The Holy Spirit

PENTECOST -Sermon delivered by C.H. Spurgeon- May 24th, 1963
Here’s the full quote that I shared this past Sunday, Oct2, 2016
“How absolutely necessary is the presence and power of the Holy Spirit! It is not possible for us to promote the glory of God or to bless the souls of men, unless the Holy Ghost shall be in us and with us. Those who were assembled on that memorable day of Pentecost, were all men of prayer and faith; but even those precious gifts are only available when the celestial fire sets them on a blaze. They were all men of experience; most of them had been preachers of the Word and workers of miracles; they had endured trials and troubles in company with their Lord, and had been with them in his temptation. Yet even experienced Christians, without the Spirit of God, are weak as water. Among them were the apostles and seventy evangelists, and with them were those honoured women in whose houses the Lord had often been entertained, and who had ministered to him of their substance; yet even these favoured and honoured saints can do nothing without the breath of God the Holy Ghost. Apostles and evangelist dare not even attempt anything alone; they must tarry at Jerusalem till power be given them from on high. It was not a want of education; they had been for three years in the college of Christ, with perfect wisdom as their tutor, matchless eloquence as their instructor, and immaculate perfection as their example; yet they must not adventure to open their mouths to testify of the mystery of Jesus, until the anointing Spirit has come with blessed unction from above. Surely my brethren, if so it was with them, much more must it be the case with us. Let us beware of trusting to our well-adjusted machineries of committees and schemes; let us be jealous of all reliance upon our own mental faculties or religious vigour; let us be careful that we do not look too much to our leading preachers and evangelists, for if we p ut any of these in the place of the Divine Spirt, we shall err most fatally. let us thank God for all gifts and for all offices, but oh, let us ever be reminded that gifts and offices are but as sounding brass and tinkling cymbals, unless the quickening influence be present.”

SEPT4th NO CHURCH SERVICE AT PAXnorth’s location this SUNDAY

PAXnorth is camping this weekend! We are being hosted by Blomidon Bible Camp.
We will be sharing our worship time with our daughter church plant, Grace Village Church.
WE WOULD LOVE TO HAVE YOU JOIN US FOR BOTH or EITHER (camp or worship on Sunday)

Want to join in on the camping? contact  right away for the details.
Want to join in on the shared worship service in the valley? Meet at PAXnorth Church for noon on Sunday and carpool to the Valley.

NEXT WEEK :: PAXworship will be back on for 4pm and at our church space at 2535 Robie St, Halifax, NS


Q&C Oct4 Praying for Manhood [fighting and hurting]

I Timothy 2 is a preachers land mine!
Remind me to thank the apostle Paul someday.

God uses Paul to press into the church at Ephesus what their stance or conduct should be in the areas of politics, church function and gender-roles. The principles that are laid out in these touchy passages still hold true for the church today that wants to behave as the household of the living God, as a true part of the pillar and buttress of the truth of God (key verse). They become the regulatory principles for the biblical church.

The principles must continue to be true in our churches even if we might not need to make application in exactly the same way Paul does for the church in Ephesus. Caution though– often times we lean hard into application, so much so that we actually soften, change or throw out entirely the biblical principle. Paul’s very instruction to the proper conduct for the church is found in the principles- which cannot be changed without stepping outside of God’s regulatory principles for life as a Biblical church.

In dealing with the principles for godly men in the church Paul, here, gives us a succinct and clear picture. “I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarrelling.”  I won’t attempt to capture everything that this means for the men of the local church (that sermon is here) but it is noteworthy to mention:
~ the principle for men in the church is a life marked by a posture of active holy prayer. This captures both the stance of the heart (holy) and the actions of the hands (actively motivated as a response of worship)
~ the ‘check your mirrors’ application for guys it is often with what we spend our time and energy doing that mirrors the condition of our heart. Holy hearts given to seeking God result in holy hands active in worship.
Hearts bent on ego, opinion, self-rightness, a need to be applauded, worshipped or in flexing our status muscles- mirrors itself in the reactions of a heart bent on anger and quarrelling.

We spent quite a bit of time making application for men in the church, the push is that it is in prayer that this battle is fought. It is in prayer that  this fight can be won against our own selfishness. It is in a humble posture of acceptance and calling out to God for the work of His Son to transform our hearts, from the need to be right to allowing him to have the rights over our lives, that we find renewed authority. Authority that is an application of Christ’s authority in all the corners of our lives. This is the godly authority that lives out Ephesians 5:25-33  kind of love, as a godly man. This is an authority that can only be applied as we preach a clear gospel to our hearts- in prayer.

Questions and comments

This gets us to the questions and comments that were shared on Sunday after the sermon:
1) What is the reference for “the fight is not against flesh and blood?”
An interesting thought as we navigate these verses- the book of Ephesians was written to the same congregation that Timothy pastored. It is with the book of Ephesians that provides some of the backdrop application for the charge that Paul gave Timothy to act out in the church.  Ephesians 6:12 is the direct quote for this passage of realizing that our fight is not primarily against the struggles we often make it. Not against a bad government, or a dysfunctional church, or a person in our lives. The real fight is a spiritual fight- a fight behind the fight. A fight that can only be fought in seeking, asking, knocking, calling, submitting to the spiritual work of God in our lives. A fight that is best fought in a place of prayer. It’s the same language that Paul uses in I Timothy 1:18 as he encourages Timothy to take up the charge of fighting the spiritual fight for the church.

2)What does a woman do when she wants to submit to the authority that is in her life (husband or father), but he is being selfish and not fulfilling his role?
Great question and comment. The reality is there are many men who live selfish and are demonstrating they are not living out a godly expression of spiritual authority. When men refuse to live out of a true spiritual authority exercised in prayer first and gospel love second all those who are under the influence of this authority suffer, in various degrees.
There is no one simple answer to this question. This link might help with some of the hard work of building a more stable relationship with the hope that a gospel-centered approach will break through and bring repentance where needed, and redemption where possible.  Stuck in a Relationship

Hoping for this, but there are times when we need some very direct outside help. If you are someone who is getting hit, abused or being manipulated in ways that are causing deep harm – this is something you cannot overcome by yourself. We do church in community so that you’ll have a place to get help. Elders are to be godly men who are able to speak into the authority of others in the church. You need to talk to your Pastor- today! He may need to call in other authorities to help bring to bear the weight of repentance and help that an abusing man needs to get in his life in order to stop hurting others to this degree. Call your pastor today! Press him to get help lined up for your situation right away. [If its hard for you to talk to or open up to your pastor- tell someone you feel will listen and who can go with you or on your behalf to the pastor/elder].
If he doesn’t seem to be moving on this- you need to call your mental health crisis help line. We have dealt with ours in Halifax, N.S. They are courteous and able to get you the kind of contacts/help you might need.  Halifax Crisis help line

“I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarrelling.”  – MEN- LET’S PRAY FOR OUR CHURCHES!


Q&C from Sunday Sept27 Christians and Politics [should Christians be starting revolutions?]

Three things you should never talk about::Politics, Church and Gender Roles

We started the precarious walk through I Timothy 2 last week. Typically after someone has read our text on Sunday, during worship, they end with reminding the congregation, “This is the Word of God”. The congregation then affirms, which has been part of church history, their willingness to submit to the text with a response of, “Praise be to God.” This week at PAXnorth was different… after I Timothy 2 was read, their was the reminder, “This is the Word of God.” The reply that came back as an encouragement to the deer-in- a headlight Pastor was- “Good Luck!” – it was a great, funny and tone setting moment- truly a reflection of the culture of our church.
The preaching and conversations over the next two to three weeks may be difficult ones. God’s design for the church:: Designed for Authority and Influence [Politics, Church and Gender Roles] I am thankful that PAXnorth does not shy away from these conversations and together seeks to place ourselves under the word of God.
We had some great discussions after the sermon on Sunday regarding Designed for Authority and Influence :: Politics
  A couple of Questions and Comments from Sunday:
“You mentioned prayer and prayerfully considered voting as acceptable means of Christian influence in politics. Are their others? Are there things we should not do as believers?
“How can Paul’s desire for us to have peaceful quiet lives under political authority be reconciled with the observable history that the Church thrives under oppression (i.e. China, 1st century church) Doesn’t this ideal conflict with the reality?

These are very helpful and practical questions that call us as those who are Christians to consider how we are actively living as good citizens of heaven first and Canada/Nova Scotia/Halifax second. We talked about on Sunday the sense of living in holiness, seeking the peace of where we live, so that the Gospel might have a much easier job of being proclaimed and lived – must be a key point in  our political considerations and actions. For God desires that all we be saved and be able to come out of their ignorance of His great plan of redemption – this is definitely the main point of Paul’s instructions regarding praying for our rulers, I Timothy 2:1-7.

Here is a bit more from Desiring God- on what a Christian response, life or action might look like in keeping Paul’s instructions to us as believers. Thanks Jordan K for posting this link.
 Should Christians start revolutions? Or just live quietly?

Remember part of being good citizens is exercising the right to vote. Vote in such a way as to prayerfully enjoy the freedom to live and share the Gospel. “Pray for those in the high positions in our country” May we see a revival of the Gospel across Canada!


We don’t purpose to be able to solve all the mysteries and difficulties of faith lived out. But we are willing to wrestle through them openly and honestly.   Saying that, we expect respectful answers and comments (we won’t repost disrespect) and we don’t post anonymous comments. Being in community, as a church demands both that we are known by each other and that we err on the side of respectful conversation (grace).

QandC prt1 Sunday Sept21[what good is sorrow for sin?]

  Sermon #2 from I Timothy 1:12-20

  Our intern Vaclav helps us tackle of couple of the questions that were asked on Sunday.

   Q. After we have been saved and as we study the Word of God, should others be seeing a change in us? When we meditate on our sin we will see our need for the gospel. But isn’t it easy to slip into a worldly sorrow and shame, being overwhelmed by the consequences of our sin? Should we not be moved rather to pure repentance and communion with Christ?

The apostle Paul said, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.(2 Corinthians 7:10)

In Luke 18:18-30 we read of the rich ruler who trusted in his own goodness, just as Saul (Acts 9:1-19), who later became the apostle Paul, trusted in his own goodness. Both met Jesus.
The ruler came to Jesus. Jesus came to Saul. But when confronted about their sin, the ruler felt only “worldly sorrow” and walked away very sad. But when Saul was confronted with his sin against Jesus he felt “godly sorrow” which led him to true repentance, a change of mind about God and about himself.

Why did one find joy in God and the other only sadness?
Both have seen their sin, but one has seen it in the light of who Jesus is, and saw God’s kindness to him and has repented; and the other has seen only his sin and loved it too much to be able to look at God’s kindness, forbearance and patience toward him, felt only regret. Romans 2:4 says, “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” So it is always the same way how we come to God or turn back to him, by looking at, contemplating and believing the gospel, the good news about Jesus Christ.

  When we see God’s kindness to us sinners, it will lead us to repentance, a change of mind, which will turn to a “pure devotion to Christ”. (2 Corinthians 11:3) And that is only because of the grace of God.


Need a little more on how transformation happens in the life a Christian?
Take a few minutes to read Transformation

Q&C prt3 [couldn’t someone else die for sin?]

questionscommentsOur church plant/ pastoral intern Vaclav answers for us one more of the questions that were submitted on Sunday. We didn’t get a chance to talk about this in our open forum but it’s a great question- a vital question when it comes to true Christianity:

Q3. You mentioned that our sin is so offensive to God that it can only be righted by another’s death and it cannot be our own. Did it have to be Jesus’ death? Could it have been someone else’s? Why not our own in response to our own sin?

Ezekiel 18:20 says according to the law, “The one who sins is the one who will die.” But our sin is not just against another sinful human being. Our sin is against a holy and infinite God. And a sin against an infinite person requires an infinite payment.

If God let you and me die for our sins against him we would be paying for it forever. So God in his mercy and love sent a perfect substitute, his Son the man Christ Jesus, to not only die our justly deserved death, but also to live the perfectly righteous life we could not live. So Jesus fulfilled both, he took away our unrighteousness [our constant striving to be good enough for God] and he fulfilled the righteousness we did not. Jesus came “to fulfill all righteousness”. (Matthew 3:15). In three hours on the cross as an innocent and perfect sacrifice Jesus suffered the eternal punishment we deserved. “But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” (Acts 2:24). Death for our sin would hold us forever because sin was in us, but death could not hold Jesus because there was no sin in his righteous soul. Our sins were credited to Jesus Christ, and in three hours in his righteous nature he has absorbed the infinite wrath of God for our infinite offence against God. There is no one who does not sin, except Jesus. Not us, but Jesus is Gods only salvation for us.

Here’s a great place to find some good basic answers to some good basic questions about the Bible:: Got Questions?


We don’t purpose to be able to solve all the mysteries and difficulties of faith lived out. But we are willing to wrestle through them openly and honestly.   Saying that, we expect respectful answers and comments (we won’t repost disrespect) and we don’t post anonymous comments. Being in community, as a church demands both that we are known by each other and that we err on the side of respectful conversation (grace).


Q&C prt2 Sunday Sept3 [the Gospel, the Gospels, and Same-Sex Relationships]

PART 2 of Questions and Comments from Sunday, Sept 3

Caveat to Church Pastors and leaders who may read this:  If you are not having [or making room for] these types of conversations with your people you are, in my opinion, ill equipping them to navigate the very realities that they encounter everyday in the culture we live. My experience, a combination of theology in churches and  realities in an urban culture, is that most Christians have very little idea on how to engage in reasonable and winsome conversations while holding the truth of God’s Word. If that is the case- the shame is to us, the leaders/pastors in the Church – and it causes the Gospel witness (the Goodnews of Jesus Christ), entrusted to us, to be silent or to be ignorant. But I don’t want to sabotage this PART 2 QandC so I’ll leave this rant for my own personal blog East Coast Veritas which needs a good meaty topic of late. 

  The following question (s) comes out of our kickoff sermon in the pastoral epistle of I Timothy. A series we have entitled God’s Design for the Church.
I Timothy 1:1-11 God Designed the Church for Gospel Clarity
God uses the struggles of a young church plant in Ephesus to help us see what are the most important concerns for the church’s conduct as they live out spiritual life together I Timothy 3:14,15. The very first thing he addresses, which sets the stage for the rest of the letter, is Gospel clarity.

Another question that came out of our Questions and Comments time after the sermon focus, along with several others, might be even more ‘thorny’ then the last ones addressed in Prt 1 [law, slavery, hypocrisy] – after you read this you should say something like, “You guys talked about those things in an open forum on a Sunday morning as part of your worship service?!… whoa.” 

Question #2 “Emphasis on homosexuality seems odd to me (I Timothy 1:8-11)– there is nothing in the Gospels about homosexuality being wrong- so how is condemning it ‘in accordance with the gospel’? 

GREAT QUESTION! Here are some of the excellent answers that were shared that might help us see where people are coming from or help us navigate through this.
“When it comes to the Bible’s addressing of homosexuality does it really come right out and say it is wrong in the New Testament? I know that in Leviticus it talks about all kinds of sexual relationships that are forbidden under the law (Leviticus 18). But I am not so sure that it means the kind of loving relationships that some of my same sex friends have with each other. I really struggle with the condemning of these kinds of relationships. I am not sure how I should react to the thought that it’s not accepted by God or His Church?”

   “Saying that God is silent on homosexuality is not entirely true. Jesus addressed sinful sexual relationships and broken thinking about what the law did or did not allow more then once.” [See how he lovingly but firmly points out to the woman at the well the real struggle of her heart’s worship by pointing her back to her failed relationships and her current relationship. John 4:4-26.  Essentially he points out to her the place where she is trying to quench an inner thirst by physical and sexual relationships; Also see how he handles the Teachers of the law regarding their lack of understanding on the heart issues behind how easily they could turn to divorce Matthew 19:3-9. The human tendency to put the passions of the heart above the intentions of the Creator are no surprise to Jesus;  Jesus also addresses sexual sins using the phrase ‘porneia’ which is a bit of a ‘junk-drawer’ type word and includes all kinds of sexual relationships, Mark 7:21. Its the same word Paul picks up to be in step with Christ’s and the O.T. stance on sexual boundaries, Romans 1:26-32].  

    “I think when you start using arguments based on a particular section of scripture, separating them from the whole of scripture, then you’re not basing your argument on a broader Biblical Theology and you begin to get in trouble. The Bible is clear in both the Old and the New Testament that sexual relationships outside of marriage between a husband and wife is an act of sin or rebellion against His intended design for marriage. The truth is He has made us all for relationship. We do feel loneliness, or passion, or desire or joy in relationships in all kinds of degrees, in all kinds of ways. It is how God designed us, it is a good design and these are essentially good desires. The intensions of such a make up is so that we might discover their fulfillment in God first and most, then we might enjoy these things in each other. So the Maker of our hearts certainly must know how they will be best filled up and has the right to declare the boundaries of what will be for our best good and His greatest joy.”

A further point from the Sermon text (I Tim. 1:8-11) is that this is a short list, a highlight list of teaching, thinking and behaviour that is contrary to sound doctrine. “Well what is sound doctrine?” we ask. Paul qualifies sound doctrine here as “that which is in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God.” The point being these things listed, and others, are NOT in keeping with those who claim to know and live the Gospel.

Here’s an article and a video that may help to clarify the conversation a bit more –

Jesus never addressed homosexuality so neither should his followers right?
 Jesus and homosexuality

Here’s a video discussion:
How can homosexuality be wrong if it doesn’t hurt anyone?

I recognize that writing out these questions and comments can result in an over simplified response. We however as a church need to continue to make space for the hard conversations as we submit our hearts to God’s clear Word.

We don’t purpose to be able to solve all the mysteries and difficulties of faith lived out. But we are willing to wrestle through them openly and honestly. Saying that, we expect respectful answers and comments (we won’t repost disrespect) and we don’t post anonymous comments. Being in community, as a church demands both that we are known by each other and that we err on the side of respectful conversation (grace).

We had a couple more Questions and Comments on this Sunday. We may get a few more up before the end of the week.

Brad Somers
Lead Pastor

Q&C prt1 Sunday Sept13, 2015 [from the law to slavery to Christian Hypocrisy]

I Timothy 1:1-11 was our kick-off passage for our Fall Series
I Timothy:: God’s Design for the Church
     The main thrust of I Timothy 1 is that God has designed the church with and for Gospel Clarity (to hear more of this take some time and listen to the podcast)   questionscomments
We had some great discussions during Questions and Comments coming out of this passage. Here’s some of the conversation we had- with a bit more added to help in our thinking:

Question #1 From I Timothy 1:8-11 – talking about the right and wrong use of the law- as a part of Gospel Clarity
            ” Curious to why slave trading and perjury are in this list? Why was it important to Paul? Why should it be important for us?”

Some of the follow up Theology in Community responses were:
    “The law when used properly points us to the brokenness of our own hearts and of the cultures we live in. This kind of using of others (perjury and slavery) was condemned in the law.” Romans 1-3 also Romans 7:7 demonstrate and confirm this use of the law.
” The law confronts the sinful tendencies of our heart to ‘own’ or ‘take advantage of others- this is good use of the law. -Points out our moral failure as a culture even though we think we are more sophisticated now.”

However Paul’s main point here as you move through the text is the law can convict us, may even convince us of our inabilities to live good moral, fully God-pleasing lives but this is where it stops. The law is impotent to transform us. We can’t transform our internal state of sin and brokenness simply by acting better (this is what we would call religious moralism). NEXT week we will look further at how the Gospel is the only means of transforming a condemned-under-the-law sinner, like Paul.
(I Timothy 1:12-18; Ephesians 2:8-9)

One of the conversations/ arguments that we touched on is the contradiction that we perceive in the Bible and in the history of the Church regarding slavery. (i.e Paul condemns slavery here, yet instructs slaves to remain with and be obedient to masters elsewhere. Eph. 6:5; Col. 3:22 The O.T. law allowed for paying back a debt by becoming a bond slave Lev. 25:39 to a debtor until paid) – this is to say nothing of the Slave trade of modern history and even today. This propels us into some bigger, and maybe more uncomfortable questions for those who call themselves Christians who believe the Bible.

Questions like: Why has the church been responsible for so much injustice? Why are Christians such hypocrites?
The length and purpose of this blog precludes from a full answer to these questions here but let me highlight a couple of  recommended articles and a video to help us wrestle through these questions:
Blog Articles    Does God and Jesus Condone Slavery?
Christianity and it’s role in Slavery?

Video: Heres an interaction with  Dr. Timothy Keller as he addresses several cultural arguments put to him at Berkley University

All Christians are Hypocrites , so aren’t Christians the best argument against Christianity?
Highly recommend this Veritas video series to help you both think through and navigate conversations like the ones we are having at PAXnorth.

We don’t purpose to be able to solve all the mysteries and difficulties of faith lived out. But we are willing to wrestle through them openly and honestly. Saying that, we expect respectful answers and comments (we won’t repost disrespect) and we don’t post anonymous comments. Being in community, as a church demands both that we are known by each other and that we err on the side of respectful conversation (grace).

More Questions and Comments to Follow
Brad Somers
lead pastor