Wednesday, July 25, 2007

We're still in the Holy City.

It's Wednesday at 6 pm now (8 am Wednesday at home). We've just returned from another very warm tour of Old Jerusalem (it's rumored to be 48 degrees today) the last couple of days have not slowed down at all. Breakfast at 6:30, prayer at 7:30. Services at 9 till 12:30, tours till 4:30 and then more Convention. Its all so good we haven't wanted to miss a minute. I heard some say they came looking more forward to the tour of the holy land than the services but those same people all seem to agree that the worship services have been the highlight of the trip.

Last evening we were awed by the musical drama by the New Covenant Players. This large group has travelled all over Israel and put on the story of Israel's history from Abraham to today. It was the most moving Drama I have ever seen

Our tours during the Convention have all been in the Jerusalem area. Yesterday we saw the tomb of David, the Upper room where the Holy Spirit fell on the day of Pentecost, and the house of Caiaphas. Then we spent about an hour at the huge model ( 1/50 th actual size) of the ancient City of Jerusalem of Jesus, day.

Our visit to the Holocaust Museum was both sickening to see the depths of human hate and depravity and at the same time inspiring to hear the stories of bravery and heroism.

Today we spent several hours on Mt Zion and at the Wailing wall. This is some of the only actual land that Jesus walked on. We touched the same stones and looked at the same architecture that Jesus did. Tonight there's no service so I hear we're hitting the marketplace. Shalom!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Shalom from Jerusalem.

I have hundreds of pictures I know you'd love to see but haven't been able to send them from here in Israel. When I return I'll out a select few on this blog

25 of us are here at the International Foursquare Conference from our church. We left on Thursday (July 19) morning and arrived on Friday night (time here is 10 hours ahead of Vancouver). At 6:30 am breakfast was on and we began running. We haven't stopped since. Its very hot and we're very tired but couldn't be happier.

On Saturday at 7:30 am we left on our bus tour and headed for the Mount of Olives. Throughout the day we walked the steps that Jesus walked 2000 years ago. We covered the Mountain then went down the Kidron Valley to Gethsemane where Jesus prayed before the cross.

Then we walked through the sheep gate to see the place where Jesus was tried by Pilate. It was a fascinating journey. Over the hours we walked the streets that Jesus carried his cross. I was surprised how busy, hot and difficult the journey was even for us. It was almost overwhelming to imagine Jesus carrying his cross on the same pathway.

Later in the afternoon we went to Golgatha to see where Jesus was crucified and buried. Then we celebrated his resurrection by taking communion together. It was an unforgettable day!

We were not ready to get up at 5:30 on Sunday morning but we were so glad we did. Our bus group is the same everyday. Besides our group we've come to love many new friends. We headed south toward the Dead Sea.

Among the sights, we saw the caves of the Dead Sea scrolls, the springs of Engedi where David hid from Saul and my favorite, the fortress of Massada. Thank God we were able to ride a cable car up the 3000 foot mountainside. Although it was about 45 degrees the walk was amazing. Although I've seen movies and hundreds of pictures of the area it was more than anyone could imagine. Looking from the fortress over the Dead Sea was an experience I will never forget!

On the return trip we stopped for a swim in the Dead Sea and snapped pictures of all of is floating tourists. We had to do it!

Last evening the Convention began. As good as the tours were, this conference is the highlight. Worshipping beside 3000 people from many nations of the world has been a moving experience. Its Monday morning now. The first meetings started at 7:30. After lunch we'll go back to touring the city of Jerusalem.

Monday, July 16, 2007

On Sunday I finished my two hour sermon (it took three weeks to complete it) about the four 20-25 year seasons that make one cycle of 80 to 100 years. From Ecclesiastes we read "History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before." Reviewing the past sixty years it's evident that we are quickly moving into another dark winter season. The future is going to be very difficult and will begin with a crisis or a series of crises. To prepare I suggested nine very important considerations:

a. Get right with God, Ecclesiastes 12:1 Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, "I have no delight in them."

b. Strengthen values and virtues, II Timothy 2:21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.

c. Take advantage of the seasons, Jeremiah 17:7-8 "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.

d. Don’t build anything too big, Luke 18:18-20 Then he said, 'This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 'And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry. But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?'

e. Prepare for teamwork (relationships), Hebrews 10:24-25 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

f) Prepare our children and youth, Deuteronomy 6:6-7 "These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.

g) Prepare our elders, Jeremiah 6:16 Thus says the LORD, “Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls. But they said, 'We will not walk in it.'

h) Prioritize finances, Matthew 6:19-21 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

i) Brace yourself for the storm, Exodus 14:13 Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.

Isaiah 7:9(b) If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.

Check out the full series from July 1, 8 and 15 on the audio server. It could change the way you look at the next twenty years of your life.

Dating and Marriage

Over the past 30 years I have counselled 100's of couples regarding marriage conflicts. The issues are varied and if 2 partners are willing almost any of them can be worked through with forgiveness, grace, love and respect.

The marriages that don't seem to be able to overcome obstacles tend to be where one or both partners is so badly messed up from their childhood that they have never matured as adults. They live their lives as though they were 6 years old. A person may be educated and successful in business, but socially they've been badly damaged. They are spoiled goods and not fit for the disciplines of marriage or family.

I am not saying that the childish person cannot be healed and fully move into adulthood, but I am saying that process should complete BEFORE marriage, not after. How many people have I heard lament, "I thought I could change him!" the fact is that if he or she does not care enough about others to change himself, they are not ready for the demands of married life.

Dating is our North American way of sorting through perspective partners. It is difficult because we tend to put our best foot forward to impress our date, but there are always tell-tale signs to those who are not blinded by infatuation or desperation.

With that perspective I give you this very appropriate test:


~ Never date anyone who is rude to the waiter/waitress.

~ Never date anyone who is rude to their mother.

~ If they have a tendency to be rude to you now, just wait.

~ If you date someone who doesn't share your standards, they'll lower yours.

~ The five most essential words for a healthy, vital relationship: "I
apologize" and "You are right."

~ Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

~ If he/she says you're too good for him/her, believe it.

~ If they have a tough time apologizing now, just wait.

~ Never date anyone who spends more time gazing into the mirror, than they
spend gazing into your eyes.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Cycles of Life

Last week was July 1 so I began a 2 part message on the future of Canada. I said that there are cycles of history which last between 80 and 110 years. The cycles can be divided into 4 quadrants (seasons) which the Bible calls generations. (A generation is the new life that a married couple produces which is 20 to 25 years.) God speaks of both curses and blessings that last 4 generations or 1 cycle
Solomon wrote about the cycles of life in Eccl 3:15 "What is happening now has happened before, and what ha happened in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over."
Within each cycle are 4 distinct seasons like Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. We see the same thing in the 4 seasons of our lives-Age 0 to 20 childhood (spring) age 20 to 40 young adulthood (summer) Age 40 to 60 midlife (fall) and age 60 to 80 senior years (winter).
We see life and history in 1 of 3 ways:
1. Chaotic. Which means there is no design or order to life. It simply happens randomly.
2. Linear. Which means life flows along with no repetition and can theoretically get better and better. (this is how many futurists imagine North America will be) 3. Cyclical. Which is the Biblical and historically proven model
If life is cyclical, and God says it is, then we are due for a winter season in North America! Here's why:
The Great Depression and WW II was a dark winter season. Crisis turned our world inside out the season that follows winter is predictably spring. The years 1945 to 1965 were growth years (our spring season) The years 1965 to 1985 were our summer years. Everything was new-music, art, values, religeon, politics behaviors.
The years 1985 to 2005 were our Fall. Disintegration was evident. Family, marriage, crime, poverty, disease were becoming rampant. We're headed toward an inevitable crisis!
The years 2005 to 2025 will be crisis years. We'll are unimaginable things happen in our world-environment, economy, health, warfare , terrorism etc. Winter is on the horizon.
Winter is not the end of the world. Rather it always preceeds spring. Two comments and then you'll have to listen to my July 8 message:
1. We have time to prepare ourselves. Just like we would for a coming snowstorm we'd be wise to get ready for this 20 year crisis!
2. This will be an unprecidented time for a spiritual rebirth in our nation. Just as Jesus prepared his disciples for the crisis of the cross and the revival that would follow we can do likewise. That takes is back to my thesis of "Walking with the King". Blessings to all my readers!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Friday July 6th

Last evening we had a delightful visit with Roland and Shaunna Rendell in St John NB. Roland gives oversight to the Atlantic Churches and listening to the various pastors talk we were amazed how well accepted and loved he and Shaunna are in the few months they've been here. I loved hearing Roland's heart and vision for the Atlantic Unit and his appreciation for each of the pastors here. I am anticipating stength and growth in this, the oldest region in Canada

Thursday July 5th

We woke up to rain this morning and the weather has continuously become more Vancouverish since.
Breakfast at the Inn was delicious and the conversation with Peter and Donna Colpitts was even better.
Peter and Donna serve alongside Forest and Jean (who are right now in St John celebrating the birth of their first granddaughter) as house church pastors. They have a strong vision and zeal to open other House Churches in remote areas of the Atlantic.

Mabel our GPS friend then led is to the Kingston Penninsula to the home of Pastor Paul and Barbara Smith. What a gorgeous setting high up on a bluff overlooking a verdent valley of water and trees! After lunch with them and son Garvin Paul took üs to see the oldest church in NB built in 1789. (interestingly a brochure in the foyer says they receive e-offerings)

We then drove to their Foursquare Church which is being repainted. This church building was constructed in 1871. A Lady named Mary Jane McDougal wanted a church for non-Anglicans so took up an offering among the neighbors. The bill of $502.00 for building materials still hangs on the wall.
What impressed me most besides the love and dedication of Paul and Barbara was the fact that all the churches in the area share a Youth Pastor. United Baptist, Anglican, Independant and Foursquare got together to hire a young woman to pastor their combined youth!

Tonight we will meet with the highly respected Unit Supervisor of the Atlantic churches

July 4th Dalhousie NB

Independance Day across the border but Busy Day here in downtown Alma NB. This morning we got up early in Moncton because we needed to be in Dalhousie northern NB by noon. It was a beautiful drive up north and we arrived exactly on time to meet Pastors Paul and Joyce Bertin.
Dalhousie is a lovely pulp mill town of 3000. The mill used to employ 1200 but due to automation now needs 30 people per shift. Imagine the economic effect of such downsizing. After lunch we went to are the old lighthouse. You'll see Quebec up north behind Paul and Joyce. Its just across the inlet

After our walk in the park Susan and I booted it south to Bathurst, a bilingual town where Pastors Doug and Anne Peto serve. After dinner we drove with Doug and Anne to see their building. I am very full of faith for this church. They have tremendous potential!
Then we headed further South past Moncton to the small fishing Village of Alma we put on about 800 clicks today and when we weren't driving we were eating. Next week its back to Salads and water!

Peter and Donna were waiting for is when we arrived at their picturesque Bed and Breakfast at 10:30

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Tuesday July 3rd.

Today was an easier day, but very inspiring for us. We began by meeting a couple of dear friends, Pastors Reid and Bonnie Stairs, for breakfast in Halifax. Over our meal we were inspired by the vision and zeal of Reid and Bonnie. We both left our time together thoroughly stoked bout what God has in store for the Atlantic region.

I do have to confess I was a little jealous of Reid's motorcycle. The two of them love riding the winding roads along the Martime coastline. More power to you guys!!

After breakfast we headed north to the very French city of Moncton, New Brunswick for the evening. We get there early enough to take a romantic stroll along the boardwalk beside the meandering Chocolate River. Tomorrow is going to be a very long day.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Our flight across Canada.

Yesterday after the last "amen" Susan and I hopped in the car and headed for the airport for our flight to Halifax. To me it was very signifigant to fly from coast to coast on my first day as President of the FGCC and on Canada Day
We prayed for every province as we flew. Over Toronto it was 10 pm their time and we could see many colorful fireworks shooting skyward. What a memorable July 1!
We spent our first night here in Halifax and tried to adjust to the 4 hour time difference, having arrived at 3 am Atlantic time. Monday evening we enjoyed a 4 hour dinner with Scott and Jacqueline McDougall at Marios. We thoroughly enjoyed getting to know this vibrant young couple who planted their church from scratch in Lower Sackville.
Tomorrow after breakfast we're off to beautiful downtown Moncton. So far I like this job!