Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Best Christmas Book

Well, I know this is a little late, but in case the topic of Christmas has ever fascinated you, this is the best book I (I have only read five books on the topic) have read on Christmas.  I can't believe how ignorant I was about the season I love so much.

For example, did you know....
  • For three centuries Christians did not celebrate Christmas at all (in fact it was banned in England and New England.
  • Dickens, Queen Victoria, and Prince Albert did more for the current development of Christmas than any other force.
  • Roosevelt changed the date of Thanksgiving in order to lengthen the Christmas shopping season.
  • Coca-Cola helped fashion Santa Claus's look in an advertising campaign.

It's a quick read with a great summary of the origin, history, and development of Christmas.  Forbes also has a good chapter at the end of what to do with all the information (i.e. how to respond to Christmas from a Christian's perspective).  The annotated bibliography and index are both gold... worth the price alone.

Every pastor should read this book as it will make them much less ignorant about the traditions and history of the most celebrated time of year.  Buy it here or borrow it from my library.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

People are Reading!

I just received a sitemeter report and it told me that this blog recieves an average of 9 views a day for a total 473 views to date.

I started this blog on a trial basis to increase the communication (both in scope and effectiveness) of things relating to our church.  My goal has never been narcissistic in nature (the world doesn't need another pointless blog) but to be a useful tool for the tech-saavy members of our church and community.  By useful, I mean that people would be encouraged, enlightened, and inspired to be the church.  I hope that this has been true for you.

So... you are one of the 9 visiting today!  Thanks for reading and responding as we endeavor to be clearer reflections of Jesus.

2010 is in Sight!

2009 was a really weird year for me and many others I know.  Challenges came in all shapes and sizes and the result was a year of tough growth.  But then again, does true growth come any other way?

I know people that have lost jobs, changed careers/roles, faced financial challenges, journeyed through spiritual struggles, endured hardships, and experienced loss.  Some have come through tired and weary.  Others have been able to adjust and their resolve is stronger than ever.  Finally, a few are still facing significant challenges.

My hope is we will continue to look to Jesus for strength, guidance, and hope.  My challenge is that we as the church would bring Jesus into these situations through prayer, help, encouragement, love, and support.

My overall read on our church is that 2010 will be more than just a change in the chronological clock of our family, bu that the lessons we learned through the winter of 2009 will bring about greater fruit in the year to come.  We will enter 2010 with greater wisdom because we will enter 2010 with greater humility.  More than ever our challenges teach us of our need for Jesus and His presence in our lives.  We learn to lean on Him more, trust in Him more, and hope in Him more!

My prayer for 2010 is that we as a church would see God's goodness even in the dark times so that in the good times we may maintain perspective and our dependency on Jesus.  That we wouldn't hoard the fruit of our labour but that we would give it away (because it's all really His anyways).  That we would take great joy in coming together under Jesus' name and working together to bring God's love and goodness (through the person and presence of Jesus Christ) to our community.  That we would be people who are Spirit-filled (empowered by His Holy Spirit to be His presence on earth)... relying on the Spirit to illuminate the Scripture so that we may live healthier lives that will bring glory to God.

I am excited to continue following Jesus in this New Year, confident that as we obey Him, He will continue to prove His faithfulness, goodness, and power to save and transform!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Little Drummer Boy

I had a fun time this morning at our Sunday gathering.  I enjoyed having a number of conversations during our continental breakfast and hearing four of our worship leaders lead on one team!  We sang a few Christmas carols of which "Little Drummer Boy" was one.  I've never actually reflected on the words of the song until today and never realized how powerful they are.  My eyes welled up with tears when we sang that song as I was reminded of how little I have to offer my Saviour, but in my offering it to Him, He is pleased!

Although Wilf and the team did a much cooler version, and this version below is much cheezier, take time to hear the words.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Words to Live By

Psalm 32
1 Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 2 Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. 3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. "Selah" 5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord"-- and you forgave the guilt of my sin. "Selah" 6 Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him. 7 You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. "Selah" 8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. 9 Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. 10 Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD's unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him. 11 Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!

My First Experience with Coffee

My biological clock is ticking.  This August something in me (not my wife) said that I needed to stop wearing t-shirts and start wearing more age-appropriate clothing.  So I went out and purchased a few shirts and sweaters on my own (risky venture, but Angela approved of my purchases).  Now there are usually 1-2 days a week wear I have a relapse and my t-shirt drawer calls my name, but for the most part I've started dressing a little more mature.... just a little.  Don't get your hopes up too much.... I'm still decades away from a suit.

Then in October I started to desire coffee like never before.  I wondered if this was just a random urge, but having another kid and starting a new role at the church fanned into flame my desire for the devil's brew (that's what Christians in Rome called it medieval times).  The desire just wouldn't go away.  I had never had coffee before (not even a sip) and always looked at my discipline with a sort of pride.  I pitied people who couldn't function in the morning without it; making their way to the coffee maker or Starbucks like zombies.

But after eight weeks of sleepless nights, I broke down.  The social pressure to drink coffee, my tired eyes, and the lure of the aroma overwhelmed me and so I took my daughter on our weekly Starbucks date and ordered a grande dark roast.  I took a sip and it was disgusting.  I took a few more sips and disliked it even more.  Then I added a bunch of half and half, but that didn't help at all.  So round one of my introduction to coffee was horrible.  I think next time I'll try a triple-triple from Tim Horton's.

Scary Santa Claus

There is something about big old men in bright red suits that is scary (just ask our two year old daughter)!  From our family to yours, Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Big B Will Be Missed

UPDATE:  A memorial service will be held in our auditorium on Saturday, January 9, 1:00pm.

This past Sunday a beloved member of our church was promoted and is now with Jesus!  If you are new to our church, you might not have had the opportunity to meet B as he had been struggling with serious health issues over the past few years (and most of his life).

When I reflect on Big B's life I can't do anything but smile.  I remember always hearing him before I saw him (he had a loud booming voice and when he wanted your attention, he got it).  I remember his sarcastic comments and how most of them were humourous in nature :).  I also remember how encouraging and generous he could be as well.

Big B also made our church a better church.  Due to his physical and social challenges many people would have written him off, but our church loved and supported him.  We gave him rides, advice, prayer, visits, meals, cleaned up his house, helped him move things, rescued him when his scooter died, and friendship.  While all of these things cost us something (time, money, and energy) our relationship with B helped us become a better a church.  We are more patient, more loving, more accepting, more forgiving... more like Jesus.

I would like to thank all of those who accepted and helped B just the way he was... you were a great help to him and have encouraged and inspired us.  Thank you!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Natural Evangelism

1 John 1:1-4 NIV
"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes,--this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. which we have looked at and our hands have touched  The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.  We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.  We write this to make our joy complete."

I don't know about you, but the way in which I have gone about evangelism (spreading the Good News of Jesus) in the past never felt natural.  Forcing memorized methods and arguments into unique situations (people) always rubbed me the wrong way.

Over the last couple years I have been challenged by God's Spirit speaking through Scripture to analyze my motives.  The result was a conviction to love people without an agenda...  that as I follow Christ and grow in my understanding of Him, I would love like Him and it would overflow into every area of my life.  God's love and grace would then be experienced through my words and actions in a much more natural way.  My confidence in talking to others about God wouldn't come from my confidence in knowledge, but would be from the evidence of His working in my life.

When I read, 'We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us.' it backs up my conviction that evangelism is simply expressing what we have seen and heard in relationship to our fellowship with God.  There is a natural process of sharing Christ with others when it what we are saying has been lived out personally by us.  It then no longer becomes someone else's story, but belongs to us.  When we own it, it is more natural (therefore easier), it is real (therefore more believable), and is more impacting.

My prayer for our church family is that we would draw into deeper fellowship with Jesus so that His life and love would shine brighter in our everyday, natural, life.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

How do you respond to Christmas?

Advent: Week 1
This morning begins a four week countdown to Christmas.  Some of us will respond in panic, others with a lacustre 'bah humbug', and the rest have already been listening to Christmas carols since September (when Costco put out their trees).

Whatever your response, I hope that you will use our use of Advent to increase your faith in Jesus and not the season.

For those of us that go into panic mode, start by stopping.  Reflect on what is important and get rid of the things that aren't necessary.  Take out a calendar or paper and organize the next four weeks giving extra effort towards making things simpler.  Perhaps this is the year you don't mail out Christmas cards, or you scale back all the dinners and parties, or you buy less, or??

For those of us that have a 'bah humbug' attitude (this comes and goes with me depending on the year), let go of past experiences or the present stress of this year's situations and embrace what Christmas is really about... Jesus coming to save us!  Allow the hope that we have in Jesus to fill your heart and your life.  Also, keep a safe distance from people in the next category :).

Lastly, if you are a Christmas fanatic and love every minute of the season... try being more sensitive.  Help out the "Chicken Little's" of the first category; step carefully around the "Scrooge's" (unless you want egg nog in your face); and then, if you want an extra challenge, try reflecting on your motives to see where your heart should be adjusted.

Here's to a season that can make or break us... the decision is all ours!  Much love, Clint.

Waiting Well

Sunday's message wasn't recorded so I put some of my notes down here:

Waiting Well – November 29, 2009
Psalm 25:1-5

  • People and churches celebrate Christmas in different ways.  Usually it all gets lumped into the title of ‘Advent'.'
  • Ultimately advent calls us to a place of expectant waiting.
  • Waiting is an inevitable part of the Christmas season.  It is an inevitable part of life.  Life really is all about waiting.  Life is comprised of line-ups.  We can’t change that fact, so we have a few options:
          o Get in a different line
          o Leave the line
          o Take a shortcut or budge
          o Get angry and blame others
          o Enjoy the moment and be patient

How can I enjoy waiting?
Waiting well has everything do with perspective and God’s Word is the best place to get it...

Psalm 25:1-5, NASB
"…To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in You I trust, Do not let me be ashamed; Do not let my enemies exult over me. Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed; Those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed. Make me know Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day."

Have you ever asked yourself why you dislike waiting?
  • We fear we’ll miss out; or
  • We are greedy and we want what we want right now
Aren’t these fears and greed similar to the Garden of Eden?  Adam & Eve feared that they were missing out, instead of waiting and trusting God.

Our dislike of waiting comes ultimately from fear (lack of God’s love [1 John 4:17-18]) and distrust.

v. 1      "…To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul (being, life, self, person, desire, appetite,             emotion, and passion).

v. 2      O my God, in You I trust (confidence, security, rest).  Do not let me be ashamed (shy, humiliated, or seen where it looks as though God has disregarded or forgotten me)
  • When someone budges or takes a shortcut AND it works…  they don’t seem to suffer any consequences… it makes us seem like fools… fools for waiting in line with the rest, fools for not being bold enough to take a step, fools for waiting… the result is we are ashamed (humiliated).
  • The psalmist is saying “may I not be humiliated for not forcing or budging my way in the line-up of life.”
Do not let my enemies exult over me.

What goes through your mind when someone budges in front of you?
“What makes them so important?”
  • “I want to do what they just did.”
  • “That’s not fair, I deserve to be ahead of them.”
  • “I better do something and bring justice.”
Last year a 6’4”, 270lb Walmart greeter in New York was trampled to death by a line-up of people waiting to get in to the US Thanksgiving Sale.

What about the real line-ups in life.  What do you do when…
  • Someone gets a promotion you were waiting for.
  • Someone buys something that you have always wanted, but couldn’t afford or couldn’t justify.
  • Someone has a baby and you’ve been trying for years.
  • Someone’s kid is better at something than yours.
v. 3      Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed;

We have to trust in God – that by waiting (even though at times it seems like we are behind and others are enjoying the benefits of their shortcuts) at the end of the day it will not be us looking like fools, but that our waiting on God’s timing will have been the wise choice.

Those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed.
  • People that budge or take shortcuts will get bitten.
  • Sin is really taking shortcuts in life or budging…  it is taking control, not trusting God, and relying on your own understanding and greed to get what you want.
  • Purity is all about waiting in the right line and in God’s timing.
v. 4      Make me know Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths.

Continue to pursue God, obeying Him, following Him… He will place you in the right line and even though you may not understand why you are in the longer line, you can be confident to know that it will all work out in the end.

Waiting = TRUST
Budging/Shortcuts = SIN

v. 5      Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day."

Allow God to show you what line-ups are right.  Some, even if you’re patient, are just simply the wrong line-up (i.e. illegal/immoral activity; disobeying God)

We think we know better than God, but we need to be taught and to trust Him when He says wait.

Christians don’t see life as line-ups because they don’t see the front of the line as the destination.  They see their place in the line as the destination.  They seen an opportunity to trust God; to live in the moment; because they are confident in the hope they have in Christ.

That hope translates into patience, peace, and selflessness.  It translates into the perspective that if God wants me at the front of the line that bad, he’ll part the red sea to make it happen.  I’m not afraid that I’ll miss out because God know what I need and He’ll provide for all of my needs.

Bring on the line-ups because I can’t wait to trust God even more.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Liturgical Year & Advent

I read this book, The Liturgical Year by Joan Chittister (a Bendedictine nun) this week and found it fascinating!

Growing up in a pentecostal evangelical setting liturgical practices were as foreign to me as confession or buddhism.  While the majority of liturgical activities are simply tools that can be heart-felt, providing an avenue for spiritual growth, they can also tempt the believer into duty, religiousness, and irrelevance.

However, because so much of the traditional liturgy is new to me, I find it fascinating... but I can certainly see how if I grew up in a church where it was the norm, I'd be sick of it and looking for ways to be real.

My primary reason for reading this book was to find out more about advent.  Here are some interesting things I read:
  • "Advent" is latin for 'coming' or 'arrival'
  • it started in Gaul (France) at the end of the 5th century
  • the purpose of observing advent is to learn how to wait and to prepare the heart for the significance of the season
  • advent celebrates all that Jesus means (past, present, and future)
  • advent points to the second advent (or the return of Christ)
  • advent focuses on the joy of Christ
  • the first week of advent reminds of the call/need for a Messiah and the peace that He brings
  • the second week of advent calls us with John the Baptist to repent and prepare
  • the third week of advent calls us to rejoice that the Lord is near
  • the fourth week of advent reminds us of Joseph's doubts, Mary's struggle, Elizabeth's faith
  • the mature Christian sees the empty tomb when they look at the manger
  • the western church emphasized the humanity of Jesus
  • the eastern church emphasized the divinity of Jesus (responding to cultural pressures that Jesus was simply a man)
  • different cultures and church traditions celebrate Christmas at different dates (due in part to different calendar systems)
  • December 25th was chosen as Christmas in the West because that was the day that the Roman empire celebrated the sun (Roman god Sol Invictus [Invincible sun]).  In 313 in the Edict of Milan, Christians could finally worship freely.
  • In 321, Emperor Aurelian declared the day an official "day of rest".
Churches have taken the advent concept and created their own traditions.  I think this is perfectly acceptable and even think that churches should change their own tradition/liturgy in an effort to come at the faith and scripture from new and more meaningful approaches.

While there are parts of Christmas that drive me nuts, there are other parts that I love.  Discovering more from history's response has definitely enhance my understanding of the season and has increased my faith...  I hope your faith is increased this season too.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Interview with Zain Krikau

This morning we did something a little different during our gathering.  Instead of a traditional sermon, I had the privilege of introducing and interviewing Zain Krikau.

When you get a moment, pop on over to the MFC website and take a listen: http://www.missionfoursquare.com/index.php/downloads/sermons.html.

You'll hear the story of a man that gave is heart to Jesus and how Jesus changed his life.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Can You Guess Who This Is?

Next Sunday... November 22, 2009 we will be doing something a little different!  Instead of a traditional sermon I will be interviewing someone from our church.  Their photo is the one above and although they have aged since this photo, that same smile and love for life is evident.

The purpose for this interview is...
  • Hear a modern day story of God's power and life-changing ways
  • Get to know someone from our Church family a little better
  • Encourage us to see the big picture (i.e. grow our faith)
  • Inspire us to become better
  • Bring glory to God!
We will be setting up a couple club chairs on the stage and I will brush off my best "Oprah" face.  You will laugh, cry, and be changed!

Feed Them & They Will Come

This morning we had our first contintental breakfast and it was a lot of fun!  Over 50 people came in time to enjoy bagels, muffins, coffee, prayer, and fellowship.  On a personal level I really appreciated the extra time to connect with others.  Special thanks to Chris & Jonathan for helping host the breakfast table; the Ewert's for leading the pre-service prayer; and Teresa for cleaning up!

If you missed out, no worries... you can join us next Sunday from 9:15-9:55am.

In the service we got to hear just a bit of Francesca's missions trip to Turkey and then thank God for doing the miraculous!  Wilf and team literally "rocked on" in worship.  I got to share how Philippians 2:1-11 works in our current setting.  Then we prayed, enjoyed some coffee and juice, then went on our way.

For lunch, Ruby and I got to eat with the Kim's and enjoyed being with them.   The Kim's are such a loving and faithful family... our church family is blessed so much by them.  Next time you make a moment, thank them too for all they do for God through serving in our children's ministry!

Now I get to organize my week and then go home and enjoy being with my family!!  Have a great week and make the most of it by "seeing others as better than yourself".  Aren't you glad Jesus lived like that?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Let the Kids Camp Fundraising Begin!

Thanks to all the parents who organized and helped with today's bottle drive!  All of these bottles plus a couple (stinky) vans full were collected and sorted.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

1 Week in and the Honeymoon is Still Going!

Today marked the first week of following Jesus as our church's pastor and the honeymoon is still going!  This week I got to share what God has laid on my heart for His church and this season.  I got to make a couple pastoral calls/visits and those were really fun.  And I delivered some food to a family going through difficult times.

Some youth held a bake sale after the service to raise funds for a youth conference in Courtenay and they said made about $300.  Thank you to everyone who gave and supports our youth.  Your investment will pay out huge dividends!

After our gathering we went to Wendy's for some lunch with friends.  Tonight we are going over to a friends house for a roast dinner.  Can you tell I like food?

What was your week like?  What will the week ahead of you look like?  Step out in faith and follow Jesus to whatever, whomever, and wherever He leads.  He is living inside of you through His Spirit... be who Jesus is through you!  Love others like He loves you.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Well Done, Good & Faithful Servants!

A couple weeks ago we took time to thank and honor our former Pastors, Arnie & Val ter Mors.  They faithfully served, loved, and lead our congregation for five years.  A number of people from the church took time to publicly thank them their service.  From everything that was said, these were the common themes that I heard...
  • "Thank You for Leading us to Jesus"...  Arnie and Val have a contagious focus on Jesus that helps them to keep things simple and stay on track.  Thank you for reminding us that it is all about Jesus!
  • "Thank You for Being Honest"...  Arnie's preaching style is to be more blunt than most and we appreciated his honesty and transparency.
  • "Thank You for Helping Break our Religiousness"...  by helping us focus on Jesus, Arnie & Val helped us evaluate why we do what we do and if it is just religious activity or is there a right heart and right direction behind it.
  • "Thank You for Getting our Addition Completed"...  Arnie and Val were able to lead our church through a $940,000 (7200 sq. ft) construction project.  In the two years it has been in operation we have paid $140,000 of that mortgage down.  Our children, youth, and community get to benefit from this great facility.
Thank you Arnie and Val for your faithful service to Jesus!  God has used your willingness to bless us and our community both now and for years to come.  "Well done, good and faithful servants!".

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday Recap - November 1, 2009

What a fantastic gathering we had this morning! I was encouraged and hope you were too!  Thank you to all of our volunteers from the music team to kitchen help to Sunday school teachers.

Today we got to pray for Francesca as she and team from Kingsway Foursquare Church is heading to Turkey on a Missions Trip for the next two weeks. Francesca is a youth leader in our Edge Youth Ministry and we are grateful for her service both here and in Turkey. Please remember to pray for her and their team. To find out more information on their team visit the team blog at kingswaycrew.blogspot.com.

We also announced that Calvin & Elisa Williams will be stepping into a new role at our church as our Youth Pastors.  Calvin & Elisa have been working with our youth ministry for the past four years and Calvin has been a YFC worker for that time as well.  He will continue in his work with YFC and our youth ministry.  Please continue to pray, help, and support them!

I had the privilege to share some words that God has placed on my heart for this season of our church.  You will be able to hear the whole message at http://www.missionfoursquare.com/index.php/downloads/sermons.html.  I have also included below a letter I wrote to our church:

Letter to the Members of

November 1, 2009

Dear Church Family,

We are entering a new season at Mission Foursquare Church and I am thrilled to be a part this family!  Just over ten years ago I walked through the doors of a little country church building and was warmly greeted by this fellowship.  For me, it was love at first sight.  I loved Mission from the first time I drove here and I loved our church family even more from the first Sunday I visited.

What’s even more amazing is that after ten years I haven’t ‘fallen’ out of love with Mission or our church.  In fact, I love our town and church more than ever.  People have come and gone and our buildings have changed, but the same seeds that were planted at our start by dedicated men and women are continuing to grow and bear fruit under the power and graciousness of our Lord.

Throughout our history we have also experienced many challenges only to see God prove Himself faithful again and again.  He has blessed us with loving people, stable leadership, healings, salvations, spiritual gifts, land and buildings, a promising future, and more!  So as we move into this next season we can anticipate that their will be more challenges, but God will be faithful and His blessings will follow us as we follow Him!

In this new season we have much to celebrate and much to work on.  First, here is what we can celebrate:
  • A New Day…  “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 NIV.  We can start each new day and new season confident that God has created the day and that is reason enough to celebrate!
  • A New Servant…  Without me knowing it God has been preparing me for this season and I am excited to follow Jesus.  I firmly believe that the real pastor of our church is Jesus and I have simply been lead to a new role of reminding us of that fact.
  • New Ideas… I have literally spent nights without sleep over the past month because my mind has been buzzing with ideas of how to help us better reach our neighbours and continue growing in our walk with Jesus.  Of course, I’m not the only one with ideas, your ideas are even better so please call or email me and we can walk it out.
  • Mortgage Payment… Did you know that the total bill for our new family and youth centre addition came to $940,000?  While we still have 13 years (or less!) to go before it’s paid for, we can celebrate that in two years we have brought it down to $800,000!
  • Salvations… Our youth ministry specifically has started to see youth come to faith in Christ!  Most of these youth are students that don’t have any other connection to our church.  We can look forward to Jesus transforming their life and friend’s lives!
  • New Youth Pastor… Many of us already know Calvin Williams as he has been a vital part of our youth ministry for the past four years.  In conjunction with his work through Youth For Christ in Mission, he will also lead our youth ministry.  I have a deep love and appreciation Calvin and Elisa.  They have soft hearts towards Jesus and those He died for!  Please continue to encourage and support them in prayer, help, and financial contributions.
  • Giving is Up… Thank you to everyone who responded to council’s challenge to tithe.  Due in part to rental revenue increase, increased giving, and budget changes, we were only $700 short of our new budget in October 2009.  While we still need to give generously to recover from our shortfall from the last ten months, it looks as though we are now headed in the right direction!

Now that you’ve been encouraged and inspired by those points of celebration, we can move on to our current challenges.  As we all pitch in, we and our community will see and know God’s love and grace!

  • Loving Service… There are always ministries that could use extra hands.  Whether it’s bottle drives, teaching Sunday School, mentoring youth, running the words for worship, or working on the sound board, we need everyone to pitch in and volunteer to make the ministry of our church family grow!
  • Giving… Due to a downturn in giving over the past year our council sat down last week and has revamped the budget by cutting expenses and changing salaries and benefits.  The result is a monthly expense decrease of $3500 making our new monthly income goal $17,000.  If you call our church, your church family, then please give towards our family expenses.  Know that $17,000 is a bare bones budget.  For our church to meet every one of its goals at this season of our life we would need to see $26,000 a month!  Thank you for your generosity!

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.  I hope you will take all of this to heart by thanking God for His goodness and then asking Him how you can be a part of extending His love and life through our church family!



Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Is Honesty Always the Best Policy?

Last week I sold my dearly beloved truck of six years.  She was a 1977 Ford F-150 Explorer with a charming exterior and even more beautiful inside (she was our wedding getaway vehicle too as pictured above).  I posted my ad on craigslist and had a number of bites and offers.  I felt that my asking price was fair and I told them that I wouldn't waiver from it (at least until I had exhausted my possibilities).  About a week after posting the ad I received a phone call from an Abbotsford man who asked if I would be willing to write him a gift letter and take the cash "under the table".  [In case you don't know what a gift letter is, it is a document that ICBC requires when someone gifts a vehicle to another and thus ensures that the buyer does not have to pay any tax.]   I told Him that I don't operate like that and I couldn't be dishonest about the transaction.  He told me that he'd think about it and then call me back.

The next day he actually did call and we set-up a meeting.  After a quick test drive he gave me the asking price.  He told me that he felt he could trust me because I was willing to be honest with the government and him.

So, in case you were wondering if honesty is still the best policy, I would have to agree.  Although honesty is rarely easy it does reap the best rewards.

Petitioning God

A couple nights ago my daughter brought her stethoscope (she calls it a "doctorscope") into my office asking me to fix it.  She said that it doesn't make sounds anymore.  We headed into the garage and took apart the part with the circuit board and speaker.  Instantly we saw that a tiny little wire became disconnected from the sauder point on the circuit board.  Not wanting to bother (or test my limited saudering skills) I told her it was beyond repair and that she'd just have to use it without the sound.  Well, this wasn't good enough for her and so she continued to beg me to fix it.  After a couple cute pouty looks I couldn't help but get out my saudering gun.  Ten minutes later we heard the electronic "coughing" and "heartbeat" sounds.  She was excited and ran upstairs to tell Mommy that it was all better.

Right after that I couldn't help but remember the times when God "wanted" to give up on humanity and then there was someone who was willing to petition/intercede on their own and others behalf.  This petitioning (begging of sorts) seem to move God to give them another chance.  While I don't believe that God is a fickle being that changes His mind like a kid in a candy store; I do believe that He is extremely loving and gracious.  Just like when my heart was moved by my daughter petitioning me to take another chance on her doctorscope, I am glad that God takes another chance on you and me.

As people that have the benefit of communication and relationship with God through Jesus (who is petitioning on our behalf) ask youself how are you coming to God?  How strongly do you feel about the things that you bring to God?  Do you give up or do you continue to pray?  Because in a way that I don't fully understand, God, in His grace, allows us in the process of His involvement with humanity.  He gives us the opportunity and responsibility to petition Him for our own and others behalf.  As we come to Him in faith (in line with His will and in response to His Spirit dwelling in us), He graciously and powerfully responds.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

And Then There Was Four!

On Saturday Angela gave birth to a beautiful boy!  We are overwhelmed and excited.  If it wasn't for Char (who helped with the labour) and Angela's mom (who watched Ruby and now is third set of hands [much needed]) I don't know how we could do it... I guess that's why we need friends and family!  We are grateful for everyone's prayers, support, and kind words!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fun at the Corn Maze

Last night I had the privilege of driving to and from the Chilliwack Corn Maze in a van filled with 7th & 8th graders.  They sang Hannah Montanna and a number of other equally annoying songs over and over... but I loved it (not the songs, but their enthusiasm and energy).  We arrived at the muddy corn maze and spent a little over an hour getting lost together... arguing over which way to go and in the process, learning patience and teamwork.  Then around the campfire we scorched our tongues with hot chocolate and received prizes for our costumes (the theme was "Cinderella" and I was an ugly step-sister).  Chrystal L. organized a great night and we all had a lot of fun.  Thank you to all the leaders/drivers for your investment!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Knowing Ones Creator Changes Ones Value

In 2007 a Canadian born man purchased a painting for $19,000.  He had a hunch that it could be worth more so he had it analyzed.  Turns out it was da Vinci creation which skyrocketed its value to $200 Million!

It's funny how a creation's value is found in its creator.  I'll let you draw the conclusions to your value and the way you see your Creator!

Read the full article here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/art-news/6309942/Leonardo-da-Vinci-picture-worth-millions-revealed-by-a-fingerprint.html

The Cure to Childhood Obesity

Have a son or daughter with some bulge around the waist?  Do they sit at the computer or play video games lots?  Here is the solultion... a manual powered computer!  Read the whole article at http://www.olpcnews.com/countries/afghanistan/updates_from_olpc_afghanistan_1.html

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sunday School & Inter-generational Philosophy

Leadership Journal just published an article entitled Let the Little Children Come by Angie Ward that challenges the traditional approach to "Sunday School". It's worth a read. In a digital world where everything is tailored to the consumers tastes we must stop and think of this effect on community. I believe that inter-generational ministry is important for the well being and future of the church. However, it is much more difficult than segmenting generations to program specific options. Separating generations for specific issues definitely has its place, but when we segment generations because we find older generations boring or young generations irritating we have then lost. This article provides some interesting ideas in how to integrate children into a Sunday service: http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/preachingworship/worship/letthelittlechildrencome.html