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Jesus Went to the Maple Syrup Festival!

by Guest Author, Doris SchusterClick to download this pic from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The following is an amazing God-experience that I wrote about last year at exactly this time of year. Only a few people know about it. I'm ready to share it.

Early this spring (2016), I decided to volunteer with the Fellowship of Christian Farmers of Ontario. I had heard from a friend that this organization is involved in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ locally at fairs, festivals and other fun events. One of the organizers had invited me and some friends to come help out at the first event of 2016, which happened to be the Maple Syrup Festival in Elmvale, Ontario. This tiny town spring event had many visitors—more than I had expected.

When I arrived at the Christian Farmer’s well-organized booth, I was surprised to see quite a few volunteers already busy talking to visitors of all ages. Each of them was holding a wooden walking stick and handing sticks out to the visitors. The sticks were round poles, slightly shaped at the handle, and decorated with a brown leather band with five coloured beads on it. I had seen this type of stick before and I had also been given a leather bracelet decorated with the same coloured beads several years earlier. I knew that these were “gospel beads” and that each of the colours had a specific meaning to help tell the gospel story in simple, understandable terms.

The gold bead represents God and heaven, since God is perfect and pure and without fault, just like the purest metal of all—gold. We also know from the Holy Bible that heaven’s streets are paved with gold. The next bead is black, representing sin, the fall of man, and our separation from God. Then comes the red bead. It represents the blood of Jesus, which was shed for the forgiveness of our sins and to bring us back to God. As we give our life to Jesus, we are forgiven, totally cleansed and made as white as snow. This is explained by the white bead. Finally, the green bead stands for growth. Just as green grass grows and green leaves grow on the trees, we grow in our faith as we begin to have fellowship with other believers and hear the Word of God regularly.

I really enjoyed learning how to share the gospel—that is, the good news of Jesus Christ—by listening to the more experienced volunteers and just following their lead. Hundreds of visitors flocked to our booth to get one of these free walking sticks. People outside the arena were telling others about our booth because strangers were asking them where they got their cool sticks. These walking sticks were a bigger hit than the yummy maple syrup products at the Maple Syrup Festival!

Having adapted the story to my personal style of communication, I was able to share the gospel message with over seventy people, young and old, that day. I even had the pleasure of leading several listeners to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour that day. These were people who admitted that they had never heard the good news about free forgiveness told quite like this before.

By mid-afternoon, I was excited about what God was doing through this wonderful ministry. It’s not often people from all kinds of backgrounds come flocking to a booth that’s promoting Christianity and witnessing for Jesus. The crowds got bigger and bigger and the isles were filled with masses of people during the afternoon. One lady came towards me and asked if she could please have one of our walking sticks for her friend. I told her I’d love to give her one, but I asked where her friend is because I wanted to give both of them a stick. She pointed to a woman in the crowed isle between the rows of booths. “Please ask her to come over here because I’d like to tell you a story,” I said, and moments later both ladies were standing in front of me.

I gave each of them one of our decorated walking sticks, suited to their height, and asked them if I could tell them the story behind the five beads that are on the leather band attached to the stick. “Of course,” one of the ladies said. “I’d love to hear it.” So I began my story about God, about heaven, about how Jesus, the Son of God, came down to earth to take the punishment for our sins and to offer us free forgiveness, making us as pure and white as snow, and helping us to grow in our faith in Him when we let Him into our heart. When I got to the part about free forgiveness, the woman on my right began to weep. “I need that!” she clearly said. That touched me. I pursued by asking her if she would like to receive that forgiveness right here and right now, and she eagerly replied, “Yes, I would!” Her friend was smiling and glowing with pleasure. I sensed that this friend was probably already a believer.

I asked the woman who was seeking forgiveness from Jesus if she would say a short prayer with me, to ask Jesus to come into her heart. As I spoke, I opened one of our small pamphlets, which briefly explains the gospel story and the meaning of the beads with Scriptures. It also contains a printed prayer. I pointed to the prayer and asked her to read it with me. The woman took the pamphlet in her own hands, looked down at the medium-sized type on the page, and said loudly, “I can see it!”

“Good, I responded. Let’s read it together.”

“I can see it!” the woman repeated. “I can actually read it.”

“OK, let’s read it together,” I repeated calmly. She began to read, rather slowly at first—word by word—then somewhat quicker. Her index finger was following along the words on the page. She looked up at me and smiled.

“I actually read that!” she reported happily. Her friend intervened and added, “She’s blind! She couldn’t read that before. She’s been diagnosed as legally blind, and she usually carries her white cane. Today she didn’t bring it because of the crowds.”

“Really?” I questioned. “You couldn’t see that before?”

“No, I couldn’t read anything.” She began to weep again, but out of pure joy.

“Wow! Jesus just saved you and healed you. Can you see things far away too?” I pointed to a sign that had large lettering on it, hanging on the far side of the arena wall. The woman looked up, focused her eyes, and began to read the words out loud. All three of us rejoiced and we thanked Jesus together for this miracle. She now had a regular walking stick and no longer needed her white cane.

I revealed to the two women that I volunteer with a healing prayer group, and that a couple of the other volunteers were with me at the booth that day as well. I explained that we love to pray for healing. By this time, I had found out that the formerly blind woman’s name was Debbie. Pointing to her friend, Debbie asked me, “Can you pray for my friend, Joan? She’s deaf!”

Oh my! I thought. The deaf leading the blind! “Yes, I said, I’d love to pray for her.” Turning to Joan, I questioned, “But how have you been able to hear everything I’ve said so far?” It was evident that she could hear me very clearly because she had been interacting with me and talking to me.

Her reply was, “I can read your lips well.”

“Oh, you’ve been lip-reading what I’ve said to you and to your friend?”

“Yes,” came the confirming reply.

I quickly called over one of my prayer partners and introduced him to the two women. After explaining briefly what had already transpired over the past few minutes, I asked my friend, Herman, if he could help me lay hands on Joan and pray for her hearing. “I’d love to,” was his instant reply. Herman laid his hands on the woman and, after only a very short commanding prayer in the name of Jesus, the deaf woman happily exclaimed, “I can hear!”

“Wow, you can hear us?” I asked.

“Yes, I can hear you!” she repeated. I was excited. Then I stepped backwards one step and asked, “Can you still hear me?”

“Yes, I can still hear you,” the woman replied. I stepped backwards another step and tested her hearing again. She could still hear me. Suddenly Joan said, “Wait!” and she turned herself around so that her back was towards me. I said a few more words to her, knowing that she could no longer see or read my lips, but she clearly repeated the words back to me, confirming that she was truly able to hear. When Joan turned around to face us again, she was clapping and visibly full of joy.

“I can really hear!” she exclaimed again, and we all thanked Jesus once more. He was with us that day to save, to heal, and to bring joy into the lives of these two ladies. And off they went into the crowd, both seeing, both hearing.

 

About the Author

Doris Schuster is a Christian Editor from Angus, Ontario.  She has her own company called Christian Editing Services.  She has also published a book called God’s Not Dead: True Miracle Stories of God’s Goodness & Grace. Doris regularly volunteers at various Christian organizations, and ministers to others to spread God’s Word.   

I Only Have Your Picture

by Guest Writer, Helen Mercer-LuffmanFB_IMG_1492266510970

We miss you more than words can say
No time can ease our pain
To live each day without you
Is like grass without the rain.

It’s like a flower without the sunshine
A fish without a river
The cold without a blanket
This thought just makes me shiver.

To have your arms around me
To feel warm again inside
To have you sit beside me
Would bring back so much pride.

But all we have are memories
And nothing is the same
For I only have your picture
Close by me in a frame.

An angel now in heaven
We will forever treasure
The love for you, our hearts can hold
No one can ever measure.

 

About the Author

Helen lives in a small town in the province of Newfoundland, Canada.  Her and her husband, Brian, have two beautiful teenage daughters, and some pets.  Helen’s Mother, Rita, passed away from cancer in 2006.  

How Do You Know Jesus is Real?

by Carley Cooper

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This is the final post in what’s turned out to be an Easter series.  I didn't plan on doing this series, but sometimes God has other plans.

On Good Friday our church presented a multi-media concert event entitled “How Could You Say No?”  It very clearly showed, without a doubt, the sacrifice that Jesus made for us, and why.

On Easter Sunday, to complete the story, we saw:
  • the Easter story performed by the BFMC Solidground Youth in a shadow performance; not a word was spoken yet the message was shouted out loud and clear.
  • monologues performed by people who played characters that were living at the time of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.  Each person gave an incredible message, some even chose to dress in costume.  They talked about their feelings and experiences, how they doubted in the beginning, and how they came to believe that this profit they’ve interacted with was indeed the Son of God.  We heard from:
      one of the soldiers
      Mary Magdalen
      Peter, the disciple
      Cleopas (Road to Emmaus)
      and finally, Thomas (AKA: doubting Thomas). 
  • an incredible performance by our very own Lynn Dyck who sang “He’s Alive”, which reinforced the simple message of the Bible “He’s alive and I’m forgiven. Heaven’s gates are open wide”.
“Thomas” explained that he wanted to believe; that Jesus had actually risen from the dead, after it was discovered His tomb was empty and the body was gone.  But, the truth was that he didn’t believe.  Like many people, even today, rising from the dead after 3 days seems like a crazy idea.  It’s not possible, right?  However, Thomas was curious enough to want to know more.  He said he wouldn’t believe it until he saw Jesus, Himself, standing before him showing the holes in His hands, and the wound in His side.  Thomas refused to believe until he saw it with his own eyes.  So, Jesus did exactly that.  That’s when Thomas became a believer.

So many of us are like Thomas.  The difference is that Thomas had the opportunity, much more so than we do today, to talk with the risen Lord.  He was able to see the truth for himself.  Jesus said that Thomas was blessed because he believed because he saw.  Jesus also said that those of us who believe even though we haven’t seen are even more blessed.

This led to a video that had been prepared showing people within out church family and around town giving a short testimony as to how they know, 2000 years later, that Jesus is real, alive, and that He is who He says He is.  Below is that video.  I think you will find it to be a blessing, as was the youth shadow performance, and the song “He’s Alive”.

Overall, as Christians it’s always wonderful and awesome to see and hear the Easter message.  After all, it’s what life is all about for us.  It’s a story we never tire of hearing, and gets more exciting every time.  It was also a message that could help newcomers see and hear the truth about the great love God has for us.  He loves me.  He loves you.  He knows you, even if you don’t know Him.  He loves you enough to have sacrificed His son to save your eternal soul, to make sure you will spend eternity with Him in paradise.  He loves you so much, that even if you were the only one who needed saving, He would have given the same sacrifice, suffered the same fate on the cross.

He’s waiting for you.  Talk to Him today.  It will be the most life changing conversation of your life.  The most important decision you will ever make is to ask Jesus into your heart to be the Lord and Saviour of your life.



He’s Alive!

by Carley Cooper

Every once in a while a song, a performance comes along that in and of itself is a message.  This is the case with this video.  This is a performance by Lynn Dyck in our church on Easter Sunday.  The message is clear “He’s alive and I’m forgiven. Heaven’s gates are open wide”.  What else is there to say?  What else really matters?

I hope this blesses you as much as it did our church family when we watched it live.




The Easter Story Told without Words!

by Carley Cooper

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On Good Friday, our church presented a multimedia concert event.  It showed us that Jesus died for us, and left us with the question “How Could You Say No to this Man?”  Seeing the sacrifice that He gave for us leaves us with out a doubt that He loves us, and our hearts should accept Him as our Lord and Saviour.  No one has ever, or will ever, make such a sacrifice, or has ever loved so greatly.

Easter Sunday, again Barrie Free Methodist Church, presented the Easter story in non-traditional methods.  This is a great way to help those who are non-believers or those who are “sitting on the fence” to experience church in a way that may not be so “scary” or “in your face” as a standard sermon.  It’s a great way of showing the hope that the Easter story has brought to us.

Among other things, that I will present in the next couple of blogs in this Easter series, this video shows the youth of our church presenting the Easter story.  I’ve said before that we are blessed with an over-abundance of incredible talent in our church family.  This includes our youth.  Among them, we have great musicians, actors, and creative talent.  Watch this video of their performance to the song “Hope’s Song” by Rebecca St. James.  It’s a sermon in and of itself… with no words spoken.



How Could You Say No?

by Carley Cooper

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My church has a history of producing wonderful concerts that draw our church family, and others, closer to God.  We have been blessed with an abundance of incredible talent amongst our family.  There’s everyone from the stage crew to the performers, and everyone in between.  And, God has used each and every one of us individually, and as a group, to show His love for all of us. 

Anyone who goes to our church will tell you that it’s a different place, we are a different people, then other churches.  Neither, do we always do things according to the traditional methods.  This Easter weekend, a concert was presented on Good-Friday instead of the standard type church service.  The message behind it was loud and clear; Jesus willingly suffered and gave His life for us.  For me.  For you.  Even if you were the only one, He would have given the same sacrifice.  He loves you that much! 

Here’s the video of our concert.  I recorded it myself from the audience, which I hadn’t planned on doing when I went.  There’s a little movement of the camera now and then, and heads in front of the camera, but neither hinder you from seeing the concert or accepting the message. 

Happy Easter.  May this be the year you accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.  It is the most important decision you will ever make.