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Author Archives: joyfullyyours

About joyfullyyours

I am passionate about helping families understand their key role in God's Story. Working as a Family Ministry Animator, I have the joy of watching Church Communities invest in the families they serve. I also work a few days a week at the Tyndale Bookstore. I love that my jobs so perfectly complement each other, and can't believe that I get to do what I'm doing. I am married to Jeff, the lead pastor at St. Paul's Nobleton. They are a wonderful collection of people who work together to bring Jesus to a world that needs to know Him.

One Dominion – Celebrating Canada

One Dominion book coverThis offering from the Bible League Canada is a collection of beautiful pictures from across this great country of ours, and short pieces of historical facts that remind the reader of just how deeply connected to faith the founding and shaping of Canada was.

Fittingly produced for the Sesqui-centennial of the founding of the Dominion, I throughly enjoyed this book.  I have always known that the faith of the Founding Fathers, and influencers was instrumental in shaping the core values of our Nation, but it was fascinating to see just how much.

I did not know the story of how the passage from Psalm 72 was chosen as the basis for the naming of the Dominion of Canada.  Nor did I know that what became Sick Kids Hospital was founded by a strong and visionary woman of faith.  Even our education and health care systems came about by the deep caring of Pastor’s hearts.

The photographs used throughout the book highlight what a beautiful and diverse country we call home.  My one disappointment is that nowhere was there any indication of the locations shared here.  While I recognized many locales, there are others I would love to visit and enjoy.

I think there are many in our leadership today who would be surprised at the very things they are seeking to remove God and Scriptural foundations from – are the important systems we have because people of faith carried out the call God placed on their lives to see them into existence.

I can’t wait for my next visit to Ottawa, and to take an opportunity  to see the Scripture passages that are engraved in stone – quite literally – on our House of Commons.  A great reminder to continue to pray that these will once again become reminders that all we have in Canada is from God’s gracious hand.

Thank you to Graf-Martin Communications and Bible League Canada for giving me the opportunity to independently review this book.

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2017 in book reviews

 

Invitation – Harbingers, Cycle One

HarbingersI was completely intrigued when I learned about a new book by 4 of my favourite authors – Bill Myers, Frank Peretti, Angela Hunt and Alton Gansky.  A collaboration by the 4 of them could only be a good thing.

Each of the 4 central characters have their own story to contribute to the larger novel.  Each of their accounts is voiced by a different author, yet each has beautifully interwined all of the experiences so that it becomes a seamless novel.  At times, I forgot that I wasn’t reading one continuous writing.

The four strangers who come to realize they are a reluctant team : Brenda, a tattoo artist; the professor, and unbelieving ex-priest; Andi, the professor’s pattern-seeing assistant and Tank, an injured football player with a very special gift, begin to see disturbing and very dark happenings.

After meeting at the Institute for Advanced Psychic Studies, where they rescue a boy who seems to have a spiritual understanding of everything that is to come. Together they experience a house that holds dark secrets, discover gruesome deaths of masses of animals all over the world, meet and care for a little girl with a strange affliction.

Weaving suspense and gripping action with can only be describe as some form of spiritual warfare – it makes for quite a ride.  While it was an emotionally hard read for me, it was a book hard to put down.  And may I add – so refreshing to read a book that doesn’t have a “tied up with a bow” ending.  It was good to have the hard reality of what is to come in the next volume sit and demand to be wrestled with.  It certainly was an excellent reminder to do a gut-check on the health of my prayer life!

I would highly recommend this to those who enjoy fantasy, suspense and mystery writings.

Thanks to Graf-Martin Communications and Bethany House for the opportunity to independently review this book.

 

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2017 in book reviews

 

The Chapel Car Bride by Judith Miller – A Review

Chapel Car BrideIt seems fitting that for the first long weekend of the summer – I would finish reading a light, but engaging historical fiction book.   Judith Miller has created an opportunity for the reader to enter into a mining town in West  Virginia in 1913.

As I was reading, I did some research into the Chapel Car program and finding the actual car that Judith has based the book on added to the authenticity of the story line.  As Hope Irvine and her dad set up services in Finch, WV – with the hopes of establishing a significant congregation that will result in a permanent church plant – they encounter a community on edge.

The miners are feeling undervalued by the mine’s owner, who sends his son into town to thwart the talk of a union forming.  When he arrives, he simply wants to find ways to make easy money, and has no real interest in the people who work for the family business.

Hope and one of the miners, Luke Hughes,  strike up a plan to begin to help bring the conditions of the homes up to a livable, safe standard.  He and his sister become an important part of Hope and her father’s lives, and Luke begins to follow a call on his life.

Historical fiction – especially romance – is certainly not my genre of choice, but I enjoyed this book.  It was a great escape, and was refreshingly good a being intentional regarding faith issues.  I would recommend this book as for teen girls, ladies who want to read something that can be read as they catch a few minutes of quite time, and to those who enjoy Christian Historical Fiction.

Thank you to Graf-Martin Communications and Bethany House in providing the book that allowed me to complete this independent review.

 
 

(re)union by Bruxy Cavey – A review

41UbJk1Y59L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_I wasn’t sure what to expect when I agreed to review this book, but because it was by Bruxy – I was intrigued.  I have known about Bruxy for years (he was my husband’s small group leader in Seminary!), and have watched as the church he leads has become a model for church ministry in today’s culture.  So, a new book was an exciting proposition for me to read.

Let me begin by saying this book is like sitting and hearing Bruxy share his heart and passion for reaching people with the Gospel.  He has put on no airs in writing this, and it is truly a reflection of his approach and way of communicating – so refreshing in a world that has people who think they need to sound like a less than authentic self.

Bruxy shares the gospel in 1, then 3 and finally 30 words.  His desire to bring the Gospel down to its basic roots is laudable.  This will be a fantastic resource for people to share with family and friends who are seeking, but don’t want a ton of church-y speak.

In a society where people have been turned off Jesus because of what they see religious people doing to each other (and truly, we need to just stop behaving badly to other Jesus followers!), this book is a refreshing approach.

I do, however, have some points that I disagree with – some theological issues.  But those can be attributed to Bruxy and I coming from very different traditions, and our basic tenants to approaching Scripture vary.  Those differences though, are not enough to dismiss the book at all.  I highly recommend this for those who want to more about the Jesus who came to save the world, and his call to follow him.

I am grateful to Graf-Martin Communications and to Herald Press for giving me the opportunity to independently review this Advance Reader Copy.

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2017 in book reviews

 

Hillsong: Let Hope Rise – A Review

lethoperiselogonewIf you are a regular church attendee, and your music has any aspect of contemporary songs in it – you have sung something from Hillsong.  I have long loved their music, and the heart behind the writing of praise songs that are sung the world over.

This movie – really more of a documentary – follows the Hillsong United band through the development of a new album and to aWorship event at the Forum in California.  It was fascinating to watch as the “flashback” scenes culminated in the event.

I loved hearing from Brian Houston, founding pastor when he said that he had wanted to start a church that was music driven and that the music would “connect the soul to heaven”.  He and his wife Bobbie took us back to the place where they first met – with just 100 others.  Since 1983 they have grown from those 100 to 75,000 in 12 countries.

What struck me most as I watched this journey of worship leaders who truly believe that “the songs mean nothing if they aren’t helping people connect to God” as Joel Houston shared, is that they are just real people.  They don’t have huge houses, flashy cars and all that goes with the American experience of celebrity pastors.  The band has a heart to use their talents to lead people in meaningful worship.

The piece has been produced with lyrics on the screen during the worship songs, with the intention of the audience joining in with the music.  Just imagine a theatre full of worshippers singing so loudly that those in the movie complex hear it!  Surely a small taste of heaven…

While there is no question about the centrality of Jesus in the theme of Hillsong’s music, it occurred to me as the movie was coming to its end – that there was not much mention of him outside of the songs.  Brian even said that people should “pour yourself into a local church, and you’ll never be the same”.   Perhaps it is an over reaction on my part, but it’s not enough to be part of a church, it’s the relationship with Jesus that matters and it’s him that makes you not the same.

I loved watching the process of the song writing, even when one song was finished at the very last minute.  To see Joel sitting with his Bible open, pen in hand and journalling his way to the lyrics was lovely.  My very favourite moment though, was the international singing of Mighty to Save.  Just incredible!

Should you have the opportunity to see Hillsong: Let Hope rise – do so.  Better yet, go with your family and/or friends and worship in the theatre right along with the movie.  My thanks to GrafMartin Communications for the opportunity to independently review this movie.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2016 in book reviews, Family ideas

 

Carefully Crafting…

father holidng childThis summer was one of significant change.  I left a job I loved, but realized it was not where God was truly calling me to be.  It was one of those seasonal change things…I had stepped away from Children and Family Ministries, but apparently no forever.

God began to unfold all of this late last winter.  A Facebook group I’m part of had advertised a diploma program for Kidmin and through a “contest”, we had an opportunity to be given a scholarship towards the tuition.  So, I completed the steps, but was sure that this Canadian wouldn’t hear anymore.  I put it out of my mind, until April Fool’s day (really!!).  Someone hadn’t claimed the scholarship offered to them, and when a name was drawn to be offered that space – it was mine!  We Prayed about it, and said “Yes”.

Fast forward to a lovely trip with friends into our local wine country, and a conversation about the dream of change that their church was having for an impactful Family Ministry.  He asked lots of questions, and I gave just as many answers.  We said our goodbyes and I carried on – but the conversation just wouldn’t let my spirit rest.  Later that week, I asked, “What if it was me who came and worked with you?”  to which is response was “Wouldn’t that be fun?”

So here we are – 3 months into a 6 month contract and we’ve begun to lay the foundations for what could change an entire community.  A ministry focused on empowering families as they influence their children for Jesus.

The leadership believes that Psalm 78 and Deuteronomy 6 are the foundations we must build our ministry upon.  We know that our time with kids is so limited through Sundays only, but it we pour into the time that families have together, we can exponentially  increase that leverage.

By flipping the order in which children encounter the Word of God, we give the opportunity to parents to watch the first steps of their children into God encounters and faith.  Just as a parent loves to be the ones who watch the first tentative steps, so to with first tentative steps of being a Jesus follower.  Our times of ministry will be a reinforcement of the times at home.

Through the intentional building of the child’s “hearing from God” muscles, the family will, together, make God the centre of their decisions and interactions.  We then, will support that with resourcing, serving opportunities and times of learning – together and separately.

Our community gatherings on Sundays will be ones of support and learning – all with each one discussing the same Scripture focus in an age appropriate way.  This will give the entire family a common experience and intentional conversation starting points.

We will further put building blocks for community into place, and beginning on Thanksgiving Sunday – we will host a breakfast that will lead directly into Worship.  A safe, welcoming setting to bring guests and those who are put-off by the formality of traditional worship settings.  This will encourage those who have been around forever to interact, through the fellowship that food creates, with those who are new to the gathering.

By modelling that our relationship with Jesus is an integral part to all aspects of life we can begin to effect real transformation in the lives of our church community, and the community around us – all for the building of the Kingdom

I can’t believe that I get to be a part of this journey! It’s one I never expected to find myself on again, and to be in a community who is excited at what God can and has already started to do is humbling beyond words.worship-child-arms-out

 

 

 

A review of Miracles From Heaven – Sony Pictures

Miracles from heaven now playing

I am the first person to admit to being a skeptic when it comes to movies and books about heavenly revelations.  I have been heard to say – “if God wanted us to know what heaven looked like, I’m pretty sure Jesus would have shared that when He was here.”

I have heard some press about this movie, with Jennifer Garner and Queen Latifah – it definitely had my attention.  Based on a true story, the movie follows the sickness and investigative treatments of Anna Beam and her mother’s, Christy Beam, crisis of faith in the midst of it.  And now that my eyes have dried having watched it, and my suspicions quieted – I’m happy to share my impressions of it.

The movie begins with a of a very normal family living life.  They live on a farm in Texas, where Dad is expanding his vet practice.  The Beams and their 3 daughters love each other, pray in their home and attend a very refreshingly normal church.  Although, I’ve gotta say – it would be pretty fantastic having Mac Powell lead your Worship Team!

An evening bout of stomach sickness for Anna begins a long and exhausting journey of questions and desperation as she is misdiagnosed over and over again.  When a doctor finally realizes the true cause – an incurable disease of the intestines that prevent the digestive system from functioning at all – Christy takes measures to have her treated at all costs.

She and Anna head to Boston to insist and wait on an appointment with the country’s top specialist.  While waiting, Christy and Anna meet Angela, a caring and very friendly waitress who becomes their tour guide around Boston.  When the call for the appointment finally comes, Dr. Nurko believes he can treat Anna.  What seems quite insignificant, yet touching – is an interaction with Dr. Nurko’s Elmo tie.  He admits that his wife doesn’t like it, but that he’s promised to remove it when he has a patient get well.

During her stay in the hospital, we see Anna make an impact on a roommate, while not getting any better.  When she if finally stabilized, she and the family head home.  She heads out to play with her sisters, and becomes involved in a very serious accident on the farm.

It is after her recovery from this that Christy begins to learn just how present miracles and the God who still performs them are.  Anna tells her story and encounter in heaven- and this is where my skeptical expectations stopped.

So many heaven movies try to share all the details of what heaven looks like, who the person met, and the message for mankind that God had for them to take back.  I’ve never been convinced.  Yet, in this account, Anna says that she and God were able to talk without ever seeing each other, and that He promised her she’d be okay when she went back.  She doesn’t meet any people from her past or have details that no one can ever verify.  Just a little girl who was assured of her safety by the God she knows loves her.

I found the most touching moment was the last time we encounter Dr. Nurko.  Christy shares her story poignantly in church and the reminds us of all the places during the journey with Anna where they saw miracles happen.

I was impressed.  This is a high quality Christian movie – so refreshing in the Christian film movie world – and I am pleased to be able to fully recommend this as a family movie.

Movie link has been provided courtesy of Sony Pictures and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.