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2018 CFCM National Conference/Toronto – Audio

Posted on Oct 31 2018 by Gary Mason

You’ve been watching for it and we have it here for you.

 For this year’s audio click here…

One of the yearly highlights for us in CFCM is the rich content of messages spoken by many speakers and through panel discussions at the National Conference.   This year in Toronto was no exception and many of you asked about getting copies of the audio.  We are glad to post them here for you to listen to and share with your teams and others who were not able to attend.

We began Tuesday morning, with a number of guests sharing about the intersection of our faith and the technology of our day and the possibilities of using that technology to further the Kingdom of God.  They also helped us to see some ways in which we could help people in our churches understand how to release their personal gifts for Kingdom purposes.  We wrapped up our first day in the evening session with a great message from Matt Tapley reminding us that every truth in God’s Word is held in tension and that wherever we are, God is there and He is at work.

Moving on to Wednesday morning, Len Zoeteman talked about the cry of our society to know what real love is and showing how we find it in our heavenly Father’s Heart.  And then Marc Brule helped us realize that true substance is the key to reaching the world and with God’s love we have that substance to help people move from being consumers to producers for God.  The morning ended with a panel session helping us to take the true substance of the Father’s heart of love and use that to engage with our communities.  In the evening we finished the second day with a powerful message from Kyle Horner sharing how culture trumps vision and we can celebrate the moments but remember that we are a part of a movement.

Thursday, our final day together, started with our newest National Director Jonathan Bounds saying, “You don’t have to be dead to be resurrected”, and sharing how as our minds are renewed to a new way of thinking we need to be sure to move in the new direction God has shown us.  Wendy Hoffman followed with a great word on finding life balance and how it can help us to “Make Room for the Extraordinary.”  Our final session of the morning with Kyle Horner asked the question what does a healthy Christian look like?  He spoke about helping people to live lives of significance both inside and outside the walls of the church.  We wrapped up the conference Thursday evening as Kyle Horner shared about not just being giant killers ourselves, but how to recognize leaders in our ministries and help them to become giant killers and take ground for the Kingdom.

We know that you will be blessed and challenged as you listen to these messages.

 For this year’s audio click here…

2017 – National Conference – Honour

Posted on Mar 14 2017 by Gary Mason

You won’t want to miss this one…

 

 

Hello everyone, we wanted to bring you up to speed on the plans for our National Conference.  This year’s location will be Prince Albert, SK with speaker Bishop Tony Miller and our theme will be, “Honour”.  Also, please make special note of the change of dates, we will be getting together a little later in the month than usual October 24-26.

Again, we wanted to get this information out to you as soon as possible for your plans and we will follow this up with more information on hotels and other details in the days ahead.

You may download the video here if needed 2017 National Conference Announcement

David and Jeanne McGrew pastor of Keystone Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia and David is the National President of CFCM.

Find out more about Keystone Victoria by clicking here.

 

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2017 – Greeting from David and Jeanne

Posted on Jan 05 2017 by Gary Mason

David & Jeanne McGrew

You may download the video here 2017 – Greeting from David and Jeanne

David and Jeanne McGrew pastor of Keystone Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia and David is the National President of CFCM.

Find out more about Keystone Victoria by clicking here.

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“Real Face Time”

Posted on Sep 22 2016 by Gary Mason

It’s conference time. What I like to call “real face time.”

To me conference has become just that, three days of face to face with those we normally see just once or twice a year.

How apropos this gathering of ministers merges with the changing colours of autumn. When I can expect a greater continued change in me by being present with many of those whom I’ve come to consider the dearest of friends. The CFCM family.

Proverbs 27:17, “as iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another,” has certainly proven itself throughout the years of attending National Conference.

KJV translates it this way, “as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” (emphasis mine)

Yes, getting before one another’s face.

A well-used word in the way society now avails a means to communicate.

In particular, Face-Time and Facebook.

Personally, as a grandfather, I love Face-Time. Having conversations with my three grandchildren at almost any-time – whether it’s during a meal, bedtime, or outside playing. Fortunately my kids only live 25 minutes away so I also get the real face-time on a regular basis.

Facebook is a different story. I use it, and do like it – sometimes.

Electronic connectedness has allowed for not just the good – but also the bad and the ugly.

We’ve lost the flesh and blood attachment, being in one another’s presence, in each other’s face – if you will.

I know of too many people who now consider their “home” church in front of some sort of screen. Live streaming into their home – a one stop, “Bless the Lord and forget not all His benefits – You come to me.”

Relationships are the core of our existence – beginning with our Triune God. And just as the serpent questioned this relationship as recorded in Genesis, we can see how his work is still the same today.

We’re prone to hide.

I was watching The Tonight Show recently, and there were two guests well known to many. One was a singer in his 70’s,  another a comedic actress in her 80′s. It was obvious to the viewer that both had work done to their face.

I’m not sure if they’d looked better without the work having been done, my guess is yes, though they must have thought it brought better results.

Wanting to be younger, hiding the aging process.

We hide.

As believers the Word clearly tells us that the further along we go, the better looking we become.

Inside and out.

When we stay present.

In the face of God.

His Word.

In the face of others.

Each other.

 

It isn’t always easy.

 

Two lyrics from the same artist come to mind, Dan Hasletine of the Jars of Clay,

 

“Blessed are the shallow

Depth they’ll never find

Seemed to be some comfort

In rooms I try to hide”

From the song Frail

 

“Bury my head for the shame,

You pick me up, you say I look like You

Though it makes no sense to me,

You make me believe that I could trust someone.”

From the song Sing

 

The wounded, hide.

The scared, hide.

The tired, hide.

 

While writing this out, I hear the words from Isaiah,

 

“For the Lord GOD will help Me;

Therefore I will not be disgraced;

Therefore I have set My face like a flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed.”

Isaiah 50:7

 

Another, from the Psalms,

 

“When You said, “Seek My face,”

My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.””

Psalm 27:8

 

Now back to Proverbs 27: 17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens the countenance of another.”

 

I’ve been blessed to attend National Conference regularly for the past almost 10 years and I can identify a sharpening from each individual year.

I’m looking forward to conference this year.

To looking better, and sharper.

 

 

 

Rick Mills

Life Abundant Niagara

Niagara on the Lake

Ontario

2016 – Greeting from David and Jeanne

Posted on Jan 16 2016 by Gary Mason

 

David & Jeanne McGrew

You may download the video here 2016 – Greeting from David and Jeanne

David and Jeanne McGrew pastor of Keystone Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia and David is the National President of CFCM.

Find out more about Keystone Victoria by clicking here.

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Is a Balanced Life Possible?

Posted on Sep 18 2015 by Gary Mason

Previously we examined how unrealistic expectations and demands placed on pastors can lead to depression. In my last blog, we discussed the importance of vacation time and its positive impact on pastors. This blog will discuss creating balance in your daily schedules. Without a healthy work-life balance and periodic rest, the result can be frustration, relationship difficulties, burn out or workaholicism.

Being aware that your life lacks balance will help you contemplate on which aspects are non-existent in your life and should be added and what should be lessened or removed. It’s not about striving to live a balanced life but rather it is about reflection and examination of your schedule to carve out space for God, self, others and work activities. For many the idea of reflecting on their busy life is an exercise that further adds tension and frustration. You could allow this exercise to frustrate or discourage you but I would suggest that this can be a positive experience.

One useful tool that I employ in my practice when working with pastors and other professionals is the Balance Schema Assignment which identifies the aspects of daily living that need to be considered. It is not about finding a perfect balance in all aspects and categories. Many have done this exercise and commented on how helpful it was in determining where change can be achieved in personal schedules and the creation of space for essential aspects of life. If you are interested in obtaining this exercise please request it through the space provided at the bottom of the blog.

When reflecting on your daily schedule, you will find yourself wondering which activities are time wasters that are diminishing productivity. You will also determine how you can create space for God, times of leisure, physical activity, connecting with your primary relationships and work activity. After doing the exercise and implementing the deemed changes you will have more productivity, and experience deeper relationships with God and others. Isn’t that what bringing balance to your life is all about?

 

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Wendy Hofman  is the founder and Director of Veritas Counselling Centre in Burlington, Ontario. Find out more about them by clicking here.

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Vacation Time

Posted on Aug 26 2015 by Gary Mason

At this time of year many seats are unoccupied in churches due to people being away on vacation. Pastors (and their families) need vacations too and time apart from the day to day duties. In the last blog, there was a checklist of warning signs that help determine whether a vacation is needed or if issues require the help of a therapist. Let’s look at the criteria from a mental health perspective that you may help you with the decision to take a vacation.

Problems

There will always be problems to work through and pastors have their share of helping church members as they try to cope. A warning sign is when small problems excessively irritate or overwhelm you. Other signs are lowered levels of motivation, passion, productivity and energy. Even helping church memberswith problem solving becomes excessively tiring and is avoided.

Colleagues

Coworkers and colleagues can sometimes identify that a vacation is necessary because you will be demonstrating signs that indicate you are not your usual self. Often individuals become cranky, irritable, quiet, or impatient with others in a way that is not characteristic of the usual behaviour. Your coworkers are cognizant of these signs because of the amount of time that they spend with you observing you in everyday situations.

Workplace Functionality

When someone is experiencing chronic stress, workplace blunders and poor decisions occur on a regular basis. This is problematic because it affects reputation, sense of purpose, lessens capacity to strategize and diminishes vision casting. Your staff or church members can lose trust in your competency as a pastor. Further, procrastination can result from a history of poor functionality because you may not want to even attempt at making changes or decisions.

Physical Signs

Stress in your work environment or lack of vacation influences your physical well being. It is linked to backaches, headaches, inflammation, stomach aches, and pain susceptibility. Sleep is also negatively affected. Sometimes the people who need the most sleep due to work stress or family situations are those who have insomnia or disrupted sleep.

Emotions Indicators

One indicator that a vacation is needed is when your emotional responses to life situations are dissimilar to your usual responses. For example you may notice that your sense of humour is almost non-existent or laughter is forced or in short supply. Stories that would have produced a hearty laugh from you no longer seem that funny. Some people have a lower threshold to crying or angry bouts while others experience emotional numbness.

So if after reading this you feel like a vacation is due begin to make plans. If for financial reasons you cannot have the vacation you would like to have don’t let that stop you from being creative! Even short weekends away can do a lot of good. Maybe house trading with a friend in another city could help.Vacation is all about getting away from the daily schedule and having a time apart.

Remember that a vacation or time away gives you opportunities for reflective time that sometimes is not part of your busy schedule. Time spent in contemplative prayer, meditation and reading the scriptures will draw you closer to God and deepen your relationship. The time away will benefit you in all areas of your life and well being. Go ahead, start making plans today!

 

Wendy - promo shots 002

 

 

Wendy Hofman  is the founder and Director of Veritas Counselling Centre in Burlington, Ontario. Find out more about them by clicking here.

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Introduction – Why wait for crisis?

Posted on Aug 11 2015 by Gary Mason

In this first blog for CFCM I would like to introduce myself. I am an ordained minister with CFCM, an individual, couple and family therapist and am married to a minister for 37 years (married young!). In my clinical practice I have listened to many clergy and clergy couples as they shared about their challenges, heartbreaks, and desire for a better life. Counselling is often accessed in the midst of a crisis or when an ultimatum is stated. Why does it take a crisis to bring pastors to the counselling room? Is there still a perceived stigma about seeking out counselling when needed or as a preventative measure? Unfortunately I think so. I believe that with a change in attitude to counselling more pastors will seek help with greater ease and more frequently.

Pastors have always had unique challenges in their professional and personal lives simply because of the nature of the profession. They experience the challenges of average individuals but theirs may be more apparent due to their availability to the public Furthermore, rapid changes in society and technology have increased the challenges pastors face. These challenges affect all aspects of pastors’ lives and there are issues and concerns as a result.

So how do pastors ascertain that it is time to seek professional counselling? What are the early warning signs, both obvious and not as obvious, that help is needed?  Here’s a checklist of early warning signs:

  • feelings of hopelessness
  • emotional numbness
  • lowered  motivation, passion, productivity and energy
  • contact with people, especially church members, is very tiring
  • cynical in many areas
  • less sense of humour or laughter
  • self medicating or substance abuse
  • unhealthy coping mechanisms
  • easily angered
  • changes in sleep patterns or length
  • increase in relational issues with spouse or family
  • wishing could run away from everything

After reading the list if you were able to check off a few areas then probably a good rest or vacation is in order. If however you could identify with half or more of the list counselling is needed. As always it is important to have a medical prognosis to determine if there are underlying physical issues. In the next few blogs, I will discuss some practical steps on how to deal with issues that pastors are facing.

Wendy - promo shots 002

 

Wendy Hofman  is the founder and Director of Veritas Counselling Centre in Burlington, Ontario. Find out more about them by clicking here.

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A Unique Birth

Posted on Jul 21 2015 by Gary Mason

GOD told her, two nations are in your womb, two peoples butting heads while still in your body. One people will overpower the other, and the older will serve the younger. When her time to give birth came, sure enough, there were twins in her womb. The first came out reddish, as if snugly wrapped in a hairy blanket; they named him Esau (Hairy). His brother followed, his fist clutched tight to Esau’s heel; they named him Jacob (Heel). Isaac was sixty years old when they were born. Gen 25:23-26 Msg

How can we understand our progression forward as a country until we can first understand the events that surround our birth? Jacob’s birth identified him and set as a template the pattern to which he would function and relate to those around him. What makes us as Canadians different in our culture and in our understanding of life as compared to those in other countries? The answer, I believe lies in the events that surround our birth. I am not speaking of the events that encompass confederation but rather looking back to an event in time that would orchestrate a uniting together out of a necessity for purpose. The event I speak of would be the circumstances that surround the War of 1812.

It was October 1995, just one week before the Quebec Referendum. I was at the National CFCM Conference in Ottawa. With the referendum just days away, the thoughts of the future of Canada were certainly on the forefront of my mind. During that conference we heard many good speakers but there was one session that grasped my heart more than any other. It was a brother who pastored in Quebec, and though I don’t remember his name, his words are forever embedded into my heart. This man shared that our understanding of history is based upon whose writings you would have read. Being that I am an Anglophone, I was raised by the Anglophone version of the War of 1812. I thought I understood this war and its happenings only to find out that mine was a limited perception. This brother shared the Francophone version of the events which caused my eyes to see and understand things in a new light. He told us how the Anglophone, Francophone and First Nations stood together as one for the purpose of defending our land. In fact I recall him telling us that a covenant was made between the parties and it went something like this. “That we would unite together as distinct nations under the banner of one country for the purpose of defeating the adversary and holding a new land.”

We were birthed in diversity for purpose and through our years we have fought at times the very thing that makes us Canadian. Our natural history and culture greatly affects our spiritual viewpoint and understanding. Diversity is not a weakness, it is that which makes us strong! It is that diversity for purpose that unites us together and helps to define us. We are not our brothers just south of the border, we are not the great melting pot. Our identity as a nation consists that of a stew, and as one would know a good homemade stew offers a diversity of taste in every bite. I have come to a place in my life where I can thank God daily that not everyone thinks like me. I am thankful for the unique perspectives that my brothers and sisters offer. Where I am weak, they are strong and if they are strong then through my relationship with them, I then become strong.

Throughout our land we see the Kingdom of God manifesting and moving forward yet there is no pattern, there is no formula. Here you will find brothers and sisters uniting together as distinct nations under the banner of one Christ for the purpose of defeating the adversary and holding a new land.

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Mike Wlodarczyk is the pastor of The Rainbow Centre in Kamloops, British Columbia.

Find out more about them by clicking here.

 

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“The Hijacking of the Bereans”

Posted on Jul 06 2015 by Gary Mason

By Jonathan Bounds

If only the Bereans could see the future, I’m sure they’d be thrilled. Few cities in early church history enjoy the enviable reputation of this first century group of believers. Their brief cameo in the book of Acts, consisting of but six verses, has for centuries made their name synonymous with nobility of mind and depth of character. With the exception of the fact that they were perhaps included in Paul’s boasting in the churches of Macedonia in his second letter to the Corinthians, the only direct reference to them in Scripture is found in the 17th chapter of Acts.  The verse that has won them such renown in modern Christianity is found in verse 11, where Luke writes,

“Now these were more noble- minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.”  Acts 17:11 (NASB)

Here’s where we run into the crux of the problem; It would seem that their reputation has been somewhat hijacked. In our modern age, what comes to mind when the name Berean is mentioned is the idea of never truly committing to a truth before you have examined it for yourself, always maintaining a “healthy” skepticism when it comes to any sermon, book, or other medium of revelation. While we all agree that it is absolutely necessary to let the Scripture be our final authority, not allowing ourselves to be tossed around by “every wind and wave of doctrine”, it is quite possible that many have found themselves taking the concept all the way to the ditch on the other side of the road.

If you were to do a quick internet search of the term “Bereans”, you would doubtless find it attached to another hijacked word; “discernment”. While discernment is a thoroughly Biblical concept, the foreign concept when looking into Scripture is the idea of “discernment ministries” existing solely to expose false doctrines and those that would disseminate such teachings.  Sure, we would all affirm that discernment is a vital tool in every believer’s life, as attested to in many places all over the New Testament.  However, this brand of ministry has often found itself outside the Biblical description of “discerning of Spirits”, and “discerning between good and evil”, and has turned into a veritable witch hunt. What seems to be contrary to Scripture is the idea that a person in the Body of Christ would be able to claim that the core of their gifting and mission is to ferret out the false teachers, the charlatans, and the cults. Any student of the Scripture would agree that in these last days, it will be imperative for believers and especially leaders to be able to expose and refute the multitude of false teachings and errant doctrines that we were warned would be rampant in our time, but the idea that this is independent of the discerning, preaching, and manifestation of the truth of the gospel is likely an error in its own right.

We all have probably encountered that individual, in person or online, who feels it is their responsibility to expose the frauds. In my personal experience, it is impossible for this person to keep an open heart to the things of God for very long when engaged in this type of “ministry” alone. When one’s ministry is defined by identifying and exposing wrong doctrine, cults, and the like, it is a virtually inevitable result that this person will arrive at the point where they no longer “rejoice in the truth” as described in 1 Corinthians 13, but rather begin to “rejoice in unrighteousness”, as their very ministry depends on it. It is also nearly unavoidable that they would continue such a ministry for any sustained period of time without succumbing to the trappings of pride and spiritual arrogance. In my time years ago as an assistant manager of a Christian bookstore, I would occasionally encounter customers that upon entering the store, would usually make a beeline for the “cults” section, which in moderation could be very helpful, always looking to expand their substantial library of resources with the latest exposé of the modern “doctrines of demons”. Such a person begins to flip through the latest Christian best-sellers, not looking for edification or revelation, but rather with a hope that they will find error, and with such an attitude, it is usually a foregone conclusion that they will find something to satisfy their hunger. Far too often, the modern self-identifying Berean rarely listens to a sermon eager to draw closer to Christ, but rather places themselves in the seat of the critic, examining the speaker’s every point, watching for error, their Bible now used as a legal text with which to refute the errant and expose the unlearned.  This, however, was not the picture we see of the Bereans in Acts 17.

It is important to note that Luke does not write simply that the Bereans were noble-minded, but rather that they were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica. To properly understand this statement, we must look at the city that they were being placed in contrast to. Earlier in Acts 17, we are told that while in Thessalonica, the Apostle Paul followed his usual pattern of first visiting the synagogue and preaching the gospel to the Jews before going to the Gentiles of the city. The trouble with the Thessalonian synagogue was that while many Jews and God-fearing Greeks believed and were saved, the leaders of the synagogue became jealous and violently opposed the apostles and their message, going so far as to form a mob and drag some of the prominent believers of the city in front of the city authorities, accusing them of the grave crime of treason. When some ministers expound on the verse speaking of the Bereans as being more noble-minded, the implication that we’re often led to is that the Bereans are somehow being compared to a group of naive simpletons who blindly accepted whatever they heard without having the spiritual maturity or intellectual integrity to fact-check it for themselves. Upon reading it in its context, we find that Luke’s account presents a different contrast altogether. The Bereans are being compared to a group of people that were closed and hardened to this new message being presented to them, and jealous at the followers it was attracting. They weren’t willing to allow for the possibility that the message being proclaimed was a fulfillment of the very Scripture that they claimed to hold so dear, and resisted the notion that Jesus Christ Himself was at the very heart of their beloved law and prophets. Once again in verse 11, we see Luke state that the proof of the Bereans’ noble minds was not that they received the word with skepticism, but rather with “great eagerness”.  He does not imply that they examined the Scriptures hoping to disprove the apostles, but rather, that they did so daily in order to “see that these things were so.” It seems that they received this new message with an open heart and were excited to find that the Christ the apostles preached was the Messiah they had read and heard about all their lives; the very same Messiah whose presence in the Scripture now must have virtually jumped off the page at them as they examined the sacred writings with fresh eyes and open hearts.

It is without dispute that any form of revelation that is preached, prophesied, or written, must always be judged and measured by the Scripture, especially in these days where “itching ears” and false teachers are so prevalent. I too get suspicious when I hear of “new revelation” that exists independent of the authority of Scripture. What we can’t afford to lose in this state of alertness is the need for eager hearts that see the Scripture as the living and active Word of God, the truest source of edification for every believer, a revealer of Jesus, and not merely a weapon to dispel a supposed opponent. We should be open to the idea that this very living Word of God will likely confront some of our long-held traditions or belief-systems on occasion; and if it is indeed of God, we would be the better for it. Believers who seek to grow in righteous discernment must remember that we are taught not only to discern error, but even more importantly, to discern truth, remembering Paul’s letter to the Thessalonian believers admonishing us that while we must examine everything carefully and abstain from every form of evil, at the end of the day, we must hold fast to what is good. Come to think of it, we may owe the Bereans an apology.

Jonathan BoundsJonathan Bounds is the pastor of The Word Church in both Loon Lake, Saskatchewan and in Lloydminster, Alberta.

Find out more about them by clicking here.

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