Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Youth Camp

This afternoon Susan and I took a quick trip past Cultus Lake to visit our youth at Summer Camp. My how things have changed since I was a teen at camp. Camp Stillwood is a magnificent facility that overlooks the Lake. Camping would no longer be considered "roughing it"! Our 70 kids plus the same number from other Foursquare Churches are having a whale of a time.

Richard Liggins is directing this years camp and is doing a great job. Pastor Terry works with a strong group of interns, and with the other 60 or so leaders and workers, there is lots of good learning, working and playing going on. As you might notice from the pictures, today is Pirates of the Caribbean Day. We stayed for a delicious chicken dinner and then headed home again. God bless our kids!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Gardening with God

Today, as I worked in our yard and caught up on some long overdue weeding and trimming, I spent some time in meditation about some Biblical lessons from the gardens of Israel. The pomegranate has long been one of my favorite fruits, so I reflected on what I knew about it while I worked.

The pomegranite was considered to be the fruit of kings, and therefore when it was mentioned , it was a graphic picture of our place beside Jesus, as rulers in training, in his Kingdom. If you take a pomegranate and turn it up-side-down you will notice that there is a crown (like an apple) on it. That was where the first kings got the idea of placing a 5 pointed crown on their heads as a symbol of their royal authority.

Solomon had pomegranites carved into the top of the tall pillars around the glorious temple that he built for God, and God had the priests sew little pomegranite shaped decorations on the bottom of their robes. They represented at least 3 things: One was that we all have been given authority as priests and kings in God's Kingdom. Two is that our authority comes as we recognize our lowly place (The bottoms of their robes dragged on the ground) And three is that the fruit is especially noted for its prolific seeds. We too, as priests of God, carry Kingdom seeds to generously plant wherever we walk in a day. Remember those three important lessons the next time you eat a pomegranite or have grenadine in your drink (It comes from pomegranites)

Probably most signifigant is that pomegranite leaves are one of nature's best medicines. Ground leaves have been used for years to settle upset stomachs or to cure diarhea. As Ezekial prophecied "Their leaves shall be used for healing."

A suprise visitor

Today I got a call from a lady in our church, who asked me if she and her young son could come over to our home and visit for a few minutes. I said yes, and so Kristal and her son James arrived about 10:30.

The first thing that James did was give me a very special gift. He knew I was interested in gardening, so he asked his parents if he could give me something from his own Garden. My gift was a delicious cucumber and several tomatoes. He also had made a little snail from Plastercine to go along with the veggies.

Iwas delighted with James' gift, but then he told me the real reason for his visit. While lying in bed one evening, God had given him a prophetic song he wanted to sing for me. Kristal had video recorded the song so James would not forget it, and so she played it for me. As wonderful as his first gifts were, James' song was even better. I received it as a grace gift from God through a very spiritually mature young prophet. His visit made my day. We talked about some gardening tips and then I gave him one of the willows that I had transplanted. He told me he would plant it in his yard as a reminder of this special visit.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Wedding at Furry Creek

A few months ago, I'd never even heard of Furry Creek. When I began meeting with Jeff and Heather last year for premarital preparation, they told me that they wanted to be married there, so that was when I first learned of one of the finest Golf Courses in our beautiful province. It's just 15 minutes this side of Squamish on the way to Whistler.

Wow! What a delightful place for a wedding. Heather's family came all the way from Newfoundland to be there for her, so they were delighted with both the weather and the sights.
Jeff and Heather are a easy to love young couple. He is the son a some dear friends of mine that regularly attend our Wednesday evening Bible Study. The wedding was followed by a wonderful dinner and a fun evening of getting to know both families.

We sat with Jeff's uncle who told us that Jeff had caught the garter at his and his wife's wedding a few years ago. Their last name is Heather so he felt like it was prophetic that Jeff not only caught the garter, which meant he would soon be married, but also that he would marry a girl named Heather! Congratulations to both of you!


Today in church I was speaking on step 11 of the 12 steps--how to maintain a vital communication with God. A person, even a believer, who does not communicate with God regularly is like a garden that is not watered regularly. Like the unwatered garden, he will eventually dry up and die. I spoke about the vital necessity of Bible reading and study, prayer and meditation. I'll illustrate my point with a story from history.

Geoffery Bull, missionary to Tibet, was captured and imprisoned by Chinese Communists. His captors took all pssessions from him, including his Bible, put him in dank prisons, and treated him severely for 3 years. He suffered from extreme temperatures, bodily abuse, near starvation, mental and psychological torture. He feared that he would go insane.

How did Geoffery keep his mind at peace?

He had no Bible, but he had studied his Bible all of his life. So he began to systematically go over scriptures in his mind. It took him 6 months to go all the way through his Bible mentally. He sarted in Genesis, musing over every incident while praying for light to shine on his meditations. After completing the old Testament, Geoffery moved into the New Testament, Matthew to Revelation. Then he started over again. He later wrote, "The strength received through the meditation was a vital factor in bringing me through. While others languished, and even died in the ordeal, my mental studies of the Bible helped me keep the faith unto the very end."

Just a reminder to those in town, that the Bible Study that I teach through the Bible (We pick up the study at The beginning of the New Testament) will resume in Mid-September at our Coquitlam Campus. For those out of town, I've been recording on tape all our studies from Genesis to Malachi. They are available at a minimal cost.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Kids Camp

What a fun day Susan and I had visiting our kids at Stillwood Camp past Cultus Lake. This is the biggest camp we've ever had for our Foursquare churches since we began in 1928. The weather has been exceptional, not that our children seem to care. There is something that happens in both our relational and spiritual worlds at camp. Friendships form that often last a lifetime and spiritual growth takes a leap.

There is a principle that whenever we eat together there is a sharing of life, and that is exponentially magnified when we spent time overnight together. Whether it is a men's retreat, staff outing, missions trip or camping experience, we practise the very discipling method that Jesus and his 12 disciples modelled for us.

Susan and I were especially looking forward to seeing our grandsons, Alex and Jacob. Before dropping her son off at camp, Kelly had given Alex explicit instructions on how to make his bed, keep his clothes neat, practise personal hygiene and how to gel and brush his hair. But when 8 eight year old boys get together without their parents, all instructions are quickly forgotten. He came to breakfast this morning without giving a second thought to his coiffure.

As you can see from the pictures, it was wild hair day today. We spent time with several of our kids, made sure they were well and happy, watched some of the fun activities and the came home. Max, Victoria and Jordan, who were with us for the day, were thoroughly worn out by the time we arrived home. God bless our kids and the leaders for the remainder of this week.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Visit to Steveston

Today Susan and I had a couple of errands to run out in Richmond, so we had lunch in the mall and went for a walk in beautiful Steveston. It's amazing to me how beautiful our Lower Mainland of BC is, yet how seldom we visit the gorgeous sites.

Alex's and Jacob's Birthdays

On Sunday after Church our family went to Jeremy's and Kristy's home to celebrate Alex's and Jacob's 8th birthdays. My prayer for each of our grandsons is that they continue to grow strong in body and soul, and "that they grow in favour with God and men".

This week Alex and Jacob will go to our Foursquare Children's camp for their first time. Thankfully Kristy will be the featured speaker ( Madeline and Jordan will stay with her) so she can watch over the little men. Susan and I will go to the camp in Chilliwack on Wednesday to visit our 60+ church kids.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

A Good Heart

This Sunday I'm speaking on the subject of maintaining a healthy heart. It's based on Step 10 of the 12 Steps that we've been walking, through the past 7 months as a church. Step 10 has to do with carefully caring for our spiritual garden and dealing ruthlessly with any weeds that pop up. Here's a story that illustrates what I mean.

You'll remember in 1987 when President- hopeful Gary Hart had a well publisized fling with Donna Rice. They were spotted on his boat, called Monkey Business, in the Bahamas and the news spread like wildfire.

At the time, Donna was a backslidden Christian. She'd received Christ as a teen and her life was thereafter wrapped totally around her church. When she went away to college, she began to slip away from God. The scandal with Gary Hart almost destroyed her.

Donna resigned her job and publishers hounded her. They were willing to pay millions to tell her story. As she wrestled with her decision, her grandmother counselled her, "Before you make any decision, get your life back on track with God." She was stunned. Donna had not even realized that she could put the entire mess in his big hands.

She said, "I collapsed on the floor and sobbed. I knew I, and no one else, was responsible for my choices. I cried out to God and told him that it took falling on my rear in front of the whole world for him to get my attention. I asked him to help me live my life from then on, his way."

"God answered my cry by flooding me with his presence and forgiveness, and surrounding me with Christian friends." Thank God that when we slip off the path he has prepared for us, we can not only be restored but be made even stronger.

Sarah and the Prince

I just got my 3rd children's book, called Sarah and the Prince, back from the printer. What inspired me was my daughter Kristy preparing to be the speaker for our Children's camp this week. The subject she was assigned to teach is The Kingdom of God. It's been fun to work along side my lay-pastor daughter as she has been studying for her first preaching assignment.

I had finished writing the first of my Kingdom series books, for printing this week, and so I've been thinking a lot about our place beside Jesus on his throne. When I came across a parable that Ezekial told to his Jewish listeners, my spiritual ears perked up. The story was a Kingdom gem.

Sarah and the Prince is taken from Ezekial 16. It's a love story about a lost and rejected little baby girl who was adopted into a very special family. In time Sarah struggles with her place and falls into the same trap her mom had fallen into. She loses all that she had been given. I still get excited when I read the conclusion, where the prince, who is now the king, finds her and rescues her. You can pick up a copy of the book at our church--it's for ages 6-12, but because of its timeless truth, any age can read and enjoy the story.

By the way, the picture on the cover, taken by Jennifer Croft, is our grandhildren Maxwell and Madeline

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Crabby old woman


When an old lady died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital, it was
believed that she had nothing left of any value. Later, when the nurses were
going through her meager possessions, they found this poem. Its quality and
content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to
every nurse in the hospital.

Crabby Old Woman

What do you see, nurses?
What do you see?
What are you thinking,
When you're looking at me?

A crabby old woman,
Not very wise,
Uncertain of habit,
With faraway eyes.

Who dribbles her food,
And makes no reply,
When you say in a loud voice,
"I do wish you'd try!"

Who seems not to notice,
The things that you do,
And forever is losing,
A stocking or shoe

Who, resisting or not
Let's you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding,
The long day to fill?

Is that what you're thinking?
Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse,
You're not looking at me.

I'll tell you who I am,
As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding,
As I eat at your will.

I'm a small child of ten,
With a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters,
Who love one another.

A young girl of sixteen,
With wings on her feet,
Dreaming that soon now,
A lover she'll meet.

A bride soon at twenty,
My heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows,
That I promised to keep.

At twenty-five now,
I have young of my own,
Who need me to guide,
And a secure happy home.

A woman of thirty,
My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other,
With ties that should last.

At forty, my young sons,
Have grown and are gone,
But my man's beside me,
To see I don't mourn.

At fifty once more,
Babies play round my knee,
Again we know children,
My loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me,
My husband is dead,
I look at the future,
I shudder with dread.

For my young are all rearing,
Young of their own,
And I think of the years,
And the love that I've known.

I'm now an old woman,
And nature is cruel,
'Tis jest to make old age,
Look like a fool.

The body, it crumbles,
Grace and vigor depart,
There is now a stone,
Where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass,
A young girl still dwells,
And now and again,
My battered heart swells.

I remember the joys,
I remember the pain,
And I'm loving and living,
Life over again.

I think of the years,
All too few, gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact,
That nothing can last.

So open your eyes, people,
Open and see,
Not a crabby old woman;
Look closer - see ME!!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Brian and Erin's Wedding

I really do value the responsibility I carry of both counselling and officiating for couples who are getting married. It means so much to me when the bride and groom are part of my own family, but it's almost the same when they are part of our church family.

I get to spend several weeks with most of the couples and because that's more than I sit with other people, we often become good friends. That's how I feel about Brian and Erin. We've had a very enjoyable few months to get to know each other and to talk about marriage.

Today a small group of family and friends joined with us to honor Brian and Erin as they covenanted with each other in the park-like back yard of Erin's father's home. Both of them are as lovable on the inside as they are strikingly handsome on the outside. I counted it a great privilege to bless their marriage today.

Alex and Jacob turn 8

I can hardly believe it was 8 years ago this week that I got a call from Susan while I was at church Sunday morning that our first grandson Alexander was born. It was a week later, while I was at church again that I got another call. Our second grandson, Jacob had suprised us by coming a couple of months early. The church clapped and cheered for us each time, so I felt kind-of like I was letting them down when we didn't produce any more kids the week after.

Today Alex and Jacob invited afew of their friends over for a birthday party. The theme was soccer, so the boys had a ball playing together until hot dog time. Next week we'll have our family birthday party. Fun, fun fun!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Future Pastors Camp

Today we held our 3rd future pastors camp. It was 1 of dozens of day camps that different leaders have provided for our church kids this summer. I had 2 boys and 5 girls register. The ranged from 7 to 11 years of age and we had a great time together.

I began by showing the kids around my office, then we sat and chatted about what pastoring is all about. I described my own personal journey from being a backwardly shy 10 year old to where I am today. Then I talked about what it means to have a "call" from God and how we can hear his voice.

After our break, Stephanie Wiebe (my intern for the day) and I role played as different people who wanted counsel from the pastor. I was surprised by how sharp the children's advice was. We ended off by preparing a sermon together. I could easily see down the road about 15 or 20 years, turning the reins of the church over to young adults just like these kids. The truth is that several of the children and youth, who've been reared in our church, are our leaders and pastors today.

Thanks Alex, Jacob, Cassidy, Megan, Tanus and Madison (and Stephenie) for giving me a very satisfying and inspiring day!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Gardening with God

God loveas persistance. Several months ago, I decided to cut down a Maple tree in our front yard. We live on Vinemaple Place, so I had thought a Maple tree would be appropriate for the front of our home. But I wasn't satisfied with the show of leaves. They wilted too fast and looked weary.

In the spring, I cut down the tree that I figured was not doing his job. I felt a little like Jesus cursing the fig tree because it didn't do what it was supposed to do. I replaced the Maple with a Willow tree, which is one of my favorites. Then I cut the leaves and the trunk of my Maple tree and thoroughly buried them. There's an area at the side of our home that needed to be raised up several inches, so I buried the pieces of my hacked up tree and covered them with grass clippings and a few inches of dirt. My plan is to plant lawn there in September.

But lo and behold, up pops a new Maple tree from its grave! I have not watered or attended to that area all summer-- I'd all but forgotten about the corpse beneath. Here's a snap-shot of the persistant little tree. Of course, out of respect and admiration for its boldness, I'll plant grass around it and keep it as a reminder of how much God loves us to push through adversity--even death!

Blueberry Picking

On Friday Susan and I had a flashback to about 30 years ago when our girls were young. We had the delight of getting our two precious granddaughters for a sleep-over.

First we went blueberry picking at an old farm. It was so much fun to watch Madeline (6) and Victoria (3) interact. The whole evening they were mom and daughter. "Can I pick some of these berries over here mom?" "Of course sweetie, let me help pull that branch closer for you."
We also found enough juicey blackberries for at least one big pie, and two large buckets of apples.
After picking for a couple of hours, we were off to McDonalds for a treat. They got a couple of Polly Pockets in their Happy Meals which entertained them for hours that evening and the next day.

Here's the girls "sleeping" together and helping Nana make waffles in the morning. Now I remember how much fun those days of rearing Kelly and Kristy were, and how fast they pass by!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Kids' Life Purpose

Every year our Kids Church offers 20+ Day camps for our kids (and their friends) There's bowling camp, soccer camp, groovey-girl camp, build something camp -- you get the idea. The two day- camps that I get the privilege of teaching are Life Purpose for Kids and I want to be a Pastor Camp. Today I held my Life Purpose one.

Thankfully I had the help of our 2 summer interns, Stephenie and Dawn-Marie, in addition to Juliette. We had 8 kids(we always set a limit) and I, at least, had a ball. It's my belief that God created each of us with a definite purpose. As a matter of fact he not only designed us with purpose, but he also wrote our life journals before we were even born. Our job as parents, teachers and pastors is to train up our children in the way they should go (that's their purpose), so that when they are old they will not depart from it.

Thanks kids for giving me the privilege of playing with you and at the same time teaching you God's wonderful truth.