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Category Archives: News and Updates

Activities in and around St. Giles Kingway for parents and families

Reflecting on evidence of God’s providence

I love to put puzzle pieces together – sometimes the jigsaw kind, but most often – real life puzzles.  I sometimes think I should have done training to be a private detective.  The hardest type of puzzle to put together though, is my own life.  It’s not easy for me to step back and see how all the parts of my life are fitting together.  Just this past week though, the pieces came together in the most amazing way, and it’s hard not to see what’s happening.

I had the joy on the last weekend of October to spend time with dear friends, and some whom I sure will become dear friends in Fort Lauderdale.  We (8 of us from Ontario), had flown down to attend Women of Faith.  There were 14 from The Bahamas who came over to join us.  It was wonderful to worship, laugh and cry together.  Each year that I organize a group (this was my 11th), I put together a small bag of essentials – kleenex, pen, lip balm…and a memento of the weekend.  I include a letter that helps first time attendees know what to expect.

In that letter – I always put in a paragraph that encourages the ladies to listen for the moment when God speaks directly too them.  From my own experience, it’s as if God puts a loud-speaker up to your ear, and the message intended for your heart is abundantly clear.  This year though, it’s as if the loud-speaker was on pause for me.  When I got home, Jeff asked what my “moment” was – and for the first time in more than a decade of attending, I didn’t have an answer…or so I thought.  Don’t get me wrong,  I was ministered to completely at the conference, and my soul was filled in a way it hasn’t been in quite some time.  I love this event, and the women who occupy the stage.

Still pondering my lack of “moment”, I went to the Bible study I’m leading at Jeff’s church. We are working through Angela Thomas’ “Brave”, and our focus last week was “I have a thorn”…Angela’s teaching was that God allows us to have thorns in our life so that we might, in our weakness, be drawn closer to him.  We know it’s there, but it’s only God who can remove it – and when He does, it will be so that others might see His glory.  I had shared with the ladies that I have been dealing with a thorn for more than a year now, and despite prayer – God has not been taking it away – or so I thought…

This past Thursday – I was told by the leadership at the church I work at that after this coming June, my position will no longer be available.  (Not just mine, but some other key positions in the church too).  Hard financial times have fallen on the church, and they just can’t afford to be fully staffed at this time.  I have been expecting this news for a couple of years now, and knew that my position was on borrowed time.   It’s funny – I’ve been praying about this situation for more than a year now, and have known how it would end – but was totally caught off guard by the information.  However, as I drove home from the church – God turned the loud-speaker on…I kept hearing Angie Smith talk about Peter, and walking across the water towards Jesus.  As the waves rise, he begins to sink.  Instead of looking back to his companions – he chose to look forward and call to Jesus to rescue him.  That part of her talk just played over and over in my mind.  And it was with complete peace that I was able to call on Jesus to keep me focused in my walk forward.  I also know that my thorn has been removed.  I awoke on Friday morning to the most beautiful sunshine, and a complete sense of relief.

Relief that I don’t have to wait for the inevitable anymore – it’s in the open, and so is my search and discerning of what God has planned next.  I know it’s better than anything I could imagine – and I know, with all the confidence of my being – that He has it planned.  This thorn removal will be used for His glory – and because my job search can be in the open, I can help people see what God is doing when I have a new position to replace the one I am losing.  The best part of all of this – I know that my time to worship on a regular basis with my beloved is coming, and sooner than I had dared hope!  It will be good be in God’s presence together.  It’s the next step on my journey…and I can’t wait to see where it’s headed.

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Posted by on November 7, 2011 in church life, News and Updates

 

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Are you for real? – Encouragement for moms

I love to watch people I love be moms.  I love to watch as they respond to their child’s needs, to be in harmony with what is going on in this life they nurture.  I think being a mom is the hardest job in the world – with the least amount of thanks or recognition (dad’s come a close second…)

I follow Ann Voskamp’s blog at www.aholyexperience.com, and today she has linked her post to one she has at the Dayspring daily blog.  It’s about the desire to be a Velveteen mom.  You know the story – the velvelteen rabbit became real because the boy loved him.  Let this post encourage you, and know my prayer for you today and in the coming days, as you parent your littles – is that you will become a velveteen mom.

Use this link, and be inspired…http://www.incourage.me/2011/10/tiger-mothers-or-the-making-of-velveteen-mothers.html

 
 

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Summer boredom buster

So, it’s almost mid-August…how did that happen?…and the heat in our part of the world is stifling.  The kids don’t want to be outside, and you certainly don’t have the energy to entertain them every waking hour.  What to do?

It’s so easy to just have the kids go to the computer to play games, but face it, most computer games are either so trivial that the kids bore easily, or they are so violent that no child should be playing them.  Want a solution to meet both your concern about content, and your children’s need for excitement?  Then let me introduce you to YAHERO…

Developed by friends of my beloved’s and I, it is an action based online multi-player game.  And the best part of all – it’s very purposefully created with a Biblical worldview, without being preachy.

Yahero invited children into a safe environment – only after they have registered your e-mail as well.  And then they head into quests as they discover that:

YAHERO isAn exciting online virtual world where kids become heroes of Yahweh and His Word 

…taking the Bible outside the walls of the church to meet kids where they are online

…inspiring a love for Scripture and improving Biblical literacy for today’s virtual explorers

Another bonus is, with all the quests your child completes, you will receive an email about what happened during the quest; the connected scriptures; and discussion tips for you to have with your child.

http://www.yahero.com is the link to some new and exciting fun.

 

The Other Side of Good-Bye

It’s been quite a ride the last few weeks at the church I work at.  We have been preparing to say “farewell” to a very dearly loved Pastor and his family.  On Mother’s Day, we welcomed a new member into the Family of God.  It was one of the loveliest baptism I have ever witnessed.  The congregation was reminded of our responsibility to be part of this wee one’s spiritual growth.  The teeny-tiny was so focused on our Pastor’s voice…she wouldn’t take her eyes off of him.  I have a theory – she has heard his voice most Sundays during her entire life (including  in utero) and so it was just natural that she knows his voice.   That’s the response every child brought for baptism should have – because the parents are active in the church, not just there to get the kid “done” (Sorry small rant there…)

  Last week was the culmination of the anticipation of departure, and we had a great celebration.  Both services were full, and there was such an alive Spirit in the air.  Our Pastor complete his final series – where he has challenged us to stay the course, and to remember the call that Christ has laid on the church – we had more children in attendance than I have seen in a very long time.  It was a marvelous thing to behold.  After the service, the congregation honoured our Pastor and his family with gifts and heartfelt tributes.   After our second service we just hung out to visit and enjoy Pizza together.

 It was so awesome to see Bryn’s ministry among us, finish well and finish strong.  And so awesome to see folks send the whole family off with our prayers, and blessing.  To see them go feeling folks excitement for them, as the venture of  new things lies before them.

We then come to this past Sunday.   In our tradition, our interm-moderator “preaches the pulpit vacant”.  It signifies the end of the ministry, and the beginning of the process to find the person God has intended to be the next Pastor.  Our first Sunday of transition happened to fall on Pentecost – the day that The Holy Spirit came to the apostles and the first believers, to begin the work of The Church.

What could have been a low point in our congregation’s life – became a Spirit-filled, hope infused morning.  The message reminded us that even though our leader has left, our job now is to be in prayer, and wait for the Holy Spirit to lead us.  To equip us for the work that lies ahead – not to make ourselves comfortable, or to return to the way things have been before Bryn came.  But, to continue the work of reaching out to the community around us that doesn’t yet know the joy of relationship with Jesus.  Such an awesome challenge, and a fitting reminder to carry us on in the path that Bryn had challenged us to set out upon.

People were excited, and ready to carry on, not sit and have a pity party at our minister’s call away from us.  Which, in God’s wisdom is just how it should be.  I have said it before, but if God has called a Pastor away – God is calling someone to us.  He already knows who the next Sr. Pastor will be.  We just have to be prayerfully faithful in discerning who that will be.

I’ve never been a part of the waiting, always have been a part of the leaving and moving.  It will be a fascinating process to watch – and if it continues the way we have begun, it will be an exciting time…  We are excited to know that a dear friend is doing God’s work in another part of the Kingdom, and that we are called to be faithful in the challenges before us.

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2010 in church life, News and Updates

 

Riding On Both Sides of the See-Saw

Sunday morning was a first for me – our Pastor announced that he and his family have responded to God’s call, and are moving to another community.  Now, he is not the first pastor to make that announcement, nor was it the first time I have been in a church where that announcement was made.  What is the first is that this time – I am not packing boxes, and anticipating a move.

This time, I will learn what the congregation remaining goes through.  This transition brings so many mixed emotions.  On one hand, I am so excited for the opportunity God has given to our friends.  On the other hand, I am sad that this family, who is such a big part of my life, won’t be part of my routine anymore.  I am happy for the congregation that is anticipating this new ministry – they really are blessed beyond comprehension , and at the same time, I am sad that the visionary leadership I have the privilege to work with is being “transplanted” to another part of the kingdom.

I understand now, in a very real way, the sense of abandonment that a congregation feels.  Yet, I  know that we serve a Sovereign God, and because of that – I know that if God is calling our Pastor from us, He already knows who is being called to us. 

I joyfully listened last Saturday, over a cup of tea, as I heard all the ways that God is confirming for our friends that this move is His plan.  As has always been the case for Jeff and I, God is show her very real signs of His intentions.  If ever there were questions around our moves, it has been the opportunities for me that have been the final signs of our move being a “God thing”.  I rejoice that this family is moving into a huge ministry opportunity, into a community that desperately needs the gifts that God has given to both of them.

And so, this week I feel that I’m on a bit of a See-Saw –  being up with excitement, and being down with sadness.  It’s a whole new perspective for me…not sure I ever wanted to gain this, but waiting to see what God has to teach me through it.

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2010 in church life, News and Updates

 

If they trust you…they will come.

images[3]I am not one who often invites friends to events I am going to.  I did this past Wednesday, and I am so glad…

Last year, about this time, Breakfast Television had a men’s a cappella group on, promoting their new album.  That group was Straight No Chaser.  Their sound is tight, yet fun, and they love to sing.  They formed as a group in their university days, and last year Atlantic Records reunited them, and signed them.  The first venture was  to create an album around a piece that went viral on youtube- the 12 Days of Christmas (check it out!).   They recently released their second Christmas album, and while I was downloading it, I discovered they were performing in Toronto Wednesday night.  I was so excited that I had to share the news of the concert.

My beloved had an evening of meeting scheduled, and not wanting to go alone – but really wanting to go, I invited some dear friends to go with me.  None of those I invited were familiar with them.  But, because we have a relationship, and they trust me to not take them somewhere they would be uncomfortable…they joined me.

The result was 3 very enthusiastic new fans. (To the point that one of my friends joined their facebook group before I did!!).  Great, you say, so you went to a concert, and your friends were happy they went with you – what’s that to do with a blog about “thinking orange”?

Currently, at the church I work at, we are in the midst of a series called “Go Fish”, (so is the church where Jeff is serving, as well as 2 other friends in the churches they serve). It’s helping us to see the importance of “fishing” for others to be followers of Jesus, and how God equips us to be able to do that. We are called to share the Good News of the Gospel.   Many people are afraid, or maybe better, extemely shy of sharing their faith with friend and family.  Even parents can have a difficult time talking about matters that are faith-focused.

Often we feel that we because we aren’t Biblical scholars, there is no way we can give adequate answers to those who have questions about the validity of the tenets of our faith.  The thought of Evangelism conjures up images of tearry-eyed, slick haired men making apologies for indiscretions, or God directing that one’s life hinges on multi-million dollar donations.  We don’t want our friends to turn away from “Bible thumping”, or shirk from a “turn or burn” presentation of how much God loves us.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that I have friends and family that I won’t get to spend eternity with, because they refuse to acknowledge Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.  I know they refuse, because I’ve tried to have that converation with them.  I can’t help but wonder though – how often does my desire to have my whole family believe in who Jesus is, look like the enthusiasm Ihad when I  introduced my friends to a new musical group?

Good News is just that, it’s news that’s just too important or exciting to keep to ourselves.  If we do, how selfish is that?  As Christians, we serve a Risen Lord, who desperately seeks to be in relationship with us.  So much so, that He sent His only Son to make that relationship possible.  Sharing that Good News doesn’t need to be complicated- indeed it needs to not be complicated – simply our story of what God is doing in our lives.  People cannot deny your story, and it’s the very unique tool God has given you to share His love.  

Sharing Jesus with someone you care about so that it can change their life…will directly impact this and the next generation.  And if we all lived like we believed it’s the revolution the world needs – what a celebration that would be.  Because, to quote Reggie Joiner, ” a hundred years from now the only thing that will matter is someone’s relationship with God.”images[8]

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2009 in church life, News and Updates

 

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Charming addition to my children’s story collection

I was excited to open the package holding the newest book to my children’s storybooks.  The I Believe Bunny is the first in a series by Tish Rabe and charmingly illustrated  by Frank Endersby.

This charming book is written in easy flowing poetry – which will quickly engage even the youngest of readers.  It’s focal Bible point is from Philippians 4:13, I can do everything through him who gives me strength.  Such a great verse for all of us to remember, and what a gift to introduce it early to little ones.

Bunny’s not having a very good day…it’s raining and Bunny has had enough.  He turns down an invitation to play with his friends, because he’s waiting for the rain to stop.  But, when mouse gets caught in the river, Bunny knows just what to do…and although he’s not sure he has the strength to save her, so he stops and prays.

Just then – God sends the solution.  A very important lesson and a model for our children.  If we pray before facing any situation, God will hear, and we will be ready to face it.

I’m truly looking forward to what comes next in this series – it is definitely destined for our local Church library.