Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Taking on The New Year

2017 is closing and a new year is upon us.
What are you thankful for from 2017?
What do you need to put behind you?
What are you looking forward to in 2018?

As I have been praying for this coming year over the last couple weeks, I have been challenged to make this a year of transformation. For me and those I love and influence it is a year to challenge the status quo. It is a year to determine we will not be the same or stay the same. It is a year to be dissatisfied with the way things are and to create and press into new things. It is a year for radical change. It is a year for fruitfulness like we have never seen before. I am praying for fruitfulness in our lives in three areas.

1. Character - May God produce the fruit of the Spirit, increased holiness, hope and love in your life like never before. This is a year to be formed into the image of Christ.
2. Good deeds - May God show you how your life will shine good works for His glory like never before in this coming year. This is a year to preform the works of Christ and live in the purposes of Christ for your life.
3.  Changed Lives - May God use you to be a witness and show the Person and reality of Jesus to those who don't know Him. This is a year to bear the fruit of the gospel and lead people to Jesus like never before.

The only way for us to bear this kind of fruit and to engage in this kind of radical change and transformation is for us to stay absolutely rooted. Rooted in our relationship with Christ, rooted in His church, rooted in His Word and prayer. I encourage you as you begin this new year to root yourself deeply into these things and determine you will not be moved. From this place of being rooted in the unchangeable you will be able to engage the change that is needed in your own heart and then through your life in this world.

"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." Colossians 2:6-7

ishing you a Happy New Year. I look forward to seeing the transformation God will do in our lives this coming year!

How are you planning to see change and transformation in your life this year? What are you praying for?

Friday, November 24, 2017

Teaming Up Together With God

This morning I was finishing reading the book of Exodus in my time in God’s Word. I read about the building of the Tabernacle under Moses’ leadership. It made me think of the building we are doing with our current renovations at our church building but MUCH MORE the constant building we are doing in pursuing the call and purpose of God on our church to lead people in Moose Jaw and the surrounding communities to know, love and serve Jesus. God is building His Kingdom and inviting us to partner with Him in it.

There are some great parallels to this in Exodus chapters 35-40. In Ex. 35:10 Moses says, “Come, all of you who are gifted craftsmen. Construct everything the Lord has commanded.” In place of the word “craftsmen,” we could add each and every gift God has given each of us. “Come, all of you who are gifted musicians, encouragers, organizers, innovators, teachers, caregivers, greeters, baristas, pray-ers (intercessors), cooks, helpers, leaders, givers, worshippers, supporters…” and the list could go on and on. What a great picture of our church! Teaming up together to accomplish all God has for us to do here in our community and then around the world.

Ex. 35:21 says, “All whose hearts were stirred and spirits were moved brought their sacred offerings to the Lord. They brought all the materials needed for the Tabernacle…Both men and women came, all whose hearts were willing…” Every day I get to see willing hearts come together in various ways and serve the Lord. Thank you for letting God stir your heart and move in your spirit to bring your talents and gifts together to serve the Lord. This happens in thousands of small and big ways both on Sunday’s and throughout the week and God uses it to actually supernaturally change lives! Isn’t it cool that God puts His “super” into our “natural” when we offer it to Him? Just this week I had a young man in my office excitedly telling me how great it is that his friend got saved in our church a few weeks ago and he is seeing her life changed leaps and bounds every week since. Praise God!

Ex. 36:4-5 says, “Finally the craftsmen who were working on the sanctuary left their work. They went to Moses and reported, “The people have given more than enough to complete the job the Lord has commanded us to do!” What a cool thing to happen. The point is simply that when God’s people give what we have to Him willingly as He moves us, He supernaturally multiplies it and there is enough to do what He calls us to and then there more than enough left over. Just like the boy who ended up feeding over five thousand people with only one lunch because he offered it to Jesus (Mat. 14:13-21). At the end of this section of scripture (in chapter 40:34-38), when the Tabernacle is built, the presence of God came and filled it and the people of Israel had the Lord with them to guide and walk with them on their journeys.  May that be true of us as we pursue Him and His purposes together. Let’s be praying that this Sunday, He fills our lives and church afresh with His presence as we gather and we will see more and more lives (ourselves included) led to know, love and serve Jesus in increasing ways.

To God be the glory.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Keeping Worship Fresh

"Sing a new song to the Lord" is a common phrase used in worship in the book of Psalms. I find myself occasionally looking for new songs to express my own worship to the Lord.

Maybe you do the same. At our church, the worship leaders post on a facebook page to share with each other some of the songs that they are enjoying lately. Maybe you'd like to check some of them out and see if they enhance your own personal times of worship. May you encounter Jesus and His presence afresh as you listen to and worship with these songs.


Friday, November 3, 2017

Happy 500th Birthday!

500 years ago, October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the Castle Church Door in Wittenberg. This was one of the most pivotal events in Western history. Luther could not stand by any longer while the church (of which he was a part) was mired and bogged down with corruption and deception. His protest was against indulgences that were granted by the church to lessen the punishment due from God, either to themselves or their loved ones in purgatory. In the decades leading up to Luther's protest, indulgences had become increasingly commercialized and corrupt. Luther argued that indulgences were against biblical teaching and it was the Bible, not the Pope or the Church, which had final authority. In time, he translated the Bible into his native German, making it accessible to the mass of ordinary people. Previously the Bible was seldom read or understood beyond a few elite priests. 

The reformation had massive effects on the church and brought about a revival of genuine Christianity that has been surging forward for 500 years. Here are some of the wonderful effects we are living in today because of the reformation:

1. A call to reform the church around scripture. The church must continually call itself back to the Word of God as it's standard of truth and righteousness. Sola Scriptura!

2. A call to come to God by faith alone through grace alone. Man's religion continually attempts to put works in place of Jesus righteousness as our way to God. Human effort counts for nothing when it comes to being made right with God. It is only by faith in Jesus that we can be made right with God. Because of this man cannot glory in his own salvation. There is no place for human pride in the gospel. God alone gets the glory, God alone is the Saviour. Sola Fide! Sola Gratia! Sola Deo Gloria!
3. A call for the church to put it's focus back on Jesus and away from human hierarchy and pomp. Jesus is the head of the church, not the pope or anyone else. What we need is simply Jesus, He Himself is the gospel and when we know Him we know life and joy and peace. The church must be ever guarding against distractions from the primacy and presence of Jesus. Sola Christus!

At it's core, the reformation was not really anything new, it was a recovery of something old and true. It was the recovery of the gospel, the good news of salvation as proclaimed by Jesus Christ and His apostles. I am thankful for God raising up Martin Luther and many others in his day to restore the church to the truths of God's Word and as a result lead millions to know Jesus personally for themselves. Here are three things we can do on the reformations 500th Birthday.

1. Continually reform ourselves around God's Word. We all need to be reminded to come again and again to the Word of God and reform our lives and our churches around it rather than the traditions and ideas of man. (One of the wonderful effects of the reformation was to make the pulpit and preaching of God's Word central to the church and it's gatherings. Another one is the making of the Bible available to every person to read, learn and grow in.)
2. Continually bring ourselves before the wonderful realities of the gospel - God's grace and personal faith in Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Lord. Let us love and share the gospel and be a gospel proclaiming people. 
3. Continually offer ourselves to be used by God to call God's church to reformation just like Martin Luther did until Jesus returns.

For 500 years God's church has been a continually reforming church. Not becoming something it's never been before, but returning to the gospel and our original mission, to the centrality of Jesus and His Word. To the mission of sharing God's love and the message of the cross to the ends of the earth. 

May God help us carry on this legacy. Happy 500th Birthday! 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The WOW Factor

My family and I attended the Leadership Summit last week in Saskatoon (this same conference is bring held October 19-20 in Caronport and I would really encourage you to go, the content is fantastic and our church has deeply discounted tickets available since we are a partner church in this conference!). As we were driving up to the host church in Saskatoon this week my wife said, "I love coming to this church, they always do a fantastic job of hosting us with excellence." And they did, from the over the top friendly greeters and door holders, to the well thought through registration process and into every part of the conference, the volunteers at this church offered us a world-class experience. At the break there was snacks which is normal at a conference but what was really great was that they had a machine for crushed ice drinks (strawberry or vanilla bean...yum!) - this was totally unexpected and it was fun to hear the conference attendees rant about how great it was to get an unexpected blessing like that. I thought about how exceeding people's expectations, even in small ways, creates a "wow factor" that makes service "over the top."

From the conference we went to our hotel (The Hampton Inn and Suites by Hilton Airport). We had never stayed at this hotel and so we weren't sure what to expect. Several times throughout our stay (which was only one night) they offered us not only what we would expect (clean, comfortable accommodations at a good price) but also "wow'ed" us with unexpected blessings. They wrote fun, motivational sayings on the banana's at breakfast...who does that?...and who takes the time to do that just to brighten our day? They offered us convenient takeaway bags when we left for the day with water fruit and snacks - a totally unexpected but useful blessing (see attached pictures).

In 2 Chronicles 9, when the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom and wonder of Solomon's kingdom the Bible says that it was so wonderful that "it took her breathe away." (vs. 4) She not only was awed by Solomon's wisdom and palace etc., she also gave glory to Solomon's God! In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul describes how willing he is to do what it takes to connect with, serve and then win people to Jesus. He says, "Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings." (vs. 22-23)

As I reflected on the power of "wow" (exceeding expectations), I couldn't help but think of all the small and big things people do at my home church (Victory Church in Moose Jaw) to make it a "wow" experience for our guests every Sunday. We intentionally set the table for guests at our church and it takes a ton of extra effort and I can't tell you how thankful I am for each member of our team and how proud I am of them. From the excellence of our coffee bar team, to the classy clean bathrooms, to the smiling parking attendants, to the amazing care given in our nursery and kids ministry, to the parents living room area and nursing moms room on the lower level, to the smiles and chats in the greeting time and in the lobby before and after services, I want to say "THANK YOU" for exceeding expectations, for going over and above to serve, bless and help our guests have an over the top fantastic experience when they come. This happens through all of our ministries but it also happens but every person (whether we are serving or not on any given Sunday) simply looking for ways to bless and serve others and make sure they are having a great experience while we are there. Our mission of leading people to know, love and serve Jesus is so worth our best efforts! Let's continue to increase the "wow factor" our churches for the glory of God and the benefit of those who we get to serve.


Pastor Dan