Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Another orphanage in India

It seems I’m constantly hearing about other projects happening through our members. One of our ladies groups has been active for several years knitting, sewing and creating. They’ve sent 140 afghans (knitted quilts) to the Premanando Orphanage in Ongole, India. They’ve also sent 255 colourful afghans plus baby quilts, pajamas and hand-made greeting cards to shut-ins and orphans in Ukraine and Romania.

The women have also sent afghans to Nicaragua and Cost Rica with Ginny Sperling. The work goes on, and the fulfillment and joy keeps circling back to all of us.

Giving is in this Christmas

I talk a lot about “giving” in our church. I believe it is the key to our health and growth—people keep on responding, we keep on expanding and the cycle goes round and round.

The Mat Program in our Tri-Cities is about inviting the homeless street people into our Poco church building during the cold winter months. We, and a few other giving churches in our community, have each offered our buildings as overnight homes for one month. We provide a warm, safe place for them to sleep, plus dinner and breakfast.

December has been our month to participate, and with temperatures dipping below zero, it’s been very well received. Our guests have been gracious and thankful

On Sunday, I simply asked the church if they’d be willing to volunteer their help. We need people to serve and clean-up, but we also need warm clothes, casseroles, fruit, drinks, etc. Before the three services were done, we had enough volunteers to fill every need, plus multiple offers for food.

Today there was parade of people bringing the things we asked for. One man received a bonus from his boss; he went out and purchased a whole bag of underwear. Another lady had knit a big bunch of scarves and toques which she gave. The gift goes on……

Pastor Ingrid mentioned the project our kids are giving towards to buy gifts for Romanian orphans connected to our church. A couple of kids stood at the door with boots in hand to collect spare change. Our church gave another $1,500+ as they were leaving the services. Thank you Lord for your grace and generosity!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

December 5

Next Tuesday is going to be one of my favorite days this year. I've asked several of our visionary entrepreneur pastors from across Canada to meet with our Executive Council and National Board to talk about their visions for church health and reproduction over the next few years
I've been hearing such inspiring dreams and plans from several of our pastors lately. from almost every unit across Canada. We're using terms that relate human reproduction. Rather than using agricultural metaphors such as planting, we're thinking about birthing, adopting and fostering churches.
I've been hearing some encouraging stories that run parallel to my own vision for the Canadian church. They include multiple campuses, video churches, house churches, multiple births (birthing 2 or 3 churches at a time), adopting established ethnic churches and fostering (that word means they are not family, but they are in relationship) independent churches.
I'll write again after our day of listening next Tuesday. I think you will feel the rising enthusiasm and maybe hear something from the Father of the Church yourself.


A critical response to the Golden Compass movie and book. One of our Foursquare pastors has done some good research on this movie being released this week. I've printed it for your review and consideration. Typically I don't like to make a big deal about anti-God or anti-church movies because negative press still attracts attention, but I feel this movie's producer's
motives need to be made clear.

December 2, 2007

Over the past 2 Sundays, I've been teaching on the exciting subject of "Difficulties and Death" as spiritual weapons. I've been asked for copies of a story I told last week about the Broken Cross, so here it is in print.

"In 1834, a German poet named Heinrich Heine made an astonishing prediction. He said that Germany was in an angry mood, and that only the cross of Christ was holding back the lust for war. Heine had little understanding of the cross, and viewed it not theologically but superstitiously, calling it a talisman, an object with magical powers. He said, "That talisman is brittle and the day will come when it will pitifully break. The old stone gods will rise from the long-forgotten ruin and rub the dust of a thousand years from their eyes, and Thor, leaping to life with his giant hammer, will crush the Gothic cathedrals."
Years later, a boy name Guido von List stood in St. Stefan's Cathedral in Vienna and vowed as an adult to build a temple to the ancient German gods. He chose a broken cross--a swastika--for his occult religion. He founded a secret blood society which substituted the swastika for the Cross in rituals involving sexual perversion and the practice of medieval magic. In his early days in Vienna, Hitler knew and admired List, and when Hitler's Nazis were organized, they chose the broken cross as their symbol, and the German people found themselves standing between the two crosses with a choice to make."

This week I used an acrostic for the word PROBLEMS. Here's how the letters of the word describe the blessings of our problems (or "gifts" as Mother Theresa called them.)

P--PREDICTORS--the attitude with which we face our problems is an indicator of how our futures will unfold.
R--REMINDERS--our problems remind us that we are not self-sufficient. We are totally dependent on God, just as a wheel must revolve around it's axle.
O--OPPORTUNITIES--problems have a way of pulling us out of our routines and ruts to pulling us out of our routines and ruts to think creatively.
B--BLESSINGS--because problems open up new doors of how to approach life, God says to thank Him for them.
L--LESSONS--every challenge we face is a life lesson. We grow stronger and wiser because of problems, not from our successes.
E--EVERYONE--no person is excluded from problems. God is not picking on you. We all have these "GIFTS". Some come from our failures, others from the devil, from other people, from our fallen world or from God--but they are part of every life.
M--MESSAGE--like pain, problems act as warning signs. They tell us something is wrong and needs to be attended to. As "Caution" signs tell us to slow down and be alert, so problems carry a life message--don't focus on the negative; rather ask what the message is for you.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

November 12

Last night I flew from Ilo Ilo to Manila and stayed at a hotel owned and operated by Christians. They’ve made it into a haven for believers to come and relax. When the taxi brought me through the flashing lights, honking horns and smog of Manila’s Airport area, into the compound, it was like entering a new world—peace and tranquility filled the place.

I slept well till 4:30 a.m. when I had to leave for Quezon City. Only specially licensed cars are allowed to drive in the 12 million people city between 6:00 and 10:00 a.m. so we had to get an early start to Baguio.

Pastors Val and Sally Chavez drove, as we wound our way through the province’s (we call it the country-side) small towns and rice farms to the 5,000 foot high mountains of Baguio. I love the drive—there are oxen pulling plows through the rice fields, fruit and vegetable stands and thousands of smoking motorcycles with side cars. (They call them tricycles, and although most are only 125cc engines, I’ve seen them carry up to 11 or 12 people.)

Along the way Pastor Val pointed out several Foursquare churches to me. We have scores of churches in the mountain region. Baguio is considered to be a resort town because of the cooler weather. I still wore short sleeves but many Filipinos were wearing ski jackets and toques.

The church was packed with about 200 pastors and leaders when I arrived and the atmosphere was thick with worshipful expectation on that first night of the Conference.

On Tuesday evening we were driving with Pastor Sam Pinzon, our host, toward the church and we noted how dark it was. He said that a truck had hit a power pole and knocked the power out a few hours earlier.

When we arrived at the pitch black church and walked in, the same 200 people were sitting quietly in their pews waiting for the service to commence. They seemed to hardly notice that there was no power for either lights or audio. One small candle burned in the entry.

“Are you okay to begin?” the pastor asked me. “We have a flashlight for you to read your Bible.”

I was ready, but asked if they could sing a song before we began. A gentle pastor stood in the darkness and began to lead the crowd in a worship song.

Within ten seconds of the worship the lights all clicked on! What an amazing demonstration of the Kingdom of Light invading the dominion of darkness—and it was my subject for the seminar!

We left Baguio by bus on Wednesday and headed back to Metro-Manila for the last of my venues. Arriving that evening, I entered the Capitol City Foursquare Church to find the large sanctuary packed with pastors and leaders ready to begin the seminar.

Capitol City Church is our largest in the Philippines. It is pastored by a dear friend of mine, Dr. Felipe Ferrez, who served as President before Pastor Val Chavez.

Because the church was to be celebrating their own 40th anniversary on Sunday, there was a strong sense of anticipation and joy among the hundreds of congregants. We had a wonder-full conference over the days that led up to the Sunday services. It was a delight for me to see Pastor Don McGregor (former missionary to the Philippines), who had been such an inspiration to me when I was a young Bible School student. It was he and Sally who’d introduced our home church to the revival that was taking place in the Philippines in the 1960’s. I still remember him speaking about the book “Fire in the Philippines” that recorded the miracles of that season of growth.

One of the highlights of my weekend was a four hour tour of a small church in the slums. This church, pastored by Evelyn Soriano is one of over a hundred that has been planted among the squatters of Manilla over the past years.

I got to visit a Barangay, walk through the muddy streets and speak to the congregation of about 50 impoverished worshippers. The town is built by the Manila garbage dump so you may be able to guess how it smelled in the sweltering heat.

The trade of many is to search the dump for scraps of plastic signs, sew them together and make tarpaulins to sell. They can make 1 or 200 pesos (about $3-$5) on a good day. Others collect plastic containers to trade for a few pesos.

Because their homes are built and furnished from whatever they can find for free, and their clothes are second-hand, the one basic need of everyone is enough rice to satisfy their hunger for one day.

It’s always hard to come back home to our relative wealth after a visit to the homes of the truly poor. I love my family and church, but I tend to leave a piece of my heart with my brothers and sisters in the Philippines. But the world I’ve been assigned to has its own needs—every bit as real as in other countries. This week, I’m back in my new office ready to face the challenges of life in our wonderful nation of Canada.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

November 11.

Today I enjoyed the privilege of speaking at Pastor Joemarie Sulmaca's church. He is the vice-President of the Foursquare Gospel Church of the Philippines. Restoration Life is a happening church. The worship was vibrant and celebrative so it made preaching easy. At least until the storm began! As I was just getting in to my hour long sermon (their service goes for 2 hours) torrential rains began to fall. The sound, because all the windows and doors were open, was thunderous. Thankfully the sound systems in the Philippines are always at full volume! But then the power blew! All the lights and amplifiers went out and there we sat under the shadows of the dark clouds and the stormy rainfall! Hardly able to make myself heard above the natural sounds outside I asked everyone in the large congregation to come as close as they could to the front of the church. When we attempted to close some doors to shut out the storm the congregation sweated profusely, so I was left with no choice except to yell like Moses speaking to the crowds of Israel! Finally after about a half hour, my voice was almost gone, but the lights went back on. What a welcome relief! Thank God for sound systems! I'm now at the Ilo Ilo airport set to fly to Manila. I'll meet Pastors Val (President of the FGCP) and Sally Chavez and we will drive about 8 hours north to Baguio. Baguio is one of the primary vacation destinations of the Philippines. It sits at a higher altitude and is therefore more cool than most cities. Most Vegetables, fruits and flowers, like ours in BC, come from Baguio. The weather forecast there also is heavy rains. Oh well I'll be inside the church from morning to night, praying that the power does not black out! I'll send some pictures later

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

November 15

Today I arrived in the Ilongo speaking city of Ilo Ilo (it means long nose) In this city also I have many friends. I met my hosts, Pastor Joemarie and Nora Sulmaca, on my first trip to the Philippines with Evangelist Don Schellenberg in 1998. This city is considered to be the Athens of the Philippines because it boasts 14 universities. The conference was packed with enthusiastic pastors and leaders who worshipped with great gusto! Again the seminars were action packed and very fun. We laughed till we cried many times. The days zipped by quickly. My time is fully occupied with ministry from about 6 am until 9 at night so other than to call Susan a couple of times a day I don't take personal time. Once I get in the zone I tend to stay there. I'm just finished speaking at this Conference now. (Saturday evening). After I give my Thanksgiving Sunday sermon tomorrow at Pastor Joemarie's church, I'll head for Manila to meet the president of the Philippine Foursquare Church at 6 am Monday. Val and Sally Chavez and I will drive about 6 hours north to get to Baguio for conference # 3. I've attached a few pictures of both the conference and the setting.

November 1, 2007

I left at midnight tonight for my annual pilgrimage to the Philippine Islands. I've been going there every year since 1998 to speak at Pastors Conferences for the pastors and leaders of our 2100 churches in the Philippines. Each year I travel to 2 or 3 venues to teach about pastoral leadership. Because of the 16 hour time change I left on Thursday and arrived on Saturday!. This year I am doing 4 Conferences. . After a brief visit to Cebu, I went to Davao where a strong group of pastors from our largest district registered. Because I've been to Davao in the Mindanou region so many times I have many friends there. My seminar this year was on How to Grow a Healthy Church. We had a wonderful time of learning and visiting together. Although I did teach morning, afternoon and evening I was able to pay a visit to a couple of squatter villages with one of the Bible college students. Its such an honor to walk through their mud streets and visit people in their shacks made of any scraps they can find. I am always greeted with smiles and invitations to eat or pray with them.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

November 1, 2007—The Philippines

Today I leave for my annual Pastors/Leadership Conference in the Philippines. After a brief visit to Cebu, I’ll lead training sessions for pastors in Davao, Iloilo, Baguio and Manila. Hopefully I’ll be able to forward some pictures as I go and keep my fellow bloggers updated on my adventure.

October 31, 2007

We spent our Hallowed Evening at our kid’s home, passing out treats and teaching our 6 grandchildren to share with Papa and Nana. Here’s a picture of our cute Ninja’s, Buzz Lightyear , Princess Belle and our Purple Fairy.

October 24, 2007

Last week was a busy, but very fulfilling week for our Foursquare Church in Canada. We held our National Convention at the Guildford Sheraton Hotel in Surrey, BC. The theme was the transition of leadership from Tim Peterson to me; and then the vision that I have for our next few years. If you are looking for audio and video of the week’s events, please check out in the next few weeks. These recordings will also be available from our National Office.

Most of our special music was from multi-cultural artists. We enjoyed Native, Chinese, Hindi, Spanish music plus two awesome musical dramas from the Northgate (Courtenay) Foursquare Master’s Commission

Friday, October 19, 2007

October 18.

Today I left home early to be in Calgary for a meeting with the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) this is a group who work at tying together all the Denominations, churches and Parachurch groups across Canada. They positively represent the 6 million believers in the media, Government and the Courts. Today about a hundred Denominational and parachurch groups (mission agencies, newspapers, discipleship groups, youth congresses etc) are talking about current trends and how we have to adapt our church culture to meet the needs and philosophies of the post-modern generation! (I know what you're thinking!- it's hard for me to wrap my head around too!) Its also a great place to meet peers who face the same challenges I do. Its been interesting to say the least I'll be home late tonight, a much wiser and more informed pastor!

Monday, October 15—Nanaimo and Victoria

Yesterday, Susan and I took an early ferry to Vancouver Island to visit a couple of pastor couples. We had a wonderful lunch at the home of Barry and Linnea Hansen in Nanaimo. They pastor a healthy church which meets in probably the nicest facility in all of Foursquare Canada. We pray for continued fruitfulness in the bustling city of Nanaimo.

After lunch, we headed south to the capital of BC, Victoria—one of the most visited vacation spots in Canada. Our Victoria church has had a rather tumultuous history which goes way back to the 1960’s or before. Susan and I were so pleased to get to know Neil and Barb Blackstock a bit better and to see how new foundations are being laid for good growth in their city. We pray for God’s blessing on both our Victoria and Nanaimo churches.

Saturday, October 13, 2007—Steve and Elisabeth’s wedding

I do a lot of weddings (10-20 in a summer season) and I enjoy them all, but I loved marrying my dear friends Steve Haase and Elisabeth Holmes. Elisabeth works many hours a week in a variety of ministries, especially with the Higher Ground group, of our church. She also writes a daily devotional which you can subscribe to for free It’s free but worth a million dollars.

Steve and Elisabeth’s wedding was a blast—a true testimony of our redeeming God. They will both tell you they led pretty messed up lives and Jesus has turned them inside out and right side up! They made a vow at the start of their relationship that they would not kiss until married; so when I said “go” after the declaration, we had a hard time getting them to take a breath!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

October 7, 2007—Thanksgiving Sunday

We have a wonderful series of Thanksgiving services today at church. It’s so good to be back with my friends at Northside. Both, Kelly’s (our eldest daughter) and Max’s (her son who is now 7) birthdays fall on the Thanksgiving weekend, so our turkey dinners are also birthday dinners. Max wanted Pumpkin Pie and Apple Pie for his birthday cake! He’s now enjoying grade 2 along with soccer, hockey and piano lessons.
After Max’s celebration, Susan and I gave all the kids gifts we brought home from Europe. They all are Manchester United fans so we bought the boys jersey’s from Italy. When we were there Alex sent me an email to ask if we’d bought them a gift. I emailed him back and said there was a sale on the Turkey Football team jerseys. He was so afraid he’d have to wear their team shirts to school. You should have seen the relief when he opened up his Man U jersey. Madeline and Victoria got “Ciao Bella” t-shirts because they are our princesses.
Office Renos
Before we left for Europe I lost my office at the church because we are expanding our sanctuary to hold another 225 seats. When we purchased our new office space for the National Church I was relieved that I’d have a place to hang my hat—and then we began renos there. Here’s what our new offices looked like last week. The plan is that they will be finished for convention next week! We’ll see! Open House is next Friday, so please pray.

Sunday, September 9, 2007—Kaitlyn Joy’s Dedication

It’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog, but I’ve accumulated some good pictures that I want to share, so here it goes!

Last month, just before we left for Europe, I had the privilege of dedicating the daughter of my niece Carissa and her husband Matt. Beautiful Kaitlyn was born on March 17, 2007. Her name means “virtuous, pure, and favored by God. So she’s “pure joy”! What an awesome promise is wraqpped in this delicate package. May Matt and Carissa enjoy many years of fun and fruitfulness with their little princess!

Cruise Pictures