New Things

Since the new year we’ve been working through a series of sermons called “New Things”

We’ve been learning about how God wants to do new things in our lives and our community.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18, 19 (NIV)

We’ve learned that God is transforming us into something new

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old is gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

We’ve learned we’ve been raised from spiritual death.

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,  in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,” Ephesians 2:1, 2, 6

We learned that we can be Strengthened and Renewed by the “HOLY SPIRIT”

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

We learned about singing new songs to God.

“I will sing a new song to you, O God; upon a ten-stringed harp I will play to you.” Psalm 144:9(ESV)

We learned that God will sometimes show us new things through dreams and visions. See Joel 2:28-32      and Acts 2:1-21.

We learned the importance of names.

“The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name” Revelation 3:12

We’re continuing to learn how God will lead us into new things as we follow the ancient paths.

“This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘Nothing doing. We aren’t going that way.’”Jeremiah 6:16(NIV)


From the Desk of the Pastor – A story of Faith

There are so many different aspects to the Christmas story. One could focus in on the angel coming to this young girl, Mary and telling her something that would not only rock her world – but the entire world! You could also study this man named Joseph. Betrothed to Mary according to the Jewish traditions which meant she was his wife. What was he going to do when it was obvious that Mary was expecting a child – out of wedlock no less! Then there is Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth, who, like Mary, was anticipating her long awaited, prayed for child. The Bible tells us that even at her older age, she was with child. One could perhaps study the shepherds who were out at night, watching the sheep. Now doesn’t that sound like fun?!

They too had an angel – angelic host encounter of the first kind! Talk about the impossible happening yet at the same time, fulfilling what had been prophesied almost 700 years earlier through the lips of Isaiah. The prophecies alone could be another place to land – to study – to be in awe of – to see how God speaks then at the appointed time, fulfills what He has promised. Those Magi – however many there actually were, followed a star of all things! How in the world did they know to do this? Why would they make such a dangerous, lengthy, costly and intentional journey across some of the roughest terrain on earth? Wouldn’t you liked to have been a fly listening in on that journey! Well maybe not but no doubt they had times of; “Are we sure about this?”

Of course the baby – the Christ child is the centre of all of this story – no matter who or what one might centre in on. After all, when hasn’t a baby stole the show? Even the late Dr. Billy Graham said that he has been preaching to large audiences and a lady will walk by the front with a baby. Suddenly, every eye shifts to this little one as people momentarily disengage from him to the baby. That’s what baby Jesus did – His birth shifted our gaze from man to God Himself. It does not get any better than that!

Finally – there is one thing that cannot escape ones attention. One thing that infiltrates every level of this miraculous incarnate story. That one thing is faith. Every aspect of the birth of Christ, no matter who or what is discussed (except King Herod), it becomes more than obvious – faith is the foundation at every turn. The Christmas story shows us that faith is required in our daily walk with God. A faith not dependent on mankind or what one can or can’t do. These things represent our works which are like filthy rags to God for without an active, moving, growing faith, it is impossible to please God. May this Christmas remind all of us that faith is foundational – pivotal – instrumental and ever present within the many and various aspects of the Christmas story. Now let’s go and live this out as we too live by faith

What Happens When Women Pray?

In December, I welcomed the ladies of the church to join me to discover what happens when women pray. With strategies from the book, “What Happens When Women Pray” by Evelyn Christensen, we set to work to find out. The prayer model was unique and constructive, and I was excited about this easy way to have corporate prayer, something that intimidated me and made me uncomfortable before.

Eight women have come to the Tuesday night prayer times, some regularly; some whenever they can and I hope that each of us have been able to gain some insight into the value of prayer.

We start our meetings by sharing answered prayers and blessings we have experienced in the past week. Then we take five minutes of quiet time to seek God, repent of sin, forgive others – any business we need to take care of before ‘asking God for stuff.’

James 5:16 “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”(emphasis mine)

Then we make a list of prayer requests. One person leads the prayer, but it isn’t a hard job. It’s a matter of saying one request at a time and opening up it up the group to contribute their prayers. The key things we try to keep in mind are:

  • Small Groups (3-5 people)
  • Subject by Subject (one request at a time)
  • Short Prayers (one sentence long)
  • Spontaneous (as opposed to praying around a circle)
  • Silent periods (prayer as two-way communication with God)

So, what happens when women pray? Thankfully, we have seen a number of answered prayers, praise the Lord! We have also become aware of how God helps us pray when we have spontaneous, unprepared prayers, as He brings to mind specific needs. We have a unity amongst ourselves as we plead to God on behalf of those with needs. Additionally, we have acquired a quantity of answered prayers that we can look back on and see that God hears us!

If you aren’t already praying, ask a friend at FEMC to be your prayer partner and find out for yourself, what happens when we pray!

Rachel Jessup

A Note From the Pastor – The Meaning of 50 Part 2

This year is our FEMC Jubilee, celebrating 50 years of ministry in the valley!


I did a little research around the number 50, and there are two biblical meanings around that number that I’d like to highlight in our newsletter.

The first meaning of the number 50 we covered is connected to the Day of Pentecost, also known as the “Feast of Weeks” or “Shavuot”.

Jesus rose from the grave at the Feast of Firstfruits – the “firstborn from the dead.”; fifty days before Pentecost.

One of the main historical observances around Shavuot was to memorialize the giving of God’s Law on stone tablets to Moses at Mount Sinai .

At this Shavuot/Pentecost, God keeps a promise He made about the “Law” no longer being written on stones, but it will be written in our hearts. (Hebrews 8:10)

On the Day of Pentecost, the “firstfruits” of the church were gathered in the upper room and received the filling of the Holy Spirit.

Some 3,000 people heard Peter present the gospel after the Holy Spirit had empowered and indwelt the disciples.

The second meaning around the number fifty in scripture is the “Year of Jubilee”.

Every 50th year, any ancestral land that Israelites families had sold was given back to them.

Also, any Israelite who, induced by poverty, had sold himself (or been sold) into slavery to a fellow Israelite regained his liberty.

Not only the people, but the land itself was “freed” from being worked, for no planting or sowing, harvesting or reaping took place during the fiftieth year.

Jubilee year was a great sabbath or rest for the people of YHWH and the land that belonged to him.

Therefore, because of the Jubilee Year, the number fifty is closely associated with the remission of debts, emancipation of slaves, and rest within God’s protective care.

Here’s where the boring history lesson ends and the neat stuff begins…

Despite the commandments around a Jubilee Year, there is no record of this amazing season of redemption and rest ever actually happening in Israel.

So while Israel believed in a Year of Jubilee, and likely longed for it, they had never experienced one.

That is, until Jesus comes on the scene…

Luke 4:16–21 (Jesus) went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

The “Good News” is the Gospel that Jesus has redeemed his own.

Man may have been lax in keeping the Jubilee, but God was faithful!

“The year of the Lord’s favor” is here!

Jesus declares Jubilee right at the beginning of His ministry!

Here’s where the plot even gets thicker…

Technically, an Israelite didn’t even have to wait for a Jubilee Year to exercise his right to redeem himself or lost ancestral lands.

All he needed was a “kinsman redeemer”, in Hebrew, called a GOEL. (go-ell)

The goel could pay the required price to redeem the fellow Israelite or his property.

(Remember the story of Ruth and Boaz? Boaz was Ruth and Naomi’s kinsman redeemer.)

Jesus was presenting HIMSELF as the kinsman redeemer to Israel (and ultimately to the whole world).

Jesus himself is presented as the anointed (messianic) herald of the long-awaited Year of Jubilee.

God is reclaiming his own people – Jesus is our jubilee!

So what does this mean for us, at the “Jubilee” 50 year celebration of our church?

His message is our message.

His mission is our mission.

We are people who have been redeemed, pointing others to the Redeemer.

From the inception of this church 50 years ago, our mission has never changed.

For fifty years we have declared that the messiah has come, and God is calling men and women, boys and girls, into His family.

For fifty years we have experienced transformation and redemption, and we have extended it beyond our walls.

If anything, in our neighbourhood, our community, our world, we need to walk as the redeemed and declare God’s saving power today more than ever.

Let’s purpose in our hearts to keep declaring jubilee, on into the next fifty!


A Note From the Pastor – The Meaning of 50 Part 1

This year is our FEMC Jubilee, celebrating 50 years of ministry in the valley!

I did a little research around the number 50, and there are two biblical meanings around that number that I’d like to highlight in the next couple newsletters.

The first meaning of the number 50 is connected to the Day of Pentecost, also known as the “Feast of Weeks” or “Shavuot”.

The “Feast of Weeks” happens 50 days after Passover and the “Feast of Firstfruits.”

Jesus was crucified as the “Passover Lamb”.

He rose from the grave around the Feast of Firstfruits.

So what happened on that particular Shavuot, 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection?

The promised Holy Spirit arrived! (John 14:16–17)

On the Day of Pentecost, the “firstfruits” of the church were gathered by Christ as some 3,000 people heard Peter present the gospel after the Holy Spirit had empowered and indwelt the disciples.

One of the main historical observances around Shavuot was to memorialize the giving of God’s Law on stone tablets to Moses at Mount Sinai .

At this Shavuot/Pentecost, God keeps a promise He made about the “Law” no longer being written on stones, but it will be written in our hearts. (Hebrews 8:10)

Think of all the differences between Pentecost and Sinai.

At Sinai, there is fear, smoke and separation on a remote mountaintop.

At Pentecost, the believers are united in one place, with the presence of God right there with them.

At Pentecost, God is no longer distant – he has moved from lofty mountains to someone’s living room.

At Sinai there is fire of judgement and terror.

At Pentecost there is fire of anointing, passion and love.

At Sinai, Moses had to hide his face, and had to wear a veil after even taking a glimpse of God.

At Pentecost, no more veil, no more separation.

The law is no longer on cold stone tablets, now the Law-Giver Himself will inhabit the people’s hearts.

2Co 3:16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

2Co 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

2Co 3:18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

So what does this mean for us, at the “Pentecost” 50 year celebration of our church?

We must remember that the legacy, the DNA of our church, was one of a church, from leaders to laity, anointed and compelled by the Holy Spirit to pursue God.

We must remember that the reason our church exists is in part to the obedience of Spirit filled and Spirit led believers who had a deep desire to create a community around holiness and rightly dividing the Word of God.

We must remember how the Holy Spirit compelled Pastor Bill Smith to go to Killaloe and preach the Gospel and show Christ’s love to the hippies in that community; many of whom have grown into a multi-generational legacy of Christ followers and ministers in the “Diaspora” of First Missionary Church.

We must remember that people who have been a part of our church, who are a part of our church, and will be part of our church, exist because of the continued drawing, illuminating and convicting work of the Holy Spirit through His people.

We must continue to seek God, walk with His Spirit, and celebrate our Saviour before this world so spiritual “veils” may be lifted from their eyes and they might come to believe in the One who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

We are ministers and messengers of the reality that God is not distant and waiting to blast people, but that he is ready to come close by to redeem, reconcile and restore people by His Spirit.

I pray that into the next 50 years, while our methods change, our passion and message will never change.

We preach Christ risen and the Spirit present, just like Peter preached at Shavuot/Pentecost over 2000 years ago:

Ac 2:32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.

Ac 2:33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear…

Ac 2:36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

Ac 2:37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

Ac 2:38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

I also pray that a deeper, more powerful reality of the presence of God would happen  this year.

As one of the pillars of our FEMC vision, being filled and led by the Holy Spirit is crucial to our future as a body of believers.

With the Holy Spirit, we have power to be witnesses. (Acts 1:8)

With the Holy Spirit, we will we have understanding and know what words to say. (Luke 12:11-12)

With the Holy Spirit, signs and wonders follow our message and ministry. (1 Cor 2:1-5)

With the Holy Spirit, we can illuminate and glorify Christ in our community in natural and supernatural ways. (1 Cor. 12, 13)

So please pray with me, as we draw closer to our 50th anniversary, and pursue God’s calling deeper into our vision, that Pentecost, Shavuot, will happen in our hearts, our church and our community.

FEMC Beginnings

2017 marks the 50th anniversary for FEMC. And as we prayerfully seek God’s guidance for the future we can also take a moment to reflect on what He’s brought us through already.

Here’s a story from Bill Smith, the first pastor at FEMC from the early days of the church:

“If I remember right I was down near Hamilton getting ready to perform the wedding of my niece when I had a call from Wes (Neinkirchen). I have no idea how he found me, but he was persistent and he found me. I couldn’t believe what he was saying to me on the phone. He wanted to build a church! Why we were doing well to pay the rent for the hall and any other expenses we might have. Build a church when we only had 25 or 30 people? That was either a vision or Wes had been out in the sun too long! I told him that I would see him when I came to Pembroke, and see him I did. He had seen the temporary class rooms that the Department of Education was using and even managed to get the plan.

Now we were driving out Forest Lea Road in Wes’s Plymouth station wagon that he used to deliver eggs in, and he was telling me that he and Evelyn would give us $2,000.00 to build a portable building. How well I remember telling Wes that they needed the money and besides we had no guarantee that the work was ever going to get off the ground. I told Wes that if he put his money into the church now he was liable to lose it all.

I will never forget Wes, in his determined manner, saying, “Well, I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I won’t give you the money and I won’t give it to the church, but I am going to give $2,000.00 to the Lord and if He wants to lose it, it’s His money!”