Sunday, May 27, 2007

28 Years old Today

Today is a very important day on our church calendar. It was on May 27, 1979 that we held our first service at Lincoln Elementary School. There were 22 of us. 11 adults and 11 small children. All except my family were new believers. Kelly was 7 so she served as childrens Pastor. Susan played the piano and sang and I taught very simple Bible lessons. Those were fun days!
I plan my life and our church life in 7 year stages so we've covered 4 of them so far. I was suprised to hear my secretary Tina is only 26. She wasn't even born when we opened our church doors.
Yesterday I spoke to about 50 of of childrens ministry leaders. Our 28 year history is an apt picture of how fast the future arrives. We need to envision where our kids will be 7 or 14 years from now and lay out a pathway for them to follow to arrive safely there.
After our morning training session, where our workers enjoyed teaching and inspiration and also were prayed for by elders, we planted a symbolic lilac tree in the church garden. I commented on the picture it painted for us. It was a royal color, it blossoms seasonally, needs to be cared for and pruned regularly and like the church, has a beautiful fragrance. After praying together around the tree, Ingrid also noticed that it is a Korean Lilac! What a perfect picture of our focus on many Ethnic groups! I loved our morning together. Sunday is a pivotal day in our church history

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Summer reading

I was asked by a reporter of Faith Today about what reading material I would cover this summer. Having just finished a couple of weeks of a very restful vacation, I thought I'd share the titles of a few books I read while away. They were all worthwhile reads:

1. Letters to Auntie Fori was a lot to digest. A friend gave me this captivating book as a gift and it really struck my fancy. The author covered in a long series of letters to his Jewish Auntie, the history of Judism over the past 5000 years. I was, of course, very familiar with the Bible history from Abraham's time to Jesus' day, but the many chapters that meticulously overviewed their history from Jesus to modern times were fascinating. The resilience of the Jews through the centuries of persecution they've endured is admirable. The author carefully explains every Jewish tradition and holiday I ever wondered about.

2. Winning, by Jack Welch, was a very worthwhile book to read. Jack was the very successful CEO of General Electric who is revered as a imitable leader. What amazed me was how his philosophy of leadership, which proved very successful, was based on biblical teaching. Especially interesting and controversial was his chapter on Differenciating. Jesus used the same principle.

3. The 360 Degree Leader, and also, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, both by John Maxwell, were good easy-to-read overviews of leadership principles. John illustrates well with interesting stories.

4. Leaders on Leadership, compiled by George Barna, was excellent. George gathered 15 articles from some of the most respected leaders in Christendom. Chapters by Kenneth Gangel, Jack Hayford and Robert Clinton were among my personal favorites.

5. The history of the Pentecostal Church in Canada. This is an old out-of-print book which a dear friend gave to me. It covers the early 1900's as pentecostalism spread throughout our nation. The stories that thrilled me the most were of how our Foursquare founder, Aimee Semple McPherson influenced the church. For example a revival she led in Montreal laid the groundwork for a strong PAOC church which is there today.

6. Just before I left on vacation, I read Fathers and Sons (I don't have the book here so I don't remember the author) . This book was a gripping picture of the hole in our society left by the lack of fathering. How the church can fill that necessary lack is very challenging. I'll pass this one on to our men's leadership for sure.

Well that's it for now. I have about 12 more books on my table to take with me on the many airplane trips planned for this summer, so I'll fill you in on what else I read later. Happy reading over these sunny months!

Walking with the King

I opened my book, Walking with the King, with a story about my granddaughter Madeline. While planting a cherry tree together I realized how much like me she is. After giving her explicite instructions about how to plant the cherry pits in the ground, Madeline proceeded to ignore my wise counsel and do it her own way! In contrast, Victoria and I had a wonderful bonding time as we worked in the garden this week. Once again I gave her exact instructions as to how to shovel the dirt into the bucket so I could carry it. Victoria listened carefully to my instructions and did precisely what I told her to do. Every once in a while she'd ask, "Is this right Papa?" and of course I would encourage her "Yes honey, you're doing great!"

That's the theme of my lesson this Sunday morning. I've called my sermon, Walking with the King, because I'm introducing book 2 of my series. I'm using the words, walking, watching, listening and learning for an outline. For the word, watching, Jesus told us about the man he healed of blindness. It was his only living parable about our progressive healing. When Jesus first touched the man's eyes, he saw, but not clearly. After a second touch, he saw with clarity. I used a graphic .on powerpoint to illustrate how we don't always see the full picture at first glance. This learning stage will last a life time. I compare Dancing with the King to the theory part of our education, Walking with the King to the course practicum, and Sitting with the King to our internship.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Sunday May 13 Mothers Day

Tomorrow is mothers Day, but it is also the Sunday that I begin the second book of my Kingdom Series, Walking with the King. I'm starting our study of the Gospels with the miraculous story of the angel Gabriel coming to Mary and announcing that she'd been chosen as the mother of Jesus.

Although it's probably impossible for us to conceive of all that Mary must have been thinking at that moment, I'm using the incident as a picture of the wonderful reality that we've all been chosen by God to give birth to a miraculous destiny. God is looking for fertile heart soil to implant his miracle seed in. I think you'll be challenged and encouraged if you listen to my talk via the Audio Program available on my web page. May you be blessed beyond what you have imagined as you listen and consider the fact that you, as well as Mary have been chosen to give birth to a miracle! You'll find my notes under Nothside Church's webpage.

Happy Mothers Day

I'm one of those very blessed people who has been privileged to have 3 moms. My first mom, Agnes was my birth mother. She has had more influence on who I am than any other woman, except Susan. My mom died of cancer when I was only 18 years old so she never even knew that I went to Bible College the next September or that I wanted to become a pastor. A few years ago I was conducting a funeral at our church, and after the service I met a woman I'd never met before. She surprised me when she said that she had been one of my mom's best friends! She also told me that my mom had been praying that I would be a pastor. That was a very enlightening and encouraging piece of information. I'm not sure if mom can see what's going on down here or not, but if she can "M om thank-you for your love, your strong example and your belief in your very backward young son. I love you!"

My second mom came into my life not long after my 1st mom's death. Suprisingly, the day my dad met my birth mom was the same day he met my step-mom. On a church picnic, to which he'd been invited by his sister, he met my mom. She was only 16 so when he asked her if she wanted to go for a rowboat ride in the lake, my protective auntie said, "Allan you're not going to take Agnes on the rowboat by yourself. (dad was 21) It wouldn't be proper. The only way you can take Agnes is if you take Audrey too!" Audrey was 13 and so she chaperoned dad and Agnes on their 1st date.

26 years later, just before mom died, she told dad to look up Audrey after she was dead. Audrey had lost her husband a couple of years earlier to cancer, so the last thing my mom did was to pick out her husband's second wife! Thankfully dad listened to mom and asked Audrey out . Because both were widows they had a lot in common. A few months later they were married. I could not have asked for a better step-mom. Audrey is a beautiful, dignified and loving mom.. Can you imagine anyone agreeing to take on our family of 6 kids in addition to her own two?
My sister was already married, but after a couple of years the next 5 of us were married too, within 8 months of each other!

My 3rd mom is Nancy. She's Susan's mom, but when I met Susan in 1967, my mom had already died so she began calling me her son. It was a good thing that I married her daughter a couple of years later, because mom would never have forgiven either of us if we hadn't. Mom has been one of those rare gifts to our world. Because her own mom had been a very unhappy, bitter, meddling mother, mom decided that she would be the opposite! She became a Christian just before Susan was born and Jesus gave her the grace that she needed to be all that her own mom was not. She is truly a saint! Mom has loved us and our children unconditionally for every one of these past 40 years. At 91, she is still one of the most servant-hearted, ministry orientated, loving and generous people I've ever met!

Thank-you Lord for your grace and favor in my life for giving me my 3 moms, Agnes, Audrey and Nancy. Happy mothers Day!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

We're Back

Susan and I returned on Tuesday from our vacation in Mexico. It was a very restful couple of weeks lounging under the desert sun and waving palm trees. Neither of us are very athletic so we content ourselves with relaxing, reading, walking and eating. In my case I get a lot of time to catch up on some writing. This year I spent a lot of time thinking about where I will be leading the Foursquare Church in Canada and writing out my vision and plans for July. I'm looking forward to stepping in to my new role on the first of the month.

This picture is of the last 2 presidents of the Foursquare Gospel Church Victor and Dorothy Gardner, Tim and Laurene Petersen, and also my brother Rob who serves as President of Pacific Life Bible College. Now Susan and I will serve our Canadian denomination.