Friday, April 28, 2006

Person of My Life - My one and only - BARB!!

Barb and I were out walking our dog tonight and she asked me why I don't write about her. I told her that "it's not THAT KIND OF BLOG"... but I knew then that if I should write about anybody, it should be her.

Barb is absolutely amazing. There's all the basically amazing stuff that she can do... great musician, great worship leader, great mom, great teacher, great wife, great etc, etc, etc.... but that's not what really sets her apart in my mind. Ultimately, she is amazing because of WHO she is!

Barb is a fearless, courageous rock! For the longest time, she was resistant to change and risk, but this past fall, when we were wrestling with leaving the church and pursuing a new course in life and ministry, she was my biggest encourager and supporter. As we journeyed through the transition period, she was a sounding board, comforter and the "lifter of my head".

For years, she has put up with my impatience, outbursts of frustration, and other basic idiosyncracies. She is totally amazing. There is no one else who could/would have put up with me this long. She's a star in every way. I wish I could be a lot more like her in the way she handles life and deals with people in ways that are so much like Jesus.

Barb's my best friend, my hero and a rock that I can lean on. She's a lot like her mom! (... and that's a good thing....)

Chicken Little Evangelicalism

ALERT! Plans are in place for WorldPride 2006, one of the largest gatherings of Gays, Lesbians, and Bi-sexuals and transcendent in world history in the tiny city of Jerusalem. What a tragic testimony to the Jewish people!

In an article for Agape Press, Dr. Jerry Falwell (a member of the Jerusalem Prayer Team Board of Governors said when asked about the upcoming event in Jerusalem: "While the people involved [in WorldPride] are sincere, they must know that that the Judeo-Christian beliefs still see homosexuality as sin," he says. "After 2,000 years there has been no shift of opinion on the part of Christians and Jews who believe in the Bible."

According to one Gay Pride website: Jerusalem World Pride 2006 (WP), a week-long international event, is a unique opportunity to make a global statement of pride and tolerance. The message sent from Jerusalem World Pride will echo worldwide, redefining LGBT identity, faith, and vision. This boundary-crossing event will be a massive demonstration of LGBT pride and human rights.

The global homosexual gathering, organized by InterPride, the International Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered Pride Coordinators, was last held in 2000 in Rome, where it attracted about a quarter of a million participants. Images of the Rome festivities, featured on various homosexual websites, shows throngs of shirtless men in shorts and bikini briefs congregated on the streets, some of them holding hands.

If you have not signed the petition to encourage Mayor Lupolianski of Jerusalem to deny the parade permits for the WorldPride 2005 parade through the streets of Jerusalem, please sign today.

If you have signed the petition, please print copies, and make them available to your pastor, Sunday school class, Bible study group to sign and return to the Jerusalem Prayer Team, P. O. Box 210489, Bedford, TX 76095. You must be over 18 to sign.

Please forward this to everyone you know. We have passed 20,000 signers. If every signer enlists just 10 friends to sign the petition in the next seven days, and those 10 recruit 10, we will have two million signers to present to the city of Jerusalem.

It's no small wonder that the world sees us as being against everything and for virtually nothing. The reality is that it is stuff like this that has created and feeds the negative image that the church has in the NA media. The bulk of Canadians would prefer an Atheist or Muslim PM (see earlier post) over an evangelical because of the way we conduct ourselves on issues like this.

The church has a huge image problem because of stuff like this. The media portrays us as wanting to control everything that we disagree with. Frankly, what right do American evangelicals have to call for petitions about events that happen in other countries anyways? We would be better served in dealing with stuff like this if we were seen as being proactive and supportive of a whole lot of things and then we would have the credibility to say "Gee... I don't know if this is really such a good idea..." As it is every group that has goals and a message that is contrary to the message of Jesus can COUNT on the evangelical "chicken little's" of the world to proclaim that the proverbial sky is falling and we provide them with all the free publicity that they need to advance their cause.

Think about this for a second. Why would the mayor of Jerusalem care about a petition initiated and signed by NA evangelicals that are based in Texas? NA evangelicals might create a lot of tourist revenue, but they don't pay taxes,they don't vote and they don't even live there.

The message that this sends is counter productive to the great goals of the gospel. Who will be won or reached through this? NO ONE!! All it will do is burn bridges and re-inforce what most people already think about us. It's true that persecution will come, but when it's self inflicted because of our inability to see the consequences of our actions, that's of our own making.

I'd love to hear what you have to say on this! Comment away!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Free Love

Double post today - I found this in my draft file and thought I would post it just because...

Just about three years ago, our family was blessed (at least that's what I think most of the time...) with a mostly purebred yellow lab puppy. (She's mostly pure because she's not entirely pure, but who really cares...) Her name is Zoe. She loves to play fetch, go for walks, swim in any open water and "wrestle", although that part only happens with me. She is a loving, gentle and friendly dog who only barks at our neighbor Tom and only when he's in his back yard

I'm convincecd that God uses anything and everything to teach us the key lessons of life as He chooses. In the last few weeks, God has used Zoe to remind of some key components of His love. The first is that His love is free. In the same way that someone else paid the price for Zoe, God's love comes to us for free. It can't be earned or bought. It comes simply because He is God and He chooses to love us as we are, where we are and for who we are.

The second lesson of late is that love grows as a result of investment. We've invested in Zoe as a family. We've taken her for shots, fed her, walked her, put her in puppy classes, play with her and last but not least, clean up after her. Our investment pales in comparison to what God has done for us, but there are some striking similarities. Think about this in the same way that we look after Zoe, God looks after us. He cares for us, provides for us, engages us in so many ways and He constantly cleans up our many "messes". I'm thankful for all that He does, but I really appreciate the way He cleans up the messes I've made. (How about you?)

The final lesson for me is that love is about In my eyes, there aren't many dogs smarter, brighter or better than Zoe. To me, she's the ultimate dog. That's exactly how God sees you, me and everyone else. In Max Lucado's book, "The Applause of Heaven", he writes about how as we are running the race of life, God joins in with the great crowd of witnesses in Heb 12, rises to His feet and cheers for us by name. In Zepheniah the Bible says He "dances over us with singing". Pretty cool to think that God dances over you isn't it?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Here's a brief diversion to brighten your day.

Our son Tyler was watching a hockey game on TV several weeks ago when he saw the Cialis commercial where the couple arrives during the final number in the opera and gets to their seats seconds before the standing ovation. At that point the voiceover begins to say "Cialis". Ask your doctor if it's right for you." After playing 4 or 5 times, Tyler finally bursts out and says "What's Cialis? And why should I ask my doctor about it when I don't even know what it is?" (I've been dared to take him to the doctor and let him ask but haven't decided if that's a good idea yet...)

It's a fun story that speaks to the whole matter of saying one thing and having others not understand you. I think that's particularly true in terms of the church and the message of Jesus. What's not to love about forgiveness, mercy, grace, hope and another chance? And yet, it's pretty obvious that there's a huge difference between what we're saying and what the world around us hears us saying. Bridging the "message gap" requires more than speaking louder and slower (like we so often do with foreign tourists...) Bridging the gap requires an open heart, open hands and an open mind. It's hard to argue with authenticity, generosity and a willingness to engage people where they are and for who they are.

Gotta go take Tyler to the doctor.... :-)


Sunday, April 23, 2006

I’ve heard the re-telling of the story of Jesus calling his disciples more times than I can remember, but I’m seeing something fresh lately. In fact, it would be safe to say that I’m seeing the story in a whole new way. For example, Jesus invites them to “Come and follow” him. Following Jesus speaks about constant change. Jesus wasn’t exactly what you’d call a “fading flower” or a “homebody”. Nor is He now… Following implies moving and moving means the scenery of life is always changing. I’ve finally come to the powerful realization that following Jesus means that boldly going where you’ve never been before is the norm. Following is not for the faint of heart, but it’s the only place where the action really is!

The second “aha” in this passage has to do with the first part of a great promise that Jesus makes in the conversation. “He says, I will make you…” Up to this point, the disciples were fishermen. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that…) But choosing to follow Jesus meant that there would be some BIG changes coming, because Jesus is all about “making” us into someone new and fresh. What’s really amazing is that Jesus always makes us into better people with a bigger purpose than what we’ve ever been or had before. Not only that, but the “making” never ends, as long as we keep following Him. That being said, it only follows that if there is no fresh “making” in our lives, perhaps we’ve stopped following….

Finally, it strikes me that while on the one hand Jesus called the disciples to follow for a lifetime, on the other hand, they only really followed for 3 ½ years and then they began to lead. The underlying message for me is that if you are serious about following Jesus, at some point you are going to be a leader because that’s what He does with us. That’s why the bible calls us Kings and Priests in the New Testament and “the head not the tail” in the Old Testament. Leading is all about influencing. Influencing translates into guiding, bringing about positive change, proactive engagement and building bridges into new territory. What an exciting and incredible place to be!

Keep following - He will make you into a leader!!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Double post today - just to keep things fresh for you. We've made some big decisions at our house in the last week that have taken a ton of pressure off everyone in the family. We are still launching "Leading Influence Ministries" as scheduled and the plan to "go public" is still for September 1. What's changed is the plan to relocate to Victoria this summer. After visiting there last weekend we had a bit of a dose of reality when we were looking at real estate and decided that it would be best to sit tight on relocating until we've got a sound financial base to go with before we make the leap.

The stress levels in everyone's lives have dropped significantly. Barb is happy to continue working as a TA at a local school. Britt is happy to start High School with her friends. The boys are happy to not have to leave "the buddies" next door.

I'll be able to build the ministry from Kamloops in the short term and still establish the networks and relationships that matter from here. The plan is still to relocate because Victoria is the ideal location from which to do this, but it's really just best for us from a family perspective to do this at least a year from now.

In the meantime, I expect to file our incorporation papers on Monday, start sending fundraising letters later in the week and begin to line up speaking engagements for the fall.

Still going for it!


Thursday, April 20, 2006

I was just on a road trip for work. There aren't a lot of things to do in a small town in Alberta at the best of times, (especially after 6 on a Tuesday) so I took the time to catch up on some reading. I've been wading through Jeremiah lately and got it finished off this week. In a nutshell, Jeremiah is about the people of God going into a time of suffering and exile because of their constant wandering from the principles and plan of God for their lives. That sounds like a downer, but the book is also about God's great love for His people because the heartache and hardship was not so much about punishment as it was about restoration and re-alignment. That's the really cool thing about God's love. He never quits, gives up on us or writes us off. Instead He is constantly at work to bring us back to a place of intimacy with Him. That's the real story of Jeremiah. In the midst of all the crud that the people endure, there's this constant message from God saying "I've got a plan for you that is better than what you see right now and as you get re-connected with me, I will bring to reality."

I've been going through my own journey of "finding my feet" again as I prepare to launch into something new and fresh in terms of ministry. It's been an exciting journey as I'm re-discovering spiritual passion and purpose in my life. As the journey goes on, I'm seeing what God promises in Jeremiah become reality in my life. There's an amazing "hope and future" just around the corner that aligns with the vision and dreams that God has planted in my life in the area of leadership chaplaincy. This has been a wonderful opportunity to rethink, re-tool and refresh and I'm glad to have had it.
Beginning Again... by Bob Briner (with a few comments from me)

How do we begin?

First, we knock down the myth that somehow, through some sort of conspiracy, Christians are kept out of the executive suites. This makes a good excuse, but empirical evidence does not support it. For the most part, we are not there because we do not show up with the commitment, character and class to be there. We are not willing to become skilled enough to be there. Though still far too rare, there are too many examples of Christians who do serve with God-honoring distinction at the highest levels of business for this myth to be true.

Second, our churches, Christian colleges and parents must show young people that it is not only OK to aspire to a life of business leadership, but that it can be a life of service and ministry on at least the same level as the pulpit ministry or foreign missions. We must work very hard to begin instilling in all our people, particularly our young people, the concept of a fully integrated life in which our faith informs all we do. This would certainly include a life in business leadership.

Third, we must give committed Christians the skills necessary for a life of business leadership. In the same way we train missionaries to adapt to the culture in which they will be serving without compromising any of the Christian essentials, we need to begin training our business leadership missionaries in the skills necessary for success in the upper echelons of corporate America. This takes mentoring on the part of Christian businessmen, and it takes a new and much more rigorous effort on the part of our churches and Christian colleges.

We have done a relatively good job of serving before “obscure men.” Now it is imperative that many become skilled enough “to serve before kings.” We need this. Our society needs this. God’s Kingdom needs this.

Tim here - This stuff makes lights a fire deep inside of me everytime I read it because I think that Briner has captured the crux of the entire issue right here. It's all about being committed, intentional and focused. Doors open to people with initiative and drive. I'm tired of sitting on the sidelines and watching other people shape the world in a way that suits their social agenda because we don't bother to pick up the challenge and run with it ourselves.

Tune in for more tomorrow - I've got some fresh stuff out of Jeremiah for you!


Monday, April 17, 2006

Politics, Faith Bad Mix?

I smiled when I saw the headline on today’s Kamloops Daily News because I knew exactly what I would be writing about today. Apparently Canadians are becoming increasingly uneasy about mixing politics and religion. A recent poll done for CanWest News Service last week showed that only 63% of Canadians said they’d vote for a party leader and potential prime minister who is an evangelical Christian, even if they liked the party and it’s views. That shows a drop from 80% 10 years ago.

Janice Tibbets (CanWest Reporter) notes that “Canadians appear to be slightly more accepting of a potential prime minister who is Muslim or Atheist.” She goes on to say that the poll also indicates support has slipped for traditional Christian values to play a role in Canadian politics from 45% to 40%.

Finally, here’s one more interesting statistic for you. Only 39% of Canadians agree with the idea that Christians should get into politics to protect their values. That’s down 7% from a decade ago.

Admittedly, I’m not privy to the actual questions that were asked, nor the rest of the results, but it’s pretty obvious to me that there’s a fairly significant trend that has taken shape in our country that appears in a very definite “anti-evangelical” bias. That’s not a real surprise to me (or probably you...) but the “why” behind it is certainly worth exploring.

I think our greatest challenge here lies in the reality that our message has so often been about what we are “against” and very rarely about what we are for. Sadly, our public image has become like the t-shirt message I’ve seen a few times. “I don’t know what it is, but I’m agin’ it.”

It’s true that Jesus said that people would hate us because of Him, but I don’t think that this is entirely what he meant. Jesus is “for” far more than He is “against”. How can you hate Someone who is for forgiveness, mercy, justice, hope, love, peace, grace, equal rights, freedom, kindness, patience, meekness, the poor, the widow, and the orphan? The list could go on and on, but I think you get the point! It seems to me that our great nation would only get better if it had leaders at every level who embraced the same principles, values and virtues that Jesus did.

Changing the national perception isn’t as difficult as you might think. It’s really only a matter of becoming a pro-active movement rather than a protest movement. What would happen if we put our away our signs, billboard and bumper-stickers, stopped banging our fists on tables and just began to engage people in discussion and service? I can tell you what would happen. People would begin to listen to what we had to say because we had earned the right to be heard. People would applaud our heart to serve and recognize that we have something worthwhile to contribute rather than simply relegating us to the sidelines as a voice from yesterday that is no longer welcome or relevant.

Lose the sign - be proactive - get involved...

Monday, April 10, 2006

In an earlier post, I mentioned Bob Briner as one of the writers who was instrumental in influencing my thinking about involving myself in community leadership. Over the next few days, I want to share some of his thoughts with you...

More and more we need Christians skilled enough to “serve before kings.” Our society desperately needs Christian influences at the highest levels of modern life, including the area of business and corporate life. The “kings” of business and commerce deserve contact with people who operate from a Biblical world view. And they deserve Christian view of the marketplace modeled for them.
Influence in high places is influence with a wider reach. It has more impact on more people. And only those with skill can reach this level of influence.
If we see business leadership in a geographic sense, we see it as a place where the Christian and Biblical way of thinking is severely under-represented. We are more willing and successful in training, nurturing and supporting missionaries to go into China, India and Africa than we are in sending comparably trained and supported women and men into areas of business leadership.
We do a very poor job of challenging committed Christians to see leadership as a ministry and as a mission field. This has been and continues to be a tragedy both for our society and for God’s Kingdom. Because of a lack of Christian leadership in our communities, we have seen so much of the best of our heritage leached out of our everyday lives. Moral relativism, a bottom line mentality and a lack of social responsibility characterize too much of today’s business attitudes and practices.

Tim again... and it's mostly because we have opted out of taking the opportunity to simply be what Jesus said we already are. In Matt. 5, He said we are the SALT of the earth and the LIGHT of the world. Think about that for a moment... the same Person who said "Let their be light..." and there was and it was good ALSO said... "You are the LIGHT of the world." In the same way as the literal light scattered the literal darkness in Genesis 1, Jesus said of you and I (with the same authority but for a much greater purpose) YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. What's most amazing about this is the way He said it. It wasn't "let there be" but "YOU ARE".

The amazing thing about light is that it doesn't have to try to be light, it just is. It has the properties and nature of light because of what it is... In the same way, you and I are made to be the light of the world. We are what we are because of who we are in Christ. No need to try, "put it on" or even work at it. Spiritual light flows out of relationship and intimacy. As we are plugged into the source, light flows from us and that light brings illumination, freedom and clarity.

Let your light shine!!


Sunday, April 09, 2006

I'm a bit of a political junkie. I'm fascinated by what political leaders say and do. In the last federal election I saw an article in the Canadian version of Christianity Today that featured a simple Q&A session with the leaders of the main political parties in the country. The question was "What role do you think faith should have in the political world?" One leader said "Politics and religion should not mix and the question is inappropriate". Another said, "I leave my faith at the door". Still another gave a carefully worded answer.

What I find absolutely fascincating in North American culture is our interpretation of the concept of the separation of church and state. The Canadian reality is that the Queen of Canada is also the head of the Anglican church, so there technically is no separation of church and state here. The American reality is that the founding fathers there established the separation of church and state so that the state could not interfere in the affairs of the church. The biblical reality is that the local church is the only hope for the world and without the church, the nation goes to hell in a handbasket.

Coming back to the CT article - there was one answer that surprised me, especially in light of where God is calling me to serve Him.... One federal leader's response to the question was "The political world needs to hear the prophetic voice of the faith community."

There's a interesting biblical pattern that appears over and over again. When kings and prophets had a positive relationship, the nation inevitably prospered. When kings and prophets were at odds with each other, the nation inevitably suffered. There's a direct connection between God having a clear and open line of communication to the leaders of the nation and the health and prosperity of the nation. Pr. 29:18 tells us that where there is no "vision" or "revelation of God" the people cast off restraint or perish. If the people need an ongoing revelation of the heart, mind and will of God, how much more do the leaders of our great nation?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

A friend sent me this message today...

I read recently, how to overcome fear of starting. You reach BIG goals by taking small steps! The Psalmist wrote; Ps 84:11 Just trust God and take the first small step! He will provide the rest including time, money,open doors,favourable resources and material resources. If you do your part He will do His. I am so excited that you took the first step congratulations.


Every "big thing" in the bible started with a "small thing". The feeding of the 5000, David killing Goliath, Peter walking on the water, The conquest of Jericho, the blind beggar being healed, all of it started with a simple act, that didn't always make a lot of sense in the natural, but was the catalyst to a supernatural response that was absolutely mind-boggling.

The bible says that faith is a "substance". Faith is real and tangible. It increases and decreases. Faith is the difference between a dream and reality. Faith determines whether or not God is pleased with who we are and what we produce, because without faith it is impossible to please God. To me that speaks loudly about the significance of taking small steps so that God can be honored in the rest of the journey.

Next to committing my life to Jesus, launching this ministry is the greatest leap of faith I have ever taken. On the one hand, there are no guarantees. We will look for partners who will help us fulfill the vision by supporting us prayerfully and financially. We will need to raise nearly $100,000 year to be able to have the resources to fund this ministry properly. That would scare me if I didn't know that God is never short of cash and that He is always faithful. I'm convinced that He will not fail me, Barb, our kids or the people that He has already arranged to be impacted by this ministry.

I've learned some big lessons in the last year. Not the least of which is how God is always faithful, even in the times when life looks uncertain and the road ahead is hazy. There are some huge mountains to be climbed over the next few months for you and me. I don't even know the way over most of them, but the God I serve does and as I (and you) move forward by faith, the mountains that loom before us begin to diminish in size as we move over them one at a time.

Have a good one!


Monday, April 03, 2006

We are official with the government as of today. The name "Leading Influence" has been approved by the provincial government and registration will happen in the next few weeks. I'm so excited about these things coming together and can hardly wait to see the ways in which God will work through all of this.

I do need to apologize about the horoscope sign that was part of my profile earlier. Personally, I think horoscopes are a waste of time, but I didn't realize that when I provided my birth date that my sign would appear on my profile. (I just thought it was a good way for you to know my birthday so you could send me a card. :-) Thanks to one of our board members for asking me "WHAT THE HECK IS THAT THERE FOR?? (She asked nicer than that, but you get the general idea..) There are probably better ideas than launching an influence ministry and posting your astrological sign on the first day....

Everybody needs people around them who are willing to ask those kind of questions and protect you from really stupid mistakes! :-)

Somebody asked if I was going to be working with politicians. The answer is yes, but not as a lobbyist or antagonist. The vision is to build meaningful relationships with members and within their circles of influence on both sides of the house so regardless of who sits in the government, the door for friendship and ministry remains open. Ultimately, this is really about being positioned in the right time at the right place so I can say the right thing.

Please pray for us. Unless the Lord builds this house, this is nothing more than a pipe dream. But as the Lord builds this house, nothing is impossible.

The future is now!

Be blessed and highly favored!


Sunday, April 02, 2006

You might be wondering what this is all about, so here's the short (but not so short) version. About 5 years ago, God arranged for several things to come together in my life that became the seed of a vision for me. The first is that I "happened" to discover the "Maximum Impact Simulcast" presented by John Maxwell and INJOY ministries. Our church sponsored the event and we were able to host it in partnership with the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce.

The second "happening" was that I was invited to sit on the board of the Kamloops Chamber. That's a bit outside the realm of where most pastors find themselves, even though the vast majority are very qualified to serve in places like that. In my case, I'd never been to a meeting, wasn't even a member and was elected to the board at a meeting that I couldn't attend... (and some people say there is no God...) Suddenly, I found myself connected to a group of leaders and influencers in our city that were connected to the "inner circle" of leaders and influencers. What I found most interesting is that I wasn't excluded because of my role as a pastor, but found a genuine openess to who I was, what I did and mostly to WHO I represented. That was very interesting and surprising to me, because I had generally believed that most people in the leadership community weren't overly intersted in spiritual things. I discovered pretty quickly that community leaders were just regular, ordinary people who were very open (in fact, maybe even more open than others) to the spiritual dynamics that exist all around us.

The third dynamic in this stretching process showed up in a book called "Roaring Lambs" written by a guy named Bob Briner. The basic message was that it was time for the church to stop reacting to and complaining about the world we live in and become proactive and involve ourselves in making a difference at a leadership level.

As time went on, I became more and more consumed with a vision to impact and influence the leadership community of our province through a relationally focused ministry that was more about being at the right place at the right time so that decision makers could hear the right thing from somebody they trusted and respected.

Now you might be saying "that's all well and good Tim, but where does that show up in the bible?" The answer is simple: IT SHOWS UP EVERYWHERE! So many of the people that we hold up as heroes of the faith did exactly what I've just been talking about. Esther was elevated from country girl to queen "for such a time as this". Daniel and his friends were elevated from prisoner status to the role of political advisors so that they could influence an ungodly king in an ungodly culture. Nehemiah served as "cup-bearer" to the king and was able to leverage the influence that he had with the king to advance God's purposes and plans for His people as they rebuilt Jerusalem. Nehemiah had such favour with the king that he got a paid leave and the king picked up tab for re-construction of Jerusalem. Joseph became second in command in all of Egypt and wielded huge influence because of the prophetic insight and vision that he had. I could go on , but this is becoming a book...

We have a responsibility to be a voice and presence among the influencers and leaders of our society. The door is open... the time is now...

Love ya!!