The Minister God Uses

This past weekend I had the privilege of preaching at the induction service for Dr. Jonathan Griffiths, the new lead pastor at the Metropolitan Bible Church in Ottawa.  The Metropolitan Bible Church is a very special church for Linda and me; we served at the Met for almost 15 years.

I preached a message from 2 Timothy 2:14-26 on The Minister God Uses.  This theme is one I think about a great deal, both personally and also in my role at Heritage.  My deep desire is to train men and women who will be useful in Christ’s service.  In this sermon, I highlight three qualities that are essential for anyone who wants to be useful to the Lord.

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Prayer Update October 21

This has been “reading week” at Heritage so most students have been home and will be headed back to campus this weekend. Here are a few requests I’d ask you to bring before the Lord this weekend.

  1.  Pray for students as they return to resume their studies. Pray that they will continue to develop friendships and learn to balance the demands of life, study and service.
  1. partner-churchesHeritage has almost 75 Partner Churches—churches that work closely with us to raise up the next generation of faithful ministers. We give staff and interns from these Partner Churches a generous tuition bursary. Our current goal is to reach 100 Partner Churches. Pray for more churches to choose to partner with us in the training of men and women for ministry. (If your church would like to know more about what it means to be a Heritage Partner Church, click here).
  1. eslLinda is speaking on a panel at a conference for ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers this Saturday. Pray for Linda as she speaks about how teaching ESL can be an effective way to share Christ’s love and light with new Canadians.
  1. On Wednesday, I sprained my right ankle doing some yard work. I’d ask for your prayers for healing as I am to drive to Ottawa to speak at the Metropolitan Bible Church this weekend. Pray as I speak at the installation of the Met’s new lead pastor, Dr. Jonathan Griffith.
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Prayer Update October 14

hplYesterday was an incredible day at Heritage.  Almost 500 people took part in the Heritage Preaching Lectures with Don Carson.  To top the day off, we hosted a celebration dinner for Dr. Stan Fowler’s 70th birthday.  The surprise of the evening was the release of a new book written in honour of Dr. Fowler.

This morning, Linda and I head to Cornwall and Ottawa.  But before I go, I wanted to pass along a few prayer new prayer requests.

  1.  Linda speaks at a women’s conference this weekend in Cornwall this weekend. Please pray for God’s enabling grace upon her as she teaches.  Ask God to use HIs Word to strengthen and grow each woman who attends.
  2. Next week is “Reading Week” at Heritage.  Students get a break from classes to catch up with their reading and assignments.  Pray that students would benefit from this break–both to catch up on their studies and rest up for the last half of the semester.
  3. Please continue to pray for God’s Spirit to do a mighty work in and through the ministry of Heritage College and Seminary.  Jesus taught us to “pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest” (Luke 10:2).  Ask the Lord to raise up many labourers from Heritage to work in Canada and beyond.




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Heritage Preaching Lectures Tomorrow

Thursday, October 13th, will be a big day on the Heritage Campus. It’s the day of this year’s Heritage Preaching Lectures.

preachingOne of the distinctives of Heritage Seminary is our strong emphasis on biblical preaching. We train those headed for pastoral ministry to be effective expositors of God’s Word. By that I mean we teach them to preach through the text and to the heart.

We believe pastors should preach through a passage of Scripture—working through the text and not simply skimming over it. Expository sermons “expose” the original message God put into His Word.

While we train students to preach through the text of Scripture, we don’t stop there. We also teach them to preach to the heart. Expository sermons apply God’s truth to the lives of contemporary hearers. God’s Word is preached, not simply to inform minds, but to transform lives.

carsonOur passion for biblical preaching is behind our annual preaching lectures. This year we welcome Dr. Don Carson to speak on the subject of preaching apocalyptic passages (like the book of Revelation). Dr. Carson is one of the top biblical scholars in North America. He’s also an alumnus of Heritage Seminary (having graduated from Central Baptist Seminary, one of the two schools that merged to form Heritage).

Almost 500 people have signed up to attend this year’s Heritage Preaching Lectures. Would you pray with me that the day would be useful in equipping those who preach and teach God’s Word to congregations across Canada.


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Prayer Update October 7, 2016

“Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever.” (Psalm 107:1).

Thanksgiving weekend is a fitting time to express our gratitude to the Lord for His great goodness.  Linda and I have experienced His grace personally and also in the ministry at Heritage College and Seminary.

Last weekend, Linda had a wonderful time speaking at a women’s retreat.  I also sensed the Lord’s enablement as I spoke in chapel on “Praying Jesus’ Way” (Matthew 6:9-15). Heritage students are excited about the upcoming Thanksgiving break; many will be headed home to be with their families.

Here are some prayer requests for this coming week:

  1. Pray for students as they head home to be with family and friends for Thanksgiving.  Pray for meaningful connections and sharing of what they are learning at Heritage this year.
  1. gccheThis past week we’ve had leaders from seven churches on campus as part of our Graduate Certificate in Church Health and Evangelism initiative.  This is a two-year program designed for established churches that long to see greater spiritual vitality in the congregation and greater gospel impact in the community.  Please pray for these leaders as they seek to implement the things they are learning.
  1. carsonNext Thursday, October 13th, we are hosting our annual Preaching Lectures.  This year Dr. Don Carson will be speaking on Preaching Apocalyptic Passages of Scripture (like Revelation).  Over 450 folks have signed up so far.  Pray for Dr. Carson to be physically and spiritually strengthened for this important day of teaching.  Also pray for Linda as she leads special sessions for Ministry Wives on this day.  Registration is still open for the Preaching Lectures, but sign up soon if you are interested.

Thank you for being part of our prayer team.  It means a great deal to us!

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Leadership Lessons from Less-Known Parts of the Bible (Joshua 18)

After Judah, Ephraim and Manasseh receive their land grants, things come to a sudden stop. The remaining tribes don’t seem overly eager to get their territories. Instead, they settle in at Shiloh. So Joshua comes up with a plan to get things moving: he asks for three men from each of the remaining seven tribes and sends them to survey the rest of the land. After the scouting party returns, Joshua proceeds with land assignments. The remainder of chapter 18 focuses on the territory given to Benjamin. Here are three leadership lessons that I found helpful in this chapter.

Leaders motivate those going slow.

snailsJoshua’s words to the remaining seven tribes express exasperation: “How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the Lord the God of your fathers, has given you?” (18:3) We aren’t told why these tribes were reticent to move from Shiloh and begin the process of possessing their inheritance. Perhaps it was fatigue. Perhaps it was fear of future fights. Maybe they enjoyed the comfort of the larger group. Whatever the reason, these tribes didn’t show the same eagerness to receive their inheritance as Judah, Ephraim or Manasseh (on the west of the Jordan) or Gad, Reuben and Manasseh (on the east side of the Jordan). So Joshua pushed the stragglers to take action. Here’s a reminder to all leaders: part of our job is to get people going when they get stalled.

Leaders move people forward by breaking big tasks into smaller steps.

red-appleAt first glance, Joshua’s plan to re-survey the land seems to elongate the process of distributing the Promised Land. Twenty-one men (three men from each of the seven tribes) were dispatched to carefully map out the remaining territory and divide it into seven parts. Travelling, mapping and negotiating the divisions would take time. But Joshua sensed this “delay” would actually expedite the whole process. He also understood a key leadership lesson: breaking big tasks into smaller steps can help the timid or intimidated get moving.

Leaders gain ownership by increasing involvement.

Joshua got the seven tribes involved in selecting their representatives to survey the land (18:4). Next, he gave specific instructions to those who had been selected. There involvement would insure the divisions were fair and would foster ownership of the outcome. Those in leadership should take note: when people feel a greater ownership in the task, they tend to show greater involvement in the task.

Which of these leadership lessons strikes you as one you need to remember?

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Prayer Update September 30

Before getting to several prayer requests for this week, let me begin by thanking God for answering prayers from last week. The course Linda led last weekend (taught by Dr. Margaret Kostenberger) was deeply appreciated by the fourteen women involved. Also, we continue to sense a receptive, eager spirit on the part of so many of the students God has sent us. They are a delight to teach!

Here are some requests for this weekend and the coming week:

  1. Our incoming Heritage students are involved in an ongoing outreach to the people of Hespeler—the village near our campus. We are teaming up with several local churches to bring the love and light of Christ to the people around us. Pray we would be faithful and fruitful in this outreach initiative.
  1. prayerI’ve begun a series of messages on Prayer in our Tuesday chapels. The next message is entitled, “Praying Jesus’ Way” from Matthew 6:9-13. I’d ask you to pray that God would use this message (and the whole series) to spur us all on to be people devoted to prayer.
  1. Linda is speaking at a women’s retreat this weekend. Her theme is “A Woman’s Whirled.” She’s teaching themes from the book of Ephesians aimed at helping women find stability in Christ in our busy, broken world. Please pray that God will use His word in the lives of the women who attend.

Thank you for labouring with us through your prayers.



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