Report by M. Melissa Christopher
We thank God for blessing our Tyrannus Bible Academy on November 7, 2008. Last month we finished our academy series on the book of Exodus. This month our academy was based on Colossians 1:1-14. The key verse was verse 13—”For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of light.”
We thank God for bringing one new sister, Kavita, to the academy, as well as sister Veronique, who recently began Bible study with Missionary Grace Hong. Missionary Luke Hong gave the Colossians message, Shepherd Andrew Christopher gave a power-point presentation, Shepherdess Sylvia Foisy gave a report on the life of Fanny Crosby, and I shared a testimony based on Colossians chapter 1. Shepherd Jason Northey, Shepherd Evan Nicholson and Shepherd Luke Hong Jr. prepared a special song.
In Shepherd Andrew’s presentation called, “Christ, the Media and the War of Ideas” we saw how this post-modern generation is in spiritual darkness as the word of truth is being replaced by fragmented bursts of visual stimuli, which give all kinds of mixed messages to young people. [Presentation based on articles from Ravi Zacharias’ ministry. See http://www.rzim.org] Music videos on MTV are a good example of how young people are being bombarded with secular and hedonistic images at an ever-increasing rate. With the Internet and blogs, people are exposed to numerous and conflicting ideas with no context and/ or basis in absolute Truth. In such a media-driven culture, it is easy to lose one’s self and to be lost in spiritual darkness with no moral compass. The only anchor in such a relativistic and pluralistic society is the gospel. Young people need deep Bible study and a personal relationship with Jesus to know who they are, the meaning of life and to have a solid truth upon which to build fruitful lives. The war against gospel truth that we see today is not unlike the problems facing the early Christians.
Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Colosse, which was being attacked by false teachings, to encourage the believers to persevere in faith, hope and love and to know the will of God through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Through holding on to the simple gospel, remembering the grace of Jesus who saved them from the dominion of darkness, the Colossians could live a life pleasing to the Lord. A life pleasing to God involves bearing fruit in every good work, growing in knowledge of God and being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might
Missionary Luke emphasized in his message that God made us for a purpose– to know God and bring glory to him. “When we do not know God, we cannot but live in darkness and confusion. We do not know what to do with our lives. We just survive, without knowing the meaning of our existence and life purpose.” But Jesus rescued us from the dominion of darkness through his shed blood for our sins. In Jesus we have redemption and forgiveness of sins. We have a right relationship with God, which allows us to have a right relationship with others. We can persevere through trials and persecutions and live fruitful and sacrificial lives as we wait in joyful hope for our inheritance in God’s kingdom.
Through Paul’s letter to the Colossians I was reminded how like Apostle Paul I was once a self-righteous, Pharisee-like person– a slave to pride, self-righteousness and judging others. But through one-to-one Bible study, the gospel had power to completely change me from a self-absorbed, Pharisee-like person to a sacrificial shepherd for campus students and a missionary. Jesus rescued me from the dominion of darkness and brought me into the kingdom of light. Through my testimony I could repent that for the past few years I had been preoccupied with my career, health problems and responsibilities of caring for my home and children and had not been struggling to do all these things for the glory of God. I had not been spending much time with Jesus, so my relationship with him had grown cold. Consequently, I was lacking strength, power, endurance, patience and joy. I could pray to struggle newly in prayer, deep Bible study and testimony writing. I could re-devote myself to invitation ministry and serving campus students. What I and campus students really need is the gospel. We need a personal love relationship with Jesus to persevere in faith, hope and love. May I serve sister Poonam with gospel-centered bible studies and pray for her to give her heart to Jesus and entrust her future to Him.
Shepherdess Sylvia Foisy gave a moving presentation on the life of Fanny Crosby. Fanny was born in New York and became blind at the age of six months because of the mistake of a “snake oil” touting physician. She excelled in academics and poetry and was raised a Christian, but when she met Jesus personally she totally surrendered her life to Christ. Filled with the Holy Spirit, she was able to write over 8,000 hymns. Her beloved hymns became a staple of Christian worship for generations. Even though she was blind she did not dwell in the darkness of despair, bitterness or self-pity. She was full of light and joy. When people would comment on the misfortune of her blindness, she would say “Don’t have any sympathy for me, because I am the happiest person in the world. If God gives me another life and asks me what is my one wish, I would ask him to make me blind again. It is because the first person I would see in the kingdom of God will be my Lord Jesus.”
I pray that God may use our monthly Bible Academies as our prayer to bring the gospel to Montreal Campus students. May God bless our invitation ministry and bless each of our leaders to serve new one-to-ones and bring new students to the Sunday Worship Service. May God grant Missionary Luke Hong his Word and Spirit in serving Montreal ministry. May God bless our growing disciples (Transformers Team) to grow as stewards and shepherds through serving the McGill and Concordia group Bible studies. May God bless Canada to accept the gospel and become a Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation.