Thursday, July 30, 2009
With this in mind, I couldn't help asking myself what does this mean for the local church? Now I've been around the block enough to know that the word "experience" can cause some to shudder when attached to the local church as we are firmly rooted in the truth of God's Word, but why don't we take more seriously our need to provide people with a "positive experience" when engaging with the Body of Christ. If we truly believe that we hold the most important message in this world, why not do our very best to create an environment whereby we can speak this truth into as many lives as possible?
Is it possible to create an environment and experience that moves people to want to hear/see/experience more even though some of the truth is hard to hear? I as a dad was willing to hear/see/experience an expensive (painful event) in order to live the American Girl experience with my daughter. I wonder if people would be more willing to sit/listen/dialogue about the reality of their sin and hopelessness with those who belong to Christ if we provided an environment/experience that invited them to do so even if it gets uncomfortable for them?
I recognize a post like this can ruffle many feathers and it is something I'm still wrestling with, but I am growing more convinced then ever that the church must continual evaluate its methodology of "doing" church. We must provide those searching for more an opportunity to experience the joy and hope that comes when one has trusted Christ as their Savior. If all the church ever presents to a lost and dying world is a miserable, poor experience then we will leave many looking to the American Girl experiences of life to provide temporary hope and joy which unfortunately only masks the painful realities of sin.
I'm just beginning to read a book entitled "Word of Mouth Marketing" and I'm guessing that those within the church would be happy to tell others about Jesus (word of mouth marketing) if their experience with a church engages them on a level that moves them to want more. The good news is that when people want more we have the Word of God that feeds and satisfies the innermost part of a human being on the most deepest and intimate of levels. This is why I believe we need to create and provide people with positive church experiences.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Since leaving for university, I’ve never lived real close to my family. Every once in a while the entire family is together for a birthday and this year was one of those years. It was really cool to see my mother all choked up with joy at her family being together for my dad’s birthday. God took this time to remind me how blessed I am to have the family heritage I have and to make sure I take seriously my responsibility to keep this blessed family heritage alive and well. If my kids can grow up to love Jesus, marry a spouse who loves Jesus and raise kids that love Jesus then I’ll be happy!
Spent a Sunday at the MET
My family and I enjoyed a Sunday at the MET (Metropolitan Bible Church) in Ottawa and were refreshed greatly. It is always nice to get away and see how God is at work in other ministries. This was also a fun visit in that they just moved into their new building 11 months ago and have already outgrown their new facility on many fronts. It is wonderful to see God drawing so many unto Himself using methods that are quite different than Grace.
Read/Thought about “Killing Cockroaches”
Great book with 100’s of leadership snippets that encourage the leader to keep focused on the main things without chasing cockroaches all day long. The book is worth the read!
REST – All in all it was a good time of rest and recalibration as God met me right where I was at through quiet times with Him, good reading, other ministries and His creation. It’s good to leave the desk and office and get out there to meet with Him in new and fresh environments.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Breakfast with Bill
I had the privilege of spending the morning with the president of the Associated Gospel Churches of Canada while on vacation and enjoyed a wonderful morning talking about the work of God in Canada. It was a good reminder that our great big God is at work in more than just Lititz, Lancaster County, PA and even the United States. Our God is the God of all countries and at work in each and every one. It’s good to recalibrate and broaden my horizons on the global work of God.
Watched the Sun Set Over Lake Huron
I find nothing quite as tranquil and powerful as watching the sun set over Lake Huron. I never tired of heading down to the lake and watching the sun set. I guess it was always a reminder that our grand Creator causes the sun to rise and set daily which reminds me of just how small I am and how much I must depend daily on Him. The sun setting at the Lake has a way of humbling me while at the same time filling me with gratitude for an all powerful God who chooses to love me and sustain me and this world daily. I lose sight of that some days in ministry!
Spent a Sunday with the Lighthouse Baptist Church Family
My family and I had the privilege of spending a day with our old church family. This group of Christ followers let me as a young pastor cut his teeth on them. We had a great time reminiscing about doing life together as we celebrated and mourned the real life events this church body had faced over the past five years. God used this time to deepen my passion for the local church as there is nothing quite as special then the eternal bond we share together in Christ.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
The Auld boys enjoyed 9 holes of golf at this little course in Minden ON. It’s not often that my dad, brother, Josh (my son) and I get out golfing together. We had a lot of fun looking for our balls (I have a terrible slice) and enjoying a great afternoon together.
Ate Kawartha Ice Cream
There is a local creamery up in Minden ON that the kids ate at last summer and it was imperative that we returned. I ate up some good heavenly hash ice cream just before heading over to Tim Horton’s for a coffee and donut. Nothing like vacation!!!
Rode Go-Karts with the Kids
While visiting with friends in Ottawa, we spent an afternoon go-karting and mini golfing. I must confess that I was a little bit nervous about my nine year old daughter driving her own, but she did great and I loved speeding around the track with the family.
Toured Parliament Hill
The family had a wonderful time walking through the Canadian Parliament buildings. My children are dual citizens and I want them to appreciate and be knowledgeable on the governments of both countries. The trip up the Peace Tower was interesting as Susan is terrified of heights... but she was a trooper and made the trip up with the whole gang!
Monday, July 20, 2009
Played Thundering Waters Golf Course
I enjoyed playing this John Daly course with my brother, a good friend and a new friend. It beat me up good!
Participated in a Pipe Band Parade
I must confess that I love to listen to the bagpipes. I have a Scottish heritage and I love the powerful sound a large group of them give off. Every Saturday night in Kincardine ON, they shut down the main street and the crowd follows a large pipe band up and down the street with the band finishing the night off with a number of songs in the local park as the sun sets over the lake. I loved it!!!
I spent some time paddle boating one morning around Beech Lake with Susan and Emma. It was a perfectly calm morning out on the lake and we had a wonderful time together.
More to come in my next blog...
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Today my family and I head off for 12 days of vacation in Canada. As we packed and got ready to go, I acknowledge that I'm ready to go. It has been a great, but busy year of ministry and after 50 Sunday's straight, Susan and I are ready for some rest.
One of my concerns over the years revolves around a quote made by Gordon MacDonald where he states "What is strange about our general fatigue as a people is the fact that we are also such a leisure oriented society." This is definitely worth thinking about. We spend billions as a society pursuing recreation/leisure with a passion. In fact, we often wear ourselves out in pursuit of it. So here is what I'm determined to do over the next 12 days.
First, I'm going to pursue some recreation with the right perspective. Over the next 12 days I'm hoping to play some golf with friends, ride the Maid of the Mist with my kids, visit Fort George (a fort from the War of 1812), take in a Scottish Pipe Band Parade in Kincardine, canoe on Beech Lake and visit the Parliament buildings and war museum in Ottawa. As you can see, I'm not opposed to recreation, but it must be done with the right perspective.
Secondly, I'm going to pursue some "Biblical Rest". Here is how I've come to define Biblical rest (also taken from Gordon MacDonald's book entitled "Ordering Your Private World"
I'm going to close the loop! As God rested on the seventh day of creation, he took time to reflect upon what He had just done. I need to take time to reflect upon where I've been the past year. I need to evaluate what went well and what didn't go so well in my journey with and for God.
I'm going to recalibrate my heart! Just as a car needs a tune up after some diagnostic tests, so to does my heart. I need to get into the Bible and allow God to speak clearly to me through His Word and recalibrate that which needs tuned up after a busy year. To ignore the warning lights of a car can be disastrous and so too can failure to recalibrate/tune up the heart. But this requires intentional times of solitude/quiet and time apart from the daily activities of life.
I'm going to define my mission! Times of rest only last for so long and before I know it I'll be back at here within the Grace ministry. In order for me to effectively be all that God would have me be, I need to be clear yet again what it is He is calling me to. It's amazing how blurry our mission for God can get in the busy routines of life. I find myself sometimes forgetting it's all about Him and His kingdom. Biblical rest allows me the time to have God define for me yet again His mission/purpose for my life.
I'm looking forward to some great times of recreation and rest over the next 12 days and look forward to sharing some of the highlights as we go!
This past week, Susan and I also said good-bye to our son who was heading off to North Carolina for a few days of vacation with a friend and his family. To be honest with you, I don't struggle saying good-bye to my son like I do with my daughter. It sounds sexist, but I think it's because he is a boy and he is almost 13. But it was the fact that he is almost 13 that caught me off guard a bit.
The final lesson God taught me this week is that I need to make the most of every moment I have with my kids for God because my time with them is short. God has entrusted my kids to me for a lifetime, but their real formative years are moving along very quickly and it won't be long before the natural desire of my kids will be to leave the nest and cleave to whomever their spouse will be down the road. So here's what I'm committed to continue doing;
- I'm going to pray that God keeps them close to Him and that their hearts stay sensitive to God's leading in their lives.
- I'm going to pray that God make clear how it is He wants to use them for His kingdom purposes.
- I'm going to pray that God brings them together with the spouse of His choosing and that their spouses are godly.
- I'm going to ask God to help me be the best spiritual example to them that I can be in Christ.
- I'm going to try and take advantage of times together with them even if I'm tired.
- I'm going watch for and seek to create opportunities to enjoy laughter and joy with them.
- I'm going to be aware of the life lessons they need to learn to make it in this world and seek to teach and equip them to handle each of them in obedience and faithfulness to God.
- I'm going to love their mother with all my heart so they know what a healthy marriage/home looks like.
Susan and I enjoyed our empty nest and I'm grateful for some of the reminders/lessons learned throughout the week, but I'm glads we will all be home together again this evening!!!