Have you ever offered or shared something?

Have you ever offered or shared something to someone in need? Maybe it was money, clothing, food, a drive, study notes, or your time. Was that person surprised? Shocked? Incapable of understanding why you were willing to sacrifice for them? So we may also feel as we try to fathom the concept of our Lord who came down and saved us: “…we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10) Everything we have is because of our Lord, and everything we will be is because of His sacrifice for us! Don’t be surprised or shocked! Accept His love with an open and willing heart and share that love He has for us with someone else today!

Royal Wedding

If anytime during the past month you flipped through TV channels, scanned the radio, or even took a step outside, no doubt you know what this big day is… the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. It is the talk of the town as we are being bombarded with all the latest news. Chances are then, that you’ve also heard or read that the father of the bride unfortunately couldn’t be there. Imagine what disappointment that would be; most little girls’ dreams are to have the perfect wedding, and certainly, that also includes being walked down the aisle by “daddy”, who, in this case, announced this past week he wouldn’t be in attendance. As Christians, aren’t we blessed to have hope that even though sometimes our earthly father (or others in our life!) may let us down, Our Heavenly Father never will?! For all the successes we have – be it that walk down the aisle, as we graduate from school, or when we tackle a new job – our Father was right there beside us, cheering us on; and for the times when we aren’t shining our brightest – maybe when we lose a loved one, when diagnosed with an illness, or when feeling lost or alone – He’s there never failing to hold us up. Though humans may fail us sometimes, our Creator never will! Deuteronomy 31:6 reminds us, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” What a promise this is, one that we should cling to and remember, in good times and bad!

Mother’s Day

Our mothers were chosen for us by our Heavenly Father, for He had a plan for us to be united with her before we were even born; the Psalmist David speaks of being created by God, “knit together in [His] mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13) Our relationship with her started early, when mom looked out for the best for us, cheered for us when we succeeded, mended our wounds when we were hurt, and was there when we were in need. The prophet Isaiah goes so much as elevating and contrasting a mother’s love to the Lord’s love when he writes, “As a mother [who] comforts her child, so will I comfort you…” (Isaiah 66:13). Our Scriptures speak of a diverse number of extraordinary mothers in the Bible… think about your mom and compare her to one or more of these powerful ladies – Sarah, the mom who waited; Hagar, the mom who endured; Rebekah, the mom who deceived; Leah and Rachel, the moms who had to share; Jochebed, the mom who had a plan; Hannah: the mom who kept her promise; Elizabeth: the mom who believed in miracles; and Mary: the mom who is blessed among women.* There’s no doubt, from a Biblical perspective, the importance of a mother. Sometimes however, our mother might be absent from our life, for whatever reason, and days like mother’s day we instead think of another special lady in our life… blessed are we that the Bible recognizes this to be the case, so God even gives us the example of Naomi, the mom who shared her faith*, who was just as important as a mom, even if she didn’t bear the progeny (Ruth) herself. The wisest man who ever lived, Solomon, notes that, “[A mother’s] children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” (Proverbs 31:28) This mother’s day, in addition to whoever we celebrate, call blessed, and praise – be it our own mom or other ladies in our life who are mother-like figures – let’s also say “thank you” to our Heavenly Father, for being in control of our lives at all times and placing us just where we should be, around exactly who we should be. A very happy mother’s day to all the ladies at Bronte!

* taken from www.crosswalk.com

Warm Welcome

We warmly welcome you to Bronte! With the recent unpredictable weather pattern, we wonder what season we find ourselves in. Although it is officially spring, we still see the signs of winter as we gaze outside our window. It can leave us feeling confused and frustrated as we struggle to adjust to our surroundings of which we have no control. The Bible describes our spiritual life as going through seasons. If you were to examine your current situation or season in life right now, what would you say? Think about that for a moment. Would you say that you’re in a grinding season, a dry season, a getting married season, a waiting for your godly mate season, a raising small kids or teens season, an empty nesting season, a spiritual warfare season, a tests and trials at nearly every turn season, a growing closer to God season, and the list could go on and on. The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “For everything there is a season.” It also tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:11, “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time.” Ultimately God is in control of all of the seasons, whether natural or within life. Trust in Him, for He knows all, from the beginning to end, and He promises to carry us through each and every season we experience.

Faith in God?

Did you know that Adventists believe in justification by faith, meaning that we are not saved by our deeds/actions, but instead by our faith in God? In other words, we are not justified by doing good things, but by believing in God, His grace, and His power to save us, forgive us, and help us. We pray that your time today will build your faith and you will leave here feeling blessed!

Another Happy Sabbath

We are looking forward to warmly greeting you and wishing you “Happy Sabbath” – a welcome greeting of hope, peace, and blessing; a prayer that the Lord be with you; a reminder to thank God for this holy day meant for praise and rest that was set aside each week. We pray that you will indeed be blessed this day, and will continue to let the love of God fill your hearts and minds this coming week.

Power of Influence

Have you ever thought about the power of influence? In the case a child, they watch those around, learning every move, hanging to each word, and acknowledging every action. The kids eventually act like replicas of the adults around them, copying language and mimicking actions; we refer to this as “monkey see, monkey do,” and it demonstrates how susceptible adolescent minds. Similarly, though we like to think of ourselves as less mouldable, we adults can compare to those children. There is a great power of influence from the music we listen to, what we watch on TV, others we spend time with, habits we see, and pastimes we choose. Likewise, as we soak up habits, practices, and characteristics from the world around us, we equally emit such manipulating power to those we encounter on a daily basis. Philippians 4:8-9 reminds us, “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” As Christians, we should ensure we are surrounding ourselves with positive, healthy lifestyle choices… sooner or later, whether we like it or not, we will get accustomed that around us and we will also become a case of “monkey see, monkey do”.

We Hope to see you on Sabbath

We also look forward to warmly welcoming you to the Bronte Church. We truly hope that you will be blessed, inspired, and charged with hope and gladness when you leave this place today. Have you ever thought about where such positive feelings come from? Maybe a family member or a friend did something special for us; the mere belief that we were that special to them, for them to do that, would cause a heightened response. Perhaps it was a memory we contemplated on that brought a smile to our face; experiences that we once lived had the effect of a happy mood. It could have even been that someone we didn’t know performed a “random act of kindness”; a stranger did the unexpected, creating a feeling of cheerfulness, reminding us that there are truly good people in the world. But what happens when we don’t always feel so blessed, inspired, or charged? We can’t be expected to feel gladness 24/7; we are all entitled to “bad days”, and these can bring us down quite a bit! What we need to remember in such trying times is that God is in control. God has everything – including our lives – in His hands. Things may not go according to our desired timelines, but everything is in God’s perfect schedule… we just need to be patient and wait for Him. If you’re reading this, and these sound like the “same old sayings” you’ve been hearing all the time, we encourage you to stay strong and keep the faith. Just try your best, then step back and let God guide the course of your life. When you do everything that you can do and you just can’t do any more, God will take over and He’ll do everything you can’t do. Paul puts it best in 2 Corinthians, “…I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” It is during these times of hopelessness that we should let God lead our way, so we can truly see the hopefulness that life will offer. Then, once we do feel better, we should use that positivity to bless, inspire, and charge others, for by encouraging them, we only reiterate and reinforce our own self-optimism. In any case, whatever we’re feeling, if we just let go and let God, we should be pleased, knowing we’re on the best path possible.

Sabbath February 17

We would love to warmly welcome you and thank you for joining our Bronte family to worship, praise, and fellowship with us this Sabbath! This weekend, in Ontario, we will celebrate Family Day. This statutory holiday was originally instituted in 1989 in Alberta, to add a day of leisure between New Year’s Eve and Easter used to celebrate the importance of family life. Over time, it was adapted by other Canadian provinces; though it may be on different dates, Family Day is also recognized in British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Saskatchewan. It’s ironic that the provincial governments had to specifically set aside this date for people to observe their families, when, if people just looked toward God’s will and desire for our lives, they would see that the concept of “family” was already deemed extremely important! “Family” originated by just the second chapter in the Bible, when God built the foundation of the first family, saying, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” (Gen 2:18). You know what’s interesting? Family Day falls right after Valentine’s Day, a day when we celebrate love for one another, and the foundation of family and unity in the Bible is all based on love. There are numerous texts thereafter that remind us how to love one another, so we can be in one accord, with those in our family – husbands (Eph. 5:33), wives (Prov. 31:15), parents (Eph. 6:4), children (Exo. 20:12), and siblings (1 John 4:21) – with those who are close to us – friends (John 15:13) and neighbours (Rom 13:10) – and there’s even references on how to love the difficult people in our lives – our enemies (Matt. 5:44). This weekend, as you spend time with those you love, keep in mind that “we love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19) and by showing such love, we are setting an example to everyone who sees us, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35). Blessings to all for this special weekend; may you continue to bless others and be blessed yourself!

Welcome to Bronte Pastor Zama and family

WELCOME TO BRONTE! A good morning and happy Sabbath to each person with us today. We thank you for joining us this morning and warmly welcome you to the house of the Lord! We extend a very special greeting to welcome our new Pastor Robert Zama, his wife, Alina, and their daughter, Sarah. You were called by our Father to join us, and we are excited to have you with us and look forward to joining together, all to the glory of our Heavenly Father. Through you, we can see our monthly theme being fulfilled, as we “Grow in Christ”. Romans 12:4-5 reminds us, “For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” Each person in this church today was called here for a specific purpose, has a particular role to play, and is blessed with something unique to offer. Imagine what a church we have the potential to be, a beacon of light to each of our friends and family, and a centre of hope for our community, if we set aside trivial differences, lift up our individualities, and embrace our vision and mission in one accord, with the Almighty on our side. We would be able to overcome the impossible, accomplish the inconceivable, and become the unthinkable; we would grow in numbers, but more importantly, in spirit, “as each part does its work” (Ephesians 4:16). This week, as you go about your daily tasks, think and ask yourself, “What is your purpose here today? What role do you play? What is your unique offer?” Reflecting on such, you will discover how you, just as one person in a large church body, can help both yourself and those around you “grow in Christ”, and ultimately, fulfill our Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).

Though we are many, we are one through the power of God!