I want to take this time to say, “Welcome Back” if you have been away over the summer months. First Baptist Church has had an interesting and sometimes glorious history over 166 years. On the weekend of October 14 and 15, we are celebrating an anniversary. None of us go back to the earliest years of the church but there are some with family connections that can be traced back over 100 years.
Our anniversary speaker this year was an integral part of life in this church twenty years ago. After graduating from Wheaton Graduate School, Rev. Sam Breakey arrived to become the Director of Project Reconciliation. His wife, Nancy, brought strong musical gifts to our church. Occasionally, I still hear an anthem sung by our choir composed by her. Sam is a compassionate, caring individual who went on to become an Associate Pastor at Murray Street Baptist Church in Peterborough. I first got to know him when he was there as we both served on the Campus Ministries Task Force of the Baptist Convention.
After a few years in Peterborough, Sam was called to serve as a pastor in a challenging situation in East Edmonton. He served for a number of years there seeking to restore health to that congregation. Now for a number of years, he has had a very effective ministry as the Area Minister for Alberta in the Baptist Union of Western Canada.
Sam is speaking following the Saturday evening October 14 supper on the theme “Marks of a Healthy Church.” Come join us for the pot-luck supper that evening beginning at 5 pm. Also join us to worship and hear Sam speak at the Sunday morning service on October 15 at 10am.
In His Service,
“He’s Not a Tame Lion”
By Joshua Mutter
In the recent movie based on C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, there is a scene where one of the children, Lucy, is watching Aslan walk away into the sunset. She asks her friend, Mr. Tumnus, where Aslan is going and when he will return. To which Mr. Tumnus responds that Aslan comes and goes as he wills and he reminds Lucy that “he (Aslan) is not a tame lion.”
That line, “he is not a tame lion” has struck me as especially profound especially in light of the way that Lewis has crafted this story as a metaphor where the character of Aslan stands for Jesus Christ. As Aslan is not a tame lion, he is therefore wild. He has his own passions, desires and will. He is not subject to the commands of a tamed circus lion that is paraded out in front of the cheering masses to jump through a flaming hoop. He goes where he wants to go, he roars when he wants to roar, he purrs gently when we wants to purr. He is the dominating force in his environment not the one being dominated. His will is his own.
It strikes me that as Christians we sometimes treat God like he has been tamed, as if he is a being that we can control and coerce into doing our bidding. But this is not so. God will not jump through our hoops; rather he is wild and untamed with thoughts and desires that are not subject to our approval. His will does not have to be ours. As the Lord speaks through the prophet Isaiah, “my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are you ways my ways…For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NRSV).
Understandably the notion of an untamed lion wandering around is unnerving, but there is something majestic about its refusal to be bound and limited. I think that we should have a similar response to God. Really we should be awed that the God we serve is not tame; that he is not limited by us or by creation but rather all creation is subject to him. In fact having a god that we cannot tame can be quite freeing as our response solely becomes trusting and following him.
I truly believe that as a person of God that I need to get back into the Word and rediscover the untamed nature of our Lord. To see the majesty of creation, to witness the holy judgment and mercy at the flood, to experience the power of the Lord through the plagues on Egypt, to see the loving covenant relationship with the nation of Israel, the sacrifice of the cross and the power of the resurrection. I need to get to know the untamable nature of our Lord again…do you? “He is not a tame lion.”
For those who like to read - Rev Kevin Smith
As we are gearing up for 40 Days of Purpose in the New Year, I encourage you to read Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life. Copies are available for you to pick up. This book has now exceeded 25 million in sales and has had a remarkable impact on many people. We anticipate a number of small groups springing up to see the video and study the material. Hopefully house groups will develop in different parts of the city. Prayerfully consider who you would like to invite to be a part of the series.
Here are some other books to consider reading:
Webster, Douglas D. Soulcraft: How God Shapes Us Through Relationships. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1999. Douglas Webster was a mentor of mine who regularly slaughtered me in tennis when I was in good shape. He was a member of Spring Garden Baptist Church while doing his doctoral studies at the University of Toronto (St. Michael’s College) under Roman Catholic scholar, Gregory Baum. He taught at what is now Tyndale Seminary. I was privileged to take a course in Christology under him. For a number of years, he has been the Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in San Diego. A prolific writer, Webster is one of the most effective writers in the area of discipleship today. He is a very thoughtful writer. This is an excellent book, which I encourage you to read! Webster defines soulcraft as “the art of discerning, applying and enjoying the wisdom of God in every aspect of life.” But as the subtitle indicates, Webster sees one of our greatest challenges being in the area of relationships. This is not a book you can race through but it is accessible to most readers. I hope you will consider the challenge of becoming a soulcrafter.
Harris, Mark Companions for your Spiritual Journey; Discovering the Disciplines of the Saints. Vancouver: Regent College Publishing, 2005. This book was originally published under the InterVarsity label. Harris served on InterVarsity staff for a number of years in Atlantic Canada and was a deacon at Wolfville Baptist Church. He is currently the pastor of Grace Chapel in Halifax. Mark is a very reflective individual who writes well. This is a very accessible book which should help you to see, through the cloud of witnesses presented in this book, ways of personal spiritual growth. I encourage you to order a copy.
Hall, Christopher A. Learning Theology with the Church Fathers. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2002. An Episcopalian with Baptist roots, Hall currently teaches at Eastern College, a Baptist college near Philadelphia. His mentors include J. I. Packer and Ward Gasque. I presume then that he did some studies at Regent College in Vancouver. Hall is a specialist in the early church. This book provides an excellent introduction into how the church developed some of its theology in these early years. Often seeking to apply Scripture to situations and teachings they encountered, the church fathers provide a marvelous encouragement to me. There have been lots of movements within the church over the centuries up to the present. But I suspect our best guard against being swept away with some of the currents of our time is to steep ourselves in the struggles and theology of the early church as well as later reformation and post-reformation studies. Books like this one provide sound moorings for us. I encourage you to read this fine book.