Posts Tagged ‘U of T’

Imagine you could gather future leaders of Canada and the world in one place for a short period of time, say 4 years, when they are most open to new ideas and to change. This is the unique privilege I have in my ministry at the University of Toronto with Power to Change (formerly known as Campus for Christ). I have had the unique privilege of serving here for the last 5 years. Thank you to all of you who have made this ministry possible through your prayers and through your financial partnership.

The University of Toronto as one of the most respected universities in the world, and has graduated many world leaders such as the former President of Latvia and the former Premier of the Republic of China (Taiwan). Canadian leaders who are graduates of U of T include: Paul Martin, the 21st Prime Minister of Canada and Kathleen Wynne, the current Premier of Ontario.

Thousands of students come to the University of Toronto from over 150 countries, including many unreached countries like Iran, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. Countries like these restrict or prohibit traditional Christian ministry within their borders. However, I have the privilege of sharing the gospel with these students from countries like these on a regular basis. Many of these students go back to their unreached home countries as leaders and influencers. To lead these students to Christ is to impact their home countries for Christ. For those students that stay in Canada, to impact them impacts the future of Canada.

Students that Are Changing the World

In addition to sharing the gospel with students I have the privilege as staff member of investing in and discipling young passionate and teachable University students that believe that God can use them to change the world. And because they believe that God is big and God is good and they step out in faith, they often see God work in dramatic ways in and through them. Three students come to mind that I have had the privilege of investing in, in different ways.

Angel was a broken party girl seeking love by giving her body away. When she met Jesus at our fall retreat a few years ago, she found the unconditional love that she was looking for. After she came to Christ I had the privilege of discipling her and a few others by taking them through two Bible studies on the basics of Christianity. The next year she was able to take what she learned and apply it on a missions trip to East Asia. On that trip she led 10 students to Christ. After she returned she led a Bible study among Chinese international students called Christianity Explored. One Chinese international student came to Christ through the study, one new Chinese believer got better grounded in her faith, and a number of non-Christians clearly heard the gospel. Today she serves joyfully in her church and is excited about using her career as an actuary as a means to point others to Christ. Angel radiates holiness and joy; you would not know that this is the same person who came to our fall retreat a few years ago.

Samantha grew up at Rexdale Alliance. Many of you know her. When she first joined Power to Change at U of T she was shy in conversation with others and rarely talked about things of depth with others outside of close friends and family. She was also nervous about sharing the gospel with others. She didn’t know what God wanted her to do while at university. She recognized that there must be more than studying hard and getting good grades. She quickly learned about the importance of sharing the gospel with others. A mature Christian friend brought Samantha along as she shared her faith. As Samantha watched her friend share her faith with a non-Christian student, Samantha was surprised to learn how open people were to talking about spiritual matters. Samantha is now confident to talk to anyone about Jesus. Samantha models to other students how to share the gospel and has trained and taught others how to share their faith. This year she is discipling Dain. Dain just had the joy of seeing a student trust in Christ. Dain is meeting up regularly with this new believer, passing on to her what Samantha has passed on to Dain.

This year is the fourth year that I have had the privilege of discipling Josh. We meet every week for an hour and a half we read Scripture together, pray, and share our faith. During his four years Josh has been a Bible study leader, the student president of Power to Change at U of T, and has been on three mission trips to the Muslim world. This year has focussed his time on intentionally befriending and sharing the gospel with Muslim students on campus. Through it all his love for the Muslim world has grown and he is planning on returning long term to reach these people with the gospel. Samantha, his new fiancé, is excited about reaching Muslims with him.

Network of Christian Scholars

This year outside of discipling students I have had the privilege of helping to start the Network of Christian Scholars. The purpose of the network is to encourage and to equip Christian graduate students and faculty at the University to impact others with the gospel. Undergraduate students have great respect for faculty and those in graduate school. We are seeking to leverage that respect as a way to clear away stumbling blocks that the average student has to considering Jesus. Yes, a person doesn’t have to check their brains at the door to become a Christian. Currently the Network is running a lecture series called God and Reason. Each week, a professor, an academic, or a graduate student gives reasons why they trust in God. Some of the topics include: “Are Science and Faith in Conflict?”, “Has Evolution Disproved God’s Existence?”, “Are All Religions Equal?” Already some of my friends from the atheist group on campus, the secular alliance, have come out.

Two Prayer Requests

First, We are praying that 15 students to trust in Jesus by the end of the semester through our God + Reason series, other initiatives we are doing, and through ongoing relationships with non-Christian students. Would you please pray with us to this end?

Second, for our missionary support. As a missionary, we do this ministry by faith, trusting that God will provide through God’s people. We are currently needing approximately 20 people to join our team on a monthly basis. One time gifts are always a big help and can be given through the RAC offering envelope [or here].

I would love to talk to you outside the sanctuary after the service. Thank you for listening and God bless.

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Is Christianity a charter for oppression? Christianity has received a negative stereotype for being an oppressive religion that only caters to Westerners and for being the basis of colonialism. Is it true that Christianity is the root cause of oppression, sexism and slavery? How valid are these claims?

This past semester Dr. Scott Masson gave a very insightful talk at U of T, at a Power to Change event, challenging these claims, while addressing Christianity’s role in the liberation of the oppressed.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:
Dr. Scott Masson received his masters and Ph.D. at the University of Durham in England. He is now a professor of English Literature at Tyndale University and a pastor at Westminster Chapel in Toronto.

Last year I had the privilege of helping to organize the following at the University of Toronto:

On February 9th, 2012 Power to Change hosted a lively debate titled “Should a Scientist Believe in God?”

Arguing for the Affirmative was Dr. Kirk Durston. Dr. Durston earned his Ph.D. in Biophysics from the University of Guelph. Trained as an engineer and physicist, he also earned an M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Manitoba on the problem of evil. He has peer-reviewed articles in both philosophy and science journals.

Arguing for the Negative was Dr. James Robert Brown, professor of Philosophy of Science at the University of Toronto. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Western Ontario. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and Leopoldina, the German Academy of Sciences. He has peer-reviewed articles in both philosophy and science journals.

Recently, Dan MacDonald, Pastor of Grace Toronto Church (www.gracetoronto.ca), spoke at U of T on this topic. In this talk he clears away misconceptions and brings refreshing clarity and wisdom. Dan, a former lawyer, graduated from McGill University (BA), University of Western Ontario (JD), and Reformed Theological Seminary (MDiv). The talk is available here.