 31, Gene also will be speaking each Sunday about “Jesus the Rabble Rouser.” These talks will supplement the group study without covering the same material. If you have to miss a Sunday or a group meeting, this will not detract from your ability to benefit from the other. About the Author: Erwin Raphael McManus is an author, activist, filmmaker, and innovator. He is also widely known as a thoughtprovoking communicator. His work is featured in numerous films, articles, and magazines across the U.S. and internationally. A native of El Salvador, he serves as the primary communicator and cultural architect of Mosaic in Los Angeles. About Life Groups: We have Life Groups meeting in many areas of the city. Most groups meet every two weeks, but some follow other schedules. If you would like to join a Life Group please contact Jin Lee at Jin.Lee@rogers.com or talk to Gene during Coffee Time after worship if you would like to be introduced to Jin. We would also love to hear from you if you would be interested in hosting/facilitating a Life Group for the six sessions of this study. firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Two thousand years ago, Jesus was criticized for His revolutionary teachings and mocked for His radical claims. Today His teachings are still fiercely debated. Erwin McManus helps us break from our tame ideas of who Jesus is by re-introducing us to the Jesus who radically changed history and who still changes people’s lives. Spring Garden Life Groups will be encouraged to join a congregation-wide study this winter called “The Controversial Jesus.” Led by Erwin McManus via DVD, this six session small group explore reasons why Jesus was such a controversial figure 2,000 years ago, and why continuing to live out his teachings can be countercultural and even polarizing still today. 10
Light of the World Sunday December 20th, 6:30pm @Spring Garden Church A festive evening of funky Christmas fun! Join us @Spring Garden as we sing favorite Christmas songs with an upbeat band and eat lots of great desserts. This evening is designed to be a safe invite for friends, neighbours, family members or coworkers who enjoy the holiday season, music and food. If you would like to invite someone, physical invitations are available at the entrances of the SGC building, and digital invitations can be downloaded from springgardenchurch.ca If you would like to help us make the evening a success, we are looking for people to bake their best home-baked (peanut free) desserts! Please let us know if this is a way youâ€™d like to help out. Admission is free. There will be a donation box in aid of refugee support and care For more info contact firstname.lastname@example.org Also, the Light of the World Band has recorded a NEW Digital Single! The single along with an EP of the bands other recordings will be available as of Dec 3 for listening or download. Dropbox http://bit.ly/1j6rp0A Google drive http://bit.ly/1NC6NWb
Artwork by Caroline Lee www.catchooandcompany.com 12
What was your best Christmas gift? Perhaps it was the one that was the most unexpected. Or perhaps it was one that came from someone who was very special. Perhaps the meaning behind the gift was more important than the gift itself. This year the Spring Garden Community is invited to give a special gift to a child living in our area who is separated from a parent in jail. Your role is to buy and wrap the gift and deliver it to the family on behalf of the prisoner. In effect you become the hands and feet of those who do not have a means of buying anything for their child. You may wish to sponsor one child, or a whole family. You can sponsor as an individual, a family or a group. We are also happy to pair up people who are willing to deliver with those who are able to make the purchases. We also encourage inviting the family’s we sponsor to join us for one of our Christmas gatherings (Light of the World, Christmas Eve, etc.). In these ways of giving we offer families the hope of a community ready to receive them all year long.
4. When a whole family is being sponsored, you and any who are sponsoring the family with you are welcomed to make a care package for the whole family 5. You (and any who are sponsoring children in the same family) facilitate delivering the gift(s)* to the family on the prisoner’s behalf before Dec 24th (gifts are labeled from the imprisoned parent, gift packages can be labelled as coming from you). *We are happy to help with facilitating delivery if you are not able. You can also choose to sponsor a “remote” child/family who does not live nearby and mail the gifts* 6. If you are comfortable and it seems appropriate, you are encouraged to invite the caregiver and children to any of our Christmas gatherings (Light of the World, Christmas eve). Printed invitations will be available @SGC end of November. For more information or to sign up to sponsor a child or family: Victoria Shipmaker email@example.com SGC page with more details http://springgardenchurch.ca/angel-tree/ Prison Fellowship Angel Tree Christmas: http://prisonfellowship.ca/angel-tree-christmas/
Gifts are to be $30 per sponsored child. Care packages for the whole family are also welcomed but not required. The way it works: 1. You or your group lets us know how many children you would like to sponsor or if you would like to sponsor a family 2. We will give you information on the child/family (gift suggestions from the caregiver, names and address) 3. You purchase and wrap the gift(s)—around $30 per child (it’s important you stay near this so that all kids get presents of same value) 14
Redeeming Halloween One Conversation at a Time I grew up loving Halloween. Picking out a costume, having a party at school and finally going out and collecting the candy was just pure excitement with no down side. I can still smell the mixture of potato chips, apples and candy that came from my big paper grocery bag in the weeks that followed! In my home, we said a prayer before dinner on major holidays and went to church at Christmas and never had any idea that there could be anything wrong with Halloween. I’ve now come to understand that many Christians don’t feel the way I did about Halloween, so when SGC and other churches hand out candy there can be mixed feelings about the whole idea. Can God redeem Halloween? Can God use Halloween for good? I think so. As we approach Christmas we remember the story of the 16
Magi also known as the wise men who used astrology to find the Christ child and to deliver the news of the birth of our King. We know the story so well we might lose touch with just how odd a story it is. Imagine God using foreign Gentiles to announce His coming to the Jews! Not only were they not of the faith they were diviners who believed they could find the secrets to the universe through the movement of stars across the sky. This was not in keeping with Israelite beliefs that relied on God alone for wisdom. Yet God used unexpected people to bring Good News! We saw God at work at Halloween too. The SGC volunteers handed out candy and offered conversation to about 120 people. We also handed out 80 cups of hot chocolate to our grateful neighbours. However the hot chocolate and candy was a means of doing something else. It was a way to meet people and to have conversations. We talked about a lot of things: how hard it is to meet people if you don’t have children. How Halloween is celebrated in Canada. How long we have been living in the neighbourhood. We practiced our English – and our Mandarin! A few people asked about our church and we let them know about the Light of the World night. Others didn’t really know we were a church – one youngster told his friend confidently that we must be “a corporation”, no doubt he associated a table of free candy with a promotional event! These conversations add up over time. We learn about one another and some people actually come to know us even better. We have had people come out to SGC as a result of those Halloween evenings – some start out in Refresh, others come directly to our church service! Yes even Halloween can be used by God to point to Him. God comes to His people in unexpected ways – not just at that first Christmas but all through history. Victoria Shipmaker on behalf of the Halloween Team! 17
Recomendations From The Resource Centre
Spring Garden’s online library catalog can be accessed at springgardenchurch.ca/library
If you know of books or DVDs that you’d like to recommend to the resource centre, please contact Karen Cassel firstname.lastname@example.org
Books Introverts in the Church, Finding our Place in an Extroverted Culture, by Adam McHugh Adam McHugh shows how introverts can live and minister in ways consistent with their personalities. With practical illustrations from church and parachurch contexts, McHugh explains how introverts and extroverts process information and approach relationships differently and how introverts can practice Christian spirituality in ways that fit who they are. With practical illustrations from church and parachurch contexts, McHugh offers ways for introverts to serve, lead, worship and evangelize effectively.
Give Yourself a Break: Turning Your Inner Critic into a Compassionate Friend, by Kim Fredrickson Licensed marriage and family therapist Kim Fredrickson wants you to stop beating yourself up. Grounding her advice in Scripture, she offers practical steps, specific exercises, and compassionate words to say in order to build a loving relationship with yourself. Through inspiring stories of transformation, she’ll help you learn to show yourself the kind of grace and understanding you offer to others, and to change your relationships, your outlook on life, and your view of yourself in the process.
The End of Me: Where Real Life in the Upside-Down Ways of Jesus Begins, by Kyle Idleman Are you sometimes perplexed with Jesus’s teaching? Do you really want what he wants? Bestselling author Kyle Idleman reveals that the key to the abundant life Jesus promised lies in embracing His inside-out way of life. As he examines Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, 19
Kyle unpacks the many counter-intuitive truths, including: brokenness is the way to wholeness, mourning is the path to blessing, and emptiness is required in order to know true fullness. Ultimately you will discover how Jesus transforms you as you begin to live out these paradoxical principles. Because only when you come to the end of yourself can you begin to experience the full, blessed, and whole life Jesus offers.
FOR YOUNG READERS
Mystery Rider, by Miralee Ferrell Thirteen-year-old Kate Ferris already has one problem. Snooty, well-to-do Melissa is boarding her horse at Kate’s family stable. When Melissa suddenly turns nice, Kate is shocked ... and suspicious. The last thing she needs is more trouble. So when a hooded rider appears—and then disappears—on a stunning black horse outside her home, Kate isn’t sure if Melissa is playing a trick or something more dangerous is going on. Either way, Kate and her friends will need an extra measure of faith and courage to solve this mystery.
Let’s Learn About the Lord’s Prayer, by Catherine DeVries (Picture book) In this first book of the HeartSmart series, preschoolers are invited on a playdate with Emma. Together they learn the Lord’s Prayer and practice “teaching” it to Emma’s favorite teddy bear.
Discipleship Ministries - Partnering with Families Show God’s Care As a parent, I want to show my kids that Christmas is more than just about presents. What are some ways we can look beyond ourselves to those around us? How can we show the love that God has shown us in Jesus Christ by showing His care to our neighbours? During this season, the SGC community are committing to show God’s care through two projects: Operation Good Thing & Angel Tree Christmas. Please speak with Jesse or Victoria for more info!
Annual Christmas Party - December 19, 5pm-10pm We will have our annual Christmas Party at Sam’s house. Potluck dinner with games to win prizes. There will also be a white elephant gift exchange. Please bring a gift of $10 and the person with the most creative gift will win a prize. Please speak with Sam or Jeremy for more information.
Advent Intergenerational Gathering - Sunday, December 6 During the season of advent, we are having an intergenerational worship gathering with a potluck afterwards. We believe that breaking bread together (and in this case literally), is an important part of doing life together. This will be a great time of worship that leads into a celebratory luncheon almost like the early church!
SGC Youth Fall Retreat group picture.
Operation Good Thing - December 12, 5:30pm-10pm We will join with other youth in the WIllowdale neighbourhood to help assemble holiday gift bags & holiday greeting cards. This will be a great event for youth to invite their friends to as you can collect some volunteer hours. 22
Between the Testaments: Alexander the Great to Antiochus IV
If you found the last installment of this column in Delve confusing, you weren’t alone. I found it a challenge to keep it from being confusing, and I didn’t succeed as well as I had hoped. Part of the difficulty is the fact that there are too many common names and similar stories from the time between Nehemiah (c. 444 BC) and Alexander the Great (331 BC). Even with the confusion, there are three main points that I think are worth knowing from this time in Israel’s history. First, the high priest functioned as the leader of the people, since there was apparently no political leader. Second, as the leader, the high priest communicated with foreign powers, as in the instance between the high priest Jaddua and Alexander the Great, which I narrated last time. Third and finally, we begin to see the influence of foreign political power on the choice of the high priest. According to God’s law, the high priesthood was a hereditary office held by the descendants of Aaron (Moses’ brother). Thus, outside influence was a break with the Old Testament requirements for this position (Exod 28:1-4; Num 16-18). As we move out of the time of the Greek empire, these three realities continue, and in the case of foreign influence on the naming of the high priest, what previously didn’t happen becomes the norm. 24
Alexander the Great died in 323 BC. On his death, his empire was split up among his generals. The two portions of his empire that are of interest in the history of Israel include the generals Ptolemy and Seleucus. Ptolemy began a dynasty centered in Alexandria, Egypt. The Seleucid dynasty was centered in what is modern day Syria. Over the next two hundred years there were at least six Syrian Wars fought between the Ptolemies and the Seleucids over control of Phoenicia and Palestine. Thus, the Jewish people were continually caught in the middle of these power struggles. The Ptolemies controlled this region from the death of Alexander in 323 until 198 BC. During this time, there is evidence of an Egyptian garrison of soldiers stationed in Jerusalem. This reality indicates the military reality that foreign rule was for the Jewish people. By the year 198, the Seleucids had wrested control of Israel from the Ptolemies, and they ruled the Jewish people until 167. One interesting event during the Ptolemaic rule involves the ruler Ptolemy Philadelphus (283-246 BC). Ptolemy Philadelphus was a lover of books, and he was responsible for the library of Alexandria becoming the greatest library of the ancient world. After his librarian informed Philadelphus about the existence of the Jewish law, he, like any self-respecting bibliophile, made an effort to add a copy to his library. What is intriguing is that in order to obtain a copy of the law, Ptolemy Philadelphus wrote to the high priest asking for permission to translate a copy into Greek from the original Hebrew. Philadelphus also requested translators in order to accomplish this. The high priest granted the request and sent seventy-two translators – six from each of the twelve tribes – to Egypt with the law in order to translate it. The Letter of Aristeas recounts the story of this request, Ptolemy Philadelphus’ desire to learn about the law, his gracious hosting of the translators, and the completion of the translation process. The completed translation is what we today refer to as the Septuagint (or LXX), the Greek translation of the Old Testament. The name “Septuagint” is the Greek word for “seventy” and represents the number of translators involved in the translation (as also the Roman numerals LXX). Again, in this event, the high priest serves as the ruler of the Jewish people, and foreign rulers speak directly with the high priest. 25
In 198 BC, the Seleucids under Antiochus III defeated the Ptolemies, and the Jewish people were under another foreign power. Although the Jewish people had not had political autonomy since before the Babylonian exile, they had been allowed to rebuild the temple, worship the Lord, and observe the law as God told them to. That changed when Antiochus III’s son Antiochus IV came to power in 175 BC. Depending on which source we read, the blame for this change is placed on different people. Onias III was high priest when Antiochus IV came to power. According to 2 Maccabees 4:7–10, “Jason the brother of Onias obtained the high priesthood by corruption, promising the king at an interview three hundred sixty talents of silver, and from another source of revenue eighty talents. In addition to this he promised to pay one hundred fifty more if permission were given to establish by his authority a gymnasium and a body of youth for it, and to enroll the people of Jerusalem as citizens of Antioch. When the king assented and Jason came to office, he at once shifted his compatriots over to the Greek way of life.” There are a number of things to point out about this event. This instance is the first example of the high priesthood being bought, yet even Jason (who had given up his Jewish name Joshua for a Greek one) was from the priestly family and brother of the high priest. Jason essentially paid the foreign king Antiochus IV to be named high priest, and he sought to turn Jerusalem into a Hellenistic city by shifting citizenship to Antioch and setting up a Greek gymnasium. For some of the Jewish people, these acts were violations of God’s law; for others, these acts raised their status in the broader world. Jason did not last long as high priest (175–172) because in 172 BC he was outbid for the high priesthood by Menelaus (2 Macc 4:23– 29). Menelaus was sent by Jason to present the promised money to Antiochus, but he offered Antiochus more money than Jason was giving. So Antiochus, who owed Rome money, gave the high priesthood to Menelaus. Menelaus was not related to Jason or his brother Onias. He was the first high priest not belonging to the family line of Joshua, the high priest who returned from Babylonian exile. The 26
actions of Jason and Menelaus changed the priesthood for the next two centuries, but as I have noted above and previously there were hints that these changes were coming. Antiochus IV, like his ancestors, continued to wage war against the Ptolemies in Egypt. On his return following one of these campaigns, he came to Jerusalem, and either out of anger at his defeat or spite (the accounts differ), he besieged Jerusalem even though he already had control of it (2 Macc 5:11–21; 1 Macc 1:20–39). After defeating Jerusalem, Antiochus IV entered the temple and desecrated it by entering the Holy of Holies. To add insult to injury, the high priest Menelaus served as his guide. Antiochus took the wealth of the temple, and for the devout Jews who remained, these acts raised doubts about God’s presence with his people and his willingness to defend them against pagan nations. After returning to Antioch, Antiochus wrote to the local rulers of Israel and forbade the worship of God according to the law. He directed these leaders “to forbid burnt offerings and sacrifices and drink offerings in the sanctuary, to profane sabbaths and festivals, to defile the sanctuary and the priests, to build altars and sacred precincts and shrines for idols, to sacrifice swine and other unclean animals, and to leave their sons uncircumcised” (1 Macc 1:45–48a; see also 2 Macc 6:1–6). The Jerusalem temple he renamed the temple of Olympian Zeus (2 Macc 6:2). Anyone who did not keep this decree was to be put to death (1 Macc 1:50). These were tumultuous changes for the Jewish people, but needless to say, Judaism was not stamped out. In fact, Antiochus IV went too far. Other leaders including his father had allowed the Jewish people to follow their law and customs. In attempting to put an end to them, Antiochus instigated a revolt that brought an end to his rule, but we will talk about the Maccabees and their revolt next time.
Ben Reynolds 27
FIFTH ANNUAL EVA’S COMMUNITY CELEBRATE & SKATE Hello Friends, Neighbours and Fellow Willowdalites! It is with immense pleasure that the Willowdale Collaboration Network is announcing our FIFTH ANNUAL EVA’S COMMUNITY CELEBRATE & SKATE! The event’s 3 components: 1. Raise money for ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FIVE holiday gift bags through Light Patrol’s “Operation: Good Thing” program ($25/bag), to give to all the youth at all three homeless shelters with Eva’s Initiatives (two of which are located here in Willowdale). These bags will be distributed by Eva’s staff ON CHRISTMAS DAY to all 125 youth in the three shelters. Last day to contribute is Dec. 9th. Please contact Jesse James (email@example.com). 2. Assemble all 125 holiday gift bags and create personalized holiday greeting cards in partnership with Northview Heights Secondary School’s HMST Program and Church In Toronto on December 12th.
SPONSORING GIFT BAGS and HELPING US ASSEMBLE THE GIFT BAGS and JOINING US TO CELEBRATE AND SKATE WITH HOMELESS YOUTH We are truly excited to set our aim on providing gift bags to all three shelters, to the 125 youth who are being cared for and supported by the phenomenal staff and volunteers with Eva’s Initiatives. Let’s help make this holiday season a little brighter for some of Toronto’s most vulnerable and precious young people. If you have any questions then please don’t hesitate to contact me. (firstname.lastname@example.org) Collaborating with you to bring hope to our young people this Christmas and holiday season, Jesse James
3. Celebrate and Skate with Eva’s youth and other Willowdale Community members at Mel Lastman Square in partnership with Pizza Pizza, Starbucks, Loblaws, the City of Toronto and Play It Again Sports on December 17th. You can help by: 28
Leadership at Spring Garden Pastoral Team Gene Tempelmeyer, Pastor Ext. 222 email@example.com Greg Kay, Worship and Mission Pastor Ext. 224 firstname.lastname@example.org Margaret Sutton, Pastoral Care/Seniors Ext. 226 email@example.com Sam Lee, Pastor of Discipleship, Ext. 227 firstname.lastname@example.org Suzanna Lai, Church Office and Communications Manager Ext. 221 email@example.com Jeremy Ranasinghe, Discpleship Ministries Assistant firstname.lastname@example.org
Deacons Anne Barron - Missions and Worship email@example.com Marion Cameron - Membership and Board Secretary firstname.lastname@example.org Mary Ellen Hopkins - Finance email@example.com Koon Wah Leung - Discipleship Ministries firstname.lastname@example.org Gonzalo Librado - Adult Ministries email@example.com Derek Prinsloo - Chair firstname.lastname@example.org Judy Tranter - Pastoral Care email@example.com Jim Turner - Property firstname.lastname@example.org
Garth Barron email@example.com Darlene Boyd firstname.lastname@example.org Cindie Chaise email@example.com Jennifer Moore firstname.lastname@example.org Barrie Porter email@example.com Corinne Sutton-Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
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Life in Spring Garden
Life around Spring Garden
Intergenerational Worship and Potluck Lunch Sunday Dec 6 - Please Join Us and Sign up to Help! We are having another intergenerational worship gathering on Sunday Dec 6. All adults and children will be worshiping together for the entire worship time. We will also be having a communal potluck lunch afterwards. Communion will be served before the potluck. This is a wonderful opportunity to ask a friend or family member to join you for a family friendly Sunday worship and lunch. Please bring 1 - 2 peanut free dishes or desserts to contribute to the lunch. We need lots of help for set up and clean up as well! Please visit the coffee lounge to sign up to help or contact Suzanna Lai (suzanna@ springgardenchurch.ca). Hope to see you all there!
Weekly Tuesdays 2:00 pm - Pastoral Team meeting 7:00 pm - ESL Café - Groove Dance Group Wednesdays 10:00 am - Refresh Women’s Bible Study Thursdays 12:00 pm - Adult Bible Class Sundays 9:00 am - Morning Bible Study: meeting room - ESL Bible study: basement at the southwest entrance 10:00 am - Sunday Morning Worship (communion on the first Sunday of the month) 1:00 pm - Young Adult Life Group Sunday. Lunch together first and then the gathering at 1pm. If you would like to receive a weekly email update on what’s happening in Spring Garden, please visit the SGC website (www.springgardenchurch.ca) and add your email at the bottom of our home page to subscribe to our weekly update
Life in Spring Garden
This Month Spring Garden Scrabble Group is cancelled for the month of December and January. It will resume in February 2016
Advent and Christmas dates Sunday Dec 6 @10:00-11:30 am: Intergenerational Advent Celebration, Communion and Potluck (worship gathering where all ages lead and engage in worship, followed by a potluck meal together--so bring your favorite peanut free food to share!) Wednesday Dec 9: Deadline for donations in support of “Operation Good Thing’s” gift bags for underhoused youth. Bags are $25 each. Contact Jesse James to make a donation firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday Dec 17 @6:30-8:30pm: Celebrate and Skate with youth from Eva’s Satellite (a shelter for underhoused youth) at Mel Lastman Square Sunday Dec 20 @6:30-8:00 pm: Light of the World (fun evening of singing and desserts designed as a safe invite for friends, neighbours, family, etc) Thursday Dec 24 @7:00-8:00 pm: Christmas Eve Candlelight Worship (reflective Christmas worship through singing and scripture)
Our Values We believe in a humble God who came not to be served, but to serve. Therefore we engage in sacrificial and active service to those around us. We strive to be good stewards of God’s gifts and talents by serving one another in humility. We aspire to regard others as higher than ourselves, which liberates us to creatively take risks in serving others for God’s glory. We believe in a God of grace who came to save the world, not to condemn it. Therefore, as we are continuously receiving the gift of God’s grace, we seek to grow in that grace and extend it to others. We strive to define ourselves by what we are for, not what we are against. We believe in a God who knows us, and who desires to be known. Therefore we embrace a journey of faith that requires us to constantly strive for a personal, intimate and transformative knowledge of God. We strive to be led by God’s Spirit in supporting and encouraging one another in working out our faith. We believe in a creative God. Therefore we are open to expressing our faith in new and creative ways that reflect the beauty and complexity of our creator. We are called to use our creative gifts in worship and service as we engage with our world. We take joy in the diversity of gifts that allow us to delight God and participate in His ongoing story. We believe in a triune, relational God who calls us to come together as a diverse community of believers. Therefore, we want to walk together, supporting one another physically, emotionally and spiritually. We strive to be a welcoming, inclusive family that goes through the joys and the trials of life together, acknowledging that God uses this community to deepen and mature our faith. We believe in a God who loves this broken world and wants to reconcile us to Himself. Therefore we are commissioned by Christ to go out into the world, meeting the holistic needs of the local and global community. God calls us to participate in a redemptive work that he has already initiated; in humility, we will partner with others to work alongside and chase after Him. We believe in a God who is our center. Therefore where we are on the journey is less important than that we are moving towards a deeper relationship with Christ. We believe and participate in God’s redemptive work in all people, which gives us the freedom to come as we are, and to accept others as they are. We each are on a unique journey to become who God has created us to be. 36