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:

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

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  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!