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.

Advertisements

Thankful for Gospel Patrons

Posted: November 5, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

I couldn’t have done the ministry I have done for almost ten years now without faithful Gospel patrons. Everyday I am in awe of God’s grace to me through them. Thank you if you are one of them. Gospel patrons are the unsung heroes of world history. Watch this encouraging video and consider partnering with this exciting project.

I had the privilege of organizing and hosting Dr. Michael Behe as he delivered the following two lectures at the University of Toronto. Amazingly, almost 12,000 people have viewed the videos so far. Here they are below. Enjoy!

1. What are the Limits of Darwinism?

2. Evidence of Design from Biology

I really enjoyed watching this with my friend Ed last night. Enjoy!

John Lennox is Professor of Mathematics in the University of Oxford, Fellow in Mathematics and the Philosophy of Science, and Pastoral Advisor at Green Templeton College, Oxford. He is also an adjunct Lecturer at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University and at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and is a Senior Fellow of the Trinity Forum. In addition, he teaches for the Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme at the Executive Education Centre, Said Business School, Oxford University.

He studied at the Royal School Armagh, Northern Ireland and was Exhibitioner and Senior Scholar at Emmanuel College, Cambridge University from which he took his MA, MMath and PhD. He worked for many years in the Mathematics Institute at the University of Wales in Cardiff which awarded him a DSc for his research. He also holds an MA and DPhil from Oxford University and an MA in Bioethics from the University of Surrey. He was a Senior Alexander Von Humboldt Fellow at the Universities of Würzburg and Freiburg in Germany. He has lectured extensively in North America, Eastern and Western Europe and Australasia on mathematics, the philosophy of science and the intellectual defence of Christianity.

He has written a number of books on the interface between science, philosophy and theology. These include God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? (2009), God and Stephen Hawking, a response to The Grand Design (2011), Gunning for God, on the new atheism (2011), and Seven Days that Divide the World, on the early chapters of Genesis (2011). Furthermore, in addition to over seventy published mathematical papers, he is the co-author of two research level texts in algebra in the Oxford Mathematical Monographs series.

Dr. Richard Dawkins, FRS, FRSL is an English ethologist, evolutionary biologist, and author. He is an emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford, and was the University of Oxford’s Professor for Public Understanding of Science from 1995 until 2008.

Dawkins came to prominence with his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, which popularised the gene-centred view of evolution and introduced the term meme. In 1982, he introduced into evolutionary biology the influential concept that the phenotypic effects of a gene are not necessarily limited to an organism’s body, but can stretch far into the environment, including the bodies of other organisms; this concept is presented in his book The Extended Phenotype.

Dawkins is an atheist, a vice president of the British Humanist Association, and a supporter of the Brights movement. He is well known for his criticism of creationism and intelligent design. In his 1986 book The Blind Watchmaker, he argues against the watchmaker analogy, an argument for the existence of a supernatural creator based upon the complexity of living organisms. Instead, he describes evolutionary processes as analogous to a blind watchmaker.

He has since written several popular science books, and makes regular television and radio appearances, predominantly discussing these topics. In his 2006 book The God Delusion, Dawkins contends that a supernatural creator almost certainly does not exist and that religious faith is a delusion—”a fixed false belief.”

He studied zoology at Balliol College, Oxford, graduating in 1962; while there, he was tutored by Nobel Prize-winning ethologist Nikolaas Tinbergen. He continued as a research student under Tinbergen’s supervision, receiving his M.A. and D.Phil. degrees by 1966.

Recently, I had the privilege of attending the Gospel Coalition Conference. Here is my second favourite sermon from my time there.

Dr. David Platt, 33, is deeply devoted to Christ and His Word. David’s first love in ministry is disciple-making—the simple biblical model of teaching God’s Word, mentoring others and sharing faith. He has traveled extensively to teach the Bible and church leaders throughout the United States and around the world. Atlanta natives, he and his wife, Heather, made their home in New Orleans until they were displaced by flooding following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

A life-long learner, David has earned two undergraduate and three advanced degrees. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism (A.B.J.) from the University of Georgia, and a Master of Divinity (M.Div.), Master of Theology (Th.M.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He has previously served at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary as Dean of Chapel and Assistant Professor of Expository Preaching and Apologetics, and as Staff Evangelist at Edgewater Baptist Church in New Orleans.

David holds a deep and abiding passion for global disciple-making. “I believe that God has uniquely created every one of His people to impact the world. Some may count it as idealistic, but I believe it is thoroughly biblical, rooted in Psalm 67:1-2, yet covering Scripture from beginning to end. God is in the business of blessing His people so that His ways and His salvation might be made known among all people.”

David practices what he preaches through his travel nationally and internationally, teaching from God’s Word in churches, seminaries, the underground church or even under a shade tree in Africa or Latin America.

David and Heather were married in 1999. They are the parents of two sons, Caleb and Joshua, and a daughter, Mara Ruth.

Recently, I had the privilege of attending the Gospel Coalition conference. This sermon was one of my favourites from the conference.

Stephen Um (Ph.D., University of St. Andrews) is the senior minister of Citylife Presbyterian Church in Boston, MA. He teaches New Testament studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition, and is Associate Training Director for Redeemer City to City. For the past 23 years, Stephen and his wife, have been involved in several Presbyterian Churches throughout the Northeastern part of the country. He is the author of The Kingdom of God (TGC Booklet) and Why Cities Matter (Crossway, 2013). His sermons and resources are available online at The Center for Gospel Culture.

Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller

Posted: May 19, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

An insightful and refreshing talk.