Saturday, December 23, 2006

Family Rocks

Being home for Christmas rocks my world. It is so good to be around people that accept you for who you are, and who know you enough to have all the background. We've gone to movies, played games, talked, laughed, ate. It's good to be home. This is the kind of environment that I thrive for, to just be me and interact with others in a safe environment.

I'm heading back to Three Hills tonight, and I'll be there all day tomorrow. Dedicating a baby in the morning service, and helping lead the Christmas Eve service, and then driving back up to Edmonton. It's my last Sunday at Bethel, and it will be a great time to wrap up the loose ends.

And then next week, when the rest of my family leaves for Vancouver, I'll be driving most of the way with them, and heading south to Peachland to visit Jordan! She surprised me by coming up to Canada for Christmas break, and I can't wait to spend some quality with her and hear some of the stories she has from the first few months in Mexico.

It's going to be a great Christmas break!

And let's not forget I have the cutest niece in the world!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


What a crazy time of year. Christmas in the money-spending sense is upon us, and has been for quite some time. People are shelling out more money than any other time of the year (unless it's thanksgiving and you're American) to bring 'the spirit of Christmas' to all those around them. It's at a moment like in which I stop myself, and do a little bit of navel gazing.

When I think of Christmas, I remember the times when I was little. We would drive to Grandma's and all of the cousins would gather in a central location. It'd be a week of festivities, driving behind the four-wheeler while we tried to hang onto the sled, or the games of decathlon on the Atari, while Brad schooled us all on the finer points of muscle spasms that lead to an incredible rate of wiggling that joystick. I'm reminded of the presents under the tree, and the I'm inevitably lead to the ever-building excitement that lead up to Christmas.

But nowadays, Christmas is more about getting together with family. It's the time to spend with people that you don't normally get to see, people that you trust and love. Christmas has moved away from the 'what do I get?' mentality, and into the family mentality. For me, I find that's the true centre of Christmas.

Jesus came to this earth, so that we could be a part of His family. He set aside everything, and joined one of our families. It's incredible to think about, and I believe I'm going to spend some good time just ... pondering the real depths of that over the next few days. God is SO good.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The End of a Season

It's official: I'm in my last week here at Bethel. I've spent more than a year at this church in ministry, 8 months of that in an internship, and 6 as the children's pastor. Just now am I beginning to feel like I'm fitting in. Funny how now is also the time that I'm being called elsewhere.

There has been many things that I've learned along the way, but the first is that you should never, ever burn bridges. I have had many people tell me in the past that it doesn't matter what happened, what was said -- never use those last days to burn what may be left... instead use them to reinforce them! While there's no danger of me wanting to burn bridges here, I can't support that statement enough. When you leave, always go for allies, rather than leaving enemies.

The second is that it is better to focus on a few things and do them well than to try to do everyone and do none of it well. I had many ideas of what I wanted to do over the past six months, but God always kept the priority in focus: the River. That children's church was one of the main reasons I was hired to stay on, and I was given the opportunity to see it cemented and moored in for the long-haul. As I was talking with one of my leaders yesterday, she said how encouraging it has been for her to see the maturity begin to grow in these kids. I couldn't agree more! We have kids that are authentically interacting with their faith, and the fruits are beginning to show.

The last thing I'll write about is that ministry is never easy. There are many unexpected challenges and attacks that come your way. Things you never would have expected are thrown at you almost daily. The important thing is that you remember who you're doing it for, and why you got into it in the first place. Changing lives is more important than your pride. It's more important than being right. It's more important than looking good. Changing lives is paramount, and there will be knocks along the way that will make you want to turn from the course... but hold steady, God will give you the tail winds to drive you through.

14 months, and it's been an excellent experience. Tough times, good times all sum up into a worthwhile experience that gives me a better perspective moving forward into my own independant ministry. Now I look forward to Fiji!

Thursday, December 14, 2006


I'm in the process of reading through a book for one of my Distance Ed courses, The Spirit of the Disciplines. Dallas Willard's look at the importance of spiritual disciplines is enlightening and challenging, because the book does not demand an answer, it demands action.

The entire premise is that Jesus and Paul did not do what they did solely by the grace of God. Rather, it was their daily routines that made all the difference in the world to their spiritual lives. Jesus spent much of his time alone and in prayer, and Paul followed in the same footsteps. Willard asks then... is it any wonder why they had such effective ministries? Perhaps they are tied together!

I'm about halfway through the book, and I'm just getting my feet wet. If you're curious about the importance of fasting, praying, solitude, etc. I highly recommend picking up a copy of this book.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Asking Questions

Why is it that we have become so afraid of asking the hard questions? I read through the Bible, and it is filled with our spiritual forefathers digging deep into the meaning of God and asking the hard questions. It seems we have a Pharasitic view of people who stop to ask the hard questions, and encourage other people to do the exact same.

I would challenge this view, however, and instead say Jesus was the one who encouraged the Disciples to ask the hard questions of God to discover their faith and grow. Job himself stopped when God allowed everything to be taken away and cried out against God to ask Him the hardest question of all: why?

But there is a chasm between the attitude of the Pharisee's questioning Jesus to the Disciples. One is approaching God with a sense of arrogance, and one is approaching from the realization that we are nothing. Both ask, but their hearts are worlds apart.

We need to be encouraging our young people to ask the hard questions, because God is faithful in hearing our prayers and answering them. This is what will solidify their faith deep into their souls, and create a generation that will rise up and be strong advocates for God. But we also need to teach them the reverance of God that my age-group has so neglected... they are talking with a living... active God. He needs to be approached cautiously!

He is not a tame lion.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Winding Down

One of the best parts of ministry, at least in my opinion, is watching something you've started take a life of it's own (in the angel kind of way, not in the Frankenstein kind of way!) and carry on without you. People take up the vision, they pick up the purpose, and they consider it their own! And suddenly, something you had to put up onto it's feet is running without you! This must be what it is like to be a parent.

Ministry experiences are a great thing. The process in between can be extremely frustrating... but somehow the result is always worth the pain.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Welcome to Culture

The message I gave a few weeks ago focussed on many of the misconceptions our children are growing up with. They share the same role models as secular children and youth, and subsequently, they are thinking the exact same way. This becomes a huge issue when you think about the consequences... truth is no longer foundational, it is situational.

Here's a good example, as I was poking around MSNBC, this stunning quote came up:

BeyoncĂ© Knowles says that one of the most important people in her life was her late uncle, who was gay. “I was raised by my uncle who passed away with AIDS a couple of years ago,” the “Dreamgirls” star said, according to WENN. “He was my mother’s best friend. He brought me to school every day. He helped me buy my prom dress. He made my clothes with my mother. He was like my nanny. He was my favorite person in the whole world.” Knowles says that her affection for her uncle didn’t conflict with her deep religious views: “I never mixed Christianity with how I felt (about him). I am about faith and spirituality more so than religion. Doing right by others and not judging.”

Now, don't get me wrong, there is definitely a point where we need to look at the person, and not the sin that they are living in. But does that make black and whiter? When you think about the consequences of that statement, it suddenly becomes clear why Christians look no different than the secular world. One of the most famous 'Christians' in the music business has given up the definite word of the Bible, to instead say, "It's ok. As long as they are a nice person, who am I to say what they are doing is wrong?" It's a scary world.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Intense Weekend

We got back last night from a pretty intense weekend. We took the kids out to camp for a retreat, and the focus was on worship. It was an awesome time, and it really built some awesome relationships, and got the kids thinking. But as with any youth event, sometimes things can get a little crazy!

This weekend, I got to play the bad cop. We had 4 or 5 very very high energy boys that came out with us (funny how it's always the boys ;)), and they had to be kept on a fairly short leash. That meant almost keeping an eye on them for the entire time they were awake. It can get pretty draining when you are constantly working with the same guys. I love them all to bits, but boy it's the first time I've seen a 5 second attention span, literally.

You'd tell them stop. They'd acknowledge you, look at you for 2 seconds, and their minds wandered. Incredible.

I'm going to be taking the next few days to just recover from all that! Thankfully, God is faithful!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Stay the Course

Here's one thing I've learned about ministry in the past few months: many people will try to pull you down. Doesn't matter what position they hold, doesn't matter where they've been in life, everyone comes in with their own taint on life. I'm sure I have sadly played that role in someone's life before. I wish it wasn't so, but reality tells me that in my stupidity, in my stubbornness, I was a jerk.

You push right through their criticism. Take the time to stop... and listen to the still, small voice, and you run like the wind to keep up with it. There will be barriers. There will be knives and spears that will cut you. There will be rivers that seem unpassable. Listen to that voice when life rages around you, and never stop to listen to what anyone else.

There is much wisdom in the statement... "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me." -- Think about that. You can do ALL THINGS. Not just the small things, not just the things other people think you can do. Not only what your Senior Pastor tells you is appropriate... ALL THINGS. Cling to those words, never let them wander far from your mind. Claim them as your own, and fly them high on the flagpole in defiance of this world... in defiance of Satan.

Arise to the challenge. I think you'll find that God is there.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Friends Rock

I just got back from an evening here in Edmonton with some of my old friends. It was good to be together, and have an opportunity to just be myself. I didn't have to worry about what I said, or how it would come across -- they give me the freedom to just be me.

You know that feeling when you put a warm blanket around you on a cold day? Feels like everything just melts away from you...? That's the same feeling I get when I'm around my friends. There is a ton of water underneath the bridge, we went through those awkward teenage years together, and now we're moving onto our working years. We understand one another, and can just get together to have fun.

These are the times I cherish. These are the times I really appreciate. If you have good friends, don't even take them for granted, revel in those times to their fullest, because there is no guarantee you'll have them forever!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The 90's

I just got this e-mail, though it would be appropriate!

Anybody under the age of 13 should not read this, and if you do, you should not repost this. Just because you were born in '97 doesn't mean you're a 90's kid. It's not like you could remember the original Simpsons. I am sorry but three conscious years of the 90's just wont cut it.

You're a 90's kid if:

You remember watching Doug, Ren & Stimpy, Pinky and the Brain and Two Stupid Dogs.

AAAAAAAH real monsters.

You've ever ended a sentence with the word "PSYCHE!

You just cant resist finishing this... "Iiiiiiin west Philadelphia born and raised..."

You remember TGIF on ABC. Step by Step, Family Matters, Dinosaurs, and Boy Meets World.

You remember when, 2Pac and Selena died.

You remember when it was actually worth getting up early on a Saturday to watch cartoons.

You got super excited when it was Oregon Trail day in computer class at school.

You remember reading "Goosebumps"

You took plastic cartoon lunch boxes to school.

You remember the craze, then the banning of slap bracelets and slam books.

You still get the urge to say "NOT" after (almost) every sentence...Not...

You used to listen to the radio all day long just to record "Your FAVORITE song of ALL time"

Where in the world is Carmen San Diego? was both a game and a TV game show.

Captain Planet. He's a Hero.

You knew that Kimberly, the pink ranger, and Tommy, the green Ranger were meant to be together.

You remember when the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis became popular.

You always wanted to send in a tape to America's Funniest Home Videos... but never taped anything funny.

You remember watching home alone 1, 2 , and 3........and tried to pull the pranks on "intruders"

You remember watching The Magic School Bus, Wishbone, and Reading Rainbow on PBS.

You remember when Yomega Yo-Yos were cool.

You remember those Where's Waldo books...

You remember when Mortal Kombat Was "Da Bomb"!

You remember eating Warheads.(those sour candy's)

You remember watching the 1st Batman, Aladdin, Ninja Turtles, and 3 Ninjas movies.

You remember Ring Pops.

You remember drinkin' Fruitopia and Surge.

If you remember when every thing was "da BOMB"

when they made the new lunchables so that you could make tacos and pizza!!

You remember boom boxes vs. cd players

Writing M.A.S.H. notes. (and the twenty different versions of that)

Making those little paper fortune cookie things... and then predicting your
life with them.

You knew all the characters names and their life stories on "Saved By The Bell"

You played and/or collected "Pogs"

You had at least one Tamagotchi, GigaPet or Nano and brought it everywhere


You haven't always had a computer, and it was cool to have the Internet.

And Windows 95 was the best.

You watched the original cartoons of Rugrats, Power Rangers,and Ninja Turtles.

Michael Jordan was a king.

Yikes pencils and erasers were the stuff!

All your school supplies were "Lisa Frank" brand.(pencils, notebooks, binders, etc.)

You remember when the new Beanie Babies and talking Elmo were
always sold out.

You collected those Beanie Babies.

Growing Pains.

Carebears and The Gummy Bear show.

Lambchop's song never ended.

The old dollar bills.

Silver dollars, were cool to have.

You collected all the Troll dolls

You remember a time before the WB.

You owned a portable tape player.

If you even know what an original Walkman is.

You remember wanting to sit on the orange Nickelodeon couch.

You've gotten creeped out by "Are You Afraid of the Dark?"

You know the Macarena by heart.

"Talk to the hand" ... enough said

You always said, "Then why don't you marry it!"

You know the significance of the number 23.

You went to McD's to play in the playplace.

You remember playing on merry go the play ground.

When we were younger:
Before the MySpace frenzy...
Before the Internet & text messaging...
Before Sidekicks & iPods...
Before MIKE JONES...
Before PlayStation2 or X-BOX...
Before Sponge Bob
....Back when you put off the 5 hours of homework you had every night.
When light up sneakers were cool.
When you rented VHS tapes, not DVDs.
When gas was 39.9 a litre & Caller ID was a new thing.
When we recorded stuff on VCRs .
When we called the radio station to request songs to hear off our walkmans.
When 2Pac and Biggie where alive.
When the Chicago Bulls were the best team ever.
Way back.
When it was all about N64.
Before we realized all this would eventually disappear

Who would have thought you'd miss the 90's so much!!!!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Woes

Preaching can be one of the hardest things you will ever do. You are asked to pour your heart and soul into a message, put in countless hours of study and preparation, and put it out into the public forum in the course of 20 to 30 minutes. It can be one of those things that will either rip you to shreds, or help you build for the next time.

I posted a bit of detail this past week about the message that I was preparing. Truly, it is definitely what is on my heart. We are in danger of losing the next generation, my generation. There are people out there who are seeking nothing but their destruction, and the constant plummet into relativism, and the misunderstanding of the foundations of the Christian journey are leading down a dangerous road.

It was one of those messages that I poured myself into. I read, and I studied, and I spent a lot of time crafting my words so that they would come out properly. It was my heart, like telling someone about how much I love Jordan, or talking about my family. To throw this out would be a slap in my face.

God is good. He takes our words, no matter how frail they might be and makes them strong. He translates our inadequate language into one that reaches into people's hearts. If you are afraid to speak out, lean on Him. If you are scared to share your heart, draw from Him. If you don't know the words, let Him speak through you. God is faithful.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Three Tiers of Influence

Tiers of Influence in Modern Culture

In our modern day culture, we are competing for the minds of our youth and children. They are being bombarded every single day with stimuli from every direction. Media Moguls are clamouring for the minds and hearts of the next generation. The scary thing? They're winning.

The diagram above shows a basic breakdown of what influences our children's lives the most. The first, and most influential tier consists of contemporary culture, movies, media, and thankfully parents. These are the main contributors that will stick with a child throughout their developmental years and shape them.

Immediately, it becomes clear that we need to be carefully regulating what our children take into their minds. It will eventually come out, and it's up to us to determine if it's sludge, or pure, spring water.

The Secondary level consists of peers, school, radio and mentors. These are the external sources that will guide them, but ultimately only influence, not shape them. People who spend a majority of their time with them only have an effect! Parents, your job is crucial!

Perhaps the most sobering part of this pyramid however, is the place church takes in their lives. We as a community play third fiddle to all of the other sources. Considering they barely spend more than a few hours a week in church, it's not so surprising, but it makes it important to form long-lasting relationships with the children and youth, so that we can go beyond the walls of a building, and bring the church into their lives.

Time to Sermonate

I'm here in my office, and I've got a little over a page done for my sermon tomorrow. I decided it was time to resort to drastic measures. I went to IGA, picked up popcorn, mountain dew, and popcorn. Now I'm ready to dig in and write this thing!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Fight For The Next Generation

I am preaching on Sunday. I am scared to preach on Sunday. The topic I am covering is children and youth culture. Essentially, I am borrowing from such books as Battle Cry For a Generation and The Last Christian Generation to lay out the facts about those who are younger than me. Predictions are saying that if nothing is done, only 4% of this generation will hold core Christian values.

4 Percent. That's a staggering figure when you think that the current generation is somewhere around 35 percent. The average age for a child to first be exposed to pornography on the internet is 11. The largest consumers of internet pornography are between the ages of 12-17. Clearly, there is something wrong.

But preaching a message like this is never easy. You are asking... no, demanding action. This is not a message you merely walk away from and talk casually over dinner about, it is one that you either lay out the cards, or turn your back to completely ignore it. I'm hoping the congregation will choose the former. To get involved in financial, tangible, and spiritual ways to reclaim a generation that is being assaulted on all sides by Satan.

Take the stand.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Floor Hockey

I've been running floor hockey with grades four to six here at Bethel. It's been a lot of fun, but I have also found myself very tired by the end of it. However, as I ran the floor hockey yesterday, I discovered something very interesting, I was enjoying myself.

Interesting? You ask. How can enjoying yourself be interesting?

It reveals something new about me. I find new things quite exhausting. I believe that I need a bit of a rhythm to figure out how things are going, and then I can settle in and finally enjoy myself. Floor hockey is a good example of this, because this is the fourth week I've been running it, and I know all of the kids names, so we can just enjoy playing.

These kids are at pivitol moments in their lives, and we have to meet them there. Show them who God is, and make that lasting difference in their lives.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Nuances of Conversation

I have been blessed to talk to Jordan in the past few days not just over the phone, but to actually get to see her via the wonderful invention called the internet. It has been seven months today since we started officially 'dating' -- and we've only spent about a month and a half of that together. Now we are over 1700 miles apart, and you can imagine the strain that puts on a relationship.

What a blessing it is then to finally get to see her smile! You quickly forget all of the little details about a person when you haven't seen them for nearly 2 months, and they all came flooding back. It was a real blessing, and also reminded me of how much of our communication is non-verbal.

Often times, we send signals that we don't even know we were communicating. We receive things that the other person was unaware of, and the way people perceive us is completely dependant on what sort of message we send out about ourselves. Are we shy? Cocky? Confident? Friendly? These are all small things that we say just by the way we stand.

Makes me wish I could have seen what Jesus said through his body language!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Shaping a Worldview

I'm in the process (and it is a process!) of writing my final paper for my Pentateuch course. That involves me doing a whole lot of reading, and trying to get back into the paper writing mode. Thankfully I got through most of my reading work last night, and laid out my outline. But in the process of doing that, something came out loud and clear to me: we need to be cunning.

It is defined in a few different ways. Here are some of the highlights:

1. skill employed in a shrewd or sly manner, as in deceiving; craftiness; guile.
2. adeptness in performance; dexterity: The weaver's hand lost its cunning

One of the major purveyors of the theory of evolution is our lack of understanding. Rather than being wise about how to defend our thoughts against it, we either blindly accept the facts, or we ignorantly deny them. The truth of the matter is that logically, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that raises red flags. One merely has to ask the questions to discover the truth.

So do the reading, dig a little bit deeper, and ask the questions.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The End of a Week

So ends another week. It's crazy how much that simple statement encapsulates. I feel like I'm in a one week orbit, and everything will start all over again. Sounds like a blast, eh?

The good part about it, is that I'm wrong for this coming week. My volunteers have been doing a fantastic job with the River, and my responsibility is becoming less and less with that. I'll be preaching next week in the main service, and I'm beginning to wind down my time here at Bethel.

Jordan and I have been talking on the phone about twice a week. It's certainly not the ideal way to carry on a relationship, but in many ways, it's more than I was expecting, so I can't complain about that. This time apart is hard, but it's also very good for our relationship as we develop communication skills, and we now both know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we're both in this together.

I'm hanging out with friends tonight, writing a paper this weekend, and spending some quality time in the Word. God is faithful.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Other End of a Valley

After a few weeks of being completely exhausted, I'm finally beginning to see the road begin to climb upwards, rather than spiral down. I'm looking forward to the weekend, but I need to remember that one step at a time will take me home, one step at a time will keep me moving along the path.

Life will take you many different places, but it is when you focus on the end goal, the city that you've always dreamed for, that you keep everything in perspective. No matter how hard things are going, keep your eyes fixated on that city, and push ever onwards, letting nothing dissuade you.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Know Your Passion

If there is one thing these past few months have told me, it's that knowing your passion can make a huge difference. Often times when you go to a volunteer conference, they will talk about putting a square peg into a circle hole. It might cover some of the things you need to cover, but it's not going to fit properly. This inevitably leads to that volunteer becoming worn out and disillusioned towards Christian ministry.

I'm feeling that way right now. I love working with kids, and I am very proud of my volunteers and the program that we've worked so hard to set up. However, at the end of the day, it's really taught me that children's ministry is just not where I'm cut out to be right now. Perhaps one day, maybe when I have my own kids, I'll be passionate about the elementary age group; but right now, I only see the importance of it, not feel the need to jump into the fray myself.

I'm going to spend tonight at a friends place, then reading my Bible and studying for an exam tomorrow. I'm really hoping I'll find that refreshing rain, and discover a source of hope and energy for the next two months.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Importance of the Body

I always took it for granted, and I didn't even know that I was doing it. Sitting in a church service is one of the most treasured things I could do right now, and I don't even have the chance to do it. It's both discouraging and infuriating at the same time. I want to just sit and enjoy a good sermon, to just be a part of the masses and enjoy what message God has to say that day.

It's been over two months since I've been able to sit through a service, and it's really begun to wear on me. I miss that community, that feeling of worshipping with others around me, and getting down into the meat of a message. To think through the words that are being spoken to me, I miss it.

If you are ever a part of a church board, my encouragement to you is this. Give your pastors one week a month off to go somewhere else to worship. It will do them a world of good, and it will revitalize the way they look at church. Everyone will be better off because of it.

Friday, November 03, 2006

There's No Breaks

Never think that when you go into ministry, you're working a 9-5 job. You are finished at the end of the day, and you can go home, kick up your feet and relax. It's not a realistic view. In my short experience, most of your nights are going to be busy, most of your days are going to be busy, and if you don't set firm boundaries, you'll never have free time for yourself.

Tonight is Friday Night, you'd think I'd be ready for a bit of a breather. Spend some time at a friends house, relax, and recoup a little before Sunday hits me like a train. That would be the sensible thing to do. Instead, I find myself heading with the rest of the youth leaders into Calgary to go to a training seminar.

Don't get me wrong. I'm looking forward to going in, and it will be an informative look into current youth culture, and revitalize some of my views and vigour towards ministry. But at the same time, I'm tired, I'm worn out. This past week has been going at one speed: overdrive. Now I need to keep on trucking, and I'll be looking to Monday again before I can really find a break.

What does this teach me? I'm glad God called me to this. It's not an easy thing, emotionally and spiritually, you had better have worked up to the job, because Satan is going to hit you hard with everything he has. Reading through Leviticus has taught me that to those God gives much responsibility, He expects that much more.

Stand tall, but never in your own power. Hold your head up, but only in pride of who fights for you. Walk confidently, but only because someone has made the ground level, and sets your feet straight. Boast loudly, but only of the things He has done for you. Fight passionately, but only for the things that are right, and just. Love without abandon, for all those around you. Sound the battlecry, rally the troops, and lead them into battle, knowing you have a general who has seen the outcome.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Keep on Moving

It's no big surprise that this past weekend was very, very trying on me. With lots of different things coming to a culmination in the course of a few hours, it's amazing how organized it is. Makes me shudder at the thought of a tactical, precision strike by a military to destroy key targets. Leaves you feeling helpless and crippled, even if you knew it was coming.

Yet, in the midst of this, I am reminded that I do not draw my strength from my own devices, or from others around me, but rather from my Father in heaven. My strength comes from Him, and only from Him. Though the world may fall around me, I will trust in Him to guide me through the dark valleys and over the tall mountains. In that guide, I will find no malice.

So throughout Monday, as I walked down the other side of that mountain, He held me in His arms and reminded me that everything would be ok. All I needed to do was trust in Him. I was tired, I was hurt, and I was frustrated, but I was not alone.

Ministry is not an easy thing. It will drain you, physically, emotionally, spiritually. You will be left hanging on by your fingernails, and you will learn what it means to be broken. But in my brokenness, I am made complete. I am made whole. I will never wrap my head around that one.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Good Inevitably Leads to...

The bad.

It continues to blow my mind how we as humans take advantage of others and continually abuse them. I think of Moses in the desert. The Israelites time and time again questioned his leadership and his relationship with God. As if a pillar of cloud and fire wasn't enough to confirm his unique relationship with God. They had to tear him down and try to usurp him.

One thing that I can really rely on in that whole narrative is how faithful God is to Moses. How Moses is affirmed and re-affirmed by God that he is on the path that God designated. God carried Moses almost literally through the desert, and gave him the patience and the strength to rely upon God in the midst of everything that went on.

My time here at Bethel has been more than informative, with all of the change that has been going on. But in the midst of that have been quite a few trials. Now, much of this information is sensitive, so excuse me for being overly-vague. One of the issues with Blogging is that people give too much information, and expect it to be kept secret. That's not a wise assumption to make.

I have been struggling with interpersonal issues with certain people. The hard part is that I have nothing against the people in question, I'd be one of the first to step up to defend them. But the way they choose to go about certain things, handle situations, and especially interact with me has really begun to wear on me. It seems like weekly something new is coming up, and I wonder if they aren't completely oblivious to the entire situation.

Take on top of that the ever-present Christian problem of gossip, and it becomes even more frustrating. DO NOT talk about other people because of something you heard. Talk to them! Always talk to the person first! They deserve at very least that much.

And lastly, I attempted to confront someone on an ongoing issue this past week. It was done as gently as possible, and from my side of the story, giving them every opportunity to explain themselves. I knew it was going to be difficult, but in reality it ripped me to shreds. The response that I got in return (and it is my interpretation) was... great, but you're an idiot. You should have seen that, I shouldn't have needed to tell you. That hurt me. Not only did it not deal with the issue at hand, but it proceeded to compound it, so that not only was the issue the problem, but my intelligence, and my leadership was in question.

So I'm working through a lot of things right now. The truth of the matter is that I'm glad I knew what I was getting into when I signed up for ministry. It's no longer any mystery why the average life of a pastor is 6-8 months. Churches are brutal.

God, my friends, my father, and Jordan mean so much to me right now. They have been a huge source of support and prayer during this trying time, and because of that, I know I'll make it through.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Friday, nearly there!

Fridays have no longer become the 'end' of the week for me. That comes Sunday night, when youth finishes and I can take a little bit of a breather, and know I can sleep in on Monday. Then we start all over again on Tuesday. It's a never ending cycle, and you just try to keep improving things a little bit at a time.

It makes me think of the movie Groundhog Day. The day repeats over... and over... and over... and everytime he gets to choose a different path, and different way to do things. The only difference is with that movie, your actions have no consequences, you start with a fresh plate every day.

In life, every week resets, but you hope you can build off of the previous one so one step at a time you can get all the work you need to do done, and make it better for the coming week!

Somehow this is exciting. Don't ask me how.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Meetings can be Fun!

Last night, I gathered here with 4 other of my children's leaders with the goal of hammering out some long-term plans for the children's ministry. We laughed, we joked, we prodded, and had ... strangely enough ... a lot of fun doing it. Shocker -- I had fun at a meeting!

We really dug down deep into the River to figure out what we are aiming for with the whole program. The current format, music, small groups were things that we combed over very carefully. There were disagreements, differences of opinion, and a mutual respect of everyone to find something that works for the kids and for the goals we are going for. That speaks volumes to me of how the church is supposed to work.

At the end of the day, I feel we are better of because of the conversations, and I'm looking forward to seeing the project take wings and fly without my direct involvement. But as with any program, it is important to see that people do not burn themselves out.

It's a exciting time!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Kids Floor Hockey

Have you ever noticed... you say floor hockey, and all the boys will show up? We've been running a youth/adult floor hockey here at Bethel for nearly a year now, and it's been getting bigger and bigger. Unfortunately, in the mix, we had some kids who showed up and tried to keep up with the adults. While it was awesome to have them here, it also meant that the men who wanted to play a little harder stopped coming, because they were afraid of hurting the kids.

Today, I started a floor hockey time for grades 4-6, with some Jr. High's to come out and help. We had 16-18 kids show up, and I just announced it two days ago. It was a fun time, and good to see them coming out to play and run around. I'm definitely mentally worn out, but it's good to see them out to just have fun.

To me, that's what the church is about. Having fun. If we can get people into our churches, then we can show them the love of Christ. Bolstered by people who go OUT to minister... and we have a powerful formula.

The Challenge of Staying Free

If I had one class I wish they had offered in college, it would be, "How to keep your timetable free in ministry." Yesterday, I was busy all day working on Children's related things, and at 4:30 I went to help out with the kids Karate class, then I booked it home quickly to make myself a grilled cheese sandwich, because I was super hungry. As soon as I was done that, I went to Blue Chip Kids, the town-wide kids event, and from there I went to a board meeting.

Time I ate supper: 10 PM.

Tonight, I have a meeting at 7:30, and floor hockey for the afternoon with the kids. If there is one thing that I've learned over the past few months, it's that the biggest enemy of pastors is themselves. While some might argue to say that it is the pressures of the job, or some congregations... ultimately I feel those all fall behind me.

My goal is to stay focussed on God. On what He wants me to do. In this NA culture, it's so easy to get overloaded that I don't have time for God. I don't have time for devotions, it's from one meeting to the next. I spend all my time talking about Him, and not enough time building my relationship with Him. That, in my opinion is what leads to burnout. No time for God, no time for relaxing.

Guard your time very carefully.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Times when you just shake your head

We had Fusion last night, our normal Sunday night youth program. While the night moved along pretty slowly for my liking, I remind myself that I'm only a youth sponsor now, and need to focus instead on handing off my own Children's ministry to the volunteers. To be honest with you, I don't even remember what we talked about, that's how well it stuck. Ladies and gentlemen... if you are going to voice God's word, at least do it in some interesting and captivating way. The Bible is not boring, but often preachers are!

What I do remember, however, is the actions of a few youth after the event. While the youth leaders were debriefing, the kids were being picked up, and a few of them were waiting around for us to finish. While waiting, they decided it would be fun to run across the street and ring some doorbells... and promptly run away.

I sat them all down in the office once another girl brought this to our attention and worked them through the situation. It amazes me that they still don't understand that people don't need any help not liking youth. They already have so many marks cast against them, why add more to it?

Thankfully, all of the boys understood where I was coming from, and went to apologize to the people who were affected. I laugh... I remember when I would have thought that was fun too! Now I'm the 'adult' who is supposed to be teaching them. It's a scary thought.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Crazy Youth

Saturday morning was met with an early alarm clock and a groaning Stephen. Nothing like a late night, and an early morning to get you excited about life. The shower wasn't even hot because the washer was going upstairs; I'm still out on whether that's a help or a hindrance!

I had to be at the church this morning to help deliver the phone books that Bethel has, so that the kids can make shoeboxes for Samaritan's Purse. Thankfully, the kids were all in a good mood, and I got a group of guys that were out to have fun, and to work hard as well. The four of us had a blast driving around Three Hills with the heat on full, the sunroof pulled back, and making jokes about each other the whole time.

In the end, it only took us about 2 hours to get through all of Three Hills. 4 Cars, 15 youth, 5 leaders... and lots of fun. It was a good day, and I'm reminded once again about why I want to go into ministry.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Legitimate Children's Ministry... no seriously

So here I was, having an especially productive afternoon, when I decided I needed a list of occupations for one of the games I'll play with the kids if we have the time on Sunday. So I'm perusing through the list when I come across none other than the honourable Chicken-Sexer.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm sure this is a very good job, and there are lots of respectable honest people out there that do this for a living. But can you imagine a group of grade 1-4's running around attempting to act out what a Chicken Sexer does for a living? The thought just makes me chuckle to myself.

There's my thought for the day!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Welcome to the New Kind of Ministry

There are so many lessons to be learned when you are working in a church. There are mental, physical, spiritual and emotional challenges that must be reckoned with and overcome that are above and beyond the monotony of everyday life. People are dying, Christians are walking away, Christians aren't truly believing what they speak. All of these are challenges that have to be met on a day-to-day basis.

I'm in the process of reading through a few books, but I came across an interesting quote last night. The general gist of it followed the lines of thought that it is far easier to lie about your relationship with God than it is to lie about your relationship with a person. You can say I love you to a person, and if you don't, your actions will show it. You can tell everyone that you love God, and no one will question you on it.

This is despicable. I was reading through John 4 in my devotions this morning. Jesus is at the well talking to a Samaritan woman. That in and of itself is mind-blowing. A Jewish Rabbi is stopping to talk to someone who they are forbidden to talk to. A teacher is going against the grain of the day. Not only does he talk to her, but he calls her right out of her comfort zone and puts her sin out on the table. He's not worried if she won't give money, he's not worried if she'll hate him. He's worried about her relationship with God. This... and this alone... should always come first.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sore and Loving it!

I had a good opportunity last night to help with laying some sod. Marilyn's son had bought something like 11 pallets of sod (average is 5-6), and he needed some guys to help him lay it down. So I popped out there with about 9 other guys and we worked for about 2 hours to get most of those pallets down and covered his whole yard. It was a really good time, and I got pizza out of the deal.

So naturally, my body is a little sore today... which is totally awesome. I wish I had more activities like that where I could get out and throw my body at something and tell it to keep going when it was tired. I really enjoyed it, and I'm enjoying the pain too!

In other news, there's a good chance that the problem I'm having with my car's transmission is just a faulty brake switch and nothing more. I'm hoping that's what it is, because I'm doing my absolute best to trust God with all of my worries, especially financially. He takes care of the sparrow, and he'll take care of me too. Easier said than followed.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Children Will Wear You Out!

I am always amazed at how many parents keep their sanity when raising a throng of children. Over the past few days, I've spent countless hours with kids ranging from grade 1-6, and I'm utterly exhausted. I don't know if it has something about this particular week, but they have had an over abundance of energy.

I'm just thankful that God always gives me the energy to make it as far as I need. Today, it was through Religious Education. I walked in tired, I walked out tired, but while I was in there, I had energy to give to the kids and to teach with. Amazing how He does that.

I'm hard at work on farther fine-tuning the children's ministry program, and figuring out my place with Blue Chip Kids, the local town-wide children's ministry. I want to help out as much as I can, I'm just unsure of how they want me to plug in, so I'm in some conversations to figure that out.

I'm getting more and more excited about going to Fiji and working there. I'm really praying that God will guide my path and lead me exactly where He wants me, when He wants me there. I'll trust Him in that!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

All People'd Out

What a week it has been. It's been really enjoyable, because of the amount of work that I needed to get done, but it also has really worn on me. Spending the 7 hours driving (and counting) that I have, hanging out with friends, loud music, loud children, etc. etc. etc. has really taken a lot out of me.

This morning's children's service went really well, once everything got underway. Thankfully the work that I did during the week paid off in the form of less last-minute prep this morning. The kids were generally really good, but they were all hopped up on some kind of sugar. Take into account that I was up late the night before having a really good conversation, and I was already exhausted from Friday night... it made for an interesting morning.

Then right after church I booted it back up to Edmonton for Thanksgiving with a bunch of people I don't particularly know. Dad and Marlene had a lot of her family over for Thanksgiving dinner, which is awesome... but when you're already emotionally spent it can really take that last little bit out of you.

I'm going to get to bed early tonight, and just sleep as long as my body wants tomorrow. It's one of those things of ministry.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Home for the weekend

Well, isn't life a blast. I'm home for the weekend (sort of, but we'll get to that in a bit), and it's a good time. It's been quite awhile since I've had a chance to get up to Edmonton and see my friends, so it's nice to just be able to hangout and catch up with them.

Last night, I went to Danielle's birthday party. She had declared a 70's theme, and we were going to a roller skate park to get into the retro feel. She had quite a few friends there that I hadn't met before, so it was an interesting night all in all. I still can't skate on rollerblades or skates worth beans, which made for some pretty hilarious moments. Add into that a bunch of teenagers who were trying to pick up older men, and it was definitely a night to remember. I'll leave with you one photo that really sums up the whole night.

From Danielle's Bi...

Josh and I ducked out a little early and went to Moxies to just sit, eat and get caught up. We were both tired from a long week, and sick of overly loud music and strobe lights. It's always nice to get caught up with someone that you haven't talked to in a few months... see where they are at. Add to that the fact that I've always appreciated Josh's input, and we have a winner.

Other than that, I've finally put the part into my car, and my new diagnostic tool has nearly paid for itself already in clearing 2 engine codes. We'll see if anything else pops up, but hopefully all of the bugs have been worked out, and it'll be smooth sailing.

I'm heading back to Three Hills tonight so that I'm present for tomorrow morning. I need to be there to run The River since I took a few weeks off during the summer. So right after the service, I'll be getting back into the car and driving up to Edmonton again. Lots of time in the car this weekend... good thing I like driving!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Ever forward, Never back

31 weeks and one day

It's been a crazy past couple of days. I've had to schedule in time to spend with friends and to call Jordan. Yet, I think this is how I like my life. I get bored when I have to sit around and make things up to do. It's very important that I have my downtime, but it's equally important that I have a purpose, a drive to keep moving forward and pushing ever onward.

Lately, that push has been children's ministry. From manipulating the curriculum into our format, to creating binders for each of the small group leaders, to getting involved in the town-wide children's events, to teaching religious education at the town school.... It literally is a full time job, and I'm loving every minute of it.

To be completely honest, I wasn't sure I was going to feel that way in August. I didn't have anything tangible in front of me to work with and see how the results came out. My ideas were just that... ideas. They didn't have a practical outworking, and that just would never do for me. Now that it's started, I have something exciting to work and build off of.

Tomorrow I head to Calgary to pick up some supplies for a craft we have coming up this weekend. Then I have to put it all together, and hopefully get everything ready to go before I leave for Edmonton on Friday! Andrew is coming in with me tomorrow, so we should have some good conversations.

Jordan is doing well, and developing a passion for the kids, which is an answer to prayer. It was pouring rain and booming thunder and lightning when I called tonight, but she is over her first wave of culture shock and starting to enjoy working with the kids. It'll be odd when I'm in Fiji and she's in Mexico, but God has a plan through it all! We're both trusting that.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Gossip, Slander ... It's No Big Deal, Right?

1. defamation; calumny: rumors full of slander.
2. a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report:


1. idle talk or rumor, esp. about the personal or private affairs of others


These are two words that most Christians are completely ignorant about, but should be very, very familiar with. It is interesting how whenever Christians are gathered in a place for long, this becomes one of the main cesspools that grows and matures into it's own full-fledged culture. We are all so interested in someone else's business, and quickly forget that it really has nothing to do with us. Unless we are directly involved in the situation, we need to stay out of it and let those who are in the situation, or in leadership, deal with the problem.

Going to a Bible college really awoke this realization in me. Very few people fully understand the damage that is done by gossiping with someone else. Words can truly cut deep, and their affects have a long-lasting scar. The Bible is quick and swift with it's dealing of gossip, yet we allow it to persist and downplay it as though it were no big deal.

It's a cancer, and we desperately need to cut it out.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Chuck Norris Reads Chuck Norris Facts

Just a little follow-up on one of my previous posts.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Yeah for being Productive!

Today was a good day. At the end of it, I'd written over 3 pages for my children's binder (including stylizing them), printed them, compiled them, done a majority of the footwork for Sunday Morning's program, written a few e-mails, and done some research. I wish I was this motivated everyday.

That binder is important, because after December, there is a good chance I will be minimally involved in the River. I would like to be more, but I believe it's important that I take a step back to let it stand on it's own legs and have the volunteers pick up the slack to keep it going. It might have a rough month or two, and then hopefully we'll have a fully functioning program! With that binder, the work for those leaders will be minimized pretty drastically. They can schedule people in, hand them the binder, and if that small group leader is diligent, they won't have to worry about it again.

Next week, I'm going to work on the 'morning leader' binder, so that they know what needs to happen before, during, and after a typical Sunday Morning. If I can simplify this process as much as possible over the next few months, the work that will need to be done to get it off the ground should be minimized, and that's really what we're going for.

This weekend, I will finish the Sunday Morning work, lead the morning, and then Sunday Night we start with the first town-wide youth service. It's been about 5 months in the making, and a lot of prayer has gone into it... now it's in God's hands. We'll see how it goes!

Under the Microscope

I had almost forgotten for a moment, when you are a pastor everyone is interested in your life. I decided a few days ago that I would start going to the kids karate class. Less for my own training, and more to get to know kids that I normally wouldn't interact with and be a help to the Sensei. It's not a ton of fun (I know from experience) to have 30+ kids all running around and trying to keep their attention. I'd imagine it's even less when Karate demands an attention span... which really isn't something our culture lends to nowadays.

While walking in after dropping two of my friend's kids off after the class, a lady from my church noticed me in the Gi, and proceeded to ask a few questions. I had nearly forgotten that I am a public figure and once again, more people know me than I know them. It also means that everyone is interested in your business. Doesn't matter if it really is their business or not, they are interested.

Now, this definitely isn't the first time I've been in this situation. Actually, now that I think about it, I think I've been in this situation most of my life. All through Jr. High and High School, because of my involvement in the leadership team at youth, and various clubs at school, through College with my involvement in Student Union, and now as a pastor. It's just something that I'll have to get used to.

The good news about this is that while you don't feel like you can just do something for the sake of doing it, you are always accountable. People are always watching, and it forces you to be consistent with who you want to be, and who you actually are. The other nice thing about this, is that most people are friendly about your life, and have some recognition that you live in the limelight. It opens doors that normally wouldn't be there.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

14 Amazing Chuck Norris Facts

  1. Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.
  2. Chuck Norris counted to infinity—twice.
  3. The chief export of Chuck Norris is Pain.
  4. Chuck Norris doesn’t read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.
  5. When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.
  6. Chuck Norris can lead a horse to water AND make it drink.
  7. When Chuck Norris does a push up, he isn’t lifting himself up, he’s pushing the Earth down.
  8. Chuck Norris can slam a revolving door.
  9. Chuck Norris is his own line at the DMV.
  10. When Chuck Norris does division, there are no remainders.
  11. Chuck Norris can blow bubbles with beef jerky.
  12. Chuck Norris can get Blackjack with just one card.
  13. Chuck Norris puts the laughter in manslaughter.
  14. Chuck Norris makes onions cry!
No... it doesn't have to do with anything. But if you deal with youth, Chuck Norris is just funny.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Board and Breakfast Meetings

You guess which one is more fun! No really, take a wild guess. Well, chances are you guessed the second one, and to be honest, you're completely right. But that's not to say that Board Meetings at Bethel aren't a lot of fun, because in all reality, they actually are. That's one thing I've really appreciated while being at this church. The people are really open and honest with one another, and especially at a board meeting, it makes things really easy and smooth when you can say what you mean and not have to hide it. I'm not sure that I'll have that luxury at every church I'll be at.

We went through whether the church would move into a second service, or if we should stay to one. It has huge implications on the Children's ministry, as I will need to find double the volunteers without two services, and at this point in time, we will be sticking to one. I really think it's the right choice, with the lack of momentum the church has right now and the recent attendance. It just sucks for me, because we'll have to have double the volunteers!

Other than that, there were no real fireworks last night. They decided to redo the whole sound system and wiring upstairs, which is desperately needed, but will cost a bundle. However, the possibility of blowing all the sound equipment if this doesn't get done has a bigger implication.

Met with another pastor this morning about religious ed, and we got everything sorted out for this year, and how we're going to teach it. I'm excited about the fact that we've decided to tag-team the teaching, rather than switching back and forth. It means we get to actually know the kids, and also that we are both aware of what we teach and how we do it. We had our first class together this afternoon, and it went really well.

And on that note, God has really helped me to enjoy children more in the past few months. Even when they won't be quiet and just keep talking... they have this innocence about them. They really just want to be heard and have you listen to them. They want somebody to love them and care about what they do in their lives. Hopefully the Principle will be ok with us giving out a card with our contact information on it, so they can contact us if they have any questions beyond class. We are talking about Jesus and the New Testament this year... and that has huge evangelistic possibilities, but that all has to happen outside of the classroom for it to be legit.

Many cool things happening. Tomorrow, I work on my Children's Binders and hopefully get a good chunk of them done, so that they can continue to be functional for the leaders. Tonight, I phone Jordan and see how she's doing.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Tuesday: The New Monday

Yesterday was so good. I got to sleep in till like noon, and it was the first day in nearly two weeks that I'd had the chance to do that. My body just about literally sighed with a sense of relief. The sense of waking up with a warm duvee over you, and wondering if you really should get up, or roll over and go back to sleep is a great feeling. Especially when it's at 11 AM.

This morning was a much different story. I don't know where along the way, but my body became accustomed to the snooze button. It will wake up once, and want 10 more minutes... and then it will be ready to get up. This is fine on a normal morning, because I generally plan for it. This morning, however, I remembered that I had tables I needed to set up for the Women's Ministry (which is going fantastic!).

So I went without breakfast, came whipping in at 5 after 9, and with two women giving me these disbelieving looks, I rushed through the gym and began to roll tables up into the sanctuary. It was a sight to behold! In the midst of that, I needed to do a little bit of computer consulting (go figure!). So in the course of 15 minutes, I got a DVD playing on the screens, rolled 3 tables up to the sanctuary and turn off a projector.

I know, I know. Big deal Stephen. But take this into account, I'm normally not even functional until like 9:30. So I was totally coherent and active at 9:05 AM Sharp! *pats back*

Ok, seriously. The rest of the day was spent working on some children's ministry stuff. I'm still tweaking the binder, and working on that. I got a bunch of e-mails off today that I've been meaning to write for quite some time, and got myself and another leader signed up for a Children's conference in October. It was a very productive day all around.

No matter how busy life gets, remember that it only take a few seconds to pray. Make that a part of your daily life, and it will become a habit. If it becomes a habit, you become a very powerful force for God!

Tomorrow will be one of those busy days. Meeting at 8 AM. Coffee with someone I've been counselling at 9. Service at 11 AM. Religious Ed at 2. It's going to be awesome!

Monday, September 25, 2006


Jordan just came online from Mexico... and has posted a bunch of photo's from down there. You can see them (if you want) from here.

Long-Distance Relationship

You know, I must have been off my rocker when Jordan and I started to date. At that point in time, we had only known each other for 3 months, and she was going to be in Mexico for about a year, and I wouldn't get to see her in that entire time unless I flew down there myself to see her. It would have been wild and crazy, and I'm really not sure that the whole relationship thing would have worked out.

Thankfully, however, she ended up coming back after a two week stint down there to work for the summer and make sure her foot was going to be ok and not need surgery. It gave us the time to really get to know one another and spend some real time together in a relationship, and I can't tell you how thankful I am for that.

Nearly two weeks ago now, I drove out to Peachland to surprise her for her birthday, and just before she left for Mexico. I wasn't even sure if I was going to be able to make it out there, because of some issues with my car and a VERY slow mechanic. But let's not get into that! I finally got on the road about 6 hours after I wanted to, at 5:30 PM.

Here was the problem... I knew that Jordan was planning on calling me that night to talk. Thankfully, it was Bible study night, so it wouldn't be until much later than normal, so that gave me some leeway to play with. When all was said and done, I gave her a call about 9 and said I was on some 'Very important ministry business. The stuff that I just can't talk about." I half snickered and half shook my head as I told her that, because I knew I'd be seeing her that night, but I didn't want to give her any hope that it might be true.

You see, Jordan is far too curious for her own good (one of the reasons I love her). Since I'd left two weeks earlier, she'd been constantly asking me if I was going to come out again (which I was planning on), and when I didn't say 'I won't' but only 'I can't' she called me on it. SERIOUSLY! Most girls would get the hint and give up!

So here I am, driving, and I have to tell her this story about 'very important ministry business.' So she asks me if she can pray for me, and I smile... what a gem! I told her at that point I was going to call her later that evening, probably very late, and continued to drive like the dickens.

I didn't get in until 2:30 AM Alberta time, and we were on the phone together for about an hour before I pulled up. So I snuck around into their back yard and up onto their deck... and asked Jordan what the moon was like out in Peachland. hehe. She walked out of her room, and the rest was history. Definitely worth it.

I ended up stranded there for a few extra days (bad for my work schedule, good for me and Jordan) while we worked out an engine bug... and we left at the same time. Me for Three Hills, her for Seattle, and ultimately Guadalajara. We spent time with her family, friends, dancing, watching movies, and generally just enjoying each others company.

Next time we'll get to be together... May '07. Strange how she's totally worth it.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Children's Ministry Thus Far

We started The River (Bethel's Children's Ministry Program) last week, and it was really nice to just get things rolling and have a little bit of momentum to move forward with. Unfortunately, I was trapped out in BC until Saturday, so I threw it all together Sunday Morning. Definetely not what I was planning on doing, but seemed to work out fine.

Part of my trouble with looking at the ministry and my enthusiasm was not really having a tangible sign of my progress. So I spent 5 hours working on the ministry... big deal, you could never really see any of that progress. Now that the program is started, I have some milestones to work towards and you can clearly see the dirt on my hands from the work.

Currently, I'm working towards getting the leader's binders together. These are some small group binders that the leaders will get every week, that will have the curriculum for that day inside, some pointers on leading small groups, questions that can facilitate conversation from the kids (rather than shutting it down), and some other great things (any ideas?). It will provide a central place for each of the small group leaders to gather the conversations of previous weeks together, and keep tabs on how their groups have been going. Now all that is left is to try it out and see if it works in the real world.

It's a lot easier for me to work on this when I can see some fruits of my labour.

Friday, September 22, 2006

New look

It's been 10 days since I've last posted... and there has been a lot going on in my life. Don't worry... I'll get some of that up and journalled in the next few days.

For now... I've updated to the new Blogger Beta and am playing around with the new template system. Tell me what you think!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Have patience, have patience, don't be in such a hurry!!!

I think I find that title mildly humourous because of the exclamation marks behind it. How can something about patience have such a strong emphasis? When it think of patience, I often think of Eeyore, or Pooh-Bear. But exclamation points tend to make me think of Tigger. Funny how that works, eh?

Here I am, sitting... waiting, for my car to be finished. I want nothing more than to be on the road to go surprise Jordan, and I have to wait for the car to be done. It was supposed to be done at noon, and it's nearly 5 PM.... God's got something up his sleeve, and I have no choice but to wait. So I'm attempting to stay calm and NOT freak out. It's going to be a late night.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

4 Tires

I ran into Lacombe today to get a used tire and rim for the Golf. As it turns out, the previous owner had done a real number on one of the rims, and the tire wall had a fairly significant bulge in it. Just to make that clear ... bulge = tire blowout = bad. So I found a comparable used tire today with similar tread wear, and a steel rim. Everything is in great shape.

The beauty of it all... $70 bucks. I was expecting $100+ and it came out much cheaper than I was planning, which is ALWAYS a nice surprise. The only downside is I now have 3 nice VW rims, and one steel one, but I figure the 200+ dollars that a new VW rim would cost me just isn't worth it. I'll live with the black and buy some nice ones in the spring.

I'm loving this car, and so thankful that it came at a time when I could afford it. It's definetely a keeper, and I have a feeling I'll have this car for quite some time. God is sure faithful with things like that, eh?

In other news, there is a ministry fair tomorrow at Prairie that I'll get ready for tonight. I'm hoping to find some students to help out with the River, and to commit to Sunday School. It would be an awesome experience for everyone involved if the students could build into our kids. I guess we'll find out tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Finding Your Stride

It's been an interesting last few months as I've attempted to settle into my new role here at the church as Children's Pastor. I've planned, I've formed a leadership team with the parents, I've prayed and I've read about children's ministry. Yet through that all, I'm struggling to really find my stride in it all. I know for a fact that this is where God wants me to be right now, in this moment. I know He has many things to teach me in the coming months, yet I can't seem to get my heart into it.

See this all goes back nearly 10 years, to when I first felt God calling me to ministry. I've always felt called to my peers, to the people that are directly around me, and to minister into their needs and what God is doing in their life. He's often used me to push people out of their comfort zone and to rely fully and completely on Him. That kind of passion has never died in me, and it continues on for the youth of this community and for the churches as well.

So with that in mind, I'm forced to ask myself, why does He have my in Children's ministry? I love kids, I love working with kids, but ministering to them just isn't my cup of tea. Yet I think in that small statement, I'm finding the reason of why God is calling me to it. Obedience. It may not be my cup of tea, it may not be my passion, and I may not want to get into ministry for a few years... yet it's where God wants me. I need to be willing to just ride that wave and see where it takes me, because He has designed me in such a way that I must be beneficial here.

So in this midst of this, I'm attempting to find my stride, and all the while learning that finding my stride is learning to just give it up. It's a hard road, but one that I'm willing to travel. Here we go.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Hi All,

I've been gone on vacation for the past week... and Jordan was out here before that. I've updated my photojournal with some of the pictures from that time! Feel free to check it out.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Staying out of trouble

I'm keeping myself more than busy. We're coming up on the launch of Children's Ministry, so I'm getting everything ready to go. Had a meeting on Monday night with a few parents and I'm in the process of getting the curriculum all picked out. Now it's finding some volunteers and getting everything ready to go for September!

If there's one thing I've noticed about Children's Curriculumn it is that they don't just want you to buy the material, they want you to buy the superflous stuff all around it too. It's mildly annoying. I want the framework to build the building, not the modular design with addons. But that's just personal preference!

Lesson of the day: People are important, talk to them.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


I just got a bunch of Curriculum samplers in today, and I find it intriguing how many of them focus on how little work you need to do. Perhaps it's just me, but I want to actually have to get down and get dirty with the things I'm teaching the kids. I want to have to do prep work and have lots of options in how to manipulate it. I guess I'm looking for the framework, not the building.

I'll keep on looking, and I'll be meeting with different volunteers this week to get their opinion on the whole thing as well.

In other news... the Golf is coming along nicely, and should be done late this week/early next week. It'll be nice to have a car again!

Jordan is here, and it's super nice to have her around and just get to interact in a 'normal' way with friends. I'm looking forward to the next few weeks!

Friday, July 28, 2006


This past week has been a long one. Not because of any one thing in particular, but instead because of a whole lot of things put together. It wasn't a bad week, nor a hard one, but it has definetely been long. Thankfully, the conclusion to the whole week was met together with God, and His constant reminder that He is with me.

I've been learning lots about other people, about myself, my future, my past, my relationships with friends as well as with Jordan. I've been learning about being a pastor, about leading in many different facets, and being reminded once again that it's not about whether I am ready, but whether I am willing.

I am humbled once again to realize that I am not perfect, and I never will be. I deal with sin just as much as the next person, and I don't know everything. I am on a journey, and that is what I am truly about... walking. My job is not to stand at the mountain top and call people to join me, but to look up from the base and ask people to climb it at my side. That means leading with a very humble heart, and being consistent. It means that I am very quickly identifying with Paul when he said in Romans 7:14-25 "We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do-- this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God-- through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin."

Discovery... an ever ongoing process. I wonder what else God is doing in the world.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Mankind Toons

Here's a little something that might make you laugh.

Learning, Always Learning

It's been a good week. Not particularly hard in any single aspect, but frustrating in quite a few. I've been working on my Distance Education, and I think it's pretty clear what that brings -- a serious lack of motivation. It's hard to step back into the student mode when I'm immersed in an environment that is very different. It's hard to have your head in the clouds when your spirit is on the plains.

What can you do? Just keep plugging away and take advantage of those few moments when you actually ARE motivated to do the work!

God has been teaching me through the Psalms that He is definitely a just God. It's intriguing to see David's interactions with God in all of the various situations, and the trust that he puts in God. There is no doubt that God will rescue him and deliver him from his oppressors. Why? Because he is following in God's path. In those times when David has strayed from the path, he repents with a bent knee and head. It's a very intriguing look into faith. Complete trust, complete faith. God can, and will deliver David, because God is righteous, and He brings judgment to all who aren't.

What does that do to our thoughts on salvation?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Sometimes You Just Need a Break

The past two weeks have been crazy, I'm not sure if anyone could really argue with that. From the funeral, to Dave's wedding, to preaching, and then leading right into the soccer camp... I had about enough of people! But then I went to Edmonton for Friday night and Saturday.

Friday night I went to Laura's birthday party. It'd been about a year since I'd seen her, and longer before that, so it was a priority for me to make it up to Edmonton to get to her party. Sometimes keeping in touch with people from a long time ago is really worth it, and this is one of those situations. It was a lot of fun to see the different kind of people that she had befriended over the years, and get to talk with a lot of them. A very diverse group! I was there for about 5 hours, and by the time I left, I was done! So naturally, I had an hour or two long conversation with Jordan when I got home (am I nuts?).

Saturday was about as crazy, if with less unfamiliar people. Josh and I met at 11 in WEM, and went for lunch and then to go see Pirates. It was good to talk to him again, because we are so busy when I'm not around that it's hard to actually have a good conversation, especially when we're not looking each other in the face. Good friends are hard to come by.

That evening, I went out with Josh's fiance and future (waaaay off in the future) sister-in-law for ice cream. And the cone I had was nuts. We went to the marble something or other for ice cream, and I had a HUGE scor cone with smarties and cookie-dough. I barely finished it, but I had a good chat with the girls... once again, good friends are hard to come by!

Sunday wasn't really all that stressing, it was more that my introvert side needed a serious break. I did the announcements in the morning, and that afternoon, we had a church picnic out at Pine lake. I was out there for about 4 hours, and by the end of it, I was SUPER tired. I came back to Three Hills and could barely carry on a conversation, so I just spent some time to myself, playing some games and whatever. Refreshing!

Some things I'm learning about being a Pastor -- there is never really a break. You cherish the times you can have off and to yourselves very dearly, because they don't come very often. Party hard! I'm also learning that there is always an abundance of work to do, when you are dealing with people, you are never in the clear, so use your time wisely.

Saturday also marked 3 months for Jordan, a small milestone, but a milestone nonetheless. I wonder what the next 3 will bring!

God is good :)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Learning Where Strength Comes From

Welcome to Tuesday! Day two of the soccer camp, and generally normally just a sucky day, because it feels like you are no closer to Friday than Monday! Today, however, was quite wonderful. I slept in a little later than normal, because of my work with the camp, and had some great time with God.

Then I proceeded to more or less play Futsal/Soccer all day. I worked a lot with the kids, just in being a goalie and offering some pointers on defence, etc. They made some really awesome progress throughout the day, and by the end were playing more and more like a team. It was neat to see that kind of progression, and I got a great workout at the same time!

I took my car in to the shop today, to find out how serious some of the mechanical issues are. Turns out I'll be looking for a new car here very shortly! I'll trade this one in, and look for a newer model and go from there. I'm not so thrilled on spending the large amounts of money on a new car, but it's something I'll be praying about and looking into the future for. But I know it's all in a plan, and so I'm just going to trust that, and move forward from here.

My evening chapel sessions with the kids have been going really well. I think some of them are really paying attention to what is being said and starting to struggle with more than just their soccer skills. That's very encouraging to see! We'll be looking a little deeper into the faith tomorrow, and ending off with a salvation message on Thursday.

Now it's time for bed... God is faithful, and the source of all our strength. Spending time with Him makes all the difference in the world.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Out of the Weekend

I wasn't sure how this past weekend was going to look. I know that after Friday night, I was exhausted, not so much physically, but very much emotionally and spiritually. That's not a good thing when I'm looking at a wedding on Saturday, and preaching on Sunday, but I once again just clung to the rock for everything I was worth.

Dave's wedding went off without a hitch (other than him getting hitched, haha), the weather was incredible! I don't think you could ask for better. We all had sunburns by the end of the ceremony, and the skies were blue and perfect. The reception went really well, but by the time the dance rolled around, I was just emotionally worn out. So sadly, I didn't actually get up and dance, but I have a long life to live! Next wedding!

Sunday morning went really well. I was tired when I got up, so I wasn't really sure what to expect, but the more I preach, the more I come to realize that the worse shape I'm in, the more God takes over. Perhaps I should just start always being worn out when I preach. (joke!) He took my words and shaped them exactly as He saw fit, and I hope that it really sunk into people's lives. I've gotten a few comments already, so that is definetely encouraging.

Now I'm looking ahead into the soccer camp this week. I'm excited about the potential to speak into these kids lives, and I'm also really excited about the exercise I'm going to be getting! It'll be a good week, and I'm already feeling much better than I did over the weekend.

God is faithful!

Friday, July 07, 2006


The funeral today went off without a hitch. *deep breathe* That is more of a blessing that I can really put into words, but after a bit of time spent working on the camera this morning, everything went smoothly, and we had over 800 people here in Bethel. The sanctuary was crammed completely full, and the gym was also filled. It was good that we had the cabling run to simulcast the service into the Gym, otherwise we wouldn't have had nearly enough room.

I also finished the sermon last night, by the grace of God! So it looks as though I might make it through this weekend yet!

I've been unsure about the Jetta in recent days, as it looks like there may be some fairly major work that needs to be done on it. But after talking to the Mechanic and Paul, it's become clear that I'll have to wait till Tuesday to find out what is really going on and what we can do from there. It could be that it really is a major job, and I'll be looking to trade her in for a newer model, or maybe it's just something small that can be fixed. I've been praying hard about it, and I know that God's got it in control one way or another. I'll hold firm to that, and we'll see where He takes me!

He's faithful.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Take a deep breathe

I just finished the rough draft of the sermon for Sunday. Thankfully, it was one that I had been thinking and research about long before I sat down to write it, and God is SO faithful in giving me the words that I need at just the right time. It came fairly easily, after a 4 AM session yesterday, and a few hours spent working on it today, it's ready for some feedback.

Everything is getting ready for the funeral tomorrow. I'll come in at a normal time, and get the video simulcast working, so that there won't be too many hiccups to worry about last minute. God willing (and I think He is!), everything will go smoothly.

Saturday is Dave's wedding. Sunday is preaching. Monday-Thursday is speaking at the Soccer Camp. It's going to be a long, long week from today, but I had a good chat with God about it today. I told Him I can't do this. He told me He knew it was coming and to hang on tight.

Good thing it's not my strength, eh? He's faithful. Hey, He got my dad's computer back from a full on non-boot situations this afternoon with only about 15 minutes on the phone, so I know He's got an eye on me!

The life lesson here: You're not in control, don't try to be. Hold dearly to God, and let Him carry you through the rapids. He knew they were coming all along.

Till tomorrow (which will be longer than 20 minutes from now! :D)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Jumping in the Deep End

There's nothing quite like coming back from Vacation. You know that God must have had his hand in the whole thing. I had two perfect weeks where my responsibilities were lowered and I was free to go wherever my heart took me, and it was a great time of refreshing, at just the time when I needed it. Now I'm back, and I'm getting the quick plunge into the deep end.

On Monday, I was here at the church relaxing, because it is my day off, when I got a phone call. It turned out that one of the church elders had been killed in a freak farming accident. It shook me pretty deep. Something that was just so sudden. I went out to the farm later that evening to be with the family and the friends that had gathered there. I've only experienced that kind of environment once before, when my mother passed away.

As I described to Jordan, it's like the house doesn't want to breathe, in case it might disturb anyone. The whole place is just off-kilter. The family is naturally in shock, and people are crying, and people are laughing, and it seems to come and go in waves. I talked to different people from our congregation and just got them talking about their memories, to help the whole process along. I didn't know the family well enough to really get in knee-deep with them, but others were doing that.

While I was in the house, I was fine. My emotions didn't do anything funky, and I felt strangely ok with everything that was going. It was familiar, but it wasn't uncomfortable. When I left, however, things quickly changed. I was driving out of the farmyard when it just all broke loose. The worship song 'Meet With Me' was on my stereo and it just echoed my heart at that moment. I really need to meet with God on a regular basis, and I can't survive without Him. Needless to say, I spent some time crying on my drive back.

So now we're all in the process of preparing for the funeral on Friday afternoon, while life carries on like normal. All the same responsibilites are there, meeting with all the same people, etc etc. I spent more than half my day meeting with people, and I spent the rest of the day getting the simulcasting stuff ready for the funeral so that we can put people in the Gym when the sanctuary fills up. Thanks to our sound guy, everything is ready to go, and it only took us 3 hours.

Pastor Dave is leading the service, and he was set to preach on Sunday as well. But I could tell that it was a little too much for him, so I offered to take the sermon for him. So now I'm preaching on Sunday! Good times. That's what I'll be getting ready for until late in the morning today. Holy Spirit... I could really use your help here!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Skinny

So, I said yesterday that I would get my vacation all laid out for those few of you who might be curious! I left early early on Thursday (June 15th) morning, and drove through the day to get to Peachland that evening. I met Jordan in downtown Peachland, and after she tried (keyword: TRIED) to trip me, and then DID put me up to my knees in the lake, we went up to the falls. There is a great trail around Peachland that takes you to a waterfall back in the woods, so we went back there and climbed up around the falls and sat down beside them. Very, very cool view from up there.

Then we went back to her house for dinner, which is where it all went downhill. I immediately started to feel very gross, and as it turns out I must have had the 24 hour flu or something similar. I spent the rest of the night throwing up, and generally feeling really nasty. She said it was hilarious because I was just saying whatever because my cognitive processes weren't really up to speed.

Thankfully once I got to sleep and got up the next morning, I was feeling MUCH better. I was still a little weak and I didn't want to push myself too hard, but I was well enough that I could go camping that night. Jordan and I spent the day around the house packing and getting ready for the evening, as well as running down to the grocery store to pick up any missing supplies. That night, myself and the Walker family (minus Josh) went up to Hedley and camped the night with an INCREDIBLE view. My camera didn't really do it justice, because it was too dark, but picture standing on a mountain top looking down on a valley deep below you with a meandering river through it and another mountain on the other side. All of it was green! It was gorgeous.

Bo, Jordan's younger brother, and myself spent much of the evening hunting the rabid cows that lived in the pasture we'd invaded. At one point, a bull just about ran us over. It was good times. Bo had brought some fireworks with him, so we set them off later that night and put the cows on a stampede! Oops!

The next morning, we got up and went on a little 4x4ing adventure down the road to find some of the mining camps. We found an old cabin, and then a little way down the road a bonified log cabin who's roof was nearly caved in. Naturally, we explored! From there on, Jordan and I rode on the back of the Jeep (the bumper!) and her dad tried to throw us off in any way possible. No one died, whcih was almost a dissapointment.

Then, a group of us young people went into the Hedley Mines to explore through them. Jordan, Myself, Tara (Jordan's Friend), Bo, Josh (the older brother) and two other friend all went into the mines together. It was dark, dangerous and had lots of crazy holes and random paths. I had a lot of fun, and knowing me, I spent a lot of time observing the different people and the way they interacted under stress. Some just pushed ahead, some ignored the others, some took on a huge weight of responsiblity, some got stressed out, and some avoided the problems all together. It was very interesting!

That night, we got back safely, and everyone was super tired. Jordan and I went out and spent the evening looking at all the stars that were coming out. Peachland doesn't have a lot of lights, and so you get a really clear view of the heavens. It was so gorgeous!

The next morning, Sunday, I got a chance to go to church and not have a single responsibility! It was wonderful. Jordan hadn't been able to go to church because of her work, so we both just enjoyed the chance to be there. The people were very friendly, and I got a more than a few threats about treating Jordan well! I guess that means I'll actually have to do it, eh? *sarcastic* ;)

The rest of the week was pretty relaxing, and we didn't do too many crazy and wild things. We climbed a tree, went 4x4ing ourselves, and nearly got lost, saw X-Men 3, and met a few of her good friends. It was a blast, and I really enjoyed my times there.

From there, I went to Vancouver, and spent some time with Lorelei, Orlando, Paul and Carys! My little niece was of course as charming and wonderful as ever. I don't get how that little girl is so cute. I spent the first few days sleeping (seriously!), and just relaxing. We watched some movies, but for the most part just lounged around.

I spent some time with Lorelei's Sister-in-law out at their place and her four children. It was actually a lot of fun, because the kids were pinned up inside for being bad, and they were more than happy to see a new body. One, however, was quite scared of me. She cried, hid, and did everything... until later that day. Then I got the tour of the bedroom and was welcomed with open arms!

I saw a few movies with Paul and Orlando, Nacho Libre I can't suggest, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (once you get through the serious lack of clothing), is super good. Much better than I was expecting, that's for sure. And Paul and I had some good chats. It was a relaxing time, and exactly what I needed after Jordan wore me out!

On Wednesday night, I drove back to Peachland, so break up the trip. We went and saw Superman that evening (which is really good despite some of the reviews I'm reading, classic superman!). There was a large group of us, some of whom I'd met before, and a new person or two.

The next morning, I just lounged around the house, and about noonish, Jordan and I ate and then went down to the beach again. We rollerbladed... well, she rollerbladed and I managed to stay off my butt and then went swimming, which is much recommended on a 35+ day. Sadly, that ended my vacation and I left for Three Hills about 3:30. It took me 9 hours to get back home, and I pulled in around 12:30 at night.

It was an awesome vacation, and I feel much better! It was good to see Jordan and family again and just get away from the stresses of Three Hills for a few weeks. Now it's time to learn how to be a Children's Pastor!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Back from Vacation

Howdy all!

Well, I made it back safely this past Thursday Night (technically Friday morning) and I had a blast. I'll post a little more about it in the next few days (seriously!) but I wanted to say that I just got into the Picasa Beta, so that means that I now have a web album. So I have a few photo's on there, such as from my birthday party, of my niece, grad, etc. So if you want to check it out, it's at

Saturday, June 24, 2006


I'm now a little over half finished my two week vacation, and it has been a blast! I spent the first week with Jordan, and we did all sorts of crazy things together. Camping, Mining, Hiking, Randomly jumping into the lake, Salsa (yes, the dance :S) lessons, going to a fancy restaurant, etc. It was a lot of fun, and a god time to get to know each other a little bit better and talk things through at the same time.

I came to Vancouver yesterday, and have been hanging out with the family ever since. It's a fair bit more low-key than hanging out with Jordan. Current my sister and Carys are both sleeping and I'm watching Argentina and Mexico battle it out in Golden Goal.

Vacation has been incredible. It reminds me how key it is that we take the down time to spend with friends and most importantly God. We so often get busy working ourselves to the bone that we forget to stop and breathe for a bit. This is my breather, and I'm loving every moment.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Youth Retreat and more!

So it's been far too long, but here is my report on the youth retreat! Things went really well, and while I walked into the weekend exhaughsted from preaching, and walked out the same, God worked! It's awesome to see how He'll take something that I just really feel won't work and makes a difference through it.

The theme for the weekend was Spiritual Gifts, and God definetely used that. We did some teaching about all the different gifts, some challenges to the youth to find out what their's are, and to start using them. And the responce was powerful!

On the last day, I had the pleasure to lead them in a discussion of just HOW they could start using their gifts... and they decided that a drop-in would be the best way to utilize them. So this coming year, Kevin will be working on forming a youth leadership team to start getting the drop-in off the ground and running. The key in that will be to make sure it is a youth-led initiative!

From here on in, I'm no long an intern. I'm leaving early early tomorrow morning to head out to BC for two weeks of vacation after 10 months in my internship... and when I come back Bethel has asked me to stay on as a full-time pastor until December, at least. So as of right now, I'll be working with the children's ministry come the fall, and I'll be just a regular sponsor with the youth!

It is both an exciting time, and a scary one, as I know that stepping into this role puts me into a position I never expected to find myself in, and have never prepared for. Yet I am also confident that this is exactly where God wants me. So I'll keep on moving forward knowing that God is faithful and will carry me through to the end.

For now, I plan on relaxing VERY hard over these next two weeks, visiting Jordan and then Lorelei, Paul, Orlando and Carys. It's going to be awesome!

I trust that God is blessing you also!