Thursday, May 31, 2007
"It's a big, big house with lots and lots of rooms". God knows what he's doing and He has heard answered our prayers in style. In an ideal world, we'd like to live in downtown Victoria within a few blocks of the Legislature, but the houses and yards are quite small and the costs are quite high. Last night I received a call from an owner of a house that I had looked at on Tuesday morning. It's either 2200 or 2400 square feet, 5 bdrms, 4 bathrooms on 1.3 acres in the country. The lot borders on a nature preserve. There's lots of room for everyone (including the dog!) This will be a wonderful home for the next year as we find our feet and get re-established in Victoria.
I didn't fall asleep until well past 1 AM because I was just so excited about the events of the past 2 days. God has been so good to us. In 30 (counting today) days we will be living in Victoria and I won't be spending nearly as much time at the Vancouver airport waiting for flights. I'm at the airport as I write this. I made a surprising discovery yesterday... what I thought was a 5:40 PM flight was actually a 5:40 AM flight. I was up at 4:25 this morning...
From a ministry perspective, the past 2 days have been awesome. I am starting to be introduced as "the Chaplain". It's strange and exciting at the same time. God continues to open doors of favor and opporunity. There's more than I can tell on here because I'm committed to protecting the privacy of MLA's but I can tell you I was thrilled to be able to pray with an MLA in his office about some specific challenges that he shared with me.
Last night we went out for Chilean food (very good!!) An MLA from the Fraser Valley was there and we discussed the impending flood threat. Apparently there's not enough water in the Fraser because of the slow melt. The heat from the Interior will change that somewhat, but the river SHALL NOT flood!
Looking forward to getting home, seeing Barb and having a nap.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
1. Our house is sold. The subjects came off on Friday afternoon and the sold sign is up. It's exciting, surreal and unsettling all at the same time.
2. We are looking for a place to live. This sounds like no big deal until you realize that the rental market in Victoria is basically 0% and that the real estate market is white hot and most stuff is gone before it hits MLS.
3. The good news is that I am heading to Victoria tomorrow to spend the week at the Legislature and to house hunt. The bad news is I'm going to househunt without Barb. :-(
Call us crazy but that's the way this is playing out.
4. We need a miracle house. A place where we can keep our dog, that's affordable (you wouldn't believe the cost of renting in Victoria) or an unbelievable deal. We want to live in the James Bay/Fernwood area for several good reasons that are mostly connected to the proximity to the Legislature. It needs to be in a good area for our kids and it needs to be "pet friendly" because our dog is part of the family. Dogs grow on you and she would be VERY missed! Some of you might be laughing, but "you have not because you ask not".
5. We need a miracle house in the next 5 days. It's important to get this nailed down so that there's some stability for our kids over the next month as we start packing up their stuff and putting it in boxes.
Thanks for standing with us. Let us know you're praying.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
She bounded out of the house and down the street as she loves to explore, sniff and dart through yards, bushes and gardens. Every so often I'd call her back, she'd walk beside me and all seemed well. As we approached our first stop, she was ahead of me, sniffing through the bushes at a nearby house. I wasn't really paying attention as it was "pre-coffee" but I did notice her go into the bushes.
What happened next was a sight to behold... there was a flurry of activity followed by a mad dash because Zoe had found a cat. Because the cat was the same color as she it, it looked as though Zoe had been thrown backward out of the bushes. What happened was the cat darted out the back and she was scrambling to catch it. The cat streaked across the yard and parking lot with Zoe in hot pursuit. There was no barking, just full out speed. The cat bolted up the nearest tree which would have been fine except that it was full of crows who started squawking and protesting. At the point, the cat is about 10 feet up in the tree, hanging on for dear life while Zoe is jumping up at it.
I called her away and we finished Tyler's route. As we walked back past the tree again, I noticed the cat still up the tree with the crows squawking away.
Do cats come down from trees or do you have to call the fire department?
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
God is good. Watch for a personal update over the next few days on some stuff happening here at home. It's all good!
Sunday, May 20, 2007
God has given the church a great call and therefore it takes great people to accomplish it. If we fail to see our greatness, we will fall short of our call. Our pauper mentality and false humility have rendered much of the church ineffective by diminishing our vision for the influence we are meant to have in the world.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Evangelical pastor bringing Christian Values to Legislature
The Daily News (Kamloops)
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Byline: Cam Fortems
Source: The Daily News
When the B.C. legislature reconvenes this fall, another person in uniform will join officers in parliamentary dress and MLAs wearing business attire. High up in the public gallery, Tim Schindel plans to watch the daily theatrics of question period clad in a clerical collar.
For Schindel, an evangelical Christian pastor who has lived in Kamloops for 13 years, wearing a collar -- normally associated with Roman Catholics or Anglicans -- is a new experience.
While he has never worn a collar, Schindel hopes its instant recognition will allow those in the legislature who will see him day in and day out to understand his purpose: A calling to bring the leadership of God and Jesus to the leaders of this province.
"Doing what I'm doing, (the collar) makes sense," Schindel said. Wearing a collar while he sits in the legislature is just one way that Schindel is making up the rules as he goes along. The provincial legislature, like those in the nine other provinces, three territories and the House of Commons in Ottawa, has no house chaplain. Schindel isn't in Victoria to fill a job, he's there to create one: to bring a stable Christian presence to any of the 79 MLAs who want it.
"We want to build a core group we have regular contact with," Schindel said of his goal as the leader of Leading Influence Ministries, a non-profit group comprised of evangelical B.C church leaders.
"Our goal is not to cram anything on them. There's no agenda beyond being an encouraging presence. We want to influence people to govern with excellence and with some values."
Schindel cites his experience as president of the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce as influencing his desire to bring the hand of Christianity to leaders.
He counts among his supporters Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Kevin Krueger, a devout Baptist who lent his assistance to Schindel -- as well as a warning about the task ahead.
"He came to me several years ago," Krueger said. "He felt God was calling him to this ministry. I said it's a tough go. We have people of all faiths elected as MLAs. And some with no faith."
In addition, even Christians who may feel comfortable with Schindel have their own churches back home, Krueger said.
Schindel spoke to The Daily News on the same day that fundamentalist American preacher Jerry Falwell died. The controversial founder of the Moral Majority brought the influence of religious conservatives into U.S. politics. "Not my bag," said Schindel, an affable man who has worked most recently as a newspaper distributor after leaving the church in Kamloops where he had been pastor. "When you identify with a particular ideology or movement the issue of faith and politics really comes into play. . . . You're getting on thin ice," he said of Falwell's intersection with politics. Schindel's awareness of the issue is even addressed on this website, in a posting about the separation of church and state.
Instead of protests and demands, bullying and organizing, Schindel said he hopes to bring a quieter Christianity to the legislature. And one that is non-partisan. In a recent posting on the Leading Influence website, Schindel asked Christians to pray for provincial leadership on the pine beetle crisis and to alleviate flooding in B.C. this spring. Schindel said there are aspects of every party "close to the heart of God," whether the NDP's advocating for the disadvantaged, the Liberal party's openness and welcoming of people of different faiths and backgrounds and the federal Conservatives' traditional values on issues such as same-sex marriage. In the United States, government assemblies typically have a politically appointed chaplain, an official taxpayer-funded position. There is nothing comparable in Canada.
Schindel proudly notes that 10 members from both sides of the legislature attended a prayer breakfast he organized in Victoria this month. Several Sikh members also expressed interest, but could not attend, Schindel said. Schindel has his home in Kamloops up for sale and hopes to move to Victoria this summer with his wife, Barb, and three children, to establish his ministry.
Beyond receiving prayers and financial backing from churches and individuals in B.C., Schindel said the biggest positive omen was a last-minute chance to deliver the opening prayer during the throne speech in the legislature when the scheduled minister was a no-show. Within 10 minutes he was pulled from the public gallery to centre stage. "It was tremendously exciting," said Schindel, who is comfortable in front of a crowd. "You're front and centre."
© 2007 The Daily News (Kamloops)
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
In recognition of Jerry Falwell's passing today, I found this quote that I thought was very appropriate. I'd hardly be a "Falwell Fan" but I remember my aunt and uncle watching him on TV on Sunday afternoons when I would spend the summer with them. I have vague recollections of him starting a university and I remember him telling the story of climbing a hill outside of Lynchburg, Virginia and praying that God would give him favor to minister effectively within the city. I've done that in every place that I pastored because it just seemed to be the right thing to do.
In terms of the quote, with one slight modification, I'd agree with what Falwell had to say in this particular case. I don't agree that we need a religious awakening, I think we need a spiritual awakening that connects people to the presence and power of God in a meaningful and personal way so that the Prince of Peace can rule in their hearts and lives regardless of their social status, net worth or political affiliation. Political parties and ideologies have their place, but no single party has the entire answer to the social, economic and corporate challenges of leadership in this day. The answer is not within ourselves, but outside of us. It's bigger than us and better than anything we could create within ourselves. It seems to me that the Creator must have the answers to the issues faced by the creation and that's why we need to reconnect with Him in a meaningful way.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
OTTAWA -- It's a Parliament Hill event that attracts hundreds of people every year and almost no publicity. Many participants want to keep it that way.
Scores of MPs and former MPs were among the more than 600 diplomats, priests, pastors, teachers and students from across Canada who flocked to three meeting rooms on the hill this week to attend the annual National Prayer Breakfast, a non-denominational Christian affair marking its 42nd year. But this was not piety on parade. Nor was it the religious right trying to flex its muscles.
Retiring NDP Bill Blaikie, a United Church minister, plans to write a book about the relationship between faith and politics after he leaves Ottawa: "[The prayer breakfast] hasn't been the big P political vehicle that it has been in Washington, and that is to its credit."
In Canada, politicians tend not to wear their religious beliefs on their sleeve, and the yearly gathering reflects that reticence. Participants say they are glad the event is more low-profile and less political than the one held in Washington, D.C., for the last 55 years. That gathering, which now attracts thousands of people, has almost always starred the U.S. president of the day.
NDP MP Bill Blaikie says organizers of the Canadian event have got it right.
"It hasn't been the big P political vehicle that it has been in Washington, and that is to its credit," said the retiring MP, a United Church minister who plans to write a book about the relationship between faith and politics after he leaves Ottawa. Beyond the breakfast, though, Blaikie says he's frustrated by a seeming taboo on talking about the role of faith in politics. "Politics tries to operate as if that elephant isn't in the room," said Blaikie, who was first elected in 1979.
"So a lot is missed as to why people do things the way they do and why they believe what they do." Blaikie also says he's growing impatient with a stereotyping of Christians that focuses on the Christian right and forgets the Christian left. "It's partly because Christians on the left over time have developed a way of speaking that isn't always explicit about where they are coming from." Left-wing Christians need to let it be known "there's more than one way politically to be a Christian in the world."
Liberal MP Karen Redman, a Presbyterian and former chairwoman of the prayer gathering, says the breakfast is a chance to celebrate her Christianity in a respectful, nonpartisan environment without getting dragged down by debates over such contentious issues as abortion and gay marriage that divide people of faith. She says, however, she sometime fears her religion is getting "wrestled away from me" because of assumptions made about people who identify themselves as Christian. "When people ask, are you Christian, you say to yourself, 'Now, where is that coming from?' "The right and true answer is 'Yes, I am a Christian,' but don't assume I'm against gay marriage, against women's right to choose. Don't visit this whole spectrum of decisions automatically on me because I say, 'Yes, I am a Christian."
This week's gathering over fruit, muffins and coffee was clearly a comfortable forum for Christians of all political stripes. "Our breakfast flies below the radar of social issues," said chief organizer Jack Murta, a former cabinet minister in the Progressive Conservative government of Brian Mulroney.
Unlike their U.S. counterparts, Canada's elected officials don't make religion political.
"The prayer breakfast is not about political parties. It is not about who is right and who is wrong."
Representatives from each party made appearances on the podium, but their remarks were limited to reading from scripture. The only party leader on hand was the NDP's Jack Layton.
The politics-free event is not, however, to everyone's liking.
Charles McVety, president of Canada Christian College in Toronto and an outspoken player on the religious right wing, says he gave the prayer breakfast a pass this year in part because it's not political enough. He says he prefers to use his trips to Ottawa to directly lobby MPs on specific issues.
"[The breakfast] has traditionally been very non-political," said McVety, who, as head of the Defend Marriage Coalition, led a campaign in the last federal election to elect evangelical candidates opposed to same-sex marriage.
"I'm not belittling the power of prayer, but faith without works is dead."
Bruce Clemenger, president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, said the breakfast is a quiet celebration of faith that has never been seen as a lobbying opportunity. But, like Blaikie, he says there should be more open discussion about the role faith plays in politics.
Saturday, May 05, 2007
Mary Jane Smith (left) and Donna Pechie. This breakfast would NOT have happened without their help and support. They were the administrative and logistical team that pulled it together.
Rev. David Wells, District Supt, BC PAOC brought greetings and formally blessed us and the ministry. Dave has been a long time friend and encourger to both Barb and I.
Susan Uganecz (ministry partner) and the obligatory "food shot".
As you can see, breakfast was great!
The Honorable Kevin Kreuger, Minister of State for Mining and the lovely Barb Schindel. Barb is my wife, Kevin is my MLA and no... we don't want to confuse that....
We had a total of 9 MLA's with us for the morning and the opportunity to connect with many of them since the breakfast has been fantastic. I'm hoping to return to Victoria sometime in the next few weeks to attend the legislature again before the session concludes. I've decided to purchase a clerical collar to wear while I'm there. Can't wait to see what that's going to look like. I'll post a picture on a day when things are slow here.
Have a good one!!
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
We had a great morning! We had 9 MLA's attend and they were very moved by the breakfast. Dave Hauser (Board Member and Uncle) Emceed the event and did an exceptional job. Tom Oshiro (a pastoral legend in Victoria, said grace and encouraged us). We enjoyed a wonderful breakfast provided by the Union Club. David Wells brought greetings from the PAOC District Conference, Gordon Patterson (Gateway Baptist) brought greetings on behalf of the Church in Victoria and then Wally Berndt introduced me.
It's kind of strange speaking at your own event, but the room was filled with friends and partners so it was pretty amazing. Pastor Andrew Picklyk prayed for the MLA's ( I love my pastor and will miss him when we move!) It was powerful and there weren't many dry eyes among the MLA's. It was so amazing.
There are several significant things pending coming out of this meeting. We continue to have favor among the MLA's but there is a huge (and exciting) opportunity coming out of this morning that may propel us beyond anything that we had expected thus far. It reminds me of Eph 3:20 (He who is able to do exceedingly above all that we are able to think or ask or imagine...) That's what we are seeing in this journey. God is doing far more, far faster than we ever dreamed possible. It's incredible to say the least.
God was very real and present this morning. We knew his presence and Spirit among us and upon us. We found out that 3 intercessors were on "Jericho duty" walking the sidewalks around the Union Club and praying for us and the MLA's. How cool is that! God is good!!
I'll post some pictures ASAP so you can see what it looked like!!