27 November 2006

A Three-Church- Sunday Round-Up

Yesterday was a blessed day among God's people and though filled with activity, it was graciously restful.

In the morning Christel and I headed off in opposite directions as she helped with the music at Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Blackie, and I went to Okotoks Ev. Free for my 3rd class on Markers in Church History. For my part, reflecting on Sarah Edwards' experience in the revival was heart-warming for me on such a cold day. And Jonathan's deep reflections are always evergreen.

We met up again in the afternoon and went to Dan and Marlene's for lunch and fellowship with new friends Joey & Kimberley and Brock & Jen. A surprising amount of discussion related to the Christian blogosphere, and the Reformed sector in particular. At times I felt a bit 'behind the times', but of course that is nothing new. We all remarked at the privilege of having access to so much good theology, yet how culpable we were for not 'improving' it as we ought.

As it got dark Christel and I left the Spud Estate and journeyed to Calgary and the home of Toronto transplants, Peter & Anna. After we sang some rich, yet simple hymns I preached from Isaiah 42 and leaned on God to supply my lack. Among those gathered we enjoyed rich discussions as we tried to build one another up in our knowledge of God and his Word.

On the drive home, we remarked at how busy our day had been, and yet how much God had helped us. Christel had prayed that morning, in a manner she derived from a comment of John Calvin's, that God would lend to us life and strength for the day. God certainly was not cheap in his provision, but was opulent in his supply.

In all of our travels God granted us safety and, surprisingly, rest.

23 November 2006

More Church Planting

Yesterday I visited with my brother-in-law, Chad and his wife Karmyn as they were in Western Canada on a brief fact-finding trip for a church plant in Vernon, BC.

Chad shared with me how the Southern Baptist Convention has multiple layers of administration which work efficiently together to help see churches planted. In particular, Chad observed the relative newness of the Canadian Convention of Southern Baptists, which he concluded would offer a great deal of freedom in his ministry. Since the SBC is not a monolith, Chad was very concerned to have doctrinal and methodological freedom to implement solid biblical exposition as well as biblical models of church planting. It appears that he has that freedom, and so he may well become a Southern Baptist!

A key in all of it is Chad's connections to churches in the US where he is currently attending Liberty Seminary (is this the 2nd or 3rd MA?). He also is booked to go to Capitol Hill Baptist in Washington, DC for one of Mark Dever's Weekenders. It would be wonderful if Chad got sending support from a church like Capitol Hill!

May the Lord bless Chad and Karmyn as they continue to seek His gracious leading.

21 November 2006

Details On Church Plants, Pastor Fraternals, et al.

Church Plant
On Sunday evening, my wife and I went to a home located in a new development of the old military base. In the living room belonging to Steve and Julia, we were joined by Peter and Anna (whom I had met at Paul Martin's church in Toronto), Bernie, Wayne and finally, Nivelin. Everyone had been a previous acquaintance of Steve's except for Nivelin who had made contact through the website, www.calvaryreformed.com.

After opening in prayer we sang a number of wonderful songs to guitar accompaniment. They were hymn texts set to different tunes and came largely from the work of Indelible Grace. After that I spoke on 1 Cor. 3 noting the roots of factionalism in the church and the necessity of Jesus Christ being the foundation. I confess that it was merely a workman-like exposition, but by God's grace, it appeared to help everyone. Afterward everyone had tea and butter-tarts combined with godly conversation as we got to know one another.

The gathering is in its infancy. Although there is no 'mother church' sponsoring it there is hope of having some voluntary accountability to a like-minded Calvinistic Baptist church. In all, the ethos is Christ-ward rather than Calvin-ward per se. However the doctrines of grace will mark all that is done.

That is a small summary of a wonderful evening. I look forward to our next meeting!

Pastor Fraternal
It has long been my desire to see the like-minded Calvinistic Baptist pastors in Alberta come together to support each other, to share resources and to learn from one another. In this course, a gathering of men is planned for the first Monday of December in Red Deer, the practical mid-point of the province.

My hope is that such a fraternal could be a means of connecting seminary grads with churches, as interns, pastors, other staff, etc. Down the road, we would possibly look at establishing a regular conference with invited speakers and a theme.

These are a few irons in the fire. May God grant us quickening by the Spirit and fidelity to his word!

18 November 2006

The Gospel in Alberta

Just a quick note:

We ask our friends to pray for a new church plant in the city of Calgary that I will be preaching at beginning tomorrow.

As well, I am facilitating a gathering of likeminded pastors in Alberta for the purpose of fraternal edification. Hopefully our first meeting will be in early December.

Further, I'm speaking on John Owen at Okotoks Ev. Free. He is a daunting figure to encapsulate in 45 minutes!

Please pray that these efforts, though small, would be lifted by the strong arm of Christ.

15 November 2006


I've been quietly learning about the Wordpress platform in order to return to some more academic/theological blogging. The appeal of Wordpress is that the post contents can be categorized by subject, not merely archived by dates.

Wordpress is not for everyone. It is not nearly as user-friendly as Blogger. The 'geek-quotient' has to increase in order to figure out PHP's and FTP's for Wordpress.

But since I'm neither timely nor relevant for the 'up-to-date' format of Blogger, I'm going to try this other, lasting, though easily-glitched platform.

I'll continue to share personal news and views here at Blessed Union, but I'll stick the opaque writing at:


13 November 2006

Clint's Review of Recent Events

Although the work of the farm-hand has not meshed well with the demands of the blogosphere, I am now able to offer a bit to the latter.


Harvest is over so Christel and I went to Phoenix, AZ for a much needed vacation. The weather was hot (high 80's to low 90's) although the return to a blizzarding Calgary was quite shocking to our tanned faces!


Now that it is winter, I am trying to transition into more ministry-oriented labours. Yesterday, I taught at Okotoks Ev. Free Church at the request of Dan Sudfeld, where I began a 4 Sunday series on Church History figures: John Calvin, John Owen, Jonathan Edwards, and Robert Murray M'Cheyne. Although Dan picked out the figures, they are all dear to my heart and I couldn't have chosen better! Marlene Sudfeld gave me a warm introduction to the class in Dan's absence. I was thankful for God's help as I weakly tried to speak about Calvin's theological largesse in a mere 45 minutes!


Looking back prior to our Phoenix trip, we were delighted to have a visit from my former colleague at Toronto Baptist Seminary, Dr. Pierre Constant and his wonderful wife, Lise. It was a treat to be able to show them around the farm and take them into downtown Calgary for a plate of Alberta beef. Pierre shared encouraging reports from TBS with enrollment up and an influx of committed and godly young men.

A meeting that didn't take place was with Dr. Crawford Gribben of Manchester who was in Calgary delivering lectures for the Chair of Christian Thought. Crawford was gracious in understanding my situation as I was pressed for time before departing to Arizona.


On the cowboy front, I spent 4 days at the summer pasture rounding up the cow-herd with my brother and a friend. It was snowy and cold the whole time but we were pleased to corral the main herd except for a couple of wild cow-calf pairs that broke through the fence. Once the snow gets deeper they should become easily persuaded to come in---or else with a long rope! I'm sure it took the first day or two in Phoenix for my toes to thaw out from all of that time in the cold stirrups.

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