Saturday, December 18, 2010

Flash Mob In Victoria

By Joanne Hatherly

When more than 300 singers erupted into O Holy Night at Victoria's Bay Centre on an otherwise ordinary Saturday afternoon, one bewildered shopper asked, "Where is the choir?" "They're everywhere," came an answer from inside the crowd.

In early December, Barb Schindel, Colwood Pentecostal Church's worship director, was talking with her husband about a video that captured about 100 shoppers in a Welland, Ontario mall food court who suddenly burst into an operatic performance of Handel's Messiah. The mall had been 'flash-mobbed.'

Flash mobs are large groups of people who assemble without warning to do something unusual. The performance usually last only a few minutes, after which the participants disperse into the crowd. Schindel's husband turned to her and said, "We could do that".

She didn't think so, but she happily admits she was wrong. On Dec. 18 at 2 p.m., with a little help from area churches and choirs, and through a Facebook site invitation, as many as 400 people showed up at the Bay Centre mall and gave Victoria shoppers a beautiful reminder of the real meaning of Christmas.

The group had the opportunity to rehearse twice - first at the mall, where they were allowed inside after hours on Sunday before the event, and then again at Gateway Baptist Church on the morning of the event. More than 200 people showed up at the rehearsals, giving Schindel confidence that something special was going to happen.

At 2 p.m., after the Bay Tower clock bells chimed, Schindel opened with O Holy Night and soon the air was filled with what seemed like a heavenly chorus as hundreds of singers over the mall's four balcony levels joined in.

After five minutes and 31 seconds, the singers closed with a verse from Silent Night, leaving the mall's atmosphere changed from harried to relaxed, with shoppers smiling and chatting over what they had just seen. It's hard to keep a secret with more than 300 singers in on the act, but even the mall's retail workers expressed shock.

Oak Bay Mayor Christopher Causton was one of the singers. Calling the experience "incredible," Causton was left wanting more. "I was just warming up. Are we going to do it again?," Causton said.

Click here to see a participant video that has been uploaded to YouTube.

Monday, December 06, 2010

I knew it was going to happen.  I just didn't expect that it would happen today.  As you probably know by now, Carole James has resigned as leader of the NDP.  After the emergency Caucus meeting scheduled for Sunday afternoon was cancelled, I thought that perhaps things were settling down, cooler heads were prevailing and a truce was in the works.  That was apparently not the case.

I've met Ms. James.  For a time she was my MLA.  When we first moved to Victoria, she would walk past my house on the way to her office.  She is a very nice person.  Some would say that she was too nice for politics.  I'm not sure if I agree.  I think we need good and decent people to serve as leaders in our province.

This might not be the first time in the history of our province that both major political parties are searching for a new leader, but it's certainly the first time in a long time.  Who would have guessed 6 months ago that the Premier and the Leader of the Opposition would both resign as leader of their respective party before year end and within weeks of each other?

Generally speaking we crave structure and order.  We want (and need) systems and processes to keep our society, government, culture and lives running smoothly.  For the most part, God is inclined towards order and structure too.  The planets stay on their orbital paths.  The ocean remains within the limits He has given it.  Apples, as Sir Isaac Newton noted, fall down from trees because of the law of gravity. 

Given that God has established unchangeable, unalterable order and patterns, we might be led to conclude that He is most comfortable in that kind of environment.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I'm convinced that God is prone to use chaos, vacuums, and 'unorthodox' approaches to accomplish His amazing plans and purposes.  There was nothing orthodox about a virgin bringing forth a son but it was part of His perfect plan.

As I stated earlier, we find ourselves at a remarkable moment in BC history.  Could it be that God is in a reorganizing process on behalf of our province?  Could it be that in His divine wisdom, He is working something out in the lives of two leaders who have just stepped down and in the process of preparing others to take their place?  I think this is EXACTLY what is taking place.  He removes and raises leaders as He sees fit.  Removal is not necessarily judgement and raising is not necessarily endorsement.  It's more a matter of God putting the appropriate person in place for the specific time and season that their gifts were required to accomplish HIS plans and purposes.

The next few months promise to be very interesting on the political scene.  I'll keep you posted.  Keep on praying!

Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him. I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of You, for You have made known to us the king’s demand. (Daniel 2:20-23, NKJV)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Original Flash Mob

I've just become aware of what a 'Flash Mob' is.  If you've never heard the term, a 'flash mob' is a group of people who rehearse a presentation privately and then present it in a public venue like a mall, transportation hub or anywhere else a large crowd of people may gather.  It looks like a lot of fun and has become something of a recent cultural phenomena.  If you've never seen what it looks like,  the one below is one of the best that I've seen.  This happened in a Food Court in Welland, Ontario.

I've got to say, I love what happens here.  A friend of mine wonders if the church should be doing this kind of thing.  It strikes me that the question is somewhat moot because the original flash mob was performed by angels on the hills outside Bethlehem.  The angels surprised a group of shepherds who had no idea that anything unusual was about to happen. 

Once again, God is light years ahead of the coolest things that we do.  Enjoy the video!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Gordon Campbell Resigns as Premier and Leader of Liberal Party

Gordon Campbell resigned as Premier of British Columbia and Leader of the Liberal Party this morning in Vancouver.  He has served as member of the BC Legislature for 16 years and as Premier since 2001.  Prior to his election to the BC Legislature he also served 3 terms as Mayor of Vancouver.  We wish to recognize Mr. Campbell's many years of public service and thank both him and his wife and family for the many hours of time and energy that he has given in service to British Columbia.  We pray God's blessing upon Mr. Campbell and his wife as they move forward into a new chapter of their lives.  

The BC Liberals will be choosing an interim leader who will act as Premier until a new leader can be chosen.  We encourage our many ministry friends and prayer partners to make this matter a significant prayer focus as the decision will affect our province in very significant ways.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Never A Dull Moment...

For people who think politics is boring, here's a quick overview of the last month.

In the past month, the Leader of the Opposition removed a member from her caucus for comments made in the media that were construed as 'unsupportive'. 

The BC Rail trial ended with an unexpected guilty plea and an agreement to cover the legal fees of the guilty parties.

The Premier shuffled the Cabinet.  Some present it as a re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.  Some present it as repositioning of leaders for the future.  Talk shows were presenting it as adding confusion to the average British Columbian who wouldn't know who to contact for assistance now when they needed help.  REALITY CHECK:  Cabinet Shuffles happen periodically.  The sun will come up tomorrow.  NEWS FLASH! Talk show hosts are intentionally provocative and outrageous.  It's what keeps you tuning in. For a dose of common sense, talk to your friends and neighbours.

One member tried to make a joke at anothers expense.  It was a poor choice of words and became much more than intended.  A good man made a mistake and another good man accepted his apology. Behind the scenes, leaders were gracious to each other.

In the past week, the Premier has addressed British Columbians on TV, during prime time which makes perfect sense, opposite the World Series.... He's in a difficult situation to say the least.  The government had a follow up caucus meeting and is scheduled to have an Emergency Caucus meeting later this week. 

There is NEVER a dull moment in BC politics.  The question that comes to mind is 'Where is God in all of this?'  When we think of God being in control, we often assume that means a situation without turmoil or tension.   I see God creating order out of chaos in Genesis during creation, but I also see God creating chaos when He floods the earth.  

While I like order and stability, I realize that's more about me and my needs than it really is about how God prefers it.  God does not appear to be a respecter of order or chaos because HE transcends both.  I think that this matters in terms of what is happening within the political realm of our province.  God is up to something.  I'd like to say that I know specifically what it is, but frankly, I have no idea.  I just know that He is always in control and always working to accomplish His eternal purposes and plans.  

The current situation presents us with a tremendous opportunity to engage in our greatest responsibility as people who belong to God.  We must pray!  And we must pray without ceasing.  God is working out his plan for the lives of those who lead us regardless of their political affiliation.  More than anything else, we must pray for them that they would encounter His love, grace and mercy at a personal level.  At the same time, God has a purpose and a plan for our province.  He works out His plan within our political system in the midst of chaos and tension.  Here too, we must pray while He does, for it is only GOD who can make British Columbia 'The Greatest Place on Earth'.

Monday, October 25, 2010

BC Cabinet Shuffle

Premier Gordon Campbell announced a Cabinet Shuffle at 11 AM today.  The results are as follows.  We encourage your prayers for these members who have been put in positions of responsibility and trust. 

Heavenly Father, You give us leaders to watch over the affairs of our province.  We thank you for them and ask that You would empower and strengthen the Members of our Legislature today who are assuming new responsibilities.  Bless them and help them as they learn about their new roles.  Give them grace and strength as they carry out their mandate. 

In Jesus Name, Amen.

* Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation - Hon. Barry Penner

* Minister of Agriculture - Hon. Ben Stewart

* Minister of State for Building Code Renewal - Hon. Naomi Yamamoto

* Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development - Hon. Stephanie


* Minister of Education - Hon. George Abbott

* Minister of Energy - Hon. Bill Bennett

* Minister of Environment - Hon. Murray Coell

* Minister of Finance (Minister Responsible for Small Business) - Hon.

Colin Hansen

* Minister of Forests, Mines and Lands - Hon. Pat Bell

* Minister of Health Services - Hon. Kevin Falcon

* Minister of Labour - Hon. Iain Black

* Minister of Natural Resource Operations - Hon. Steve Thomson

* Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General (Minister Responsible

for Housing) - Hon. Rich Coleman

* Minister of Regional Economic and Skills Development - Hon. Moira


* Minister of Science and Universities - Hon. Ida Chong

* Minister of Social Development - Hon. Kevin Krueger

* Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment (Minister Responsible for the

Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat) - Hon. Margaret MacDiarmid

Ministers retaining existing portfolios:

* Attorney General - Hon. Mike de Jong

* Minister of Children and Family Development - Hon. Mary Polak

* Minister of Citizens' Services - Hon. Mary McNeil

* Minister of State for Climate Action - Hon. John Yap

* Minister of State for Mining - Hon. Randy Hawes

* Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure - Hon. Shirley Bond

Cabinet Shuffle Coming Today

The Premier will be shuffling the Cabinet today.  The announcement will be made at 11:00 AM.  We will provide a written update as soon as possible.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chilean Rescue

Along with millions of other people, I can't stop checking in on the progress of the Chilean mine rescue.  It's a remarkable story of hope, courage and the power of determination that finds a way through the most difficult challenge.  As I write this, the 19th miner has just been raised to the surface.  He looks in great shape and very strong as he greets his family, friends and rescuers. 

As I watch this taking place I can't help but be reminded of a striking biblical parallel.  We begin with 33 men hopelessly trapped in a life threatening situation through no fault of their own.  The collapse isolated them from normal living.  By grace, they were discovered 2500 feet underground.  A rescue plan was enacted and a way was made for them to return to relationship (fellowship) with those who love them. 

Here's the part that really gets me excited.  There were multiple shafts drilled into their space.  Of all of those shafts, only one can get you out!  You might try to crawl out, dig out, wiggle out, but the only way out is through the tunnel with the rescue capsule.  The miners did nothing to contribute to the drilling of the shaft, the building of the capsule or the ensuring of fresh air, food and water.  All they could do is benefit from the kindness and goodness of others.  As the first miner got into the capsule, I couldn't help but hold my breath and watch, hoping and praying that all would go well.  As the capsule rose, the miner's family gathered in awaiting his arrival.  Who could not be moved by the sight of his son in tears as he awaited his daddy's arrival?

The words of Jesus come to mind as I ponder the drama in Chile.  He says 'I am the way, the truth and the life.'  I realize that we live in a time when the idea of an exclusive path to heaven is almost offensive to some people, but there is only one way out of the mess the bible calls sin.  Jesus is the only way.  His offer of a restored relationship with the ONE who loves us most is unconditional.  He has taken care of everything.  All we need to do is say yes to Him and put our trust in Him. 

I love how everyone cheers  when the capsule carrying another miner arrives safely at the surface.  Family is there, rescuers are there and everyone is celebrating another safe arrival.  It's a picture of heaven to me.  Heaven watches and waits for our safe arrival.  When we get there we will all shout the name of the One who rescued us!  We will see those who have been waiting and those who arrived before us.  What a day that will be!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

You and Me and The HST

1 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and pleases God our Savior,  (1 Tim 2:1-3)

I've been thinking about an appropriate Christian response to the HST.  On the one hand, I understand the anger that exists because of the way this tax was introduced.  At least one MLA has dubbed it the 'Hated Sales Tax', which at the very least is probably a reasonable assessment.  That said, I'm also very troubled when I see/hear fellow believers expressing their hatred of the government because of this tax.  Perhaps I'm idealistic but it seems to me that the Church has a responsibility to rise to something higher than simply being swept along with the masses in their outrage.

I understand that no one, me included, likes or wants to pay more taxes.  That said, I'm also very aware that we have a clear mandate to pray for those who are in authority over us. I don't think it's possible to honestly pray for people you hold in contempt. I also don't think it's possible to speak negatively in strong terms against those you are genuinely praying for.  Something happens to us when we legitimately stand in the gap for other people and we are changed in the way we feel about them.

We need to learn to separate politics from politicians.  Politics is the art or science of governing.  Politicians are the people who serve within the system.  It's okay to disagree with a political decision or direction.  You can even vote against it or against the person who implemented it.  However, its not okay to make your disagreement personal in the sense that your heart is bitter and your comments become derogatory.

I think it's important for us to recognize the context in which Paul wrote 1 Tim.  The Jews were living under Roman occupation.  The Romans were hardly noted for their compassionate touch towards those they had conquered.  The people were oppressed.  Their taxes were shipped off to Rome to further the ambitions of the empire.  Those who opposed the government were put to death or had to hide in the wilderness.  It's within this context that Paul encourages Timothy (and us...) to pray for those who are in authority over us. 

My challenge to you today is simple.  We have a greater role than simply settling for the status quo of the masses.  We alone hold the mandate to pray for our government.  Let's get back to doing the one thing that matters most. Our entire province will benefit as a result.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Lord's Prayer Remains In Ontario

Not sure if you were aware of this, but the Ontario Legislature recently decided to continue the practice of beginning each day with the Lord's Prayer.  There was some thought to do away with the prayer completely and replace it with a moment of meditation and reflection.  The compromise in this particular case was to hold to the Lord's Prayer and add a moment of silence or a prayer from another faith.

While I am unable to provide the exact numbers, there was tremendous pressure from the public through both emails and signed petitions to see the prayer retained.  I'm certain that there was a significant amount of 'knee mail' behind the scenes that also contributed to this very positive outcome.

While we live in a secular culture I'm convinced that this decision can only be a good thing for the Province of Ontario and hopefully other provinces will follow suit to either retain or re-establish the practice of Legislators praying this significant prayer together. Perhaps the God of Heaven will indeed let His kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven in response to the invitation of our leaders.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Select Standing Committee on Legislative Initiatives Meeting

I attended the Select Standing Committee on Legislative Initiatvies Meeting this afternoon.  It's the first time the committee has ever met.  I don't think anyone expected that the HST pushback would result in this.  I arrived early.. or at least what I thought was early...  I was told no passes would be handed out until 30 minutes prior.  I waited and at 12:30, I was the only one in line.

If I counted correctly, attendance was 18 members of the media, 10 members of the public, 3 observing MLA's and 10 Committee members.  There were too many security staff to count....

As you might appreciate, this was a difficult meeting for the government members and a winfall for the opposition.  For the most part everyone was polite and pleasant during the first part of the meeting.  After our first recess  things got a bit more 'testy' and after about 20 minutes there was another break.  (There were two recesses in about 75 minutes.. I wish they would have been that frequent when I was in school!)

The end result today was that the committee will meet again on Monday, Sept 13 and the Elections Officer will be present to answer questions from the committee regarding their options.

I've wrestled with trying to find an appropriate response to this dilemma from a ministry perspective.  We are non-partisan and so we don't take political sides in any debate.  I fully appreciate that no one wants a new tax and by all appearances, at least some people were in the know that the HST was a distinct possibility even while they were saying it wasn't.  At the same time, I am fully aware that the government has experienced a tremendous loss in revenue and needed to find a way to replace that quickly.  The bottom line is that we want the best of everything but don't want to pay for anything....

Politics aside, this is a tremendous challenging time for the individuals involved on a personal level.  Everyone on both sides of the issue needs tremendous wisdom and humility as they navigate through this dilemma.  It's easy to throw stones and pass judgement.  It's another to pray for those who tax you and ask God to help them walk in integrity and righteousness. 

Someone has to, it might as well start with you and me....

If you are interested in reading the Hansard transcripts from today's meeting.  Click here

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Surprise for BC!

There's some big news in BC this week that has nothing to do with the HST or possible recall initiatives.  In a summer that has featured some fascinating political developments, unprecedented heat waves and forest fires, we have been unexpectedly blessed with the largest Sockeye Salmon run since 1913.  As I write this 25 million fish are starting their journey up the Fraser river to return the streams of their birth. 

What makes this really fascinating is that NO ONE expected this.  The government didn't know it was coming, the scientists didn't know it was coming and the fishing industry didn't know this was coming.  What makes this even more interesting to me is that a year ago, the run was almost negligible.  The fishery didn't open, fishing boats remained tied up at the dock and processing plants remained empty.

It might be the preacher in me, but I can't help but think how similar this is to what happened in Jn.21.  The disciples have gone fishing.  They have worked all night and caught nothing.  No bites, no nibbles, no fish....

They are close enough to shore to hear the question that every fisherman dreads.  'Have you caught any fish?'.  You don't ever want to have to say 'no' to that question, but in this case, they didn't have much of a choice.  The person asking the question told them to cast their net on the other side of the boat and that they would find some.  It seems a rather ridiculous suggestion in the sense that if there had been no fish all night, why would they suddenly catch some on the other side of the boat?  I doubt that there was a lot of expectation in the next toss of the net.  After a night with no success, how much could you really believe that anything different was going to happen?

Can you imagine their shock when they started to pull up the net and discovered that it was full of fish?  No one saw it coming.  There was no reason to believe that it could or would happen.  But it did happen and the disciples quickly realized that GOD was on the scene.

Sometimes, we find ourselves in a place just like the disciples.  We have fished all night and caught nothing.  The temptation is to quit, pack it in and admit defeat.  But somewhere there's a voice that says, toss the net on the other side.  Don't quit.  Listen to the voice and toss the net one more time on the OTHER SIDE of the boat!

Happy fishing!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Thoughts from the Road

We are on vacation this week.  It just so happens that it was necessary for me to bring my motorcycle on this vacation.  This is a distinct blessing as there are some fantastic spots to ride in the area.  Yesterday  I went on a road trip.  I left Birch Bay and went south through Bellingham onto Highway 11 which takes you through a State Park and out to the coast.  This is not a 'beach road'.  It's a high twisty, up and down kind of ride.  It's absolutely beautiful. 

I left Highway 11 and went across country towards 'Farm to Market' road where I eventually picked up highway 20.  Highway 20 took me to Whidbey Island where I crossed over 'Deception Pass'.  The bridge is 180 feet above the water and is 976 feet long.  A thick fog had rolled in about the same time that I arrived and there wasn't much to see.  Not to mention that I'm not a great fan of narrow high bridges to begin with....

I did some quick research into the name when I got back. Wiki tells me that the it was given it's name because it appeared to be the entrance to a bay rather than an actual pass.  Deception is about hiding secrets.  Hiding is hard work.  It's better to live with no secrets and have nothing to hide.

I stopped for lunch in Oak Harbour.  Oak Harbour is home to Whidbey Naval Air Station.  I would have loved a tour but I don't think the US Military offers tours of air bases.   I would have really loved the opportunity to ride my bike down the runway or at least on the road beside the runway like Tom Cruise did in Top Gun but I had to leave that for another day.

After Oak Harbour, I headed south on 20 for Clinton and took the ferry to Everett. I met another biker on the ferry and we had a good visit as we crossed the water.  He led me to I-5 and this is where things got interesting.  Traffic volumes were heavy and it wasn't long before I was crawling along thinking, 'what is that smell?'.  It smelled like something was rotting and decaying.  100 meters in front of me was a garbage truck.  He was in the centre lane and upwind (and it was warm) so it really didn't matter where you went, you caught the smell of Everett garbage.  It's not a great impression for a city.  'Drive on our Freeway.  Smell our Garbage!' is hardly a good tourism slogan.  As soon as I got past the truck and could breathe freely again, I started thinking about the smells that we leave behind us.  (No... not THOSE smells...)

Our lives are meant to be a fragrance.  To give off a beautiful scent that is as attractive as a rose garden.  Sadly, our scent isn't always sweet.  Sometimes it reeks of bitterness, anger or a distinct sense of 'betterness'.  At the end of the day, it's only as my life is transformed into the beauty of what God intended it to be that it becomes a sweet fragrance to all around me. Many years ago, a former pastor was leaving for Africa.  As he hugged me his last words were 'Stay Sweet'.  There are days I smell sweet and there are days I give off a horrible stench.  I try for sweetness but my garbage truck experience has strengthened my resolve to work harder at sweetness.

Having cleared the air at Everett, I pressed north to Burlington where I stopped at Cycle Barn and the nearby Starbucks.  Free wifi and a coffee after a browse through a motorcycle shop makes for a great way to finish the day.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Back to the Beginning

Our family just spent a week at a Family Camp for Pastors.  This has become a bit of a family tradition for us and is always a highlight of our summer.  The camp and the venue hold a special place in our lives.  God has spoken to Barb and I powerfully there over the 7 or 8 years that we've attended.  It was 5 years ago this summer that God quite unexpectedly gave me the vision for Legislative Chaplaincy.  It happened like this...

Our speaker that year was Ian Green.  If you've never heard Ian speak, he's fascinating and has a way of helping you hear God's voice.  We arrived for a morning session and Ian announced that the plan for the day was simply to take some time to let God give us a fresh vision for our lives and ministry. (I think this is a brilliant way for a speaker to use a session....)  Given that I was a pastor at that point, I fully expected to get some direction for an exciting fall program.  I was in for a huge surprise....

As I opened my notebook to begin to write, I was shocked to hear God speak to me about starting a Legislative Chaplaincy.  The vision was remarkably clear and specific.  Looking back, It's remarkable to see the way in which what I heard God say has become reality in my life.  It's really nothing short of a miracle.

Over the next few months, Barb and I began to sort out what this would mean for us and for our family.  Our kids would leave everything they knew, we would give up all of what we thought was our security and stability.  One huge lesson was that it's easy to preach about faith and trust.  It's quite another to actually let go of everything you have and know and simply to trust God with the only guarantee being His promise to look after us. The transition took longer than we anticipated, but without a doubt, we made the right decision and are so thankful to serve God and MLA's in the way that we do.

All of this reminds me of God's faithfulness and in His ability to make something out of nothing.  Without a doubt He has gone before us and made our way straight.  We've had our challenges and struggles but it has underscored our confidence in God's ability to absolutely open doors, make provision and calm us while He calms the storm.

We are off to a week of vacation with some friends.  Blessings to you all!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Mid-Summer Update

Hi Everyone. Don't tell your kids, but in less than a month, school starts! Here's a mid-summer update for you.  With the Legislature not in session, things are much quieter than they were a year ago.  Most members are happy for the break which gives them the opportunity to focus on constituency business at a less stressful pace.  This presents a unique opportunity for us as well to connect and engage in a more relaxed environment.  Last week I stopped in to visit a member in his office on my way home from a funeral. I was on my motorcycle.  I discovered that he rides as well so we've set up an evening ride in a few weeks.  I'll post pictures after we are done.  These are the kinds of things that happen through the summer.  Things are more spontaneous and relaxed.  This results in greater openness to strengthen relationships with leads to conversations about the things that matter most. 

We just sent out our summer newsletter.  If you haven't received a copy, please contact our office and we will get one in the mail to you.  We'd love to send one to you.

I'm on vacation for a few weeks and we are all looking forward to the rest.  Have a great summer!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Perspective is Everything...

A man lived by the side of the road and sold hot dogs.
He was hard of hearing so he had no radio.  He had trouble with his eyes so he read no newspapers.  But he sold good hot dogs.

He put a sign on the highway telling how good they were.
He stood by the side of the road and cried 'Buy a hot dog, Mister.'
And people bought.

He increased his meat and bun orders.
He bought a bigger stove to take care of his trade.
He got his son home from college to help him.

But then something happened....

His son said, 'Father, haven't you heard the news?
There's a big recession on.  Times are tough. The unemployment situation is terrible.'

Whereupon his father thought, 'Well, my son has been to college.  He reads the paper and he listens to the radio and he ought to know.'

So the father cut down on his meat and bun orders.
Took down his advertising signs.
And no longer bothered to stand on the highway to sell hot dogs.
And his hot dog sales fell almost overnight.

'Your right, son,' the father said to the boy.
'We are certainly in the middle of a great recession.'

Written by Jimmy Pattison.  1987

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Student of The Month

Late last week, our oldest son brought home what looked like a school newsletter. Our lives are pretty busy, so a school newsletter isn't always the first thing that we read.  Yesterday, he casually asked if we had a chance to look at it.  He waved it around and then left it on the table.  After he left we picked it up and noticed that he had been named 'Student of The Month'.

Here's the copy of the article:
This months Student of the Month is Zack Schindel.  Zack gets the award this month because he gets up early every morning to make breakfast for everyone in his house.  After that he runs to school to help his teachers prepare for their day.  After his classwork done, he helps the other members complete theirs.  Rather than spending his free time with his friends at lunch, Zack picks up trash and litter on the school property.  After classes are done for the day he runs to the nearby seniors home where he reads to the residents until dinner time.  He has straight A's and perfect GPA.  Congrats on being an excellent example to all of us Zack!

His 'newsletter' was really a computer science project.  It should also qualify for creative writing...

  Zack, we are very proud of you even if you don't do any of the things that earned you 'Student of the Month'.  Thanks for making us laugh!!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

In The News....

See the latest article on LIM in the BC Christian News by clicking here.

Marking Our Progress

The Legislature recessed last Thursday and you could almost hear the sighs of relief from members and staff alike as everyone headed for home.  In the last calendar year, we had an election, two budgets, two throne speeches and 3 sessions.  If my count is correct, there were almost 80 sitting days in the Spring session.  That's about 2 weeks longer than usual and doesn't take into account the extended summer and fall sessions.  Small wonder the general consensus over the past few weeks was 'is it time to go home yet?'  

I always marvel at the sacrifices members and their families make to serve our province.  For all of the 'talk radio' rants about soft hours and public troughs, I've yet to meet a single person who serves in this capacity who is there only for themselves.  Politics aside, these are good people who give themselves selflessly to represent their ridings and constituents. 

God has helped us be a source of encouragement and blessing to the members during this past session..  I wrote about our Annual MLA Prayer Breakfast in my last email.  This was our biggest and best breakfast by far and is a strong indicator of the progress we have made.  While not nearly as 'big' as the breakfast, we've been able to develop some significant 'behind the scenes' ministries that have been very appreciated and fruitful.  Most significantly, we've launched a weekly prayer and ministry time.  It's been exciting to meet and pray with members in a context away from the Legislature in a place that has become their sanctuary.  The prayer times have often resulted in more ministry opportunities at the Legislature too.   God continues to open some significant doors of ministry to us and we are very grateful.

There's something new happening for us too.  Because of the length of the last session, I've been able to establish intentional relationships with staff who work at the Legislature in a number of roles.  This comes as a direct result of God's favour.  This is a natural outflow of ongoing ministry in the buildings and it's exciting to see what God is doing with it. 

It's important for me to say thank you to those who pray for us and partner with us financially.  We are only here because you stand with us on both fronts.  Thanks for everything that you do for us!

Monday, June 07, 2010

You Should Stop Praying!!

Every so often you get to experience something new and fresh.  Last week was one of those moments for me.  I opened an email from someone telling me that if I couldn't do any better than this, I should stop praying and do something else.  As you can imagine, I was a bit puzzled about how my prayers could have failed so miserably.  As I read a little further, I discovered that the writer had determined if I had been more effective in my prayers, BC would have been spared the HST. 

After 27 years of ministry, I've learned that there are a lot of things that pastors can be blamed for.  The music is too loud, too soft, too long, too short, too old, too new.  The sermon is too long, too short, too deep, too light... the heat is .... well you get the general idea...  I may be the first pastor in history to be blamed for a major shift in taxation policy. 

Last week, I went out for dinner with several MLA's.  They were delighted to hear that I was the one to blame for the HST.  One remarked 'had we only known, we would have said something during Question Period!'  On more than a few days through the last session, the government would have appreciated being able to point to someone else.   I can see it now.... 'Mr. Speaker, we implemented the HST because Tim's prayers weren't working.  He's the one to blame for this tax!!' Now THAT would have made for a REALLY interesting day...  Given enough creativity, I might be the reason the Canucks are done too....  LOL!!


Sunday, May 16, 2010

MLA Prayer Breakfast Report

We recently held our annual prayer breakfast.  The breakfast is our showcase event and we look forward to it all year.  I'm thrilled to tell you that we had an incredible response from the MLA's with 17 in attendance and a total of almost 150 people with us for that morning.  God has been faithful to us!   I'm including some pictures of the morning that I hope you enjoy.

Our speaker this year was Karen Reed.  Karen had just completed a 15 month role as Executive Director with More Than Gold which was a faith network response to the Olympic Games.  It was an incredible morning as she spoke out of her experience on the power of collabaration. 

As Karen and I were having lunch together with a small group later in the day, one Cabinet Minister came over to thank her for her talk and commmented that 'we all took notes and have been talking about it all morning.'  Given that Cabinet ministers have a lot of things on their mind, it speaks volumes about the way God helped Karen as she spoke that morning.  Some people have asked for a copy of her talk. While we don't have a hard copy, you can view a video of her talk by clicking here.

Here's a picture of Tim introducing each of the 17 MLA's who attended.  What a thrill to have such a tremendous response!

On your left is Pastor Dan Cousins from Nanaimo.  Dan is the pastor of Genesis Christian Centre.  He led us in prayer for the 84 MLA's that give leadership to our province.  Here is text of the prayer that we prayed that morning.
We thank you for the leaders gathered in this room who give of themselves to serve our province as elected leaders. We ask that you would honour their willing sacrifice of time and energy as they give themselves to public service. We pray that you would grant them wisdom as they serve as leaders. Help them to discern what is best for our province as we move towards tomorrow. Give them courage to make good and right decisions that are in keeping with Your plans so that all of us will benefit. Fill them with compassion for the poor and weak among us. Help them to govern rightly on their behalf. Grant them Your strength that will enable them to fulfill all that is required of them. May they sense Your love for them today.

This picture was taken as we prayed for the MLA's.  What an incredible privilege to pray with ministry friends and partners along with leaders from the church, business and government with no agenda other than to ask God to bless them as they serve our province in their capacity as leaders. 

We've got some great candid shots that you will find below as well.  We hope that these photos give you a good sense of what it was like to be with us this year.  If you couldn't make it this year, please make plans to join us next year.

Pastor Peter Lewis with MLA Bill Routley and Tim Schindel.
MLA Harry Bloy with Tim.  Harry has attended all 4 of our breakfasts.

MLA Marc Dalton arrives at the breakfast.  That's Barb Schindel behind Marc.

Karen Reed meets Mabel Elmore. 
Dave Hauser (Victoria) and Dave Franke (Duncan) enjoy a moment together.  This was a great morning to smile as old friends found each other and new friends were made.
A group shot taken during our speakers address. As you can see, we've grown a bit.  We had 45 people at our first breakfast.  We had 150 join us this year.  We are very grateful.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Tributue to Terry Fox - Mike Farnworth

I don't normally post speeches from the Legislature, but this particular speech caught my attention today, especially when Mike Farnworth mentioned that he was a classmate of Terry Fox. I hope you find the same challenge and inspiration from it that I did today!

This week we mark the anniversary of an astonishing achievement by one of our greatest British Columbians and Canadians. Thirty years ago, on the 12th of April in 1980, Terry Fox began his Marathon of Hope by dipping his artificial leg into St. John's harbour. 

All of us know the rest of Terry's remarkable story. His goal was to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research, and he pursued his goal for 143 gruelling days. He eventually had to stop outside Thunder Bay, Ontario because he was too sick to continue. The cancer that he had been fighting had returned.
It was a remarkable achievement, and I'd like to put those numbers into a bit of perspective for all of us in this room and in the gallery. Running for 143 days straight, no day off, running an average of 42 kilometres each day. Just so we can all appreciate that, that's like each of us getting up tomorrow, putting on your sweats and your running shoes and then going outside to run a marathon, and then the next day and then the next day and doing it over and over and over again for 143 days.
Are you tired even just thinking about it? But Terry did it for 4½ months. His run was a testament to the spirit of the individual, but more important than that, it showed us that it's ordinary people who achieve remarkable and extraordinary things.

I was at school with Terry. We were in the same class in junior high school. He was just a regular kid just like everybody else in that classroom, but he went on to achieve true greatness — greatness that wasn't thrust upon him, but greatness that came from inside him.

He had a heart and a determination to achieve his goal and his dream. He did that day in and day out, and that is why his legacy lives on. But more important than that, and just as important as the battle to fight cancer, is the lesson for us that it's within each of us with our determination to make dreams like his a reality.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Rolling Away The Stone

Mary Magdalene was having a tough day.  She'd actually had a pretty rough weekend.  On Friday she observed and attended the execution of Jesus.  It would have been more horrifying for her than most.  Jesus had literally saved her life.  Before she met him, she was a demon possessed prostitute.  He changed all of that for her.  Mary believed in Him, followed Him and loved Him.  Watching Him suffer and die in the most brutal way would have been a nightmare.  She followed as they carried his body away from Calvary and placed it in a nearby tomb.  She was there when the large stone was rolled in place to seal the tomb.

Saturday was the Sabbath.  There was nothing to do except stay at home and grieve her loss, but early Sunday morning, Mary went at the first opportunity with spices to sweeten the smell at the grave.  When she arrived, the tomb was open and vacant.  When she turned around, she encountered the person she thought was the caretaker and asked him where he had taken the body of Jesus.  Imagine her shock, when the 'gardener' announced that He was Jesus.  He instructed her to go and tell his disciples that He was alive and to meet him in Galilee.  As you can imagine, Mary ran as fast as she could to tell the disciples.  When she got there, they didn't believe her.  Jesus himself appeared to two other followers who were walking down the road and they didn't believe he was alive either.  (I often wonder if He just did that for fun...)

I've been thinking about this all weekend.  Perhaps the greatest challenge on the first Easter was rolling away the stone of unbelief in the lives of those who loved Him most.  I'm not criticizing the disciples at all.  We all live with our own stones of unbelief.  For the disciples, accepting the truth of the resurrection cemented their confidence in everything that they had heard and seen to that point.  In the previous 3 1/2 years, they had seen Jesus heal the sick, deliver the possessed, open the eyes of the blind, walk on the water, calm the storm and many, many other miracles, but in the moment that the stone of unbelief was rolled away from their hearts, He became the Unstoppable Jesus.  They were convinced and within a generation had changed their world.

I'm convinced that Jesus remains unstoppable.  I'm also convinced that as the stone of unbelief is rolled back in our lives, anything can happen in us and through us. 

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Remembering the Resurrected Jesus

From the Victoria Times Colonist - April 3, 2010
Yesterday, for Christians, was the saddest day of the year, the day they crucified Jesus. Tomorrow is probably the happiest, the day he rose from the dead.

Today, we're in a kind of limbo between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Yet today does have a name -- Holy Saturday. This is the day Christians remember Jesus lying in the tomb. It was also a day of absolute sorrow, when his disciples and followers were lost, bereft and alone.

Then on Sunday, the third day, a rebirth, the miracle of miracles. He came back to them.

At first there was disbelief and then a kind of grudging belief. And then, over time, came Belief of monumental, stunning proportions. Belief through the ages and here, more than 2,000 years later, there are the churches and cathedrals and Easter bonnets (on New York's Fifth Avenue, anyway) to celebrate and bear witness to that joy.

The cross, not surprisingly, has been the enduring symbol of Christianity. Most Christian churches show paintings or sculptures or stained-glass images of Christ, his face contorted in pain, wearing a loincloth on the cross. His bloodied hands and feet are nailed to the structure.

It is, to be sure, the most heart-wrenching of images, even if you're not quite a Believer.

The comedian Dick Gregory once pointed out that if Christ were executed today, people would start wearing electric chairs around their necks. A strange motif, yes, but after the laughter subsides it's a good idea to pause. Many employ instruments of torture to remember one they love.

Interestingly, there are more -- many more -- images depicting the death than the Resurrection. The populist depiction of Jesus is a man in pain rather than a man of joy, of humour, of happiness and kindness. Or a man making miracles.

The Christ on the cross is a man crying "Why have you forsaken me?" to his father, and this is the image most of us immediately bring to mind. We seem to be celebrating man's inhumanity than Christ's humanity. Here he is vulnerable. Beaten. Bloodied. Broken.

Certainly, there are many images of the baby Jesus in the manger, but this is often a swaddled or anonymous Jesus. Centre-stage -- or centre-barn -- obviously, but Mary and Joseph, assorted wise men, shepherds and animals get equal billing.

The life of Jesus between birth and death is rarely depicted. Sometimes we see him in flowing robes, arms outstretched. Presumably, this is the image popes and cardinals like to model themselves on. Reverent. Ethereal. Pious.

Sometimes we see him healing the sick, raising Lazarus from the dead, and in one or two images casting out the moneychangers in the temple. These are rare. Eventually, everything heads back to that image on the cross or that baby in the manger.

I once spoke to a Lutheran minister who bemoaned the fact that almost every image of Jesus showed him as miserable, or pious, eyes raised to the heavens. This, he said, gave Jesus the wrong image. A man without human form.

"He was a man of humour, of decisiveness. A leader. Yet we have this Renaissance view of him that persists to this day. Artists are afraid to deviate from that image."

That's true. The image might have gone through various artistic permutations and styles, but it's still, usually, an image of overwhelming sadness rather than an image of joy.

That same Lutheran minister had hung a painting called Jesus Laughing in his church, a famous painting showing Christ throwing his head back and guffawing. Not smiling demurely, pope-like, but a man, enjoying himself, laughing at a joke, a remembered moment.

There are scant images of Christ risen from the dead, and these often have a bright halo above his head and scared, subjugated mortals at his feet. These images are historical religiously, but they lack the conviction or splendour of the crucifixion.

The fact is, the way we mostly depict him is in terms of Good Friday -- sombre, dark and sad -- rather than Easter Sunday -- a day of spring, of flowers, of rebirth, of wonder. And hope.

That's a pity. We should make Jesus happier. A man reborn. An Easter Sunday Jesus, not just a Good Friday Jesus. I'd like that. I'd like to think he would, too.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Prayer Breakfast Tickets Available!

Our 4th Annual MLA Prayer Breakfast is scheduled for May 5 at 7:30 at the Hotel Grand Pacific.  A limited number of tickets are available through our website.  Click here for more information.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Missouri Legislators Call for Prayer

Perhaps this is something that should happen in our province....  from the National Prayer Centre in the US.

As the economic worries and struggles gripping our nation persist, there is also a growing openness among many segments of society to seek God's help and provision. The National Prayer Center recently received word of this joyous dynamic taking place in a somewhat surprising place: the Missouri State Legislature. Rev. Paul Meinsen, Director of Capitol Commission Missouri (a group that ministers through prayer and Bible study in state capitols), gave this powerful testimony:

Last week (week of March 1) several Christian leaders met with Key Leaders from both Chambers of the Missouri legislature -- House of Representatives and Senate -- meeting individually with leaders of both political parties. These elected officials all requested prayer as they are desperate for answers as how to balance the budget. They are at the "end of themselves." Because of the state's budget shortfall, they report that the pending budget cuts will cause pain to many of our Missouri citizens. They want to be responsible in balancing the budget, avoiding unnecessary debt that is severely threatening many states. At the same time they hope to avoid the painful cuts that they are now facing in currently preparing the state's budget.

These leaders asked Bob Loggins, Prayer Specialist of the Mo. Baptist Convention, and me as the Midwest National Area Leader for National Day of Prayer to meet with them. They requested a proposal (which is attached), wanting us to mobilize prayer throughout Missouri, which will include 40 Days of Prayer beginning on Monday, March 29.

Remarkable efforts are being made to avoid this great prayer focus being a political event! Indeed this great prayer focus is a bipartisan effort with united support from legislative leaders of both political parties. They want to avoid doing anything - as do we -- that would be divisive or distracting to this thrust of seeking the living God for solutions. They want it that way because they are seeking God -and want us to seek God -- for help, carrying no other agenda.

The plan is to be highlighted by a noon time of prayer (12:00 - 1:30 PM) in the rotunda of the Missouri State Capitol Building in Jefferson City on Monday, March 29th. We have asked Franklin or his son Will Graham to speak and are waiting to see if they are available. The March 29th date is the "kickoff" for the 40 Days of Fasting and Prayer.

The National Prayer Center encourages you to be in prayer for your state leaders as well, as they grapple with difficult financial choices in extremely trying circumstances. Let us seek God that they receive His wisdom and His grace, both in their decisions and in their personal lives.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cheering Them On...

We are having a blast watching the Olympics at our house.  On Sunday night we watched Alexandre Bilodeau win Canada's first gold on home soil.  What an exciting moment.  As I it happened, I thought, this is a defining moment.  You just won't forget where you were when you saw or heard about it.  Then it happened again yesterday.  Maelle Ricker took gold in Snowboard Cross.  If the snow holds and we can score a few more golds on Cypress, a good headline for the Province would be 'Gold Rush on North Shore'. 

I love watching the crowds.  Every time a Canadian athlete is announced the red-clad crowd erupts with a loud and extended cheer. It reminds me of what happens in heaven every day.  Hebrews tells us that there is a great cloud of witnesses (fans) cheering us on as we live out our lives and faith on earth.  Maybe just maybe the population of heaven is really done up in home team colors and every time you and I face temptation, are faced with the choice of doing the right or wrong thing, perform an act of kindness or step out in faith in some way, a loud cheer goes up, led by the Champion of champions who calls our name and shouts 'Go your name here Go' 

Run your race well today.  Heaven is cheering for you!

Monday, January 25, 2010

My Brother Told Me About You...

I was at Walmart on a quick shopping trip and I was introduced to one of our daughter’s babysitting clients. The father and I went through the customary male greetings. ‘What do you do?’ ‘Where do you work?’. ‘Where are you from?’

Telling people what I do can sometimes be a bit of an adventure because I’m the only person in all of Canada who does what I do, so it generally requires some explanation. Given that I was standing in an aisle at Walmart, I fully expected to be providing the LONG explanation.

I started by saying that I provide chaplaincy services to MLA’s and then watched his facial expression to see how much additional explaining would be necessary.

You can imagine my surprise when he said, ‘My brother told me about you.’

His brother is an MLA and while I’ve met him on several occasions, I can’t say that I ever felt as though it was ever much more than a polite greeting in a crowded room.

When I asked what his brother had told him, I was even more surprised. He said that his brother was aware that we were praying for him and others on a daily basis and that their staff regularly checked the daily prayer blog to see who we were praying for and what we were praying about.

I hope this is a tremendous encouragement to you. It’s important for us to know that our prayers are having an effect and an impact on the lives of those we are seeking to bless.

I want invite and encourage you to pray along with us. We send out a daily email each Monday to Friday. Each email features a personalized prayer for different MLA. The prayers are short and simple so that you can pray them whenever you see them. You can join our daily team by subscribing at and clicking on the feedblitz button on the upper right side.