Friday, January 29, 2010

New Series: Prayer

I'm really looking forward to this Sunday as we will be looking at topic of prayer.  For most of my life I have treated prayer like eating vegetables... it's good for me; but I'll do my best to get by with as little as possible.

For the last two months I have been reading, thinking, studying, and practicing prayer.  And I can tell you that unlike eating vegetables, the more I spend time doing it the more I like it.

I am excited to begin sharing what God has to say about prayer this Sunday.  It is my hope that our church will see with greater clarity what prayer is and isn't.  It is my hope that our church will then begin to pray like never before and we will see God do what only He can do!

Foursquare in Haiti - Part 3

Foursquare Haiti Update 2 from The Foursquare Church on Vimeo.

*Please Note: Donations to FMI should be made through the local church to ensure you are given a tax receipt.  Donations made directly to FMI (because it is based in the states) may not be eligible for a charitable donation tax receipt.  FMI doesn't have an online donation module for Canadians so if you want to donate it needs to be done the old fashioned way :)...  through cheque or interac.  Make cheques payable to Mission Foursquare Church (earmark the cheque/offering envelope with 'Haiti').

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Foursquare in Haiti - Part 2

Below are a couple news items released from Foursquare Missions International.  It is also important to note that donations to FMI should be made through the local church to ensure you are given a tax receipt.  Donations made directly to FMI (because it is based in the states) may not be eligible for a charitable donation tax receipt.  FMI doesn't have an online donation module for Canadians so if you want to donate it needs to be done the old fashioned way :)...  through cheque or interac.  Make cheques payable to Mission Foursquare Church (earmark the cheque/offering envelope with 'Haiti').

Foursquare Haiti Update 1 from The Foursquare Church on Vimeo.

Foursquare Is Responding
Released: January 20, 2010

Setting up of infrastructure both on the ground and in Foursquare USA.

Jeff Roper, Lead Person for Foursquare Relief and Compassion Team

Our hearts are moved with compassion for the millions of lives that have been forever changed because of the recent earthquake in Haiti. Each one of us are so moved by this tragedy we want to go now. Our hearts break to serve these people who have suffered so much.

The Foursquare Church has been in Haiti a long time. We will be in Haiti long after this crisis. And we are in Haiti now. The Foursquare response to disaster is long-term and three-fold:

1) RESPONSE: The first three to four weeks after the crisis we serve qualified first responders and help mobilize the Foursquare family to pray, give, and go. During this first phase our relief and compassion team will actively assess the needs on the ground in order to develop a tailor-made response to the crisis. In the case of Haiti, the destruction is so catastrophic that only the “best of the best” first responders can and should be there. We are glad to say we are working with these incredible people.

2) RECOVERY: During the next 18-24 months, FMI will be sending in medical, construction, and ministry teams. If you are interested in serving on a GO Team, sign up by downloading a form at  Here, you can download the Emergency Relief and Database Questionnaire, which will help us build a database to form and deploy strategic teams.

3) RESTORATION: By strategically working together we will see spiritually vibrant and socially relevant churches planted throughout Haiti resulting in long-term transformation.

We, your Foursquare Relief and Compassion Team, need your prayers and participation. Our dear neighbors in Haiti, and our Haitian families here in the US, need our love, prayers, and support.

What We [Foursquare Missions Int'l] Are Doing

Foursquare missionaries in the region are playing a critical role in our response team. Charlie Finocchiaro, serving in the Dominican Republic, has just returned from checking on our family.

Pastor Guy (pronounced G-e-e) Thomas’s family is okay. Some inside belongings were broken, but the home suffered little damage.

Twelve members of his congregation are confirmed dead and at least 20 homes destroyed, including the home of Pastor Guy’s assistant pastor Rosinel. Some church members are still unaccounted for.

One church member’s wife had to have both of her legs amputated and their two children did not survive the earthquake.

Pastor Guy has not been able to visit all the church families yet, and phone calls have not been possible. Surrounding neighbors of the church have lost their homes and are displaced. Pastor Guy and other members have been ministering to them, and plans are being made to provide food, shelter, and medical services to the people of Haiti through the Foursquare Church. Sunday service, January 17, 2010, was held outside the church with about 50 in attendance. Pastor Guy’s message was one of hope and encouragement to the Haitians to which he ministered.

Of the seven Foursquare churches, Pastor Guy has only been able to contact one of the pastors. Pastor Bellande’s family is okay, but his home was severely damaged. We do not have any information on his church members. The other churches and the orphanage are outside of the Port-au-Prince area and should not have suffered much damage.

Tabare, the main church in Port-au-Prince, is just 2 minutes from the US embassy, on the same road to the airport. The church building suffered some damage, but is still structurally sound. The block walls will need to be rebuilt, including the electrical outlets, but the church columns and foundation are fine.

We are working alongside first responders who are running 5 of the 35 response units that are currently on the ground in Haiti.

Charlie Finocchiaro, our missionary from the Dominican Republic, was sent to Haiti to help in assessing the situation and to make contact with our national leader of Foursquare, Guy Thomas. Charlie was able to deliver water, food, supplies, clothes, a small gas powered generator, fuel, and cash to Pastor Guy. While there, he was escorted by an armed police detail wherever he went. Currently there are isolated breakouts of looting, and some violence. Those who are part of the search, rescue and recovery efforts must be escorted at all times by an armed security detail. Because of a relationship with the Dominican Consulate, Charlie was housed at the police station across from the national palace where it was very safe. Food and water supplies are being handed out to Haitians from the site. Across the street from the police station is a green area with hundreds of people.  Prayer and praise meetings could be heard throughout each night.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Foursquare in Haiti

The following is a news release from Foursquare Missions International (January 15, 2010):

The Foursquare Church has established a strong physical and spiritual presence on the ground following the devastating 7.0 earthquake that struck the island nation of Haiti on Tuesday, January 12. Foursquare Missions International (FMI) has released funds to first responders on the ground in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, for initial assessment and emergency aid. A specialized medical team with disaster response experience from a U.S. Foursquare church will attempt to arrive in Haiti next week. However, after the Port-au-Prince airport closure yesterday, the relief team is praying they will be allowed to enter.

Haitian Foursquare National Leader Guy Thomas and his wife, Soeurette, survived the quake although it took more than 48 hours to confirm their safety due to widespread communication outages in Haiti. Initial reports from Pastor Guy indicate that some church members may have died in the quake; he and surviving church members are scrambling to rescue the injured and deal with the death and destruction around them.

Foursquare missionaries Charlie and Darla Finocchiaro live in the Dominican Republic, 150 miles from the epicenter of the quake. Charlie is attempting to enter Port-au-Prince, Haiti, tomorrow, and he asked that our churches pray for the desperate needs of survivors: “Pray for shelter for those without a home, a loving touch through the church, that people would turn their hearts to the Lord for salvation, and for strong ministries of physical, emotional and spiritual healing.”
David Stone, FMI’s area missionary in the Caribbean, is due to arrive in Haiti on Sunday. David reported that a 40-hour rain storm in Puerto Rico has greatly hampered relief efforts; he asks that The Foursquare Church join him in praying that the storm will move out of the region so that much-needed relief can be sent to Haiti.

To help mobilize teams and relief supplies, The Foursquare Church is accepting donations with the commitment that 100 percent of funds donated will be sent directly to relief assistance.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Jesus Christ our Healer

A few weeks ago, one of church family, Keith, gave a message on how Jesus not only has the power to save, but to heal as well!  At the end of his message, Keith invited anyone who would like prayer for healing to come to the front and have the elders pray for them.  A number of people responded to the invitation and some of them received complete healing!  In fact, even this week I received two more emails filled with good news of God's grace and healing in their lives.

When God heals it's not only a mystery in the timing and in the way He does this, but it also extremely humbling.  All we did is just come to Jesus in faith and He did the rest.  It wasn't a formula or a person, but humble hearts and a gracious God!

Jesus is not only our Savior, but our Healer, Baptizer in the Holy Spirit, and Soon-Coming King!  That's the foursquare (meaning complete/full) Gospel at work.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Good Problems

Have you ever had so much money that you didn't know how to spend it all?  I haven't either, but those are the kinds of problems we all wish we had.  This morning at church we had that kind of problem for our pre-service prayer.  We meet in the Church library from 9:15am - 9:30ish and up until this morning there have always been enough chairs.  This morning it was standing room only so we have a good problem (find a big enough room for all the people wanting to pray)!  I'll be working on a solution this week.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hearts for Haiti

Photo: Damon Winter/The New York Times
You've most likely heard or seen about the crisis in Haiti.

Know that God did not cause this event or want it to happen.  His heart is broken and hurting.   Natural disasters, wars, famine, etc. are the result of a fallen creation that is reeling in chaos and destruction.  We know that Jesus came to save us from our fallen state and that through our faith in Him we are saved, born again and a new creation.  We are now his children, co-heirs in Christ, remaining in the midst of this chaos and destruction to bring the light, life, and love of Jesus!  May we continue to join together to be God's hands and feet on earth.  May our hearts be moved to compassion and action that the nation of Haiti may see the light, life, and love that is Jesus.

How can we act/respond?
  • We can pray on our own (in your car, at home, anywhere) and together (we are gathering this Saturday at 7:00pm for a night of prayer and we will include Haiti).
  • We can give this Sunday you can make a donation to Foursquare's relief work in Haiti (simply designate your donation and the entire funds will be forwarded to the work in Haiti).  Giving and helping through the local church in Haiti is often more effective because our churches there already have understanding of what is needed and a relationship with the people (both now and in the years to come).
  • We can go to the land and help.  Foursquare is in the process of organizing teams that will be going to help immediately as well as in the weeks and months to come.  If you are interested, please talk to me (

Foursquare has seven churches and an orphanage (plus many other works/ministries) in Haiti and Foursquare Missions has begun communicating with the church leaders on the ground.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Encouraging Sunday

I was really encouraged after Sunday's service.  I went 10 minutes late (sorry Sunday School teachers and helpers) and still over half of our church family stayed for a least an additional 20-30 minutes.  There seemed to be a more genuine friendship and discussion than usual and that gets me really excited.  I also had some really positive discussions with a number of people about taking a new step of faith to grow up!  A number of people also purchased the book by Barry Buzza called Life Purpose to work through... plus two couples have decided to start a home group that will go through the book and workbook together.  I love it when we open ourselves to follow Jesus!

We Grow Up By Growing Down

Over the next few months you'll be hearing this phrase a lot... "we grow up by growing down".

It's a simple principle in the plant world that a plant's health is only as good as its roots.  If you take out the roots, you take out the plant.  If you have a plant that doesn't have good roots, it won't make it through the rough seasons and it definitely won't grow to its potential.

That same principle is just as true to us as a followers of Christ and as His Church.  If we want to grow up to the potential we were created for then we need to ensure that we first concentrate on growing down (growing our roots).  The depth of our character, heart, and faith will determine the amount we grow above the surface.  We may temporarily focus on the surface and do impressive things there for all to see, but it will never last.  Storms and droughts will come and we will die.

This Sunday we will begin looking at the prayer life of a follower of Christ.  If we want to grow up then we better grow down by getting on our knees.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

It's time to Grow Up!

This morning we met for "Vision Sunday" where I had the privilege of communicating where we are at, where we need to go, and how we can get there.  It all came down to phrase, "Grow Up!".

Would you believe the two spaces as pictured above are the same space?  They are... before and after.  Somewhere between where we are and where we need to be is a thing called growth.  Growing is uncomfortable because it requires change, stretching, and hard work.  The only part of this that makes growing worthwhile is the destination!  We have our destination as the source for inspiration and hope.  That destination is Jesus!

The way in which we communicate our growing steps or "mission" is through the terms, Know, Grow, and Sow.  It is our Church's primary purpose to see people come to KNOW Jesus as their Savior and Lord, then continue to GROW in Jesus (discovering and living out who we are in Christ), then allow the byproduct of a life in Christ to be expressed by SOWING Jesus (giving away).

The challenge to grow up in 2010 has been placed before us and now we need to respond.  If you don't know Jesus, then get to know him.  If you know Him then start to grow in Him.  If you are growing in Him then start sowing Him!

I also distributed a handout for everyone to place on their fridges to remind us to keep growing!  You can download it here.  On the front it explains the process and reasons for growth.  On the back it explains practical ways for you to grow.  Here are some to consider for 2010:

  • Choose one way to grow in your knowledge of Him (start reading the Bible, praying, obeying, participating in our Sunday gatherings, etc.)
  • Chose one way you can grow in who you are in Christ (this requires the help of other people... i.e. small groups, mentors,).
  • Choose one way you can sow Jesus (step out in faith and donate an extra 1% of your income, volunteer for a ministry or community program, etc.).
This year is going to be a year of growing up!  I have been challenged personally to give away an extra percent of my income and I have formed a small group with my peers.  Although I will have to make sacrifices along the way, like eating out less and committing more time to my peers, I know the destination is worth it!

Lord, give us eyes to see, increase our faith so that we might step out and grow up!

Remembering Brian

Yesterday we spent a couple hours remembering and celebrating Brian (Big B) Hunter's life.  See my thoughts on his life here.  A side note that I want to respond to from the service was the way our church was the church!  We had lots of people bring food and a many helped with the set-up, preparation, and clean-up.  Thank you to everyone who gave in this way.  I know Brian's family was blown away by our hospitality.