First News

Season of Prayer: Week 1

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I don't know about you, but I'm still soaking in the choral rendition of Andrew Peterson and Ben Shive's "Is He Worthy" from this past Sunday! What a way to unpack the Gospel, especially that second refrain. He is! He is! 

Also, wasn't it a gift to have our brother, Dr. Paul Stevens, launch our sermon series on prayer? An excerpt from Timothy Chester's The Message of Prayer (from the Bible Speaks Today series) came to mind as I was reflecting on our brother's exposition of Matthew 6:9-13. As it has with me, may it further lead you into prayer--communion with our living God.  

It was for this we were made: to know God; to be with Him; to enjoy friendship with Him; to share the life of the trinitarian community. 'In obedience the Christian is the servant, in faith he is the child, but in prayer, as the servant and the child, he is the friend of God, called to the side of God and at the side of God, living and ruling and reigning with Him.' 'God does not want us as objects, but as covenant partners, partners who can converse. He desires our conversation input, our spontaneous gratitude, our free concurrence, but also our patient or impatient questioning; and even our vehement protest is dearer to Him than a silent, unconvinced acquiescence.' 

To say that we should seek friendship with the One who created the far reaches of the universe, who is the ruler of all history and who dwells in unapproachable light, sounds like outrageous hubris. Yet this is the gospel. Prayer is an expression of the very heart of God's eternal plan to have a people who are His people; to know us and to be known by us. We readily bask in the reflected glory of knowing someone even moderately important or famous--how much more can we glory in friendship with the trinitarian God! 

Prayer means conversation with God, calling upon God... The person who has grown up with the traditions of the Church takes this for granted. He is not conscious of the astonishing character, the boldness and "irrationality" of this act. 

For this week, we encourage to be in prayer for our church family, particularly for those who need healing, guidance, and encouragement. As I shared at our church business meeting last week, please do keep Monica Gartner (loss of her mother, Agatha), Klara Van Der Molen (her 5-year-old grandson, Caleb, was hit by a car), and Margaret Loden (hospitalized after a fall) in your prayers. From today to Pentecost Sunday (June 9th), we encourage you to consult our weekly prayer sheet to pray for others. Click here to download the prayer sheet. 

Please be sure to pray for the Brown family as Anthony prepares to transition into First as our Senior Minister.  As of May 8th, he has transitioned out of Hillside Baptist Church. He is now finishing his work with the North Shore School of Mission. Anthony and Helen have set aside the last two weeks of June to rest. He is set to start at First in July. 

In prayer with and for you, 
Justin Kim
Executive Minister

Posted by Justin Kim

Prayer in June

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Sensing that the Lord is calling us into a more intentional season of prayer, we will adopt the month of June to pray together as a church family. I want to encourage you and challenge you, especially if you have never done this, to begin your day with prayer. 

For some of us, this will entail the intentional practice of setting aside our phones or whatever devices we are prone to gravitate to each morning. For some of us, it means setting aside our morning crossword puzzle to praying with our mug of coffee or a cup of tea. Perhaps, for some, it will entail integrating prayer in our daily rhythms such as jogging, walking or biking.  

In order to keep us together, each Monday (June 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th), you will receive an email, delineating ways we can be praying as a church family. Also, it is worth noting that our new sermon series will be on prayer. 

Here is the progression of the series: 

June 2: Matthew 6:9-13 (Lord's Prayer) - Dr. Paul Stevens 
June 9: Ephesians 3:14-21 (Paul's Prayer) - Rob Ogilvie (CBWC Executive Director)
June 16: Psalm 139 (David's Prayer) - Daniel Whitehead (Sanctuary Executive Director)
June 23: Jonah 2:2-9 (Jonah's Prayer) - Andrea Tisher 
June 30: 1 Samuel 2:1-10 (Hannah's Prayer) - Rebecca Thornber 

Our Lord speaks. We must learn to listen. Our Lord leads. We must learn to follow. Whenever. Wherever. Whatever it costs. 

May we grow as a community of prayer-ers. May we, like Epaphras (Colossians 4:12-13), always struggle on behalf of others in prayer. May we come to a deeper awareness that it is not about our might or strength, but Spirit of God who is at work in and through us (Zechariah 4:6). 

Struggling in prayer with you, 
Justin Kim 
Executive Minister

Posted by Justin Kim

Children Summer Programs

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"What are your plans for the summer?" It is a question I often ask our preteens these days. And so I will pose the same question to you and to your families this week: What are your summer plans? 

For all of us, and particularly for our children and families, summer is a season of change. It's a season where the days are longer and brighter, and where the regular rhythms of school are disrupted. And parents are faced with the dreaded dilemma or gift, depending on how you look at it, of no school! 

The extra space given to children by a summer break provides a unique opportunity for us to encounter, engage, and encourage children from our church and all parts of our city. And it is to this opportunity that I want to direct your attention.  I invite you to pray for our Summer at First program, and I encourage you to participate in our Summer program. 

As some of you may know, Summer at First is a full season in our Children and Preteens ministry. It's a season in which we hope and plan to run two Kickers Soccer camps, a week-long Camp at First, a church picnic, Preteens & Youth camping trip, several one-day excursions, and all the while continuing our Sunday programming. This particular summer is also special since we will be celebrating the tenth year anniversary of Kickers! 

Thankfully, we have been blessed to be able to bring on Joseph Leong as our summer programs coordinator. But we will definitely need your prayers and participation in order to make it all happen. And so, if you are interested in participating as a volunteer for our Camp at First, as a coach, or as a volunteer at the church picnic, please let me know. We are particularly needing volunteers for our Camp at First. 

But our goal in hosting all of these programs is not to replace school with a bunch of activities and to keep children and their families "busy." Rather, our hope and prayer are that we could engage and encourage children and their families both from our church and from our community. Last year, approximately 100 campers attended Kickers, 50 of whom were not regular attendees at our church. What an opportunity and gift for our church and volunteers to be witnesses and bring shalom to our neighbourhood.

My hope and prayer for this Summer at First is that we might strengthen our community and continue to walk with children and their families in their discipleship journey. Please join me in praying for Joseph, for all of the children we will minister to, for all the volunteers and families who will be impacted through our summer programming. Please also consider inviting friends of your children to join us this summer and/or consider volunteering in some capacity.   

Daniel Foster Fabiano
Director of Children & Preteens Ministries