Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Do You Walk Every Day?

I'm not even close to being a great advocate for good stewardship of the body, BUT I have been getting out much more regularly to walk/run.  Someone sent me this video and I found it helpful.  It's common sense, but hey, it's not so common anymore.  If you don't want to watch the whole thing, he basically says it's wise to walk for a minimum of 30 minutes everyday.  Why not combine walking and praying for your MY5?

Monday, February 27, 2012

We had our Annual General Meeting yesterday and it was our best attendance to date.  Hopefully you didn't find it too painful.  The highlight for me was watching the 2011 video annual (see above).  I've watched it four times and it chokes me up every time.  If you want to watch it, email me (clint@parksidechurch.ca) for the password.

Angela wasn't feeling very well today so I stayed home and played Super Dad.  I made some killer pancakes and fruit smoothies for breakfast.  At lunch I made some fine 'beans and wieners'.  Catherine brought us a delicious dinner.

I'm not sure what the rest of this week will hold.  I am looking forward to studying Acts some more as we approach Sunday.  I am looking forward to teaching at the College on Wednesday.  I am not looking forward to Ruby's birthday party on Saturday.  I'm excited for her turning five, but I don't enjoy the birthday party thing.  I am looking forward to many moments of being in His Word and talking with Him.

I hope you have a great week.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Bikini Season for Christians

In a few months, magazines at our local check-outs will begin to feature their seven tips and nine steps to getting our bodies ready for summer.  Similarly, with today being Clean Monday and Ash Wednesday's arrival on Wednesday, this is the season where traditional Churches begin an emphasis on the virtue of penance (through Lent).  It is a 46 day spiritual bootcamp in preparation for Easter.  I call it bikini season for Christians.

There's an aspect to this that is simply religious motion and is almost humorous.  Yet, how can saying no to sin and yes to Christ be a bad thing?  I don't like being a Hallmark Christian and I don't want our Church to become a Hallmark Church, but I do want a relentless love for Jesus and His Gospel to be my/our hallmark.  If Holidays and traditions help this, I am all for them.

I also find it interesting, and in an anecdotal way, coincidental, that in a season where the traditional Church prepares for a formal pursuit of holiness, our non-traditional Church has been experiencing the same emphasis, albeit less formal.  Perhaps there is wisdom in the traditions.  Perhaps God graces us in working through both vehicles.

In regard to our gathering yesterday, I am of mixed emotions.  In preparation for the message that was shared, I began the week with a stronger than normal desire to seek God's direction on a message that wasn't just informational, but transformational.  God gave me a word to share that was hard, but assured me that it was the right word for the time.  I often wrestle with a critical nature and so anytime I am in a position of speaking bluntly or of rebuke, I struggle with the veracity of its source.  I knew it would be a hard word, but I was confident that it came from a place of love and not fear.

Following the message, I wanted to run to my office and cry, but felt that doing so would be an easy out.  I knew that some people would love what was shared and others might of hated it.  I can stand the critics, but I am very uncomfortable with praise.  I know what a sham I am and that I am never worthy of praise.  If anything good comes from my mouth it is completely a gift from God.

My hope yesterday was that it was received in the way that it arrived.  My hope for today is that we would now be faithful to respond in obedience to what the Word and the Spirit said to us.  If you missed our gathering last Sunday, you can listen to the message at www.parksidechurch.ca/podcast.

On the homefront, Angela is going through her fourth round of chemo today.  Her sister will keep her company and my mom is with us for the week to help with Angela and the kids.  We actually got to go out on a date last night!  We went for dinner and a show.  It was a nice time because it felt normal.  This week I'm working at the College and getting ready for our Church's AGM.

I hope you have a great week!  The text that was an inspiration for this bikini season came from:

Joel 2:12–17 (ESV)
Return to the Lord
12  “Yet even now,” declares the Lord, 
“return to me with all your heart, 
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; 
13  and rend your hearts and not your garments.” 
Return to the Lord your God, 
for he is gracious and merciful, 
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; 
and he relents over disaster. 
14  Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, 
and leave a blessing behind him, 
a grain offering and a drink offering 
for the Lord your God? 
15  Blow the trumpet in Zion; 
consecrate a fast; 
call a solemn assembly; 
16  gather the people. 
Consecrate the congregation; 
assemble the elders; 
gather the children, 
even nursing infants. 
Let the bridegroom leave his room, 
and the bride her chamber. 
17  Between the vestibule and the altar 
let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep 
and say, “Spare your people, O Lord, 
and make not your heritage a reproach, 
a byword among the nations. 
Why should they say among the peoples, 
‘Where is their God?’ ”

Friday, February 17, 2012

My Happiest Place on Earth

We just returned from a pretty amazing trip to Disneyland.  Angela enjoyed many special moments, our kids were in awe, and I restrained myself to only eating four churos!  We experienced some magical moments alongside some very real meltdowns (a couple by me).  All in all, it was a great trip... one for the history books.  We were spoiled like crazy with VIP status throughout our entire stay which gave us access to the front of every line and reserved seating at all the big shows.  We were met at the airport and returned promptly by the Williams', Patti, and Kelly (our new and gracious SoCal friends).  On top of that, friends and family blessed us with gifts that allowed us to do the entire trip for free.  I'm normally a scrooge, but the purse strings were open on this trip.  We stayed in the premier hotel which allowed us to simply walk right into the park and easily return for naps and breaks.  We are still a bit overwhelmed with all of the love and perks we received!

All of that being said, what I am most looking forward to is our gathering this Sunday.  Call me crazy, but the happiest place on Earth for me takes place with our Church family every Sunday morning at 10:00am.  I struggle to find words to describe the joy and hope that fills my life when we gather together.  I love seeing familiar faces and meeting new ones. I love knowing what good things have happened in our lives during the week and then together raising our hands in worship and gratitude.  My faith is strengthened when I see a loved one going through a difficult time and then joining with their Church family to worship, pray, and support one another.  I love seeing the little kids running around before, after, and sometimes, during ;) our gathering.  I love that we get to sing songs of our faith, words of praise, and posture our lives with a heart of worship.  I love that we take time to catch-up, pray, cry, and laugh together.  I love the moment that we open God's Word together... this moment always humbles me as I think, "Wow! All of these people got up on a sunny Sunday morning to surrender to God through His Son, His Spirit, His Word, and His Church!  We could be sleeping in, going to the lake, cooking a big breakfast, or heading up the slopes, but God has our heart and He wants to speak to us today!"  I love the sense of family and community that is experienced.  I love the way that God works through us in the formal and informal ways of our gathering.  Sunday morning really is the highlight of my week.  I've missed the last two and I can't wait for this one!

The thing that has helped fill a bit of the void created by my absence from our Church family on Sundays has been facebook.  It sounds weird to say, but our Church facebook group has given me a connection through out the week to our Church family.  It has helped me stay up to date on the lives of our Church family, informed me of prayer requests, given me things to praise God for, strengthened my patience when Jim or Chris post six of the same things :),  and encouraged me through others sharing what God has been speaking to them.  I was really encouraged by Val's journey this week as shared in our facebook group.  I was also encouraged by a scripture that Elisa posted on her own wall.  Thank you to everyone who is a part of this group.  Thank you for patience when sometimes it feels like you're being spammed.  Thank you for supporting one another through out the week with your encouragement, input, and support.  Thank you for taking it from the virtual world and applying it in the real world through prayer, physical help, and face-to-face support (still very much needed in life).

I hope I get to see you this Sunday.  I am eagerly anticipating our gathering.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Princess Ruby

This family is leaving for Disneyland tomorrow!  We are pretty excited.  It's been about 10 years since either Angela or myself last visited the happiest place on Earth.  It will be the first for our kids.  Many friends, family, and friends of friends have blessed us with this trip.  One friend hooked us up with the President of Disneyland so we'll get VIP seating/access and even a VIP Park Guide to guide us through the park.  We are 'just a bit' overwhelmed with everyone's love and support.

Last night, Ruby had a massive melt down over her princess dress.  One of the extras of this trip is a princess makeover (kill me now) for Ruby.  Needless to say, she's quite excited.  She envisioned herself entering the park each day in her princess dress.  Angela had made her one for either Halloween or a birthday party.  However, Ruby had it in her head that she needed an official Belle, Cinderella, or some other character's official dress.  The tears and "woe is me's" were a flowing.  After a quiet time and a perspective talk with her overly pragmatic father she came back to reality.  Then, this morning I went to take out the trash and saw a couple presents sitting at our front door.  One was for Ruby and the other for Charlie.  Charlie opened his and found a Woody (from Toy Story) costume.  Ruby opened hers and found an official Cinderella dress.  The gifts came from a friend who had no idea about the "need" for an official dress or last night's melt down.  I'm not sure what Ruby prayed about last night, but I hope this doesn't create a genie lamp view of God. :)

While there's lots of temporary good things on the mind right now, I've also been moved this week for the nine year old boy that was hit by a car last week.  Although they live in Aldergrove, he and his mom have attended our Church gatherings in the past.  Our Church has been praying for them and each day little miracles have happened.  One night, his mom prayed that upon her return in the morning he'd open his eyes.  The next morning, five minutes after her arrival, he did!   From being in a coma at BC Children's Hospital ICU to only a week later playing tricks on the nurses, his recovery has been steady and miraculous.  There are still lots of issues, including brain damage, so we must continue to pray for him.  In addition to our prayers, know that our Church is also sending a gift to help with their everyday expenses.

This gift comes from our Church being in a healthy financial place.  Thank you to all of our Church family that have given in faith over the past two years to get us to this place.  As a Church family we now look to grow in financial health so that we can not only continue to be a help to those in need, but increase our health and love!

We are also praying for a family connected to both a Church in Langley and one of our Church members that has a 10 month old twin with a cancerous tumour on his liver.  He is going through chemo and eventually surgery. Their Church has been very supportive of them and I'd love for our Church to join with them in praying for healing and strength.

All of this makes me think of how naive I was in my thinking a decade ago.  I thought I was so strong and self-sufficient.  Yet the journey God has graced me with has revealed my significant weakness, my need for His grace in Jesus, and His love as given through family, friends, and the Church.  God is good even though I act in ignorance, arrogance, and disobedience.

I also have to give a special shout out to my employers, the College and Church.  Over the past three months they have been overwhelmingly gracious and generous.  Between all the medical appointments, support for Angela, and help with our kids, I have had to scale back my work responsibilities.  There has also been times where I've been physically present, but emotionally absent.  In these times, other staff, students, and volunteers have helped to fill in the gaps by either taking on my responsibilities or extending patience.  Both the College and Church have been very patient with me, allowing for less productivity while continuing to provide for our family.  So, from our family to Pacific Life Bible College and Parkside Church, thank you!

I have also been meaning to respond to last Sunday's inter-Church worship and prayer night.  About double the number from the Fall gathering attended this one (about 40-50 folks).  I want us to work towards seeing this as a priority in our calendars.  It's good for us, the Kingdom, and our City, to gather in unity.  Thank you to Doug Dunbar of North Valley Baptist Church for organizing this initiative and hosting it!  I would love to see this grow to a place where Sunday's attendance of all the Churches in Mission is matched at this inter-Church event.  Can you imagine all of Mission's Christ followers joined together in worship and prayer!  We've been praying for more of neighbours to come to faith in Christ, for greater participation in the life of every local Church, and for an increase of finances.

Have a great weekend and week.  The next time you will most likely hear from me will be a week from now.  Continue to pray for your MY5!

Thanks to Katy of www.picturemefoto.com for taking our photo!

Friday, February 3, 2012

My Inner Metis and Other Things

We had another good gathering on Sunday.  Three of our youth helped lead us in worship and they did a great job.  We opened our Bibles to Acts 12 and discovered that a Church that advances does so on its knees.  James was beheaded, Peter imprisoned, and the Church engaged in earnest prayer.  No petitions were made, no political or armed force was needed... just the humble submission of the Church and a willingness to lay down one's life.

Sunday afternoon, we headed into Richmond to spend time with Angela's family.  We had nice dinner and visit.  My niece must be learning about First Nations at school because she decided to put on a pow wow.  The kid's danced and drummed while yours truly brought out his inner Metis and belted out some chants and shrills.  I had to stop at Tim's on the way home to get a steeped tea (I love their new sizes) to soothe the throat and keep me awake for the drive.

Monday was chemo day for Angela.  Thanks to the portacath, her new diet, and a small change in her chemo recipe things have been much better this round.  Less nausea and less fatigue.  Praise God for gracing us with wisdom and a good chemo nurse.  Ang's sister came out for chemo day and was a huge help.  My mother-in-law has been here for most of this week and I have subsequently called her Cinderella.  She's been helping with everything... kid's, meals, housework, and Angela duty.

On Wednesday, I picked up my new t-shirt order... four Oregon Ducks shirts!  I'm stocked for another year or two.  I'll have at least one year to wear them proudly and gloat about our Rose Bowl win.
I'm away this weekend for a retreat with the student leadership team at the college.  It will be nice to spend some time with them.  Catherine is preaching this Sunday and I'm excited to hear what she has discovered about the last part of Acts 12.  I also hear there's some event called the Super Bowl this Sunday afternoon too?

Sunday night we are going to my sister's to celebrate my brother-in-law's birthday.  Then I'll race back over to North Valley Baptist Church to join with the rest of the Church in Mission as we worship and pray together.

I hope you have a great weekend, filled and overflowing with the life and love of Christ through His Spirit.  I hope you enjoy praying for your MY5.  I hope you're able to find extra time this weekend to spend a more concentrated amount of time in His Word.  Your time and life investment into these things will not only help you in the present, but will also pay eternal dividends.