Markham Baptist Church


posted Mar 31, 2020

I know God loves the world, and all of us that by grace and by gravity walk on this great planet. And Jesus loves me, “this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” I have read the scriptures telling of the ways Jesus’ love was unconditional. He loved the lost and rejected, the rich and the poor. He also loved those whose religion had handicapped their faith as much as physical blindness had handicapped the lives of others. Loving this varied lot of humanity, Jesus also healed many. People testified that it reached beyond an individual’s physical wellbeing. It was also deeply spiritual. “Your sins are forgiven you,” Jesus would say. “Your faith has made you well,” he said to another. “Do you want to be well?” he said to one whose struggle must have been obvious to all, yet none had taken the time or shown any interest in helping him get to the place of healing.

Here’s my question — what about all the others? What of the others who never saw Jesus; were never taken to Jesus; were never healed by Jesus? Surely there were others equally in need of healing. Were they simply left to continue life as best they could? No! Thank God there was this New Community, formed to live lives modelled after Jesus’ way of healing love.

In his book, Practicing the Way of Jesus, author, Mark Scandrette, in a chapter titled, “Experiments in Community,” offers an insight that sparked a thought I’d like to pass along.

“Life in community reveals who we really are. We bring our best and worst to our relationships with one another. Our sense of belonging is where we may feel the most wounded and where the gospel of Jesus offers us the greatest hope. Jesus modelled and promised a revolutionary way of love that could transform our relationships on every level.”

It is easy to feel overwhelmed right now, seeing the many in need who are beyond our ability to help. The essence of community is not limited by our gathered presence. It is furthered by our spirit of togetherness in seeking God’s presence no matter how distant we may be from one another geographically. Community is that sense of being for each other, no matter our different paths, knowing we are journeying together in a common hope, a shared prayer, a gathering of hearts. As a community of faith, gathered — and scattered — in Jesus’ name, our reach is incredible, as the Spirit of God partners with us in whatever we offer for his use and glory.

You are reaching people I may be unable to reach. Yet my prayers, and the prayers of others, offering strength, insight and peace to you, bring us together as a community of healing and hope. Those within your reach are being blessed right now, by your saving acts of compassion, prayer and kindness.

Let’s keep on lifting each other in prayer, as we do what we can do, and as we trust in God to provide the miracles and blessing.

At this time — to our many incredible volunteers

posted Mar 23, 2020

Dear volunteer — You may serve as part of one of our worship teams – a singer, musician, sound, slides or video volunteer. You may teach a Sunday School class, or care for our youngest members in the nursery. Perhaps you offer leadership to our children and youth, or help out with Wednesday Pizza Drop In, serving pizza, fill the pop machine, or provide breakfast once a month for for High School students as they gather for prayer. Maybe you are part of the organizing group or serve with First Monday Lunch, giving seniors and others a welcome meal and great company. Maybe you are part of a team that leads a small study group from your home; you may be one of the volunteers who help take non-perishable food donations that have been dropped of at MBC to the food bank, or visit the Crisis Pregnancy Centre to help out, or 360 Kids Hub, to deliver our mission donations or volunteer with the downtown mission assisting the homeless and hungry of the GTA. There are so many areas where you volunteer your gifts and abilities as you bless the lives of others. Some of you, have the gift of mechanical know-how. Thank you! You keep the church running – literally, caring for the furnace, replacing burnt out light bulbs, or financially, by organizing the paying of bills, the planning of our budget, and keeping track of givings. Maybe you share the gift of hospitality, organizing coffee times or monthly breakfasts for the men in our congregation, or gather women, young and old, to share their stories or express their needs. You are giving a tremendous gift, not only to MBC, but, to all the lives that brush up against yours and all the others you are already influencing by your words and actions. If it weren’t for you and those who visit our shut-ins, or send notes of care or condolence or compassion, or set the table at the front of our sanctuary with white linen and display the elements of grace we partake of in communion, we would be the lesser for it. If it weren’t for you greeting at the doors of our building, offering a warm smile as you usher us into the sanctuary, or remembering us and calling us by name on those days we’ve all had, when we just need assuring that we’re not forgotten, and that we are valued, if it weren’t for you, oh, incredible volunteer, we would not be the church we are. We would not see Christ the way we do, when we see you!

Thank you for being the heart of MBC for everyone who serves and walks along side of you, and experiences the love of God through you! O volunteer, simply put, the church of Jesus Christ is alive and well because of you. You bring to light our purpose —”to know him and to make him known.”

As we find ourselves in a strange land, amid all the precautions and needs surrounding this pandemic, we miss being together in the usual ways.  Ah, but I know you’re continuing to offer yourself in whatever ways God leads you, and because of it, what a blessing anyone who has met you, is already receiving.

Holy God, within us and among us, help us share ourselves in Jesus’ name. AMEN

Enthusiastically and thankfully, as we serve together,

Pastor Craig

How are you doing, really?

posted Mar 17, 2020

COVID-19 is at the top of every newscast, its impact is being dissected by every expert in the field, every scary detail of this pandemic is outlined everyday on the front page of every newspaper we dare to pick up. It can all feel a bit overwhelming, at times.

So — how are you doing? A week or two ago, the normal reply to that simple question, from any of us might have been, “Fine, how about you?” — a quick exchange with limited thought or effort before we moved on to whatever it was we really wanted to talk about. Have you noticed how, over the last several days, our usual greetings and responses have changed, better yet, deepened?  I was at a Starbucks drive through window recently, and the fellow handing me my order asked me that simple question – though not in the flippant way we’ve conditioned ourselves to expect. Nope, this barista asked it with an earnestness more often expected in conversations with your closest friend, minister, priest or rabbi. The sincerity threw me! I wasn’t sure if he was there to hand me my coffee, or take my confession — or if I was there to take it or give it!  I have to tell you, I was honestly grateful for the exchange, and the concern shown at a moment when my mind may needed to have been stilled, and when it would have been wonderful to unload one or two of the unordered thoughts swirling around in my head that afternoon with someone who seemed to honestly care. I was blessed, but, with a line of cars behind me, I took my grande caramel macchiato, warm brownie, and drove off with a simple and sincere “thank you”.

Is it just my imagination or are we experiencing a heightened sense of interest in one another’s welfare as we go about our daily tasks and errands? Are we slowing down and investing more in the emotional, physical and spiritual wellness of those around us?

We’re in a different place today than we were just yesterday. Rather than skipping over these questions as if they were merely a pattern of speech without any purpose, many are pausing and giving intentional thought to both question and answer — we are beginning to listen more, and to listen better!  A small miracle, perhaps, but, one which opens up new blessings whenever we engage it!  The people who are “walking in darkness are seeing a great light”. People, who might otherwise be seized by their fears, or feeling as if they are alone in them because of social distancing and quarantines, are given hope whenever the light of someone’s compassionate listening or a person’s caring response shines upon them. The Light of Christ is shining on them in those moments — very likely through you!

A Baptist named Joseph Fort Newton, stated the plain truth of life when he said, “Life is an adventure of faith. We can not tell what may happen to us in the strange medley of life. But we can decide what happens in us — how we take it, what we do with it — and that is what really counts in the end.”

Let’s learn from one another, as we lean into life with confidence. “But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?” Isaiah 56:3-4 (NLT).

Let me know if you would like to talk anytime. I’d be honoured to listen.

When it hurts too much

posted Apr 11, 2018

Last Friday’s terrible crash at the intersection of two rural roads just northwest of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, has caused many to ponder and pray, perhaps a little more frequently and a little more deeply than we might otherwise have done these days following Easter. The death of 16 young people, including coaches, players, support staff, and the driver of the Humboldt Broncos’ bus, has shocked and shaken many Canadians.

To spend much time focusing on the incredible loss of life is, for some, more than they can manage. This week, at our church Drop In for high school students, several walked past our sanctuary admitting the obvious – “its too painful to even think about”. These students are not any less caring than the rest of us; they are simply being honest about how closely tied together caring and pain are in our lives. To remain open to one is to invite the other. The choice is relatively simple. Either, protect yourself by investing less in caring for others and the pain in their lives, or practice your faith, investing even more than you feel capable of offering, to those who are hurting or struggling in life.

Read more …

Going Beyond Thanksgiving

posted Jul 14, 2017

Remember those old Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes commercials, with an animated figure of Tony the Tiger, shouting, “They’re grrrreat! Tony was singing the praises of a certain cereal! If you ever want more participation in worship, invite your congregation to compete for the best Tony the Tiger impersonation! They’re great! Read more …