Monday, September 28, 2009

Memory Verse Monday #38

Today's verse for Memory Verse Monday is from...

Matthew 25:21 (NIV)
His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

This verse reminds me to be faithful in the little things that God has entrusted for me to do... because those who have proven to be faithful in the little things will find themselves in the midst of accomplishing BIG things for God!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Lord, Save Us From Your Followers (Book/Movie)

Hubby and I recently read the book 'Lord, Save Us From Your Followers' by Dan Merchant. It is hilarious and thought-provoking both at the same time.

Well, the movie came out last Friday, September 25. BUT, only in the USA!!! Hopefully, a screening can be organized for the GTA so that we can go see it. From what I can read in reviews online, it is a very well-done documentary.

In the meantime, we Canadians will have to live with this trailer:

Friday, September 25, 2009

Changes ---> Growth?

As the Fall season arrives and the leaves start to change colours right before my eyes, I reflect upon the many changes in my life this Fall. There are quite a few... most of which I find myself outside my comfort zone... most of which are God-ordained (not my choice!)... most of which, I suspect, is God's way of growing me!

At the top of the list... Ladies' Bible Study. This Fall, I am no longer going to be a part of the group that I've been meeting with weekly for the past three years. I am going to miss the ladies terribly, more than words can even express. This group has been my comfort zone --- we've come to know each other so intimately that we are able to express/share anything and eveything without fear of what others might think. But, God is taking me out of this comfort zone --- to lead a brand-new group of ladies in Bible study. I am terrified of this new responsibility, to say the least. But I know that God will grow me through this new journey... and, it will be awesome!

Next on the list... Destination Imagination. My kids and I have been involved with this for the past two school years and we have a lot of fun. This year, we have decided not to do it. In its place? Monday night outreach in our community in the form of a drop-in sports programme (a partnership between our school and our church). This is new for us; we've never done anything like it before --- definitely out of our comfort zone!!! One thing that God has clearly impressed upon our hearts --- with Destination Imagination, we were gaining something for ourselves; with Monday night outreach, we will be giving ourselves away. Again, I know that He is going to grow our family (hubby will be a part of this as well) through this experience... and, it will be awesome!

Another change... Prayer Group. I have been a part of a prayer group for over 6 years now. We gather every Friday morning to pray for our school. This year, I am unable to attend these meetings (maybe just sporadically, at best) because of my work schedule. Over the years, I have come to rely on this group to pray for my children's wellbeing at school... this year, I will have to do that on my own! Again, like the above changes, this change will no doubt be a growing experience for me as well.

Yet another change... church format on Sunday mornings. This Fall, we are launching into a series of community outreach events. Worship services will only happen twice each month. The rest of the time will be off-site or on-site community events. This is totally new for me; something I've never done before in the context of Sunday morning church! I am excited about this change... it will definitely be an impact to the community around us. And, you guessed it --- something that will be a growing experience for myself and, I suspect, for many in our church as well.

So as I welcome the Fall season, I am trusting my Heavenly Father to lead me through all these changes that He has orchestrated for this season in my life. With change, comes growth. May all glory be to my God alone!!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Memory Verse Monday #37

One year --- our church plant is now a year old!!! I've said this before and I'll say it once more --- church planting is hard work but I wouldn't trade even one minute of the whole experience with anything else! Why? Because, throughout this year I have seen God's faithfulness and His goodness like I've never seen before!!! To sum up this first year for me, I think this is a very appropriate verse...

Lamentations 3:21-23 (NLT)
Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.

What an awesome promise!!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

One Year!!!

Tomorrow marks one year since the public launch of The Sanctuary Pickering. It has been a wild ride, to say the least, since God plucked hubby and me out of our comfort zone and plunged us into something very unfamiliar to us --- church planting!

The journey has definitely not been a bed of roses; it's been like a roller coaster complete with its peaks and its valleys. I've laughed and cried. I've smiled and frowned. I've been elated and been angry. I've trusted and doubted. I've been confident and been scared. You get the picture! But throughout it all, my God has remained faithful and He is good! And, I have grown in my faith!!!

As we launch into this second year of existence as a local church here in Pickering, I am excited! I want to be reckless for God, to be dangerous for Him! God has been opening doors like never before. Reaching this city will not be easy. In fact, spiritually-speaking, it is very hard ground to break. But I have no doubt in my mind that God will accomplish what He has set out to do here, in this city!

In light of that thought and in closing, here's a video of Chris Tomlin's song entitled God Of This City:

NOTE: To watch this video, please pause Playlist on the sidebar.


You’re the God of this city I You’re the King of these people I You’re the Lord of this nation I You are I You’re the light in this darkness I You’re the hope to the hopeless I You’re the peace to the restless I You are I There is no one like our God I There is no one like You, God I For greater things have yet to come I And greater things are still to be done in this city I For greater things have yet to come I And greater things are still to be done here.

Happy 1st Anniversary, The Sanctuary Pickering! My prayer is that God will be glorified through this church, in this city!!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Reckless Faith

reck·less (rĕk'lĭs): adjective
Lacking or marked by a lack of care. Characterized by unthinking boldness. Utterly unconcerned about the consequences of some action; without caution.


Today, my morning devotional reading challenged me to live a life of reckless faith. Upon reading the definition of the word "reckless" (see above) --- I have come to the realization that I am living too safely when it comes to my faith.

Here's what gripped me this morning:

We are to be reckless in our faith – not habitual, not routine, not guarded. Reckless.

Reckless faith is… living out loud for God, regardless of the consequences.

Without thinking, without distress over consequences, without anxiety over what might happen, and without concern for what friends might think.

It is so much easier to stay afloat in the safety of our comfort zone than to step out into stormy waters, putting all of our trust in Christ.

How is God calling you to be reckless for Him today?

Do I really believe I can trust God enough for me to be reckless in my faith?

Wow! Talk about a wake-up call or being hit in the head with a hammer!

God, I desire to be reckless for You. Help me to live a life of reckless faith!

Memory Verse Monday #36

Today's verse for Memory Verse Monday comes from...

II Chronicles 16:9 (NLT)
The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.

The verse is part of my devotional reading this morning which challenged me to live a life of reckless faith (more on this in my upcoming blog post later today).

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Disturb Us, Lord

I saw this poem today somewhere in blogland... it is too powerful to pass up and forget about that's why I'm re-posting it here.

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

By Sir Francis Drake, 1577

Beautiful. Powerful. Thought-provoking.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Chris Tomlin Concert

Chris Tomlin is coming to Toronto this Fall --- October 3rd at Queensway Cathedral. If you are a fan, you'd want to check out this contest. The prize --- two free tickets and a copy of his new CD, Hello Love!!!

I've entered the contest... crossing my fingers!!!

Back To School

So, my kids have settled into the back-to-school routine quite nicely. My daughter is now in Grade 7 (I can't believe it!) and my son is in Grade 4. They both got great teachers this year and each has some old friends in the same class --- so all is well!

This is a transition year for both kids --- my daughter have become an intermediate student and my son is now a junior. We are evaluating which extra curricular activties they should be involved in this year. The choices are many... and in light of what I've been thinking about lately, we must choose wisely.

One thing we are definitely excited about is a new partnership that is happening this year between my kids' school and our church! We will be involved in this outreach opportunity as a family. It is definitely one of the ways we can be "on mission" as a family unit.

Now that the kids are back to school, I am back to my normal work-from-home routine. The thing is --- it is so quiet here at home during the day --- I miss my kids!!!

Speaking of them... they are walking in the door now!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Memory Verse Monday #35

I'm still deep in thought about the book I read last week while on vacation. In light of that, today's verse for Memory Verse Monday is from...

Isaiah 6:8 (NLT)
Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.”

This reminds me of a song I love --- entitled 'Here I Am'.

Our Summer in Pictures

Summer's end comes with the arrival of Labour Day --- that is today!!! Wow, this summer sure went by FAST (yet again)!

Here's a little snippet of our summer...


My daughter walking with my nephew to the park.


My son (in red) and some friends at the park.


Having fun at the park.


Helping little cousin down the twisty slide.


We went to an Argos game at the Rogers Centre. It was a treat to have the dome open on a nice, clear, warm summer evening; nice view of the CN Tower.


Great company!!!


The Ignition Staff after the game; the Argos lost!!!


My kids with Pinball!!!


Our end-of-summer road trip; this and the following few photos were taken at Preque Isle State Park (Erie, PA).










At the Maritime Museum (Erie, PA); in front of the "Niagara" --- a vessel used during the War of 1812.


In front of the Bicentennial Tower (Erie, PA).


Henry Moore sculpture; in front of the Columbus Museum of Art (Columnus, OH). The following few photos are also taken at the CMA.






My daughter cut her hair and donated it through the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program --- 12" long grown over two years!!! Way to go!!!






We celebrated our son's 9th birthday by going bowling and having dinner at his most favourite restaurant, Baton Rouge!!!








...having ice cream before dinner!!!


...very yummy dinner!!!

That's our summer in a nutshell... there is so much more to share but I would have to upload so much more photos!!! I think this is a good enough snippet.

Goodbye summer --- we look forward to your arrival next year!!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Nine!!!



Nine years old already? Wow, my baby boy is now NINE and off to Grade 4 next week!!! How time flies. It seems just like yesterday when we welcomed him into our family that one crisp, cool Labour Day Monday evening nine years ago... his arrival made our family complete! He is truly a gift of God --- true to the meaning of the name we chose for him!!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

World Changing Family

While on vacation this past week, I read 'Becoming A World Changing Family' by Donna S. Thomas. While it focuses mainly on world (overseas) missions, it has a ton of great food for thought.

The first thing that caught my attention is a story about a family with three grown children who are all living "on mission". The father's account is as follows:

It was a concious decision for my wife and me early in our marriage. We were in college then and members of the student volunteer group. The group challenged us to make a commitment. Here is what we signed in faith: I will live my life, under God, for others rather than for myself. I will not drift through life but will do my utmost, by prayer, by investigation, by meditation and service, to discover that form and place in which I can become the largest use in the Kingdom of God. As I find it, I will follow it under the leadership of Jesus Christ, wheresoever it takes me, cost what it may.

I shared this commitment with our children when they were young. They witnessed it in our ministry. We considered it important to let them know why we were giving our lives to the church, why a call to serve is among the highest calls one can possibly receive from the Lord, and why material gain was never a factor in our ventures.

We certainly cannot take credit for what God has done in the lives of our children, but I believe we have helped in the process.
Beautiful story, isn't it? This is exactly what hubby and I are doing. We are trusting God for this type of response from our children. It would be awesome when we'd be the ones telling the same story in the near future! In the meantime, it takes a lot of hard work to model for our children how it is to "live on mission" in this world of ours!!!

I only have this one chance to mold my children... I can't go back! I feel that it is of utmost importance to get this parenting thing right. The book ends with some very encouraging words which makes this whole concept of becoming a "world changing family" quite doable. Here are those words:
God sent His only Son to bring us salvation, and look who He used to help get the job done. Not anybody important. No one considered outrageously successful. Some common fishermen. A tax collector. Workers. Ordinary. Never had a course in public speaking. Just obedient. Yet they set the course for changing the world.
So, what am I waiting for? I say, LET'S GET ROLLING!!!

Memory Verse Monday #34

This is a bit late as we were away on vacation. While on vacation, I was able to do some reading. I read 'Becoming A World Changing Family' by Donna S. Thomas. The book starts by asking if we have a mission statement for our family. Well, as a matter of fact, we do have one and it is going to be today's verse for Memory Verse Monday.

Joshua 24:15 (NLT)
... as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.

Quite simple, really! But quite profound at the same time. A blog post about the book I read will be following shortly.