Sunday, December 30

Faith and Foolishness

There is a fine line between faith and foolishness...and that is where I want to be. If I'm not living in faith, I am only attempting what I believe I can accomplish. If I'm foolish, I'll rush into things that God never intended me to get into. I believe the greatest blessings are on that fine line.

Somewhere between faith and foolishness God brought His Son into our realm - in human skin. It seems foolish to many, and certainly requires faith. But for those of us who accept Him, he has brought blessings too many to mention.

Olivet Wesleyan stepped out in a small measure of faith this Christmas and 'attempted' two services on Christmas Eve. We prayed, we invested in a professional-marketing invite piece, we programmed, we practiced, we prayed some more...the result: 470 people showed up to hear about the Baby born in Bethlehem! We were speechless. Maybe that's the best way to be before God...speechless, simply in awe of God.

Now we are looking at 2008 and wondering what God has in store. We believe that He has given us an opportunity to make significant Kingdom-impact in our community. If that is going to happen, we will need to be a people who are willing to walk the line between faith and foolishness. There will be times when we simply have to trust God, trust His Word, and be as faithful as we can.

On a personal note - I feel privileged to Pastor such a great group of people who care more for the lost than they do about their own comfort zones!


Sunday, December 23

What a Sunday!

If you are anywhere near Olivet Wesleyan, I hope you didn't miss today's service! We had everything from the kids on the stage singing and dancing, a baby dedication (great to have Greg Boyce home!), advent week 4, 4 baptisms...whew! There were 282 there.

Now our focus shifts to Christmas Eve. We were joking around in the lobby after church today - taking guesses at how many we would have at our two services. I will be stoked if we have over 300 total. We've got a few surprises up our sleeves, and I think it's going to be one of our most meaningful services yet.

I heard that Zellers re-opens at 12:01 tonight. Anyone going ;->

Yesterday, as part of "Olivet Youth Give Back", I was able to take some of my gifts over to the church and have them wrapped by teens and Pastor Mark. Sweet! Thanks Pastor Mark and others who were helping out. You've kept me from staying up into the middle of the night wrapping gifts!

See you tomorrow: 4 PM or 6 PM Come half an hour early, drink some cider, coffee or hot chocolate, enjoy a cookie, and have your family photo taken!


Tuesday, December 18

Back in the Ville

It's good to be back in the Ville! Our family has just returned from a trip to Indiana where I received my Master of Arts, Ministry Leadership from Indiana Wesleyan University. IWU graduated over 1700 students on Saturday in three different ceremonies! It was a rewarding experience all-around, and we were glad we made the trek. We stopped in Ottawa on the way out, and had a Christmas evening with Gayla's family. Our time in Indiana was split between visiting friends and shopping ;->

Indiana was getting a 'severe winter storm' (anything over 3 inches is severe for them!) >ha,ha<. We pretty much followed the storm home which made for a long trip. We holed up just west of Cleveland Sunday night and drove 24 hours from Cleveland to Fredericton Mon-Tues. After a few hours of crash time this morning, I went straight to, where else, the Irving for a cup of Peruvian and a piece of banana bread. Yum.

We spent a couple of nights in Indiana with Wayne and Colleen Derr. Wayne is the General Director of Stewardship Ministries for the Wesleyan Church and Colleen is the Director of Children's Ministries. Colleen had recently been to Guatemala and brought home some really sweet coffee. More yum. Other drinks to keep the driver awake included Starbucks Christmas blend, Dunkin Donuts original, Krispy Kreme, and even a surprisingly good sip from a BP gas station and their Wild Bean Cafe. Even more yum.

We also spent a couple of nights with Jon and Mel Steppe, their kids Leah, Jasmin, and Tyler, and their Yorkie Poo, Mocha. Mel was our chauffeur for a lot of the shopping. (thanks Mel!!) Jon serves as a Director with Global Partners. Thanks for the good times Jon and Mel!

Hitting the ground running:
We have our December board meeting tonight. Who plans a board meeting on the day after a 24hr drive? Oh yeah, that was me. ;-> Looking forward to it!

We had 4 people accept Christ at our December 9th service! Woo Hoo! (very technical term for Praise the Lord - I have my masters degree!) One of the highlights of this service was a Roman soldier tearing apart the manger and turning it into a cross. Very cool effect.

I have heard many 'glowing' reports of iWish 3 ...iWish for Peace. Way to go Pastor Mark and team for creatively communicating the most important message in the world. For those of you who like to know these things, there were 242 here on Sunday.

iWish 4...iWish to worship the Child is coming this Sunday. We'd like to find 3 wise men to help illustrate the message, but we can't find any. Hahaha. That was lame.

Our 2 Christmas Eve services are coming up next week. Hard to believe!! 4 and 6 PM, identical services, candlelight, carols, children's presentation, a Christmas pic of your family, and a few other surprises. Have you invited a bunch of people??

Thought for this Sunday...We might come to worship on Sundays thinking, "I hope I get something out of this...". Worship is not about what you get, it is about what you give. The wise men brought their gifts of worship. What is yours?


Monday, December 3

Monday thoughts

Good morning OWC! Looks like we are in for some snow later today and tonight. My kids are totally stoked (excited) about a potential snow-day tomorrow. :-) About half our church (slight exaggeration) are teachers, and I know that they are praying for a snow-day too!

I hope you enjoyed being in church yesterday! If you weren't, here are a few highlights:
- We opened the "iWish" series with the song "Winter Wonderland"...members of the praise team came in dressed in winter garb, giving out candy canes
- The Morris family led our Advent scripture readings and the lighting of the first candle of Advent
- Sam Robinson, one of our members who has been significantly challenged with health issues this year, gave the Advent prayer. Sam also shared a testimony and word of thanks to the church. It was very fitting, timely, well -said, and meaningful. Thanks Sam!
- We moved from the Advent ceremony right into the sacrament of communion. It's only right to connect the manger to the cross as we prepare our hearts for Advent
- I preached faster than I have ever preached before! I give a copy of my sermon to the media team, and they noticed all the parts that I skipped ;->
- We used a scene from the movie, "The Nativity", during the sermon
- We had a time of prayer around the altar, asking God to do the impossible in our lives
- We took a 'retiring' offering, no I'm not retiring, it means that we gave our offering on our way out of the sanctuary

Other notes:
- I did not mention the Toronto Maple Leafs in my sermon, even though they beat Pittsburgh Saturday night and Montreal lost. I may not mention the Leafs again in public until they get their act together!
- I did mention 'coffee' in my sermon. I like coffee ;-)
- Church was full again!

1ST WEDNESDAY is this week!! We are looking forward to another impacting evening of worship and the Word. Those of you who have been to the 1st two installments of 1st Wednesday know how much we enjoy this service. Looking forward to it! Many have asked about the menu for Wednesday... It's going to be a hearty, winter-casserole. It's going to be yummy, and a great improvement over pizza in a box.

The Youth Christmas Formal was last night, and yes, the rumors are true, I played a plunger on the platform. Kenny G never sounded better.

I'm always impressed to see people pull together to make things happen at the church. This weekend was no exception. Special thanks to the gang who gave a big part of their Saturday to help decorate the church. Also, thanks to the gang who worked behind the scenes to make the youth formal a success. You are appreciated!!