Good Gracious

Grace Church publishes a monthly newsletter with various topics such as ongoing church matters, living a Christian life, and devotionals. If you wish to receive the newsletter in your e-mail, please please contact us.

Below you will find articles from this newsletter and other articles published by Grace Church.

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Good Gracious


  • May5Fri

    Spring has Sprung - Good Gracious - May 2023

    May 5, 2023 Rev. Dr. Jonathan Dent

    One of the things we see on the news daily is the inundation of homes near water sources, the Ottawa River, creeks, low lying areas, you name it. Perhaps you are like me and ask yourself why the city or region would allow buildings to be built in these areas that are prone to flooding. And if the officials allow it, why would homeowners continue in these buildings and properties causing themselves the stress and pressures of being unable, in many cases, to actually remedy the situation and have a safe property to live on. Everyone makes their decisions in light of their understanding of the situation in which they live. They choose the best path they can figure out. Is it for me to judge those who are in waterfront residences? It is not my decision.


    The Lord knows all the pressures we are going through in our church. Several of you have approached me with the conundrum of the situation we face as a congregation. There are so many pressures facing us. How will there be enough people in the future to volunteer and make the Grace church experience (and the new church experience) what we all want it to be: a reflection of the wonderful and meaningful memories we have in this place.  In the end, what we have is our relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ and respecting one another’s decisions to be where we feel we are meant to be. Next year will likely be quite different than this year. But it is not yet next year, so we live through what is happening now.


    One of the most interesting parts of Jesus addressing the seven Asia minor churches of Revelation 2-3 is that He has something to challenge and rebuke in every congregation. We all have things to learn from the Lord, right to the end of our lives. But there is one church that Jesus does not rebuke. He only comforts them. That is Smyrna. (Revelation 2: 8-11)


    Smyrna was just up the coast from Ephesus. It was a smaller port town, but very beautiful. There was much in the culture that completely aligned itself with Roman worship and Roman cultural ethics, including the sexual immorality of temple prostitution and the acknowledging of Caesar as Lord. This was clearly denounced in the church as against Jesus as Lord and sexual ethics in line with a follower of Jesus. So the new believers in Smyrna were unable to get good government jobs and they were unable to agree with their neighbours and other citizens that did not share their spiritual commitments. In short, the believers in the church in Smyrna were being pressured and afflicted by their culture, by their neighbours and they were in need, individually and as a community. They didn’t have the resources they needed. They were poor. The Greek word ptochos suggest more than just needy, but destitute.


    But here is the surprise: Jesus affirms their poverty and the pressures they are going through as affirmation of their being good followers of His. Just like Jesus affirmed those at the Sermon on the Mount, saying “Blessed are the poor in spirit…” (Matt. 5: 3) As we acknowledge our need and cannot see how we could possibly go forward, because we don’t have the resources, we don’t have enough people and we don’t know how we are going to get by…in those moments and seasons, Jesus comforts us with His affirmation and encouragement. In those moments and those seasons, we must trust Him fully, whether we are staying here or as a part of a church plant, we can affirm our path forward, only with Jesus in the lead.


    May Jesus give us what we need as we follow Him, as those in Smyrna long ago followed Him.

    Pastor Jonathan