Thursday, October 07, 2010

Eighth Letter Conference

I attended the Eighth Letter Conference on October 1st and 2nd in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The organizers of the conference invited authors to write about an issue close to his or her heart. We were to address this concern by writing a letter similar to Jesus’ seven letters to the churches in Revelation. Sadly, many of the letters read at the conference seemed to negate theology to the lowest common denominator. However, I appreciated Tim Challies clear presentation of the Gospel. As I did not have an opportunity to read my letter, I am making it public on my blog.

If Jesus were to write an eighth letter today, I believe this is what he would say:

To the pastors of the churches in North America write:
These are the words of Jesus, the pearl of great price. By faith you believe that God exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the founding fathers of the faith, you long for a better country—a heavenly one.

Yet I hold this against you: Many of you have continued to reject my storyline in the Bible. Although you do look forward to living with me in eternity in the new heaven and new earth, you have also focused some of your hopes and dreams on this sin-cursed earth.

Those called covenant theologians believe in a storyline embracing the whole Bible called the covenant of grace. In so doing, you have transferred the terms of God’s covenant with the nation of Israel at Sinai to the church. Thus, in your opinion, the church is ideally a state church composed of regenerate and unregenerate people. Infant baptism has replaced the physical circumcision of males in Israel. The result is that some non-believers consider themselves to be saved when they are not. You have offered them a false security of salvation. They are relying on their family and church heritage or on their infant baptism to save them.

Once I told the Pharisees, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20, 21). Since God’s kingdom is spiritual and not physical, no one will ever be able to look at a geographical area and say, “There it is!” Furthermore I taught my disciples during the Sermon on the Mount: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). I also told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place” (John 18:36). This means that only regenerate people belong to God’s kingdom, the church.

Those called dispensationalists believe in two storylines—one for Israel and another for the church. Therefore they understand the new covenant promised in Jeremiah chapter thirty-one to be actually two new covenants—one for the church and the other for Israel. When I return, you believe that I will reign on earth in history for 1000 years. During this period God will save some people.

In Hebrews chapters eight and nine, the Holy Spirit teaches you that the church is living in the new covenant age. I am the superior High Priest. The Mosaic priesthood only foreshadowed me. “By calling this covenant ‘new’, he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear” (Hebrews 8:13). Since the old covenant is obsolete, God destroyed the temple in A.D. 70. From that moment on, God would not allow the Jews to sacrifice animals. To do so is an insult to my precious blood.

Moreover, although premillennial churches reject a political utopia for Israel during the millennium, they still believe that God will save some sinners. What a false hope of salvation! Thinking that they will have a second chance to be saved after I return, some people live only for the so-called pleasures of today.

My servant Paul wrote, “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). The writer to the Hebrews confirmed this idea: “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” (Hebrews 3:13). This present age is the only time when people may be saved by the preaching of the gospel. This opportunity will be gone when I come back. Like the parable in Matthew 25 of the ten virgins, I will tell unrepentant sinners, “I tell you the truth, I don’t know you” (Matthew 25:12).

Pastors, you wonder why your youth are leaving at alarming rates. True, some go, drawn by worldly ambitions, fleshly desires, or temptations of Satan. Yet my question to you is this: How many leave because you have given them a false sense of security in their salvation? How many others have a false hope of a second chance for salvation?

God warned Ezekiel, “When I say to a wicked man, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood” (Ezekiel 3:18). On Judgment Day God will hold you accountable for encouraging a false hope or a false security of salvation. That is why teaching the correct biblical storyline is so important.

Thankfully, some pastors have not rejected God’s Christ-centered storyline. They teach their congregation that both the Old and New Testaments reveal how God planned salvation history. He purposed from before eternity past to redeem a people for himself to live with him forever.

The Old Testament relates how God prepared for my coming. It contains promises of me and explanations of God’s character and purpose in redemptive history. The Mosaic covenant is like the foundation of a house. Since Israel was an important building block in God’s plan, they were set apart as God’s special people. Then God could reveal more of himself to people and prepare a family for me to be born into.

The New Testament tells God’s story during the new covenant era, this present age. It is like the house itself. In the New Testament I become the fulfillment of the Old. That is what I told those two on the road to Emmaus shortly after I rose from the dead. In addition, the New Testament promises my return, the general judgment, the consignment of the lost to hell, and the inauguration of the new heaven and the new earth for the redeemed.

I plead with you this day to focus on my story as recorded in the Bible. I alone am the prize you seek. Set your hearts on things above. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). Do not look for part of your reward on this sin-cursed earth by believing in a faulty storyline.

Many of you are preaching that I am the way, the truth and the life—the only way to receive forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with the Father. Do not inadvertently offer anyone a false security or a false hope of salvation. Then perhaps God will be pleased to send a mighty revival among your youth.

“To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 3:21, 22).

Respectfully submitted,
Heather Kendall

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Rattlesnake

I had never seen a rattlesnake before, except in a picture book or in a cage at a science museum. Through the years at the cottage, I had spied several water snakes, some garter snakes, and one thin black snake quickly slithering under the cover of fallen oak leaves. On this particular day I found myself a few inches from a rattlesnake. It happened in this way.

While scampering down the rocky hillside to the boat, I yelled to my husband, “I am going to get my work gloves.” After finding them, I nonchalantly climbed back up the same path, which I had travelled down moments before. Halfway up, the sound of a rattle interrupted my thoughts. I looked down to see a snake sunning itself on a rock beside the path. After carefully backing away, I chose a different route up to the cottage.

How thankful I was that the snake warned me of its presence. That rattlesnake did not want to harm me. As long as I heeded the warning, I was safe.

This encounter reminded me how often God warns people of impending judgment if they refuse to obey his commands. The Lord told Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit of the tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden. If they disobeyed, they would die. In the Old Testament the Lord gave Israel the Ten Commandments. Then he sent prophets to warn them of impending judgment because they had not obeyed his law. In the New Testament God continues to warn people to stop sinning or face the consequences. How merciful and patient God is. He gives everyone time to repent of sin, but not forever. Remember the flood in Noah’s day.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

News Release

Local Writer Finalist for National Award

Heather Kendall, a resident of Innisfil since 1997, received a national award on Wednesday, June 16, at The Awards Gala of The Word Guild. She won first place in the Article—News category of The Canadian Christian Writing Awards. Faith Today published her article, Reach Out With Good Friday Drama, in March/April 2009. In it she described the interactive play, In Search of Jesus, which New Life Fellowship Baptist Church has put on every Good Friday for the last four years.

Heather is the author of the book, A Tale of Two Kingdoms, and a freelance writer for various Christian publications. Her latest work is a poem in the anthology, Grandmothers’ Necklace. The Stephen Lewis Foundation is sponsoring this book to support grandmothers in Africa who are looking after their grandchildren, orphaned by AIDS.

Heather is a member of The Word Guild, a national organization of writers, editors and speakers who share a Christian worldview. With 350 members, it provides professional development to published and aspiring writers through multiple channels, including writing contests and awards, newsletters, Internet discussion groups, manuscript critiques, workshops and conferences.

For the third year in a row, Herbie Kuhn, popular speaker and in-house announcer for the Toronto Raptors basketball team, hosted the black-tie gala. It was held at the headquarters of World Vision Canada in Mississauga, Ontario.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

A Leap of Faith

Birdfeeders only feed birds, or so I thought. Apparently squirrels do not know this. Seeing how easily squirrels snatched the seed from our birdfeeder, my husband decided to move it. He hoped to outsmart them by dangling the birdfeeder on an abandoned satellite dish. Surely squirrels cannot climb a metal pole!

A few days later we saw a squirrel clinging precariously to the top of the birdfeeder. He looked very determined to feast on the forbidden sunflower seeds on the ledge below. With head down he gulped a few seeds before hurling himself to the ground. Another time a squirrel lunged onto the birdfeeder, swinging it enough to spill the seeds onto the grass below. Then the squirrel jumped down onto the grass to enjoy his ill-gotten gains.

Both of these squirrels took a chance leaping onto a swinging birdfeeder. The Bible records the story of Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples, who jumped out of a boat. He walked on top of the water on the Sea of Galilee to meet Jesus. As long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, he was safe. But when he looked down, he sank.

Like the squirrels, jumping to be near food, Peter took a leap of faith to be close to Jesus. He faltered when he stopped looking at Jesus. All the other disciples never even left the boat. Are you like Peter, risking everything for Jesus? Or are you like the rest, staying safely in the boat? God expects every believer to put Jesus first and risk everything for the glory of God.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Frolicking Squirrels

Did you know that squirrels like to play tag? When the poplar trees behind my house stand tall and barren of leaves, I can see far into the bush. One day I spied four black squirrels frolicking by jumping from thin branch to thin branch. Weighed down by the squirrels, the branches bobbed up and down in the cool spring air. Those squirrels appeared to enjoy playing with each other.

Just as squirrels take time to revel in each other’s company, God expects believers to enjoy spending time with him in prayer and Bible study. The Westminster Confession states that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. John Piper prefers to say that the chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.

Let us show our enjoyment of God by praising him for sending his Son to this sin-filled earth. Let us fill our hearts with rejoicing that Jesus did not stay dead. Instead Jesus rose from the grave victorious. Now he is busy gathering a people, redeemed by his blood, to be the future residents of a new heaven and a new earth. Satan will never be able to ruin that earth the way he has this one.

These past seven months I have been suffering a constant low-grade pain in one of my eyes. Nevertheless I have joy in my heart, which sickness cannot quench. As a hymn by Luther B. Bridgers states, “There’s within my heart a melody Jesus whispers sweet and low, “Fear not, I am with thee—peace be still.” That is why I can sing the chorus: “I have the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart—down in my heart today.”

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Grandmothers' Necklace

Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Grandmothers' Necklace was launched!

In her blog Hilda Young writes:
As a member of the Petawawa Grannies I attended the first two launches of Patricia Elfords anthology "Grandmothers' Necklace". It was a fun experience. More than 60 people crowded into the Rotary room at the Petawawa library to hear readings from most of the writers in Eastern Ontario who contributed to the book. It was a great beginning as many books were sold. On Monday 22nd there was another launch in Deep River at The Bean House coffee shop which was also well attended. Copies are available for purchase in Petawawa at Coates engraving 3584 Petawawa Bld 687-1064. cost $20. All profits will go to the Stephen Lewis Foundation Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign.

Copied by permission of Hilda Young from

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

In her blog Hilda Young writes:

is an anthology created in honour of grandmothers. Over 60 professional, and some gifted non-professional, writers and poets of varied backgrounds from across Canada, the United States and Ireland. Joyous and wistful, hilarious and serious, the collection is too rich to be scanned all at once. Appreciate it a few gems at a time.
Through Patricia Anne Elford, one of the Petawawa Grannies , the Editor and Compiler, ALL profits go to Grandmothers to Grandmothers, a branch of the Stephen Lewis Foundation, , to assist the grandmothers of Africa, aged anywhere from their 40’s to their 80’s who have lost their adult children and are raising their grandchildren, alone, under unbelievably impoverished circumstances. These children were orphaned due to the death of their parents from AIDS and AIDS-related illnesses.

GRANDMOTHERS’ NECKLACE ISBN 978-1-5542-468-6 Essence Pub., Epic imprint, 200 pp $20.00 Cdn, incl. taxes
Can be bought on-line now, in many stores later.

Copied by permission of Hilda Young from

A note from Heather:
As one of the author’s in this book, I hope to take part in a launch very soon in the Barrie and/or Toronto area of Ontario. In the book I share my poem, "My First Grandchild."

Monday, February 01, 2010

The Problem of Multiplying Snails

I never realized snails would become a terrible problem for me. It started when I wanted a plant in my 20-gallon tank. Taking a leaf from the 10-gallon tank, my husband found an identical plant at the fish store. Shortly after I had planted it, I noticed a snail.

Within a couple of weeks these creatures had infested the tank. My children insisted I needed to clean the tank thoroughly and start over with new rocks. I preferred searching for snails daily and then disposing of them. It did not work. The more I caught; the more I discovered.

When the tank began to leak, I knew I must buy a new one. If I was going to start over, I figured I should buy rocks as well. It would be silly to transport my problem from one tank to another. Instead of buying a plant, I took a clipping from the 10-gallon tank and planted it in the new tank. Why did I not do that in the first place? Perhaps God wanted me to learn an important lesson.

Thinking how quickly the snails multiplied reminded me of yeast. Every bread maker knows that given time a little yeast will work its way through the dough and make it rise. In the Bible, God uses yeast as an example of the spread of good and evil.

Jesus told a parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough” (Matthew 13:33, NIV).
Another time Jesus said, “How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (Matthew 16:11, NIV). Then the disciples understood that Jesus was warning them about the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. In the first example yeast represented the multiplication of good whereas in the latter it symbolized evil.

I doubt I shall ever forget this episode with the snails. Whenever I remember, I shall pray that my life will influence others for good and not evil.