Hope (September 2014)
The news is not good. Whether from Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Nigeria, the Ukraine, or a host of other nations,
the news is filled with reports of violence and destruction. Even in lands where peace prevails, earthquakes,
floods, or other disasters occur seemingly more regularly and fill news reports daily.
Reading the record of peoples in times past in the pages of the Bible, we quickly discover that our time and
circumstances are not so very different from that of others through the centuries. War and violence, flood
and famine, and problems of all sorts -- many but not all of human devising -- mark the record of our
attempts to live together on this planet.
What marks the narrative and experience of those who live by faith rather than by sight, though, is hope --
hope placed firmly in Godís unfailing love. Consider these words:
Psalm 33: 13-19 - "From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling-place he
watches all who live on earth -- he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. No king
is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on
those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine." (NIV)
The psalmist who first wrote and sang Psalm 33 calls in verse 1 for the righteous to sing joyfully, because of
confidence in God and in his word. He celebrates Godís goodness and his good purposes in creation, and
his sovereign power in over-ruling the plans of those who would attempt to plan and rule over others.
His confidence is not rooted in the power or technology of his time. The speed and power of the horse was
the great asset and weapon of those who would remain and fight enemies and intruders, and of those who
would flee the battle for safety elsewhere. Yet the psalmist is quite aware of the limitations and disappointments
of hope placed in the horse: "Despite all its great strength it cannot save." (verse 17)
Rather, real hope is rooted in the watchful, caring eyes of the Lord. God sees -- and cares -- for those who
look to him. He will work with compassion to carry his adopted and beloved to safety.
The psalmist concludes his reflection showing that his hope provides joy and peace:
Psalm 33: 20-22 - "We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in
We live not only in the light of these reflections and promises from the psalmist, but also in the clear light
of the love of Jesus, who came to defeat death and to rescue us from Godís judgements past, present, and
future. He stood and suffered, and died and rose again in victory, assuring all who look to Him that God
will not leave us behind nor forsake us in the midst of the struggles of life and death.
May our hope in God, who has revealed himself so lovingly to us in Jesus Christ, give us the same joy and
peace as we strive to live in our time and place -- even and especially amid the same threats and troubles
that have beset people of every age and place.
Your pastor, with great hope,
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Jubilee (October 2014)
Fifty years! We celebrate as Parkwood marks 50 years of life as a community of faith, a congregation of
the Christian Church.
It was on September 20, 1964, that Parkwood Church first gathered for worship together. Thus it is
fitting that on September 21, 2014, we should gather to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of
this community of faith and life.
The number 50 holds interest and significance. In ancient Israel, God through Moses appointed a law, a
celebration, and a new beginning to take place every fiftieth year. It was to be a year of joy. Land lost in
times of economic hardship was to be regained. Indentured servants, or slaves, were to be set free.
Families were to be reunited. A new, level field of fair opportunity was to be available to all.
In our modern Canadian culture, we tend to view the number 50
as denoting accomplishment. Many long-time hockey fans will
recall that the "gold standard" for goal scoring was the accomplishment
of Maurice "Rocket" Richard of the Montreal Canadiens
in the 1944-1945 season in the National Hockey League,
when he netted fifty goals in fifty games. Fiftieth wedding anniversaries
are "golden" -- often celebrated by those who are so
blessed, and held up by others as achievements worthy of imitation.
Fifty years of employment or service or membership in any
field or organization is marked as a great and notable achievement.
Yet in the biblical sense, rather than looking backward, the number fifty provides an opportunity to look
forward. In the fiftieth year, the calendar was re-set, the value of land (measured in the number of harvests
remaining until the next fifty year-mark) was restored to its full potential. The prospects for the
future were what counted.
It is good, therefore, for us to look backward and to celebrate how God has been faithful and what
Jesus has enabled Godís people to accomplish in the past fifty years. It is better, though, for us to look
forward and to grasp how much God will provide during the next fifty years, and how much He will
enable us as His people to accomplish in advancing the kingdom of Jesus Christ. The potential for our
witness and service has never been greater than it is now, as we begin the next 50 years, with the confidence
and achievement of the first 50 behind us, and the possibilities of the next 50 ahead.
To God be the glory, as we celebrate life together as Godís people, and as we embrace the future as
Jesusí followers and servants!
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Samaritans Serve Strangers (November 2014)
Luke 10: 30-37 - In reply, Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into
the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half-dead. A
priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other
side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan,
as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and
bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to
an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper.
ĎLook after him,í he said, Ďand when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.í
Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" The
expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise." (NIV)
In the story which Jesus told, known for centuries as "The Parable of the Good Samaritan," we are often
encouraged to focus on the Samaritan who -- in contrast to the priest and the Levite -- actually helped the
injured man found along the road. Much is usually made of the fact that the "religious" leaders (i.e. the
priest and the Levite) were too busy or self-absorbed to care, and that the Samaritan (often regarded by the
Jews of Jesusí day as a second-class citizen) did the right and God-honouring thing.
All of this is true, and any of us in positions professing responsibility and leadership are challenged to examine
ourselves, seeking to ensure that we are ready to meet others at the point of their need, regardless of our
"busyness" in pursuit of what we think to be Jesusí business. To put it another way, our duty to God cannot
be carried out while neglecting our duty to others.
Yet the parable also highlights the fact that the one who is in distress is a stranger, and is encountered "on
the way" -- on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho. The one who needs help is not "kith and kin" -- he
is not "of my tribe". He is a nameless stranger, found half-dead by the Samaritan who is travelling far from
home. Samaria was north of Judea and Jerusalem, and Jericho east of Jerusalem. The Samaritan encountered
this stranger a long way from home, in an inconvenient place. He had to transport him on his own
animal, and most likely then himself walk, leading the animal and the passenger in distress to a place of refuge.
There, paying for the strangerís lodging from his own pocket, he had to convince the innkeeper to tend
the stranger, before continuing on his own journey.
All of this is to say that the parable highlights for us not only our duty to love our neighbour (which is the
point of parable, as Jesus answers the question posed by the "expert in the law"), but that the neighbour is
not simply the one living next door, or the relative or friend or co-worker with whom we are familiar. The
neighbour whom Jesus calls us to love as self includes those strangers who are encountered far from home
and whose needs are far less convenient for us to meet.
In our own time and in our city, many strangers have come to live. They are our "neighbours" -- broadly
but biblically defined. Amid our easy and frequent travels in an interconnected global world, far more people
cross our paths. They too are our neighbours, as surely as the nameless man on the road between Jerusalem
and Jericho was the neighbour whom the Samaritan befriended. No such service is easy or convenient.
Yet that was his calling, and it is that which Jesus praised.
Jesusí application of the parable to the one asking, "Who is my neighbour?" -- and who answered his own
question (after hearing the story Jesus told) by saying "The one who had mercy on him" -- was terse and to
the point: "Go and do likewise". May we do so too, each of us, as God places strangers in, or causes them
to cross, our paths.
Your pastor, striving to see and serve as the Samaritan,
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Gifts for the world (December 2014 - January 2015)
1 Corinthians 12: 4-5 - There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of
service, but the same Lord. (NIV)
In preparation for Christmas celebrations, our attention is often drawn to gift-giving. On a recent Sunday,
we dedicated some 69 shoeboxes, which our Mission Team sent off through Samaritanís Purse to children
around the world.
At the "Roots and Wings" conference sponsored by the Presbytery of Ottawa, held in mid-November,
guest speaker John Bowen challenged us to consider how we equip and empower Christians to serve -- not
in church, but in the world. One of the practical suggestions was for each congregation to consider a "gift
inventory". Usually an inventory of spiritual gifts is intended to help each individual member of the church,
and the church as a whole, to identify gifts for service, so that all members may work together for the
health of the whole body of Christ. Such an inventory is good, and facilitates members of the church working
Yet if the primary orientation of the church is toward the world -- to serve the world, and in so doing to
share with the world the good news that Jesus has come to offer life and love to all who will receive these
gifts -- then the primary place for Christians to serve is out in the world. Nurses, for example, do not principally
serve within the walls of the church (though they may provide first aid in the church building when
needed!), but in the hospital, where they care for people from all walks of life who are in need. Gifts for
service -- whether to make videos, engineer telecommunication products, administer safety standards, teach
language, or hundreds of other undertakings that contribute to the well-being of society -- are first and foremost
offered in service in the world at large.
In writing to the Corinthians about spiritual gifts, Paul goes on to say: "Now to each one the manifestation
of the Spirit is given for the common good." (1 Corinthians 12:7, NIV) Surely he intends us to understand
that "the common good" extends beyond the confines of the fellowship of the church.
Making and sharing an inventory of our gifts with others within the fellowship of the church is not first or
primarily an attempt to have a catalogue of who is able to do what as volunteers within the church. Rather,
such an inventory would assist us to appreciate one anotherís giftedness, and enable us to pray for and
affirm each other in the work that God calls us -- each in a different way, with our different gifts -- to do in
the world. In such work, the church as a whole advances the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Each of us advances
Christís work in reconciling the world to Himself as we strive to employ the gifts Godís Spirit has given us.
When we serve with excellence, with the capacity that God has given to us, we honour God. We plant seeds
that may cause others to give thanks for our contributions and which may open the door to our being able
to share more deeply and specifically the reason for our service: that we are exercising the gifts that God
has given us because we give our lives in service to Jesus, in thankfulness for His service to us in His life
and death and resurrection.
What are your gifts? What knowledge, experience, and skills have you developed that God has, is, or will
enable you to employ in the service of others in the world? With the aid of the Holy Spirit, may God help
us to identify our individual gifts and to share with each other what these gifts are. Let us strive to understand
and appreciate each other. God has uniquely gifted each one of us to serve Him. Our diversity allows
us collectively to serve the world around us. If we consciously recognize our collective service, we will sense
how much we are called to do, and realize somewhat more of how much we accomplish as we together
bear witness of truth and love, which spring from Jesus Christ.
It is good to be able to share tangible gifts with needy children at Christmas. It is even more wonderful to
realize that God enables us to share our gifts with the world every day, in so many ways, as we serve in
the world in which we live.
Desiring that all be equipped and empowered for service in the world, to honour Christ,
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Soli Deo gloria: On the difference between praise and encouragement (February 2015)
The elders of the church have a responsibility, first of all to God, to ensure that all that is done by
the Church is to the credit and honour of Jesus Christ, who is the Church's head. When the session
(which is the collective name for the pastor and elders) of Parkwood Church meets each month, we
pray and consult with one another about how best to honour Jesus in the way we worship, work, and
One subject which has been part of recent conversations is clapping or applause during worship.
We would like to share some thoughts with the congregation.
Clapping is only mentioned rarely in the Bible. There are nine references in all. All are in the Old
Testament; none are in the New Testament. Of the nine references, only one (Psalm 47: 1) refers to
clapping as an act of worship by God's people. Three references are metaphorical: referring to either
trees (Isaiah 55: 12) or rivers (Psalm 98: 8) or the wind (Job 27: 23) clapping. Once there is reference
to clapping on the occasion of the anointing of a king (2 Kings 11: 12); four times there is mention
of clapping in derision against someone: an individual (Job 34: 37), a nation (Nahum 3: 19), or the
people of God (Lamentations 2: 19 and Ezekiel 25: 6).
In context, Psalm 47: 1 highlights that true worship is to be entirely focused on God. He is the only
one worthy of our praises. The psalmist begins, "Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with
cries of joy", and goes on to affirm: "How awesome is the Lord!" (verse 2). The psalmist calls us to
"sing praises to God."
In reflecting upon recent occasions when applause has followed a solo in the midst of worship, one
elder contributes this comment: "Soloists are taking part in the worship of God, and as such are not
giving a performance to show how talented they are. These talents have been given to them by God,
and they are giving Him the praise by using them to worship Him."
Another elder thoughtfully offers this reflection:
"Everything we do in worship is, or should be, to praise and glorify God. So song, plays, and dance
are not for our entertainment, though they certainly are enjoyable, but are a gift of praise. Clapping in
response to singing, music, or dance is not mentioned in the Bible. David danced before the Lord,
but no mention is made of this being to entertain people since entertainment is not the buzz word,
praise is. So it is important for everyone, including children and youth, to know that what they do is
not to entertain us, with the expectation that we will clap if we think they are good. There are plenty
of other places outside the sanctuary where this can be done, to encourage them in what they do.
That includes words of thanks and praise for their effort, but I think always with the added comment
that what they do is a gift of praise to God."
"Shout with joy to God, all the earth! Sing to the glory of his name; offer him glory and
praise" (Psalm 66: 1)
"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness." (Psalm 100: 1-2)
In our society, clapping or applause is a way to express thanks to someone for what they have done
or said. We applaud when our team scores a goal or wins a game. Clapping or applause also is a way
to register satisfaction with what one has heard or seen. We clap to signal approval or support when
someone makes a speech in a political or community meeting and with which we wish to show that
One difficulty with clapping in response to an act of worship is that the applause can be interpreted
as being directed towards the one who has offered the act. Public worship, however, is a corporate
act. All of us are participating, even if only one is audibly reading or singing. All who are worshipping
"in spirit and in truth" (John 4: 24) are joined in spirit with the one who is leading, if the one leading
is truly worshipping God. Thus clapping in response to such an act may be clapping in satisfaction
for what "we" together have just offered. We are not the appropriate judges as to whether what we
have offered to God is acceptable ... God alone is judge of that!
It is appropriate on occasion to clap while we are singing. Certain songs are designed to be offered
with instrumental accompaniment. If we don't have a pair of cymbals in our hands, or a tambourine
to play, we can rightly worship God by joining in clapping, which we do with such songs as "Lord,
the light of Your love is shining" or "Clap your hands, all ye people, shout to God with a voice of
Instead of applause following a song or reading or dance led by an individual or group or choir, it is
appropriate for those who are moved in spirit to give some expression to say, "Amen!" "Amen"
means "Let it be so!" and is an expression of heartfelt agreement, of affirmation that what the
individual leading has said or sung or done is echoed by the heart and mind of the one saying,
"Amen!". "Yes, Lord, I agree!" would be a good way of understanding it.
Now, it is also appropriate for us to encourage those who give leadership. If a particular song or
dance or reading or sermon has been used by God to touch or inspire one of us, and the exercise of
another's gift has brought joy and encouragement to us, we rightly -- outside of the worship of God -
- need to express our thanks and encouragement to the one whose gift has blessed us. We are commanded
in Scripture not only to worship God, but also to "Encourage one another and build each
other up, just as in fact you are doing." (1 Thessalonians 5: 11) We have a responsibility to express
thanks to others for their gifts and contributions in song and dance, and in word and deed. Such
expressions of encouragement for others, however, appropriately find expression outside of worship
so as not to detract from worship, which is rightly directed to God alone.
Let us, then, worship God, and thank those whose gifts lead and enrich our worship, and not confuse
praise and encouragement. Soli Deo gloria! (To God alone be the glory!)
For the elders,
Your teaching elder and pastor,
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A warm welcome on a cold day (March 2015)
On Thursday, February 19th, between 12:15pm and 1:15pm, Parkwood Church hosted
some 500 students and staff from Sir Winston Churchill Public School, which is located
just down the street on Mulvagh Avenue. The occasion which led to their visit was a fire
alarm at the school that called for the immediate evacuation of the students, shortly after
noon, on a day when the temperature was -18įC and the wind was blowing at 25 km/h,
with gusts to 45 km/h. The wind chill factor was -30įC. Most of the children, including
those in junior kindergarten, left the school without their coats, hats, or mittens. All who
arrived at the church were very cold and very grateful to come into the +18įC warmth of
our sanctuary and Fellowship Hall.
The cityís fire department attended the school and soon sounded the "all clear", but it
was some time before they were able to leave, as some of the teachers made arrangements
to go back to the school and retrieve coats and bring them to the church so that
the younger children would be able to walk back to the school with proper clothing to
protect them against the cold and the wind. One student, scrambling over the snowbank
to reach the church, even lost a shoe, which our diligent snowplow operator found the
following Sunday morning while plowing the yard, and which subsequently was returned
to the school to find its way back to the owner.
In the interval between their arrival and departure, our sanctuary, hall, and narthex were
all utilised to provide space for the students -- from junior kindergarten through grade 8
-- and their teachers and the office staff.
"Sanctuary" has several different meanings. One of them (per the Canadian Oxford
Dictionary) is "a place of refuge, especially a church or sacred building". While other
meanings may come to mind when we gather for worship in our sanctuary, it is good to
be reminded that we are called to use space dedicated some forty years ago "to the glory
of God and the service of man" -- as the words on the plaque on the wall outside our
sanctuary state -- in other ways that also honour God and serve our neighbours.
The unexpected incident on February 19th afforded us an opportunity to do so, and to
put into practice the second greatest commandment, stated by Jesus to be: "Love your
neighbour as yourself". (Matthew 22: 39, NIV)
None of us knows what any given day will bring, in terms of opportunities to offer
tangible evidence of love for our neighbours. Let us be committed to do so, whenever
the occasion arises.
In Christís love, your pastor,
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Elders (April 2015)
What is an elder? Who is an elder? What does an elder do? Such questions are asked, sometimes by individuals
new to the church, or to the Presbyterian Church. Here is the first part of an answer, as we explore and review
why there are elders in the church, and what God has designed and called elders to do.
The idea of elders sharing in the oversight and leadership of Godís people is rooted in the record in the book of
Exodus. Moses was called by God to lead his people out of the bondage of slavery in Egypt. God was pleased to
entrust to Moses the law, including the ten commandments, to guide and govern life according to Godís design.
Moses sought diligently to lead the people, but in overseeing the community, he found himself as the "go to"
man. People in all walks of life came from far and near with every kind of question and dispute, and waited on
Moses to answer and solve every sort of problem. Jethro, Mosesí father-in-law, saw that Moses was becoming
overwhelmed with the challenges and responsibilities, and spoke to him, offering some fatherly advice:
Exodus 18: 18 - Mosesí father-in-law replied ... "The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone."
Jethro went on to advise Moses that he should share the leadership and oversight of the community of faith, by
appointing others to adjudicate the simple and regular problems, and only bring the more difficult ones to
Moses. This would ensure a more timely resolution of difficulties, and a more satisfied community, and Moses
would be able to cope with everything expected - he would be able to devote himself to the great responsibilities
of teaching Godís law to the people, and of interceding before God on behalf of the people. Moses heeded
Jethroís advice and sought out capable individuals to share in the work of providing help, guidance, and oversight
for the people of the community.
Those who joined with Moses in the leadership and governance of the Old Testament community of faith were
known as elders. In the New Testament, the Greek word "presbuteros" is the root word for our English word
"presbyter" and it means "elder". Paul counselled his young helper Titus that he should ordain -- or set apart --
"elders" in every community.
Clearly God intended in both Old and New Testament communities of faith that leadership should be shared by
elders. In the reformed church, we have sought to affirm that this concept of shared leadership is of fundamental
importance. Sometimes the pastor or minister is known as a "teaching elder", and other elders who share in the
work of spiritual oversight and leadership of the church are known as "ruling elders". Responsibility for the spiritual
nurture, care, and oversight of the whole community of faith is a joint responsibility, shared by all the elders
in and for a particular congregation of Godís people. In the Presbyterian Church, we affirm leadership and oversight
is not a matter of one-man or one-person rule, but consists of shared, mutually-accountable, collegial leadership.
Elders take counsel together. Elders pray together, and talk over challenges and difficulties together, seeking
to share insights, and to encourage and support each other. Elders are called to assist in discipling new believers
in Christ, showing by example what it is to live as followers of Jesus. Elders assist in ensuring that there are
opportunities for worship, and for the nurture and training of children and youth. Elders visit those who are sick,
and aid in providing for those who are in need.
Beyond a local community, the church of Christ is much bigger than one congregation. In the Presbyterian
Church, we affirm that elders share responsibility for the well-being of the wider church. Pastors in a given city
or region share with representatives of the elders of each of several local congregations in providing joint oversight
for the pastors and elders of each congregation. The local "presbytery" is comprised of the pastors and an
equal number of ruling elders in a given region.
Elders help to ensure that wider mission of Christ to all the world is kept in focus in our life together as part of
Christís church in our local community. Let us give thanks for Godís gift of elders to Christís church!
Your pastor, and a teaching elder thankful for all the elders of the church,
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Elders as mentors (May 2015)
One of the roles of an elder is to be a mentor.
The first "Mentor" was a Greek by that name, who was a guide
and advisor to a young man named Telemachus. A mentor is
someone who fulfills the same office or function. The Oxford
dictionary also defines a mentor as "an experienced and trusted
Paul was a mentor to Timothy, among others, who sought to share with Timothy the wisdom
of both knowledge and experience. Timothy, in turn, even though he was young, was challenged
and charged to "set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith,
and in purity." Similarly, elders today in the church of Jesus Christ are to set examples for
other Christians: in how to speak, to live, and to love.
In order to mentor someone, a relationship must be established. The one being mentored
needs to be willing to learn, and the one serving as mentor needs to be willing to invest time
in discipling, in teaching and sharing. The relationship between the mentor and the one being
mentored needs to be one built on trust. Mentors are called to be encouragers, but there are
times when one needs to be honest, and offer warnings or constructive criticism. The one
being mentored needs to know that in spite of such warnings or criticism, the mentor has at
heart the best interests of the one being mentored.
Jesus mentored the twelve disciples. He taught them, but he also invited them to share in the
experiences of both public ministry and private counsel. Throughout the three years of
Jesusí earthly ministry, the disciples had many opportunities to observe Jesusí conduct,
including his manner of life, his words, and his actions -- in situations in which he was
welcomed, and in others in which he was reviled, mocked, and mistreated. Mentoring is not
simply for the good times, but is especially important in the bad times. Mentoring is not a
one-off activity; its fruits ripen over time.
Good leaders seek to have mentors, and to be mentors. Elders in Christís church do many
things, one of which is to reflect in action the example of Jesus as a mentor to those who
seek to be or to become Christian disciples.
Let us give thanks for elders who mentor. Let us ask God to raise up mentors for each and
all of us.
Grateful for mentors, and humbly striving to be one, too,
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Elders: Qualified and Called (June 2015)
How does one become an elder? Does the elder seek the office, or does
the office seek the elder?
One might, tongue-in-cheek, reply, "How does one become elderly?"
The answer is ... by ageing! Yet elders in the church of Jesus Christ are
not first described as "elderly". Spiritual ageing is not the same as
physical ageing. Both, however, involve some time and maturity.
Paul makes it plain in his first letter to Timothy that to desire to serve
as a elder is a good thing -- "a noble task". To aspire to give leadership and service in the church is a
holy desire. When the Holy Spirit re-forms our hearts and lives and wills, Christians are eager to
serve Jesus and to advance His cause and His kingdom.
Some are of mature years when they are called, as was Saul of Tarsus who when he became a follower
of Jesus Christ had years of experience as a student and teacher. His learning required reformulating;
he had to be instructed in the ways of Jesus whom he had previously persecuted. Others,
though, like Timothy and Titus, were young people when they came to faith and they were called to
leadership from a young age. Paul reminds Timothy, "Donít let anyone look down on you because
you are young." (1 Timothy 4: 12a NIV)
This "calling" to the eldership reflects what Calvin understood to be the doctrine of vocation. All of
us as Christians are gifted by the Holy Spirit in some way, and we are called to use those gifts in
Christís service and to Godís glory. Some are given gifts of leadership, and are called to "set an example
for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity." (1 Timothy 4: 12b NIV)
An "inward call" or sense that God has equipped and is equipping and will equip an individual to
follow and serve Jesus is a part of the call to eldership. If it is a true call, it is matched by an
"outward call" -- discernment on the part of others in the church, that such an individual has and
gives evidence of the gifts appropriate for leadership and ministry and service. Some of these appropriate
gifts are listed in I Timothy 3: 2-7, and include being "temperate", "self-controlled",
"respectable", "hospitable", "able to teach", "not given to much wine", "not violent but gentle",
"not quarrelsome", "not a lover of money", and "having a good reputation with outsiders". Oneís
family situation is also to be taken into consideration: having more than one spouse (polygamy) or a
family in open rebellion are counter indications of being ready and able to provide leadership
among the Lordsís people.
When the inward and outward call point in the same direction, one is led along with fellow elders
and the believers to say, "In the Lordís will, I will seek humbly, in dependence on the Holy Spirit, to
serve as an elder in Church of Jesus Christ."
May God raise up in our time and circumstances elders to share in the leadership of Christís church.