Rest, Reflect, Refreshed

Our members gathered together at a park to enjoy each others’ company, with great food and God’s words. We had a wonderful time conversing, laughing and playing together!

It was a chilly 12 degrees C with a strong breeze, but spending time with loved ones and friends warmed us up.
Even the food tasted better over the long weekend.

While taking in the beautiful sights of the lake and fresh air, I was reminded of God’s masterful handiwork. The crystal blue water contrasted with a bright sky with an ever faint blueish hue. 

In Ontario, Canada, today was a statutory holiday; a long awaited time for rest and relaxation. At work, my colleagues and I looked forward to getting away from the daily grind and from everything else. We could not stop talking or thinking about it for the entire week. Personally, this day couldn’t come any sooner. Many of our church members also awaited this day to put life on pause and get a chance to breathe.

The Long weekend came and went. I was hoping that I would feel better, but I did not feel any more fulfilled or rested than before; in fact I felt worse going back to my daily routines.

Then I was reminded of what Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

Everything in this world will perish, spoil and fade and will also only be a temporary fix. Only Jesus can give us rest in our souls and make us whole. 

Let’s find rest in Him.

Reflection by Paul

 

The Last Supper

I am almost at a loss for words. It was a bitter sweet day for us at North York UBF, We knew 269 Kingslake Road as our church and gathering place for worship for nearly 12 years. It was not just church; it was like a home. God has called our ministry to serve elsewhere, but I couldn’t help feel a sense of loss. I grew attached to this small little home on Kingslake Road.

Our members now twelve years older, gathered one last time to help move to our new church building in Scarborough. As we sat down on the floor sharing our last meal together in an empty house laughing and reminiscing about the old days and how God has led our church up until this point, I suddenly recalled what St. Paul said about what a church really is.

And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” – Ephesians 1:22-23 NIV

God’s church is not restricted by walls. The church is not a building or a denomination. According to the Bible, the church is the body of Christ—all those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.

Who knows what God has planned for us in our new place of worship. But one thing is for sure, God’s church is the the body of believers! “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” – Matthew 18:20 NIV.

All Glory to God and his church.

 

Reflection by Paul

 

Foundations

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On March 8-9 North York UBF went on our annual Spring Retreat at Ganaraska Woods Retreat Centre. This event’s theme was based on Foundations, looking in depth about some of the fundamentals involved in our relationship with God, namely prayer and God’s word the bible. On Saturday evening Ernest Chan delivered a powerful messaged based on Luke 6:43-49, on the difference between the wise and foolish builder. We are wise builders if we take God’s words and put them into practice. After the message Mark Lee and Jon-Marc Hennie told their life testimonies of how God worked in their lives in the past and present, and how they can be assured God is working in the future. Then Hannah Kwak did a missionary biography about Ida Scudder.

Sunday morning, Paul Lee Jr. gave the sermon based on Matthew 6:5-15, the Lord’s Prayer, looking at it in great detail about what this well known passage tells us about God, and our relationship to God and other people. Afterwards Jessica Poirier gave her testimony, and Jonathan Lee did a missionary profile on Jonathan Goforth.

The retreat offered us a timeout from our normal working lifestyle and gave everyone an opportunity to individually asses how alive and active our relationship with God is, and gave us a glimpse of what it should be like, if we felt unsatisfied with the current dynamic. I trust God continue to work in each person’s life every day, and that it would be mutual, to allow him to mold us in his image.

– Reported by Joel Fast

See I am doing a new thing!

Isaiah 43:18-19 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Sometimes we dwell in the past and many things are hard to forget and many constantly live in replay. So far we realized that our attitude and hearts were like stone and we felt like a wanderer in the wilderness and walking aimlessly in a barren land. Sometimes I feel like it’s hopeless and it’s impossible to be transformed. But the words of God through the prophet Isaiah was truly convicting. We need to be reminded that during Isaiah’s time, it was a time of hopelessness and great godlessness. They had no reverence for the Lord and they had no regards to the spiritual realm. Out of despair and anguish from the plight of his fellow people, Isaiah went around cursing them saying, “Woe to you!” He had lost hope for the people of Israel, they were like wanderers in a vast wilderness and wasteland. However God encourages Isaiah by saying, ““Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isa 43:18-19).

God is doing a new thing! God will pave a way in the wilderness to guide his people and bring life through streams of water in the wasteland. God was challenging Isaiah to see what God is about to do. He asks, “Do you not perceive it?” Sometimes it’s very hard for us to see what God is doing or is about to do. We need to open our hearts and eyes to perceive what God is about to do! Our prayer is that  we may look and see with eager expectation what God has planned for us this new year. Right now it may see like a vast wilderness and wasteland here in our small gathering, but I believe that God has already planned something new for this year, we need to expect great things and believe in the transforming and renewing power of God. God will make a way and make our barren land into a fertile land flowing with living water!

 

Operation Christmas Child



 On Friday, November 1st members of the Upper Room filled boxes with things like school supplies and toys to participate in Operation Christmas Child, which is organized by Samaritan’s Purse.  The boxes are being sent out to places in Haiti and West Africa to children. In addition, members included a picture and letter from themselves to let the recipients know who sent them. It’s just really cool that contributing what seems like a small amount to us here in North American can mean a lot to those in need from other parts of the world.

Big shoutout to Elijah A. for picking up the shoeboxes!

Though there were some difficulties involved with getting the gifts to fit inside the boxes and some members didn’t purchase their present before the appointed time designated to pack and wrap the boxes, everything was turned out all right.

In early church, they sold property and possessions to anyone who had need (Acts 2:45) and certainly Jesus encouraged his disciples to give to the poor and needy so in the same by involving us in this particular mission, we’re imitating Christ who came before us.

Paul thought this event was awesome and definitely something he wants us to do again. Joel was reminded that although we all have our own struggles and difficulties, there are people who are in harder circumstances and as Christ’s followers we have an obligation to aid them in whatever way he can.

2 Corinthians 9:7b God loves a cheerful giver…

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