Sunday, January 19, 2014

On Hardship and Suffering

I don't often talk about suffering.  Suffering is hard.  Suffering hurts.  Suffering and hardship are difficult to understand.  Suffering opens questions that are often very hard to answer.  Why do bad things happen to good people???

Here are some things that I've come to understand are true.

1) Suffering is part of life in a messed up world.  No one escapes it.  Everyone is touched by hardship, setbacks, pain, sickness and loss. 

2) God uses suffering to accomplish His purposes in our lives.  This is not to say that He uses suffering in a punitive way to 'teach us a lesson', although there are times when that may happen.  What I am saying is that God allowing suffering in our lives just to watch us suffer seems outside of His care and love for us.  God's purpose in suffering is always to point us to Him and to conform us into His image.  That process never ends and for that reason, there is always a measure of suffering somewhere in our lives.
3) Suffering comes for a seasonCheck this verse  out from Psalms,  'weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. (30:5) You may be in the middle of your dark night, but morning will come and so will the end to whatever you are suffering through. Suffering is not forever for the Christian. 

4) Suffering provides the opportunity to overcome. Not everyone who experiences suffering embraces the opportunity to overcome.  In some cases, they embrace their suffering to such an extent that it becomes their identity.  I love the way Paul writes about being pressed but not crushed, persecuted but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed.  He recognizes reality but is looking towards a truth that is far more powerful than what he currently faces.  He was made to overcome and so are you!

5) Overcoming suffering is more art than science.  No one likes a 4 point check-list to overcoming when the wheels have fallen off your life but there are some foundations you can count on when your world is turned upside down.  

a) Romans 8:28 tells us that God works ALL THINGS together for our good.  Never forget that God is ALWAYS doing more than you think He is.  He is constantly at work on your behalf!  
b) God responds to our faith!  Stop telling God how big your problems are and start telling your problems how big your God is!  Things will start to change in you and then they will start to change for you because that's how God works.  The battle that rages is not over what your outward circumstances are but on what will ultimately happen inside of you.  Faith will either grow and be refined or it will be snuffed out in your life based on how you respond to suffering.

c) Never give up!  I love how Jesus shows up in the darkest, most critical times to do something amazing!  Expect the unexpected as you go through your trial and hardship.  He will turn your sorrow into joy!

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

In the News... Article in 'The Testimony'

This is an article in the most recent version of 'The Testimony'.  The Testimony is published by the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.  I hope you enjoy it!

Ministering to politicians isn’t at the top of most people’s agendas— but it is for Tim Schindel and thousands of prayer partners supporting the activities of Leading Influence.  (LI) Ministries. LI was launched in 2007 out of British Columbia with a primary focus on serving provincial politicians— honouring the impact of their
God-given roles by supporting them in prayer and influencing their lives and decisions for God’s glory and purposes.
Tim, LI’s founder and full-time chaplain, shares how the vision to expand to all of Canada has been unfolding.

t: What was the primary motivation for launching LI?
TS: The vision for LI came as a result of a long process that was a combination of shifting passion and new doors of opportunity opening while others were closing. It was hard to understand at the time, but I began to see God connect fresh passion and vision to the open door that would allow me to fulfil it. Our vision and mission are to be a positive spiritual influence in the lives of our political leaders, reaching them with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have no political agenda but are relationally focused and have friends on both sides of the legislature. There are approximately 1,150 elected officials at provincial and federal levels
in our country. Reaching them results in tremendous kingdom impact across Canada.

t: Where does Leading Influence serve?
TS: We launched in B.C. full time in 2007, and in January 2013, we launched in Alberta. We are in serious discussions to add a third western province in 2014. (Saskatchewan) When that happens, our ministry footprint will extend to just over 225 MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly). Our vision remains
to establish what we are doing in B.C. and Alberta across the country, and we are eager to fulfil that task. If you would like to get involved with us, please contact our office [LI website provided at the end of this article].

t: Do political changes impact the approach that’s being taken by LI?
TS: Leading Influence functions on the basis of relationship, not political ideology.  Our approach is simply to meet and befriend people and demonstrate the love and goodness of Jesus to them through honour, kindness, personal interest and prayer. As my role has become more established, we’ve been able to build bridges and establish trust. Over time, conversations about God’s care, interest and concern for politicians as
people are no longer intimidating for them, and inevitably a door of opportunity for ministry opens to us.

t: Can you name some developments you’ve seen as a direct answer to LI’s prayers and influence?
TS: We’ve seen God do some pretty amazing things in response to the prayers of His people.
Unfortunately, most of those answers related to personal and confidential matters. That said, let me tell you about what happened in the last B.C. provincial election. In late March, we launched a prayer campaign. For 60 days prior to election day, we sent out a short prayer that focused in some way on the decision that British Columbians were about to make. Our central theme was to ask God to give us leaders after His own heart. It was incredible to see God at work as the poll results came in. Because we had done candidate research, we knew which candidates in each riding were either Christians or, at the very least, “faith friendly.” We saw approximately 13 to15 Christians elected that night. That number represents nearly 15 per
cent of the seats in B.C. Some of those elected won their seats by narrow margins in ridings where they should not have won at all. It’s important to understand that the results aren’t an indication of God’s political preferences. Good people who love Jesus are represented in every political party in our legislature. I believe that the results speak to God’s willingness to give us leaders after His heart when His people dare to ask at the right time.

t: Politicians are still generally perceived with mistrust. What’s your take on this?
TS: I just checked the Reader’s Digest “Most Distrusted Professions” list, and politicians come right behind psychics. But I have seen politicians who make tremendous personal sacrifices so they can help people. I’ve yet to meet someone who is involved politically so they can benefit personally. Most members work 50 to 60 hours a week, including evenings and weekends away from their families. Cabinet ministers work 60 to 70 hours a week and, in most cases, are away from home four to five days a week. When they do come home, they have to catch up on all of their community responsibilities. It’s hard and taxing work. (pun intended)

t: What are some of the needs that politicians have? How can we support them more effectively?
First things first: politicians need us to pray for them (1 Timothy 2:1). If you live in B.C. or Alberta, (and very soon in Saskatchewan) you can track along with us in praying for political leaders by visiting either or You can also follow us on Twitter or Facebook.
This is not just “the right thing” to do; it is remarkable to see how many times our specific prayer is exactly what the member needs at that time. Last spring I walked into the dining room for lunch, and the member
we were praying for that day rushed over to meet me and thank me. He said, “It was exactly what I need today.” What makes it even more remarkable is that the prayers are written and scheduled weeks in advance. It’s a great way to be a blessing to the political leaders who serve you.

Secondly, express your thanks and gratitude. Political life is generally a thankless task. Stopping by with a card that says “Thanks for your hard work” will produce amazing results. Not only will your representative feel appreciated, but you will also open the door to further relationship. Proverbs 18:16 provides
insight into the power of gratitude.

Offer to serve. Most politicians have community focus/feedback groups. You don’t necessarily have to share their political views in order to participate. Most decisions affecting your community at that level are made based on the feedback that comes out of those groups. It becomes a win-win situation.

Tim Schindel is the founder of Leading Influence Ministries. He lives in Victoria, BC, with his wife, Barb, and their three children, Brittany, Zack and Tyler. In his spare time, Tim loves to run, ride his motorcycle, and
watch his sons play baseball. For more information on LI, please visit 

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Like a lot of people, this is the time of year where I like to reflect on what has been and look forward to what I believe can happen over the coming year.  2013 was a year of growth, surprises and challenges.  In many ways, the year was better than anything I would have dared to hope, think or imagine. 

On a personal level, 2013 was amazing!   Barb and I celebrated our 25th anniversary.  God has been good to us in the past 25 years.  3 fantastic kids, tremendous blessings on many fronts and we remain madly in love!   I bought Barb a new ring with a bigger and better diamond to replace the one that accidentally got lost last Christmas.  I ran 1000 miles.  What's most surprising is that 3 years ago, I hadn't run 5kms in a year for many years!  Running has been a tremendously good thing for me in so many ways.

On a ministry level, 2013 was nothing short of incredible!  We launched two provinces (Alberta and Saskatchewan), ran a hugely successful prayer campaign during the BC election that resulted in approx. 15 Christians elected to serve as MLAs for the next 4 years.  Today we care and lead prayer movements for over 220 MLAs in 3 provinces.  It's an incredible privilege and honor! 

Our plans for 2014 are to launch in Manitoba and Ontario.  The size of the challenge in accomplishing those goals is a bit like eating an elephant.  My good friend often reminds me that there's only one way to eat an elephant.  You do it one bite at a time!  That said, it's a lot of elephant and it will only be with God's help and grace that we will see our vision of providing pastoral ministry to provincial and federal political leaders across the country.  The size of the vision remains a daunting challenge, but one that I am confident we will see fulfilled as we stay faithful to the call and cause.

I have two 'life verses' that shape my thinking and living..  The first is Jer. 29:11 - 'For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a future.'  The second verse is Eph 3:20.  I love the way the KJV presents it..  Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us...'

These verses remind me of several things...

1) God is FOR me, not against me.  (And if God is for me, who can be against me?)

2) God's plan is to PROSPER me.  His plan is IMPROVE my situation and my circumstances.  I know some people don't agree and want to spin the message to mean something else, but when the scriptures say He has a plan to prosper me, that's good enough for me....

3) God is always ABLE!  This truth gives me hope that sustains me over and over again.  Regardless of what I may see in front of me, God is always able to intervene.... and He is able to do it in dramatic and remarkable fashion.... 'exceedingly, abundantly above all we are able to ask or think...'

4) God always works in PARTNERSHIP! We see the fruit of God's plans and ability when we work in partnership with him.  These things happen 'according to the power that works in us....'  I love the fact that God is committed to a partnership with you and me.  It keeps things 'real'!  While He is always able, He chooses to engage us in a meaningful way in His incredible plan!  What an amazing honor and privilege to partner with the ONE who is always able! 

My prayer for you in 2014 is that you would experience the 'exceedingly abundant, above all we are able to ask or think...' goodness and blessing of God in 2014 as you partner with HIM in this coming year!