Saturday, February 24, 2007

Angels all around us

Tomorrow in church I'll continue pulling back the curtains on the unseen world that God calls the heavenly places. We'll look at some of the zillions of angels that God has created to serve him and us. Someone asked me this week if we'll become angels when we die. The answer is "no". In truth, human beings are a higher order than angels are. They have been created by God as servants to minister to us. The author of Hebrews calls them "Ministering spirits".

I guess we could write a book on angels, but in brief there are a few different types mentioned in the Bible. The highest order of angels are called cherubim. Lucifer used to be the lead cherub before his fall, but there are at least 4 others who surround the throne of God. They are awesome creatures that Ezekiel describes by using terms such as "full of eyes" and "wheels inside of wheels". Jewish legends tell of their being 30 feet tall!

Then there is at least 1 Arch-Angel, whose name is Michael. His main job seems to be as the guardian of the Jewish people. Gabriel is the only other angel mentioned by name. He's the announcing angel, who with his trumpet and loud voice, makes proclamations for God. Seraphims seem to fall in line next . Isaiah describes them as having 6 wings and standing near to the holy presence of God.

Finally there are the millions times millions of angels who are encamped invisibly around every human. It seems we all have some who walk and ride with us every day. The Bible does not describe them, does not say they have wings, but does tell us that they can take on human form. Many of us have seen them and talked with them without even knowing it. Whenever they are seen in the Bible stories they are described as looking like men.

Alive and well

Don't you love it when you go for a physical check-up and the doctor gives you a good report! I do too. But I also love it when I put a stethascope to the body of Christ and I hear sounds of a healthy heart beat. Just in these past 2 days I've heard many stories which tell me the church is alive and well. I got so excited by a couple of testimonies today that I decided it would be good to publish a Good News Paper consisting of stories of how God loves to do good things for us. Keep your eye out for good reports and let me know so we can publish them, and then watch for our first issue.

Yesterday I was at the church, and came across 2 small groups of people praying for each other. I love that and so does our Father. I know its just a small reflection of all the prayer that's happening throughout the week. Then I saw another of our young adults teaching worship through dance to an enthusiastic group of young women. I didn't know we had a dance team, but I did suggest that they dance for God some Sunday morning soon. Then as I went to my car I met another man, who'd stopped by the food bank to pick up some sweets. He told me that daily he goes down to the front of PoCo City Hall to meet with street people. Up to a dozen come to him every day and receive Starbucks coupons and a treat. I left the church feeling so good about the life that is eminating from the Body-- what a treat it is for me to serve this living church!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Winter Wonderland

One of the most priceless gifts that anyone can have on earth is good friends. Susan and I thank God for his generosity in giving people such as Vern and Diane to add joy to our lives. This week we were invited, for my birthday, to join our dear friends up at their home on Big White Mountain. This has got to be one of the most beautiful havens in our magnificent province. We're not skiiers, or much else that involves too much energy, but there are tons of things to do on the snow-capped paradise.

I snapped a couple of pictures to share with any who care (not to make you envious, but to give due honor to our genius Creator) One is of the trees and snow, another of "snow ghosts", that appear as a result of snow icing the trees, and the 3rd of a couple of very beautiful snow bunnies whom I managed to get to pose for me (Susan and Diane if you didn't recognize them in their duds)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Count the stars

Today I've been preparing my sermon for Sunday. I work on a year at a time to determine where I am leading the church, but then each week I decide on Wednesday how much of the big picture I will unveil. On Saturday I nail my message down and add illustrations and an application. My message for this week is a huge concept-- We're opening up the invisible realm to peek inside and see the things that God is planning for the Church. Wow! I'm overwhelmed!

The thought that came to me which I'll use in my introduction was the scene when Jesus and Abraham were talking about God's plans for his future family. All Abraham could see was that he had no son. In his mind he was asking, "How can God even suggest that He has plans for my family when my wife can't even give me a child!" That was as far as he could see.

Jesus was not frustrated by Abraham's short-sightedness. He simply took him outside and told him to look at the stars. At that time Abe would have seen about 5000 stars with his naked eyes (no pollution!) Jesus said to him "Your spiritual descendants will be as many as the stars of the heavens!" Abraham must have said "Wow, I was thinking far too small, but now I understand!"

Wrong Abraham! He may have seen 5000 stars but the fact was that there are at least 3 thousand, million, billion stars. (That's a 3 with 16 zeroes) Like Father Abraham, we think we've got a picture of what life is all about, but we way under-estimate the dimensions of God's plans. As Paul wrote "Eyes have not seen nor has ear heard the things that God has prepared for those who love Him." Now do you see the dilemma that I face tomorrow as I attempt to pull back the veil on God's plans for us? It's going to be a fun challenge.

Monday, February 12, 2007

PLBC Banquet

I was so impressed with my Alma Mater on Saturday evening when Susan and I went to the annual Valentines Banquet. We've come a long ways baby! I graduated with about 5 other young adults back in 1971 from what is now known as Pacific Life Bible College. Although I think I got a pretty good education, compared to todays school and student body we were pretty unsophistocated. The students that performed in music and drama were both talented and hilariously funny. We were well entertained.

And the food was awesome. Thanks to the staff and students for a wonderfully romantic Valentine celebration. This picture is of the couple who won the best dress-up prize. Believe me it wasn't fixed, but this handsome couple just happen to be my nephew Randall and his wife Suzanne. The theme of the evening was Hawaii so we all were asked to come in our vacation clothes.

The kicker was that if we bought a $10.00 rose for our sweetheart, we had a chance to have our name drawn for a hundred dollar dinner out. I realize that my brother is the President of the Bible College, but again, just because Susan and I won the big prize doesn't mean that the winners were predetermined!

Friday, February 09, 2007

I was a bad boy

That's what the lady behind the counter at the passport office told me this week. Susan and I got my passport application filled out and signed, had my pictures taken and then we quickly drove out to the Surrey Passport Office to get in the long line-up. After 3 1/2 hours of patient waiting, I finally got up to the nice lady behind the booth. She looked over my meticulously filled out documents and asked, "Where are your tickets?" She went on to explain that I could not have my passport extended without tickets in hand. I would have go home, purchase tickets and return another day!

So home we went. The problem was that I have had a few problems with my passports. Two have gone through the wash and one was stolen during our trip to Spain last year. The government saw me with my record of loss as some kind of a terrorist, so they would only issue me a passport for one year at a time. Then you can only travel to a foreign destination if you have 6 months left on your passport. W e are planning to be away about 3 times in the next few months so Susan ordered tickets for all 3 trips.

Tickets in hand I returned to the Passport office on Wednesday morning. After waiting in line again, I stood before another stern-faced clerk. She looked over my records, first of all handed me back my application and pictures, saying "You don't need these!", and then she said very seriously, "You are a bad boy. You'll be very lucky if they even renew your passport. I'm taking your passport and you probably won't get it back till June."

I left the building head hanging in shame, without my passport to freedom. I should never have gone there in the first place. I guess I'll be home for a while.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Staff/Council Summit

There were about 30 of us who set aside this one day to be inspired, stimulated and encouraged by God in Northside's Annual Staff/Council Summit meeting. Our staff meets regularly to talk and pray about the vision, plans and programs of the church; and our 9 member council meet monthly to think together about the facilities and finances. Then, of course we all do our own things over the days in between-- but every-time I hear all the good stuff that's going on I wish we could all have the benefit and joy that we who are present get to have. So that is the reason we spend this important day together.

After I shared some of my own vision and thoughts, Pastor Rebecca spent an hour or so teaching some invaluable leadership/followership principles. I was amazed at how much we learned together about vision, planning and shifting with the culture of our day. Once again I was wishing that all 500 or so of our workers and volunteers could have been there. Finally, before lunch we broke into small groups of matching interests and analysed our ministies, what are we doing well and how could we do better?

At lunch, served by a very gracious family of godly servants, Pastor Gord surprised me with a birthday card and gift from the group, and a delicious birthday cake. It could not have been a better or more profitable way to spend our day. I left there brimming with Godly pride in our church family and humility regarding the assignment we have been entrusted with.