Monday, June 29, 2015

The Church and the LGBTQ Community

I've been thinking about the controversy around same sex marriage approval in the USA. I'm a bit puzzled about why my Canadian friends are so upset. In some cases, same sex marriage has been legal in Canada for 8 or 9 years so it's not like this is some sudden infringement on our rights, freedoms and privileges.
When I think about Jesus and who he engaged with and how He did it, I think I see a path that we need to follow as the church in responding to the LGBTQ community. The most common accusation against Jesus was about who He spent his time with. If you are even a casual student of the scriptures, you'll know that Jesus spent considerable time with 'sinners, drunkards, tax collectors and prostitutes.' The Pharisees (the religious right of the day) hated him for it.
Some of the conversations that Jesus had with these people were recorded. Like the time, he encountered the woman caught in adultery. His response to her, after quietly rescuing her from certain death at the hands of the 'righteous' was 'go and sin no more'. His encounter with the woman at the well (multiple divorces, and at least one common law relationship) was to offer her Living Water after which he told her all about her life and ministered to her deepest needs. He met her where she was, offered her truth that set her free and gave her hope for a better day. I could go on, but the pattern is always the same.
Here's the difficulty with what I hear/see many of my friends posting and reposting. There is no hope, no mercy, no grace, and no love on this issue. There is only fear, outrage, anger and judgement.
To say that God is going to bring His judgement on American/Canada because of this particular issue reflects how messed up we really are. God doesn't need this to judge our nations. He can judge us for anything from the way we have treated First Nations peoples to the way we treated Jews and Sikhs who were seeking to flee persecution in their homeland to the way we treated the Chinese or the Japanese or the way we treated children in Residential Schools. The list is long and we are guilty on all counts.
We need to stop looking to politicians and judges to either save us from or solve our many difficulties and challenges. It might be better for us to weep for our nation and the mess that it is in, not because our law permits same sex marriage but because we, the church have been lax in fulfilling our mission and mandate to serve, love, go and give.
Perhaps once we own our sin and become 2 Chr 7:14 people, our nation will find healing, wholeness and the blessing of God.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Spying Out The Land

I've just returned from a 5 day trip to Ontario. While I'm a westerner at heart, every time I'm there, I'm reminded about the significant place that Ontario and Toronto in particular has in our nation.  Ontario is our largest province with over 13 million Canadians.  Almost half of them live in the Greater Toronto Area.  Ontario is a centre of political and economic power not to mention a social and cultural leader.  

I felt a bit like one of the 12 spies from Numbers 13 as I walked up both Bay and Yonge street on my way to my hotel.  I kept looking up at office towers and thinking about what the view would be like from the very top.  I expect that I would look smaller than a grasshopper from the top floor of any one of those buildings.  

The height of the office towers in Toronto is really meaningless in light of the significant spiritual, philosophical and social challenges that await.  Without a doubt there are giants in the land!  It would be easy to be overwhelmed, discouraged and to take the stance that the challenge is too big, and that would be completely the wrong position to take. 

What happens in Ontario eventually becomes the norm across Canada.  This is why we must invest in the leaders of Ontario through providing intentional and purposeful pastoral ministry.  Over the past 8 years God has helped us to establish meaningful relationships with political leaders across 3 western provinces using the ministry of presence.  Simply put, we show up and we build relationships.  Those relationships become platforms of ministry where we are able to serve, speak and engage with leaders around the most important issues of life and leadership.  

7 years ago, I walked the grounds of Queens Park with a group of friends who also believed that God was calling us to establish Leading Influence there.  We prayed around the buildings asking God to give us every place where we set our foot, expecting that we would see Him answer in due time.  I believe that the time to see the fulfilment of that act of faith is NOW  and so we are investing heavily in terms of time, energy and resources to see a full time chaplaincy established in Ontario in 2015.

We need your help to make this happen.  

If you would like to sow into Ontario, we would greatly appreciate it!  If you would like to do that through supporting our IronMan of Golf or simply through a donation through our secure donor portal or by giving through cheque or online banking, we are grateful for your support.  

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Ironman of Golf - 5.0

It's our 5th annual IronMan of Golf!  

We took a break last year and you told us you wanted to do it again.  The IronMan of Golf is our summer fundraiser.  This event supports our travel budget through the summer months.  Our goal for this summer is to raise $5000 and iti's important that we reach it!  Our summer ministry travel plans depend on these resources and we need your help to make it happen.

The IronMan of golf works as follows:

1.  Make a pledge.  You can pledge/hole or simply make an event pledge.  
           $10/hole is a $1000 pledge.  
           $5/hole is a $500 pledge.  
           $2.50/hole is $250
           $1.00 hole is $100 
           Or you can pledge another amount of your choosing. 

           Click here to make a pledge.

2. Follow Through.  
         You can pay your plege immediately by credit card, online banking or by cheque. 
         If you prefer to wait until after the event, that's fine with us.  We will contact you after              the event.

3.  Watch Tim's progress on our Leading Influence Facebook Page on June 22.