Monday, September 29, 2014

Transform Our World Conference

Barb and I had the privilege to spend the better part September 19 with Dr. Ed Silvoso from Transform Our World.  God is using Dr. Silvoso all around the world to bring spiritual and social transformation to communities and nations by working with political and business leaders.  Over breakfast he encouraged us both to attend his upcoming conference in Hawaii.  While I smiled and said that I would like to go, the cost of attending made it seem impossible.... until the next day when the Transform Your World Conference in Victoria received an offering to send Barb and I to Hawaii.  We are overwhelmed by the generosity of the church in Victoria and your confidence in us. We have never been to Hawaii and the excitement around this trip is growing by the minute!! 

We have high expectations for what God has in store at this conference and believe that our personal and ministry grids are about to be expanded!!  It is an incredible blessing and opportunity for us to be there.  We can hardly wait!!


He vs. She - The Rubber Match


After a hard fought battle last year, the 3rd Annual He vs.She Half-Marathon looms large on the horizon.  This epic fundraising battle of the sexes between Tim and Barb happens again this fall, culminating with the Good Life Half Marathon on Oct 12.  In year 1, Tim had some last minute help to get him over the top!  Last year, Barb got some significant help from her 'California Cousins' to put her over the top.  This year... it's anyone's challenge!!

The plan is simple.  Sponsor the participant of your choice on either a per/km basis or at a flat rate. A half marathon is 21 kms, so a $5/km pledge is a $105 commitment, $10/km is $210. 

Bragging rights and the right to be called 'Champ' for the entire year are on the line!  You get to decide who holds the title!!

Our goal for this fundraiser is $5500. It is a planned part of our regular budget that helps us provide ministry to MLAs.  This is a fantastic way for those of you who believe in what we do but don't often have the opportunity to get to a local fundraiser to support the work of Leading Influence.  We need and value your financial partnership!

Make your pledge by clicking here!  Thanks for your support! 

Pledge deadline is October 12 at midnight!

Please Welcome Uve Knaak!

I love how God makes things happen!  At the beginning of summer, our Chaplain position in Alberta became vacant.  Rather than beginning an intense search and recruiting process, I really felt like I was to wait until the fall.  I confess that I'm not a very good 'waiter', but in this case, God reminded me of something that He taught me within our first few weeks in Victoria.  Waiting is not wasting my time.  Waiting is giving God the freedom to work in a situation without my getting in the way.  My job is to stay focused on what He has asked me to do, while He does His job and works things out behind the scenes.

Over the course of the summer, I met Uve Knaak, (OooVay) through a mutual friend.  Uve asked about Leading Influence and Alberta in particular.  I mentioned that we had a ministry opportunity open in Edmonton and we began a conversation about his potential involvement with us.  Uve is a soon to be retired Senior VP with Canadian Western Bank.  For the past 25 years he has worked in leadership development and as an Executive Coach.  As a bonus, he also has a theology degree from Briercrest College and spent several years as a pastor.  Uve is a perfect fit for our team and will be a tremendous blessing to MLAs in Alberta and to Leading Influence across Canada.  We are very happy to have Uve and Rose join our team and welcome them to the Leading Influence team.

Uve's first day in the Alberta Legislature will be November 17! If you live in Alberta and would like to connect with him, you can reach him at uve@leadinginfluence.com  




The Next Step: Sea2Sea

God is moving in an exciting way in Leading Influence Ministries, and we want to keep you informed and involved!
As we begin our 8th year of ministry, God continues to use Leading Influence to touch the lives of leaders across Canada. This year, we added a new Chaplain in Saskatchewan and three new prayer networks. Today our ministry’s footprint extends from BC to Ontario, so to put it mildly, God’s helping us cover Canada, and we've just begun this adventure!

Last year, our board approved a Strategic Plan that included a provision for my role to change within the ministry.  In order for Leading Influence to reach our leaders from sea to sea, my role needs to shift from ministry delivery in BC, to ministry development across the country.  The current plan is to share my delivery role in BC with someone here in Victoria, and as my development role grows, I will focus exclusively on ministry development and growth across the country. Part of this growth includes the continuation of working with provincial elected officials, but also engaging with civic leaders across Canada.  As we reach cities, we reach regions. And as we reach regions, we impact the nation. The opportunities and possibilities to increase God’s influence through practical support and prayer for our leaders is endless and we believe it is time to pursue them.

We need your support to make this happen and to support our Sea2Sea initiative. Our goal is to raise an additional $2000 in monthly support which will enable us to expand our work across Canada.  I’ve made a personal commitment to this campaign of $100/month. We’re asking you to consider a minimum 2 year monthly partnership commitment at whatever amount you choose to give. Your support will make this next part of the vision a reality!  

Click here to make your pledge.  We need you on our team!


Monday, June 30, 2014

Top 10 Things We Should Pray For Government




Happy almost Canada Day!  We live in an incredible country that is tremendously blessed in so many ways!  We are blessed to live in Canada and to call ourselves Canadians!  

Yesterday was Government Prayer Sunday in Canada.  I had the privilege of speaking at Church of Our Lord in Victoria.  I spoke on 'Why We Should Pray For Government'.  If you click the title of the message, you can see the actual sermon, but I've also provided some notes if you'd just like to get a sense of what I talked about.




Why Should We Pray for those in Government?
That we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness…’   1 Tim 2:1,2

What Should We Pray for those in Government?        (Ps 72)

Top 10 Things We Should Pray for Government

1)  God would give them His love for justice v. 1

2)  Commitment to Righteousness v. 1b

3)  That they would have Compassion for the Poor v.2

4)  Fear of God would be present in their: v. 5
a.   Lives
b.   Deliberations
c.   Leadership

5)  Their leadership would be a blessing (refreshing) to our cities, province and nation v. 6

6)  Godly would flourish v. 7a

7)  Our land would know abundant prosperity v. 7b

8)  Our leaders would receive favor and honor from friends and adversaries alike.  v. 9, 10

9)  They will help the oppressed.  v. 12

    10)  They will rescue the weak and needy v. 13

How Should We Pray?
     1) Fervently! - the prayer of a righteous man avails much! James 5:16

     2) Without ceasing! - 1 Thes 5:17

What Happens When We Pray For Government?
1)  God responds to our prayers!
a.   Surprising things happen when we ask God to impact our leaders
b.   Policy Changes, Direction Changes, Government Changes

2)  God Changes our ATTITUDE!

3)  God Touches Our Leaders

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Leaders and Character

Leaders do not elicit trust unless one has confidence in their values and competence [including judgment] and unless they have a sustaining spirit [entheos] that will support the tenacious pursuit of a goal. Not much happens without a dream.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Thinking About .... Prostitution

It's been a while since the Government of Canada struck down the law on prostitution effectively leaving our nation without a clear legal position.  Since then a number of groups have sprung advocating a variety of positions on the issue.  Some say we should legalize.  Some want to adopt the 'Nordic Model'.  Others share variations on a theme.  Still others want to go back to punishing women who participate in the sex trade.

It seems to me that women who are involved in the sex trade aren't there because they enjoy selling their bodies to strangers.  Most are there because there is no viable option for them. They are caught in a trap of exploitation, abuse and oppression. We need to rethink our approach to the entire issue.

Consider this... in many cases the only option these women have to feed themselves and their children is to sell their bodies.  If our approach is simply to punish buyers or sellers to the point where they can no longer do business, what happens to these women?  How do they provide for themselves and for those who depend on them?  

We need to talk about the WHY behind prostitution.  In most cases the WHY has nothing to do with sex.  Sex is simply a commodity that is being sold to address another issue.  Most women who are involved in the sex trade are impoverished.  For a variety of reasons, they are trapped in the prison of poverty.  Those reasons can be anything from a lack of education, to a lack of opportunity, to physical/mental health issues, to exploitation, to addiction and the list goes on....  The real issue in prostitution is POVERTY.

If we are serious about ending prostitution in our country, we need to get serious about ending systemic poverty.  In most cases, our approach to poverty is to provide charity. I'm not against charity, but I will never forget the wise words of a friend who told me that a money problem generally can't be solved with money.  Overcoming poverty requires us to address the root issues.  Ultimately, poverty is connected to a combination of mindset, a lack of support, education and finally opportunity.

What we think about ourselves profoundly affects what we believe about who we are.  If someone believes that poverty is as good as it gets for them, then poverty will be all they ever know.  Changing the way people enslaved in poverty think about themselves and their world is the first step to lifting them out of poverty.  Because I am a Christian, I default to the words of Jesus and the scriptures when I look for solutions to issues around me.  The bible teaches me that I am transformed by the renewing of my mind.  In other words, as I reshape my thinking, I see my life and world transformed.  For me, that shift in thinking is directly connected to embracing the words and teaching of Jesus.  For others, they will embrace someone else's teaching and hope for the same results. Sometimes they see them.  Sometimes they don't.

There are people in poverty who have changed their thinking.  They just need support as they struggle to break free.  Here too, the scriptures are clear.  We need to support those who are in poverty, not just with our charity, but through supporting the efforts of those who are seeking to break free.  It's impossible, in my mind at least to claim to be a Christ follower and not be willing to support those who are seeking to break free of poverty.  Jesus is in the people-lifting business and so are we!

Education is a key in breaking the cycle of poverty.  Education includes everything from the most basic people and life skills through to skills training and post-secondary education if necessary.  Think about this for minute...  if you had no education, no marketable skills to enable you to earn a living wage, your options would be severely limited.  Your education affords you opportunities and advantages that people who haven't had that opportunity are without.  Women who are seeking a way out of systemic poverty and the sex trade need every educational resource we can provide so that they can establish a better and brighter course for themselves and their children. Some may say that the cost of education is too high but it pales in comparison to the costs that systemic poverty creates for our society.

Finally, women seeking to break free from the sex trade need an opportunity to transition to meaningful, gainful employment.  While those opportunities may come through the private sector, it's more likely that a fresh start will require some creative partnerships between government, the private sector and the not-for-profit world.  

The Church could and should have a significant role in what I am describing.  Governments will do what is politically expedient and palatable.  The Church is duty bound to fulfil it's mandate to care for the poor, the oppressed and disadvantaged.  While we need to preach the life changing power of the gospel, we have a moral obligation to break the chains of those who are oppressed and enslaved in systemic poverty.

So... before you sign a petition asking the government to 'do something' about the current situation, perhaps it's time to prayerfully consider YOUR PART in a proactive response to the worlds oldest profession.  Signing a petition is easy.  Intentionally supporting a woman who wants to break free of the sex trade is messy and difficult, but it's more likely what Jesus would do.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Definition of a King

I will tell His Majesty what a king is. A king does not abide within his tent while his men bleed and die upon the field. A king does not dine while his men go hungry, nor sleep when they stand a watch upon the wall. A king does not command his men’s loyalty through fear nor purchase it with gold; he earns their love by the sweat of his own back and the pains he endures for their sake. That which comprises the harshest burden, a king lifts first and sets down last. A king does not require service of those he leads but provides it to them. He serves them, not they him. (…)

That is a king, Your Majesty. A king does not expend his substance to enslave men, but by his conduct and example makes them free…I set down my life with gladness, and would do it again a hundred times, for (a bunch of the characters in the book). I and every man there were never more free than when we gave freely obedience to those harsh laws which take life and give it back again.

Pressfield - Gates of Fire

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Lessons from my Marathon

Several years ago, my best friend turned to me and said.... 'I'm fat! You're fat!  We should do something about that.'  Then he proposed a competition. He would find some other 'fattys' and challenge us all to a weight loss competition.  We each put in $100 and the first one to lose 10% of their body weight, would take the prize.  There were 7 of us that each put our money in.  I didn't win the pool, but I won something better.  After years of being a 'desk potato', I discovered that I really enjoyed running.  I started with walking and decided that I could burn more calories quicker if I began to run.  Like Forest Gump, I've been running ever since.  I've run 5 half marathons (21.1kms) and decided after the last one that I wanted more of a challenge.  My only option was to run a full marathon.  I signed up for the training program and began my marathon journey in January... in the dark... and in the rain!  Over the past few months, I increased my distances, strength and general health. On May 4, I ran my first marathon.  

I arrived at Queen Elizabeth Park early and huddled with the other runners under trees and building overhangs in a vain attempt to stay warm and dry.  By the time the gun went off, 'dry' was a memory and warm was only going to happen if I kept running for the next 4 plus hours.  I learned a lot about life on Sunday morning. Here are some highlights.

1) Sharing the journey makes it easier.  I had done all of my training runs alone.  On the morning of the race, I decided to talk with people as I ran instead of listening to music.  I asked questions, I laughed at jokes.  I bantered with people.  I listened, learned and I ran!  

2) 'I get by with a little help from my friends!'  I am blessed with good friends who took time to call and wish me well in the week coming up to the race and on the night before.  It meant a lot.  One even called during the race.  (I'd only take a call from a good friend or my wife during the race...)  His call at 38kms gave me a huge boost and I ran faster from that point on.  He helped me finish well!  

3) Encouragement is powerful!  At different spots along the race, people stood along the side walk and called out the names of runners as they went by.  There's nothing like hearing your name called by a random stranger when your muscles are tired and your legs are cramping!  A 'keep it going', 'you look strong' and 'you're almost there', kept me going when I wasn't having a lot of fun!  The high fives from kids and adults alike made the journey that much easier! Takeaway #3 - 'Be an encourager!'

4) Listen to the Music!  There were great bands playing along the way. At one point, we had just climbed a long hill and turned the corner to face another.  Right on the corner a drum line was working hard and providing us with a fantastic rhythm to power us up the hill.  It made a huge difference on the final climb and it was a lot of fun to listen to.  

5) Share the love.  In the last few kms, I decided that I would do my best to help other people finish.  I cheered, encouraged, nudged and did whatever else I could to help others finish well. A positive outlook is contagious!  

Monday, April 07, 2014

Across the Country

We've got some great things happening across Western Canada.  I was in Saskatchewan in early February for a visit with Barry Berglund who is our chaplain there.  The frosty weather (-52C) was no match for the warm reception we received at the Saskatchewan Legislature.  Barry is off to a great start and is connecting well with the MLAs there.  We recently launched PraySK through a daily blog, a FB page Pray SK and a daily email service.  PraySK has been received well and we are off to a great start.  If you would like to pray for MLAs in Saskatchewan you can find us through FaceBook or on the blog.  If you'd like to help in the important work of writing prayers, click here to let us know.

I'm excited about what is about to happen in Alberta.  Larry Lindoff has a great team of people around him who are committed to seeing Leading Influence become a tremendous success there.  A big shout out to Elaine Baillie and her team for all of your hard work in making PrayAB a tremendous success already.  Larry is just about to begin a fundraising campaign.  Please pray for him and the team as they undertake this important work that will allow him more freedom to focus on the important work God has called him to do among Alberta's political leaders.  If you live in Alberta and would like to join our team as a prayer partner, financial partner or by serving in some way, please click here and we'll get back to you right away.

Join Us For LeaderCast Victoria

The world is missing out. We could all be learning more. Living out our purpose. Leading and being led by people who inspire and enlighten us, give us strength and allow us to grow. Leadercast was built on a belief that the world needs better leaders—leaders worth following.  

Leading Influence is proud to be hosting LeaderCastVictoria at UVic on Friday May 9.  For more information and to purchase tickets, please click here to be taken to the LeaderCast Victoria site.

Prayer Breakfast Report

Well... I'm not entirely sure what happened to the last half of February and all of March, but here we are in the 2nd week of April.  Oh wait... I do know what happened!  The Legislature resumed sitting, I've had a fairly busy preaching schedule, a trip to Saskatchewan and we had to bump up our Prayer Breakfast by an entire month... Needless to say it's been a bit of a blur around here!

Let's start with the last week and work backwards.  We held our 8th Annual MLA Prayer Breakfast on April 2nd.  Once again, we had an exceptional response with 22 MLAs including 6 Cabinet ministers in attendance.  Many churches and businesses were represented and we had a strong show of support for the MLAs who came.  Our speaker this year was none other than Mr. O Canada, Mark Donnelly who is the anthem singer for the Vancouver Canucks.  It's safe to say that we've never sung the anthem more enthusiastically as Mark led us.

Following the breakfast, MLA Gordie Hogg arranged a tour for Mark through the Legislature.  Mark was an excellent guest and he graciously entertained caucus and staff alike by singing in various offices and hallways.  He was invited to open the afternoon session of the Legislature by singing the anthem and I was asked to open in prayer.  It was a fantastic day for Leading Influence!! 

We received the most exciting feedback from a pastor.  He mentioned that he sensed a connection with the MLA at his table and asked her if it would be okay if he prayed for her for the next year.  She readily agreed and the exchanged email addresses.  This is one of the many reasons that we do a Prayer Breakfast!

If you'd like to see pictures of our visit to the Legislature, visit the Leading Influence Page on FaceBook.