Ontario Church Gets Surprise Visit from Robin Mark

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Members of Immanuel Christian Reformed Church in Hamilton, Ontario, were treated to an unexpected surprise Nov. 20 when Robin Mark, a well-known Christian recording artist from Belfast, Ireland, dropped in to help lead worship that morning.

Sydney Slootweg, age 9, was thrilled to meet Robin Mark.

Mark, who wrote “Days of Elijah” and “Jesus, All for Jesus,” was in southern Ontario for a Promise Keepers convention. Rick Verkerk, national manager for Promise Keepers in Canada, is a member of Immanuel and arranged for Mark to join them.

Verkerk presented his “crazy idea” for Mark’s visit to the church’s pastor, Rev. Henry Kranenburg, who kept the plan under wraps together with Rev. Mark Knetsch for several months to avoid unmanageable crowds of people showing up to hear the singer.

Kranenburg said the consistory demonstrated “a fair bit of trust” in allowing the pastors to plan a special service without sharing the details. It was important to Knetsch and Kranenburg that the service remained focused on God, not on their guest, while acknowledging that Mark’s songs have played a role in their worship for many years.

“An important element for us was to keep it ‘our’ worship and not have it become a Robin Mark event,” Kranenburg explained. “We planned the liturgy that way, both in its opening and in its structure. Worship is about God, and that is who we are there for.”

“I didn’t believe it when [one of the pastors] told me,” said Audrey Benjamins, a member of the praise and worship team, who found out about the special visitor at the pre-service practice. “At first I felt nervous, but when we started I realized my purpose in being there hadn’t changed. It was about worship, and Robin Mark accented that.”

Mark, who started his musical career by leading worship in his own church, said he welcomed the unique chance to play with local musicians and to encourage the congregation through shared worship.

“I am a big fan of being committed to the local church,” he said. “If you start by serving there, and you are faithful where [God] has placed you, he can and will open the doors for more opportunities to serve him in other ways.”

Members young and old expressed how blessed they were to be led in singing their favorite worship songs by the person who wrote them.

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What a great experience for all. So wonderful to hear how the church worked it out to keep the beautiful focus. And nice photo, Sidney :-)

It seems the congregation's praise and awe fell on song writer Robin Mark's presence rather than on the presence of the One his songs were intended to praise in worship.

Joe A. Serge, I'm sorry to hear you've come to that conclusion based on my writing of this article. It was so clear to everyone who was worshipping with us Sunday morning that Robin Mark's music ministry is about praise to God, and our pastors and worship team worked hard to make sure that is where the focus remained, and everyone did a beautiful job of it in my opinion.

Now if this does not take all! Folks are being entertained versus hearing God's Word? Why does a brother in the Lord of whom the LORD qualified to expound his infallible Word need others to assist him in leading worship? Is he being replaced?

Everyone has different gifts that they bring to a church. Robin definetly has the gift of leading worship - I'm glad Robin shares a deep knowledge of the word in song and music -- I was also impressed
at how the Pastors had that trust in their council in order to do this... we enjoy his music and seeing listening to Robin every year at Breakforth in Edmonton - "Sing a new Song!" Hope your congregation were blessed by his worship!

Last Sunday's service was a beautiful time of praise and worship. I felt God was glorified through prayer, spoken word and song. It was all about "Jesus, all for Jesus". Not Robin Mark all for Robin Mark.

@Peter
The article made it clear that worship was central at this service, and it was not turned into a concert ("the service remained focused on God"; they intentionally worked "to keep it ‘our’ worship and not have it become a Robin Mark event"). Your comment about "entertainment" is grossly inappropriate and mean-spirited. I'm appalled by the haters who comment on so many Banner stories. And yes, we ministers of the Word need lots of help from God's people in leading worship, because it is the worship of God by God's people, not some ritual performed by a priest. I wish I could have been there myself.

Robin Mark is sincere and is blessed with a wonderful gift.
I have been been to a Robin Mark event and they are worship events not concerts.
How nice for Immanuel CRC!

My comment about the appearance of Christian musician Robin Mark was not meant to be grossly inappropiate! Make note of this comment drafted by CRC pastors on the Psalms and Hymns found throughout God's infallible Word. "Similarly, in speaking of god's covenant people, of the city of God, and of the temple in which god dwells, the Psalms ultimately speak of Christ's church. The Psalter is not only the prayer book of the second temple; it is also the enduring book of the people of God. Now, however, it must be used in the light of the new era of redemption that dawned with the first coming of the Messiah and that it will be consumated at his second coming." Did Robin Mark have the united consent of the divided CRCNA General synod to lead worship with his songs versus the Psalms and Hymns?

test

In the CRC congregation I worship in, we sing a variety of contemporary Christian worship songs including Robin Marks(and it's my understanding that most others do as well)
In 2013, Lift up Your Hearts "Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs" will be available - a blended worship song book. All Robin Mark did was lead the worship singing like all our Praise and Worship teams do. He is a brother in the Lord.
Let us distinguish between what is doctrinal and what is 'tradition'.
Keep in mind that in the days when the Hymns and Psalms were written and sung in church they were also contemporary.

The Marks of the True and the False Church

We believe that we ought to discern diligently and very carefully from the Word of God what is the true church, for all sects which are in the world today claim for themselves the name of church.1 We are not speaking here of the hypocrites, who are mixed in the church along with the good and yet are not part of the church, although they are outwardly in it.2 We are speaking of the body and the communion of the true church which must be distinguished from all sects that call themselves the church.

The true church is to be recognized by the following marks:

It practices the pure preaching of the gospel.3 It maintains the pure administration of the sacraments as Christ instituted them.4 It exercises church discipline for correcting and punishing sins.5 In short, it governs itself according to the pure Word of God,6 rejecting all things contrary to it7 and regarding Jesus Christ as the only Head.8 Hereby the true church can certainly be known and no one has the right to separate from it.

Those who are of the church may be recognized by the marks of Christians. They believe in Jesus Christ the only Saviour,9 flee from sin and pursue righteousness,10 love the true God and their neighbour11 without turning to the right or left, and crucify their flesh and its works.12 Although great weakness remains in them, they fight against it by the Spirit all the days of their life.13 They appeal constantly to the blood, suffering, death, and obedience of Jesus Christ, in whom they have forgiveness of their sins through faith in Him.14

The false church assigns more authority to itself and its ordinances than to the Word of God. It does not want to submit itself to the yoke of Christ.15 It does not administer the sacraments as Christ commanded in His Word, but adds to them and subtracts from them as it pleases. It bases itself more on men than on Jesus Christ. It persecutes those who live holy lives according to the Word of God and who rebuke the false church for its sins, greed, and idolatries.16

These two churches are easily recognized and distinguished from each other.
1:Revelation 2:9.
2:Rom 9:6.
3:Galatians 1:8; 1 Timothy 3:15.
4:Acts 19:3-5;1 Corinthians 11:20-29.
5:Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5:4, 5, 13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14; Tit 3:10.
6:John 8:47; Jn 17:20; Acts 17:11; Ephesians 2:20; Colossian 1:23; 1 Timothy 6:3.
7:1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 Timothy 6:20; Revelation 2:6.
8:John 10:14; Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18.
9:John 1:12; 1 John 4:2.
10:Romans 6:2; Philippians 3:12.
11:John 4:19-21.
12:Galatians 5:24.
13:Romans 7:15; Galatians 5:17.
14:Romans 7:24, 25; 1 John 1:7-9.
15:Acts 4:17, 18; 2 Timothy 4:3, 4; 2 John 9.
16:Johnn 16:2.

My comment about the appearance of Christian musician Robin Mark was not meant to be grossly inappropiate! Make note of this comment drafted by CRC pastors on the Psalms and Hymns found throughout God's infallible Word. "Similarly, in speaking of God's covenant people, of the city of God, and of the temple in which God dwells, the Psalms ultimately speak of Christ's church. The Psalter is not only the prayer book of the second temple; it is also the enduring book of the people of God. Now, however, it must be used in the light of the new era of redemption that dawned with the first coming of the Messiah and that it will be consumated at his second coming." Did Robin Mark have the united consent of the divided CRCNA General Synod to lead worship with his songs versus the Psalms and Hymns? Make note of Belgic Confession Article 29:

So, Peter, is the entire CRCNA the false church, or is it just Immanuel CRC of Hamilton that is the church of the antichrist, in your opinion? Many of the songs that I have heard from Robin Mark are based directly on God's Infallible Word. Your confused and hostile comments about the synod of the CRCNA are also inaccurate; a consistory can approve appropriate songs for public worship, and not just songs from one of our hymnals. See Church Order art. 52 a-b and its supplements, which refer to documents that talk about principles for appropriate music in worship. Why have you turned this inspiring story into a soapbox from which to condemn this Christian musician and this congregation of believers...and all under the cover of anonymity? Why don't you provide your full name and your home church so your consistory can be informed of your angry and mean-spirited comments, and exercise appropriate admonition? (That would be art. 32 of the Belgic Confession). To the moderator of the online Banner: Please ban this person from making further comments on Banner stories, since it is clear that he cannot do so with civility or Christian charity.

So, Peter, is the entire CRCNA the false church, or is it just Immanuel CRC of Hamilton that is the church of the antichrist, in your opinion? Many of the songs that I have heard from Robin Mark are based directly on God's Infallible Word. Your confused and hostile comments about the synod of the CRCNA are also inaccurate; a consistory can approve appropriate songs for public worship, and not just songs from one of our hymnals. See Church Order art. 52 a-b and its supplements, which refer to documents that talk about principles for appropriate music in worship. Why have you turned this inspiring story into a soapbox from which to condemn this Christian musician and this congregation of believers...and all under the cover of anonymity? Why don't you provide your full name and your home church so your consistory can be informed of your angry and mean-spirited comments, and exercise appropriate admonition? (That would be art. 32 of the Belgic Confession). To the moderator of the online Banner: Please ban this person from making further comments on Banner stories, since it is clear that he cannot do so with civility or Christian charity.

Robin Mark is a Northern Irish Christian singer, songwriter, worship leader, and recording artist based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Mark has written several songs sung throughout the world. He is best known for his songs "Days of Elijah", "Revival", "All for Jesus", "The Wonder of The Cross", "Not by Might" and many more. He has released thirteen albums in total with sales of over two million world wide and has won the GMA's international award.

Though known within the United Kingdom and throughout Canada and Europe from the early 1990s, it was not until his 1999 live album Revival In Belfast that Mark became known in the United States, Australia and the rest of the world. His signature song, "Days of Elijah", has proven popular and his album Revival In Belfast which was released in 1999 remained high in both the christian retail charts and billboard charts for many years. It was still at number 39 five years later on the Billboard Top Christain Albums chart in 2004.[1] When the follow up album Come Heal This Land was released in 2001 it went straight to number one in the Christian Retail Charts in America, Robin became the first artist from the UK to accomplish this feat [2]

Robin attends Christian Fellowship Church Strandtown, Belfast, Northern Ireland on a weekly basis.

In Christian charity and civility I have addressed a article of which feedback was asked for. If I have slandered anyone in particular I apologize but I am very confused. Many of my questions go ignorned and leads me to understand that poor decisions are constantly being made both within the CRCNA General Synod and those in agreement with the forementioned. If one stays within anything that is contrary to God's infallible word they are in agreement with it (ie: 1973 NIV Psalm 133).

This may not be the place for my questions but when asked at my local CRC they to go ignorned. To whom should I ask?

My comments about the psalms, hymns came from a agreed upon document drafted and signed by many pastors and scholars within the CRC.

Peter, let those who are without sin cast the first stone.
You obviously have many misgivings about the CRC and I'm guessing, aren't happy worshiping there. Look around, there are many other churches and denominations where you can worship.
We sing many songs in church that aren't from the Psalter Hymnal - every Sunday. All based on the Bible and all of them doctrinal. Songs from Robin Mark, Chris Tomlin, Paul Baloche etc, etc, etc.
Like someone else commented - all of these will be in our new song book coming out in 2013.
Personally, I don't appreciate you calling my church a false church. You should tred carefully because what you're saying sounds a lot like judging. True believers and Christ-followers are all part of the true Universal church. We are one.
Thanks be to God!!

Dear Peter,
I read my reply again and have to add a few things. Right now I'm doing a course called How People Change. It's based on a book (How People Change) written by Timothy S. Lane and Paul David Tripp. It's a book explaining the Biblical pattern for change in a clear practical way that we can apply to everyday life, while keeping our eyes on the Cross. It's not a quick-fix change but a life-long journey of change. In it we are learning first of all how great our (as in MY) sins are - looking only at my sins, not the sins of others and realizing the fullness of God's grace (to me) through Christ. We are learning that change is a community project. That God Himself is a community (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). Christians can't grow to the fullness of God by living independently of others. We are to be part of a community (church) that enables us to worship Him with all our hearts, souls and minds.
That's why I commented about 'looking around'. If you are struggling with being part of your church community then maybe you're struggling with worship as well.
Wishing you God's blessings as you look for answers and also that God will lead you to a community where you can worship Him with your whole being, because that is after all, why we were created.

To one and all including Pastor R. Blacketer,

You all have totally misunderstood why I initially replied in writing upon the invitation to through feedback. I understood this to be letters to the editor.

In singing anything but 100% of the 150 psalms and hymms taken straight from God's infallible word almost as they are written in God's infallible word during a Reformed worship service is I dare say a slap in the face to the LORD. Am I wrong? Appearantly so as songs written by men versus as Scripture based written by men and women and modern ones are chosen and this is WRONG!

Over and over again one and all are missing the point I am trying to make clear. Have over 40,000 souls who initially left the CRC after a unbiblical decision was made at a CRCNA General Synod that allowed women to be ordained and installed into church offices, ie: Pastor, Elder and Deacon (to-date no one has shown me where in God's entire infallible Word wrong in deoparting? Where did he (our Lord) call and qualify women for these positions) and the list of unbiblical errors lengthens daily. Should I continue?

My family and me do not have a membership in the CRC as I being the head of my family and my wife who was created from a part of my gender is to have no authority over me as it spelt out in God's infallible Word. And yet in disobedience to God's infallible Word she may if we were members of this once faithful body.

Please understand I am casting no stone but am thoroughly confused.

Peter,
One last comment from me. Our Psalter Hymnal has 150 Psalms and 640 Hymns - so which "150 psalms and hymms taken straight from God's infallible word almost as they are written in God's infallible word" are you referring to? Certainly not our Psalter Hymnal.
You sir, are just using this as a place to pound on the CRC and accuse it of being a false church.
Tsk tsk...

Rose,

Once again you have missed my point entirely. Yes I know what is in the Gray CRC Psalter Hymnal but it is rarely if ever theologically correct. That being said it is rarely if ever used as other songs and books are being chosen. I know as I have family within the CRC and some who were but have left. Oddly enough a few others I know who were members have also left and to-date their has been no follow-up on their whereabouts. And they left years ago.

You or anyone else has not answered my other questions either. Why?

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