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Alpha Update

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Alpha has run its course to completion at SDBC. This program is a video series that is geared to open up a conversation with people who know very little of the Christian faith, or perhaps know nothing at all about Jesus and what his place in Christianity is all about.
 
Like Christianity, Alpha is all about people. It is a program that introduces people to the person of Jesus Christ and teaches us about God, his love for us, and what it means to be a believer in Jesus.
 
To put on a series like Alpha requires a team. We had 25 men and women involved for each of the nine weeks who came early on Sunday afternoons to pray, serve, and listen to our guests who came to watch and discuss the videos. These 25 people were faithful to the task and came prepared each week to lead a discussion, but mostly they just listened to others as they processed questions they had about their faith journey.
 
We also had nine different community groups come each week and serve up food for the 40 to 50 weekly attendees. Our guests were treated to a good dose of people sacrificially loving like Jesus by giving time and resources on a Sunday afternoon. We started with 29 guests at the beginning and finished with about 20 who completed the full nine weeks. This was a total community effort!
 
As a result of the nine week course, one woman made a decision to follow Jesus. I am certain from some comments we received, that there are three, perhaps more, people who are seriously investigating a relationship with Jesus, because of Alpha. I am thrilled this has happened. Often, making a decision to accept Jesus as Saviour happens suddenly; other times it requires a time of processing as the Holy Spirit leads us into faith.
 
Will you join me and the rest of our amazing Alpha servants, in praying for each one of the attendees of Alpha, that they may begin a relationship with the one true God and his Son Jesus Christ?
 
The feedback from those serving was overwhelmingly positive for repeating Alpha again soon. It is exciting to be with friends, engaging in a safe and protected environment, free of pressure to consider the claims of the bible and of Christ. We look forward to our next Alpha series where perhaps more people can come find a new relationship with our saviour Jesus.

Posted by Rick Burdett

Parliamentary Motion on Canada Summer Jobs

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Some of you may have been following the issue surrounding the Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program. For several years in the past, our church took advantage of the CSJ program, which allows us to hire high school and post-secondary students as interns for the summer to help us with our ministry and also to give them valuable work experience and training. The grants that the government gave for this purpose were extremely valuable to our church, the students, and the community of South Delta as we used the internships to develop young leaders to serve the community by organizing youth events, kids camps, community events, and serving in the Tsawwassen First Nation community. However, a change to the application process to this year's CSJ program means that we are no longer able to take advantage of such a valuable program. The government has added an attestation box to the application form this year where we have to check the box that says, "I attest" to an aforementioned attestation. Here's the wording of the attestation on the application form:
 
"Both the job and my organization’s core mandate respect individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as other rights. These include reproductive rights and the right to be free of discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability or sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression."
 
Because of our understanding of the biblical teachings on the definition of marriage and sanctity of life, and our conviction that these biblical teachings are to be understood as God's truth in this world, we cannot check this attestation box in good conscience. So, like many churches and other organizations all across Canada, we applied for the CSJ grants without checking the attestation box, and with an accompanying letter explaining our reasoning for leaving the box unchecked. We also expressed our concern that organizations with similar convictions should not be exempt from benefiting from government programs like this because of our faith. Our application was returned as it was deemed, "incomplete."
 
We are protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (section two), and we believe the CSJ attestation requirement infringes on our rights. However, our reaction as a church—the body of Christ—should not be one of violent protest or slandering of the government. Romans 13 commands us to "be subject to the governing authorities." I know that it is tempting to speak poorly about the government in these situations, but that is not how mature Christians should respond. We ought to respond with respect and love like Jesus in situations like this. Let us pray for the government and the people who serve our city, province, and nation. Let us pray that they would be successful in their roles, and that they and their families would be blessed.
 
Nevertheless, we do have the responsibility to speak truth in grace. So, we have written our Member of Parliament, Carla Qualtrough, to encourage her to vote in favour of the parliamentary motion on Canada Summer Jobs that is scheduled for Monday, March 19th. MPs will be voting on the following motion:
 
"That, in the opinion of the House, organizations that engage in non-political non-activist work, such as feeding the homeless, helping refugees, and giving kids an opportunity to go to camp, should be able to access Canada Summer Jobs funding regardless of their private convictions and regardless of whether or not they choose to sign the application attestation."

Please join our staff and elders as we pray for God's favour upon us regarding this matter, and for discernment and wisdom for the MPs as they meet on Monday.
 
Blessings,
 
Paul Park
 
(For more information, please visit the Canadian Council of Christian Charities blog.)

Posted by Paul Park

A Cheerful Giver

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I am thankful for God's faithfulness and that His word, the bible, never changes. God is faithful to look after His children. Matthew 7:11 says, "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!"

In Luke 6:38, we read about the principle of giving: "Give and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put in your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you." God's challenging you and me to be generous. 2 Corinthians 9:6 builds upon this principle: "...whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully."

We serve a loving, faithful God. His word is true. May God continue to encourage us to grow in our walk with Him.

Posted by Sonya Dobson

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