April 2001 — Outdoors the sun reflects off snowbanks as the Canadian Spring temperature dances in the 40’s (F). Inside the Regina Church of Christ building, however, hearts warmed by the gospel glow in God’s presence, and sweet harmony of worship rises as a sacrifice before the throne of God in heaven. The Holy Spirit hovers over God’s new creation in an atmosphere of manifest reverence and celebratory joy.
Churches of Christ are rather scarce in Canada, and not large by U.S. standards. This annual Spring Renewal thus brings believers to Saskatchewan from Alberta and British Columbia on the west and from Manitoba and Ontario on the east. They come from Victoria and Calgary, from Moose Jaw and Saskatoon, from Winnipeg and Toronto, and a host of other towns and villages with less familiar names. The fellowship is precious, the worship fervent, the teaching intense.
It was my privilege to present the three Renewal sermons this weekend on the perfect salvation accomplished by Jesus, applied by the Holy Spirit and purposed by the Father before the world began. I also spoke from Acts about various ways that God guides his people — whether in the first century or in the twenty-first — and led two discussion sessions in which questions focused on the work and gifts of the Holy Spirit, biblical teaching which our Church of Christ fellowship has traditionally neglected or sometimes even denied. These meetings all were marked by a delightful spirit of honest inquiry and openness to the Scriptures.
I was thrilled to find a strong evangelistic zeal. Many of these Christians share their faith in daily life, through Western Christian College, and during personal missions to India, Africa and around the world. It was a joy to meet recent and long-time gracEmail subscribers from the Provinces, as well as visitors from the Catholic Church, the Church of God and the Worldwide Church of God. I was blessed to become acquainted with the godly and progressive leadership of the Regina Church of Christ, our weekend host, in its faithful spiritual shepherds and its veteran preaching minister Ray McMillan. This weekend was titled “Spring Renewal,” and we were truly renewed. We were changed — as one worship song put it — “changed in the Presence of a holy God.” To God be all the glory!