All posts by emcmessenger

What is Your CV?

by Harvey Thiessen

OCEANIA/NORTH AMERICA – From time to time I am asked for my curriculum vitae (CV) to introduce me to a whole new set of people that have not known me. Presumably, this is meant to help the readers understand what value I bring to the activity or discussion for which I am being considered.

Usually what is expected is a list of stuff I have put in my head (education) and my accomplishments (as measured by the organizational positions I have held).

When I was asked again recently by a group of academics forming the Lausanne North American Diaspora Strategy Group, I relooked at what I should send them and realised that what they asked for was not what primarily made me who I am or even what they would get if they invited me to participate with them. So, instead, I sent them the following:

I have:

  • Walked the highlands of Papua New Guinea
  • Sipped tea in the comfort of a Beduoin tent
  • Sailed five of the seven seas
  • Been drenched by monsoons, pushed around by typhoons, and one decision away from being engulfed by a volcano.
  • Taken up residence in nine countries
  • Faced down an angry mob intent on beating a man to death
  • Fled in fear from a knife-wielding thief
  • Walked with men transformed from killers and liars to servants and givers
  • Shaken the hands of kings, princes, and governors
  • Sat, laughed, hugged, and enjoyed the company of beggars and orphans
  • Loved my wife and been transported by the birth of my four children
  • Wept at the death of my first grandchild
  • Walked with God in sorrow and joy
  • Experienced the pride of accomplishment and the humility of personal failure
  • Been enraptured by worship and mortified by repentance
  • Spoken to tens of thousands
  • Been afraid to speak to a child
  • Been the target of terrorists and the object of derision
  • Felt security in the identify of my family
  • Held the pain-wracked hand of my mother as she slipped into eternity
  • Cried as hardened men gave way to God
  • Smiled as my granddaughter took my hand

The responsibilities I have taken up while I walk this journey: Oceania and North America Leader, Operation Mobilization; Chairman, Board of Directors, MoveIn; Board of COMMA; Board of Canadian Centre for World Mission; Board of Pamir Productions; Board of Operation Mobilization USA; Executive Committee of Canadian Network of Ministries to Muslims.

How do we describe who we are to the outside world? These days in the hot contest of groups and ideological alliances, we are pushed to “tribalise” our identity by who we associate with, quote or support. These things influence but do not define who we are. The Bible clearly demonstrates that our actions and interactions draw the picture for God when he asks, “Who are you?” What is your CV? Matthew 7:20.

Harvey and Brenda Thiessen

Harvey Thiessen (Wymark) is Oceania and North America Leader for Operation Mobilization.

I Didn’t See a Fox

by Alex Reimer

GERMANY – Let me tell you about the time that I didn’t see a fox. It was a Saturday after a long, hot week of German language school. I was really looking forward to it because Ted, Freddy and I had planned to get together and go over our plans to film our latest film project, The Josephine Project. Normally we don’t work on Saturdays, but between language school and travel plans this was the best day. So I hopped on my bicycle and biked to the office.

Continue reading I Didn’t See a Fox

A Ministerial Theology Conference Discussing What?

by Layton Friesen, EMC Conference Pastor

What? An EMC Ministerial theology conference.

No, I mean what? A theology conference on sexuality called Desire: Pastoring, Same Sex Attraction and the Church.

Wait…What!?! Yes, we are pastors getting together to discuss sex.

Why? Because we want to understand better how to preach, teach and pastor in a world that desperately needs the good news of Jesus when it comes to sexuality.

When? November 26–27, 2020

Where? Online meeting.

The church, as followers of Jesus and readers of the Bible, has a wonderful set of convictions about sexual desire—these bodily attractions that push, pull, inspire, and sometimes defeat us, but then also draw us into beautiful union with each other.

On the matter of our bodies and its desires our society seems to go off in all directions. We vacillate wildly between indulgence in every conceivable desire and a merciless shaming and punishment for those who transgress our standards. We both worship bodies and dispose of them if they fail our standards. Our world has trouble with bodies and this leads to confusion about sexuality.

This turmoil has involved the church. In our time, we cannot help but be much more conscious of what we believe, how we live it, and where the gaps are in our understanding. The question about same sex attraction especially has compelled us to think deeper about what the Bible actually teaches. The church is also very aware of how hard it is to direct the powerful energy that sexuality presents within us. Many of us have been overwhelmed by this power and defeated by lust, broken marriages, pornography, and desires that seem untameable. What’s to be done?

So the EMC Ministerial needs to discuss sexuality. The planners of this theology conference (James Driedger, Barry Plett, Jennifer Kornelsen, Dallas Kornelsen, and Layton Friesen) see two aspects of how we want to address this.

First, we believe we have a lot to learn about what the Bible teaches about sexuality. There is no better time than now to dig deeper into the Scriptures and be more fully grasped by its vision of sexuality as a God-imaging part of our lives. The church has ancient convictions drawn from the Bible about the mystery of marriage between a man and a woman. We need to learn how single men and women living in single-hearted celibacy offer the church a picture of how all of us will all one day be wed to our Lord. Our bodily desires are not to be squelched or stuffed in a box, but are to be directed towards the end to which God has called us—the resurrection of the body into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Secondly, we have much to learn about how Jesus effortlessly gathered broken people around him. They liked him and he liked them. How can those ancient biblical convictions be practiced so that they actually, really do feel like good news to the folks in our midst who walk in brokenness? Especially, we want to talk about how the church lives the good news with those who experience same sex attraction. They are not the only ones who sometimes experience the church as a condemning place, but their case gives us a good place to start thinking about ways Jesus brings transformation, Spirit-empowerment, community—in short, salvation to people with hidden brokenness.

Our hope is that this study conference will equip our leaders to engage our congregations in interesting and faithful conversations about how thirsty creatures like us will one day find what we all truly desire.

Giving in Turbulent Times

by Tim Dyck, Executive Director

When the COVID-19 crisis first arrived on the scene in Canada, the Board of Trustees was very concerned about the effects of the economic downturn on Church and Conference giving. However, in the first nine months of 2020, EMC expenses are down, revenues are up, and we have a surplus at the three-quarters mark of the year. Praise God for this wonderful news! Part of the reason for the surplus in October is due to receiving a major gift earlier this year, but the overall picture is still very positive.

Continue reading Giving in Turbulent Times

Thoughts on Salvation 

by Karla Hein

As I’ve been sharing my faith lately, I’ve noticed my conversations have been focused on the profound peace of an all-knowing, powerful God and the assuring hope of my future with Christ. That’s attractive truth in a culture where insecurity about one’s identity and fear of disaster weighs heavy.  However, I’ve started to wonder if marketing Christianity as attractive to unbelievers can result in tickling ears rather than delivering truth (2 Tim. 4:1-5).  Have I made the by-products of salvation the primary focus because it’s easier to explain than the theology of repentance and faith in Christ?   Continue reading Thoughts on Salvation 

Examining My Privilege

by Heidi Dirks

Many adults will remember what they were most excited to do when they reached the age of majority. Whether voting, signing legal documents, or buying alcohol or spray paint, age matters. Age can open up opportunities or impose restrictions. These opportunities are not given based on merit, rather they are bestowed solely based on legal age. Continue reading Examining My Privilege