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.