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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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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May 31 – Episode 11 We Can Do Amazing Things

KidZone Show Episode 11 – Coming Soon
 
John 6 Bread of Life Activity Sheets – these can be great to do during the Morning Worship Service or any time

If you would like to be in the KidZone show or submit your completed activity sheets to be in the KidZone show, email kidzoneshow@gmail.com


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April 19 – Jesus Brings Joy

KidZone Show Season 1 Ep. 5

 
 
Join us for KidZoom Connections Sunday at 4pm – Contact Pastor Tyler for the link

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Praise God for Everything

We’ve been reading through the Gospel of Mark with Lawson Youth with the help of the Bible app and the Foundations Mark reading plan. As we’ve read through it, I’ve noticed a couple of passages that talk about money and finances. As I personally thing about it, I have one simple question:
 

“are you honouring God with your finances?”

That’s it. Think about it honestly. In our current situation, many people will have their budget and bank account pushed to the limit in the very near future. This means that now more than ever we need to make sure we are honouring the Lord with our finances. 

There would be some that would answer that question with, “I don’t have enough money to donate any extra.” Donating is good, you can even donate online. But the question is not about donating. With all of your money that God is giving you, are you honouring him with it? 

In the book of Mark, the rich guy wasn’t willing to give up his financial security to follow Jesus. Jesus was asking a lot. But Jesus also gave up a lot on the cross.

““The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.””

Mark 12:29-31 NIV


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Home and School

So here we are, just over one week into the new era of no school for kids. Parenting around the world has changed drastically in the last two weeks. How’s it been going for you? Here are some of the things we’ve been doing around our house and some of the things we’ve discovered: 

  • Keep bed times regular. This is something our family does all year – even during summer holidays.
  • Working from home is very difficult when my wife is working out of the home.
  • Kids go where I go. So if I want them to go outside, I guess that means I go outside too.
  • Set up work spaces if you can – for kids and yourself
  • I feel the most important things for a kid to accomplish in a day are: reading, typing, and playing outside. If we can get through these things, we’ll be OK.
  • So far, each day it does get a little easier. 
  • It might be tempting to look at homeschool parents and think they are superheroes. Maybe they are, but don’t compare yourself. Most of them have had years of experience, with one kid at a time entering school. 
  • Put on Christian music subtly in the background – I love to see the kids quietly singing along thought the day.
  • You can do this.
  • Spend time in the Word and prayer.
If you’d be interested in video chatting with a group of parents from LHAC, contact me (tylerlhac@hotmail.com) and we can set up a weekly Zoom call or something.

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