Thursday, 12 April 2012

My Easter Newsletter

The Lord is Risen
Easter, 2012
How do we Know?

How do we know that Jesus is alive today? Aside from the irrefutable historical evidence, we know by the fact that he is still changing lives by his Spirit. Story after story is written in Alpha courses around the Province and across the country.

Resurgence of Alpha.
Many churches are rediscovering Alpha. I have spoken to many that either used to run Alpha, and now wish to get back into it, or where it has waned to a point where those in charge now hope to see it revived. Alpha is being remembered as a program where wonderful things have happened. It’s amazing just how many churches I call on where the response is something like, “We have done Alpha in the past. It’s a wonderful program.” To which the obvious response is, "Well...?" As well, many courses are being run, “under the radar,” so to speak, in small home groups not officially registered.

It’s not your grandfather’s Alpha.
One such church who ran its first Alpha after a hiatus of several years recently baptized two members of its current course. Both were young people, a young man in his teens, and a 22-year-old woman. Her testimony was especially powerful. In it, she describes how Nicky (Gumbel) makes Christianity so easy to understand. I was told there might be a third person, but, “…there are still some issues to be worked through. I found this encouraging, because it indicates that the two baptized were genuine conversions. (Sometimes, one might be tempted to think baptisms are counted like notches on a belt, but this caution indicates to me a true spirit of discernment on the part of the church leadership.) They are beginning another course immediately. But the main thing is that youth are the future of the Church, and Alpha, run well, is as relevant as ever, and relevant to all ages.

Alpha and Kingdom Growth.
Alpha is being run in growing, vibrant churches; churches, for instance, who have 700 young people at a weekly evening service; churches who have had to expand to accommodate growing congregations. It is being run in venues such as coffee shops, fitness clubs, university campuses and seniors homes where guests who might never come to a church setting can be introduced to Jesus.

Now, to be clear, Alpha is not primarily an individual church-growing program. It is a Kingdom building tool. But church growth is a natural outcome; a practically inevitable consequence.

And I’m not saying that Alpha is responsible for the growth of these churches. There are many other factors as well, of course, but their enthusiasm for Alpha may just be a sign of the attitude of outreach that has led naturally to such growth.

And Finally
My prayer for everyone is that you rejoice in your knowledge of the resurrected, glorified and living Saviour, Jesus Christ, and that we all be open to the prompting of God to see His will be done here on earth. May we be obedient to however He wishes to use us, His fellow workers, in our whatever respective corners of this world He has placed us.

Blessings to all, The Lord is risen indeed,
In Christ,
John Kivell
Associate Regional Director, Alberta,
Alpha Ministries Canada


Redeemed said...

John, does it concern you that Alpha is ecumenical - special course for Catholics? Truth is truth. The Roman Catholic church is false. They may share some commonality with orthodox Christianity such as belief in Jesus rising from the dead, the Holy Spirit, etc.

However, they worship the Christ of the Eucharist which is a false Christ. Eucharistic adoration is growing in the RC churches with perpetural adoration of the wafer in the monstrance. This wafer is NOT the real Jesus.

The RC Jesus is still on the cross. They believe in works that must be contained in order to get to heaven. And even then, purgatory must be endured unless enough prayers are offered or monetary offerings received on behalf of the deceased.

There are many other false teachings, but these strike at the core bedrock of true Christianity.

The Alpha Course offered to Catholics cannot be contrary to their doctrine. That speaks to the ecumenical aspect which is a fallacy of the course.

Take care.

John K said...

Have you ever taken Alpha? It is not a Catholic course; it began in the Church of England. About ten years ago there were more Baptists than any other denomination running the course. Nowadays it is most popular among Alliance and Pentacostal churches. Agreed, there are differences between Protestants and Catholics, but the eucharist, for instance, is not even addressed in Alpha, nor are many other differences. The only thing that comes anywhere close is a mention of Peter being the rock upon which Christ builds the church, and as you know there is much disagreement on this, even among evangelicals. If you are criticizing Alpha based on personal experience, We can talk about specifics. If what you are expressing is based on hearsay, the opinions of others, then I would recommend you check it out for yourself.

Human Ape said...

Your MAGIC JEEBUS MAN has risen. A stinking decomposing corpse became a zombie, and you worship it.

Your stupidity burns out of control.

You're equal to a terrorist. Equally retarded and equally insane.

Subhumans like you need to be eradicated. Fuck off tard boy.

John K said...

Human Ape,
I am torn whether to delete your comment for being ignorant and innapropriate, or to leave it be, as an indication of the juvenile and unthinking mentality you display. Your apparent inability to think critically and independently, or to express youself intelligently is an embarrassment to atheists everywhere. So for now, you are such a poor reflection on that group that I may just let it stand.