(Sept. 2007) It began with the humbling announcement to these two Houstonians that Ontario Province alone is more than half again larger than all of Texas. Even bigger, however, were the hearts of believers at Stoney Creek Church of Christ in Hamilton, Ontario who hosted this past weekend of ministry, surrounded by two days of sightseeing in their magnificent land of lakes and vineyards, farmlands and cities. Sara Faye and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting many gracEmail readers from Stoney Creek, area Churches of Christ and several other Christian fellowships. One devoted brother reminded me to be on my toes when he informed me that he had read Beyond the Sacred Page three times, then corrected my oral remarks about a detail of my own family history.
We arrived in Canada on Thursday evening and JoAnne Toews and husband Dave welcomed us with a delicious country home dinner. Ben and Patti Wiebe then shared their gracious home, lives and table for four days and five nights. Ben is himself a pastor and scholar, author of Messianic Ethics, recently returned from two months teaching at Union Biblical Seminary in India. Dave drove us and Ben on delightful excursions to Niagara Falls on Friday (the open boat ride around the bottom of the 167-feet-tall Canadian Horseshoe Falls was an unforgettable experience) and into Mennonite country around St. Jacobs on Monday. Friday night we attended a monthly home study group of 20-30 Christian men and women who have been together for as long as 30 years.
On Saturday morning for two hours I shared a PowerPoint presentation of Scripture and stories illustrating some of many ways God guides his children, starting with the Bible but also including an audible and inaudible voice, a word of prophecy, communal insight and open and closed doors. We then enjoyed another hour of discussion and Q&A. On Sunday morning I gave two talks concerning Jesus our great high priest — truly Our Man In Heaven. The topic was particularly timely since Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, fell on the same weekend of these lessons.
Saturday night I had the privilege of participating briefly in a dinner at Great Lakes Christian College celebrating 40 years of ministry by Toronto-based International Bible Correspondence School. IBCS is faithfully conducted by Richard Kruse whose excellent work gracEmail has previously commended. Through Richard’s decades of sacrificial service, thousands of persons in Africa and Asia have heard the gospel and encountered Jesus Christ, many of them in Muslim or other countries closed to foreign missionaries. Monday morning included another special treat in a breakfast visit with long-time friend Clark Pinnock, now Professor Emeritus of McMaster Divinity College in Hamilton.
My daddy used to say that a big preacher is a little preacher away from home. After these days of royal treatment in Canada, this little preacher returns to routine life in Houston, grateful for the love and fellowship of good people both here and there, for the affection of the gracEmail family around the globe, and for the grace of God which enables me to know and to serve our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ.