Tuesday, 6 December 2011

They Were Helpers, and They Danced!

I was reading a story recently about two women in their  forties (we’ll call them Raye and Lea) who were asked to be helpers at a dance class for special needs adults.  Although they felt unqualified for this job, they agreed to show up.  The class was a diverse one, ranging in disabilities from cerebral palsy (also, in a wheelchair), to autism, to Down Syndrome.  Some of the people looked a lot like Raye and Lea, and some looked very different.  Everyone started by sitting in a circle and ‘sharing’. That progressed to practicing some dance moves, then putting the moves together to do a dance.  Then everyone sat down again and they watched, and took turns performing individual versions of a dance, any kind of dance.  After an hour the class ended, and Raye and Lea went home exhausted.  Several days later Raye met the class instructor again--who explained that one of the students had come up to her after the class and exclaimed “I liked those old ladies! They were helpers, and they danced.”  Raye felt that this was a pretty profound statement, perhaps one that she would choose to have on her gravestone.  I agree.  Why?  Because I think that those two actions encapsulate what it is to be a Christian. 
1.      You are a helper.  You may not feel qualified or even particularly capable-- but you show up, and try your hardest--for other people, for God.  It could be exhausting, but it will also be inspiring.  Which leads to a feeling where…
2.       You dance.  It is difficult to do this half-heartedly (reference King David who ‘danced before the Lord’ with such abandon that he embarrassed his wife to death).  It is also almost impossible to dance if you aren’t feeling a sense of joy. And, if in fact “the joy of the Lord is your strength” then you will be able to go back to action #1.
The point is, you can’t do one without the other.  If you serve (or help) God, and others, only out of a sense of duty or obligation, you are going to be a very dreary Christian. You’ll give up trying to be a helper because it just is too hard to sustain.  If you only want the joy and dancing part—it is going to be all about you--and won’t be sustainable either.  But if you do the two things together, they will function like cogs that keep turning each other like wheels.  One drives the other.

If Christians were characterized as “they were helpers, and they danced” (with joy!) wouldn’t it be an amazing legacy for us to leave behind ?

                 “They were helpers, and they danced”!

(Thanks to Kathy Donald, for submitting this story.)

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Heaven Is For Real

Heaven is for Real
I just finished reading Todd Burpo's book, "Heaven is for Real". It is a book I have been wanting to read for a while and HIGHLY recommend it. The book is a true story about Todd's son Colton's trip to heaven and back during an emergency appendectomy. Colton was not yet four years old. So many things about this book intrigued and inspired me. Who doesn't want to know what heaven is like? I won't spoil the book for you by telling you things that Colton saw, such as who sits on the left side of God's throne while Jesus sits on the right or how old people are in heaven. Instead I will share the things that inspired or encouraged me.
First of all Colton saw people from his family who had passed away and that he had never met. One, a sister, who died as a result of a miscarriage. A miscarriage Colton had never known about. For how would you explain that to your 3 year old son in the first place? One night Colton was crying because he missed this sister (who was the age of a little girl) that was in heaven. This made me think about people from my family, or even friends, that are in heaven and that I will see again or meet for the first time. Maybe my grandfathers, who I have never met, will be there to welcome me. However, the ones that I think I am most curious to meet are my siblings - 5 of them. See my mom had 4 miscarriages (one was a set of twins) before she had me and then my sister. So many questions - are they girls or boys?; how old are they in heaven?; do they look like me?; what are their personalities like?
The second thing from the book that struck me was in chapter 19. Colton would reveal little tidbits of information of what he saw during the regular flow of life - meals, errands, etc. However he had one constant theme: he talked constantly about how much Jesus loves the children - constantly. He would wake up in the morning and say to his dad, "Hey Dad, Jesus told me to tell you, He really loves the children." He would say this over dinner, while brushing his teeth, at the end of a bible story. He had a non-stop message about Jesus' love for kids and in the end it transformed the way they did children's ministry in their church.
I have always known that Jesus had a special love for children. Maybe that is why when unborn babies die he adopts them and gives them school-aged bodies. But what hit me the hardest is that Jesus has given me the job of ministering to the children of FBC. Children that he loves so very much. Do I see in them what Jesus does? Do I treat them, teach them, love them like He wants me to? Do I believe that God uses children in amazing ways? How as a congregation do we see and treat them?
Then there are my own children. What am I doing as their parent to teach them, encourage them and point out their gifts and abilities. How do I discipline them?
In the end I am asking God to help me see and love children the way He does. Then maybe I will not only be a better parent or children's pastor but learn more about the faith I should have - faith like a child.
Who are the children in your life? Do you really love them like Jesus does?

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The Hospitality of God

There is a word that has been rumbling around in me for the last few months. It is a word that really embodies some of the thoughts and practices that have been surfacing in my life for many years. It is the word “hospitality.”

It is not that this is a new word for me, I had just not paid any attention to it. But right now, it is all I see as I read the Bible.

One of the more significant encounters I have had recently was in the Psalms. There is a part in Psalm 23 that reads:
“You prepare a table before me
   in the presence of my enemies.”

This passage has really caught me off guard. The Almighty, Prince of Peace, Alpha and Omega, God of the Universe has set a table and invited me to sit at it with Him. God as Host. The picture of this scene that I have in mind is that I have been fighting with my enemies on this epic, medieval battlefield, and we have been at each other ferociously. I am scraped and bruised and bloodied, and my opponents are once again rallying to overcome me. All of a sudden, God has arrived. His presence alone has stunned us, the battlers. He does not engage the battle, He hasn’t even noticed that it was happening as far as I can tell. He speaks a table with terrific food and drink into that place, and in a whimsical almost oblivious fashion invites me to sit and dine.

The reason He has not been alarmed by my enemies presence is that to Him they are of no concern. In His presence they hold no intimidation or power, in fact, in the glorious light of His presence they are but wisps of smoke. I can be completely at ease because of His hospitality.

God as Host has brought His table to my situation. Wherever He is, He is Host.  

A similar instance of hospitality plays out in the Gospel of Luke. On the road to Emmaus, two travelers have an encounter with the risen Jesus. They find themselves being comforted by this stranger as they travel and once they arrive at their destination for the evening, they persuade their traveling companion to stay and eat with them. Gathered around the table, Jesus takes the bread, an action of host, and breaks it and shares with them. The two are instantly aware of who’s presence they have been in and hurry back to Jerusalem, encouraged and in wonder.

Their enemies (confusion, doubt, disillusionment) are vanquished in an instance as they find rest for their souls at the table of the Lord.

Are there situations that are causing us to fear, or be anxious? Feelings that are warring inside of us? Sit with this picture of God as Host. Accept His invitation to be a guest at His table.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Pastor Kevin On "Wonder"

Almost from the time we are born we are pushed and prodded to “grow-up”.  Parents wonder when we will say our first words, take our first steps, put on our shoes for ourselves, get our own breakfast . . . and on and on and on.  It even gets to the point where we may be scolded “When are you going to grow up!”  The world around us seems bent on pressuring us to mature and become a contributing citizen of our society.  But along the way if we are not careful all this pressure can lead us to a place where we have lost the ability to imagine, dream, wonder and explore.  Essentially it leads us to a place where God has become a word in our Bible rather than the all creative presence at work in our life and unfolding “wonder” in our world.  I like the way William Wordsworth says it:

There was a time when meadow grove and stream,
The earth and every common sight
To me did seem
Appareled in celestial light.
The glory and freshness of a dream.
It is now as it hath been of yore.
Turn whereso’ere I may,
By night or day,
The light which I have seen
I now can see no more.

When we cannot see His wonder anymore we are apt to live accordingly.  Which means we are apt to live more in line with what culture and society tell us, rather than to dream of a world where God is breaking through, transforming, bringing to light, loving to greatness and at the center of who we are.  Jesus came not simply to die on a Cross, He came to die and let His resurrection from the dead change the world and burst forth each day in our lives and in our world.  This means that we can actually make decisions and trust beyond what the cold hard facts of the world tell us. 
Italian artist Caravaggio from the year 1603 titled "Doubting Thomas":

So in what way today will you step out, reach out and touch resurrection, life that you never thought possible.  Jesus isn’t telling us to “Grow up!”, He is telling us to “Grow into” Him.  “Come, touch, believe!”

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Family Date Night Fun!

Last Friday, October 21, we had our first monthly Family Date Night. What a success! We had 45 people join in for some hot dogs, hot chocolate & games at Idlewild Park. The range of ages present only added to our "family" event. It was wonderful to mix and hangout with one another. The kids wore out the new zipline and played sardines in the dusk. Even some of the brave adults joined in on some games. And even though it did get quite chilly, the rain held off! It was a fabulous time! I hope you can join us for our next Family Date Night on Friday, November 18. Details to come!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Worship News

This Christmas season we are putting together a Christmas Choir! If you love singing (or would like to learn how), here’s a great opportunity to join a multi-generational chorus. All ages and experience levels welcome. Stay tuned for more details!

Thank you to those who expressed interest in participating musically at church! In the New Year we will be starting a Farm Team for those that want to grow musically. Lessons in a variety of musical areas will be offered, as well as a safe place to learn and practice.

We are doing our best to make worship a time where everyone can connect with God. If there are ways we can make worship more meaningful for you, please let me know!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Silence Encouragement

I want to encourage you in light of this past Sunday. Silence and
solitude are uncommon, perhaps uncomfortable in our lives. When we
try and engage them we can find ourselves either incredibly tired, on
the verge of falling asleep, to frustrated at the many things rambling
in our heads. Stick with it, don't beat yourself up or feel guilty if
it doesn't seem to be working. The Lord is patient and loving and
desires to take whatever time and frequency is needed to develop
"alone time" with you. And as Richard Foster points out “The fruit
of solitude (and silence) is increased sensitivity and compassion for
others. There comes a new freedom to be with people. There is a new
attentiveness to their needs, new responsiveness to their hurts.”
In the same way, as you spend time with God, realize that God in
compassion and sensitivity is completely attentive to you, working to
bring freedom and healing to your life in the areas that you are in
need. Our world, our city, or work and hobby places, our homes, our
lives need compassion and sensitivity. Let us be alone with him, let
it begin there.
Peace, grace and courage to you.
Pastor Kevin

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Sin Quotes From Sunday

On Sunday, Pastor Kevin referenced two quotes regarding sin in his message. Here is a link to those quotes if you would like to read them again.

Quotes About Sin

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Junior Church is "BIG"!

In "My" Beginning

This past Sunday (October 9) we started our new Junior Church curriculum - "BIG" from Hillsong Kids. We have never ran a program quite like it but the kids embraced it and got excited about it. We have started to learn 2 new rockin' songs and our new memory verse (with actions) from Ephesians 3:18. The kids also learned that God cares about every detail about them, no matter how small. Did you know that blondes usually have the most number of hairs on their heads? (Approximately 140,000) And that red heads have the fewest (90,000 approx)?

The most important lesson learnt was that God created each of us for a purpose. I think the kids got most excited when I demonstrated this lesson by trying to cut a tomato with a hammer and a drill. Just like tools or knives have specific purposes, so they were also created for a purpose. After this fun time the kids broke into their KDG's (Kid's Discipleship Groups) and discussed how God has made each of them uniquely.

In the end 3 points were highlighted:

1. You are one of a kind.
2. God is interested in your life.
3. You were created on purpose for a purpose.

Tip for partnering Parents: Help your child(ren) learn the memory verse. Learn it with them and ask them to show you the actions!

"And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is." Ephesians 3:18

Thursday, 6 October 2011

The Guthries in Bolivia

Here is the video shown by Duane And Carin Guthrie while they were here with us on Oct 2nd. If you are interested in following their blog we have a link to it in the right side column.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Limited Time Offer

On Sunday, October 23, and October 30, Pastor Kevin will be taking a deeper look at some of the topics (body, soul, spirit, and life) that we have been working through in our message series on Spiritual Formation. These classes will allow us to ask our questions we have surrounding this series. They will also provide us with more experiences and practices to help us discern God at work in our lives through His Holy Spirit.
For these two weeks only the classes will be before the service starting at 9:00am.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Establishing Rhythms of Grace Through Pink Envelopes

Establishing rhythms of grace. Three times a year (Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas) we take a special offering towards a specific need. 
During Christmas we give towards a need in our denomination (Canadian Baptists of Western Canada) in the area of financial assistance for retired pastors. 
At Easter we give towards a need that is present in our community. This past year we gave towards the Hospital Chaplaincy program at our local regional hospital.
At Thanksgiving we set our sights on a need in the global community. This year we are pleased to be designating our special gifts to a program that gives grace and dignity to those in need in the developing world through through micro-credit loans. The Sharing Way is an arm of the CBM that is changing lives in dramatic ways through this innovation in modern missions in places such as Kenya, Bolivia, and India. In some places a loan of as little as $300 is all a person needs to dramatically change their living conditions! Please visit their web site to learn more about the work being done through this ministry. The Sharing Way 

And please consider the grace you extend through generosity in pink envelopes.  

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Welcome to the New School Year

Hi everyone,
Now that we are all getting back in the swing of things after a great summer of fun and holidays, I just wanted to remind you to check back here regularly for updates and news and even thoughtful articles that we hope will challenge and encourage you. You can also check for updates in the various sections listed along the top of our web site by clicking by them.

My invitation for you is to post in the comments section something fun or exciting or special or restful that you did this summer. Look forward to reading your comments.

Bye for now,

Thursday, 18 August 2011

FBC Hikes With Mike: Bear Lake

On Saturday, Aug 13, we had our FBC hike to Bear Lake. This beautiful little gem of a lake is located up the Wild Horse River valley in the rugged Rockey Mountains. As you will see from the pictures, there was a good sized group of us who made the trip, and it was really enjoyable to be in such a wonder inspiring place with these people.

Bear Lake
See, I told you there were quite a few of us.

The trail was pretty steep but we still managed to get all the kids up there,
We hiked to this great spot near the middle of the lake where we ate lunch.

Some went swimming.

Some got a little goofy from all the candy Joanne Swan was pumping into them.

All had a great time though.

Even our youngest hiker enjoyed herself...and the raisins she kept asking for.
  We had a great time and hope that you will consider joining us on the next hike we take.

Bye for now,

Thursday, 28 July 2011

More Great Pictures

I have just received some more great pictures from recent FBC Hikes. Special thanks to Denise Nicolajsen for sharing these beauties.

Our designated cooking area.

Jessika was quite hungry at this point, and decided to roast her pants over the fire. In the end we were able to convince her not to eat them.

These next few are from the Cooper Lake hike.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Opportunity in the Mountains

This Summer we are once again pleased to have regular church hikes organized by Mike and Joanne Swan. Here are some pictures from the last 2 hikes we have been on. The first set is from Fish Lake in Top of the World Provincial Park. The second set is from Cooper Lake.

9 of us headed out for a 2 night camp out at Fish Lake.

The trail is well maintained and pretty gradual in elevation gain.

This is a view of Fish Lake from a lookout that some hiked to on the Saturday.

The group runs into some snow on their hike.

If you are the fourth person to email me the correct name of this critter I will give you a prize.


Here is the group that went to Cooper Lake. What a good looking bunch they are.

"Is this the lake?" 

Everyone enjoying the fire.

The next hike is on August the 13th to Bear Lake. These hikes are a great opportunity to get to know people from the church. Hope you can join us on the next one.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

FBC...Digs a Pit?

I can remember as a kid responding to that boyish urge to dig a hole as deep as I possibly could. Lots of times I quit after only a few feet, and I of course never filled the hole back in (much to my dads disliking). Well for some reason this urge is not something males grow out of, we simply suppress it or disguise it. Glen Post and Tom Jackson have recently responded to this urge in grand fashion though. The two of them dug a pit so deep in the back yard of the church that they needed to dig themselves a trail to get out. Now they did have an accomplice in this matter...and he did have a backhoe, but when you see the pictures I think you will agree this was an incredible accomplishment nonetheless.

Some of you might be asking, "Why did they dig a pit?" Great question! I am glad you asked.

During the winter we have some problems with ice.
So we had Jim and Kevin dig out the drain.
Next we had this guy drill through the wall where we wanted to put the drain pipe.
Now we have a drain pipe that is 4 ft lower than before. (This is good)
"Bring in the big guns!"
Tom could not believe he had to move these piles of dirt out of the way with the wheelbarrow. 
They dug a trench that continued to get deeper as they went.
It was a good thing we had this guy and his machine. Look at the size of that rock he lifted out of there!

In the early years of digging, we are always hoping to discover treasure.
"Is that treasure I smell?" "No. Its sewage."
So that had to be patched up.

What we were really doing was digging a big pit for water from the flat roof to drain into.

We filled the pit with crushed stone.

And then ran our drain pipe into it. 

This is all run below the frost line so that the pipe doesn't freeze and back up anymore. It was quite a project, and we are thankful to Glen for doing this. As with all projects though there are some yahoos who you just take pity on and let them feel like they are helping. Thanks Glen and Tom for your quick thinking in coming up with jobs for these guys.

Now, one final word here. Thank you to the "Sweeping Bandit" who swept in here undetected last night and did a great job cleaning up the mess in the parking lot.

Have a great week.