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.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Let the Music Pla, Music Pla, Music Pla...

I'm going a bit 'retro' this morning....  I grew up playing records.... big, black vinyl records.  (I did have a cool red one and might have even had one with a picture on it, but for the most part, they were black...)  The first records I bought were produced by K-Tel.  (Dynamite and Canadian Mint as I recall.) 

Records were great until they got scratched. Once they were scratched, the needle would skip and the record would play the same phrase over and over until you lifted the needle and moved it past the skip.

I had a conversation with a friend this week.  We were discussing how to help people who face recurring issues in their lives.  We see it far too often in our work.  Good people with great potential get 'stuck' at a point in their lives.  Their loss, pain, injustice, failure or setback affects them like a scratch on an old record.  Sadly, they seem oblivious to the seriousness of their situation.  For them, what could be an opportunity to be wiser, stronger, better equipped and aware, becomes a recurring phrase in the soundtrack of their lives.  It sounds like this.... my life was good and then the b-bad thi, b-bad thi, b-bad thi.. until someone mercifully picks up the needle and moves it ahead of the scratch. 

I'm not making fun of people who have had bad things happen in their lives.  I want to help them get past their pain so they can move forward towards what God has in store for their lives. If you are reading this,  and your past is affecting your present and future negatively, I have good news for you!

You were made to be an overcomer!  You were made to live free from the pain of your past!  Your past can be a building block for you future if you let it!  

Ask Jesus to heal the 'broken' part of your past that you keep replaying and reliving.  Ask him to turn your mourning into dancing and your sorrow into joy so that you can move forward into the goodness and greatness of all that God has for you!

He's written a beautiful sound track for your life!  Get past the skip and let the music play on!





Thursday, February 06, 2014

Back To The Legislature We Go!

The BC Legislature resumes sitting on Tuesday with the Throne Speech.  This will mark the 2nd Session of the 40th Parlaiment.  While we won't know until Tuesday what the government's priorities will be for the coming year, we are happy to share our prayer focus themes with you in advance.  On Tuesday of this week, a group of intercessors prayed on the grounds of the Legislature asking God to work in the following ways.  While we've prayed privately on the grounds before, this is the first time we are publishing the content of what we prayed.  We invite you to pray along with us!

Leading Influence Prayer Initiative - February 2014
 “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”      
                                                                                                            Isaiah 55:11 (ESV)


Psalm 72

·         Pray that the government would lead with wisdom and grace.

·       For a compassionate and generous response to those who are most at risk in our province: Youth, Homeless, those struggling with Mental illness, the disenfranchised

·      For wisdom, revelation and development of a strategy that would form policies and legislation to combat child poverty in our province as it is the highest in our nation

·    That the government would continue to develop policies and legislation in the upcoming session that would be beneficial to families

·     We pray for harmonious positive relationships that will bring together parents, teachers, school trustees to achieve long-term labour stability in our classrooms so that the education of our greatest natural resource, our children, is achieved.

·    Pray for continued discipline that will produce a balanced budget and strike a balance between reducing taxes and cost for families, investing in programs and services while reducing provincial debt.

·         Pray for wisdom, revelation and understanding to reduce the ongoing challenges in the global and domestic economies and that these economies would begin to flourish

·  That the government would balance Economic Development and meet appropriate environmental concerns.

·   For wisdom in allocating resources to the appropriate needs in light of the increasing expectations and demands.

·         For the success of a diversified and sustainable approach to job creation and that a needed 94,000 jobs would be created in our province.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

On Hardship and Suffering

I don't often talk about suffering.  Suffering is hard.  Suffering hurts.  Suffering and hardship are difficult to understand.  Suffering opens questions that are often very hard to answer.  Why do bad things happen to good people???

Here are some things that I've come to understand are true.

1) Suffering is part of life in a messed up world.  No one escapes it.  Everyone is touched by hardship, setbacks, pain, sickness and loss. 

2) God uses suffering to accomplish His purposes in our lives.  This is not to say that He uses suffering in a punitive way to 'teach us a lesson', although there are times when that may happen.  What I am saying is that God allowing suffering in our lives just to watch us suffer seems outside of His care and love for us.  God's purpose in suffering is always to point us to Him and to conform us into His image.  That process never ends and for that reason, there is always a measure of suffering somewhere in our lives.
  
3) Suffering comes for a seasonCheck this verse  out from Psalms,  'weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. (30:5) You may be in the middle of your dark night, but morning will come and so will the end to whatever you are suffering through. Suffering is not forever for the Christian. 

4) Suffering provides the opportunity to overcome. Not everyone who experiences suffering embraces the opportunity to overcome.  In some cases, they embrace their suffering to such an extent that it becomes their identity.  I love the way Paul writes about being pressed but not crushed, persecuted but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed.  He recognizes reality but is looking towards a truth that is far more powerful than what he currently faces.  He was made to overcome and so are you!

5) Overcoming suffering is more art than science.  No one likes a 4 point check-list to overcoming when the wheels have fallen off your life but there are some foundations you can count on when your world is turned upside down.  

a) Romans 8:28 tells us that God works ALL THINGS together for our good.  Never forget that God is ALWAYS doing more than you think He is.  He is constantly at work on your behalf!  
b) God responds to our faith!  Stop telling God how big your problems are and start telling your problems how big your God is!  Things will start to change in you and then they will start to change for you because that's how God works.  The battle that rages is not over what your outward circumstances are but on what will ultimately happen inside of you.  Faith will either grow and be refined or it will be snuffed out in your life based on how you respond to suffering.

c) Never give up!  I love how Jesus shows up in the darkest, most critical times to do something amazing!  Expect the unexpected as you go through your trial and hardship.  He will turn your sorrow into joy!


Wednesday, January 08, 2014

In the News... Article in 'The Testimony'

This is an article in the most recent version of 'The Testimony'.  The Testimony is published by the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.  I hope you enjoy it!

Ministering to politicians isn’t at the top of most people’s agendas— but it is for Tim Schindel and thousands of prayer partners supporting the activities of Leading Influence.  (LI) Ministries. LI was launched in 2007 out of British Columbia with a primary focus on serving provincial politicians— honouring the impact of their
God-given roles by supporting them in prayer and influencing their lives and decisions for God’s glory and purposes.
Tim, LI’s founder and full-time chaplain, shares how the vision to expand to all of Canada has been unfolding.

t: What was the primary motivation for launching LI?
TS: The vision for LI came as a result of a long process that was a combination of shifting passion and new doors of opportunity opening while others were closing. It was hard to understand at the time, but I began to see God connect fresh passion and vision to the open door that would allow me to fulfil it. Our vision and mission are to be a positive spiritual influence in the lives of our political leaders, reaching them with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have no political agenda but are relationally focused and have friends on both sides of the legislature. There are approximately 1,150 elected officials at provincial and federal levels
in our country. Reaching them results in tremendous kingdom impact across Canada.

t: Where does Leading Influence serve?
TS: We launched in B.C. full time in 2007, and in January 2013, we launched in Alberta. We are in serious discussions to add a third western province in 2014. (Saskatchewan) When that happens, our ministry footprint will extend to just over 225 MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly). Our vision remains
to establish what we are doing in B.C. and Alberta across the country, and we are eager to fulfil that task. If you would like to get involved with us, please contact our office [LI website provided at the end of this article].

t: Do political changes impact the approach that’s being taken by LI?
TS: Leading Influence functions on the basis of relationship, not political ideology.  Our approach is simply to meet and befriend people and demonstrate the love and goodness of Jesus to them through honour, kindness, personal interest and prayer. As my role has become more established, we’ve been able to build bridges and establish trust. Over time, conversations about God’s care, interest and concern for politicians as
people are no longer intimidating for them, and inevitably a door of opportunity for ministry opens to us.

t: Can you name some developments you’ve seen as a direct answer to LI’s prayers and influence?
TS: We’ve seen God do some pretty amazing things in response to the prayers of His people.
Unfortunately, most of those answers related to personal and confidential matters. That said, let me tell you about what happened in the last B.C. provincial election. In late March, we launched a prayer campaign. For 60 days prior to election day, we sent out a short prayer that focused in some way on the decision that British Columbians were about to make. Our central theme was to ask God to give us leaders after His own heart. It was incredible to see God at work as the poll results came in. Because we had done candidate research, we knew which candidates in each riding were either Christians or, at the very least, “faith friendly.” We saw approximately 13 to15 Christians elected that night. That number represents nearly 15 per
cent of the seats in B.C. Some of those elected won their seats by narrow margins in ridings where they should not have won at all. It’s important to understand that the results aren’t an indication of God’s political preferences. Good people who love Jesus are represented in every political party in our legislature. I believe that the results speak to God’s willingness to give us leaders after His heart when His people dare to ask at the right time.

t: Politicians are still generally perceived with mistrust. What’s your take on this?
TS: I just checked the Reader’s Digest “Most Distrusted Professions” list, and politicians come right behind psychics. But I have seen politicians who make tremendous personal sacrifices so they can help people. I’ve yet to meet someone who is involved politically so they can benefit personally. Most members work 50 to 60 hours a week, including evenings and weekends away from their families. Cabinet ministers work 60 to 70 hours a week and, in most cases, are away from home four to five days a week. When they do come home, they have to catch up on all of their community responsibilities. It’s hard and taxing work. (pun intended)

t: What are some of the needs that politicians have? How can we support them more effectively?
First things first: politicians need us to pray for them (1 Timothy 2:1). If you live in B.C. or Alberta, (and very soon in Saskatchewan) you can track along with us in praying for political leaders by visiting either www.praybc.com or www.prayab.com. You can also follow us on Twitter or Facebook.
This is not just “the right thing” to do; it is remarkable to see how many times our specific prayer is exactly what the member needs at that time. Last spring I walked into the dining room for lunch, and the member
we were praying for that day rushed over to meet me and thank me. He said, “It was exactly what I need today.” What makes it even more remarkable is that the prayers are written and scheduled weeks in advance. It’s a great way to be a blessing to the political leaders who serve you.

Secondly, express your thanks and gratitude. Political life is generally a thankless task. Stopping by with a card that says “Thanks for your hard work” will produce amazing results. Not only will your representative feel appreciated, but you will also open the door to further relationship. Proverbs 18:16 provides
insight into the power of gratitude.

Offer to serve. Most politicians have community focus/feedback groups. You don’t necessarily have to share their political views in order to participate. Most decisions affecting your community at that level are made based on the feedback that comes out of those groups. It becomes a win-win situation.

Tim Schindel is the founder of Leading Influence Ministries. He lives in Victoria, BC, with his wife, Barb, and their three children, Brittany, Zack and Tyler. In his spare time, Tim loves to run, ride his motorcycle, and
watch his sons play baseball. For more information on LI, please visit www.leadinginfluence.com 

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Like a lot of people, this is the time of year where I like to reflect on what has been and look forward to what I believe can happen over the coming year.  2013 was a year of growth, surprises and challenges.  In many ways, the year was better than anything I would have dared to hope, think or imagine. 

On a personal level, 2013 was amazing!   Barb and I celebrated our 25th anniversary.  God has been good to us in the past 25 years.  3 fantastic kids, tremendous blessings on many fronts and we remain madly in love!   I bought Barb a new ring with a bigger and better diamond to replace the one that accidentally got lost last Christmas.  I ran 1000 miles.  What's most surprising is that 3 years ago, I hadn't run 5kms in a year for many years!  Running has been a tremendously good thing for me in so many ways.

On a ministry level, 2013 was nothing short of incredible!  We launched two provinces (Alberta and Saskatchewan), ran a hugely successful prayer campaign during the BC election that resulted in approx. 15 Christians elected to serve as MLAs for the next 4 years.  Today we care and lead prayer movements for over 220 MLAs in 3 provinces.  It's an incredible privilege and honor! 

Our plans for 2014 are to launch in Manitoba and Ontario.  The size of the challenge in accomplishing those goals is a bit like eating an elephant.  My good friend often reminds me that there's only one way to eat an elephant.  You do it one bite at a time!  That said, it's a lot of elephant and it will only be with God's help and grace that we will see our vision of providing pastoral ministry to provincial and federal political leaders across the country.  The size of the vision remains a daunting challenge, but one that I am confident we will see fulfilled as we stay faithful to the call and cause.

I have two 'life verses' that shape my thinking and living..  The first is Jer. 29:11 - 'For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a future.'  The second verse is Eph 3:20.  I love the way the KJV presents it..  Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us...'

These verses remind me of several things...

1) God is FOR me, not against me.  (And if God is for me, who can be against me?)

2) God's plan is to PROSPER me.  His plan is IMPROVE my situation and my circumstances.  I know some people don't agree and want to spin the message to mean something else, but when the scriptures say He has a plan to prosper me, that's good enough for me....

3) God is always ABLE!  This truth gives me hope that sustains me over and over again.  Regardless of what I may see in front of me, God is always able to intervene.... and He is able to do it in dramatic and remarkable fashion.... 'exceedingly, abundantly above all we are able to ask or think...'

4) God always works in PARTNERSHIP! We see the fruit of God's plans and ability when we work in partnership with him.  These things happen 'according to the power that works in us....'  I love the fact that God is committed to a partnership with you and me.  It keeps things 'real'!  While He is always able, He chooses to engage us in a meaningful way in His incredible plan!  What an amazing honor and privilege to partner with the ONE who is always able! 

My prayer for you in 2014 is that you would experience the 'exceedingly abundant, above all we are able to ask or think...' goodness and blessing of God in 2014 as you partner with HIM in this coming year!


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Christmas Story


I read this story earlier today in a church newsletter.  It is well published on the Internet with no known source.  I hope you enjoy it!
 
This is a story of a young pastor. His church was old. Long ago it had flourished. Famous men had preached from its pulpit, prayed before its altar. Rich and poor alike had worshiped there. Now the good days had passed from the sections of town where it stood. But the pastor and his wife believed in their rundown church. They felt that with paint, hammer and faith they could get it into shape. Together they went to work.

Late one December, a severe storm whipped through the river valley and the worst blow fell on the little church. A huge chunk of rain soaked plaster fell out of the inside wall just behind the altar. The pastor and his wife swept away the mess, but they couldn’t hide the ragged hole. His wife despaired, “Christmas is only two days away!”

That afternoon the dispirited couple attended an auction held for a local youth group. The auctioneer opened a box and shook out a handsome gold and ivory tablecloth. It was a magnificent item, over 4 metres long. There were a few half-hearted bids, then the pastor was seized with a great idea and he placed the winning bid of $6.50.

He carried the cloth back to the church and tacked it up on the wall behind the altar. It completely hid the hole. Its shimmering handiwork was a fine holiday glow over the presbytery. It was a triumph.

Just before noon on Christmas Eve as the pastor was opening the church he noticed a woman standing in the cold at the bus stop. “The bus won’t be here for 40 minute,” he called and he invited her in to get warm. She told him that she had come from the city that morning to be interviewed for a job as a governess to the children of a wealthy family, but had been turned down. She was a war refugee and spoke imperfect English.

The woman sat in the pew and prayed. She looked up as the pastor began to adjust the great gold and ivory lace cloth across the hole. She rose suddenly and walked to the steps of the chancel. The pastor smiled and started to tell her about the storm damage but she didn’t seem to listen. She took up a fold of the cloth between her fingers.

“It is mine” she said. “It is my banquet cloth.” She lifted up a corner of the cloth and showed the pastor that there were initials monogrammed on it. “My husband had the cloth made especially for me in Brussels. There could not be another like it.”

For the next few minutes, the woman and the pastor talked solemnly together. She explained that she was Viennese and that she and her husband had opposed the Nazis and decided to leave Austria. They went separately. Her husband put her on a train for Switzerland. They planned that he would join her as soon as he could arrange to ship their household goods across the border. She never saw him again. Later she heard that he had died in a concentration camp.

“I’ve always felt that it was my fault to leave without him. Perhaps these years of wandering have been my punishment...” The pastor tried to comfort her and urged her to take the tablecloth but she refused and then she left.

As the church began to fill for Christmas Eve, it was clear that the cloth was going to be a great success. It had been skillfully designed to look its best by candlelight. After the service the pastor stood at the doorway and many people told him that the church looked beautiful. One gentle faced middle aged man, the local clock and watch repairman looked rather puzzled.

“It is strange,” he said in his accent. “Many years ago my wife – God rest her – and I owned such a cloth. In our home in Vienna, my wife put it on the table only when the Bishop came to dinner.”

The pastor became very excited. He told the watchmaker about the woman who had been in church earlier that day. The startled man clutched the pastor’s arm. “Can it be?” Where does she live?’

Together the two got in touch with the family who had interviewed the woman. Than in the pastor’s car they started for the city. And on Christmas Day, this man and his wife who had been separated so many years were reunited.

To all who have heard this story, the joyful purpose of the storm that had knocked a hole in the wall of the church was now clear. People said it was a miracle, but I think you will agree it was the season for it!