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.