Saturday, December 30, 2006

Christmas at our house

With 6 grandchildren running around, Christmas is a pretty exciting season. The celebrations usually begin by us all attending the 6 pm Christmas Eve service at Church, which helps remind us and the kids of our priority of honoring Jesus. Then we come back to Susan's and my home to eat and open their stockings. Here's a picture of the 6 children anxiously anticipating the word "go".

On Christmas morning we all headed to Tom and Kelly's home to eat breakfast of Cinderella waffles and lots of syrup. Jordy always has to have popcorn as his special dessert! After breakfast and a short devotion, we got to open presents. Alex and Madeline both gave us a Christmas recital of the carols they've recently mastered. Victoria received a Ballerina Barbie, so here she is dancing with her doll.

One of the most rewarding parts of our morning was Jacob's gifts that he'd bought for everyone. With his new paper route, he received his first cheque just before Christmas and and chose to spend everything on presents for his family. The picture of him giving his personally chosen gift to grandma shows that this was the highlight of his celebrations. In the afternoon we all kicked back and played with our new toys--Jordy and I got to assemble Kristy and Jeremy's new buffet. And of course Christmas evening was topped off with turkey dinner and home-made apple or pumpkin pie. Thankyou Lord for Jesus and for family! What a delightful day we all enjoyed!


I've been busy marking students' papers written for my Pentateuch class this fall, and just came across an excellent description that a young man wrote about the Menora, that was set in the Tabernacle. Of course we all know that the Lampstand represented Jesus, who is the light of the world, but it also is a picture of the Church that reflects His light to the world around us. When we begin to think about reflected light and how many times more effective it becomes by adding more mirrors around it, we can begin to understand how Jesus views each of us--as mirrors who reflect His light to our circle of influence.

I saw that idea illustrated in a conversation I had a couple of days ago. Richard and Theresa Lee had to leave our church about a year ago to return to Pakistan for their business. Theresa was visiting this Christmas and so we had a chance to catch up on what's happening. Although there are no Protestant churches where they live, they have become active in the Roman Catholic Church there. Theresa told me story after story about how they have been able to practise and even pass on principles they have learned in our church to those around them. They have even begun a Bible study, with the Priest's blessing, using the Red Thread Trilogy.
I was so encouraged to see once again that the light we reflect in our neighbourhood, can be reflected halfway around the world. God bless Richard and Theresa!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The secret of Success

People tend to think I'm busier at Christmas than normal (I guess because it's a Christian holiday) but in truth things slow down a bit. People are all busy doing their thing, so they don't give as much time to regular small groups, or to their problems. Please don't tell anybody my little secret.

Because of the extra time that I've got, I've taken off 3 or 4 days to write a book, called The Secret of Success. The book is based on our church philosophy of ministry, which is summarized in the 3 rhyming words Knowing, Growing and Sowing. Not only is this a formula to build a successful church, but also to build a successful life. As a matter of fact I strongly believe that knowing God, growing to maturity in Him and sowing the gifts we've been given, is the only pathway to true success!

I'm writing this book in partnership with my friend and associate pastor, Terry Janzen. It will hopefully be available by next September.

Winter and Susan's Birthday

Can you believe it? Winter arrives on December 21-- and so does another birthday for my darling Susan. She arrived, so I am told, on the morning of an 18 inch snowfall, Her dad had to shovel a block of their street before he could drive mom to the hospital. Thankfully they arrived on time and beautiful Susan Rosemary was born strong and healthy, about 4 years after her big sister Nancy Ann and about 5 years after her future husband.

To celebrate, our family went out to Montana's where the kids can make as much noise as they want. Susan didn't want me to publish the picture of the waiters singing to her with the big moose antlers on her head. Instead I chose this one of Susan, Kelly and Kristy , as well as the 6 kiddies cuddled up to their favorite Nana. On Thursday, we'll celebrate again with a few of our friends.

I'm so thankful to God for his generous gift he has graced me with. Susan has been the perfect match for me. I think I'd be a mite boring to live with, but her excitable and exuberant personality keeps our marriage and family a fun place to be. I love her with all my heart and am looking forward to the next 30+ years that we will (God willing ) have together. Marriage is one of the many best ideas that God ever came up with! Happy Birthday Sweetheart!

Sunday at Northside

December seems to throw a bit of a curve in our regular church schedule, but it's a good curve!
On the 2nd week we enjoyed our children's play and choir and on this last week we loved our church choir's presentation.

Wow! What a gift that music is to the church. I couldn't get over the quality of talent and the willingness to share it that our church has. Maureen Reid has been leading our choir as they have practised over the past few months--I suspect that there is as much fulfillment in the friendship of the group as there is in the presentation of their music. The choir sang for our Saturday evening service as well as 3 times on Sunday morning. They really had to hustle to make the hop back and forth between the 2 campuses. And it was worth it all. Thank you Lord, and thank you choir for your gracious gift.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Enjoy My Books and Pay Less This Month

Use this coupon at one of the Retail Stores listed on my website, or automatically purchase anyone of my books on my website throughout the month of December at 15% off.

Christmas lights

I love the decorations and lights that brighten our rainy community at Christmas. They are shining witnesses to the light of the world who shines through his church to the world around us. Today Jordan helped me put up lights around our home.

Christmas Generosity

I love people like Ed and Joanne Spence! What an honor it is to serve beside them. Ed was placed on the front page of the Tri-City News this week with a very glowing article giving tribute to the hundreds of homeless people he has fed over the last several years simply by saving bottles and trading their value for food. Thank God for unselfish and thoughtful Christians in our community who let their lights shine not only at Christmas but all year. We're so privileged to have Ed and Joanne and their daughter as part of our church family!

Christmas celebrations

It's been a fun Christmasy week-end for Susan and me. Besides the regular home and church things that we usually do, we had opportunity to celebrate a few special things. On Thursday evening, Susan and the girls went to our annual Women's Celebration, while I got to take my four grandsons out for dinner at Burger King. Then on Friday evening Dave and Carol and we went to the Singing Christmas Tree program at Broadway Church.

I've been so impressed by the consistent influence Broadway Church has had in our metropolis for the last 60 years or so. They have been like a spiritual anchor in a city that has tended to drift toward secularism. I applaud their consistent witness and their generosity in freely and elaborately opening their doors to a very diverse population. Blessings to our friends at Broadway, and thank-you for a very classy and moving presentation of the Gospel. Of course my niece Dianna Smith was the real star performer!

On Saturday, Susan and I were invited to our dear friend, Jim Douglas's 65th Birthday Party. It's hard to believe that we have friends that are so old! Jim and Sharon have been pillars in our church and also Kingsway Foursquare Church for their entire lives. How I value Strong Christlike families--you can easily see their faithfulness because it is modelled in the 2 generations that they've successfully passed the torch to. Both of them have also been teachers at Pacific Academy since its beginnings and so have positively influenced thousands of kids. Thank you Lord for godly pillars. May the Douglas tribe continue to be blessed for generations!

We had a great Christmas Celebration at our 4 services this week-end. The hundreds of children that we've been entrusted with put on a wonderful musical program. Afterwards we were invited to our Granddaughter's birthday party. Victoria turns 4 on Monday so Tom and Kelly invited a few of her friends and their parents for a Birthday lunch and skating party.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Leyte Mudslide

These pictures date back a few months to the big mudslide in Barnard, Leyte. An entire village of 5000+ were immediately wiped out by the slide, covered in 15 feet of mud and rocks.
Northside church immediately responded to help those on the outskirts of town who lived, but lost everything. We sent several thousand dollars, which was taken by the team (pictured here) to buy supplies, food and water. A new church was planted very near where the disaster occured.
When I was in Ormoc a week ago, I'd hoped to see the site of the slide, but found out that it was a five hour ride, so I did not have time. The church there did send many thanks to our church for our help in their time of crisis.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Diana and Chris's Wedding

On Saturday I had the privilege of officiating at the wedding of two of our church adherents, Chris
and Diana Lorenzen. What a great couple! Chris has an Italian family and Diana is from Serbian background. I find the blending of the different cultures so interesting. Each has their own traditions, Christian history, language and foods. A sumptuous feast followed the nuptials, so all told this was a wedding day that will be remembered with great joy for many years to come. These are two of the loveliest families I've come to know this year--and there have been a record number of memorable relationships I will have forever.

Even more pictures!

Pictured here is one of the Fastcat Ferries that I rode on, Pastor Val Chavez and his wife, some of the pastors I was able to share a meal with and a Caribou. Caribou are the main " farm equipment" used in the Philippines for preparing the soil for planting as well as much of their farming. Finally, pictured here are two young bible school students from Life Bible College in Davao, with the 50th Anniversary cake pictured in the background.

More pictures from the Philippines

Pictured here is the long line of pastors in Davao that we provided lunch for. Also are some of the boxes of clothes that we had sent months in advance to give to the Pastors .
The three women at the front of the stage are the happy prize recipients of some of the Cadbury Chocolate that I brought down with me.

Pictures from my trip to Philippines

I have attached some of my pictures from my recent trip to the Philippines and Thailand. Included here is a picture of my good friends Don & Ru Schellenberg that I stayed with while in Thailand. Also pictured here are some of the Thailand dancers in their costumes.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Auntie Mae

Today my family held a Memorial service for my dear 97 year old auntie. Auntie Mae was one of those very rare women who was like a mom to our family. After serving in the RCAF as a Colonel, Auntie Mae did not marry. She worked as an anchor in my dad's lumber business, running the office and keeping the books. Whenever dad and mom would want to get away for another honeymoon from us 6 kids, Auntie Mae would care for us.

When she was 52 she finally met Derrick who became the love of her life until he died in 1983. During those years Auntie moved away to Little Fort, north of Kamloops and the 2 were farmers together for all of their married life. Every summer as a teen ager I would go and live with them on their farm. I learned a lot about life from Auntie Mae and Uncle Derrick. I painted their old farm house (4 coats) , worked at harvesting, milking cows, castrating bulls--you know, regular farm stuff. A very memorable day was when I was 16 and Auntie's adopted daughter, who was only a few weeks old, got her head caught between the wooden bars of her crib, She was turning red and then white, but Auntie could not get her out. When she cried for help, I ran into the room and was able to dislodge Carlene from her prison. Auntie Mae always credited me with saving her daughter's life.

Auntie Mae was a woman of faith. She sang in the choir in 1928 when Aimee Semple McPherson came to town and then invited my mom to Sunday School at the brand new church at Hastings and Pender in Vancouver. Mom was only 10 years old at the time, and later met my dad (Auntie Mae's brother) , but it was that momentous occasion that ultimately changed the path of my family's life. I owe a great debt to my beloved Auntie and will miss her. She is doing well and has just been donned with her Crown of Righteousness!