Friday, December 16, 2011

The Year In Review

Near the end of December, my sons and I sit down and watch multiple versions of the best sports Plays of the Year.  We laugh, cheer, replay and 'wow' our way through at least one hour (but usually several...) of some of our favourite moments.  As much as I enjoy that time, the opportunity to recall the good things that God has done for LIM in the past year is much more satisfying to me.  God has been very good to us in 2011.  Because of what we do, we aren't able to share everything with you, but here the best of what we can.  We hope you enjoy it!

January - With the help of some good friends, we revamped all of our print and web material and developed some new tools to assist us in resource development.  That might not sound very exciting, but we were in desperate need of some help in this area.  God brought some key people to us at just the right time.

February - The Legislature resumed with a very unique climate.  Both parties were in a leadership race. In the midst of it all, we were able to renew the ever important ministry relationships that are the foundation of our work.  I was also able to attend the Liberal leadership election in Vancouver.

March - I attended the swearing in ceremony for the new Premier and Cabinet at Government House.  It's always an honour to be present for special moments like this.  It gives us opportunity to connect with new minister and communicate our intention to serve them and pray for them.

April - The NDP selected Adrian Dix as their new leader.  The Legislature resumed regular sittings at the end of April in yet another new environment. It would be safe to say that change was a constant factor for us through the spring.

May - We hosted our 5th Annual MLA Prayer Breakfast.  This is our showcase event and we had our best response ever.  23 Members and a total of almost 150 guests joined us for breakfast in what has become a highlight for the Members.  Our speaker was Corey Toews from Level Ground Coffee.  Corey did an amazing job for us.  If you see Level Ground Coffee at the store, buy a package and support a company with a conscience!

June - Featured our first ever Ironman of Golf.  Tim played 100 holes of golf in a single day as a fundraiser for a travel budget through the summer.  Because of the infrequency of sitting days in the spring, we wanted to have the freedom to connect with members through the summer.  Olympic View Golf Course was a fantastic venue and the event was a huge success because so many were so generous.  Thanks again for your support!  Wait till you see what happened in July because you gave!

July - Was INCREDIBLE!  Tim and Barb were invited to attend a Caucus retreat at Harrison Hot Springs.  (it's tough, but someone has to go!)  This opportunity may have been the most important 24 hours of our summer.  By God's grace we saw a marriage restored and an MLA's wife come to faith in Christ over the week that followed because we were able to be present and provide them with the support and ministry that they needed at that time.

August - We took some vacation time and visited a number of churches to share the work and vision of LIM.

September - Marked the beginning of fundraising season.  We help fundraisers in Kamloops, Langley and Victoria.  We are always appreciative of the support that we receive at these events and more importantly, the relationships that we begin, strengthen and renew.  The relationships are always the best part.

October - The Legislature resumed with a new Throne Speech and Agenda.  It also marked the beginning of our best fall season thus far.  Not a day has gone by without some meaningful interaction with at least one MLA.  In the first 2 weeks of the session, I was able to pray with at least one MLA every day.  This is another remarkable first for us.

November - Early in the month, I received word from a Minister's aide expressing interest in starting a bi-partisan prayer meeting.  This is an answer to a long held goal.  Our initial meting has been re-scheduled to late December, but I'll keep you posted.  On another note, we were able to assist Christian Embassy from Ottawa by coordinating a meeting between an MLA and two visiting Ambassadors.  We met in the Cabinet offices in Vancouver which was another first for us.

December - Our December story has yet to be written, but we are confident that it will be as remarkable as the rest of 2011 has been.  Our hope is to finish the year in a strong financial position that will allow us to be positioned to launch LIM in Alberta in 2012.  Click here if you would like to partner with us by giving online.  If you would like to give by cheque, please ensure that your gift is postmarked by Dec 31.  We know that God is faithful and good and are confident that we will reach our goal! 

Our prayer for you in 2012 is that it will be abundant and overflowing with God's goodness and blessing in every part of your life, home, business and relationships.  Thanks again for your partnership and for standing with us!   May you be abundantly blessed in the New Year.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Trip #50

On the day I turned 10 years old,  I had something of an 'aha' moment.  I remember pondering the fact that at point in my life I had travelled around the sun 10 times. 10 winters, 10 springs, 10 summers and 10 falls, over half of them spent in Ignace, Ontario.  In my 10 year old mind, it seemed like that everyone one of those trips took a long, long time.

I begin trip #50 around the sun today.  They don't seem to take as long as they used to.  On the contrary, it feels as though time has accelerated in so many ways.  Where my summers at 10 were filled with vacations, lake days and trips to the farm, today my summers are filled with shuttling sons to baseball, travelling to speak in churches with a couple of weeks of downtime at the beach.  Gone are the 'farmer tan' arms that used to mark my summer seasons.  When I was 10, I thought I might want to have an 'outside' job.  After 30 years of working, I'll say that there's nothing wrong with an outside job, but I am really thankful for an 'inside' career on days when the rain is going sideways.

As part of my job at one point along the way, I met an elderly lady named Mrs. Wilson.  When you asked her how old she was, she would respond by telling you what 'year' she was in vs. what birthday she last celebrated.  When she was 89, she spent a whole year telling everyone that she was in her 90th year.  With respect to Mrs. Wilson, I've been thinking a lot about what I want to accomplish in my 50th year.  I know enough about human nature in general and my nature in particular to know that the likelihood of achieving the things that I want to accomplish increases dramatically if I write them down and tell someone.  These are in no particular order.  Consider this both the writing and the telling.

1)  I want to complete a book.  I've been thinking, talking and dreaming about this for a long time.  Somewhere on a CD or hard drive the 'bones' of the book already exist in file form.  I am not getting any younger or any less busy.  I will complete my book before my 50th birthday.

2) I've lost just over 20lbs this year through changing my diet and by exercise.  I competed in my first half marathon with a respectable time of 2:05:30.  Before I am 50 years old, I'd like to lose another 10lbs, complete a marathon and challenge the same Half Marathon in the fall and come in under 2:00.

3)  I will become 'kinder and gentler'.  I have heard two statements about other people that have challenged me significantly in the past few weeks. The first is that apologizing doesn't mean you are wrong.  It means you care enough about the relationship to do whatever it takes to preserve it.  That has been very challenging.  I heard the 2nd statement at a funeral yesterday.  'He combated thorns by planting roses.'  If nothing else, I'd like to give myself to planting roses in the lives of other people.  They look good, smell nice and communicate value. 

4) I need to 'go deeper' in my walk with Christ.  The longer I do what I do, I come to the conclusion that in order to do this well, I need to become much more like Jesus.  At a distance, 'what would Jesus do?' is easily answered.  The longer I am engaged in this role, the more elusive the answer becomes because this is not a black and white world and yes to some good things often means 'no' to other good things.  I need to dig deeper wells that will sustain and renew me as I serve where I do.

5) By this time next year, I want to see Leading Influence established in at least one other province.  We are at a place where it's time to take the next step.  In order to do that, we need to find entrepreneurial, risk taking leaders who are willing to take on this kind of a challenge.  It's not easy, but it's very worthwhile!  It's time to get it done. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Thoughts from the Trail

Many of you who read this blog know that I have taken up running this year.  It's been a rewarding experience with some weight loss, an improvement in my overall health and the rewards of reaching goals and milestones.  This morning was particularly rewarding as I ran along a leaf covered trail surrounded by the magnificent fall colors. As I ran, I was reflecting on what I've observed at the Legislature over the past month when I had something of an 'aha' moment.  The thought crossed my mind that politics has supplanted governance as the main focus of our elected leaders.  Sadly, it means that most decisions are made on the basis of what is most appealing to the electorate vs. what is best for the citizens as a whole.  Some believe that this is a paternalistic approach to governance.  I disagree.  I say that we need a shift in our political leadership culture that moves away from pandering to the interest groups that support you and towards a more serious commitment to the common good and in particular the needs of those who are most vulnerable among us. 

As Europe teeters on the brink of financial collapse and America wanders through the doldrums of a painfully slow economic recovery, it's time to recognize (again) that we find ourselves in a difficult situation as a province and nation.  We do not exist in a vacuum and what happens south of the border and across the ocean has a significant impact upon our economy.  That impact will ultimately affect health care delivery, education, transportation, infrastructure and the list goes on.... No amount of political rhetoric, chest pounding or desk thumping is going to provide what we so desperately need.

We need leaders who are willing to risk political pressure from party insiders in order to ensure that the poor, weak and oppressed among us find justice, support and help.  We need leaders who can step away from outside political pressure and being owned by special interest groups to address the pressing issues of our day.  We need leaders who are able to move beyond their personal interests and 'hobby-horse' issues and find a way to work pro-actively towards solutions that appeal to the broad base of the population.  Ultimately we need leaders who are willing to show leadership rather than vote hungry politicians whose decisions are based on gaining or retaining power.  What we need is particularly challenging to find in an adversarial system designed to score points by making the people on the other side of the aisle look bad.

A number of years ago, a Cabinet minister asked me an important question:  "How do I serve God in this place?'  It's challenging to say the least, especially in light of what I've written previously, but I firmly believe that the Church has a key role in supporting those who seek to govern from that stance.  I don't necessarily think that our answer is in 'taking over government' with our own political agenda. At some point we need to recognize that the kingdom is not of this world and that our primary concern is to be salt and light within our world.   I do think that the answer is found in the church taking up it's role as priest within our nation. 

Priests fill the role of intercessor through praying for those who lead.  We must pray for those who are entrusted to lead our province regardless of their political ideology.  Priests fill the role of advocates and a voice for those who are oppressed and experiencing injustice.  We need to speak for those who can't speak for themselves.  Priests 'stand in the gap' between those who are separated by ideology.  We need to find ways to build bridges towards a more proactive approach.  Finally, we need to be servants.  There are tremendous opportunities for the church to serve it's leaders and it's community by meeting the tangible needs that surround us.

Get involved.  Get engaged.  Change your world.  Make a difference.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My First Half Marathon

A year ago, we all got in the van and went downtown early on Thanksgiving Sunday to cheer Barb (my wife) on in her first ever Half Marathon.  I was supportive and loved the energy associated with that many people getting ready to take on a personal challenge.  She did well and we all enjoyed a hot drink while she ran her 21 kms.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think that just 52 weeks later I would be standing in running great waiting to take on my first half-marathon.

I started running in January.  I did it as a weight loss strategy. In the beginning it was all about running a mile on the treadmill at the gym.  It was a good start but I soon grew tired of looking at the same parking lot.  I graduated to running around small lake in our area.  I thought it was reasonable. In retrospect, it's a challenging, hilly course.  Barb convinced me that running near our house might be a better option and so I began to run more regularly and for longer distances.

By early May I had determined that I would prepare for the GoodLife Fitness Half Marathon scheduled for this past weekend.  I trained through the summer and things were looking good.  In late August I ran 18kms for the first time. 

On Sunday morning I stood with about 6000 other people who had prepared to challenge themselves, the course and those around them over a 21km course.  One man was 89 years old.  The gun went off and we began to run.  I ran with some friends, one has done many races and is a coach.  She was amazing at keeping me on track for 5kms. I got separated from them in the crowd after that and couldn't catch up.  I carried on at my own pace and enjoyed the run along Dallas Road.  I did well until I got to the area where I thought the turn around should be.  When it wasn't there and all I could see was the crowd in front of me turning in the opposite direction of where I thought the course should go, I began to struggle mentally.  I was discouraged and questioning whether or not I could finish.  When we finally made the turn, the trip home went by quickly.  (The trip home always feels quicker...)  When I passed the 18km mark, every step was a personal best.  As much as my hip flexors and feet were hurting, the pain was secondary to the reward of finishing.  At around 19 kms our kids were standing on the sidewalk cheering me on.  They said that I wasn't as happy as I'd been earlier in the race.  My smile had been replaced with a grimace!  That said, I was making good progress and the end was near.  I ran past Ogden Point and began to pick up my pace.  Fisherman's Park is 1km from the finish line.  Because we were close to the end, the crowds were fuller and people were cheering, clanging cow bells and waving signs.  In the last 500m, something took over in me and I began to charge the finish line.  (Sprint would be a strong word...) I started passing people and closing the gap.  My goal was to finish at around 2:00 hours. I finished at 2:06.  My pace was 5:58/km.  My fastest km was my last one.

Having never done this before, it was a tremendous learning experience for me.  I was reminded again of the power of encouragement.  All of those people standing along the road holding their signs, ringing their cowbells and shouting encouragement really make a difference!  The high fives I got from my kids at 5kms and again at 18 kms helped keep me going.  They said I was smiling a lot more at 5ks than I was at 18....

I'm kind of competitive.... okay... I'm a LOT competitive.  I like winning more than losing.  This race helped me see something more important.  I had turned the corner and was on my way back to the finish line and was still meeting people who had started with me but were well behind me.  I saw one person who was significantly overweight running slowly along at a pace that worked for her.  I had tremendous respect for her and shouted some encouragement as we passed on the road.  She was had taken on the same challenge that I had and while we were at different places on the road, her progress and pace was significant to her.  I was proud to run in the same race. 

My most inspiring moment happened when I turned the final corner and came onto Belville St.  By this point the pace had quickened as everyone gave it one last push.  I was no different.  I gave it everything I had.  (In my mind I was tearing up the road.  On video, it's not as impressive.... LOL!!)The crowds were larger,  in some cases 3 and 4 people deep, there was more cheering and most importantly, 500M away was the finish line.  All of my training had been for this moment.... I focused on finishing well and gave it everything I had.

On the morning of the race, a friend tweeted Heb 12:1.  The verse speaks of our lives as a race and the picture is of a stadium full of cheering crowds.  We are running the race, with Jesus at the finish line waiting to welcome us in.  Those who are cheering were just like us, except that they have finished the race and they want us to finish well too.

As you probably know, Steve Jobs passed away last week.  He's been quoted as saying 'Live today as though it is your last.'  For the most part, we don't do that.  We live as if our last day is many days away.  Reality is that you just don't know when your last day will be, so live like this is it!! 

 Live Well... Run Well...  Finish Well!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Game On!!

Hello Friends.  It's Thursday morning and I feel a bit like I've been running a sprint over the last 3 days.  The Legislature resumed on Monday with a Throne Speech and all of the associated pageantry.  Throne Speech is one of my favourite events of the year.  There's so much to see before it starts and so many people to see after it's over. It always feels a bit like a high school reunion at the reception after the speech.  The room is buzzing with conversation, laughter and general pleasantries.

All through the summer, we had a distinct sense of momentum and increasing blessing on the ministry.  There were certainly some significant 'firsts' for us that I can't share here, but there was something else happening that was hard to quantify.  It just felt like something had 'shifted' for us.  I found out on Monday afternoon that we had crossed a significant threshold.

Normally, I have to 'work' the room at the post-speech reception and wait my turn to speak to members as they are visiting with their guests and friends.  I don't mind that, because I understand that they have a job to do even in that setting.  What told me something had changed for us was when I entered the reception area and people began moving towards me to extend their welcome and appreciation.  My intent is not to boast so much as it is to give God glory for His faithfulness to the ministry. Something significant has shifted for us and there is a new level of trust, openness and confidence in who we are and in what we do. That trust and openness has translated into some remarkable conversations and opportunities this week. 

I'm excited about what God has planned for those who lead our province in this session.  I'm more excited to be a part of seeing it unfold.  Keep tracking with us.  It's going to be an amazing Fall Session.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hitting 'Reset'

On Oct 3 the current session of the BC Legislature will come to a close.  Members will return to Victoria for a morning session that will officially bring the session to an end.  It will hopefully mark the end of a season of turmoil, intrigue and political uncertainty on both sides of the House. 
On the afternoon of Oct 3, the Lieutenant Governor will attend the Legislature and read the Throne Speech announcing Government's new agenda, priorities and vision.  In this case it will be a lot like hitting the 'reset' button on your smart phone that hasn't been working properly.  The hope is that a fresh start will result in  things beginning to work they way they are supposed to.  Only time will tell if the intended goal will be achieved.

It's not only governments that seek the opportunity to reset the agenda in the hope of a fresh start.  There are people everywhere who long for a fresh start.  Sometimes life just becomes too complicated, messy and challenging and we need to hit reset.  Depending on who you are and where you look, there might appear to be many ways to accomplish that.  We have tried for years to find a reset button that suits our preferences but rarely completely meets our needs.

The New Testament carries a central recurring theme around the idea of 'reset'.  God knew that at some point we would all long for a fresh start.  He made us to crave it.  And so He sent Jesus who talked about new life with people from every social strata.  The apostle Paul talked about becoming a new creation and John wrote about the tremendous forgiveness available to anyone who asks for it.

The big difference between the government's reset and this one is that the government's reset is based on the hope that certain outcomes will result.  It may or may not be successful.  God's 'reset' is guaranteed to give us a fresh start.  Every time.

Need a fresh start?  Ask God to hit the 'reset' button in your life!  You won't regret it!

Friday, September 02, 2011

No Election Until 2013

Premier Christy Clark brought an end to months of speculation yesterday by announcing that there would be no fall election.  I confess that I breathed a huge sigh of relief.  I am thankful that there will be no election for at least 20 months.  It will be good for our province to have some political stability after the drama around the now failed HST.  That said, it's obvious that the Opposition has become very optimistic about their chances in 2013 so it's safe to say that we are about to experience the longest election campaign north of the US border.

While elections are part of the democratic process, I'm relieved that the Premier is waiting until 2013.  In terms of what we do as a ministry, a stable political environment makes it much easier to serve and minister to MLA's.  Elections create significant pressure, stress and tension for politicians. 

This window allows us to move forward with some exciting plans to ehance our ministry effectiveness.  Over the next few months we will be working towards building some important relationships that will allow us to invest in MLA marriages and homes.  We are excited about this tremendous opportunity.

We will also be working on a hard copy prayer guide for PrayBC that will feature MLA profiles and daily prayers.  We keep getting requests for a hard copy version of what we do and we are thrilled to be able to move forward with that option this fall.

No election means there will be a fall session of the Legislature.  This allows us to build on our progress we made through the Spring session and over the summer months.  It's going to be an exciting year of ministry and I can't wait to get started!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

And Suddenly....

It's hard to believe this, but Christmas is only 4 months away.  (I can hear the groans and cheers from here!)  I was reminded of a sentence in one of the records of the first Christmas.  'And suddenly a great crowd of the heavenly host appeared....'  I haven't seen any angel choirs recently, but I feel a bit like the shepherds might have felt on that night. 

Things have been remarkably quiet on the political scene over the past few weeks.  This is usually a time when MLA's and their staff take vacation time from their hectic schedules.  Not a lot happens in August which is why I usually take my vacation at this time of year.

Last Thursday was my first day back in the office.  I was preparing for some Fall Fundraising events when my twitter feed popped up on my screen with a note that Barry Penner had resigned as Attorney General.  It's big news whenever the AG resigns and this was no exception.  Mr. Penner resigned so that he can spend more time with wife and family.  He's done a great job, is well respected and has made an excellent choice at this point in his life.  The Hon. Shirley Bond is taking on a new role and becomes both Attorney General and Solicitor General.  She is hard working, dedicated, wise and full of integrity.  She will do a fantastic job! She also is the first woman in BC to be both AG and SG.  That is quite an accomplishment!

I woke up early on Monday morning and heard the sad news that Jack Layton had passed away.  His passing will have an enormous effect on the federal political landscape and leaves a leadership vacuum in our nation.  Mr. Layton had a vision of Canada that ensured that the poor, weak and oppressed were cared for and empowered.  These are values that resonate with the heart and passion of Jesus and Jack Layton should be celebrated for having them.

On Wednesday Iain Black announced his resignation as member for Port Moody Port Coquitlam.  He will be the new President of the Vancouver Board of Trade. Mr. Black has been a remarkable MLA and former Cabinet Minister.  He's also a family man and a job that allows him to be home every night is a very good thing for him and his family. 

On Friday, we will hear the results on the HST referendum.  After 2 long years, the people will have their say and we will live with the decision of the majority. In whatever happens, my hope is that our expression of grass roots democracy will be seasoned with wisdom rather than the anger that sparked the referendum.  Generally speaking, angry people don't make wise decisions.

Wednesday's here.  Friday's coming.  Who knows what can happen in between!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Jack Layton Passes Away

With his wife Olivia Chow by his side, NDP Leader Jack Layton announces he is stepping aside temporarily to battle a second cancer at a Toronto news conference on July 25, 2011. - With his wife Olivia Chow by his side, NDP Leader Jack Layton announces he is stepping aside temporarily to battle a second cancer at a Toronto news conference on July 25, 2011. | THE CANADIAN PRESSThere are times when you hope (desperately) for a better outcome than what you really expect.  When Jack Layton announced he was stepping away from the leadership of the NDP this summer to battle a 2nd cancer diagnosis, I hoped for a positive outcome.  I think Canada needed a man and leader like Jack Layton.  He was passionate about ideals.  More importantly, he was undeterred by the challenges that stood in between what he saw could happen and what he saw did happen.  I admire his tennacity and commitment to care for the poor, the weak and the oppressed.  Jesus was passionate about those same things and somehow along the way, that same passion and vision resonated with Jack in a meaningful way. 

I met Jack Layton a few years ago when I was President of the Kamloops and District Chamber of Commerce.  He struck me as a genuine and humble man who was more interested in being real than he was in pretense and posturing.  My hope was to meet him again in my new capacity and pray with him in his office.  It was not to be.

I heard the news of his passing early this morning. I had hoped for a better and brighter outcome.  It was not to be. While his family has experienced a great loss, our nation has lost a great man who brought balance and wisdom to Canadian politics.  He will be missed. 

I read Jack Layton's Letter to All Canadians earlier today.   I don't know if  I've seen approach death in a more dignified and balanced approach.  Consider his last words to all Canadians....

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear.
Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic.
And we’ll change the world.

On behalf of the board and partners of Leading Influence Ministries, we express our sincere condolences to Mr. Layton's family, his colleagues and his peers.  Your loss enormous and our prayer for you is that the God of all comfort will be near you in every way.  We have lost a great Canadian who inspired us, challenged us and left us with the hope that things really can be different than what we see around us.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

IronMan Of Golf

It was still dark when I pulled out of my driveway at 4:20 on my way to start the IronMan of Golf.  On the way I learned that McDonalds doesn't serve breakfast until 5AM and that there's a line up at Tim Hortons at 4:30.  (Desperate times call for desperate measures...)  I arrived at Olympic View Golf Course at around 4:40 and teed off at 4:55.  The first two rounds were spectacular because there was no one in front of us.  It's the way golf should be played!  Round 1 was complete by 6:55 and Round 2 was done by 9:30.  Round 3 wasn't quite as fast and it just went downhill from there in terms of time. 

I learned some important lessons.  The first was a good reminder that adventures and challenges are always better when they are shared with someone else.  A special thanks to my caddies and drivers, Wally Berndt, Cathy Hallam and Tyler Schindel. 

Success happens when a lot of people work together.  Thanks to our many sponsors, donors and friends who contributed to the financial success of the day.  We are at just over $5500 on the day.  This is what we know of.  Others are pledging after the fact which is fantastic.  If you would like to support this event, click here to make your donation by credit card.  If you prefer to mail a cheque to us, just use our regular mailing address.

Leading Influence Ministries
 626 Blanshard St
Victoria BC   V8W 3G6

The staff at Olympic View was nothing short of incredible.  They cared for every aspect of the day and all I had to do was keep hitting the ball.  By my calculations, I probably had over 500 strokes on the day.  It felt like 1000 by the time I was done ...

You can accomplish more than you think you can if you just put your mind to it.  I hadn't swung a club in 3 years and wondered if I could make it.  By the time I was done, my legs, shoulders and arms were very tired, but I completed the 100.  (Tyler wanted to do another round but after a short snack, dad was ready to call it a day....)

I believe in generosity.  I started with 120 golf balls.  I came home with 40....  There are 80 balls out there somewhere just waiting to be found.

Remarkably, I only lost 3 to the water and just two went into the sand.  The rest are just scattered in the trees.  If you play OV, happy hunting! 

I scored 15 pars on the day.  That might sound impressive (and it would be if I only played 18 holes....)  At 5.5 rounds, it's not nearly that exciting!

For those of you who are wondering how I feel, let me testify to the medicinal qualities of A535, Advil and some very warm baths.  All in all, it hasn't been as bad as I thought, but I know that I did it.... 

Thanks again to everyone who helped make this happen! 

Friday, June 17, 2011

And In Other News...

I was in Vancouver for Game 7.  We were in the large crowd about 1/2 a block from where the riots started.  We left early and stayed up late watching the news and listening to the police helicopters. It's a sad moment for Vancouver.  Call in shows, TV experts and the print media had a single focus all day Thursday and they missed the real story.  Hooligans and anarchists saw and seized an opportunity to exploit the situation.  They counted on a mob mentality taking over.  They hoped correctly and got their desired result.  They rioted for 6 hours until police got the situation under control. 

The collective hand wringing, apologizing and prognosticating of Vancouverites and Canadians at large has now gone on for well over 24 hours.  We are embarrassed, humiliated, etc, etc by the actions of a relative handful of trouble makers.  In true Canadian fashion we will probe what has gone wrong with society, how this could happen and what should be done about it. 

Lost in the shuffle are the heroes in Vancouver. Hundreds of police officers showed tremendous restraint in dealing with the rioters.  Hundreds of Vancouverites volunteered, organized and came downtown to serve their city and assist in the clean up.  My son and I drove through the area on Thursday morning.  The street were clean.  Windows were boarded up and people were orderly, calm and sweeping and cleaning.  As we got to the Bay Store that was looted, people had begun to write thank you notes on the wood to those who had stepped up to keep things from getting worse.  It's now called 'The Citizen Wall'.  Click the link to see what people have written.  Last night, a police officer left his vehicle unattended only to return to see his car surrounded by a crowd of people.  Fearing the worst, he was relieved and delighted to see his cruiser covered with sticky notes expressing words of thanksgiving and appreciation. 

The Vancouver media could do the city a huge favour by shifting their focus solely to the actions of the heroes.  The world needs to hear about the great people of Vancouver who refuse to be defined by the violent actions of a few.  Use your influence to celebrate the spirit of volunteerism that didn't need a committee to respond to an obvious need.  Send the message that represents the true spirit of your great city.

Oh yeah... and Go Canucks!  (from a Blackhawks fan who thinks you can do it next year...)

Monday, June 06, 2011

Spring Session Ends

The Spring Session ended last week.  The media says it was 24 days long. It has been a very unique session.  Both parties have new leaders so in many ways it's a brand new day.  There are new voices, new ideas and new approaches and at least one new member (Premier Christy Clark) who seemed fairly excited to take her seat last Monday.  I confess that I keep waiting for her to say something like 'We'll be right back after this break....' during QP, but I don't think it's likely to happen.

I've learned some new words this session.  My favourite is 'jiggery pokery'.  My friend MLA Bill Routley (Member for Cowichan and aka 'The Silver Streak' or 'Brother Bill') used it liberally in his speech on the HST just before the government invoked closure.  I've never heard the expression before, but it sounds very good when used in an impassioned speech accompanied by the waving of arms.

This has been a good session in terms of ministry fruitfulness.  As I reported several weeks ago, we had 23 MLA's come to our annual Prayer Breakfast.  This was our best response to date. It's a reflection of 4 years of full time ministry to MLA's.  We have become known, trusted, respected and most importantly, deemed to be 'safe'.  It's an important milestone for us and puts us in a unique place in the lives of leaders.  The response to the Prayer Breakfast is indicative of the growth we are seeing behind the scenes.  Doors continue to open for us into the lives of our elected leaders.  It's quite exciting to see what God is doing.

We have some important plans for the summer. We've built some important bridges and we want to expand on that through the summer months by visiting as many MLA's as possible this summer through personal visits and contact. At present I have trips planned to Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and the Okanagan.  I'm hoping for one more trip to the Cariboo as well.  It's going to be a full and busy summer. 

Travel is always costly and it is especially costly in the summer.  In order to provide for that budget, we are holding our first ever 'IronMan of Golf' on June 22.  Starting at 4:45 AM, Tim will play 100 holes of golf on a single day.  You can sponsor Tim on a per hole basis or on a event sponsorship level.  You can support the event by clicking here or by contacting our office directly.

Monday, May 23, 2011

MLA Prayer Breakast Report

On May 19 we held our 5th Annual MLA Prayer Breakfast.  This was a milestone morning for us and we wanted it to be special.  We just had no idea how special it was about to become.  Five years ago, we held our first breakfast in a small room in the Union Club of BC.  It was a great starting point for us.  We had 45 people and 7 members.  We were thrilled!  As we began last week we had a total of 4 MLA's confirmed.  Needless to say, we were a bit concerned.  As we began to make contact with our regular attenders we were thrilled to discover that not only were they coming, but that they were bringing some friends along as well.  The evening before the breakfast, we were expecting 17 members to join us for breakfast.  On the morning of the breakfast, they all came AND brought 6 more of their friends.  We had 23 members in total which is almost 30% of the members in the Legislature.  We've come a long way from 7 members!

We were thrilled to have Stacey Toews from Level Ground Coffee join us for the morning. Stacey connected very well with our guests did a great job for us.  To learn more about Stacey and Level Ground, click here.

You can see pictures of the breakfast by clicking here.

LIM IronMan of Golf

One man. One Day. One Hundred Holes.

On June 22, Tim is embarking on the First Annual LIM IronMan of Golf.  He will play 100 holes of golf in a single day on Victoria's beautiful Olympic View Golf Course.  Our goal is to raise $15,000 to support the work of Leading Influence Ministries.   These funds will position us to be prepared for a strong second half of ministry in 2011 and to ensure that we are able to continue to invest in the lives of our leaders.

We need your help!  You can sponsor Tim by the hole or for the entire event simply by clicking on the Chipin widget on the sidebar of this page. 

Thanks in advance!  You can check back on our progress at any time by visiting this page! 

Monday, May 09, 2011

'Spinter' About to End In Victoria

It's been an unusually cool spring in Victoria.  Someone referred to it as 'Spinter' the other day.  Winter doesn't want to let go and spring seems a bit shy in appearing.   I think I may know the reason for the chilly weather.  The usual February to May spring session of the Legislature has been reduced (up until last week) to only 4 days.  The lack of heat usually generated by thirty minutes of intense political rhetoric has impacted the local climate considerably. 

However, things are heating up in Legislature as normal sessions resumed last week and I predict that in no time at all, Victoria in particular and British Columbians in general will be enjoying our usual balmy spring weather.  The projected high for today is 15 C which is up considerably from last week.  I have heard that we can expect a much warmer late May and June. 

Expectations are that things may heat up even more on Thursday after the By Election in Vancouver Pt. Grey, especially if Premier Clark wins her seat in the Legislature. 

There's never a dull moment in BC politics!

LIM Announces Board and Staff Changes

I'll never forget our first board meeting for Leading Influence Ministries.  I sat in my 'office' formerly known as 'the closet' and chaired a teleconference meeting.  Six of us were scattered from Kamloops to Victoria and we spent our time talking and planning about how we could make the vision of ministry to MLA's become a reality.  In those days, LIM was little more than a fuzzy vision.

I am very grateful to the people who stood with me as we began the journey towards establishing a viable and credible ministry to elected officials.  Donna Pechie and Dave Hauser were two of our original members.  I have very mixed emotions as I announce their resignation from the board of LIM.  I have known and enjoyed longterm friendships with each of them.  They have been tremendously committed to establishing LIM and I am very grateful.  Apart from me, they are the last two remaining members from our original team.  If we ever do a 'Hall of Fame', their pictures will be on the wall. Beverlee Caron has stepped away from the board as well.  I also want to thank Beverlee for her sacrifice of time, energy and faithful service to the ministry.

Change can be unsettling, but it also provides an opportunity for growth and expansion.  I'm pleased to announce that our board has appointed Janice Grunert from Kamloops, Dick Knight from Victoria and Dan Smith from Vancouver to join our team.  They will be joining Paul Vermes (Victoria) Dr. Len Demarchi (Kamloops) and Dan Cousins (Nanaimo).  

I'm also very pleased to announce that Dick Knight and his wife Jacki will also be taking on the role of Prayer Coordinators for LIM and providing leadership to PrayBC.

Finally, I'd like to introduce Cathy Hallam.  Cathy has joined our team as ministry coordinator. She is serving in a short term volunteer role at the moment, but we are working hard to raise the support necessary to compensate her appropriately.  She has been an enormous blessing already and I'm confident that will only increase as we move forward.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Who Would Jesus Vote For?

With the Federal election less than 10 days away, I've been thinking about who Jesus might for if He was living in Canada.  Unlike the USA with only two options, Canadians will have at least 4 or 5 options and in some cases as many as 7 or 8 choices, we're just that much better a country!! 

So... in terms of platforms and ideology, how might Jesus vote?  In the interest of fairness, I thought that the best way to do this would be to evaluate each party alphabetically.  Some of you may not like what I'm about to say, but we live in a free country so feel free to disagree and share your comments.

The Bloq....
I'm a Westerner by birth and by choice so it's a bit hard to fully understand why anyone would want to leave Canada because I think it's the best nation on earth.  That said, if I put myself in the shoes of a Quebecois, I think I could understand the rationale of the Bloq.  Westerners periodically float the idea of a Western based party to represent our interests alone.  That's really what the Bloq does for Quebec.  Like it or not, Quebec has and is a unique culture and partner in Confederation.  They represent 25% of the Canadian population so there's certainly room for a unique place within Canada.  Would Jesus vote for the Bloq?  I think He might, if he was a Quebecois.  Jesus knew what it was like to be a member of a unique culture in a much larger country and I think He might vote to protect language and a unique cultural identity while at the same time calling people to commit to a higher kingdom.

The Conservatives....
I know many Christians who believe that Jesus would vote for the Conservatives.  There are certainly values within the Conservative party that are aligned with values that are important to Jesus.  One of several would be a commitment to good financial stewardship.  Another could be the promise to create an Office of Religious Freedom.  I think that Jesus would support things like that.

The Greens....
Over a million people voted for the Green Party in the last election.  The Greens are committed to environmental stewardship.  Many Christians are dismissive of the environmental movement, but I think that Jesus might think differently than most of us do.  God has entrusted the care of the earth and it's environment to people.  As His people, we have a responsibility to practice proper stewardship of the earth.  I don't think anyone is more committed to good stewardship of the environment than the Greens so maybe Jesus would walk, ride a bike or take public transit to the polls where it's possible that He might vote for the Greens.

The Liberals....
The Liberals are about an ideology that says that if we all work together, regardless of our culture, language, color and geography, we can build a better nation.  They are more 'liberal' in their social policy and have more of a 'government will provide that for you' approach than the Conservatives.  Would Jesus vote for them?  I can see that happening.  Jesus is attracted to people who seek to build unity and in the process give themselves to building a better nation.

The NDP....
The NDP is on a tear during this campaign.  As of last week, they had risen into 2nd place in the polls. They certainly have momentum and their leader is having what I'm sure is the time of his life as his party enjoys unprecedented success in a campaign.  That said, would Jesus vote for the NDP?  Wait for it .... He might....
For some people the idea of Jesus voting for the NDP might be beyond the realm of possibility, but here are some things to consider.  The NDP was born in church basements around the idea that someone needed to represent the poor, the oppressed and the underprivileged.  To a large extent their ethos still revolves around that basic principle.  Jesus cares deeply for the poor, the widow, the orphan and the oppressed so He just might cast his ballot for the NDP.

Reality Check...
Jesus can't vote in the Canadian Election.  He's not a Canadian Citizen because His kingdom is not of this world.  That said, He's expecting His people to show up and vote.  In a world where people are literally dying for the right to vote, it's the least that you can do.  How you vote is a matter between you, God and your conscience.  Make your choice on the party or candidate that you believe best represents your vision for what you believe Canada should be and the values that best represent who you are.  Make that decision prayerfully.  There is a right way for you to vote.  Find it!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Nation Changing or Nation Building?

I was listening to CBC's 'Cross Country Checkup' and heard one of the guests share how he tells young people that they could become politicians and change our nation. I've been thinking about it ever since.... I've come to the conclusion that rather than Nation 'Changers' what we really need are Nation 'Builders'. Here's why...

It seems to me that 'Nation Changing' is largely a self serving pursuit.  Nation Changers seek to shape our nation to suit their vision, values and ideals.  The wonder of democracy is that if your vision, values and ideals resonate with the majority, you are empowered to make the changes that you have put forth.  The upside, if you are on the 50% plus one side is you have the opportunity to change the nation as you see fit.  The downside is that 50% less one of the population are left on the outside looking in.  The risk for the Nation Changer is that in most cases, the electorate is impatient and unwilling to pay the price necessary for change.  Inevitably, a new Nation Changer emerges with fresh promises of a better nation and the electorate, tired of the last 'Changer', votes in the new one based on the newest promises. 

I have grown weary of 'Nation Changers' making grandiose promises. I am fearful of their arrogance and suspicious of their motives.  We are a diverse nation.  We are a nation of immigrants that have formed a collective identity of tolerance, acceptance and cultural harmony.  We have become who we are through a combination of leadership from Conservatives, Liberals, NDP'ers, the Bloq and more recently the Greens.  For our almost 144 years as a nation, Canadians from every political stripe brought their best to the table and did what they could to make Canada a better place. God give us more of the same!

Perhaps our nation doesn't need to be changed as much as our nation needs willing servants who are committed to building a future based on our collective values and vision.  One of my favourite BC MLA's was Corky Evans.  Corky was the member for Creston.  His speeches were a blend of warm folksy stories used to make subtle (and sometimes not so subtle....) political points.  In one his most memorable (to me) speech, he said something like this.  'Mr. Speaker, we come here  from different parts of the province with one thing in common.  We all want to make BC a better place to live.  We just have different ideas on how to get there.'  I think he's right.  I also think that it takes a variety of people from a diversity of social, ethnic, religious and political backgrounds working together to build a great nation. 

I'm leery of any party that wants to 'change' our nation.  No single political party as 'the' secret to building a great nation.  It's like anything else, our blindspots exist within our strengths.  Our strengths may even create our blindspots.  I think that's particularly true in politics.

My hope is that rather than nation changers, nation builders arise among us with the commitment and courage necessary to help us remain the greatest nation on earth!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ballots Are Cheaper Than Bullets

Like a lot of other people, I'm watching the federal political scene with interest.  It's no secret that the possibility of a federal election was very real, especially since the Conservatives are in a place where they can win a majority.  I'm mostly fascinated by what I heard on call-in shows yesterday.  Talk show hosts are stirring up the masses by asking if they really want an election.  The masses are responding appropriately by complaining about the cost of yet another election.

A federal election will cost taxpayers approx. 300 million dollars. (I got that number from a talk show host so it may or may not be accurate...)  That's a lot of money that could be used in other places for things that on the surface seem to be much more important than another election....  Until you think about it in broader terms.

Hosni Mubarak, former President and dictator of Egypt ruled for 30 years with no elections.  You could argue that the nation saved 300 million dollars every time they didn't vote but that didn't happen.  Instead, Mr. Mubarak was 're-directing' government revenues into his own offshore accounts. 

Muammar Gaddafi, president of Libya according to those closest to him is a terrorist, murderer and thief.  As I write this, he is waging on war on his own people who dare to demonstrate in their desperate quest for democracy.  They haven't spent money on elections in years and blood literally is being spilled on the streets to ensure there aren't any for a long time to come.  The government is saving millions and millions of taxpayer dollars by not having elections but spending millions on bombs and bullets.  Bullets might be cheaper than ballots in the short term, but in the long run democracy is a much better deal.

Over the past almost 4 years, I've attended the Legislature every day that it has been in session.  At times democracy is loud and obnoxious.  At times it is painfully slow and tedious. (It's like watching paint dry, except that you know within 24 hours, the pain will actually be dry ....) At other times it is a study in how to change a province or nation without a single shot being fired.

4 Elections in 7 years feels like a lot but give me a nation where I am free to choose and a system that allows me to choose without a shot being fired.  Men have died, are dying and will die in the pursuit of freedom and the right to choose our own destiny through a secret ballot.  Freedom is always worth the sacrifice.  In the end, ballots are much cheaper than bullets. 

In spite of it's messy dysfunctions, LONG LIVE DEMOCRACY!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Standing With You

I was speaking with the Missions Coordinator of a partner church today.  As we were talking, he commented that I was a part of them and they were a part of what I am doing here in Victoria.  He said 'There are 3000 people standing with you Tim.  We believe in you.' 

While I love what I do and am very excited about the many ways in which the ministry is expanding and growing, I needed to hear that today.  When I started adding up the many who stand with us either directly or indirectly through the financial and prayer support that their church provides, there are probably over 8000 people who are involved with us in some way.  It's been an exciting realization.  It's incredibly humbling, inspiring and frankly mind boggling to me.  I feel a bit like Elisha's prophet who was thinking that he and Elijah were all on their own until God opened his eyes and he saw the armies of God standing by to protect and go to battle on his behalf (2 Kings 6). 

I'm feeling inspired, strengthened and renewed because of what my friend shared with me today.  You are reading this blog or email post today because you are one of the many who stand with us.  THANK YOU SO MUCH!!  We are serving, encouraging and blessing leaders together! 

A New Beginning

I attended the Swearing In Ceremony for Premier Christy Clark and the new Cabinet today.  It's always a privilege to attend special events like this and I'm grateful for the opportunity to be there.

Today was unique in many ways.  While I've attended previous swearing in ceremonies, this felt more like the swearing in of a new government.  It's very obvious that there is a new leader at the helm and that she is intent on making her mark.  That shows up in the smaller cabinet with some new people in the mix.  While I was sad to see some members not return, I was very excited to see my friend the now Hon. Dr. Terry Lake be appointed to the Ministry of the Environment.  I've known Minister Lake for some time and am thrilled to see him named to Cabinet. 

The Lt. Governor brings a very personal touch and warmth to ceremonies like this.  He did it again this afternoon with a few memorable remarks that were both full of wisdom and marked with his unique humour.

The Premier spoke today of a new beginning and a new relationship between the government and the citizens of BC.  She spoke of families becoming the key component in decision making and she spoke of a fresh commitment to education.  These are significant and honorable goals and would mark a dramatic change in the course and direction of the government.  She will need tremendous wisdom and courage to make it happen.

Our new Premier will need the prayers and encouragement of the many who partner with Leading Influence Ministries as well.  I'm proud to say that I'm confident that we can do our part to deliver those things to her and her government.  We will do it through providing onsite pastoral care to members of the Legislature on both sides of the House.  We will do it through continuing to champion a prayer movement that encourages and resources daily prayer for MLA's.  We will do it by informing and encouraging our partners to be a blessing to their MLA's at a local level.

Premier Christy Clark Announces New Cabinet

Premier Christy Clark announces cabinet

VICTORIA – Premier Christy Clark today announced a new, smaller cabinet focused on putting families first, creating jobs and changing the way British Columbians engage with their government.

“Our new cabinet will reflect the priorities of British Columbians and put families at the centre of all our decision-making,” said Premier Clark. “Together, we will focus on creating jobs and building a strong economy because that is the single most important thing we can do to support families and ensure we can invest in critical services like health and education. This is a team that will work hard to ensure that prosperity and opportunity extend to every region of our province.”

The new cabinet is made up of 17 ministers plus the premier, reduced from the previous total of 24. This includes the new Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation, which will bring together many of the functions in government focused on job creation under a single ministry. As well, three new cabinet committees reflect the priorities of government – the Committee on Families First; the Committee on Jobs and Economic Growth; and the Committee on Open Government and Engagement.

Responsibility for colleges and universities has been recombined under the Ministry of Advanced Education; responsibility for mining has been returned to the Ministry of Energy and Mines; Labour and Citizen Services have been combined; and Forests and Lands has been combined with Natural Resource Operations.

The new cabinet appointed and sworn into office by the Lieutenant-Governor in a ceremony today is:

  Premier – Hon. Christy Clark
· Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance – Hon. Kevin Falcon
· Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation – Hon. Mary Polak
· Minister of Advanced Education – Hon. Naomi Yamamoto
· Minister of Agriculture – Hon. Don McRae
· Attorney General – Hon. Barry Penner
· Minister of Children and Family Development – Hon. Mary McNeil
· Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development – Hon. Ida Chong
· Minister of Education – Hon. George Abbott
· Minister of Energy and Mines (minister responsible for Housing) – Hon. Rich Coleman
· Minister of Environment – Hon. Terry Lake
· Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations – Hon. Steve Thomson
· Minister of Health – Hon. Michael de Jong
· Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation – Hon. Pat Bell
· Minister of Labour, Citizens’ Services and Open Government – Hon. Stephanie Cadieux
· Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General – Hon. Shirley Bond
· Minister of Social Development (minister responsible for multiculturalism) – Hon. Harry Bloy
· Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure – Hon. Blair Lekstrom

Additionally, 10 MLAs have been named as parliamentary secretaries, and will work with ministers to focus on key initiatives of government.

Rich Coleman will serve as the Government House Leader and Terry Lake will be the deputy Government House Leader. Ben Stewart will be the Government whip.

“We want British Columbians to have the opportunity to be more engaged with government decision-making,” said Premier Clark. “We will work with citizens to find solutions to problems, set priorities openly and explain why we make the decisions we do. British Columbia is starting from a position of strength. It is up to us to build on this strength for the betterment of families across our province.”

Monday, February 28, 2011

Change Has Come... To British Columbia

I realize the title is a bit 'Obama-esqe', but I honestly believe that something dramatic happened in Vancouver on Saturday evening.  Christy Clark won the Liberal Leadership race and will likely officially become BC's next Premier sometime this week when she takes the oath.

I was in the room as the announcement was made and while she gave her first speech.  I realize that politicians say many things  but the sense I got was that she has some very clear ideas about what needs to happen with government.  The irony in politics is that while it's all about serving people and leading people, the reality is that sometimes politicians become isolated from the very people they have been elected to serve.  That's not a knock on the people who do the job.  It's just an observation about the nature of what happens to people who do the job over time.  What's interesting to me about a former politician, columnist and talk show host becoming Premier is that for the past few years, she's had the opportunity to hear what the voters really think and what they are really saying.  (I don't think you can get a much rawer sample than what happens on talk radio....)  In my mind that's a distinct advantage in the short term, especially if she's able to remember what she's heard people say for the past 3 years.

The downside of being a former talk show host who has now become Premier is that you've said a lot of things, some fairly provocative and outrageous that are all a matter of public record.  I'm guessing there will be a few things our new Premier might regret having said over the past few years.  (There's probably an easy lesson in there about the power of the tongue, but we'll leave that for another day....)

There are some significant challenges.  She has the uneviable task of building a team made up of people who were hoping someone else would win.  She needs to form an inner team (Cabinet) that will help forge a new vision and direction.  She needs to win a seat...

These will be interesting days in BC.  We need you to pray.  The future depends on it!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

They're BAAACK!!!

After 253 days, the Legislature resumed sitting.  I said to someone that it felt a bit like the first day of school.  Given the current leadership races, the session is a bit unusual in several ways....
1) It's only a 4 day session and two of the days have been completely dedicated to the Throne Speech and the Budget Speech.

2)  Many of the usual players during Question Period aren't asking or taking questions.  They are also all sitting in different seats.  It's a bit like musical chairs at the Legislature at the moment.

3) While the current session is more of a technical necessity, that things are quiet on the political side.  On the contrary it's an intensely political time with everyone posturing and positioning themselves for the leadership race.  It's important to align yourself with a winner and no one wants to make the wrong choice.

4) The Liberals will choose their leader on Feb 26.  We want to encourage you to make this a matter of prayer next week.  We will be publishing a special prayer bulletin on our PrayBC blog to help you participate with us.  Over 90,000 BC Liberals will be choosing a new leader next weekend.  It would be great to have at least that many praying about that decision over the next week.  Please join us!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Missing In Action

I was listening to CKNW this morning.  Joy McPhail was the guest.  Ms. McPhail is a former cabinet minister and leader of the NDP.  She was announcing her support of Adrian Dix for the position of leader of the NDP.   I've met Mr. Dix.  I think he's a good and decent man. 

During the call in portion of the program, a caller raised some concerns that he has about decisions Mr. Dix has made in the past.  He felt that those decisions were a reflection of Mr. Dix's character.  In attempting to come to his support, Ms. McPhail's response to the caller went something like this:  'Your standards are too high.  You need to relax.  If you insist on having people of impeccable character to lead you won't find anyone to serve.'

It's hard for me to define which part of her response was more disconcerting.  Her response was so adamant and shocking to me that I pulled over to make sure I was really hearing what I thought she was saying.

I passionately disagree with Ms. McPhail.  I think most British Columbians would as well. 

I believe that our province should only be led by people of impeccable character. I don't think it's an unreasonable or unrealistic expectation.  The irony of her statement is profound to me.  The Legislature is built around the premise of honourable men and women doing honourable work.  I realize that the public perception of politicians and politics is quite different, but if those who lead us are anything less than men and women of character, the future of our province is in serious jeopardy.  We deserve better than the substandard quality of leader that she is suggesting we should embrace.

Character might be missing in action in Ms. McPhail's world but I believe it is alive and well in the hearts of many British Columbians who are committed to living at a higher and more excellent standard. 

God, give us leaders of impeccable character who will cause our province to prosper!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Leadership Essentials - Part 3 - Humility

Knowing that I needed to write this article as soon as my hair appointment was done, I asked my stylist what she thought was the most important quality that a political leader should have.  She responded that the most important quality of a  leader is the ability to say they were wrong.  I think her insight is impressive.

I spend enough time at the Legislature to know that the statement 'I was wrong' or 'We made a mistake' isn't commonly heard.  That's not to say it never happens, but it probably doesn't happen often enough.  Before I go further, let me say that I believe that there's a difference between an unpopular decision and an error.  The most dangerous politician is the one who always seeks to make the popular decision.  Leadership isn't about being popular, but unpopular decisions need to be made and presented with humility as well.

In the political realm, the admission of error can be extremely hazardous to your political health.  In some cases it can cost you your job but for the most part, it's really just a matter of pride and ego.  The irony is that in most cases everyone knows a poor decision has been made but the leader carries on as though nothing happened.  The need to be right for the sake of politics and optics too often outweighs the value of  humility and the admission of error.  In the process, the leader loses the respect of those he leads and consequently loses the moral authority to lead.

The prophet Micah spoke about what God seeks in the life of the leader. Simply put, it is to walk humbly, do justly and love mercy. Humility is a stablizing force in the life of a leader.  The humble leader is ever aware that in spite of his or her best efforts, they may still make the wrong decision in the situation.  In my mind, the value of a sincere, 'I was wrong' and I'd like to hear from you about what might work instead  would do wonders to restore credibility and confidence in politicians and our political system that anything else. 

A leader who walks in pride will ultimately bring destruction on the very thing he/she is seeking to build.  A humble leader will find a way through the difficulty through interaction, consensus building, an open door and a flat pyramid.

God, give us humble leaders, who will lead us forward into all of the goodness you have prepared for us in our great province.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Leadership Essentials - Part 2 - Justice

Today is Martin Luther King Day.  America stops  to remember and honour the life of a man who successfully shifted the social and moral conscience of a nation through the power of his leadership, courage and speaking ability.  King was motivated by the conviction that all men are created equal and should be treated with dignity, respect and honour.  He was committed to obtaining justice for his people in a culture that accepted discrimination and segregation as a fact of life.  While King didn't live to see the fulfillment of his dream, his dream came to pass because of his unswerving pursuit of justice.

The prophet Micah lived 750 years before Christ. In his day the leaders of his nation made a practice of exploiting and manipulating the people for their own purposes and profit.  In working towards finding justice for his people in his day, Micah defined a timeless leadership essential when he wrote these words:

"He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?"  Micah 4:6 (NKJV)

We live in a different day than Micah or even Martin Luther King, but the need for leaders who are committed to 'doing justly' is just as desperate because injustice is as rampant as ever.  In Micah's day, it was the population in general, in MLK's day, it was the blacks.  In our nation,  injustice is experienced by First Nations people, the poor, the weak, the widow and the orphan.  For the most part, they are people without the ability to influence or shape public policy that can effectively address their needs and concerns.  Those who lead our province and nation, must be committed to ensuring justice for those who are so often on the outside looking in.  This is not an easy task nor is it work that is ever completely accomplished, but it must be done. 

God, give us leaders who are committed to ensuring that the least of those who live in our province, nation and cities are treated justly, fairly and with respect.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

And God Said...

Someone asked me this morning how things are going in the political realm.  My usual answer involves a careful, non-partisan response that hopefully satisfies their curiosity.  This morning was different... I paused for a second and said 'and the earth was without form and void'. (Gen 1:2)

It's a strange time in BC politics.  Three parties are looking for leaders. (LIB's, NDP, BC CONSERVATIVES), there are at least 2 recall initiatives underway.  One is approaching what is being reported to be a likely unsuccessful outcome.  The other began last night in Kamloops with promises of remaking democracy. Promises, promises, promises....

There were two interesting news moments today.  The first was that BC is expected to do better than expected in terms of economic growth in 2011.  That's good news.  Immediately following that story, I heard an MLA on the radio who was doing his best to make it sound like the sky is falling over BC.  (It's not...)Suggested reading for the member in question:  'The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf''.  (Just putting it out there....)

I love the fact that when we don't know what the future holds, the God who said 'let there be light' into the darkness and 'let there be order' into the chaos is still RULER and LORD over all.  While the resignation of two leaders within weeks took us by surprise, He knew that it was going to happen and He knows who will replace them.  It's going to be a lot of fun watching Him work it out, even in the lives of those who don't acknowledge Him. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Leadership Essentials - Integrity

When most of us hear the word 'Integrity',  we think of adherence to a moral code and ethical principles.  We expect (and for good reason...) that those who lead will be people whose integrity is impeccable.  Simply put, it's not in our best interest at any level to be led by someone who can't be trusted to hold to their stated morals and ethics.  In this context, we need leaders whose 'yes' means yes and whose no means 'no'.

Integrity has a much broader meaning.  In it's purest sense, it's a technical term that speaks of wholeness, soundness and stability.  You don't want to cross a bridge or live in a house that lacks structural integrity.  At some point there will be a catastrophic failure and the impact will be significant.  Effective leadership requires more than idealism and passion.  Leading at a high level is a demanding and unforgiving task.  It's not unlike running a marathon that never ends.  This underscores the importance of integrity in the life of the leader because without it, the leader will inevitably and needlessly fail.  Soundness, wholeness and stability are key components in the life of any leader.

Jesus told a story about two men building two houses.  The first man built his house on sand.  It was completed quickly and looked great until it encountered it's first major storm.  Then it collapsed with a loud crash.  The second man started out by digging out a foundation.  One translation says he dug down deep into the rock.  His house went up slower but when the rain and winds came, the house stood strong.  Jesus was making a point about integrity and the need for a solid foundation.  He said that the man who builds his life on the solid bedrock of His words and teaching is like the wise man who builds his house on a rock. The strength of the foundation gives integrity (strength and wholeness)  to the entire structure and enables it to  withstand the stress and pressures of both life and leadership.

We need leaders (and in the context of this post a leader) whose life is firmly rooted in the words and teaching of Jesus.  It's not a leadership panacea by any means but it's a crucial piece of what's necessary to lead well.  Be a leader with integrity.  Build your life is built on the unchanging and unfailing words of the eternal Jesus.  Those who follow you will be blessed and you will have the strength to stand in the midst of the storm.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Leadership Essentials

It's an interesting time in BC politics.  For the first time in a very long time, both the NDP and the Liberals are seeking new leaders at the same time. The BC Conservatives aren't looking for a leader yet, but they will be shortly. This situation may never happen again and presents a unique opportunity for me. 

I don't usually write about leadership issues on this blog because I don't want to be seen as either endorsing or criticizing a particular leader, party or policy.  However, since both sides of the house are currently seeking new leaders it presents a unique opportunity to address an area that is crucial for the future of our province.

There's no shortage of promises, policies, vision and ideology as to what might make our province a better place to live, work and raise a family.  While those things are certainly important, they are secondary to the fundamental issue of leadership essentials. Leadership is far more than charisma, vision and the ability to build and keep a team together.  Leaders need foundations in their lives upon which their leadership is built and based.

Starting on Jan 10, I'm going to be publishing a weekly article on 'Leadership Essentials' that will conclude on Feb 21.  After that time, we will return to 'regular broadcasting'.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

And So We Begin....

Happy New Year!  Every new year begins with a sense of hope, promise and opportunity.  I've spent part of the last week setting goals, making plans and preparing for 2011.  The New Year is waiting to be mined, farmed, and tapped for all of the fullness, goodness and blessing that God has put into it. My prayer for you is that you will reap what God has prepared for you in 2011 in ALL of it's fullness and abundance.

Have a blessed 2011!!