Thursday, May 21, 2009

Our 40th Anniversary

Susan & I celebrated our 40th Wedding Anniversary on February 28th. What a wonderful, happy privilege it's been to be married to the perfect wife for these past 4 decades. God could not have done better than to match us up when we began dating February 21, 1967. I knew that day we would be married and live happily ever after!

On Sunday, our home group, which is the same couples whose wives make up The Joy Club, put on a delightful party for Susan & me. They surprised us with a video of our lives together (kind of like you'd show at a funeral) and an exquisite meal they'd all prepared.


I was in Calgary on Saturday to spend the day with Alberta Unit Supervisor, Barry Marsten. Barry & I took a drive to Brooks, AB, where one of the largest slaughter houses in North America, employs the town (they process 5,000 cows a day).

We met with Pastors Dean & Lorenda & enjoyed a refreshing breakfast meeting together.

The Joy Club

Susan has a group of lady friends who've been meeting as a Bible Study Group for a long time. They call themselves The Joy Club, I think because they laugh more than they study! But more than that, the grils bring joy to a wide circle of influence around them.

One of the women, our dear friend Norma Garrison, died last week of cancer. The Joy Club has surrounded both her and her husband, Les, with love & support. As a gesture of their grace, the girls presented Morgan, Norma & Les' only granddaughter, with their symbol of joy (a beautiful joy necklace) and made her an honorary club member. Morgan is 3rd from the right on the back row!

We pray for God's grace, comfort and love to cover Les & his family over the months ahead.
"Norma lived fully and loved deeply. Fortunate were those who crossed her path for they received her genuine smile and infinite thoughtfulness. She possessed a generous nature with a selfless and willing spirit to help others in need. She offered herself wholeheartedly when just the right word was needed or when a tiny act of kindness made a lasting impact.

Born in Wainwright, Alberta, Norma was raised a prairie girl. Having graduated from the Royal Alexandra Hospital in 1959, Norma worked diligently as an RN in various operating rooms: Winnipeg, Richmond and finally Maple Ridge Hospital from 1975-1988. She led with wisdom, taught with grace and profoundly affected many lives. She loved unconditionally and her
compassionate spirit left an indelible impression on everyone she touched. Norma’s commitment to her faith and zest for life shone bright; she was passionate for shopping, cooking, gardening and decorating, which she pursued enthusiastically with her own artistic flair. She cherished annual trips with Les to their 2nd home in Arizona that fulfilled and enriched her life.

With an unwavering love for her husband and children she created a strong and cherished bond, and through them, her light will continue to shine. Steadfast in her devotion to her family and many friends, her passing leaves a void in the hearts and lives of many. For her, the journey continues; for us, we inherit a guiding star."


Susan & I spent two wonderful & restful weeks in Mexico, just as the infamous Swine Flu was being announced (not a pig in sight!). We vacation very quietly (no surfing, hang-gliding or mountain climbing), so I was able to write a couple of books while sitting by the pool.

You can look for the sequels to Secret of Happiness over the next few months. Secret of Success is about our church mission statement, "Know, Grow & Sow", which I believe should be the mandate of every person individually as well as every church.

The other book, Secret of Fulfillment, is quite biographical; about my personal growth, as well as the growth of Northside Church. In the book I illustrate several personal & church growth principles.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Destiny Weekend

April 18-19, 2009

One of the highlights of Susan's and my 30 years in Northside Church was our April celebration called Destiny Weekend. We invited the church to spend a Saturday with the pastors to thank God for our past with several video's of all the happenings of our church; look at our present; and to consider our future together as a church.

Because I've always planned in 7-year increments, we laid out a picture and strategy for the next 7 years of our church life.

The next 7 years (2008-2014) are called "Retrofitting" because we are rebuilding foundations for future growth and fruitfulness. Here's how we described retrofitting: To modify something with new parts. The added parts may not have been available or relevant when the building/bridge was first constructed. Examples may be a bridge retrofitted to carry increased traffic; a school retrofitted to be earthquake proof; a car retrofitted with a catalytic converter.

For the presentation of our future, I wrote an overview of our past, present and future called our "Strategic Plan". I can send a copy to whoever would like one, but these are the 20 objectives I stated that we are looking at by 2014:

1. A church with a strong Spirit-empowered emphasis on prayer and intercession that will result in kingdom dynamics evidenced in and through our daily experience.

2. A church who knows God deeper and knows His Word better; and who walks closer to God and to the principles of Scripture than today.

3. A church who consciously lives out the command of our Lord, who says, “Go into all the world, preach the Gospel and make obedient disciples.”

4. A church who readily participates in a well-ordered, effective missions program that reaches more people in more places with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

5. A church who gives enthusiastically and generously beyond our tithe, and who increases that graciousness as the blessing of God gives promised return.

6. A church who continues to multiply in numbers of wholly devoted followers of Jesus, by adding to the existing church family and also by planting new churches.

7. A church who enjoys seeing the restoring power of God heal and make whole, souls that have been broken or wounded by failure, addiction, sin or poverty.

8. A church who sees a new generation of children reared on the fundamentals and principles of the Word and the Spirit, who will become leaders and influencers among the youth of the next decade.

9. A church consciously raising up and releasing a new generation of youth to be strong, Spirit-empowered, godly, ministering adults.

10. A church who is learning and growing by participating in small groups with a wide curriculum of Bible, church and life courses offered in the church and Net Church.

11. A staff of able and godly Pastors and leaders and interns who know who they are, what their call and abilities are, who work in harmony and unity with each other and the church.

12. A church who is known and respected for the development of leaders who will be able to succeed and expand the work of those who have gone before.

13. A church that meets in multiple locations throughout the Tri-Cities, and province, pastored by campus pastors who are united by a singular vision and order of operation.

14. A self-supporting web-church that reflects the values and vision of Northside Church, but reaches and disciples those otherwise not connected to a local congregation.

15. A church who records and produces videos that will be regularly used in multiple campuses and house churches both locally and world-wide.

16. A church that is multi-cultural and intercultural; that recognizes and celebrates the beauty and colour of various nationalities, traditions, languages and cultures, yet binds them together as one church.

17. A church that communicates so as to be understood among leaders, with the congregation and with those beyond the circle of the church.

18. A church with properties and buildings that serve the living church with beauty, purpose and practicality.

19. A church that has firm vision and plans for the years to come, but stays in synch with the daily steps directed by the Holy Spirit, our Shepherd and Guide.

20. A church that has a good and godly reputation among other churches, city and provincial leaders and in the community.

Good News Bears

Our church pastors were invited as the special guests to Good News Bears last month. The kids from grades 1-4 treated us like kings - specially made ice cream sundaes and all!

The highlight of our evening was the Master Pastor contest, where we were put on the spot with a variety of questions. Thankfully I was able to retain my "Master Pastor" standing.