Re:treat - 08

March 15th, 2008

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Sorry about the terrible picture, but the retreat went great. We had lots of fun and great worship led by Andy and the Re:Band. I am always surprised by how fantastic retreats are. Leah and Mike did a great job putting the weekend together, it is great to be surrounded by such high quality people.

As for the messages, Stephen Irwin describes them HERE on his blog. I am not sure how effective the messages were yet. The messages geared towards us becoming us a missionary people. I guess I wont know how effective the speaking was until I see how people apply the things we talked about.

Thank you to all who prayed, I really needed it. And thank you to Mark Jones who somehow got his hands on Mountain Dew and blessed me with a can for breakfast each morning:-)

Quick Prayer Request

March 5th, 2008

This weekend I am speaking at out church retreat.  I would really appreciate prayer both as I continue to prepare and for a significant weekend for our church.

Thank you to all those who pray…

Who Cares?

March 4th, 2008

These past few weeks of ‘silence’ have been some of the most challenging and personally enlightening days of Re:Hope. Times of tragedy and challenge can be profound in revealing what we are actually made of.

2 weeks ago, 25-year-old Chris Gaston died suddenly in his sleep without warning instantly stunning his family, our church, and all who knew him. The family invited me to travel to Northern Ireland to preach about Jesus to what turned out to be just under 600 people- half of whom didn’t believe in Jesus. (the memorial service in Northern Ireland can be listened to in it’s entirety HERE- I start talking around the 16:30 mark.)

Two days later, our church did a combination memorial service and church service for Chris hosting many from the Glasgow School of Art who came to remember Chris (the message can be listened to HERE.)

This season has revealed that we are a church who cares, who really do love one another. This season has revealed hidden pastoral gifts amongst the people of our church as they choose to pursue one another and listen and cry and sit with one another. This season has revealed our urgency as messengers of essential and good news.

As a church we grieve with Tony (Chris’ brother) and his family. In life Chris was loved and gracious… Not a day goes by I am not thinking about Chris and his family…

May our father of compassion, the one who is close to the broken-hearted be close to you.

I care…

Preaching Jesus

February 11th, 2008

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Two or three years ago Mike Strunk, of Christ’s Church Federal Way, Washington, gave me a simple book penned by John Piper entitled, “The Passion of Jesus Christ.” A more precise title would be, “50 Ways Jesus is Good News.” Each ‘chapter’ is a brief 2-page reflection on a specific verse that identifies a significant aspect of what was accomplished on the cross and why Jesus had to die.

We know some of the more ‘normal’ ones:

To save us from our sins.
To make peace between us and God.
To rescue us from slavery to sin and death.
To redeem us.
To Forgive our sins.
To make for himself a people of his own possession zealous for good works.

Some less common ones would be:

To redeem us from the futile way of life passed down by our ancestors.
To no longer live egocentric lives but to live for him.
To show that the worst evil is meant by God for good.
To free us from bondage to the fear of death.

As I preach, I want every message to come back to at least one gospel truth—one reason to celebrate Jesus. I find in Pipers tiny book, an amazing resource for going a bit deeper in the many faceted great truths about Jesus. Thanks Mike.

A brief answer.

January 26th, 2008

the riddle… The car I was sitting the test in had the possibility of a recall, yet as it turned out the reason the owner was never notified was because his car didn’t have the recalled problem.

Since his car didn’t have the problem and thus never notified, there was no way to know that a letter was needed.  In fact just a few weeks earlier my previous instructor didn’t even comment about the car.

The car was legit.  The instructor, suspect.
Annoying.

Boxing and Bits

January 23rd, 2008

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Kellie and I are up to our eyeballs in boxes as we prepare to move flats!!!

I will be posting more about our church as we get back up and running in a week or two, but as for now you can pray for our transition as we up and move.

Some Church News Bits:

We had a ton of new visitors this week.  They seem to be having a better experience now that there is heat again. Actually everyone seems to be having a better time. This past Sunday people seemed in no rush to go and many stayed for several hours after church.

Our banner sign was destroyed in a windstorm last week (it is always something) but we should have a brand new metal sign up this week.

There have been some amazing answers to prayers in our church these first 3 weeks of the year. Specific prayers clearly and obviously answered. This has been a great encouragement to us all that God is still moving and hearing prayers.

Hope this New Year finds you well. I will be writing next from our next flat… until then.

A Riddle

January 17th, 2008

For those who don’t know, I had my second attempt at my UK drivers test this week. All I can say is the following riddle in response to the question everyone is asking.

I did not Pass

I did not Fail

I was there

What happened?

(The Driving Standards Agency, a fiend not a friend.)

The Wonderful Crisis (A Long Praise)

January 9th, 2008

Sunday morning about 2 hours before church was to start on the 6th of January, in the cold Scottish winter, our temporary heater stopped working. The building’s heating system had been vandalized over a year ago and the estimated fixing costs were between £15,000-30,000 (30,000-60,000US) from a heating expert we paid to look over the damage. The owners of our building said they were not going to fix it and we would have to make do, and so we gave up on the old system until we could purchase the building.

This autumn, Tim Shirley got us a great deal on a jet engine looking burner, which took a bit of the edge off. By November our jet engine was not quite getting the job done and so thanks to a generous gift we were able to have 4 radiant heaters installed. We would not have been able to make through the cold of November and December with out the combination of the two heating systems. But last Sunday the jet engine died, and I watched our people (whom I affectionately refer to as “the frozen chosen”) shiver and attempt to sing, but the cold was too much for most.

By God’s hidden hand of providence, and without warning, the current building owners sent some men over to the church and they repaired the vandalized chimney system. This gave Wade Thompson the inspiration to call together a work day to reassess the buildings boiler system and see what needed to happen in order to get it fixed. We assessed 6 things that needed to happen.

  1. The Chimney system was completely blocked from the vandals. Although the owners fixed the damage, they didn’t clear out the debris… inside were broom handles, huge bricks, and it was clogged tight with dirt and garbage.
  2. The radiator system needed to be cleaned out and refilled with water.
  3. The door on the boiler room needed to be fully rebuilt and reinforced.
  4. The Gas needed to be turned back on.
  5. We needed to get power to all the equipment.
  6. We needed to get all the ancient equipment to run after not operating since October 1st 2006 (our last day in the building before we had to move out… they day I shut it down.)

We are just a bunch of missionaries, without much money, and without some of these professional skills, and so we prayed. We prayed for the wisdom to understand what was normally out with our understanding. We prayed for God’s aid. We needed a miracle.

Nobody worked harder than Wade Thompson, he called people together and he lead the charge back into the boiler room, and single handedly took on the dirtiest and most difficult task of getting in that chimney and clearing it all out. I remember after several trips to the hardware store and hours and hours of work finally hearing him celebrate from the chimney “I see day light!” With those words we all gained hope that we just might be able to get this system working again.

Andy Ashworth was there every moment rebuilding the door and the door jam which had been completely destroyed by the vandals. He had help the first day with Mike Libolt and on the second with Guy Taylor. Those guys had to fight through obstacle after obstacle but finally we got the door fitted and fixed.

After several phone calls and testing many points throughout the system we discovered that the radiator system was not drained and instead still had the chemicals preserving the pipes from rusting and needing to be refilled, saving us a couple thousand dollars. Again good news raising our hopes for the impossible… working heat for our building for Sunday.

Stephen Irwin, among other things, got the gas up and running for us as well as continually getting us quotes from professional contractors for the water and electrical system.

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Speaking of the Electrical system, we discovered some major obstacles with the wiring. When some previous electrical work was done, the wires for the boiler pumps caught on fire and were cut. Quoted repair costs £668 plus tax, without any guarantee that anything would run after their work. We had until the end of the night to decide if we needed them or not. To make a long… very long story short. We kept discovering things were not as bad as we thought they were… and late last night got power to everything that needed power. I remember the moment Wade and Andy and I were in the boiler room looking at old switches from the 30’s or something. The power should be working but nothing was on, and then Wade flipped some random switch that shouldn’t have done anything and the pumps whirled to life!!! We all jumped like 3 feet, then stared at each other and started celebrating.

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So then we flipped the switch to turn on the boilers… the fan clicked on… we had wide eyes as we looked at each other waiting for the flame to come on… It didn’t happen. What? It should be working… We tried it again… fan…off. We stood there for a few minutes thinking what else could possibly need to be done. Occasionally we would push the button again simply because we had no other ideas. And then one time, the fan didn’t shut off and we looked inside the ancient boiler and saw a tiny flame which grew and grew and grew until it blazed. We laughed, we cheered, we took pictures, we thanked God. I have been walking around on cloud 9 ever since 11 last night.
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This was God giving us insights. This was God’s people’s generosity from the other side of the world coming at the right time. I want to say a special thank you to the generosity of God’s people at Christ’s Church in Federal Way, Washington, and at the 3rd Christian Reformed Church in Lynden, Washington, who gave sacrificially and generously towards our heating crisis. Thank you. I also want to thank God for the team of missionaries whom God has brought together here in Glasgow. This was true Synergy with our team doing together that which exceeded the sum total of our talents and abilities. Thank you for all your hard work.

The fire still burns!!! There will be heat for Sunday!!! God is glorious and I am completely wowed by his sovereign hand at work globally to bring us to this point the very week our temporary heating system died.

God you are amazing! You have done great things for us, and we are filled with joy and awe! Thank you.

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The Rest

December 29th, 2007

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This week I have rested. I have just relaxed and spent time with family and friends. It is amazing how stopping brings better perspective and a renewed spirit.

This rest has been made possible by having such a fantastic and diverse team. Tomorrow Wade Thompson will be preaching and I will be doing much less. Andy and Wade have been threatening me that if I didn’t take a break soon they would “Force Quit” me… I don’t know what that means but I decided to pull a “Pre-emptive Strike” (yes, I was born in America) and choose this as a week of rest.

I am excited about Monday, when a few of us are going to spend time working on, in, and around the old boiler room at the church. Who knows, maybe we can get more heat in our building. That would be fantastic.

This year has been filled with obstacles, challenges, and HUGE answers to prayer. I am so glad to be here. God has been good to us and I am so thankful for this church, my team, and all who are making this church possible. May God bless you all.

FAILED

December 18th, 2007

See Last Blog Post…

>>>this added after reading the comments…