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Sunday, May 8, 2022

Divine Miracles that Satisfy: A Wedding, a Widow, and a Multitude - 2022

Dear BLCF Friends,

Effective April 10, 2022, Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church will reopen by reservation only for Sunday worship under the limitations and guidelines set by Public Health and the Board of BLCF. In order to protect those who are vulnerable at Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship from COVID-19 Virus infection, the BLCF Board mandates that the church will be open by reservation, with the following rules:

  • attendees must wear a mask while on the premises
  • attendees give their contact information upon arrival
  • attendees observe two meters social distance while seated
  • attendees use hand sanitizer as needed
  • attendees follow any additional directions given by members of the board, while inside the church

Please be advised that both the BLCF Café Community Dinner and the BLCF Wednesday Prayer Service will continue to remain closed effective March 16, 2020, and until further notice. We pray with the administration of sufficient COVID-19 vaccinations, and following the determination of Health Canada and other Health Authorities, that the danger of the Pandemic will have subsided sufficiently, to allow BLCF to reopen safely more of our worship and outreach activities without any concern of infection to the vulnerable within our community.

– Pastor Steve

blessings-to-all-from-blcf-church-on-mother-s-day

Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:

Divine Miracles that Satisfy: A Wedding, a Widow, and a Multitude

© May 8, 2022, by Steve Mickelson

Based on a Message shared at BLCF on May 9, 2021, and on May 10, 2015

BLCF Bulletin May 10, 2015

BLCF: faith_thanking-God_in_advance

Music Special - Church (Take Me Back) Cochren & Co. Worship Video with lyrics - https://youtu.be/ns8lIG6cLc8

https://youtu.be/ns8lIG6cLc8

Announcements & Call to Worship; Prayer

Tithing and Prayer Requests: Hymn #572: Praise God; Prayers

Today’s Scriptures: John 2:1-12, 2 Kings 4:1-7, Matthew 14:13-21

BLCF: bread-of-life

Music Special - O' Lord w/ Lyrics (Lauren Daigle) - https://youtu.be/K42bvpgimTg

https://youtu.be/K42bvpgimTg

Music Special - Shout to the Lord (Hillsong Worship) Lyrics Video - https://youtu.be/-uMiCFfva3M

https://youtu.be/-uMiCFfva3M

Let us pray...

Good morning and welcome to BLCF Church’s Praise and Worship Service on this Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 8, 2022. I pray the Lord will bring a special blessing to all the moms on this day where we appreciate motherhood.

For our lesson this morning, I would like to examine how the Lord supplies for the needs of those who serve Him faithfully. Today’s lesson, ‘Divine Miracles that Satisfy: A Wedding, a Widow, and a Multitude, we shall begin with the reading of three accounts in the Bible, where the Lord responded to the needs of His faithful servants, each by way of a Divine miracle.

The first Scripture, John 2:1-12, describes the miracle at the wedding at Cana:

John 2:1-12 (ESV): The Wedding at Cana

BLCF: thefirstmiracle

2 On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.[a] Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

12 After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers[b] and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days.

Footnotes: a. John 2:6 Greek two or three measures (metrētas); a metrētēs was about 10 gallons or 35 liters b. John 2:12 Or brothers and sisters. The plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) refers to siblings in a family. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, adelphoi may refer either to brothers or to brothers and sisters

BLCF: God_I_need_a_miracle

In the above passage, Jesus was asked by his mother, Mary, to help provide more wine for the wedding. The wine had run out and, though Jesus told his mother that his hour had not yet come, her son obeyed his mother’s wishes by changing six stone jars of water into wine.

This was the first of the miracles Jesus that was to perform as a sign to the disciples of his manifested glory.

The second Scripture, 2 Kings 4:1-7, tells of how the death of one of the sons of the prophets had created a situation where a creditor has come to make the widow’s two children his slaves, as payment for the dead man’s debts. The widow asks the prophet, Elisha, to help save her sons:

2 Kings 4:1-7 (ESV): Elisha and the Widow's Oil

BLCF: widow-oil

4 Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.” And Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?” And she said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” Then he said, “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few. Then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons and pour into all these vessels. And when one is full, set it aside.” So she went from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons. And as she poured they brought the vessels to her. When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another.” Then the oil stopped flowing. She came and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest.”

In our second Scripture, Elisha asks the widow, what does she have of value in the house? Her reply is a single jar of oil. The widow was instructed to acquire as many empty vessels as possible, from her neighbors, next to close the doors, and then fill the empty vessels from her single vessel of oil. When all of the empty vessels were filled, the oil stopped flowing. Elisha instructed the widow to sell the oil from the vessels in order to pay off her debts, and that she and her sons could live off the rest.

The third Scripture account, from Matthew 14:13-21, describes how Jesus multiplies five loaves of bread and six fish to feed some five thousand men, plus their women and children:

Matthew 14:13-21 (ESV)

BLCF: feeding-the-multitude

13 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15 Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17 They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” 18 And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20 And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. 21 And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

In these three miracle accounts, we see that the Lord provided an abundance of wine, oil, and food to take care of his faithful servants. Not only do these miracles demonstrate the ‘Glory of God’, but they also provide food from the earth to feed the hungry, wine to gladden the believers’ hearts, and oil to anoint the widow and her sons.

These first two accounts show how the Lord takes care of the needs of the faithful by providing wine for a wedding in one case and oil for an indebted widow in the other. All three miracles required actions of faith on the part of those seeking help from God.

It is appropriate that on Mother’s Day, we see that the first two miracles are in response to requests from the Lord's faithful servants, who are mothers seeking the Lord’s help for the needs of others. It is just like a mother, who is faithful to the Lord, putting the needs of others ahead of her own! And the third had sought guidance from a prophet of the Lord to meet her family's needs.

In the three Scripture accounts that we studied, we have miracles of the Lord providing an abundance of wine, oil, and food, all staples, and necessities of life. These miracles demonstrate how God provides for the needs of His own, which the Psalmist acknowledges in, Psalm 104:13-16 (ESV):

13 From your lofty abode you water the mountains;     

the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.

14 You cause the grass to grow for the livestock     

and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth

15and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine     

and bread to strengthen man's heart.

16 The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly,     

the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.

BLCF: God_blesses_those

Our righteousness, as demonstrated by our obedience to God, gives us His reward of wine, oil,, and food to gladden our hearts. In the same manner, when we honor and obey our parents, we provide joy to our parents. For when we honor our parents, we honor His commandment, Proverbs 23:22-25 (ESV):

22 Listen to your father who gave you life,     

and do not despise your mother when she is old.

23 Buy truth, and do not sell it;     

buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.

24 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice;     

he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him.

25 Let your father and mother be glad;     

let her who bore you rejoice.

BLCF: God Listens

When we are not obedient to the Lord, by not serving God and following His commandments; worshipping other gods, we face His wrath and judgment, Deuteronomy 11:13-17 (ESV):

13 “And if you will indeed obey my commandments that I command you today, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, 14 he[a] will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil. 15 And he will give grass in your fields for your livestock, and you shall eat and be full. 16 Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them; 17 then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and he will shut up the heavens, so that there will be no rain, and the land will yield no fruit, and you will perish quickly off the good land that the Lord is giving you.

Footnotes: a. Deuteronomy 11:14 Samaritan, Septuagint, Vulgate; Hebrew I; also verse 15

And just as a servant of the Lord may look to Him to provide for the physical needs, Jesus promises to provide for our spiritual needs, John 6:35 (ESV):

BLCF: I_Am_The_Bread

35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

The Divine Miracles shared in today's lesson are wine, oil, and bread, all multiplied by the power of the Lord. The three are not just staples of our physical life, providing for the physical needs, when blessed, they are also used as elements of spiritual worship; wine and bread when we remember the Lord as elements of communion and oil to anoint those who seek His healing.

Just as the ordinary elements of these staples of life are transformed into elements of spiritual worship, when blessed through faith, by faith, ordinary people are elevated to a place of sanctification when they accept, by faith, the gifts of the bread of life and living water, given by our Lord and Saviour, Jesus.

The provision of the Devine, both physically and spiritually, is faith’s reward, which gladdens our hearts and glorifies His name. Let us praise His name and share the Gospel of the Lord Jesus unto the ends of the earth and until the end of our days.

Let us pray...

Music Special - In Jesus' Name (God of Possible) - Katy Nichole - Lyric Video - https://youtu.be/R84PqRdZ7_Y

https://youtu.be/R84PqRdZ7_Y

Benediction – (Philippians 4:19-20): And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen

Sunday is Mother's Day at BLCF Church - 2022

keep calm tomorrow is mothers day Mothers Day at BLCF 

Dear BLCF Friends,  

Effective April 10, 2022, Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church will reopen by reservation only for Sunday worship under the limitations and guidelines set by Public Health and the Board of BLCF. In order to protect those who are vulnerable at Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship from COVID-19 Virus infection, the BLCF Board mandates that the church will be open by reservation, with the following rules:
  • attendees must wear a mask while on the premises
  • attendees give their contact information upon arrival
  • attendees observe two meters social distance while seated
  • attendees use hand sanitizer as needed
  • attendees follow any additional directions given by members of the board, while inside the church
Please be advised that both the BLCF Café Community Dinner and the BLCF Wednesday Prayer Service will continue to remain closed effective March 16, 2020, and until further notice. We pray with the administration of sufficient COVID-19 vaccinations, and following the determination of Health Canada and other Health Authorities, that the danger of the Pandemic will have subsided sufficiently, to allow BLCF to reopen safely more of our worship and outreach activities without any concern of infection to the vulnerable within our community. 

  – Pastor Steve

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

God's Easter Miracles: In a Tomb, On a Road, and In a Room - 2022

He Is Risen Indeed

Music Special: Cochren & Co. - Church (Take Me Back) [Official Lyric Video] - https://youtu.be/3eTOcrWu8mQ https://youtu.be/3eTOcrWu8mQ have faith this too shall pass 

Dear BLCF Friends, 

Effective April 10, 2022, Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church will reopen by reservation only for Sunday worship under the limitations and guidelines set by Public Health and the Board of BLCF. In order to protect those who are vulnerable at Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship from COVID-19 Virus infection, the BLCF Board mandates that the church will be open by reservation, with the following rules:
  • attendees must wear a mask while on the premises
  • attendees give their contact information upon arrival
  • attendees observe two meters social distance while seated
  • attendees use hand sanitizer as needed
  • attendees follow any additional directions given by members of the board, while inside the church
Please be advised that both the BLCF Café Community Dinner and the BLCF Wednesday Prayer Service will continue to remain closed effective March 16, 2020, and until further notice. We pray with the administration of sufficient COVID-19 vaccinations, and following the determination of Health Canada and other Health Authorities, that the danger of the Pandemic will have subsided sufficiently, to allow BLCF to reopen safely more of our worship and outreach activities without any concern of infection to the vulnerable within our community. 

  – Pastor Steve 

  Music Special: Cochren & Co. - Grave (Official Music Video) - https://youtu.be/azcaS6c8muE https://youtu.be/azcaS6c8muE


 


Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church, 1307 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON.

Message for Sunday:          

‘God's Easter Miracles: In a Tomb, On a Road, and In a Room’

© Easter Sunday, April 17, 2022, by Steve Mickelson

Based on Messages Shared at BLCF on April 4, 2021, April 21, 2019, and April 20, 2014

BLCF Bulletin April 21, 2019

BLCF: Bulletin April 20, 2014

Music Special: In Christ Alone (with lyrics) - Rosemary Siemens - https://youtu.be/ZodJFBxUKIU https://youtu.be/ZodJFBxUKIU 

Announcements and Call to Worship; Prayer   

Prayer and Tithing: 

Hymn #572: Praise God; Prayer Requests   

Responsive Reading #623: The Risen Lord (– Matthew 28 and John 20)

Message by Steve Mickelson:‘God’s Easter Miracles: In a Tomb; On a Road; and In a Room’ 


  

Music Special - He Is Not Here, He Is Risen (Song: Now We Are Free) - https://youtu.be/svGrySsQi4I

https://youtu.be/svGrySsQi4I

Tiffany Coburn - The Easter Song OFFICIAL Lyric Video - https://youtu.be/dSbcYzgy8ao

https://youtu.be/dSbcYzgy8ao

Let us pray…

‘He is risen!’ 

Congregation’s reply: ‘He is risen, indeed!’

Today is the day we celebrate the Lord’s resurrection from his death upon the cross at Golgotha. The world is full of many religions, many false gods, and worshiping a variety of idols. 

But only Christ, the Son of the one true God, performed the miraculous and supernatural act of returning from the dead. After his resurrection, Jesus appeared neither on just a single occasion nor only to the eleven apostles. 

For today’s lesson, we will study four events, where the Resurrected Christ came to those who loved and believed their Saviour, which occurred in three places: in a tomb; on a road; and in a room. Let us look at these meetings with the Lord in their proper chronology and begin with the account in John’s gospel, Chapter 20, verses 1-18, which gives the account of Mary Magdalene, who arrived at the tomb of Jesus on the first day of the week, only to find the gravestone rolled away and the tomb empty.

John 20:1-18 (ESV): The Resurrection

20 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus'[a] head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic,[b] “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her. 

Footnotes: a. John 20:7 Greek his b.John 20:16 Or Hebrew 

The Scriptures indicate that Mary ran to report her discovery to Peter and to another, referred to in this passage as the ‘other disciple.’ You may ask what is the identity of the ‘other disciple’ mentioned in this account? Most scholars agree that the ‘other disciple’ is John. This also makes sense, in that by referring to himself as the ‘other disciple’, in the third person, John not only demonstrates humility but avoids a narrative that uses the personal pronouns I and me, which could cause the reader to stray from the focus of the passage, the Lord’s victory over death. 

And Mary Magdalene, the first to find the tomb empty, became the first to meet Jesus after his resurrection. We see that Mary, while weeping at the tomb, first encounters two angels inside the tomb, where the head and feet of Christ’s body had lain. 

You may recall in Exodus 3:2 when Moses first approached God’s Presence within the Burning Bush on Mount Horeb, he encountered an angel of God.  2 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush.


We read in Exodus 25:18-21, that two angels adorned the Ark of the Covenant, positioned in much the same manner as the two Mary Magdalene encountered in the tomb of Christ: 

18 And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. 19 Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end. Of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. 20 The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be. 21 And you shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. 

In contrast to the angels on the Ark of the Covenant, the angels encountered by Mary Magdalene in Christ's tomb do not face inwards, but outwards. 

By Christ's sacrifice, the judgment seat of God has been removed and God's presence is no longer contained in the Ark of the Covenant, as all believers now contain God's presence, as we become Arks of God's New Covenant. 

And so the angels look outward. As believers in Christ, who took our judgment upon himself, we are saved from the eternal death judgment for sin, and like the Lord, we will be resurrected from the grave, when Christ returns. This is God’s covenant. The next encounter with the Resurrected Christ occurs with two Disciples of Christ on the Road to Emmaus, described in Luke 24:13-35.

Luke 24:13-35 (ESV): On the Road to Emmaus

13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 

17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 

18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 

21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 

24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” 25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. 

28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29 but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. 

30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” 

33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. 

Footnotes: a. Luke 24:13 Greek sixty stadia; a stadion was about 607 feet or 185 meters 

In the Emmaus account, which gives the name of one of the two disciples as Cleopas, we have the pair telling the Lord how they had hoped before his crucifixion; they had hoped that Israel had been delivered. To which the Lord chides them, saying (in verses 25-25): “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 

It is only after the breaking of the bread, does Christ reveals himself. It is important to note that these two disciples did not initially recognize this stranger as Christ, which is similar to Mary Magdalene’s mistaking the Lord as a gardener or groundskeeper at the cemetery. 

Our next encounter with the Resurrected Christ comes from John 20:19-29, where our Lord appears before the disciples. This occurs on the evening of the same day after he had met Mary Magdalene in the morning and the two disciples on the Emmaus Road. This time Jesus meets the disciples in the same Upper Room where he shared the Passover Supper before his crucifixion, as described in John 20:19-23 (ESV):

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews,[a] Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. 

Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 

22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

Footnotes: a. John 20:19 Greek Ioudaioi probably refers here to Jewish religious leaders, and others under their influence, in that time 

In this encounter, Jesus announces his presence by saying: “Peace be with you.” And after showing them his hands and side, the Lord gives the eleven the assignment or commission to share his Gospel, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so, I am sending you.” 

22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 
23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” 

Having received the Holy Spirit and been instructed that the Lord is sending them, as he was sent by the Father, the disciples no longer are disciples or students of the Lord but become his Apostles. 

Wikipedia defines an apostle as: The word "apostle" derives from the Ancient Greek word ἀπόστολος (apóstólos), meaning "messenger" or "envoy" that was formed from the prefix ἀπό- (apó-, "from") and root στέλλω (stéllō, "I send", "I depart"


However, in spite of the testimonies of Mary Magdalene, the two disciples on Emmaus Road, and to his fellow disciples, now apostles, the disciple Thomas refuses to believe in the resurrection of Jesus without visible proof, as we read in John 20:24-29 (ESV):

24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin,[a] was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” 

26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 

28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” 

Footnotes: a. John 20:19 Greek Ioudaioi probably refers here to Jewish religious leaders, and others under their influence, in that time b. John 20:24 Greek Didymus 

The fourth and final encounter with the Resurrected Lord takes place in the same Upper Room where he appeared before other disciples, some eight days later. 

This time Thomas is present and the Lord instructs him to touch the wounds on his hands and side, and tell the disciple, “Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 

Though Jesus did not initially reveal himself to the two disciples encountered on the Emmaus Road, he was not recognized by Mary Magdalene at the tomb where he was buried. Mary mistook our Lord at first as a gardener or groundskeeper, until he spoke her name. 

After being informed by Mary Magdalene of the empty tomb, the disciples, Peter and John, ran to the tomb to see for themselves. While John 20 indicates that the disciples believed, it also indicates that they did not understand the Scripture that Jesus must rise from the dead. 

When Christ first appeared to the eleven disciples, in the Upper Room, he showed them his hands and side, revealing the wounds from the crucifixion. Jesus returned again to the twelve disciples in the Upper Room, this time to show Thomas the same wounds he had shown to the other disciples some eight days previous. 

The question arises: Why did the disciples not believe the reports that Christ was alive and risen from the dead? And why was it necessary for Jesus to show them tangible evidence, such as the wounds from the cross, to convince the disciples? After all, the disciples were part of Jesus' inner circle for over three years. They had seen Christ's miracles and had heard his gospel, and still, they had to see tangible evidence of the miracle of the Lord's resurrection! That is why the Lord breathed God's Holy Spirit into the disciples in order to equip them for their new Commission as Apostles of Christ’s Gospel. 

Before Jesus died, because of sin, people practiced a religion filled with good works in order to worship God. They had to make sacrifices to God for their transgressions and communicated with God through such intermediaries as holy prophets or high priests. Worship involved performing visible, tangible actions to honor God. Through Jesus, God reveals His new Paradigm for His relationship with His people. 

The term “paradigm” was a popular buzzword that was perhaps overused throughout the 1990's. For those unfamiliar with it, let us consult dictionary.com: par·a·digm /ˈpærəˌdaɪm, -dɪm/ Show Spelled [par-uh-dahym, -dim] Show IPA noun   an example serving as a model; pattern. Synonyms: mold, standard; ideal, paragon, touchstone.  such a cognitive framework shared by members of any discipline or group: the company’s business paradigm.


Jesus implemented the new paradigm for humanity's relationship with God, by removing the stigma for the sin of humanity by taking upon himself both the judgment and punishment for sin. 

At his first appearance in the Upper Room, we see in John 20, that he commissioned the disciples, sending them to go forth, as the Father in heaven had sent him. And knowing that he was soon to ascend to heaven, Jesus breathed upon them the Holy Spirit of God, which was the first Pentecost. Some forty days after his ascension to heaven, Christ sent God's Holy Spirit to the rest of the believers gathered in the same Upper Room. After that, the Spirit, which is God's presence, came upon those believers, who accepted Christ as savior; confessed their sins; and have chosen to follow the Way of the Lord. 

 And at this point, the disciples were no longer students of the Lord, but having received the Spirit, become Apostles or messengers of his gospel of forgiveness, sanctification, and following the Day of Pentecost. As Apostles, believers are vessels of God’s Holy Spirit or Arks of God's New Covenant. God’s new Paradigm is His New Covenant, which not only includes salvation and the gift of the Holy Spirit but the promise of our own resurrection. 

Like the twelve Apostles, we are commissioned as messengers of Christ’s gospel. The most important part of this passage, which all Christians who did not live in the time when Christ walked before his crucifixion should note, are the words that were spoken by Jesus to Thomas, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is justified_sanctified.jpg

Communion

Part of our faith covenant with the Lord, is the observation and practice of Holy Communion, to remember Jesus' sacrifice on our behalf, until His return. Interesting, how the breaking of bread is an important part of today’s message, starting with the communion served at the Passover or Last supper, continuing with the breaking of bread with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and later to the eleven in Jerusalem. So it is quite fitting and appropriate that we observe communion in today‘s service.

 


22 And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. 24 And he said to them, “This is my blood of the[a] covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

Last Supper

Let us pray... 

Music Special: Because He Lives - Cochren & Co. [Live Green Room Session] - https://youtu.be/F7a5Idd8Dhg https://youtu.be/F7a5Idd8Dhg

                                              

Benediction - (Numbers 6:24-26): 

the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his 

countenance upon you and give you peace.

Music Special: The WORLD BLESSING: Easter 2022 - 154 Nations, 257 Languages - Surprising unity in our divided world - https://youtu.be/d48-qbcovVY 

 https://youtu.be/d48-qbcovVY

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Important Announcement the Regarding Operating Hours of BLCF Church, 1307 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON.

 Dear BLCF Friends,

Effective April 10, 2022, Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church will reopen by reservation only for Sunday worship under the limitations and guidelines set by Public Health and the Board of BLCF. In order to protect those who are vulnerable at Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship from COVID-19 Virus infection, the BLCF Board mandates that the church will be open by reservation, with the following rules:

  • attendees must wear a mask while on the premises
  • attendees give their contact information upon arrival
  • attendees observe two meters social distance while seated
  • attendees use hand sanitizer as needed
  • attendees follow any additional directions given by members of the board, while inside the church

Please be advised that both the BLCF Café Community Dinner and the BLCF Wednesday Prayer Service will continue to remain closed effective March 16, 2020, and until further notice. We pray with the administration of sufficient COVID-19 vaccinations, and following the determination of Health Canada and other Health Authorities, that the danger of the Pandemic will have subsided sufficiently, to allow BLCF to reopen safely more of our worship and outreach activities without any concern of infection to the vulnerable within our community.

– Pastor Steve

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Regarding BLCF Church's Hours of Operation, BLCF - 1307 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON.

Dear BLCF Friends,

Important Notice: Due to the current explosion of infections of the Omicron Variant of the COVID-19 Virus and in order to minimize exposure to vulnerable members who depend on public transit to get to and from church on Boxing Day, December 26, 2021, we regretfully announce that BLCF Church Sunday Worship Service is suspended for the time being. Please monitor our social media for the date that BLCF will resume our Sunday Worship Services.
 
Please be advised that both the BLCF Café Community Dinner and the BLCF Wednesday Prayer Service will continue to remain closed effective March 16, 2020, and until further notice. We pray with the administration of sufficient COVID-19 vaccinations, and following the determination of Health Canada and other Health Authorities, that the danger of the Pandemic will have subsided sufficiently, to allow BLCF to safely reopen more of our worship and outreach activities without any concern of infection to the vulnerable within our community.
 
God’s Blessings for this Christmas and for the 2022 New Year. May you, your family, and your friends have a safe and blessed Holiday Season throughout the New Year! Though we will be closed on December 26, I believe you would enjoy the lesson that I have prepared for that Sunday.
 
– Pastor Steve

Pray for Peace

Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church, 1307 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON. 

Message for Sunday:

‘Gathered in the Spirit and Gifted with Understanding, Unity, and Blessing of the Lord’   

© March 27, 2022, by Steve Mickelson

Based on Messages Shared at BLCF on February 23, 2020, & January 22, 2017

BLCF Bulletin Februay 23, 2020

BLCF: bulletin-january-22-2017

BLCF: Holy_Spirit_Romans_8_11


Music Special: 
Peace Be Still (feat. Lauren Daigle) // The Belonging Co // All The Earth - https://youtu.be/dUpKZz0Nm7c 

https://youtu.be/dUpKZz0Nm7c 

Announcements and Call to Worship; Prayer                                                           

Tithing and Prayer; Hymn #572: Praise God; Prayers   

Responsive Reading #634: (Christian Unity – John 10 & 17, Ephesians 4, 1 Corinthians 12)                                                                                                            

Message by Steve Mickelson: ‘Gathered in the Spirit and Gifted with Understanding, Unity, and Blessing of the Lord’    

BLCF: Holy_Spirit_Pentecost

Music Special: Lauren Daigle - Still Rolling Stones (Social Distancing Version) - https://youtu.be/Vr0d51uFTMc

https://youtu.be/Vr0d51uFTMc 

Let us pray… 

Welcome to BLCF Church’s Praise and Worship Service for Sunday, March 27, 2022. It is ironic that the world has yet to recover from a COVID-19 Pandemic, that the threat to humanity of an expanded Russian Ukrainian conflict brings pause that Satan enjoys testing our faith by multiplying our suffering and misery, with fear, anxiety, and despair. It is at such times we must redouble our efforts to draw nearer to the Lord through prayer, studying the truth in His Word, and by actions of love to others that demonstrate His grace, mercy, and peace. 

Our lesson today, entitled ‘Gathered in the Spirit and Gifted with Understanding, Unity, and Blessing of the Lord’, will examine how the power and presence of God’s Holy Spirit are most effective when more than one believer is present. Remember the Lord’s promise found in Matthew 18:20 (ESV): 


20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Music Special: Crowder - Come As You Are (Music Video) - https://youtu.be/r2zhf2mqEMI https://youtu.be/r2zhf2mqEMI 

You may recall that Jesus, after His resurrection and just before he ascended, to heaven, instructed his disciples to gather in the Upper Room so that together they may receive God’s Holy Spirit as one group on the Day of Pentecost. But what was Christ’s reason for sending the Holy Spirit? The answer to this question is found in John 14:15-17 (ESV):

 Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

BLCF: United by the Holy Spirit

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper,[a] to be with you forever,17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be[b] in you.

Footnotes: a. John 14:16 Or Advocate, or Counselor; also 14:2615:2616:7 b. John 14:17 Some manuscripts and is

The Spirit is described as the Spirit of truth, sent as a Helper, a Companion forever, to those who believe in the Gospel of Christ, Jesus

The Power of the Spirit is expressed by way of Gifts  of the Spirit, which are described in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 (ESV):

Gifts of the Spirit

BLCF: HOLY_SPIRIT_DOVE_ANIMATED_GIF

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. 

You see that no one person receives all the possible gifts of the Spirit, as collectively all of the gifts are empowered in everyone. That means that when the Spirit of God arrived in the Upper Room on the Day of Pentecost to the group of believers, each believer received a gift for the common good. 

The gifts were not intended for the benefit of individuals and all are only effective together in a group or gathering of individual believers, acting together in harmony as a single group. Our Lord intended the Holy Spirit’s Gifts to be distributed amongst a body of believers, gathered as His Church. 

Together, Christ’s Church becomes the unified expression of His love and power. It is expected that Christ’s Church expresses the Lord’s Commandments, which Jesus described in Matthew 22:37-40 (ESV):

Commandments of Jesus

BLCF: 2_Commandments

37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” 

The Holy Spirit’s presence helps the Church, the collective group of believers, to best express God’s Gifts. It is Christian Unity that assures that all of its members are acting in harmony, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. 

This brings us to Paul’s letter to the members of the Church in Corinth, who demonstrated a disharmony or absence of unity of mind and judgment, expressed quarrels  and disagreement between Church members, as described in  the verses in  1 Corinthians 1:10-31 (ESV):

Divisions in the Church

BLCF: Phillippians-2_2

10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a] by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers and sisters. 12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

Christ the Wisdom and Power of God

BLCF: 1corinthians_1_26-31

18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach[b] to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom,23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For consider your calling, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards,[c] not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being[d] might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him[e] you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

Footnotes: a. 1 Corinthians 1:10 Or brothers and sisters. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, the plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) may refer either to brothers or to brothers and sisters; also verses 1126 b. 1 Corinthians 1:21 Or the folly of preaching c. 1 Corinthians 1:26 Greek according to the flesh d. 1 Corinthians 1:29 Greek no flesh e. 1 Corinthians 1:30 Greek And from him

Paul implied that the disharmony of the Spirit in Church in Corinth resulted when the church’s members attempted to apply worldly standards and values to matters and actions related to the Spirit. In this regard, Paul felt that this disharmony acted as a “stumbling block” to the church achieving full Spiritual health. We see a similar expression of this Spiritual disharmonious behavior among Christian churches today when our attendance and activities within the church are focused on other people and not the Lord. Our service and commitment should be focused solely on Jesus, as we read in Ephesians 4:1-8 (ESV) :

Unity in the Body of Christ

BLCF: baptised into the body of Christ


I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift.Therefore it says,

“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men and women.”[a]

Footnotes: a. Ephesians 4:8 The Greek word anthropoi can refer to both men and women

The other cause of ineffectiveness and disharmony within the body of the church miss attending gatherings or services within the church. We see this effect described in the following poem by an anonymous author poem someone wrote about people who miss church:

You missed the fellowship that’s there,

You missed the handshake, missed the prayer.

You missed the Word of God when read,

You missed the things the preacher said.

You missed the worship’s wondrous hour,

You missed the Holy Spirit’s power.

Not only did you miss the chance 

Your life in Jesus to enhance, 

You missed your chance to do your share,

To build His church, the house of prayer.

And so the loss is yours indeed,

God had no chance to meet your need.

–Unknown Author

Music Special: Cochren & Co. - Church (Take Me Back) [Official Lyric Video] - 

https://youtu.be/3eTOcrWu8mQ

We are reminded of both the importance and benefit of meeting as a church body in Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV)

24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. 

 Let us pray…

BLCF: Isaiah-11-_2-3

Music Special: KATY NICHOLE - In Jesus Name (God Of Possible): Song Session - https://youtu.be/RoUfwjwQ_Xk 

https://youtu.be/RoUfwjwQ_Xk 

Benediction – (2 John 3):  Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father's Son, in truth and love.

BLCF

Saturday, March 19, 2022

The Cross: A Symbol of Our Faith and Reminder of God’s Love 2022 - BLCF Church, , 1307 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON.

 

Dear BLCF Friends,

Important Notice: Due to the current explosion of infections of the Omicron Variant of the COVID-19 Virus and in order to minimize exposure to vulnerable members who depend on public transit to get to and from church on Boxing Day, December 26, 2021, we regretfully announce that BLCF Church Sunday Worship Service is suspended for the time being. Please monitor our social media for the date that BLCF will resume our Sunday Worship Services.
 
Please be advised that both the BLCF Café Community Dinner and the BLCF Wednesday Prayer Service will continue to remain closed effective March 16, 2020, and until further notice. We pray with the administration of sufficient COVID-19 vaccinations, and following the determination of Health Canada and other Health Authorities, that the danger of the Pandemic will have subsided sufficiently, to allow BLCF to safely reopen more of our worship and outreach activities without any concern of infection to the vulnerable within our community.
 
God’s Blessings for this Christmas and for the 2022 New Year. May you, your family, and your friends have a safe and blessed Holiday Season throughout the New Year! Though we will be closed on December 26, I believe you would enjoy the lesson that I have prepared for that Sunday.
 
– Pastor Steve

BLCF Church Cross Angle View

Music Special - The Power of the Cross (Official Lyric Video) - Keith & Kristyn Getty - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wcULqyoINg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wcULqyoINg

Near the Cross - The Petersens (Lyrics) - https://youtu.be/Gf_wlFwBIMc
https://youtu.be/Gf_wlFwBIMc

Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church, 1307 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON. 

Message for Sunday:

‘The Cross: A Symbol of Our Faith and Reminder of God’s Love’

© March 20, 2022, by Steve Mickelson

Based on Messages shared at BLCF on January 14, 2018, and October 26, 2014

BLCF Bulletin January 14, 2018

BLCF: Bulletin October 26, 2014

Announcements and Call to Worship; Prayer     

Prayer and Tithing Hymn #572: Praise God from Whom All Blessings

Responsive Reading #632 (God’s Redeeming Lover – John 3 and 1 John 4);

Message by Steve Mickelson:

‘The Cross: A Symbol of Our Faith and Reminder of God’s Love’

Bloor Lansdowne - BLCF Cafe Community Dinner Music Special: Pass It On - TheNCrew - https://youtu.be/ovdKx6lQ8OM 
https://youtu.be/ovdKx6lQ8OM

Let us pray… 

 Welcome to our Sunday Praise and Worship service today at Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship, on this the first day of Spring for 2022.

It was just over two years ago, on March 16, 2020, that Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship closed its doors and suspended all in-person Church Service Meetings, as well as all outreach activities, including the BLCF Cafe Community Dinner, due to the deadly threat to the vulnerable from the COVID-19 Virus which had spread to a Pandemic. 

We finally reopened our doors last October 2021, to Sunday Worship Services, under the guidelines of Public Health of wearing masks, keeping social distance, etc. Services at BLCF continued until Boxing Day, 2021, when BLCF again suspended in-person worship activities due to the Omicron Variant of COVID-19, from December 2021 until the present date. 

While we hope to reopen again prior to this Easter, we continue to keep a watchful eye for any new variant, including the new Omicron Sub-Variant that is currently in the UK, USA, and Canada. 

After being open since 1938 as Crusaders Church, and now as Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship. only a deadly virus could shut the doors to this church. The two tenant congregations who also use our church building have had to deal with the threat of COVID-19 while keeping their own health and safety policies. 

We continue to maintain contact with fellow members of the BLCF Community by way of phone and via social media until we are certain that the threat to the vulnerable in our community from the COVID-19 has passed. 

We encourage you to continue to pray for each other and contact one another with words of encouragement and hope, until the day we can reopen our doors for Praise and Worship Services at Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship.

 

Sunday Sermon Pastor Steve BLCF Church Cross


Let us now begin our lesson for today, which is entitled: ‘The Cross: A Symbust over two years jol of Our Faith and Reminder of God’s Love’. 

Before we delve into the lesson, I would like to share our own miracle of the cross here at BLCF. 

It was at a BLCF picnic in the back of the church at St. Helens several years ago, that the congregation decided to invite the Bloor Lansdowne Community to a simple barbeque/picnic, featuring hot dogs and corn on the cob.



 .  

Since we had a small Hibachi grill, it was decided to cook the hot dogs outside and boil the corn inside the church kitchen. I was running the barbeque in the front driveway so as to catch the attention of passersby with a sign, posted as an invitation to join the picnic posted above my station. 

As I cooked the hot dogs, a group of four or five young people passed by, where one having read our sign commented: “What kind of place is this?” To which another replied: “I think it is a church.”

 


When I heard their comments, I realized that the church signage consisted of a front marquee sign and another on the east wall, outside of the prayer room, both mounted high above eye level, making the signs all but invisible to pedestrians walking on the sidewalk in front of the building. 

The church had a small cross, composed of white bricks embedded in the red brick wall located high above the front facade of the church. No wonder many people were unaware that we were a church. The lights inside the marquee sign had stopped working several years before. 

Later, intrigued about the cross, I went to the roof and found an old five-foot cross made of plywood with faded white paint sitting upon the roof. It looked as if the weather and wind had caused the cross to fall some years before, with the lag bolts pulling free from the peak of the front wall. Here is where our little miracle occurred.  

As I pondered whether the cross might be repaired, restored, and mounted back on the roof, we received an interesting message from the daughter of one of the members of our congregation, who had passed away two years before. It seemed that a nearby church had closed and the property sold for commercial use. The new owners intended to convert the building to lofts. 

Part of the conversion included the removal of the large twelve-foot silver cross mounted on the front of the building. It seems that the young lady noticed the cross was placed in a scrap bin. She convinced the contractor to give her the cross, indicating that she knew of a church that needed a cross. When she contacted me, she asked: “Could use a new cross?” 

My reply was an emphatic ”Yes", though I was not sure how to arrange delivery of a twelve-foot cross, let alone how we would mount it on the building. I did not tell her that the church at the time had funds for either. I was informed that in memory of her mother, she wanted to hire a contractor to deliver and mount the cross, all at her expense and that we do not reveal her name. 

 When I received the dimensions, I measure the wall and from examining recent photos of the building, I had determined that it would fit perfectly above the front doors, between the double arches that framed the front doorway.


The contractors have asked whether we wanted the small white cross formed by white bricks embedded in the wall to be painted red so that the new cross would be the only cross above the front entrance. I told them to leave the cross as is and asked that the small white window arch behind the new cross be painted red to match the rest of the brickwork of the front wall.

 


I marveled how the Lord had provided a solution to the need to replace the old cross before I had even raised the need to him. And the solution that the Lord provided was far better than what I had imagined. The Lord was going to ensure that people in the community knew without a doubt that BLCF is a place of worship. The Lord recognized the need for a new cross. He provided both the cross, as well as the means to install it before we had a chance to pray for it
.


I wonder how many times God provides for His children before the need is raised? And how many times does the Lord provides for a need before it is even recognized? This was not the first time God has provided in a miraculous way for the need at BLCF. 

By the way, I did manage to repair, stain, and mount the old BLCF cross and mount it on the wall behind the risers where Terry Sywanyk performs at our BLCF Cafe Community Dinner beside the “kNOw JESUS kNOw PEACE” sign.

 

Terry BLCF Cafe Cross


It may surprise you to find out that the cross has not always been a symbol of the Christian Church. Let us check our Wikibits for the history of the cross:

 

The Christian Cross

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

A Latin cross

The Christian Cross, seen as a representation of the instrument of the crucifixion of Jesus, is the best-known symbol of Christianity. It is related to the crucifix (a cross that includes a usually three-dimensional representation of Jesus' body) and to the more general family of cross symbols. 

In contemporary Christianity, the cross is a symbol of the atonement and reminds Christians of God's love in sacrificing his own son for humanity. It represents Jesus' victory over sin and death, since it is believed that through his death and resurrection he conquered death itself. 

See Colossians 2:15, "Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross".

The cross is often shown in different shapes and sizes, in many different styles. It may be used in personal jewelry, or used on top of church buildings. It is shown both empty and in crucifix form, that is, with a figure of Christ, often referred to as the corpus (Latin for "body"), affixed to it. Roman Catholic

Anglican and Lutheran depictions of the cross are often crucifixes, in order to emphasize that it is Jesus that is important, rather than the cross in isolation. Large crucifixes are a prominent feature of some Lutheran churches, as illustrated in the article Rood

However, some other Protestant traditions depict the cross without the corpus, interpreting this form as an indication of belief in the resurrection rather than as representing the interval between the death and the resurrection of Jesus. 

Crosses are a prominent feature of Christian cemeteries, either carved on gravestones or as sculpted stelas. Because of this, planting small crosses is sometimes used in countries of Christian culture to mark the site of fatal accidents, or to protest alleged deaths.

In Catholic countries, crosses are often erected on the peaks of prominent mountains, such as the Zugspitze or Mount Royal, so as to be visible over the entire surrounding area.

Patriarchal cross

Also called an archiepiscopal cross or a crux gemina

A double cross, with the two crossbars near the top. The upper one is shorter, representing the plaque nailed to Jesus' cross. Similar to the Cross of Lorraine, though in the original version of the latter, the bottom arm is lower. The Eastern Orthodox cross adds a slanted bar near the foot.

Cross (disambiguation)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Cross consists of two lines or bars, intersecting each other at a 90° angle and dividing one or both of the lines in half. Cross or to cross may also refer to: Religion
  • Cross necklace, a necklace worn by adherents of the Christian religion
Object
  • Cross (crown), the decoration located at the highest level of a crown
  • A cross with a human body affixed is referred to as a crucifix
  • High cross, early Medieval free-standing Christian cross made of stone and often richly decorated
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross_(disambiguation)

The cross as a symbol in the Christian Church may refer to either an object or a motion with the hand or fingers did not come into practice in the Christian Church until the third or fourth century A.D. Members of the early Christian church would often use a fish, represented by two intersecting arches as a symbol to represent the Christian faith.

Some churches avoid having a cross in their place of worship, fearing that the cross may be treated not as an icon or symbol but worshiped as an idol. In the same manner, many evangelical churches avoid having statues for the same fear that they will be prayed to and worshiped as idols.

There are some denominations who feel the cross may offend church attendees as a symbol of torture and death. I think that if you sanitize what happened to Jesus on the cross you run the risk of diminishing the impact of the resurrection! 

The fact that our Lord, Christ Jesus instructed all disciples to remember his sacrifice by way of the Communion observance indicates that we should not hide what the cross represents, his death and sacrifice for our sins.

While the cross or crucifix does remind us that Christ suffered and died for the sins of humanity, without the resurrection Christ’s death would have only made him a martyr. It is only after Jesus was resurrected from the grave and following the Holy Spirit’s arrival on the Day of Pentecost, did the Christian Church come into being, as a proof of Christ’s Lordship with the fulfillment of the prophecy found in the Scriptures, as we read in Isaiah 53:5-6 (ESV):

But he was pierced for our transgressions;

 he was crushed for our iniquities;

 upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, 

and with his wounds we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray;

we have turned—every one—to his own way;

and the Lord has laid on him

the iniquity of us all.

Is it wrong to have a symbol such as the cross as a reminder of the sacrifice of the cross? I believe that Jesus felt it was useful to have visual cues to help remind us of the price that he paid for our salvation. We find that the holes left by being nailed to the cross, and by the Centurion’s spear to his side, helped Jesus demonstrate his supernatural victory over death to the disciples, including Thomas who was absent at his first appearance but arrived eight days later, John 20:19-31 (ESV):

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

Jesus and Thomas

24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” 26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

The Purpose of This Book

Word made flesh 

  30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Footnotes: a. John 20:19 Greek Ioudaioi probably refers here to Jewish religious leaders, and others under their influence, in that time b. John 20:24 Greek Didymus 

The signs of the wounds Jesus showed his disciples helped them to understand both the suffering he endured and the supernatural victory Christ achieved over death by His resurrection. Interestingly, though Jesus had the wounds from the cross, he now was able to pass through the locked door of the upper room. Having shown the disciples his wounds, Jesus breathed onto them the breath of the Holy Spirit, to help them go forth in his place, no longer disciples, but apostles of the Gospel of Christ. Jesus death on the cross had removed the debts from sin, Colossians 2:13-14 (ESV):

13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 

The cross is a symbol, not just of the suffering and death that Jesus experienced, but reminds us that while we are called to follow the Lord and may suffer for our faith, we have the assurance that the judgment for our sins has been born by the Lord, 1 Peter 2:20-24 (ESV):

20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

Just as the cross acts as a reminder to Christians of the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf, our faith in the Lord is made perfect, not just because he endured the cross, but the holes in his hands and side act as a reminder to God the Father in heaven, as Jesus sits at the right-hand side of the throne of God. Our faith is made perfect through Jesus, Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV):

Jesus, Founder and Perfecter of Our Faith

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 

Jesus revealed his hands and side to the disciples, it was not so that they would dwell upon his wounds upon the cross. The intent was to give encouragement and hope in the victory of his resurrection. And we read that is exactly what took place, John 20:19-20 (ESV):

 19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.   

 The disciples were glad when they saw the marks of the crucifixion. Let us, therefore view the cross not as an instrument of torture and death of Christ, but as a symbol for our own hope in his resurrection and be encouraged in the truth of his promise to all believers of their own resurrection on the day Christ returns.

Let us pray...




 

Music Special: In Christ Alone (My Hope Is Found) - Adrienne Liesching | LYRIC VIDEO - https://youtu.be/rn9-UNer6MQ https://youtu.be/rn9-UNer6MQ

Benediction - (Romans 15:13):   May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship -BLCF Church in the heart of Toronto