Monday, December 29, 2014

Why We Support Leading Influence

My husband Will and I have supported Leading Influence from the time it was just a vision in Tim’s heart.  It has really been a transformation of our hearts and minds. We have moved from a posture of criticizing these leaders, to honour and respect, even if we don’t always agree with the decisions they make.  We are able to see past the politics, and glance upon these men and women, who have a common goal to make our province a better place to live and work.  

Tim has been a pioneer, directed by the hand of God, with an unbiased desire to serve those, who serve us.  He has become the bridge, to help us to honour, care and pray for those who lead us. It has been a privilege to partner with Leading Influence Ministries and we encourage you to do the same.                                                             Donna Pechie
Victoria, BC           

Our leaders make decisions that set the course of our province and nation. They do that in a very stressful and often high pressure environment. Leading Influence ensures that there is a non-partisan pastoral presence that is both present and available to care for them as they work within that context.

We do not seek nor receive government funding for our services.  By choice, we raise our own support through individuals, churches and businesses.  This support ensures we are able to care for those who lead our provinces and nation.  

There are many ways you can partner with us:

If you would like to give by cheque, please mail to:
Leading Influence
626 Blanshard St
Victoria, BC V8W 3G6

If you would like to give by online banking, use as the email address for the e-transfer.

If you would like to give by pre-authorized debit, please contact our office for assistance.

If you would like to give by credit card, please click here.  You will be taken to our CanadaHelps giving page.  CanadaHelps is a registered Canadian Charity that provides online giving services to other Canadian Charities.

We appreciate and value your financial partnership with us.  We cannot do the work we do without your support.  Thanks so much for your generosity and partnership!

Leading Influence Ministries is a registered Canadian Charity.
CRA No. 856565767RR0001

In Their Own Words

Just to keep things interesting, I've asked several people to share their thoughts on Leading Influence.  Here's what they have to say.

I have known Tim for over a year now. We met in the public gallery of the B.C. legislative Assembly, where we were both interested in the work our legislators do on behalf of all British Columbians in drafting what is often very difficult legislation.

For Tim, his focus was not only an interest in the legislation, but also how the legislators are doing with their personal lives and the many challenges they face. Tim, as the legislative Chaplain is a consummate listener and has the kind of caring core values and engaging personality that give people an almost instant trust in him.   

While not all MLA’s in the legislature are of one spiritual faith they all seem to have great faith in Tim, and the work he does as a non-judgmental and non-partisan basis when they need a person to just listen.

I am personally privileged to call Tim a friend and confidant

Lynn Klein, Victoria, BC

Tim Schindel has become a good friend of many of the MLAs of the BC Legislature, on both sides of the House.  Tim has a very welcoming personality and he takes a genuine interest in the lives of the elected politicians.  I regularly observe him engaging with MLAs - and legislative staff - and they seem very comfortable conversing with him.

He is especially supportive of the approximately 10-12 Christian MLAs - such as myself.  Tim organizes regularly prayer times for those MLAs when the House is in session.  He is excited about his ministry and seeks opportunity to present the Gospel to the majority of MLAs who have yet to come to faith. 

It has been a pleasure getting to know Tim, as a new MLA (elected in the election of last May) and I look forwarding to benefiting from his important ministry over the balance of this term of office.

Simon Gibson, MLA Abbotsford-Mission

My husband was elected MLA in 2009 and is now serving in his second term.  MLAs work long hours and are often away from home.  Marc and I came to know Tim Schindel when we started coming to Victoria for sessions in the Legislature. He is an encouragement to us both and we are very blessed to have a chaplain like Tim reaching out to us and the other MLAs and their families.  When things have been challenging, Marc has felt comfortable sharing with Tim and praying with him.  Tim is caring, encouraging and is dedicated in his chaplaincy service to MLAs. 

Marlene Dalton (Marc Dalton Maple Ridge-Mission) 

I am very thankful that Tim Schindel is able to support, encourage and visit with members of the BC legislature. Tim has a wonderful sense of humor which is very helpful, he is an awesome listener and is someone I can trust and that is important when it comes to this work. Tim is a real blessing and a shining light who makes me smile even when I think of him, thanks Tim ,may God bless you richly always!

Bill Routley, MLA Cowichan

Looking Back at 2014

One of the highlights of my year is to reflect back on what God has done with and through Leading Influence.  I am never disappointed and almost always have to choose what I’m going to leave out because there are just so many highlights.

In January, we officially welcomed Barry and Stella Berglund to our team.  Barry provides chaplaincy services at the Saskatchewan Legislature.  We had a great visit with them here in Victoria and made plans to be with him in Regina in February.

February … Regina… what was I thinking??  It was a chilly -52C when I got off the plane.  Even the locals admitted that it was a ‘bit brisk’ outside.   However the warm welcome that Barry and I received at the Saskatchewan Legislature made up for the frosty conditions outside.  It was exciting to watch God open doors for Barry as he made new friends and renewed some established relationships.  God is doing something amazing in Saskatchewan.  As a side note, once you’ve experienced -52, -25 feels balmy! 

The BC Legislature resumes in February and for me at least it’s like the first day of camp.  Everyone comes back from their community to resume the business of government for the next 4 months.  It’s a great time to reconnect, hand out hugs and catch up!  The return to Victoria also marks the beginning of our weekly prayer gatherings.  I love being a part of praying with leaders who are positioned in places of influence and listening to them ask God for help and direction.

We held our 8th Annual MLA Prayer Breakfast in April.  Mark Donnelly ‘Mr. O Canada’ was our guest speaker.  It wasn’t our usual kind of breakfast.  There’s nothing quite like having the Vancouver Canucks anthem singer lead ‘O Canada’ in a banquet room!  There were patriotic buttons bursting across the room!  After breakfast, I toured the building with Mark and we had a series of impromptu mini-concerts wherever we went.  God opened some unique doors that day and we are still reaping the benefits.

In May we hosted our first ‘Leadercast’ event.  Leadercast is a leadership development simulcast that provides world class leadership training and equipping event.  We had a great response and look forward to doing it again in 2015.

June through August are generally devoted to Sunday preaching opportunities, MLA office visits and vacation time.  The pace is usually a bit slower but this year was a bit different.  Through a series of events, we were able to launch PrayOntario and shortly after, PrayMB.  Today our ministry footprint extends from BC to Ontario and we pray daily for the leaders of just under 30 Million Canadians.  We also added a new chaplain for Alberta to our team. Uve Knaak is well qualified to do an incredible job for us.

The BC Legislature resumed in October.  My personal highlight was welcoming back a member who has been fighting cancer for the past year.  I told him I was looking forward to a bear hug!  He willingly obliged!  We had been praying for him and staying in touch so it was especially rewarding to see him back in Victoria.

In November, I visited Edmonton to be with Uve during his first few days at the Legislature.  (As a side note, I’m becoming more and more in favor of adding a Caribbean island to Canada ) We had a marvelous time together and he is on his way to a successful ministry!  There are bright days ahead for our work in Alberta.

The BC Legislature breaks for the winter at the end of November.  This is a time to catch up on administration, write Christmas newsletters and finalize our plans for 2015!  Thanks for your partnership and support!  We see exciting things on the horizon.  Check in with us in January!  Have a blessed Christmas and a very happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

It's National Giving Day

It's National Giving Day.  (I checked it out, Dec 2 really is National Giving Day) NGD is a way to bring some balance and perspective to the general excess of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  If you don't know what Black Friday and Cyber Monday are, that's probably a very good thing! If you do, you'll know why National Giving Day matters.

Leading Influence is entirely funded by the generosity of individuals, churches and businesses that believe in what we do.  This gives us tremendous freedom because our funding is subject to political strings and influence.  We made a concious decision when we founded the ministry that we would not seek government funding to do our job.  Instead, we would share our story and trust God to provide for us as we are faithful to serve those God has chosen to lead our province and nation.  7 1/2 years later, that decision continues to pay dividends!

There are multiple ways you can partner with us financially.  While the secret of our stability is found in monthly/bi-monthly giving, there are many people who give annually, periodically or through one of our fundraising events.  We are tremendously grateful for generosity of the many who make what we now do in 3 provinces through chaplaincy and 5 provinces through our prayer networks possible. Our ministry footprint extends from BC to Ontario and none of it would happen without the faithful partnership of our donors and supporters.

If you are new to us, or would like a bit of a 'refresher' on giving options, pay close attention as our options have changed.

1) You can give electronically through interac etransfer.  After you login to your online banking account, choose the interac transfer option, choose the amount you would like to give.  Follow the instructions on your screen.  Make the question, 'Who is this for?' and the answer 'Leading Influence'.  Use '' as the email address for notification.  We will receive your gift promptly and you will be receipted at year end.

2) You can give by Credit Card through CanadaHelps.  CanadaHelps is a Canadian Charity that provides Credit Card processing services for other charities.  If you give through CanadaHelps, your information is secure and you will be receipted through CanadaHelps at year end.  Click here to visit our CanadaHelps Donor Page.

3) You can give by Pre-Authorized Debit.  Contact our office through the secure form by clicking here.  We continue to see many people opting to give in this manner on a monthly basis. 

4) You can give by cheque simply by mailing to our office at Leading Influence, 626 Blanshard St, Victoria, BC V8W 3G6.

If you'd like to speak with us about how you can give, please contact us directly using this form or call our office at 250-483-5934.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Fall Session Comes To An End

The Fall Session of the Legislature ended 'early' last Thursday.  By 'early' I mean it ended at noon instead of at 6 PM.  It's been a long 7 weeks.  One of the security staff said it looked like a fire drill as MLAs were hurrying to get to their cars in time to catch the 1 PM ferry.  One member told me that he intentionally backs his vehicle in so that he can get a few second advantage lead on the way home.  

I had the opportunity to speak with a retired MLA from another province early in the session. When he heard of my role as a chaplain, he described the work of an MLA as 'soul crushing'.  I think it's a good description.  It's a unique kind of work that can be tremendously rewarding while at the same time, be perpetually exhausting.  It's soul crushing for a lot of reasons.  The combination of workload, the stress from the unrelenting expectations, the separation from family and friends and the emotional drama of the politics can make you weary.  Some days, it's beyond absurd.  Just today, I visited with an MLA who told me she received recent criticism over the colour of her hair and in the past over her choice of wardrobe.  Sometimes it's a bit hard to grasp why people pounce on the things that they do.

At the same time, there are some remarkable rewards.  Last week a member showed me a Thank You card he received from a family he had been able to help.  What made this card special was that he received a duplicate card that he was able to deliver to the Minister who assisted him.  Nothing feels better than knowing you've made a genuine difference in someone's life.

This has been an incredible session for Leading Influence.  Here are some highlights!

1)  Every week, I met with a group of MLAs to pray and encourage one another in their faith.

2)  Watching God answer the many prayers that we prayed week by week.

3)  Every week, I had the opportunity to connect with a member that I had not met previously. I love being able to tell people that my only purpose in being there is to encourage and support them as they do their work.  It's especially rewarding when they realize that I'm able to do it because many people partner together financially so it can happen.

4) God has opened some incredible doors of ministry into the lives of people He has added to my network at the Legislature.

5) Giving a 'welcome back' hug to an MLA who has overcome cancer in the past year and nearly died during treatment. We prayed often that God would heal him!

6) Being part of the MLA running group that runs rain or shine two mornings a week.  It''s a phenomenal opportunity to journey along with members in a unique and non-threatening setting

7) Spending time with our new Chaplain in Alberta.  Uve Knaak is doing a great job already!

8) Taking a minute to encourage a member of the security staff whose wife is undergoing cancer.  I felt prompted to give him my card on the last day of the session and told him I would be praying for him and his wife.  I'm expecting an incredible outcome!

9) Being asked why I still have a visitor pass when I should have a regular one because 'you live here'.

10) The privilege of pointing people who know and don't yet know Jesus towards the hope, love and life that He gives.

Transform Your World Conference Report

Someone gently reminded me that I was way past due on a ministry update.  That was 2 weeks ago... Apparently, I came home with a stronger case of 'island fever' than I thought I did.  In any case, I'm here now.

Barb and I had the privilege of attending the Transform Our World conference in Hawaii.  It was the first time we had been there and I may have made several attempts to convince God of the desperate need for chaplaincy ministry at the State Capitol.  He was quite clear that a trip to Edmonton in November was more in keeping with what He had in mind for me!

The conference was an incredible opportunity to meet and connect with people from all around the world who are seeing God do remarkable things both in Government and in the Marketplace.  It's hard to explain how inspiring and affirming the conference was to both of us.  Many have asked what has impacted us the most during our time there.  Having had a few weeks to ponder and process what we saw, heard and learned, I'd have to say that more than anything, I took away the clear sense that God is doing much more than most of us think He is in transforming the marketplace and government.  

While many people think of ministry in this area as unique and 'outside the box', the truth of the matter is that the Early Church found it's traction and growth in the marketplace.  The Book of Acts is almost entirely a record of the Holy Spirit at work through the church in this sphere of influence. The good news is that He continues to work just as powerfully as He ever has and that lives, businesses, communities and nations are being impacted as a result.  This is an exciting place to serve Jesus and to partner with Him as He transforms our world!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Transform Our World Conference

Barb and I had the privilege to spend the better part September 19 with Dr. Ed Silvoso from Transform Our World.  God is using Dr. Silvoso all around the world to bring spiritual and social transformation to communities and nations by working with political and business leaders.  Over breakfast he encouraged us both to attend his upcoming conference in Hawaii.  While I smiled and said that I would like to go, the cost of attending made it seem impossible.... until the next day when the Transform Your World Conference in Victoria received an offering to send Barb and I to Hawaii.  We are overwhelmed by the generosity of the church in Victoria and your confidence in us. We have never been to Hawaii and the excitement around this trip is growing by the minute!! 

We have high expectations for what God has in store at this conference and believe that our personal and ministry grids are about to be expanded!!  It is an incredible blessing and opportunity for us to be there.  We can hardly wait!!

He vs. She - The Rubber Match

After a hard fought battle last year, the 3rd Annual He vs.She Half-Marathon looms large on the horizon.  This epic fundraising battle of the sexes between Tim and Barb happens again this fall, culminating with the Good Life Half Marathon on Oct 12.  In year 1, Tim had some last minute help to get him over the top!  Last year, Barb got some significant help from her 'California Cousins' to put her over the top.  This year... it's anyone's challenge!!

The plan is simple.  Sponsor the participant of your choice on either a per/km basis or at a flat rate. A half marathon is 21 kms, so a $5/km pledge is a $105 commitment, $10/km is $210. 

Bragging rights and the right to be called 'Champ' for the entire year are on the line!  You get to decide who holds the title!!

Our goal for this fundraiser is $5500. It is a planned part of our regular budget that helps us provide ministry to MLAs.  This is a fantastic way for those of you who believe in what we do but don't often have the opportunity to get to a local fundraiser to support the work of Leading Influence.  We need and value your financial partnership!

Make your pledge by clicking here!  Thanks for your support! 

Pledge deadline is October 12 at midnight!

Please Welcome Uve Knaak!

I love how God makes things happen!  At the beginning of summer, our Chaplain position in Alberta became vacant.  Rather than beginning an intense search and recruiting process, I really felt like I was to wait until the fall.  I confess that I'm not a very good 'waiter', but in this case, God reminded me of something that He taught me within our first few weeks in Victoria.  Waiting is not wasting my time.  Waiting is giving God the freedom to work in a situation without my getting in the way.  My job is to stay focused on what He has asked me to do, while He does His job and works things out behind the scenes.

Over the course of the summer, I met Uve Knaak, (OooVay) through a mutual friend.  Uve asked about Leading Influence and Alberta in particular.  I mentioned that we had a ministry opportunity open in Edmonton and we began a conversation about his potential involvement with us.  Uve is a soon to be retired Senior VP with Canadian Western Bank.  For the past 25 years he has worked in leadership development and as an Executive Coach.  As a bonus, he also has a theology degree from Briercrest College and spent several years as a pastor.  Uve is a perfect fit for our team and will be a tremendous blessing to MLAs in Alberta and to Leading Influence across Canada.  We are very happy to have Uve and Rose join our team and welcome them to the Leading Influence team.

Uve's first day in the Alberta Legislature will be November 17! If you live in Alberta and would like to connect with him, you can reach him at  

The Next Step: Sea2Sea

God is moving in an exciting way in Leading Influence Ministries, and we want to keep you informed and involved!
As we begin our 8th year of ministry, God continues to use Leading Influence to touch the lives of leaders across Canada. This year, we added a new Chaplain in Saskatchewan and three new prayer networks. Today our ministry’s footprint extends from BC to Ontario, so to put it mildly, God’s helping us cover Canada, and we've just begun this adventure!

Last year, our board approved a Strategic Plan that included a provision for my role to change within the ministry.  In order for Leading Influence to reach our leaders from sea to sea, my role needs to shift from ministry delivery in BC, to ministry development across the country.  The current plan is to share my delivery role in BC with someone here in Victoria, and as my development role grows, I will focus exclusively on ministry development and growth across the country. Part of this growth includes the continuation of working with provincial elected officials, but also engaging with civic leaders across Canada.  As we reach cities, we reach regions. And as we reach regions, we impact the nation. The opportunities and possibilities to increase God’s influence through practical support and prayer for our leaders is endless and we believe it is time to pursue them.

We need your support to make this happen and to support our Sea2Sea initiative. Our goal is to raise an additional $2000 in monthly support which will enable us to expand our work across Canada.  I’ve made a personal commitment to this campaign of $100/month. We’re asking you to consider a minimum 2 year monthly partnership commitment at whatever amount you choose to give. Your support will make this next part of the vision a reality!  

Click here to make your pledge.  We need you on our team!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Top 10 Things We Should Pray For Government

Happy almost Canada Day!  We live in an incredible country that is tremendously blessed in so many ways!  We are blessed to live in Canada and to call ourselves Canadians!  

Yesterday was Government Prayer Sunday in Canada.  I had the privilege of speaking at Church of Our Lord in Victoria.  I spoke on 'Why We Should Pray For Government'.  If you click the title of the message, you can see the actual sermon, but I've also provided some notes if you'd just like to get a sense of what I talked about.

Why Should We Pray for those in Government?
That we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness…’   1 Tim 2:1,2

What Should We Pray for those in Government?        (Ps 72)

Top 10 Things We Should Pray for Government

1)  God would give them His love for justice v. 1

2)  Commitment to Righteousness v. 1b

3)  That they would have Compassion for the Poor v.2

4)  Fear of God would be present in their: v. 5
a.   Lives
b.   Deliberations
c.   Leadership

5)  Their leadership would be a blessing (refreshing) to our cities, province and nation v. 6

6)  Godly would flourish v. 7a

7)  Our land would know abundant prosperity v. 7b

8)  Our leaders would receive favor and honor from friends and adversaries alike.  v. 9, 10

9)  They will help the oppressed.  v. 12

    10)  They will rescue the weak and needy v. 13

How Should We Pray?
     1) Fervently! - the prayer of a righteous man avails much! James 5:16

     2) Without ceasing! - 1 Thes 5:17

What Happens When We Pray For Government?
1)  God responds to our prayers!
a.   Surprising things happen when we ask God to impact our leaders
b.   Policy Changes, Direction Changes, Government Changes

2)  God Changes our ATTITUDE!

3)  God Touches Our Leaders

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Leaders and Character

Leaders do not elicit trust unless one has confidence in their values and competence [including judgment] and unless they have a sustaining spirit [entheos] that will support the tenacious pursuit of a goal. Not much happens without a dream.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Thinking About .... Prostitution

It's been a while since the Government of Canada struck down the law on prostitution effectively leaving our nation without a clear legal position.  Since then a number of groups have sprung advocating a variety of positions on the issue.  Some say we should legalize.  Some want to adopt the 'Nordic Model'.  Others share variations on a theme.  Still others want to go back to punishing women who participate in the sex trade.

It seems to me that women who are involved in the sex trade aren't there because they enjoy selling their bodies to strangers.  Most are there because there is no viable option for them. They are caught in a trap of exploitation, abuse and oppression. We need to rethink our approach to the entire issue.

Consider this... in many cases the only option these women have to feed themselves and their children is to sell their bodies.  If our approach is simply to punish buyers or sellers to the point where they can no longer do business, what happens to these women?  How do they provide for themselves and for those who depend on them?  

We need to talk about the WHY behind prostitution.  In most cases the WHY has nothing to do with sex.  Sex is simply a commodity that is being sold to address another issue.  Most women who are involved in the sex trade are impoverished.  For a variety of reasons, they are trapped in the prison of poverty.  Those reasons can be anything from a lack of education, to a lack of opportunity, to physical/mental health issues, to exploitation, to addiction and the list goes on....  The real issue in prostitution is POVERTY.

If we are serious about ending prostitution in our country, we need to get serious about ending systemic poverty.  In most cases, our approach to poverty is to provide charity. I'm not against charity, but I will never forget the wise words of a friend who told me that a money problem generally can't be solved with money.  Overcoming poverty requires us to address the root issues.  Ultimately, poverty is connected to a combination of mindset, a lack of support, education and finally opportunity.

What we think about ourselves profoundly affects what we believe about who we are.  If someone believes that poverty is as good as it gets for them, then poverty will be all they ever know.  Changing the way people enslaved in poverty think about themselves and their world is the first step to lifting them out of poverty.  Because I am a Christian, I default to the words of Jesus and the scriptures when I look for solutions to issues around me.  The bible teaches me that I am transformed by the renewing of my mind.  In other words, as I reshape my thinking, I see my life and world transformed.  For me, that shift in thinking is directly connected to embracing the words and teaching of Jesus.  For others, they will embrace someone else's teaching and hope for the same results. Sometimes they see them.  Sometimes they don't.

There are people in poverty who have changed their thinking.  They just need support as they struggle to break free.  Here too, the scriptures are clear.  We need to support those who are in poverty, not just with our charity, but through supporting the efforts of those who are seeking to break free.  It's impossible, in my mind at least to claim to be a Christ follower and not be willing to support those who are seeking to break free of poverty.  Jesus is in the people-lifting business and so are we!

Education is a key in breaking the cycle of poverty.  Education includes everything from the most basic people and life skills through to skills training and post-secondary education if necessary.  Think about this for minute...  if you had no education, no marketable skills to enable you to earn a living wage, your options would be severely limited.  Your education affords you opportunities and advantages that people who haven't had that opportunity are without.  Women who are seeking a way out of systemic poverty and the sex trade need every educational resource we can provide so that they can establish a better and brighter course for themselves and their children. Some may say that the cost of education is too high but it pales in comparison to the costs that systemic poverty creates for our society.

Finally, women seeking to break free from the sex trade need an opportunity to transition to meaningful, gainful employment.  While those opportunities may come through the private sector, it's more likely that a fresh start will require some creative partnerships between government, the private sector and the not-for-profit world.  

The Church could and should have a significant role in what I am describing.  Governments will do what is politically expedient and palatable.  The Church is duty bound to fulfil it's mandate to care for the poor, the oppressed and disadvantaged.  While we need to preach the life changing power of the gospel, we have a moral obligation to break the chains of those who are oppressed and enslaved in systemic poverty.

So... before you sign a petition asking the government to 'do something' about the current situation, perhaps it's time to prayerfully consider YOUR PART in a proactive response to the worlds oldest profession.  Signing a petition is easy.  Intentionally supporting a woman who wants to break free of the sex trade is messy and difficult, but it's more likely what Jesus would do.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Definition of a King

I will tell His Majesty what a king is. A king does not abide within his tent while his men bleed and die upon the field. A king does not dine while his men go hungry, nor sleep when they stand a watch upon the wall. A king does not command his men’s loyalty through fear nor purchase it with gold; he earns their love by the sweat of his own back and the pains he endures for their sake. That which comprises the harshest burden, a king lifts first and sets down last. A king does not require service of those he leads but provides it to them. He serves them, not they him. (…)

That is a king, Your Majesty. A king does not expend his substance to enslave men, but by his conduct and example makes them free…I set down my life with gladness, and would do it again a hundred times, for (a bunch of the characters in the book). I and every man there were never more free than when we gave freely obedience to those harsh laws which take life and give it back again.

Pressfield - Gates of Fire

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Lessons from my Marathon

Several years ago, my best friend turned to me and said.... 'I'm fat! You're fat!  We should do something about that.'  Then he proposed a competition. He would find some other 'fattys' and challenge us all to a weight loss competition.  We each put in $100 and the first one to lose 10% of their body weight, would take the prize.  There were 7 of us that each put our money in.  I didn't win the pool, but I won something better.  After years of being a 'desk potato', I discovered that I really enjoyed running.  I started with walking and decided that I could burn more calories quicker if I began to run.  Like Forest Gump, I've been running ever since.  I've run 5 half marathons (21.1kms) and decided after the last one that I wanted more of a challenge.  My only option was to run a full marathon.  I signed up for the training program and began my marathon journey in January... in the dark... and in the rain!  Over the past few months, I increased my distances, strength and general health. On May 4, I ran my first marathon.  

I arrived at Queen Elizabeth Park early and huddled with the other runners under trees and building overhangs in a vain attempt to stay warm and dry.  By the time the gun went off, 'dry' was a memory and warm was only going to happen if I kept running for the next 4 plus hours.  I learned a lot about life on Sunday morning. Here are some highlights.

1) Sharing the journey makes it easier.  I had done all of my training runs alone.  On the morning of the race, I decided to talk with people as I ran instead of listening to music.  I asked questions, I laughed at jokes.  I bantered with people.  I listened, learned and I ran!  

2) 'I get by with a little help from my friends!'  I am blessed with good friends who took time to call and wish me well in the week coming up to the race and on the night before.  It meant a lot.  One even called during the race.  (I'd only take a call from a good friend or my wife during the race...)  His call at 38kms gave me a huge boost and I ran faster from that point on.  He helped me finish well!  

3) Encouragement is powerful!  At different spots along the race, people stood along the side walk and called out the names of runners as they went by.  There's nothing like hearing your name called by a random stranger when your muscles are tired and your legs are cramping!  A 'keep it going', 'you look strong' and 'you're almost there', kept me going when I wasn't having a lot of fun!  The high fives from kids and adults alike made the journey that much easier! Takeaway #3 - 'Be an encourager!'

4) Listen to the Music!  There were great bands playing along the way. At one point, we had just climbed a long hill and turned the corner to face another.  Right on the corner a drum line was working hard and providing us with a fantastic rhythm to power us up the hill.  It made a huge difference on the final climb and it was a lot of fun to listen to.  

5) Share the love.  In the last few kms, I decided that I would do my best to help other people finish.  I cheered, encouraged, nudged and did whatever else I could to help others finish well. A positive outlook is contagious!  

Monday, April 07, 2014

Across the Country

We've got some great things happening across Western Canada.  I was in Saskatchewan in early February for a visit with Barry Berglund who is our chaplain there.  The frosty weather (-52C) was no match for the warm reception we received at the Saskatchewan Legislature.  Barry is off to a great start and is connecting well with the MLAs there.  We recently launched PraySK through a daily blog, a FB page Pray SK and a daily email service.  PraySK has been received well and we are off to a great start.  If you would like to pray for MLAs in Saskatchewan you can find us through FaceBook or on the blog.  If you'd like to help in the important work of writing prayers, click here to let us know.

I'm excited about what is about to happen in Alberta.  Larry Lindoff has a great team of people around him who are committed to seeing Leading Influence become a tremendous success there.  A big shout out to Elaine Baillie and her team for all of your hard work in making PrayAB a tremendous success already.  Larry is just about to begin a fundraising campaign.  Please pray for him and the team as they undertake this important work that will allow him more freedom to focus on the important work God has called him to do among Alberta's political leaders.  If you live in Alberta and would like to join our team as a prayer partner, financial partner or by serving in some way, please click here and we'll get back to you right away.

Join Us For LeaderCast Victoria

The world is missing out. We could all be learning more. Living out our purpose. Leading and being led by people who inspire and enlighten us, give us strength and allow us to grow. Leadercast was built on a belief that the world needs better leaders—leaders worth following.  

Leading Influence is proud to be hosting LeaderCastVictoria at UVic on Friday May 9.  For more information and to purchase tickets, please click here to be taken to the LeaderCast Victoria site.

Prayer Breakfast Report

Well... I'm not entirely sure what happened to the last half of February and all of March, but here we are in the 2nd week of April.  Oh wait... I do know what happened!  The Legislature resumed sitting, I've had a fairly busy preaching schedule, a trip to Saskatchewan and we had to bump up our Prayer Breakfast by an entire month... Needless to say it's been a bit of a blur around here!

Let's start with the last week and work backwards.  We held our 8th Annual MLA Prayer Breakfast on April 2nd.  Once again, we had an exceptional response with 22 MLAs including 6 Cabinet ministers in attendance.  Many churches and businesses were represented and we had a strong show of support for the MLAs who came.  Our speaker this year was none other than Mr. O Canada, Mark Donnelly who is the anthem singer for the Vancouver Canucks.  It's safe to say that we've never sung the anthem more enthusiastically as Mark led us.

Following the breakfast, MLA Gordie Hogg arranged a tour for Mark through the Legislature.  Mark was an excellent guest and he graciously entertained caucus and staff alike by singing in various offices and hallways.  He was invited to open the afternoon session of the Legislature by singing the anthem and I was asked to open in prayer.  It was a fantastic day for Leading Influence!! 

We received the most exciting feedback from a pastor.  He mentioned that he sensed a connection with the MLA at his table and asked her if it would be okay if he prayed for her for the next year.  She readily agreed and the exchanged email addresses.  This is one of the many reasons that we do a Prayer Breakfast!

If you'd like to see pictures of our visit to the Legislature, visit the Leading Influence Page on FaceBook.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Let the Music Pla, Music Pla, Music Pla...

I'm going a bit 'retro' this morning....  I grew up playing records.... big, black vinyl records.  (I did have a cool red one and might have even had one with a picture on it, but for the most part, they were black...)  The first records I bought were produced by K-Tel.  (Dynamite and Canadian Mint as I recall.) 

Records were great until they got scratched. Once they were scratched, the needle would skip and the record would play the same phrase over and over until you lifted the needle and moved it past the skip.

I had a conversation with a friend this week.  We were discussing how to help people who face recurring issues in their lives.  We see it far too often in our work.  Good people with great potential get 'stuck' at a point in their lives.  Their loss, pain, injustice, failure or setback affects them like a scratch on an old record.  Sadly, they seem oblivious to the seriousness of their situation.  For them, what could be an opportunity to be wiser, stronger, better equipped and aware, becomes a recurring phrase in the soundtrack of their lives.  It sounds like this.... my life was good and then the b-bad thi, b-bad thi, b-bad thi.. until someone mercifully picks up the needle and moves it ahead of the scratch. 

I'm not making fun of people who have had bad things happen in their lives.  I want to help them get past their pain so they can move forward towards what God has in store for their lives. If you are reading this,  and your past is affecting your present and future negatively, I have good news for you!

You were made to be an overcomer!  You were made to live free from the pain of your past!  Your past can be a building block for you future if you let it!  

Ask Jesus to heal the 'broken' part of your past that you keep replaying and reliving.  Ask him to turn your mourning into dancing and your sorrow into joy so that you can move forward into the goodness and greatness of all that God has for you!

He's written a beautiful sound track for your life!  Get past the skip and let the music play on!

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Back To The Legislature We Go!

The BC Legislature resumes sitting on Tuesday with the Throne Speech.  This will mark the 2nd Session of the 40th Parlaiment.  While we won't know until Tuesday what the government's priorities will be for the coming year, we are happy to share our prayer focus themes with you in advance.  On Tuesday of this week, a group of intercessors prayed on the grounds of the Legislature asking God to work in the following ways.  While we've prayed privately on the grounds before, this is the first time we are publishing the content of what we prayed.  We invite you to pray along with us!

Leading Influence Prayer Initiative - February 2014
 “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”      
                                                                                                            Isaiah 55:11 (ESV)

Psalm 72

·         Pray that the government would lead with wisdom and grace.

·       For a compassionate and generous response to those who are most at risk in our province: Youth, Homeless, those struggling with Mental illness, the disenfranchised

·      For wisdom, revelation and development of a strategy that would form policies and legislation to combat child poverty in our province as it is the highest in our nation

·    That the government would continue to develop policies and legislation in the upcoming session that would be beneficial to families

·     We pray for harmonious positive relationships that will bring together parents, teachers, school trustees to achieve long-term labour stability in our classrooms so that the education of our greatest natural resource, our children, is achieved.

·    Pray for continued discipline that will produce a balanced budget and strike a balance between reducing taxes and cost for families, investing in programs and services while reducing provincial debt.

·         Pray for wisdom, revelation and understanding to reduce the ongoing challenges in the global and domestic economies and that these economies would begin to flourish

·  That the government would balance Economic Development and meet appropriate environmental concerns.

·   For wisdom in allocating resources to the appropriate needs in light of the increasing expectations and demands.

·         For the success of a diversified and sustainable approach to job creation and that a needed 94,000 jobs would be created in our province.