Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sexuality and Christian Hope

This past Sunday, Pastor Barry McGaffin (guest speaker from Kingsway Foursquare Church), mentioned in one his points that hope is the reason we save sex for marriage.  What did he mean by that?

One of my favourite preachers, Dr. Timothy Keller (Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City), spoke a great message on this on April 18, 2004 from 1 Corinthians 6:13-20; 7:27-31.  Listen to the message on their church's website:

P.S.  We'll be talking more about hope this Sunday as we light the "Hope" candle for Advent.

Advent Challenge

Over the next four weeks, we will begin walking through the season of Advent.  Advent means  "coming or arrival" and in the Christian context this is the time in the calendar where we remember Jesus' first arrival as a baby and then prepare for His second arrival (His return)!  The Church designed Advent to help prepare people for the arrival of Christ by focusing on Him and what He means to Creation.  Our perspective is that the season of Advent is needed more than ever as our culture pushes further away from the influence of Christ and marches on to greater self-indulgence.  During this season, our Church will focus on Jesus by reflecting in who He is and what He means.  We will do this by emphasizing the Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace we have in Christ.  As we spend time preparing our hearts for His arrival/return He will change the way we see ourselves and others.  Our response to His presence will change the way we look at presents.  Our hope is that this Christmas we will spend less and give more... and we have some really great ways to join together in doing this:

Christmas Hampers
We are collecting none perishable food items to be distributed to families in the community (in cooperation with the food bank and Christmas Bureau).  Hampers will be packed with food and gift cards!. All to be delivered on December 16, 2010.  Questions? Contact Dave Parsons at 604-814-3538.

StreetHope Christmas Dinner
StreetHope is running two sittings of Christmas Day dinner (2:00pm and 4:00pm).  If you are able, would you consider cooking Christmas dinner with about 8 extra people in mind?  Prepare the dinner and then bring it down to StationX (North Railway) before one of the sittings.  All extras will be given out as leftovers or delivered to the disabled.  StreetHope is also in need of volunteers for this event as table hosts, kitchen help, and cleaners.  If you are interested, we would appreciate as much advanced notice as possible to help with the planning.  For more information contact Becky Brisson (604-820-0922).

Start a new Christmas tradition...
Eliminate traditions that are wasteful (from a time, financial, and spiritual perspective) and begin new ones that emphasize your love for God... His love will pour out of you in generosity, time, and energy given to others.  Here are practical ways this could look... spend less time at the mall and more time shoveling your neighbour's driveway... buy a smaller tree and give the remaining money to someone else... buy less presents for your family and buy some for others... spend less time decorating and more time being together...

Have a Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gifts or Presence?

This Sunday we begin Advent!  Advent is season in which we prepare/wait/remember/celebrate the birth of Jesus.  As we enter this season how will we prepare/wait/remember/celebrate?  Will we do what our neighbours do or will we be intentional about allowing the life and love of Jesus to be experienced in the way He is calling us?

Watch this video from the Advent Conspiracy (thanks Tyler O. for sending this to me):

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Explore More: Spiritual Disciplines
November 14-20, 2010; Week 5

KNOW | Personal Study
2 Timothy 3:14-17; 4:3-5; Romans 12:2; Psalm 119:9-11; Ephesians 3:10-11.  Take time to read and reflect on these passages.  Make observations about these words of inspiration and instruction.  Meditate on these words (focus, repeat, ponder, reflect, and apply).

GROW | Discussion - Option #1
If your neighbour asked, "why do you read the Bible?", what would you say?  Would your answer line up with the way that you live your life and would your neighbour agree?

GROW | Discussion - Option #2
 What excuses have you made when it comes to studying God's Word?  It's important to be honest with yourself, but not beat yourself up over past failures.  Get back on the horse and try again, and again, and again!  Also, be purposeful in combating your excuses.

SOW | Application
Start a devotional plan (or continue with your current one) and set aside a good chunk of time (i.e. 45-60 minutes) to not just read a passage, but to study it.  Pick out key words and phrases and ask yourself, why did he say this or why did he choose that specific word?  Use resources like concordance, lexicons, dictionaries, etc. to help.  If you don't have printed versions of these, go to  You can also ask others questions about it.  Finally, don't forget to interpret the application and then obey it!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Explore More: Spiritual Disciplines
 November 7-13, 2010; Week 4

KNOW | Personal Study
Mark 8:34-36; Eph 5:21-6:9; & 1 Peter 2:13-14, 21–23 .
  Take time to read and reflect on these passages.  Make observations about these experiences and words of instruction.  Meditate on these words (focus, repeat, ponder, reflect, and apply).

GROW | Discussion - Option #1
In what areas of your life do you feel you need to control?  Where do you get annoyed, frustrated, bitter, impatient, or angry?
  What is it about that situation that causes you to experience those feelings?  How does submitting to God in that area change your perspective?

GROW | Discussion - Option #2
Is there a situation in your life where you wonder if God requires you submit because doing so goes against God's word and seems destructive?
  Take time to talk to God and with others in your life that have walked for a long time with Jesus.  God will guide and direct your steps.

SOW | Application
Take a relationship or situation that you are currently involved in where you know God is calling you to submit (trust Him).  Prayer for the person/people involved, ask God to give you guidance and strength.  Allow the love of Christ as demonstrated in His submission towards you to provide you with an example and the inspiration to follow Him into your world.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Letter to MFC - November 2010

Letter to the Members of

November 1, 2010

Dear Church Family,

Exactly one year ago I was installed as the Pastor of our Church family.  I was humbled and excited and I find that I am even more so one year later.  I have to admit that I was very nervous at the thought of leading our Church family.  However, my nerves were quickly consumed by God’s goodness and power.  His presence gave me hope, courage, and direction.  In addition to God’s faithfulness, I was overwhelmed by the way in which you extended (and continue to extend) patience and humility towards me.

Thank you for letting me follow Jesus in the leading of His Church.  We have had an incredible year filled with growth, miracles, provision, and hope…

  • Highlights from the last twelve months… fundraised for kid’s and youth camp; sent Francesca T. on a missions trip to Turkey; started a continental breakfast program; began pre-service prayer; integrated some personal testimonies into services; said “see you soon” to Big Bee, Gracie, and Kaethe Toews; fundraised for Haiti; taught on prayer; challenged us to grow-up; organized a sock hop; hosted CMA’s conference; had a family hockey night; participated in a work bee; had a Spring bazaar; competed in a road rally; walked through Ephesians; planted some apple trees; started a weekly “to do” list; had some fun summer Sundays like a chili cook-off, water fight, and talent show; raised money for a local missionary (Calvin Williams); sent Nicole Raible to Thailand; dedicated three babies ; sent some youth and young adults to Skatin reserve; sent Isaac to Mexico; prayed for Bernie & Lynda in Mexico; replaced our roof; experienced a gross sewage back-up; baptized 10 youth; launched five more small groups; and a whole lot more that I forgot to mention… can I hear a, “praise the Lord!”?
  • Family building… the events listed above served as great environments for our Church family to grow closer to one another and allow others to see the goodness of God!  My observation is that we have become more like a family and less like a religious organization.
  • The next twelve months… I’m already excited for what’s in store for our Church family.  You’ll hear more on January 9th at our Vision Sunday, but know that we will continue to follow Jesus as the unique body He has called together here at MFC.
  • Increasing our hospitality…  over the next couple months our Church will be making plans to increase our hospitality from an organizational and relational level.  We want to people to be drawn to the grace and generosity of our God through the way in which we welcome them.
  • Church finances… while we aren’t the place where I hoped we’d be twelve months in, we are headed in the right direction.  Council was able to trim our expenses so that we look to break even this year and then work towards getting ahead in the year to come.  An extra bit of good news is that in addition to breaking even we were able to replace our roof ($36,000 expense).
  • Working in the background… on weeks that I’m not scheduled to preach, I am able to work on other needed projects.  I’ve been working on a facility maintenance program (so that we can avoid things like a sewage back-up), facility rental system, ministry planning and scheduling, discipleship/leadership program, personnel program, outreach planning, and a few other fun things.
  • Church flooring… our carpet in the foyer, offices, and auditorium is need of replacing.  The good news is the expensive part (about $20,000 worth of carpet) has been donated to us.  However, to dispose of the old carpet and install the new stuff will cost about $3,000.  Council has also decided that replacing the foyer carpet with new carpet would not be very functional.  Instead Council would like to install vinyl flooring (looks like hardwood) as it is more practical.  This foyer flooring will cost $3,000 to purchase.  This means that we’ll need an extra $6,000 to replace the auditorium, office, and foyer flooring.  Council will only move forward on this flooring plan if we finish the 2010 year at least $6,000 over our expenses.
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!

“For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”  Eph. 1:15-19a NIV.



Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Why Your Church Doesn't Feel Like A Family

Watch this video... however, it still doesn't give us an excuse to ignore our call to be generous, hospitable people :)