An Invaluable Resource for Learning

I wanted to call attention to an invaluable resource that I’ve been using for a few years now, but lately has become precious to me and I want to share. It’s called iTunesU, and its essentially a podcast that you can download that features thousands of colleges and universities across the world. There are tens of thousands of classes you can listen in on, whether its anthropology, economics, political sciences, philosophy, etc, and it’s all free.

What I’ve been using it for however, is the seminaries. Specifically, Reformed Theological Seminary. I’ve been “taking” their classes for two years now, listening in on hundreds of lectures primarily involving Church History, Doctrine and Philosophy, Old Testament History and Reformed Epistemology. This year though my interests have shifted, and what I’ve become passionate about is pastoral ministry.

In this RTS doesn’t disappoint. I’ve lined up some 700 hours of classes, all surrounding various aspects of pastoral ministry and ecclesiology. I wanted to share some of the specific classes with you

1. Disabilities and the Church

21 hours of classes on how the reality of physical and emotional disabilities plays out in the church, from how to outfit a church to make it disability accessible, how to work with professionals and caregivers, how to have a theology of suffering, the medical contexts, how to prepare for death, the role the deacons and elders play, family dynamics, the role of church order in a disability context, outreach to those with disabilities, and about 25 other lecture sessions in the same vein.

Other classes, each of which  has 20-40 lectures in them, are:

2 Educational Ministry of the Church

3. Introduction to Pastoral and Theological Studies.

3. Pastoral and Social Ethics

4. Roles and Relationships in Pastoral Ministry

5. Theology of Pastoral Ministry

6. Pastoral Counselling

That is just from one seminary and those are just some of the classes. There are others. After I finish I have my eye on Westminster Theological Seminary, and then perhaps Concordia University. Oh, and they also have hundreds of chapel sessions, which is a fantastic bonus.

Ecclesial Sermon Roundup

Weekend of Sunday July 17, 2011

Fort McMurray Alliance Church. Bonnie Hodge

Family Christian Centre. Pastor Brian Bursey

Fellowship Baptist Church. Pastor Brent Carter

Emmanuel Baptist Church. Pastor D.A Glenon

Morning service. Evening service

MGA is a bit behind and have not posted their sermon yet, but I will update this page as soon as they do so.

Paperthin Hymn; Sanctus

Sanctus [Holy Lord God]

Holy, holy, holy Lord. God of power and might.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest. Hosanna in the highest.



The Sanctus is the last part of the preface in the Mass. It is designed to be sung by the celebrant and the people and in my estimation is an exquisitely joyful time. When we attended St. Thomas Anglican for a time, they had a slightly quirky version of this which always put a smile on my face.

It is thousands of years old. Clement of Rome d. about 104) mentions the sanctus. He quotes the text in Isaiah 6:3 and goes on to say that it is also sung in church “for the Scripture says . . . Holy, holy, holy Lord of hosts; full is every creature of his glory. And we, led by conscience,  gathered together in one place in concord, cry to him continuously as from one mouth, that we may become sharers in his great and glorious promises.” The second part of the text beginning with the word “Blessed”), is taken from Matthew 21:9, which dexscribes Jesus’ Palm Sunday entry into Jerusalem.

The Sanctus, apart from merely being mentioned by Clement, is later spoken of by Origen, St Cyril, Athanasius, John Chrystosom, and other Church fathers. I think much of the beauty of it is because the nature of it seems to be  a never ending hymn sung by angels, archangels, saints and all creation in worship of God. It is pure unbridled adoration.

This particualr version is sung by Tara Ward from the CD “Hope for a tree cut down” As always I don’t endorse this church or all the songs on their CD, but this truly is a phenomenal rendering.



Worship from the Alliance Church

I was listening to the July 3rd sermon at the Fort McMurray Alliance Church, and right at the end they included the song “Beautiful Savior”.  It is a simple and beautiful song with phenomenal lyrics. I believe it is sung by Lucas Welsh, and I was deeply and personally blessed by listening to it and worshiping with it.

Your nail-scarred hands are beautiful.
Your nail-scarred feet are beautiful.
And by Your wounds, my wounds are healed.
Your crown of thorns is beautiful.
Your cross of scorn is beautiful.
For by Your wounds, our wounds are healed.

Beautiful Savior. Jesus, we believe.
Despised and rejected. Jesus, we receive You.

Scourged for our atonement. You endured it all.
For the glory of the Father.
We were among the ones You saw?

I hope to be able to include  more worships songs from different local area churches in the future, and this is a great one to start it off.

Who is the Church for?

The Church is a place for repentant whores and whoremongers. The Church is a place for repentant idolaters and homosexuals. The Church is a place for repentant thieves and coveters. The Church is a place for repentant drunkards and  murderers. The Church is a place for repentant liars and gossips. The Church is a place for repentant prostitutes and pimps. The Church is a place for repentant pornographers and rapists. The Church is a place for repentant child molesters and pedophiles.

The Church is a place for repentant people, and so we ought to welcome all of these people and love them fiercely as important  members of the body of Christ, remembering that such were some of us, but we were washed, we were justified, and we were sanctified by the blood of Christ

Shouting out “Amen” in Church

I was at Church a few weeks ago, and the pastor said something particularly poignant. It was an unpacking of scripture that resonated deep within me, and my first instinct was to say “Amen!” But I did not, of course, as I would be the only one and would receive curious looks from everyone around me. I wish there were more churches that did this though.  It certainly seems to be a biblical practice that it is used all throughout the New and Old Testament, where the congregations respond in such a manner. I don’t think is done much though in the churches in this community, as far as I know.  There is one pastor in town who when he preaches, will ask rhetorically “Amen?”  several times a sermon after he makes certain statements, but I’m not sure if he expects anyone to answer, as no one ever does.

I think most pastors would like that- where the congregations could verbally encourage him when he’s firing on all cylinders and preaching his heart out. When he’s feeling the holy spirit heavy on him and he’s preaching the word and boldly proclaiming the scriptures and the mysteries of the faith, that some people would shout out “Amen”.

I’ll be getting the opportunity in a few months to visit a Church in the United States that does that very thing, who say things like “Amen.” That’s good pastor.” and “Preach it”. I can’t wait to go, as I’ll get a chance for the first time to join in with them, and amen my little heart away. I think it will be a special experience.

What do you think? Does anyone here miss the Amen? What would your pastor do if you shouted it out?




“And the Levites shall speak with a loud voice and say to all the men of Israel: 15 ‘Cursed is the one who makes a carved or molded image, an abomination to the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’
“And all the people shall answer and say, ‘Amen!’
16 ‘Cursed is the one who treats his father or his mother with contempt.’
“And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
17 ‘Cursed is the one who moves his neighbor’s landmark.’
“And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
18 ‘Cursed is the one who makes the blind to wander off the road.’
“And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
19 ‘Cursed is the one who perverts the justice due the stranger, the fatherless, and widow.’
“And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
20 ‘Cursed is the one who lies with his father’s wife, because he has uncovered his father’s bed.’
“And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
21 ‘Cursed is the one who lies with any kind of animal.’
“And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
22 ‘Cursed is the one who lies with his sister, the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother.’
“And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
23 ‘Cursed is the one who lies with his mother-in-law.’
“And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
24 ‘Cursed is the one who attacks his neighbor secretly.’
“And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
25 ‘Cursed is the one who takes a bribe to slay an innocent person.’
“And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
26 ‘Cursed is the one who does not confirm all the words of this law by observing them.’
“And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’”

Deuteronomy 27:14-26.

Paperthin hymn: You Have Been Raised


You Have Been Raised

How do we know we’ve been forgiven?
How do we know that we have been made clean?
How do we know we’ll go to heaven?
How do we know we’ve been redeemed?

You have been raised, the tomb has been opened
Nothing can take away our hope in You
You have been raised
You have been raised, the work is completed
Hell and its powers have been defeated
You have been raised

Verse 2
Now we are free from condemnation
There is no judgment left for us to fear
We don’t have to wonder if we’re welcome
You are the One who’s brought us near

The price You paid for us
Has fully been accepted
Because of Your shed blood
We cannot be rejected


“You have been raised” is one of my favorite songs from the new Sovereign Grace album “Risen”, released just a few months ago. [Click link to listen and purchase] The music is by Mark Altrogge, Bob Kauflin, and Ken Boer; and the lyrics are by Mark Altrogge and Bob Kauflin. The album itself is a concept album, whereby

“He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.”  These words, spoken by an angel to the women at Jesus’s tomb, changed history forever. Christ’s resurrection was more than a display of raw supernatural power. It was the single event that assures us that his payment for our sins has been accepted. God’s wrath is satisfied. Death is defeated. The powers of darkness are overcome. Sin’s dominion has been broken. And the life of the age to come has dawned.  The songs on this album celebrate these realities, experienced and enjoyed by all who place their faith and hope in Jesus Christ.

I’m not sure I can say it better than that. I’ve said before in other posts that our praise and worship music is a sermon; that it’s purpose is to teach us about Christ and his word.This song does exactly that. At the same time praise and worship is also a form of prayer. There is a little known Latin phrase whereby “lex orandi, lex credendi” -As we pray, so we believe. That strikes me as a very apt term, and a wonderful way to express what we’re listening to and singing. The more we sing this, [ie, confess this] the more it will shape and reinforce our beliefs.

As it were, this is a perfect song to demonstrate the sheer “singability” of a song that would rival almost any hymn for theological and biblical depth. There are many great hymns which have beautiful lyrics, but have a very jarring composition. This is not one of them.It is hard to listen to this song without standing up and cheering while you sing.


bonus: YouTube video w/choir

Q&A with Rev Stuart Mennigke of the Fort McMurray All-Saints Anglican Church

This is an interview with Rev. Stuart Mennigke, who is the pastor of the All-Saints Anglican Church. We met for about an hour and a half several days ago, and as I’ve come to expect from the people I have sat down and interviewed, he was imminently gracious and the consummate host. Its probably worth noting that Stuart agreed to the interview without ever having read the blog, which I found commendable.  I’ve put his responses in bold, in case you want to skip ahead to the questions you want to hear. As usual my questions have been simplified and edited for brevity and clarity.


1. Can you give us a quick background of who you are and what brought you here to Fort McMurray? 0:20

2. What bible passages have impacted your approach to preaching? 3:45

3. How long does it take to prepare a sermon, from start to finish? 7:15

Part 2.

4. When making your sermon, do you use any sort of commentaries, and if so which ones? 0:08

5. What bible translation do you use, and why do you tend to use that one? 2:10

6. What do you mean by inclusive language? 2:50

7. What kinds of sermons are hardest for you to preach? 5:30

8. How have you grown as a preacher in the last 5-10 years? 8:20

9. What well known preachers, teachers, bloggers, theologians do you hold in high regard that have shaped your ministry and that you really enjoy? 9:50

Part 3

10. What grade level do you preach your sermons towards? Are you preaching to the unchurched and the guests, verses people who have been in your church for 5-10 years, who are more seasoned believers? 0:15

11. Would you say that the church exists as a place where people go to be edified, or is it a place where the unknown church guest would be ministered to? what is the purpose of the local church in your mind, and how does that purpose affect your preaching? 1:45

12. Do you offer and sort of catechists classes or bible studies for those who are looking for that sort of thing? 5:32

13. I know there’s two Anglican churches in town, there’s you guys and St. Thomas. is there any kind of cross over there? What is your relationship to them? Are there any sort of joint services? How closely linked are you guys? 7:46

14. In terms of worship, is it more contemporary or traditional? 9:35

Part 4

15. Where do you hope your church is in 5  years? 0:20

16. Does your church practice church discipline biblical discipline, and how does that play out in a practical sense? 4:05

17. According to your observations, what kinds of doctrines and beliefs need to be paid special attention to? what should be brought to the forefront of peoples minds in terms of doctrine and have them just understand and be part of their lives? 6:40

18. What is your position on the innerancy of scripture? is it infallible? Is it a collection of myths or books, or how would you view scripture in terms of its accuracy or its position in the church? 8:20

19. My next question was actually about the literalness of Genesis of 1-4? [About how literal it is] Are Adam and Eve real people?  11:05

20. What is your view on homosexuality in the church, and is it acceptable? Can there be gay marriages, gay clergy, etc? 14:45

21. If you could impart one thing to your flock- one central message that they would get and understand would be quick to put into practice in their lives and in their community.  18:58

Well that is pretty much it. Pastor Mennigke and I spoke for about 15-20 minutes after that, chatting a bit and becoming better acquainted. If you like what you heard and you are looking for a Church to attend, they are located at 9902 Manning Ave, their phone number is 780-742-3171, their service time is 10:30am on Sunday, and if you want to know more,  you can check them out on their website here.