If you have thoughts or questions, feel free to email Pastor Abe through our “Contact”
"I have been taking a course over the last few months on Anabaptist/Mennonite theology. Through a lot of reading, it has become clear that one of the things that has characterized Anabaptist/Mennonite history, which the Mennonite Brethren come from, is the area of negativity.
For one reason or another, which may include the persecution suffered by early Anabaptists at the hands of various religious groups, A/M have, it seems, always been people perceived of in terms of their negativity. We are known as people of non-resistance, people who resisted infant baptism, etc. It would appear that A/M are always recognized in the negative view.
As I ponder this, the question comes to mind: Has this view infiltrated our understanding of our relationship with God and with each other? In other words, is your relationship with God defined by what you shouldn’t do? Can’t do? Ought not to do?
Do you find yourself complaining a lot? Do you notice yourself looking at things through a negative view most of the time? I’m not sure, but it may be that the A/M history you are a part of may have something to do with that. This negative view has left many A/M without a true sense of identity for a long time.
As we enter the Christmas season, schedules start to get fuller, lives get busier, and people get grumpier. If you don’t believe me, you need only to pay attention to the people in the checkout lane in front of you, and their treatment of the cashier. You need only to pay attention to your own treatment of the cashier. Or the waitress. Or the fellow shopper. In your rush for the great deal are you inadvertently treating a fellow human being with utter disdain?
Rather than focusing on the negative, try focusing on the positive. We are not so much people of non-resistance as we are people of peace. We are not so much people who reject infant baptism as we are people who promote believer’s baptism. We are not combatting sin as much as we are pressing into our relationship with God.
by Pastor Jason
Why Do I Bother With Church?
.”Why even bother with church?" I could see my friend processing the unasked question. Yes. Why do I bother with church? Why would I rise early on a perfectly quiet weekend morning, filling the time with a flurry of family preparations, rather than linger over a newspaper and a cup of coffee? Why would I expect my little ones to sit quietly beside me, while I struggle to pay attention to the weekly scripture lesson? Why would I regularly participate in corporate religion that, to the outside world, might seem restrictive, archaic or irrelevant?
Why even bother with church?
It's a very good question.
1. Community - our church has a "family" atmosphere - we are learning to do our best to hear each other and be heard. We have the opportunity to interact with and appreciate the different generations - the older teaching the younger, the younger stretching the older. We share and pray together, potluck together, work through conflict together, laugh together, work together.
2. Ministry - it's a place to learn how to serve (many opportunities to get involved!) and also how to be ministered to. Many a new mom has received meals, clothing for kids has been passed along, the mechanic has lent a knowledgeable hand, the farmer has shared yard space and equipment. Ministry allows us to explore our gifts, experience the deep joy of finding a place to invest them, and bless others in the church and in the community around us as the LORD has so richly blessed us.
3. Life-long learning - we learn from the Word of God, from Holy Spirit as He speaks into our hearts through music, scripture, creativity, silence. We learn from each other - which can be the most humbling of all - as in our disconnected, individualistic culture we can quickly be lost in self-absorption. Learning and leading alongside others reminds me that I am not alone and do not have all the answers. I need others to shape me.
Why even bother with church?
A valid, timely and challenging question. One I even ask myself, from time to time.
I go because I do not want to walk this Jesus'-disciple-life alone.
New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
25 Let us not give up meeting together.
Some are in the habit of doing this.
Instead, let us cheer each other up with words of hope.
Let us do it all the more as you see the day coming when Christ will return.
emphasis mine. by Leah Dyck
One Authority Among Many?
We believe that the Bible is the Word of God. Not only does it contain truth but it IS truth. Being the Word of the everlasting, unchanging God, His truth does not change. As Christ followers, we want to maintain a relationship with Him which means that communication and getting to know Him are very important, just as it is with our human relationships. Reading and studying the Bible then becomes imperative (Acts 17:11 and 2 Timothy 3:16) because that is how God communicates with us. When we believe that God is speaking to us in prayer – it must lineup with God’s Word or we are listening to an imposter.
With the proliferation of media communication, society has a lot of influence, even in the church. Society has adopted the concept that what most people think defines what truth is. The more we as Christ followers consider what our society thinks, and the less diligent we are about studying God’s Word as the final authority or unchanging truth, the farther we grow from Christ.
In this regard, I really appreciated the quote by John Stackhouse from the October 2013 issue of the MB Herald: “Once we give up on serious Bible study and resort instead to ‘the basic thrust’ of the Bible, or ‘the main message of the gospel’, or some other convenient generalization, we have no place to stand against that tide, and nothing to offer our society that our society is not already saying to itself."