Late Night Sunday thoughts…

It’s late but I just wanted to write a few thoughts on today before heading off to bed:

  • Today was the first Sunday back for Pastor Marshall since he went to Africa.  Great to have our pastor back!
  • I shared a teaser video and introduced the “Chasing Daylight” series that I’m going to be teaching to the Young Adults Bread and Breakfast class in a couple weeks.  I’m so pumped about this!  The book by Erwin McManus has been an incredible inspiration and I really am looking forward to interacting with the class on the story of Jonathon and his armour-bearer taking on the Philistine army…Seizing the divine moments!
  • Both morning service praise times were INCREDIBLE!  I’ve gotta confess though – the second service was especially amazing as God touched those coming to the front because of weariness and tiredness in their lives.  You could see the impact the Spirit was making in their hearts and lives!
  • There were also some incredible Holy Spirit led words from the Lord as people moved in the spiritual gifts this morning.  Those who stay away from corporate worship don’t know what they’re missing.  It’s so IMPORTANT to come together to minister to one another!
  • Pastor Marshall launched the three week series we’re doing on Worship called “Worship is Essential”.  Today he focused on the PRIORITY of Worship.
    • Started with the question: is worship a “part”, “prerequisite”, or “priority”?  Good question to ask – worship MUST be a priority in our lives – God created us that way…(dang – if I’m not careful I’m gonna start launching into the message God’s putting on my heart for next week…!  I’m so excited that Pastor Marshall has entrusted the second message in this series to me!)
    • Pastor Marshall shared the scripture verse from Luke 4:7,8 that he read while reading through the One Year Bible (Friday’s verse)….folks – I’m so glad I serve with a leader who doesn’t just study the word of God for preparing sermons but also reads the Word for his own spiritual nourishment!!  What an encouragement for all of us to follow his example and get in God’s word EVERY DAY!!
    • “satan understand worship, craves worship…we have the created asking the creator to worship him!”
    • “Sadly, we have at times worshiped the created rather than creation!”
    • “Our priority must be to worship the creator!”
    • “satan is doing his best to distract, disengage, and hinder me from worshiping the creator…”
    • “If you have a TV show that you can’t miss an episode of – you’re worshiping that TV show!”  ouch…I’m sure that hit home for a few people…the place got pretty quiet after that statement!
    • The main text for the message is from Luke 19:29-40 which is the story of events of what is commonly known as “Palm Sunday”
    • “People were WILLING to worship…they began to take their clothes off!” – I’m sure Pastor Marshall didn’t mean what that sounds like…but still…the point is very similar to what I was teaching last week – Worship (Holy Desperation!) isn’t concerned with what others think – but the focus is on the object of your worship!
    • “There are times in our lives that we wear ‘clothes’ that impede our worship:
      • Our comfort zone
      • Our identity
      • security
      • familiarity in worship
      • fears
      • doubts
      • uncertainties
      • insecurities
      • pride
      • habits
      • routine
    • “worship…involves laying those clothes down”
    • “be CHILDLIKE in your worship NOT CHILDISH!”
    • they were WILLING and they were WASTING (extravagant worship)
    • Pastor Janette sang an awesome rendition of “She Came Wasting”…when the message gets posted to our church site her singing hopefully will be included!  What an awesome way to introduce the next point!
    • Our worship needs to be EXTRAVAGANT!
  • This afternoon Ker and I hosted a family from the church in our home and we had a blast getting to know them!  Once again, my wife blew me away with her awesome cooking (and I think I did a pretty good job carving the chicken…)
  • I’m VERY upset that I COMPLETELY FORGOT a special birthday celebration that was being held for one of my friends at the church this afternoon.  I felt sick when I remembered.  I hope they forgive me for not dropping by…I’ve become too dependent on the reminder notifications on my blackberry…when it fails, I fail (there’s got to be a lesson in there somewhere…)
  • the service tonight was contributed to by the youth in our church who participated in a Worship and Creative Arts experience called “Ignite my Life” this past week.  Listen to this…and this ROCKS… these young people GAVE UP their March Break to develop and work on their God-given skillz so they can GLORIFY God!!! How cool is that?  Tonight was AWESOME as they shared the results of their week.  I just know that God is going to do GREAT THINGS through these youth!!
  • I brought my oldest son to service with me tonight.  It was a rare opportunity for me to sit with my son during a service and not have any other responsibilities.  BUT…get this – we were short on ushers and my 10 year old son volunteered to fill in.  I was so proud of his willingness to serve!
  • Mark Colwell spoke tonight and his message was INTENSE.  He really pulled no punches as he passionately implored us to consider the Promises of God and God’s desire for us to stop settling for the mediocre and pursue an adventure with Him!!  I couldn’t help but think….God is definitely hammering home in the messages that have been delivered this past while a common theme!  I can’t wait to see what happens with people who catch the VISION that God has for their life!

Well, I’ve got to go – my wife has been patiently waiting for me to finish this entry and I’m all typed out.  Night!

What I “tweeted” 2009-03-22

  • Standing out in the cold waiting for the med clinic to open – gotta get this illness checked out – gng on 7 weeks now! #
  • what’s going on with rememberthemilk.com today? It’s so stinking slow! #
  • Update from my med clinic visit yesterday…sinus infection – doc prescribed nasal spray, inhaler, and antibiotics…and an x-ray #
  • These antibiotics are making me loopy #
  • looking over the “Chasing Daylight” material that I’ll be teaching in April…it ROCKS! I’m SO looking forward to leading this study!! #
  • On the way to movie nite – been a while… #
  • Watched Serenity tonite (I’m a bit late finally seeing it) – cool movie! #
  • Snow falling? Aww man! Hope it doesn’t blow into Waterloo! #
  • Just found out my word recognition in my right ear has gone from 24% to 8%. Left ear remained the same at 4%. #
  • Thank goodness I can lipread! #
  • Taking the kids to the park – beautiful day. Then I think I might do some yardwork #

Quick Update to UnfoldingNeurons.com: Feedburner again

A looong time ago, back before Feedburner was a Google property, I used it to manage and track my .rss feeds here.  I kind of got away from that in the various theme changes applied to the site but I just decided tonight I’d get the by feeds “burned” again.  Here’s how it works: the main feed now redirects to FeedBurner but if you subscribe to any comments, tags or category feeds (and I think it’ll be the same for series feeds) they will still come to you the same way they have.  That may change in the future but for now that’s the way it is.

If you were a subscriber to the main feed and it stopped working for some reason I apologize.  If you try resubscribing it should work again.  If you are still not getting the feed correctly and aren’t mad at me (!) please leave a comment here so I can know and try and help you with correcting the problem.

Finally, if you don’t know what a “feed” is…google it 😉

Thoughts on Sunday (March 15, 2009)

This past weekend was BUSY!  But so much fun!  Saturday night Ker (my wife) and I joined a group of couples at the church to watch the movie “Fireproof”  Wow!  What an amazing movie and what a challenge for married couples!  I’m so excited about showing this movie on March 29th for the evening service at WPA.  If you haven’t seen it and you live in the Waterloo, Ontario area you’ve GOT to come and see this movie!

Sunday I spoke in both services and shared a two part series entitled “Holy Desperation” based on Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they will be filled”.   Here’s some reflection on Sunday…

  • I don’t think we really know what it’s like to be desperate in North America.
  • To “hunger and thirst” doesn’t just talk about a passive desire but a desperate longing.
  • Holy Desperation puts us in the path of encountering and dwelling in God’s presence!  Me, I want to cultivate that desperate pursuit of him.  Not a wild-eyed, but a wide-eyed desperation.
  • “The key to will power is want-power!” If you really WANT something then you’ll find the will power to get there!!!
  • People stood up all over the place during the morning service when I asked who was hungering and thirsting after God and who wanted that fire fanned into flame!  AWESOME!
  • After the first morning service there were some people that came forward for prayer including a man who wanted to receive Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour!!!  AWESOME!  But you know what was really cool?  I asked him what led him to this decision and he mentioned it was because of the difference he saw in his friends life – the friend that brought him up to the front.  You could see his friend beaming and tearing up when I prayed together with this man.  WOW!  That’ll never get old!
  • After the second morning service I was approached by a man who stated he was an open-minded Muslim who attended our church this morning.  Apparently he was offended by my referencing the difference between Christianity and other religions (including Buddhism and Islam).  My exact words were:

Once more, here is the distinction between Christianity and all other religions. At the heart of every religion there is a major figure. With Buddhism it is Buddha. With Islam there is Mohammed. With Hinduism it is Krishna. And with Christianity it is Jesus Christ. That’s where the comparison ends. If you ask adherents of these other faiths where you find salvation, they point to a way of living. A Muslim will not point you to Mohammed. He will point you to the Koran. It is not Buddha who delivers you, it is his “noble Truths” that instruct you.

By contrast, Jesus not only taught the truth, He said He is the Truth. He didn’t just point the way to salvation; He said He is the Way. That’s why for a Christian it is not a way of living, it is Him living in and through us!

  • Apparently the muslim gentleman thought I was bashing his religion and should be focusing on sharing more about Jesus than “how Christianity is superior to other religions”…does what I said come across the way he’s claiming?  My point was that Chrisitianity is more than a religion it is all about a relationship.  Jesus makes it possible for us to have a relationship with God and our salvation doesn’t come from what we do but what He has done… Nevertheless I heard this man out and we parted amicably with him urging me not to talk about other relgions…interesting conversation!  I pray in his openness to other faiths that he will hear the Holy Spirit drawing him to Christ 🙂
  • Sunday night the praise time was incredible!  By the time it came for me to deliver the message I was so READY to share it!  WPA is so blessed to have gifted and talented musicians to lead us in praise!  It was so encouraging to see so many people stay after service was officially “done” to linger and seek God together!
  • Unfortunately, the Sunday evening message didn’t get recorded. I haven’t decided yet whether I will record it “in studio” so Part two is available.  It’s not the same as a live recording soo…we’ll see.
  • If any WPA folks are reading this entry…is there anything you’ve changed this week or are doing this week because of how you were challenged on Sunday?  Let me know in the comments – I’d love to hear!

What I “tweeted” 2009-03-15

  • This has gotta be a record for the longest I’ve had cold symptoms! I’m almost symptom free except that my nose still plugs up when I lay dwn #
  • I really don’t like it when I have appointments on my day off. Probably why the appointment I’m going to today was cancelled twice before.. #
  • Heading off for my semi-annual hearing checkup today #
  • Just discovered more local friends on twitter….about time folks! #
  • I don’t just want to exist- I want to LIVE! How ’bout you? #
  • You can tell spring is coming when the roads are white from salt not snow… #
  • Just found out my hearing appt wasn’t today arghh #
  • Ahh lovely spring day – out for a walk with the kids #

Thoughts on Sunday (March 8, 2009)

This weekend was an absolute blast!  WPA hosted a Worship Event on the Saturday night where a variety of talented people from churches in the area lead in an evening of worship.  The house was PACKED with people worshipping and praising God – it was awesome!  Here’s some notes about Sunday:

  • The children’s ministry “took over” our Sunday morning services and participated in leading worship – the best part? My son Zachary and Karissa helped lead in worship – WOW,  I sure was proud of their willingness to serve in this way 🙂
  • I always get excited when I see children participate in ministry – kids need to know from the youngest age that God can use them and wants them to participate in His work!
  • Pastor Lisa (our Children’s Ministry Pastor) spoke a message called “Head and Shoulders, Knees and toes” and did an awesome job sharing about the importance of the body of Christ.  Learned some crazy facts about the human body via her message.
  • Had a great service on Sunday night – the worship was amazing!  I spoke on “The Wilderness Wastelands of Doubt” – was thankful my cold didn’t keep me from speaking.
  • I love when you’re sharing truth from God’s word and looking out at people and seeing the light bulb go off in peoples minds.  Priceless.  But get this, I know it’s not because of anything I do or speak but it’s totally what the Holy Spirit is doing in making God’s Word come alive in their hearts!  That’s why when I prepare a message or get up to speak I’m TOTALLY dependent on God for the delivery – my prayer is always that He will do the talking – I’m just the servant 🙂
  • Looking forward to this coming Sunday – God’s already given me the message he wants me to speak for the services – Can’t wait!

Day Six (Jan 2) – Driving Around [Ukraine Missions Trip]

This entry is part 6 of 9 in the series Ukraine Missions Trip 2009

This is the sixth entry in the series I am writing about my trip to Ukraine – I didn’t have daily internet access while there so I recorded each day for later publishing.  And later [much later actually] is now.

I didn’t really do a whole lot today other than driving around with Ed and Walt to various places in Krivoy Rog (I got to see a lot of Krivoy Rog through the day):

  • One of the girls from our team holding a baby from the children's hospital.
    One of the girls from our team holding a baby from the children's hospital.

    To children’s hospital to drop off girls who were going to visit with babies there.

  • To McDonald’s to drop off one of the team members for McJoyful.
  • Went to hospital to talk with the director of the hospital and pick up the girls who we dropped off earlier.  We then dropped the girls off to shop at bazaar (they were getting makeup and nail polish and beauty supplies for using at the Sonshine orphanage in the afternoon).
  • Took lunch for guys at rehab center who were continuing on the renovations there.
  • After lunch we drove the girls to SonShine Orphanage so they could do the “beauty day” with the older girls at the orphanage.
  • Went and picked up Brendan at McJoyfuls (went around to a few shops with Walt and his future daughter-in-law).
  • Ed, Walt, Brendan and I went to another orphanage on the other side of town. They were in the midst of doing a presentation to a team from Georgia USA…we didn’t meet that team. Director of the orphanage was dressed to the nines in about $1,000 worth of clothing. Apparently her husband is very wealthy. The orphanage is really top notch and it is evident the kids are well looked after.
  • Director told us about a boy who had excelled at school and athletics and had been invited by a family from a church in Georgia to come to university there and they would pay all his tuition, lodging and food while there. Problem is, the boy did that and finished his grade twelve that he needed to finish (in America – Ukraine only goes up to grade 11) and then the people told the director they can’t pay for his university education there. This leaves the kid in a terrible bind because IF he hadn’t gone to America he would have been able to get a FREE education at Kyiv’s top university – but since he’s been out of the country he can no longer avail himself of that education!! Not nice. The director is hoping that the church in Georgia will help him. 
  • Two guys on the left are from our team.  Guy on the right was one of the translators (he translated for me when I spoke on the Sunday)
    Two guys on the left are from our team. Guy on the right was one of the translators (he translated for me when I spoke on the Sunday)

    Went from there to see how the guys were doing back at the rehab center. Things are coming along with the construction but still moving slowly.

  • Took the guys with us to the Okeh supermarket (what an interesting name for a store…) to pick up comforters for the shelter place. We managed to get 17 (at roughly $10USD apiece) that we delivered to the shelter. Pretty funny stuffing it into the minivan with 7 of us guys! We are giving Ed money to purchase 18 more for all the kids at the shelter.
  • Headed back for supper with everyone else and we shared stories of our day.