Summer Reading ~ Pastor Andrew

In my home, my dad had his favourite chair. He spent many hours there praying, and reading. Whether it was his Bible, Pierre Berton, or a theological work, that chair was dad’s reading chair. Dad taught me to love reading. Whether it was David Wilkerson’s The Cross & The Switchblade or Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place, I grew in my love for books. Maybe you’re an avid reader.  Maybe the eBulletin is long enough for you.  Reading, however, will sharpen your mind, broaden your world, and enliven your spirit.  As someone once said, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only once.” While I’ll recommend a few books that I’ve read recently, make the Bible your first go-to book. You can find some helpful reading plans here on our website. Here are a few books I’ve read that you might want to consider reading this summer:   Messy Beautiful Friendship by Christine Hoover   (find it on amazon) While women long for deep and lasting friendships, they often find them challenging to make. Insecurity and isolation complicates friendship. Christine Hoover offers a biblical view of friendship that makes room for the messiness of life and the challenges of various life stages and hectic schedules. From what holds you back to how you build deep relationships, Hoover helps you embrace the people God has brought into your life and enjoy people. This book had some pages that forever changed my view of friendship.     Katharina and Martin Luther: The Radical Marriage of a Runaway Nun and a Renegade Monk by Michelle...

True Spirituality: How to Live for Jesus Moment by Moment

It was a moment of crisis. Having come to faith in Jesus Christ and abandoned agnosticism, Francis Schaeffer had come to ask the question, “What is real?”  Having pastored in the U.S. for nearly a decade and serving in a secularizing Europe, Schaeffer began to ask questions about what reality should Christianity produce and why had that reality diminished in his life when it was so real and fresh after his conversion. After many long walks in the Swiss mountains and pacing in the hayloft where they lived, Schaeffer prayed and thought through the Scriptures in order to review his reasons for being a Christian. And then it came to him. The light went on. The result was L’Abri – a ministry where the Schaeffers opened their alpine home to curious travellers as a forum to talk and wrestle with philosophical and religious beliefs. Schaeffer records the results of his pursuit of reality and meaning in his book True Spirituality. Over the past 8 months, I’ve been meeting with a gentleman who has regularly asked me the question, “But what does it mean?” He wasn’t asking me for information; he was pushing me to think about what Christianity produces in my life and the lives of Christians. After one breakfast, he handed me Schaeffer’s book and encouraged me to read it. In its opening pages, I could hear the question of reality and meaning and I understood the source of his encouragement to me. Each summer, I invite people to join me on my back deck at my home as we read a 20th century Christian classic. This year...

Welcoming the Children ~ Pastor Andrew

Today we are having a Polar Blast of a time here at VBS! We have nearly 80 children here learning about the wonderful love of Jesus. Our cool crew leaders, our kitchen helpers, our organizer extraordinaire (thanks Heather!) and everyone running crafts and activities makes this day a great joy! And to be honest, I’m having a blast as well! VBS reminds me of my childhood. When I was a young boy, it was at an event like the one we’re holding today where I received Jesus Christ. I remember it clearly: a magician was doing his illusions and shared the good news that Jesus died for sinners – like me – and the light bulb went on. The penny dropped. I needed Jesus. I went to the back of the auditorium to the library where we could talk to someone about receiving Jesus. There were many other kids there who were looking for candy. But I was looking for Jesus. Or if I’m really honest, Jesus had found me and I needed someone to walk me through the next steps. On that evening, in the church library, I knelt on my knees with our pastor’s wife, Mrs. Erdman, who lead me in a simple prayer: “Lord Jesus, I’ve done wrong. Please forgive me and come into my life.” And I believe that something changed that day. It set me on a new course. When I see these children at our VBS Polar Blast, I can’t help but think how it was at an event like this where Jesus got ahold of my life. And I’m praying that the...

Smell the roses ~ Pastor Gary

Do you take time to smell the roses? I would venture to say most of us in Western culture struggle to make time to appreciate and reflect upon beautiful or important things. Pondering this sort of tendency, Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten, on January 12, 2007, conducted an experiment. He arranged to have a musician busk at the Washington D.C. subway station at L’Enfant Plaza. The invited busker donned a baseball cap to go with non-descript black pants and a long sleeved t-shirt. He took his place just inside the main entrance doors, opened his violin case and pulled out a well-worn, well-aged instrument. He also placed the open case before him on the floor to receive donations from any thankful passersby. For the next forty five minutes the man’s interpretation of various classical standards filled the station. The experiment was videotaped on hidden camera; of the 1,097 people who passed by, only seven stopped to listen to him, and only one recognized him as the world renowned violinist Joshua Bell. For his performance, Bell collected $32.17 from 27 people (plus $20 from the one passerby who recognized him). Just three days before, he earned considerably more playing the same repertoire at a concert. Weingarten won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for his article on the experiment. He titled it cleverly: Pearls Before Breakfast. One man noted afterward: “most people, they play music; they don’t feel it. Well, that man was feeling it. That man was moving. Moving into the sound … you could tell in one second that this guy was good.” Well sure you could, for before you...

Blessed Baptisms ~ Pastor Andrew

I love baptism Sundays. I remember my baptism nearly 30 years ago and how the Lord has been my God and keeper. Baptism is one of two ordinances that we practice as a local church. The other is the Lord’s Supper. While we partake of the Lord’s Supper once a month, baptism is a unique event in the life of a believer. Baptism is the act of being immersed under water as a symbol of having died to self and being raised up in newness of life. There are many wonderful things that are subtle about baptism that we often miss. First, baptism is a work of grace. We don’t come to baptism deserving of it, nor do we baptize ourselves. The fact that someone else baptizes us reminds us that we are saved by grace and not by works (Gal. 2:16). We can’t save ourselves just like we can’t baptize ourselves. Second, we are confessing the inner work of God with an outward demonstration of grace. We can’t see what goes on in someone’s heart. But baptism paints a picture of a life that has been crucified with Christ and no longer lives (Gal. 2:20). Our lives are hidden with God in Christ (Col. 3:3) just like we are buried in the waters of baptism (Gal. 3:27). And we are raised up with resurrection power to live a new life (Eph. 2:6). There is nothing magical or special about the water and there is nothing extraordinary about the one doing the baptism. The work of God’s grace is through ordinary means. God loves to use the ordinary to...

Burden Bearing Beauty ~ Pastor Gary

“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” ~Galatians 6:1-3 In the above text, one of my favourites, who is the one for whom we ought to be most concerned? Where is the strongest warning? It is tempting to consider the one spoken of in verse one who is caught in a transgression. The wording implies the sin(s) of one of the members of the church has become evident to others: he has been “caught”. Perhaps caught in the moment, or perhaps a sin so pervasive and consuming that it is evident to all. Either way it never feels good in the moment to have sin exposed to those we live amongst. Yet the avoidance of such shame really doesn’t seem to be the focus of Paul’s warnings herein. The greater concern seems to be for the rest of us. Whether we are amongst those charged with restoring the transgressor or a mere onlooker, all of us are warned to watch over ourselves for the sin of pride and self-sufficiency is always looking to work its deceptive, destructive charms upon our hearts. The Roman philosopher Seneca wrote: “The primary sign of a well-ordered mind is a man’s ability to remain in one place and linger in his own company” in the face of life’s pain and trials. In other words, to take pride in self-sufficiency so...