Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Great Christmas Day

Following our Christmas Eve service, we went back to our house and shared a nice evening of appetizers (three cheers for the oriental party pack) and opening presents with/from my in-laws.  Ruby started us off by unwrapping a Barbie wardrobe thing.  Then Charlie opened a toolbox that came with a ton of little boy tools (by the end of the night our coffee table looked like a beaver had been snacking on it).  Angela opened up her gift to unveil an iPad.  She was pretty overwhelmed and very grateful.  By the time it came to me I was actually getting excited.  I unwrapped my gift and discovered three pairs of socks... ahhh the life of a Dad.

Ruby was up until midnight playing with her Barbie when she finally fell asleep.  I then awoke to her banging around in her room with her toys at 3:00am.  I couldn't fall back to sleep so I laid awake until 5:00am and headed down to the Church building.  I prepared the continental breakfast for the service then returned home at 7:00am to wake up the kids and open more gifts.  Charlie was up and ready for it.  Ruby needed some convincing to get out of bed.  We opened gifts from my parents.  Ruby got a princess wardrobe.  Midway through Ruby's gift opening she shouted, "I KNEW I was on the nice list!"  It's funny how kids pick things up and wonder about such things.  Charlie got a kids' tool bench.  Angela got cash.  I got more socks...

Our Church service attendance was small, but our audience remained the same :)  We enjoyed cinnamon buns, oranges, candy canes, yogurt, apple cider, hot chocolate, coffee, and tea.  Tony did a great job leading us in worship.  We prayed for Angela, Christy's mom, Diane's mom, Lavonne W., and the Vanson's (they leave to serve for three months in an orphanage in Mexico on Wednesday).  I rambled on about the secrets of being a great gift giver (from John 3:16-17).  Tony & Alison were rock stars this weekend.  For both services they were there early to set-up and stayed late to clean-up.  Their love in this way was a huge blessing to our family.

Sunday afternoon, we headed into Richmond to be with Angela's family for Christmas.  It was a really fun time.  Our brother-in-law was like Martha Stewart (in a manly way).  He pumped out great appetizers followed a huge turkey and ham dinner with tons of sides.  We opened gifts, played with toys, and took a ton video and photos.

Tomorrow, we head over to the Island for a few days with my parents.  Angela was feeling much better today (less tired).  Her hair will start falling out tomorrow... so that will be interesting.  Her immune system will be at an all time low this week as well so we'll be washing our hands like crazy and sneezing into our elbows.

I hope you have a great week.  Did you know that you can enjoy the gift of Jesus year 'round?!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Prayer Focus

Church Family 
  • Friend of Eugene D.who is fighting cancer
  • Friend of Angela N. who has undiagnosed pain
  • Angela N. - Stage 4 GI Cancer
  • Cancer in one of our Church member's family.
  • A Church member's mom who had a bad fall.

Foursquare Family
  • Kikino Aboriginal Foursquare Church (Kikino, AB)
  • Barry Buzza (President of Foursquare Canada)
  • Doug Friesen (Unit Supervisor) 

Other Churches 
  • Mission Christ the King (Mission, BC)

Our Community & World
  • Your neighbours
  • Mayor Ted Adlem & Council
  • Premier Clark & MLA's
  • Prime Minister Harper, Senate, & MP's
  • Syria, Philippines, North Korea

Monday, December 19, 2011

Foolish Expectations

Even though I never really know what a week will hold, I naively begin each week thinking the opposite.  I'm embarrassed at how arrogant and ignorant I can be when it comes to thinking that I know the future and that I control the future.  It amazes me how much security I draw from things that aren't guaranteed.  I rely on my day planner, my "smart" phone, normal weather, good health, money in the bank, friends, family, and my own strength and understanding.

Yet there are very few things that are guaranteed.  In fact, the only things that are guaranteed are those established by God.  Because God is just, sin will always result in chaos/destruction/death.  Because God is good, He will always extend his forgiveness and righteousness to those that simply follow Him in faith.  Because God is truth, His word and His way will always be the reality.  Because God is victorious, He will always bring healing. Because God is faithful, He will return and render the completion of all these things.  Of these things we can be certain.  Upon these things we can base our day and our week.

I write these things as Angela receives her first chemo treatment.  We are experiencing a sobering moment of the reality of sin and the grace of God.  For the first time in a long time, I don't have any clue what this week will look like and for the first time in a long time, I'm okay with it.  Our situation forces us to simply roll with the punches and do nothing except turn to God and open our hearts more fully to His voice and His touch.

My prayer today is, "O, Lord, bring your healing touch now.  Move in power.  Teach me your way and your will.  Thank you for all that you have done, all that you are doing, and all that you have yet to do."

If you could join with us in this prayer, we would appreciate your time and your heart in this matter.  Thanks again to all those praying, helping, and loving us.  We are overwhelmed (in a good way) with the gift that you are to us. 

Have a great day and a great week responding to the real certainties of life.

I have found the following Scriptures sobering and encouraging today...

Proverbs 3:5 (NIV)  "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;"

Proverbs 22:19 (NIV) "So that your trust may be in the LORD, I teach you today, even you."
Job 31:2-40 (NIV) "2 For what is man's lot from God above, his heritage from the Almighty on high? 3 Is it not ruin for the wicked, disaster for those who do wrong? 4 Does he not see my ways and count my every step? 5 "If I have walked in falsehood or my foot has hurried after deceit-- 6 let God weigh me in honest scales and he will know that I am blameless-- 7 if my steps have turned from the path, if my heart has been led by my eyes, or if my hands have been defiled, 8 then may others eat what I have sown, and may my crops be uprooted. 9 "If my heart has been enticed by a woman, or if I have lurked at my neighbor's door, 10 then may my wife grind another man's grain, and may other men sleep with her. 11 For that would have been shameful, a sin to be judged. 12 It is a fire that burns to Destruction; it would have uprooted my harvest. 13 "If I have denied justice to my menservants and maidservants when they had a grievance against me, 14 what will I do when God confronts me? What will I answer when called to account? 15 Did not he who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same one form us both within our mothers? 16 "If I have denied the desires of the poor or let the eyes of the widow grow weary, 17 if I have kept my bread to myself, not sharing it with the fatherless-- 18 but from my youth I reared him as would a father, and from my birth I guided the widow-- 19 if I have seen anyone perishing for lack of clothing, or a needy man without a garment, 20 and his heart did not bless me for warming him with the fleece from my sheep, 21 if I have raised my hand against the fatherless, knowing that I had influence in court, 22 then let my arm fall from the shoulder, let it be broken off at the joint. 23 For I dreaded destruction from God, and for fear of his splendor I could not do such things. 24 "If I have put my trust in gold or said to pure gold, 'You are my security,' 25 if I have rejoiced over my great wealth, the fortune my hands had gained, 26 if I have regarded the sun in its radiance or the moon moving in splendor, 27 so that my heart was secretly enticed and my hand offered them a kiss of homage, 28 then these also would be sins to be judged, for I would have been unfaithful to God on high. 29 "If I have rejoiced at my enemy's misfortune or gloated over the trouble that came to him-- 30 I have not allowed my mouth to sin by invoking a curse against his life-- 31 if the men of my household have never said, 'Who has not had his fill of Job's meat?'-- 32 but no stranger had to spend the night in the street, for my door was always open to the traveler-- 33 if I have concealed my sin as men do, by hiding my guilt in my heart 34 because I so feared the crowd and so dreaded the contempt of the clans that I kept silent and would not go outside-- 35 ("Oh, that I had someone to hear me! I sign now my defense--let the Almighty answer me; let my accuser put his indictment in writing. 36 Surely I would wear it on my shoulder, I would put it on like a crown. 37 I would give him an account of my every step; like a prince I would approach him.)-- 38 "if my land cries out against me and all its furrows are wet with tears, 39 if I have devoured its yield without payment or broken the spirit of its tenants, 40 then let briers come up instead of wheat and weeds instead of barley." The words of Job are ended."

Psalm 9:10 (NIV) "Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you."

Romans 5:8-11 (NIV) "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! 10 For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Video from Kid's Mini Christmas Concert

To protect our kids you'll need a password to play this.  Passwords are only given to members of our Church family.  To request the password, please email

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Overjoyed by Friends, Family, and The Body

I'm not good at receiving help.  I sometimes refuse help because of pride.  Other times, it's because I like to be in control. Then there are times where I feel like I don't deserve it and there are others that need the help more.  Finally, there are a few times where people want to help and it's something that I really enjoy and so I want it for myself.

God has been using the last few weeks to grow me in receiving help.  In some situations, I have to swallow my pride and simply say 'thank you'.  Other times, I have to learn to simply trust others.  In other situations, I explain that the offer for help isn't needed at this time, but the offer means so much.

I am also learning that if I don't accept offers for help, I rob them of the joy and blessing it is to give.  I'm learning these lessons in new ways.

We have been so blessed by our friends, family, and the body of Christ (the Church).  Here's just a glimpse of what we've experienced to date:
  • Literally hundreds of offers of help in all shapes and sizes.
  • Non-stop meals every day with enough for leftovers for lunch the next day.
  • A freezer that went from being one-third full to overflowing.
  • A constant stream of people letting us know they are thinking of us and praying for us.
  • An extended family that is praying and fasting for Angela on a regular basis.
  • Professional weekly house cleaning given by friends.
  • Amazing love and help for our kids from our families and close friends.
  • .... plus, so much more.
In fact, even as I wrote this we were interrupted by a door bell.  Standing at the door was Chris K. with Angela's favourite dinner... chicken souvlaki from Elleni's.  I think our kids have forgotten that food can be made in the kitchen.  It just "magically" appears each day at our door.

On Friday night, a friend stopped by to let me know that their Church (of a different denomination and town) had heard about our situation and wanted to help our Church in a physical way during this time.  He gave me an envelope and inside was a cheque for $10,000 to bless our Church.  This gift proved to be the last hurdle of a two year process of getting our Church out of debt and operating in the black.

We feel incredibly blessed and look forward to getting back in a position where we can take what we've experienced and be a blessing to others.

Today was a lot of fun.  Our kids sang in the Church service for a mini-Christmas performance, then we had a bake sale, and lots of good connections with others.  Angela's parents came over for lunch and we feasted on all our leftovers.  Ruby and I installed our token string of Christmas lights on the house.  We are tired this evening from everything and will be resting.  I'm sad to miss the Christmas concert tonight.

I hope you have a great week, following Jesus and allowing the joy that comes from the Good News to change the way we live.

Monday, December 5, 2011

What Joy

I'm preaching this Sunday on joy.  It's the third week of advent and we are lighting the "joy candle".  A week ago I wasn't going to preach as I didn't feel up for it, but over the last couple days, my heart has grown with anticipation to share the joy I have been experiencing in the midst of a horrible situation.

I've realized that the tears I have shed haven't been out of despair or pity, but out of a deep gratefulness for the hope I have in Christ.  To know that nothing this world throws at me has the power to change my destination feels like being in a bunker while bombs are going off outside.  To know that God has and is experiencing my pain allows me to embrace Him in the same way I embrace my wife.  To know that God is just gives me peace by realizing that healing will come, whether it be on this side of life or the other.  To know that God knew about this situation before either of us were born brings an ability to trust Him and His ways.

The bottom line is that no amount of darkness can consume the light we have in Christ.  The hope we have in Him out shines every trial.  In fact, the trials we face help us realize this to a greater degree.  I can honestly say that my hope in Christ is greater in and through this than it was before and for that reason I feel blessed and experience true joy.

It's similar to how I feel about our Church and family.  I loved them deeply before, but now I realize to an even greater degree how awesome they are, and I love them even more.  This makes me smile.

Thank you to everyone who is praying and fasting for us.  Your love and involvement means a lot.  Your faith is inspiring.

I've asked Carmen D. to sing this song at Church this Sunday as it has been an encouragement to me and goes nicely with our focus this Sunday (see "video" below):

Sunday, December 4, 2011

One Life To Live

On Wednesday, Angela and I received word from the specialists that she has gastric cancer and that there is no proven or man-made cure.  Without chemo treatment they gave us a timeline of three months to two years... with chemo, double the time.

We were/are in shock.  It's a difficult thing to wrap your head around.  It all seems so surreal.  There are moments where we cry and yet many more of laughter and great delight in God.  I was standing in a Tim Horton's line on Thursday and just started crying.  Then, as quickly as it came, I was back to "normal" and ready to order a double-double.  I suspect there will be many moments like that.  I know it is the same for Angela.

We're still hoping and praying for a miracle.  However, we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Ro. 8:28).  So if God has other ways to work in and through this we are at peace with His wisdom and plan.

We're taking the next few days to get more of a grasp on the situation so that we know how to proceed in this next season of life.  We are praying for wisdom and discernment.  We've talked about holidays as well as spending time loving others.  Angela has a huge heart for people that don't yet know the life and love of Christ.  Jesus means the world to both of us and we are more heart broken over the thought of people missing out on the delight and hope we have in Him than we are in our current trial.

It is the reality that the majority of our city doesn't yet know Christ that drives us in our life.  It's why we live in Mission.  It's why we give up our weekends and evenings to either love the searching or disciple those that have found Him.  It's why we live with less and take jobs that earn less money.  We only get one crack at life and even still there's no guarantee that we'll live to be a 100.  Add to this the reality that Jesus could come back at anytime and it makes every day and every life an amazing opportunity to enjoy living in the life and love of Christ.

It's the reason our Church family put a stellar float in our city's annual Candlelight Parade!  Everything we do should be a living sacrifice of worship to our Creator and Savior.  We had many gracious, gifted, and generous people offer their lives as an offering of worship with the float.  Josh P. saved my butt by building the risers, installing them, then helping with the trees, construction, and tear down.  Greg P. cut and delivered all the trees.  Katy H. and Monica M. did a phenomenal job with prepping the decorations and outfits, then decorating the float.  They went through 25 cans of flocking, 5,000 staples (my guess), 20 bales of batting, and a few hundred feet of Christmas lights.  Cindy W. and Alison O. helped out with the decoration on the day of the parade. Willy and the Wannabees, accompanied by Karin O., did a great job serving through music.  Then Gabby, Taylor, Chris, Katy, and I got to walk alongside the float and hand out candy.  Carmen H. watched kids.  Mark H. secured the trailer and truck.  A friend of mine from Surrey, Mark Hunt, came out and set-up our lighting and hazer... he did an amazing job (see his company's website at Then the Lambert boys helped with clean-up.  It was a busy, but very fun and rewarding couple days.

The float was so much more than just fun.  We did it for a number of other reasons: 1) to be engaged and present in our city (about 10,000 come out for the parade); 2) to bless our city with a beautiful float for their enjoyment; 3) help communicate that our Church cares about our city; 4) let our city know that we care about them and are here for them; and 5) let our city know about our new name.  If you'd like to see more photos, check out our photo album at

On Saturday, we headed out to McDonald's with some friends and family then hopped on over to the Eco Dairy in Abbotsford.  Charlie loves looking at the cows.  We tasted some delicious yogurt and then I bought a $5 quart of milk.  It was good, but not worth $5.  Saturday afternoon, Josh and I finished the float tear down.

I enjoyed our gathering today.  It was our first official gathering as Parkside Church.  I love being a part of our Church family and getting together each Sunday is a highlight of my week.  If you want to check out our new Church website (parts of it are still under construction), go to

I hope you have a great week, living in the love we have in Christ.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Monday Morning Thoughts

I was deeply encouraged by Scripture this morning...
Isaiah 40:25-31
"To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One.  Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.  Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God"?  Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;  but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

We often try to envision how big God is when our minds can't even come close to perceiving the reality of His eternal nature.  Isaiah tries to put it in perspective in the earlier part of chapter 40, but it still doesn't come close.

I've been learning to a more intimate degree a number of truths about our Saviour and Lord.  At one point, I'd like to expound on them to a greater degree, but for time purposes this morning, I will have to briefly describe them: 1) God is great and He is good... that's all we need to know; 2) My kids and wife are gifts from God, so they are His children and His responsibility... I am simply called to love and lead them as He loves and leads me; 3) The body of Christ (the Church) is a gift from God to help us experience Heaven on Earth; 4) Prayer is more than therapeutic... it is honoured and used by God; 5) One can experience joy and peace through Christ in the middle of a storm; and 6) Moms are good.

To expound a little bit on number three: I'm not going to starve to death.  We had a roast chicken and traditional trimmings on Friday thanks to Stephanie P.  Saturday, Sheila B. dropped off a ton of food including vindaloo, basmati rice, naan bread, and apple pecan cake!  Last night, Elisa brought over a greek dinner that was awesome, plus a ton of other food.  This is getting crazy.

I really enjoyed our gathering yesterday.  I was encouraged by and through our gathering.  I missed not having my family with me, but it was still good.  I would like to thank Val P. and Lynda V. for organizing a time of prayer for me and our family after the service.  Even though I was a bit embarrassed, it was good for me and our family.

We also made the announcement on Sunday that our Church is changing names next week to "Parkside Church".  This honours an agreement we made between Mission Foursquare Church and New Covenant Church back in our merger in 2001. Our Church leadership thought it to be a more friendly, simple, and approachable name.  I hope you like it and that God will use it to bring more people to Him.

I heard the Grey Cup was a good time.  I was picking up my kids from the ferry terminal.  They had a great time, although, I'm not looking forward to re-training our kids.  Every time they go over to my parents they come back with new habits and expectations (like a juice box every hour). :)  My dad usually responds to my complaints with the phrase, "it's payback time!"

I hope you have a good week.  With God the best is always yet to come!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Update on Angela

It's been a crazy few days. There's nothing like having all the experts tell you there's nothing to worry about and then hear them say, "we are just as surprised as you."

Following Angela's surgery yesterday, where tumors the size of grapefruits were scheduled to be removed, we found out that they were krukenberg tumors (a cancerous growth). They suspect it started in her stomach, but we won't know more until after more pathology (people that look at the cells under a microscope) reports come back. It looks like she'll begin chemo a week from today.  On top of that we'll have to figure out the hormone replacement thing now that both her ovaries are gone.

In and through it all, we have experienced God's grace and peace. I honestly don't know how people go through the tough stuff of life without the certain hope we have in Christ.  You'd think that we'd both be freaking out right now, but God's grace and peace has been tangible.

Tons of people are praying and we've received countless offers for all kinds of help.  We are well loved and really appreciate everyone's generosity.  Angela's mom has been a huge help with all of Angela's personal care.  My mom is watching our kids all this week on the Island and they are having so much fun they don't want to come home.  Moms are awesome!

I went for a walk outside the first night and the song Faithful One came to my lips:

Faithful One, so unchanging
Ageless One, You're my Rock of peace
Lord of all, I depend on You
I call out to You, again and again
I call out to You, again and again
You are my Rock in times of trouble
You lift me up when I fall down
All through the storm
Your love is the anchor
My hope is in You alone

I have been encouraged by the truth in its words and in the Scriptures people have sent.

Angela has been awesome. She is responding to hard news really well.  A number of times in our talks through the day or night, she has remarked on the sustaining peace she is experiencing through everything.  Ang's colour, alertness, and movement are way better today and that is very encouraging.

The doctors and nurses have been helpful and attentive.  One nurse had a grumpy disposition at first, but Ang has found a way into his heart. :)  Our evening nurse is awesome...  he is Filipino and has such a grace about him.  Whenever he checks Ang's vitals, he gives the thumbs up followed by (in a Filipino accent), "goooood numbers... goooood numbers."  Our surgeon, Dr. McAlpine, is a rockstar... I don't know what they pay her, but she deserves a raise.  She's gone to bat for us on a few occasions with the "system" and is steamrolling things along.

On the logistical side we are going home tomorrow.  Our kids are returning home on Sunday. Angela's mom will live with us for the next week, then my Mom for the third week.  We meet next Wednesday with the BC Cancer Agency and begin that whole process.

Please continue to pray. God is good and He is able; we are trusting Him.  We're not asking, "why?" (because He is God and that's sufficient for us), we're just asking, "how long?"

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday Morning Thoughts

Isaac - Warming Up from Mission Foursquare Church on Vimeo.

Happy Monday Morning to you!  I trust this post finds you ready for another week of living in faith and full of the Spirit!

I was really encouraged yesterday during our service.  Karin did a great job of leading us in worship.  Her soft heart to Christ and enthusiasm is contagious.  Isaac preached his first sermon and did a fantastic job (see the first 30 seconds in the video above).  As Jim O. pointed out, it was way better than my first sermon.  We sold almost all of our kid's Christmas cards.  There are only six packs left!  Kim and Louise made some amazing treats for after the service... the lemon bars were awesome.

On Saturday I spilled peach juice on my laptop and it's no longer working.  It's a good thing I have a warranty and everything backed up.  I'll have to deal with getting that resolved this week.  I normally would have done work yesterday afternoon, but since I had no computer, I went to Starbucks with Angela and Renee.  We took advantage of their holiday happy hour special.  Then Josh joined us and the four of us went out for dinner.  It was nice to spend some time with them.

I got to marry Chad & Ariana on Saturday night.  It was a good evening and now they're off to Mexico for their honeymoon.  They are both exceptional people and I look forward to them growing in marriage.

Today is Angela's surgery.  It will take place around 12:45pm so if you could pray for her we'd really appreciate it.  I'll be with her at the hospital for the next couple days and then she'll come home to recover for the next four weeks.  We've been blessed by the support of our family, friends, and Church family.

I hope you have a great day and week.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Prayer Focus

Church Family 
  • Friend of Eugene D. who is fighting cancer
  • Mike K. (Health)
  • Friend of Angela N. who has undiagnosed pain
  • Angela N. - surgery this week
  • Rachel B. -praise God for giving her a job
  • Friend of Jon M. who is in a tough spot
  • Jim M. - health concern

Foursquare Family
  • New Life Foursquare Church (Cranbrook, BC)
  • Barry Buzza (President of Foursquare Canada)
  • Doug Friesen (Unit Supervisor) 

Other Churches 
  • Mission Alliance Church(Mission, BC)

Our Community & World
  • Mayor James Atebe & Council
  • Premier Clark & MLA's
  • Prime Minister Harper, Senate, & MP's
  • Syria, Iran, Italy, Germany

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Mashup

Loving the snow!  A number of Foursquare pastors from our area, braved the roads for a meeting in our building.  We caught up with one another, shared a bit, and they prayed for me and our Church family.  It was a good morning.

Cindy W. and Alison O. came in and did a complete clean of all our dishes in the kitchen!  Donna was in to clean the bathrooms and rooms.  I appreciate their generosity in service.   Youth For Christ is conducting their annual banquet in our building tomorrow, so they are getting everything ready.

Tonight is a movie night in the youth centre... looking forward to raising some more funds for summer camp.  Before that I have a wedding rehearsal to run with Chad and Ariana (they are getting married tomorrow night)!

Tomorrow, our kids are going to Nana's on the Island for a week, so they're out of our hair while Angela goes through surgery and the first week of recovery.  Thank you to everyone for your kind words and prayers.  Thank you to those who have generously signed up to help us with some meals too!

I'm looking forward to Sunday... Isaac's preaching his first sermon!  We'll be in Acts 11:19-26.  Then on Sunday night (6:30pm) we have an extended time of worship through song.

I also have to recognize Bernie V.  I asked him if he could take a look at the Church ride-on mower as it wasn't working.  He came out, fixed it, and mowed the lawn... just in time for winter!

I hope you have a great weekend and that we get to see each other at some point!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday Morning Thoughts

I failed miserably this morning.  After preaching yesterday that our success as a Church will only be found when we are willing to get dirty and go to uncomfortable places and lengths, I missed a prime opportunity .  On my way to work at the College in Surrey, I saw a hitch hiker at the beginning of the on ramp to the freeway.  He wanted a lift to Vancouver and he had a german shepherd dog.  Upon seeing him, I first wrote him off due to a difference in destination and then confirmed it when I saw his mangy dog.  By the time I reflected on my decision, I had merged on to the freeway and the opportunity lost.

In hindsight, I felt that it was a great opportunity for me to be uncomfortable and really help someone out.  Yes, I would have had to go out of my way, change the details of my work day, and then spend an hour cleaning my car upholstery, but who cares!?  My life is too short and people are too important to worry about dirty upholstery and missing out on Terra Nova tonight.

As I'm typing this, I just got an email from an elderly lady in Abbotsford that I've been helping out with food.  If you know me, you know that I don't like going over to other people's houses (I'm a bit of a germa-phobe). However, after yesterday and this morning, I think it's God's grace in giving me a second opportunity to get over my germa-phobe and neat-freak tendencies and get dirty for God.

I hope you have a great week getting dirty too!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Prayer Focus

Church Family 
  • Two friends of Rob G. fighting health issues
  • Friend of Eugene D. who is fighting cancer
  • Mike K. (Health)
  • Friend of Angela N. who has undiagnosed pain
  • Angela N. - health concern
  • Rachel B. - job opportunit
  • Friend of Jon M. who is in a tough spot
  • Jim M. - health concern
  • Youth connected to Calvin's YFC ministry

Foursquare Family
  • New Life Community Church (Edmonton, AB)
  • Barry Buzza (President of Foursquare Canada)
  • Doug Friesen (Unit Supervisor) 

Other Churches 
  • Iglesia De Dios (Mission, BC)

Our Community & World
  • Mayor James Atebe & Council
  • Premier Clark & MLA's
  • Prime Minister Harper, Senate, & MP's
  • Thailand, Italy, Iran, Greece

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday Morning Thoughts

Our Church gathering was a blast yesterday.  The Vanson's rocked the breakfast.  The Kim's and Nicole P. lead our kids in a "Christmas card factory".  Dave P. shot some kids camp testimonial videos.  Isaac did a sweet job leading us in worship.  The sound man really had his stuff together.  I was blessed by Eugene's reflection as we participated in communion.  Rob & Donna George shared about their summer of ministry to BC's bikers.  They are the book of Acts in action... taking the life and love of Christ to our world.  I look forward to their example inspiring all of us to follow them as they follow Christ.  I had a couple good conversations with some folks and was encouraged by the life they lead.  Following the service our Elders met to share in a meal and pray.  It was a great morning.

Last night we went over to Hotel Hersey to celebrate Mark's 30th.  Later in the evening, a bunch of us went to TBC Indoor Kart Racing in Richmond and rented the track for an hour.  We raced non-stop for the whole hour (it felt like 20 minutes).  The cars get up to 75 km/h, but that didn't keep you from crashing into one another... there were some good collisions.  My neck and shoulders are sore this morning from battling it out, but it was worth it.  I would do it again in a heartbeat.

This week we've got the BU Girl event, Remembrance Day, Lenna's Memorial on Saturday, and we're back in Acts on Sunday!  I hope you have a great week.  Follow Jesus and you'll never be lost.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday Mashup

Friday morning is where my responsibilities collide: college, Church, and family.  I'm wrapping up College projects, beginning and completing Church projects, and then doing my best to carve out a relaxing Saturday.  I look forward to everyday, as being a part of these three "entities" is continuous joy.

To give you a picture of why it's a joy... here's what happened in my week:  At the college I serve the students in the Youth Ministry program.  I currently have the shared responsibility, with their local Churches and our humble faculty, of training 25 of our future youth workers and youth pastors.  This week either directly through their love and/or the youth ministries they intern with, we saw 17 youth come to faith in Christ!

Last night I got a phone call from the Dagneau's as they were on the other line with a past neighbour/friend, now living in Vancouver, that had a gun and was going to commit suicide.  Through Isaac and Catherine's loving words and quick action, they were able to get the VPD to intervene and save his life!  One of the main reasons this man attempted to kill himself was because of his decision to follow Christ and the subsequent dishoning by his family.  He couldn't bare the thought of living life outside of the love of his parents and family.  Please pray for him that Christ's love would overtake His life, that He would see the hope He has in Christ, and that we could love Him as Christ loves us.

I met with Chad & Ariana as they are tying the knot in a few weeks and got to share some of my "wisdom" on marriage.  Talk about one beggar telling another beggar where to find food!!  They are both great people and I'm really happy for them as the begin a life of discovering God's love.  The Friesen's will be their marriage coach for the next year to cheer them on and offer wisdom and love.

This morning, I got to have a rare moment (I'm usually out of the house before everyone else is up) where both our kids climbed into our bed and cuddled for a bit.

Now I'm at Tim Horton's in the Automall, waiting for the servicing of my car.  I enjoy hearing the conversations of old men grumbling about the cost of batteries for their hearing aids and recalling what they did during the flood of '48.  A school bus of junior high kids just pulled up and crammed the line-up... you should see the looks of frustration and injustice from people that "need" their Tim's when they get inside and see the line-up.

For the rest of today, I'm making phone calls, doing some admin stuff, meeting with the Williams', and then we get to have the Van Marrum's over for dinner.

Vaughan's mom died this week at the age of 89 and I'm heading over to their house today to hear more about her life and will help them plan the graveside and memorial.  The memorial is set for Saturday, November 12 at 1:00pm at our Church building and will be hosted by our Church family.  If you're up for helping with set-up, food prep/service, and clean-up, please let me know and/or sign-up on Sunday.

I hope you have a great day, especially with the gorgeous weather and an even more beautiful Creator and Saviour!  I hope you have a great weekend.  I'm looking forward to our gathering on Sunday!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Chosen But Free

I read Norman L. Geisler's Chosen But Free on Sunday and found it to be a great read.  It addresses one of the most debated theological issues in Christianity, commonly known as 'Calvinism vs. Arminianism'.

The real issue behind the title is how God's sovereignty and man's free will work.  At the outset they seem like two incompatible ideas... how can God be in charge and direct humanity towards his intended destination without violating man's ability to freely choose?

When reading Scripture from cover to cover you discover many verses, passages, and examples that speak to God's sovereignty and providence.  Likewise you see many verses, passages, and examples that speak to the freedom of man to choose right and wrong.

When one is forced to choose between emphasizing God's sovereignty or man's free will it results in devastating results (theologically and practically).

Geisler does a great job of summarizing the devastation at both extremes (along with some variances in between) and articulates a way that both can work.  He responds to critics questions of his stance with solid answers.  I agree with Geisler that both can co-exist... while there's a layer of it that is a mystery (i.e. similar to how Jesus was both God and man), there is also a very grounded theological and practical argument for how both can and should co-exist.

It's not easy theology to navigate, so a book like Geisler's is a great place to start (after reading the Bible from cover to cover).

Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday Morning Thoughts

Sorry for yesterday’s sermon.  Ang said she spaced out for parts of it and my guess is that she wasn’t the only one. :)  Don’t worry, Angela isn’t being mean; in fact, it’s hard to get criticism out of her.  I don’t get offended as I’m well aware that I’m far away from being an excellent communicator.   I hope to one day be a gifted communicator and I believe that critical reflection will play a role in its fruition.

In spite of my shortcomings, we had a great gathering.  The Humphrey’s served a stellar continental breakfast.  Tony served us well in leading songs of praise.  Our rarely remembered Sunday school teachers loved our kids. Then some youth and youth leaders served apple pie.  The pie I had was sensational (I’m not exaggerating)!  They raised about $200 for their upcoming youth conference.  Following the service a number of people received personal prayer and throughout everything the body was built up.

Our family hit the McDonald’s drive-through on the way home then crashed for a few hours.  Angela sewed.  I read a book.  Ruby did crafts.  Charlie napped.  It was a good Sunday afternoon.

In the evening we went over to Hotel Hersey for dinner and to finalize our plans for the candlelight parade float.  I’m really looking forward to the float.  Lots of great ideas and now to get to work!

Today I’m working at the College (see my view in above photo) then heading home to give out candy.  My philosophy is to give lots so that when they get older they don’t egg your house (something I have “seen” happen as a teenager).

I hope you have a great week and that if you remember anything from Sunday, you remember that God never forgets His promises.  Walk in reality and not the facade of the world.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Pastor by Eugene Peterson

A while ago I started Eugene Peterson's, The Pastor.  I got bored of reading it halfway through, but parts of it were good.  I've entered my favourie parts belowThey're mostly for me personally, but perhaps they'll be of use to you.

In the process of realizing my vocational identity as pastor, I couldn't help observing that there was a great deal of confusion and dissatisfaction all around me with pastoral identity.  Many pastors, disappointed or disillusioned with their congregations, defect after a few years and find more congenial work.  And many congregations, disappointed or disillusioned with their pastors, dismiss them and look for pastors more to their liking.  ... I wondered if at the root of the defection is a cultural assumption that all leaders are people who "get things done," and "make things happen."  ... while being a pastor certainly has some of these components, the pervasive element in our two-thousand-year pastoral tradition is not someone who "gets things done" but rather the person placed in the community to pay attention and call attention to "what is going on now" between men and women, with one another and with God -- this kingdom of God that is primarily local, relentlessly personal, and prayerful "without ceasing." (p.5)

The way we learn something is more influential than the something that we learn.   No content comes into our lives free-floating: it is always embedded in a form of some kind.  For the basic and integrative realities of God and faith, the forms must also be basic and integrative.  If they are not, the truths themselves will be peripheral and unassimilated.  (p.33)

I am quite sure now that the way I as a pastor came to understand congregation had its beginnings in the "congregational" atmosphere of our butcher shop.  Congregation is composed of people, who, upon entering a church, leave behind what people on the street name or call them.  A church can never be reduced to a place where goods and services are exchanged.  It must never be a place where a person is labeled.  It can never be a place where gossip is perpetuated.  Before anything else, it is a place where a person is named and greeted, whether implicitly or explicitly, in Jesus' name.  A place where dignity is conferred.  (p. 40)

It was a view of life shaped by "the Gospel According to America."  The rewards were obvious, and I enjoyed them.  Hard work pays off.  I learned much in those years in my father's butcher shop, yet there was one large omission that set all other truth dangerously at risk: the omission of holy rest.  The refusal to be silent.  The obsessive avoidance of emptiness. (p. 44) ... Inappropriate, anxiety-driven, fear-driven work [will] only interfere with and distract from what God [is] doing.  My "work" assignment [is] to pay more attention to what God [is doing] than what I [am to] do, and then to find, and guide others to find, the daily, weekly, yearly rhythms that would get this awareness into our bones.  (p. 45)

God is Like An Elephant?

Explore More
What Now?  A Study in Acts
"God is Like An Elephant: He Never Forgets His Promises (Acts 10:1-8)
October 30 - November 5, 2011

Before you begin reading, reflecting, discussing, and applying, begin by opening your heart up to our Savior and Lord.  Praise Him and ask Him to incline your heart to His.   Invite Him to search your heart and make Himself known.

Read Acts 10. Take time to reflect, ask questions (write them down as you go through), and then research and study the answers. has a lot of great free online resources.

Have you ever made a promise and then dropped/forgotten it?  Have you ever been promised something by someone and they never delivered?  Do you ever feel like God has forgotten one of His promises?  What is reassuring about what God says to Cornelius?

Take time this week to renew your heart towards God.  If you were feeling bitter towards Him, repent and renew your trust in His faithfulness and the future hope we have in Him.  Apply the character of God to your own life.  Are there promises that you have made that you haven’t held up?  If so, do something about it and make it right.

Prayer Focus

Church Family 
  • Two friends of Rob G. fighting health issues.
  • Friend of Eugene D. who is fighting cancer.
  • Mike K. (Health)
  • Friend of Angela N. who has undiagnosed pain.
  • Angela N. - health concern
  • Rachel B. - job opportunity

Foursquare Family
  • Springs of Life Foursquare Fellowship (Millet, AB)
  • Barry Buzza (President of Foursquare Canada)
  • Doug Friesen (Unit Supervisor) 

Other Churches 
  • Gospel Fellowship Baptist Church (Mission, BC)

Our Community & World
  • Mayor James Atebe & Council
  • Premier Clark & MLA's
  • Prime Minister Harper, Senate, & MP's
  • Thailand, Syria, Israel

Saturday, October 29, 2011


I was driving Angela nuts this morning.  We drove by a sign that advertised "Jazz-Ma-Tazz" lessons (whatever that is).  For whatever reason, I started singing, "Jazz-Ma-Tazz, Jazz-Ma-Tazz" to the tune of Spiderman's theme song.  I rounded out my lyrics by adding "if you can't jazz, then you can't ma-tazz".  Try it. It works quite nicely.  The kids loved it; Angela endured it.

Anyways, we were on our way to Willow View Farm again to spend time with old and new friends.  We had a potluck breakfast there and it was fun.  Charlie fell in the mud, smeared it over his face, then began to lick it off (see above photo).

I love being with family, regardless whether it's "family" in the context my biological, social, or spiritual realms.  God's social and spiritual design of family is a great thing.  I am blessed to be a part of some great families.

If you need family, join our Church family.  There's always room for one more.  We'll love you as Christ loves us.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Morning Thoughts

I really enjoyed our gathering on Sunday.  I got to do the breakfast and realized how much I missed doing it... it's fun to connect, help out the kiddos, and then give latecomers a hard time (although, it's never worth getting in between someone and their coffee).

Alison did a great job leading our Church in songs of praise.  It was nice to sing some new songs too.  I got to lead our Church in prayer then Catherine gave a great message (listen here).  It was one of those Sundays where a more-than-usual amount of God's love and power was experienced (at least it was more visible to my eye/ear).  Please join me this week in praying for those that received prayer.  Pray that the eyes of our heart would be focused on Christ.  Pray that we would choose to believe words of truth and not be distracted by lies.  Pray that God will grace us by His Spirit to do the good works He has planned for us.

Sunday afternoon, we went over to the Moody's for lunch.  Josie cooked a great chili (I told her she better enter it in next year's Chili Cook-off) and an amazing pumpkin mouse dessert thing.  We then checked out the new park across the street from them.  It was good to catch up and chat about life and God.

Sunday evening, we had my sister and bro-in-law over for dinner.  It was a relaxing evening of watching our kids play and interacting with them.  It's really nice having family close by... I only wish I had more down time to do it more often.

Backing up to Saturday, I got to do my run/walk thing with Charlie on the dyke again.  We had a great time together.  We went to Tim's for lunch and we both thoroughly enjoyed dipping our bread into our chili bowl (yes, that's right, I had chili two days in a row... that's pretty good in my books).   Charlie downed his chocolate milk and I sipped back an iced-capp.

Saturday night was a treat.  We had an inter-Church worship night.  Doug D. from North Valley Baptist Church lead us in worship and prayer for our City and Churches.   It wasn't well attended (only 40 people were there)... something we'll have to remedy, but the night was really good.  We sang a bunch of songs I had never heard before and they were awesome!  Things like this are too good and too important to leave to happen-stance, so the next one (happening in January sometime), we'll have to over-communicate. 

This week is another busy week for me and my family.  We'll find out sometime this week when Angela's surgery will be.  We're starting to roll out the steps to the construction of our Church float in the Candlelight parade.  I've got a bunch of meetings and things are hopping at the Bible College.

I hope you have a great week.  May we never be so busy that we can't be interrupted by God.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Prayer Focus

Church Family 
  • Two friends of Rob G. fighting health issues.
  • Friend of Eugene D. who is fighting cancer.
  • Mike K. (Health)
  • Friend of Angela N. who has undiagnosed pain.
  • Angela N. - health concern
  • Rachel B. - job opportunity

Foursquare Family
  • Cornerstone Church (Airdrie, AB)
  • Barry Buzza (President of Foursquare Canada)
  • Doug Friesen (Unit Supervisor) 

Other Churches 
  • Christian Fellowship Centre (Mission, BC)

Our Community & World
  • Mayor James Atebe & Council
  • Premier Clark & MLA's
  • Prime Minister Harper, Senate, & MP's
  • Thailand, China, Pakistan, Afghanistan