Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Saul Factor

It sounds so lofty, but it really did happen as I was praying this morning. I was meeting with our ministry prayer group this morning and we were praying with regard to the federal election. As I waited, I had a spiritual 'aha' moment. I was reminded of Saul in the OT. As Israel's first king, Saul embodied everything that the people wanted in a leader. He was tall, striking, brave, charismatic, photogenic, good with a sword, etc, etc. Men were inspired by him and women were attracted to him. His enemies feared him. He had just enough religion to be acceptable for the important national moments but not so much that he would put people off. In short, he was exactly what they wanted. He was a king, just like every other king in the area.

Our expectations of leaders are not that different than what Saul embodied. We want our leaders to be 10 feet tall (that's 3m for some of you...) and bulletproof. Strong and brave, they should also be decisive but willing to listen to every concern from every citizen. They must be interested in babies but not 'babes' and be able to stand on a moral high ground that neither the media nor the masses can attain. They should be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, stop locomotives with a single hand, rescue damsels in distress and generally be all things to all people.

Here's my 'aha' moment from this morning. I was reminded that while Saul was everything people expected him to be, he failed miserably because he lacked everything that God expected him to be. This lesson is profoundly underlined in the scriptures where Samuel sees Saul's successor David as a young boy and is ready to dismiss him until God says that while men look on the outside, God looks at the heart. God saw and knew something about David's heart that no one else could see. God is far more impressed by the substance of our character than He is by whatever 'sizzle' we may be able to generate in the people we meet. He is more interested in our passion than He is in our potential and possibilities. He weighs our lives (and the lives of our leaders) on a completely different set of scales than what we ordinarily use.

I'm weary of the 'Saul Factor' in the political arena. I'm tired of 'being disappointed by superstar' leaders who make disastrous decisions that affect our world, our country, our communities and families. I'm going to start praying as never before that God would give us leaders at a national, provincial and community level who are men and women after God's heart. At the end of the day, I think our nation is better served by men and women of substance rather than just sizzle.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Barb and I just dropped off Brittany and Zack for the youth meeting at our church. That's probably not remarkable in itself. What is remarkable is that I was the youth pastor at what is now our church 19 years ago. Some of the leaders were just kids when we left 14 years ago. Probably 30% of the crowd wasn't even born when we were on staff. Some of the kids who were there belong to people who were leaders with us.

For all of the changes and feelings of nostalgia, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

The room had 'the aroma' that can only be produced by 12 and 13 year old boys... if you've ever smelled it, you never forget it...

First time kids still cluster together, wanting to be there, but wishing they were anywhere else...

The 'cool kids' still hang out in groups. The 'uncool kids' do the same. Only the newbies are left to find their own place.

Girls still come doing their best to look at least as nice as their friends, but hopefully, just a bit better...

Youth Pastors and Leaders come full of dreams and vision for the new year.

Parents still drop off their kids and ask... 'What time will they be done...' and then they leave and try to figure out how to spend their evening...

Lucky for us there is ice cream at home...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

What To Pray For the Election

Our friends at Nation At Prayer have launched a '5 to a Million Campaign' for the Federal election asking Christians across Canada to pray for 5 minutes a day during the election. They've also provided the following prayer guide to assist you in praying effectively. You can download a copy of the guide from our website by clicking here.

What To Pray For the Election

1. That this election will serve God's purposes for Canada.

2.That Canada will be a country whose elected leaders are:
- Individuals of Integrity, Discernment, Grace, Courage and Conviction
- Willing Servants
- Wisdom, Endurance and Protection for the Candidates and their families

3. That Candidates will be filled with Integrity, Courage, Humility and Grace

4. That the Holy Spirit will Guide and Guard the Thoughts and Speech of Candidates

5. That the Holy Spirit will Guide Campaign Strategy

6. That Candidates and Campaign Material will present Positions and Platforms
Clearly, Openly and Fully.

7. That the Holy Spirit will guide Electors in Examining Issues, Candidates and in

8. That Every Elector Will Cherish Their Right to Vote

9. That Every Elector Will Vote

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Jack Layton Says PM Has A "Damascus Road' Experience

Politicians say the most interesting things. Today the Prime Minister announced that a Conservative government would provide a .02/litre reduction of the tax on diesel fuel. It will happen over 4 years and cost the government about $600 million dollars.

Mr. Layton responded that the PM must have had a 'Damascus Road Experience' in response to the anouncement. "All of a sudden it's 'road to Damascus' and he decides he's going to make an announcement in the middle of an election campaign,". (Vancouver Sun)

I've got to tell you there's something about Mr. Layton that makes me say 'hmmm....' I'm intrigued by his periodic references to biblical events. The Damascus Road experience speaks of the Apostle Paul (then named Saul) being knocked off his horse in broad daylight and then hearing a voice from heaven speak to him. In the last general election, Mr. Layton stated that 'Ottawa needs to hear the prophetic voice of the faith community.' The second quote left me 'slack-jawed'. I'm thrilled that he actually invited the faith community to speak into life on the 'hill' in Ottawa and can't wait to honor his invitation.

I'm not sure where Mr. Layton draws his material from, but it seems to me that somewhere along the way, he (or his writers...) heard enough Sunday School stories or Sunday sermons for something to take root in his life. It's almost as though the parable of the Sower and the Seed is playing out and that the seed that found some good soil is starting to produce fruit.

I hope it's true and that the seed continues to produce good fruit for many years to come!

Monday, September 08, 2008

And They're Off..

Prime Minister Harper did the expected yesterday morning and called a General Election. The next 37 days will be a blur of anouncements, soundbytes, debates and controversy. Promises will be made, criticisms will be leveled and everything from the ridiculous to the sublime will be discussed on call in shows across the country. At the end of the campaign, we will be asked to mark our ballot and make our choice. Political futures of candidates will be decided, but more importantly, we will also make some choices about the destiny of our nation.

I don't believe that every election brings us to the key crossroad regarding the future of our nation, but I do believe that every election presents us with the opportunity to have a voice in shaping a part of our national destiny. That in itself is a tremendous responsibility and privilege, one that we should neither take lightly or cynically.

With the cross section of options and promises that will be presented to us nationally and locally throughout this election, the challenge will be to sort out what is best for the country and who is best suited to lead. One of the greatest challenges is to be able to see past what is good for us in the moment and to somehow discern what is best for the future. (I might really enjoy a cut in gas taxes, but if it means that the roads I drive on 5 years from now look something from Afghanistan, I might not choose to go that route....)

As I write this post, I'm reminded that the Bible promises that if we lack wisdom we should ask God who gives liberally (in the generous sense, not the one...) to anyone who needs it. I'd say that more than anything, we need true wisdom as we choose our next federal government. We need Someone who knows and understands our future to help us choose a leader in the present who can take us into the future.

Here's an invitation for you. Over the next 35 days, I'm going to be praying that God would give me wisdom and discernment as to how to vote on Oct. 14. At the same time, I want to know how many others are interested in doing the same. I don't think this has to be overly complicated or difficult. I do think that as we begin to pray that God's kingdom would be come and His will would be done through the electoral process, some amazing things could happen in Canada.

So.... who's in? You can email me (tim@leadinginfluence.com) or respond by using the comment box on either the blog or on facebook to let me know you're in this too. (FYI, I've switched to moderated comments to keep the spammers of my blog, it's just a better way to go than have strangers using my space.)

Can't wait to hear from you!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Family Update

Barb and the kids just returned from buying school supplies. That’s a definite sign that summer is over and school is about to begin.

We’ve had a great summer at our house. Tyler (our youngest) played baseball at the Provincial Championships and came home with an MVP award. His team placed 3rd. We had a lot of fun watching him play.

Zack, our middle child, didn’t play baseball, but had a lot of fun watching his brother play and cheering him on. He will play ‘fall ball’ and is looking forward to starting youth group at church this fall.

Brittany turned 15 this summer and spent most of the summer becoming even more independent. We’re very proud of her. She has some natural talent with her camera so we bought her a good quality camera for her birthday.

Barb is ready to start teaching piano and voice again this fall. She’s a great teacher and never lacks for students.

We (are hoping to run in the Royal Victoria Marathon in October. We just plan to do the 8k. Barb’s training is going much better than mine but I intend to carry on and give it my best.

Finally, Zoe (our yellow lab) is expecting a litter of puppies within a few weeks. We’ll post pictures on the blog and facebook sites when the puppies arrive.

Thanks for your prayers and interest in our lives and ministry. We appreciate you so much!

September Prayer Focus

With the possibility of Federal Election looming on the horizon, we have a tremendous opportunity to see God do something amazing. Over the next 8 months, British Columbians will choose representatives for every level government that affects them. We are making plans to coordinate a province wide prayer initiative through PrayBC that will be active through the Federal, and upcoming Municipal and Provincial elections. We anticipate making an announcement about our vision for this initiative by September 15.

Please pray for Pastor Murray Lincoln as he establishes Leading Influence Ministries in Ontario. He and Alida have taken a huge step of faith and I'd like you to pray for them as they walk through days that require multiple miracles. Both Murray and I have an expectation that God is going to do some amazing things in and through the ministry this fall. Please pray that as we prepare for September through December, God would begin to open doors, make provision, and move the ministry forward.

We've planned several partner and friends events in Kamloops, Kelowna and Moose Jaw in late September. In addition to providing a ministry update, our goal is to grow our monthly partnership base. Please pray with us that we will be successful in this undertaking. If you would like to join us for any of these events, you can register online by clicking on the link or by visiting our website.

Finally, we will celebrate the launch of our Ontario ministry during the first weekend in October. This is going to be a key time for the ministry as we commission Murray and Alida to serve the Lord in this way. I'm excited about this step forward. We really want to provide a strong foundation for Murray as he and Alida move forward into a new sphere of ministry and believe that God is preparing to do something amazing in Ontario.