Forget this, let’s plan for summer

Are you loving the ridiculously cold weather?

We had a great January with pleasant winter weather, but lately it’s been cold. 
We don’t know what summer is going to look like with vaccines, policies, and all that jazz. But we DO know that summer is coming. So I’d encourage you to keep your eye on what the government tells us in the area of Bible Camps. If we plan our summer vacay and then camps open up, many people will not have time for Bible Camp. However, if we keep our plans flexible and our eyes on Bible Camp, we can adjust our plans and send kids to camp. Yahoo! Or better yet, we can take our whole family to Family Camp.

Why go to Bible Camp?

  • Campers get to basically experience church 5+ times in one week!
  • Campers get out of the house and get exercise
  • Campers get to socialize and bring friends
  • Campers have a week full of Christ-centeredness
  • It will be a life changing experience
  • It’s one of my 6 Essentials for Disciples who Walk with Jesus (now you’re wondering what the other 5 are…)
  • And lets be honest, it’s great to have our house a few decibels quieter
 
Why do you love camp?
 
 
 
 
 
On another note, since it is cold, and this happens every year, make the most of it and invite some friends to your favourite sledding hill, skating rink or to your backyard. Or stay home and play a board game on Zoom with your friends after the kids go to bed. You can do it!
 
P.S. I’m in the process of getting the details for KidZone Fun Camp, July 19-23. iWonder what it will be 🙂

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Pop Up Websites

We’ve had the unfortunate experience of having inappropriate content pop up on our computer. It’s not good, especially when my young boys are around.
The first time, we were looking for colouring sheets (we do that A LOT). And the second time was when my son was at school, his teacher was teaching from the Smart board, looking at some research and something popped up.
 
1) What do you do? Stay calm and don’t panic. It unfortunately happens to many people. Don’t blame the computer or get defensive.
 
2) How can you protect against it? 
  • Get a family friendly router – we had one that could limit the time and content that devices were allowed to view. Bestbuy has a bunch to choose from. If you choose the Circle router, it has amazing features, but requires a subscription at some point
  • Keep computers and devices in public places
  • Don’t EVER let young kids take a phone to bed – you probably don’t want to know what age boys have their first experience with porn
  • All phones charge in a main room – not in bedrooms (parents included)
  • Set clear boundaries for screen time (no games/devices after supper, no devices in bedrooms, 1 hour a day, etc.)
3) Pray for your family each day – that they would be young men and women of purity
 
4) Brett Ullman has a video for parents on this and many other important topics – and they’re free!
 
Psalm 119:11 “I have hidden your word in my heartthat I might not sin against you.”

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The New Year is Almost Here!

The new year is near and many cannot wait to flip the calendar and start fresh. This last year has had a lot of crud in it. In fact, for many, it feels like layer upon layer of crud. And for others, there have been a lot of precious moments and victories.

When I was on summer vacation a little while ago (back in the day when you could travel) it was +40C and I was amazed at how green the grass was – it looked amazing. Upon closer inspection, I realized two things:

The grass is greener where you water it

The grass was full of weeds

1) As you look ahead to the new year, how will you begin to water it and help it be a flourishing year?

2) Weeds will creep into our lives, but we can still thrive as we are surrounded by God’s love and grace.

As the clock strikes 12, or whenever you head to bed, many people have traditions and activities they like to do. Some like to set off fireworks, shout “happy new year,” or give a hug and kiss. Let’s start this new year with prayer and praying through our life networks.

Family – pray that your sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, spouse, and parents may be strong and courageous (Josh. 1:9) and follow Jesus all the days of their life.

Friends – pray that your friends and neighbours will embrace the hope we have in Christ

Work/School – pray that your coworkers and peers would embrace God’s love and grace. Pray that you will live in such a way that would point them to forgiveness in Jesus.

Interests – as you encounter people throughout your activities, pray that you will lead people to Christ

Church – pray that we would continue to celebrate and share the Good News that Jesus Christ changes lives forever as we make disciples

World – pray for our international workers, like Heather and Andres, that they would build relationships for God’s glory, lead people to Christ, and plant churches of disciples
 

Colossians 1:3-14

3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— 5 the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel 6 that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. 7 You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf,8 and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.

9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.


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Hope – You Can Do It

Many of us have to go through some difficult challenges. This is my friend Michaela. She was a student that attended the youth ministry I served in 9 years ago. She is one of the amazing people I was able to serve (and serve with) in Virden, Manitoba. She got Ecoli and got worse. She’s on dialysis, has received blood transfusions, is nauseated and has headaches constantly. On top of that, she hasn’t been able to have any visitors, not even her husband or 8 month old son, for over a week. She’s got tubes to help her breath and hardware coming out of her neck. 
 
You wanna know what Michaela said on Instagram @michbgray and Facebook recently? “I think God can use this.” God is going to use her struggle to bring hope to her friends and family. In the midst of her crummy days, she is able to find a handful of things she is thankful for. My heart is broken for her as I think about her situation and I couldn’t actually write this post earlier in the week. But I am also encouraged as I share this story with my family. 
 
As our family makes adjustments to covid restrictions, I find so much encouragement in Michaela’s life. As I read Philippians 4:10-14&19 this morning, I am reminded of Michaela:
 
 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry,whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles… 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
 
As we look ahead to Christmas, there is hope as we trust in God. As we fill our minds and hearts with “whatever,” we can walk by faith trusting God to renew us, transform us, and give us strength for each day. 
 
“Oh and also, if you  know a health care worker, give them an extra long socially distanced hug today. They are heroes.”

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We’ve got lots of time

Christmas is 43 days away, Christmas is coming… Eventually. We’ve got lots of time right?

Even though we have lots of time, for some reason Christmas always seems to creep up and surprise me and at some point I rush a little bit or just concede and let go of some of my plans and preparations. But not this year!

This year I’m going to start preparing my heart and my home early. I put up my Christmas Lights on Nov. 4 – when it was +5 in the evening. But don’t worry, we won’t plug them in and set the timer till Nov. 12 at the earliest. I’ve got my Christmas Devotional book, and I’m already brainstorming what kind of Christmas activities I’m going to do with my family.

The truth is, Christmas is going to be very different this year and this year, and this year we need Christmas more than every. Our world has been through a lot and it’s taken its toll. There’s a lot of brokenness all around us. But we don’t have to wait till Dec. 25 to celebrate the Good News that Jesus Changes lives forever. God sent His Son so that through his life, death, and resurrection, we can be forgiven, transformed, and made new!

How are you going to “Keep Christ in Christmas” And keep your eyes on Christ TODAY? “I don’t know” isn’t really a great answer. You can avoid Christmas fomo (fear of missing out) so here’s a few to get the ball rolling:

  • Stop by Kennedy’s Parable and pick up a devotional book, gift, or decorations. I have a few extra copies of Come Let Us Adore Him by Paul Tripp I’d love to give you
  • Start reading one of the Gospels a little each day, it’s OK if you read about Jesus birth even if it’s not Dec. 24 or 25. In fact, if you start now, you’ll likely get to the reason he came by Christmas Day.
  • Decorate your house intentionally in a way that points your family and your guests towards Jesus. Honestly, we don’t do Santa or Reindeer, but plaid is a must.
  • Embrace the people and activities in the Nativity rather than Santa’s workshop: Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Angels, Shepherds, Sheep, Wise Men, Stars and Bethlehem.
  • Download a free devotional
  • Make your own advent calendar (those cheep chocolate ones taste gross anyway)
  • Pray for your family and friends who don’t know the Good News yet. Pray every day!
  • Invite people to your home (abiding by the provinces guidelines of course)

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October 31 is almost here, yay!

After hosting a watch party for our Online Missions Conference, we’re definitely thinking about missions more than ever. As we look ahead to what’s next on the calendar, October 31st is right around the corner, and you know what that means? Reformation Day! Although that’s not the first thing anyone thinks of, its actually very very important.

Martin Luther wrote a thesis against the sale of indulgences and nailed to to the door of All Saints church in Wittenberg in 1517. At the time the Catholic Church and Pope had created a large sum of wealth from the sale of indulgences that would allow someone to go to heaven and/or get out of purgatory. Although they are unfortunately still for sale online.

Thanks to Martin Luther, the heresy of the Pope and the Catholic Church was exposed and people were able to discover that we are saved by God’s grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).
 

“For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” — Romans 1:17 (NIV)

Today, we have an incredible opportunity to be thankful for salvation, teach that truth to our kids and our life networks, and celebrate and share the Good News that Jesus Christ changes lives forever.

How can we remember and celebrate Reformation Day without dressing up like Martin Luther for Halloween?

  • Listen to or Sing Martin Luther’s song A Mighty Fortress is Our God
  • Share the Good News with someone
  • Start or continue praying every day for a person that hasn’t found salvation in Christ yet
      • Ask your kids which friend they’d like to pray for and then plan on having them over to play at your house
  • Read Ephesians 2 with your family and memorize Ephesians 2:8-10 with them as well
  • Romans 5:1-2 is another great passage to read, and you could memorize Romans 5:1
  • Pray with your friends or family and ask God to reveal a person of peace, neighbour, or people group that we can share the Good News with

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Busy, Busy, Dreadfully Busy…

There’s a few of you who probably recognize that the title of this post is from the song in the classic VeggieTales episode Are You My Neighbour? 
Do you ever feel like you’re too busy. Too busy to get everything done on your “To Do” list, too busy to spend time with people, too busy to get the projects done around the house, too busy to rest, too busy to read your Bible and pray.
 
This summer, our family was quite busy, but thankfully we were able to use our vacation time to rest and be refreshed in our faith. Then kids went back to school and we bought a different house and moved. In the week before and after our move, I found myself so consumed, busy, and tired, I was getting a little weak on my daily Bible reading and rest.
 
It can be SO easy to get distracted and “dreadfully busy” that I focus on my jobs and myself. Now we’re into the fall season and it’s a great time to re-establish some healthy rhythms of rest, reading and praying. Here’s a couple practical tips I find helpful for myself and my boys.
 
  1. Keep you Bible and books in a convenient place
  2. Stop working and stop cleaning and stop fixing at a reasonable time so I’m not too tired to wake up earlier
  3. Kids are loud and need attention, so you may have to wake up before them to focus
  4. Make a plan and keep truckin’ along
  5. Pray for others
I’m also reminded of the three points from Pastor Mike’s message last week on Genesis 13:
  1. Comfort in life is not a basis for godly decisions
  2. Consequences follow every decision
  3. Blessing & Worship follow godly decisions
Joshua 24:15 “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

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I Choose to Worship

This morning as I was getting ready to crack open the Word, I was listening to some Christian music with the boys. And one great song led to another. An hour later I found myself sitting and praying and worshipping the Lord as I listed to some Church Online from Rend Collective.
 
That wasn’t really how I had planned to start my day.
I didn’t get to check off a chapter from my Bible reading plan list.
 
As I sang along with the YouTube worship, I started to get distracted by some of my other plans for the days and other projects I’m excited about. I was about to get up and check something the is very important, but then the words literally came up, “I choose to worship.” So I sat back down and re-engaged in how amazing God’s is.
 
Things always come up, even good things. How precious it is to sit and choose to worship. 
The week ahead may be filled with challenges, concerns, worries and stress. Seriously, almost every week is. Let’s choose to worship.
 
John 4:23-24
 
23 Yet a time is coming and has now comewhen the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
 

“Jesus didn’t say to worship in feelings and circumstance, but he said in spirit and truth.” Gareth Gilkeson

 
Oh, and while I was enjoying this holy moment in my living room, miracle #2 happened – my boys were playing together… WITHOUT FIGHTING! Praise God. 
 

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Return to KidZone

It’s been an interesting few months hasn’t it? We’re excited and thankful that we’ll be able to have kids running through our halls again and we can open up KidZone on September 13 for all ages.
  • Registration for the year will be online and parents will need to do this before their children head down to KidZone
  • Parents can either sanitize their kids’ hands upon entry to our facility, or escort their children to wash their hands in the bathroom after they check in
  • Upon arrival on a Sunday, our KidZone Welcome-er will write their names down and a parent can escort them to KidZone
  • Any time kids in Gr. 1-6 are not able to keep 6ft distance, they will wear a mask
  • Toddlers and pre-schoolers do not need to wear masks
  • Immediately after the service, a parent will head downstairs and pick up their kids
  • Our goal is to follow the Provincial Child Care Facilities guidelines as best we can
If you have any questions or recommendations, please contact Pastor Tyler tylerlhac@hotmail.com 

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Refreshing Vacation Reading

Two weeks ago I went to our church library and picked up a copy of Last Cucumber on the VineThe story of Adriaan van Der Bijl and the transformation of the Nduga people.
 
It is an incredible privilege to read the history of what God did throughout the life of Adrain van Der Bijl. His commitment to the Nduga people was unwavering and incredible. The history of miracles that God did thought his time in Ndugaland are awesome. I find myself encouraged, amazed, and energized as I look ahead to how I can share these stories with my family, with others, and pray that I would be a willing servant to allow God to work mightily in my own life.
 
I was also surprised and amazed as I read about the others, like Elfrieda (Toews) van Der Bijl, that had an incredible ministry in Papua. It is remarkable how many people were medically trained, clinics established, believers baptized, and people discipled.
 
Praise God!
 
Now is a great time to buy your own copy of this encouraging book from our church office or on Amazon.
 

I’ve begun going over it again and reading the miracles to my children, especially the one about the mishap with Adriaan’s hand and the helicopter (p.197).

 
“We thank the Lord that you still have two hand to lift in praise to God.”

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