Malawi and Back

Recently Jon Batisarisari and Don Greer flew to Malawi to see what GOD is doing through an amazing YWAM initiative there. Jon’s parents — Villi & Judy — are missionaries there, so Jon and Don had a great couple of weeks visiting and tagging along with them wherever they went.

When they got back, our Small Group invited Jon’s small group over and our two groups got to hear their report while it was still fresh!

Jon showed a great video, showing us the new church building and the Sunday school facility in Buli Village. What is extra exciting is that Don was a part of seeing the Sunday School building come to reality, so he got to witness the Grand Opening and tour the facility with a lot of excited church members and kids! At the grand opening there were around 150 adults and around 60 kids. In the crowd were 17 chiefs from neighbouring villages. It was a big deal!

Notable, on the edge of the church property is a Witchcraft Hospital. What a perfect place for a church to sit. Pray for them and their ministry in a dark and broken community with unique challenges!

Jon and Don got to see many of the orphanages and crisis centers that Judy and Villi minister at. At one of the homes their role is just to hold babies. This sounds so simple, yet babies die if they are not held, so this simple act of love is saving lives and extending care to the most vulnerable!

They also got to see the beginning stages of Villi & Judy’s co-worker, Delia’s, dream. She has been working in the area for over 10 years and she is trying to establish a crisis center for girls in trouble. This will require a financial input she does not have, yet she is determined to see this happen. There are girls who get pregnant and have nowhere to go, or experience other kinds of abuse and trouble. If they have a place to go, they can have a second chance at life!

While there, Jon got the chance to preach and help with communion and Don shared his testimony as well — in front of those 17 chiefs, what an honour!

The church in Buli is full of passion; just like us they are learning what it means to be disciples of Christ — not always getting it right! Sometimes the pastor has had some training but not a lot of training and there can be some need for correction in doctrine and practice, to really understand the heart of the Gospel. When this ministry comes to mind, please pray for there to be wisdom and understanding and that the church would be led by the Spirit of GOD into all truth!

Don and Jon described the church as full of celebration! Long services with lots of singing and dancing, lots of improvisation, lots of prayer.

Standing on the campus looking at the new Sunday School building, Jon had commented to Don, “Look what you have done for them, Don.”

And Don said, “No, look what they have done for me.”

Isn’t that the truth about these things? When you know GOD has allowed you to participate in something greater than yourself, the blessing turns around and blesses us more than we could have asked or imagined.

Thank you Don and Jon for sharing your stories with us. It was encouraging and challenging! May SunRidge be filled with people who are “living mission” locally and globally!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

Money Matters!

SunRidge loves the Money Matters course! If you think that is a strange thing to say, consider what happens when people get out from under the weight of debt and have a new sense of financial freedom. When that load is lightened, so many things change in how a person feels, thinks, plans and how the engage with the things GOD invites them to!

This isn’t a course to teach people how to get rich; it is a course to teach people how to get free.

Magnus Aaserud has been leading this course and recently I asked him to share a bit about this topic that he is SO passionate about:


1. “Why do you take the time out to teach Money Matters? You are a busy guy…why does this matter to you?”

 We all have different skills and talents that God has equipped us with to use to serve him and people around us. I feel that this is one way I can serve using what God has given me. This is the same reason I have served on Sunridge’s finance team for the last 13 years. This is a way I feel can contribute – serve where I can make a difference, using the skills and life experience God has given me to help others. The fact that I actually do financial plans for people as my day job, makes this a natural fit for me.

 It is also a topic I am very passionate about, and have been ever since I was young. My passion is to help others figure out their finances. It is actually one of the reasons I took my education in finance and accounting. I think it is sad to see people struggle financially or not knowing where to start to create a plan for their finances. I hope to make a difference in their lives by facilitating this course and giving them the too ls to succeed.


 2. “Who do you think Money Matters is for? Is it primarily for people in financial trouble?”

 I truly believe pretty much anyone can benefit from this course. I think there is a misconception that this course is only for people that struggle financially – that is not the case. The course goes over 9 weeks and cover many different topics (saving, spending, debt, investing, insurance, buying a home, giving, etc.). Not every topic will apply to everyone – it all depends what stage of life they are currently in. But I know each person will get something out it that can help them or guide them in their own situation – whether you are on the brink of bankruptcy or already a millionaire. 


 3. “What do you see happening to people when they begin to manage their money versus having their money manage them?”

This course is not super technical. Other than a couple of the sessions, a lot of it is actually common sense. However, the biggest challenge with this course is that it requires commitment and discipline of the participants. As Dave Ramsey says over and over again – it is “20% head knowledge and 80% behaviour”. That is why this course in some ways is really easy – yet so difficult. The course will give the participants all the tools they need to be successful, but when it comes down to it, it depends on each person’s willingness and self-discipline to implement the principles that are taught in the course in their own lives. That is where the “rubber meets the road” and that is the challenging part. Often it will mean changing habits you have been doing for a long time and that is not an easy thing to do, but it can be done if you truly want to see change in your life.

 If you don’t dictate where your money goes, money will dictate your life instead. I have seen many examples of this. People are forced to take jobs they do not want to take, possibly having to work away from their families for long periods at a time. They might be forced to move away from their friends to another community, because they need to earn a higher wage to cover their financial obligations. They might not be able to go into the ministry they feel God is calling them to, because they cannot afford to, due to debt or high monthly expenses. By not building up a “buffer” in our financial lives and not living below our means, we are much more exposed to changes in our circumstances leading to financial “emergencies”. 

If you have your finances in order, it puts you in the driver seat for what you want to do with your life. If you save up for certain goals, stay out of debt and live below your means every month, you have way more options for doing the things you want to do and not ending up having to do things you don’t want to do. 

 So to answer the question – what will happen to those who implement what this course teaches? I think the most significant thing is that their stress level will go down. I think a lot of people stress over their finances, never feeling that they get ahead, lack of direction and worrying about their future. Once you have a plan in place and start practicing the habits that we teach, it will give you a sense of peace knowing that things are going in the right direction and that the habits you are living out every day will improve your financial situation over time. Less financial stress will have a positive impact on your family, relationships, health and just your enjoyment of life in general.


SunRidge is so grateful for people like Magnus who take their skills, knowledge, gifting, passion and faith and mix them all together to BLESS others. Thank you Magnus!!!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

It Is Better To Have Tried

This past Sunday our Mexico Team students made coffee for “half time” once again to help raise money for the house building project coming this Spring Break. This time, there was a special feature. If you weren’t there on Sunday you missed a pretty hilarious and heartwarming announcement by Kyle, our Youth Pastor about the “eats” being offered along with coffee. Last year, Garnet (pictured on the right) made a name for himself in Mexico for his passion for Churros! He ate buckets of Churros.

This year, he was committed to bring his Churro obsession to the Coffee fundraiser. He and Thomas found a recipe and whipped up a batch but…the product didn’t quite meet their expectations. Here’s the thing, they brought them anyway. Garnet was quick to say, “These were our first try, come next week, they will be better.”

I decided to try this week’s so I would have something to compare next week’s to. They may not have looked quite right, but they actually weren’t bad. They tasted like a doughnut.

Here is what I love about this story:

  1. That there is a story to tell of two young men who had an idea and tried it out. How many times do I talk about trying something but don’t?

  2. When it didn’t have the intended results, they brought them anyway. They weren’t perfect, but they weren’t a total fail either. Gotta have some pride in that. How many times do I think what I offer has to be perfect. How many times do I judge myself too harshly or stress over things having to be “just so”?

  3. The joy and humour with which they offered their smallish, brownish Churros. It made me happy just talking to them about it. Sometimes its just good to joke around. Isn’t a good laugh, an amusement, a funny moment worth so much?

  4. Their effort and their intentions and the heart behind it. This is what counts isn’t it? It is better to have tried and failed then to have not tried at all. How many times do I not even step into the ring?

I say A+ for effort and for bringing the fun. Full marks for DOING SOMETHING and being a contributor and having the attitude of a difference maker. Here and on the field, these guys have set an example.

Can’t we learn a lot from these students? I love this generation. I have so much hope for them!

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If you haven’t had a chance to bless the troupe, don’t miss the opportunity!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

Have Some AGM With Your Soup

This past Sunday was Soup Sunday. I have to pause here, because on February 17 at least one of our SunLand kids thought it was Soup Sunday and they were pretty disappointed to find out it was a week away. Soup Sunday is that good.

So, this past Sunday was Soup Sunday and it was that good! Thanks Lisa and team and small groups for feeding all of us.

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Part way through we added in a little AGM — our Annual General Meeting. Bernie led the way through the agenda starting it all off on the right note, reminding us of how faithful GOD is and how He hears and answers our prayers. He shared from his own recent experience of seeing GOD answer a very specific prayer when he was hospitalized. May this be the beginning, middle and end of everything for SunRidge: always seeking the Lord, always hearing from Him, always trusting and obeying what He tells us and asks of us!

Magnus began with a budget review from last year. Last year we approved a more aggressive budget and not only was the budget met, but we had more funds come in than we had planned for. This was also a time for Magnus to pass the baton of leadership. Magnus has been the head of the finance team, well, it seems like forever. He has been the overseer of this team with such diligence and faith. He has made the budget review more than numbers, but rather an inspiring call to the church to be thankful to our GOD and trust for His provision always. The baton has been passed on to Brian Hawkins who is also an elder at SunRidge and part of the finance team — we are so grateful the Lord has sent Brian to serve in this way. Magnus will continue to serve on the finance team. Well done Magnus!

  • Brian went through some of what is coming in the new budget, explaining all the significant changes and a vote was taken on this budget and it was approved.

  • This was followed by some great ministry updates by Kyle Dyck (Student Ministries), Olivia Wark (Children’s Ministries) and Walter Blackwood (Out of School Care).

  • Pastor Mike gave a property update, specific to the area behind the portable. A donation has been made to help develop this part of our property so it can be used as an activity space (retained, sculpted, paved) for SunLand, OOSC and our students to use including a potential basketball court, higher fencing etc. More will be brought to the church for discussion as plans begin to develop.

  • Bernie shared about the Lead Team’s processing this past year on the topic of Discipleship and what it takes to move a church to be “Disciples who make Disciples.” More to come on this as well as it unfolds in the church.

There is much for us to do as the Lord includes us in His Mission. We want to pray well, listen well, obey well and become more and more the passionately committed followers of Jesus He is shaping us to be!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

The Marriage Retreat

On February 15 and 16 The Marriage Retreat was held at the Summerland Waterfront Resort. This year our theme had us looking at marriage with a bigger view, in fact…an eternal view. If marriage is a picture GOD used to show us the beauty of His covenant commitment towards us, that ought to call us to take a closer look at our commitment to one another. What did He intend for our relationships before marriage and what does “being married” look like? When others have the opportunity to see our marriage in action, what do they see? Are we able to view our friends and our spouses from a much longer view, a view that goes beyond this life and if we could…how would it change how we serve one another now?

We took Francis Chan’s “You and Me Forever” book and videos and broke it down so it could be covered in the short time frame that we had, making it user friendly to both marrieds and singles. We got to work as individuals, as couples, as tables and as friends!

It was a beautiful few days, great conversation and a good and practical challenge to take home with us.

Had a great lunch to end our time together at The Local (delicious as always!) and a nice little stop-in at Backdoor Winery on the way home (I like the story of how this winery started, and it happily proved my point about being nice to crows and ravens).

Here are some photos from the weekend:

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

Christian?

Series Description

"Christian" is a label that can be good, bad, attractive, or repelling. It's a bit loaded. But where did the word come from? And did it come with instructions?

About The Artwork

This series design incorporates a bunch of typefaces all trying to merge together to spell the word “CHRISTIAN?”. The typefaces are modern, traditional, bold, conservative, easy to read, and difficult to read. Our definition of Christianity is so often a messy combination of these approaches represented by the type.


Who does God say I am?

March 24, 2019

Romans 8

Many of you have been called different names over the years, and this may have shaped who you think you are. But finding out who God says you are is an extremely powerful truth you need to know. Today, we want to clarify who God says you are, and why this matters in how we do our day to day life.

**Sermon Video will be posted on March 30

Small Group Questions


Why do I continue to Sin?

March 17, 2019

Romans 7

Once we understand the great lengths that Jesus went to solve the sin problem, then why, when we want to live as followers of Jesus, do we not carry it out? Why do I end up not doing the things that I want to do? I thought the sin problem was solved. Today, we want to look at how we overcome this dilemma.

**Sermon Video will be posted on March 30

Small Group Questions


What is our Sin Solution?

March 10, 2019

Romans 6

Many people would say that Christians have good standing with God because they live good lives, doing good things; bottom line obeying the commandments has taken care of the sin problem. But this is not true – so then what is true?


Why is Sin a Problem?

March 3, 2019

Romans 5

As we see in the term “Christian” there is varied reactions to it. So to with the term “Sin”. Jesus told his followers that he came to die – actually die for sin because it was that much of a problem. Today we want to look at why sin is such a problem.


What is a Christian?

February 24, 2019

John 13:35

"Christian" is a label that can be good, bad, attractive, or repelling. It's a bit loaded. But where did the word come from? And did it come with instructions? Today let’s look at where the word came from and clarify what Jesus asks of us.


Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho To Mexico We Go!

If you aren’t already feeling the energy, you will starting this Sunday! Student Ministries is preparing for another Mexico outreach and their first Coffee Fundraiser is on for this Sunday! SunRidge loves getting behind this great endeavour and we are already looking forward to seeing the blessings pour out on our young people.

Our Youth Pastor Kyle and the students have already done a good job hyping the event, but in case you have missed the on-stage updates and videos, I thought it might be interesting for our blog-followers to read a bit about the story of Amor. Amor Ministries is the US-side ministry we have connected with for over 15 years. We love them! We love what they do! Catch the vibe yourself by reading up on them. You can go straight to their website, or read what I have cut and paste here!

The Amor Story

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(You can read the full story of Amor if you order their book from Amazon: “Disrupted” — Click here )

More than thirty years ago, Gayla Cooper felt reluctant to spend even one day ministering to children in a Tijuana orphanage. However, after meeting a group of children from a Mexican orphanage, Gayla's heart was touched so deeply that she decided to pack her bags and move to Mexico to work in the orphanage full-time.

Meanwhile, Scott Congdon traveled to the very same orphanage with a community service group from his college. The children had such a profound impact on Scott, that when he returned home, he began collecting food and clothing for the children, returning to deliver the collected items.

Together, Scott and Gayla soon discovered that they shared the same dream of ministering alongside the poor in Mexico. In March of 1980, Scott and Gayla founded Amor Ministries. That fall, they recruited their first ministry group to participate in a building project at a Tecate orphanage.

One year later, Scott and Gayla were married and four more missions teams traveled to Mexico with Amor. The Ministry continues to live out the Congdon’s initial calling and provides homes for families each day. Today, more than 300 missions groups take part each year in short-term Mission Trips with Amor Ministries! Each of those trips is part of the bigger mission of the local communities.

Scott and Gayla, along with the full-time Amor Team, carry out their commitment and passion for helping the poorest of the poor in Mexico, South Africa, and, increasingly, other locations around the world. They mobilize volunteers and work with local churches to respond to the physical and spiritual poverty throughout the world.

When groups come and provide a home, it becomes much more then that:

It Keeps Families Together

Having inadequate shelter provides stress for a family that can lead to separation with individuals looking for work in other cities. Inadequate shelter can also cause parents to decide they cannot care for their children which could lead to institutionalization of the children, children being sent to live with friends or family members creating separation of parents and children, or outright abandonment. A home keeps a family together and a job that provides a living wage allows a family to care for itself.


Promotes Health & Education

Having a cement floor and shelter that protects a family from the elements dramatically increases their health. Kids are more likely to attend school when they aren't sick, and with the solid foundation of a concrete floor they aren't as sick as often. A home helps children get education that could break the cycle of poverty.

Averts Trafficking

Human trafficking, in many parts of the world, is a migration problem. When people are separated from their community because of their need for work, they are vulnerable to traffickers. A home allows a family to stay intact.

For more information of how a simple home benefits the family and community, click here.

Check out SunRidge’s Mexico Trip page and get involved by helping them get ready (they can always use an extra hand), by supporting them through prayer, by getting behind them financially, and by encouraging them personally.

Let’s love and invest in the next generation and high-five them for serving Jesus beyond our borders and their comfort zones. It is a real stretch for most of them, so let’s go out of our way to fill them up in anyway we can, the way a family does!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

Set Free/Prayer Summit/Church Renewal Weekend

On January 25th, a group of 6 of us went to Steinbach, Manitoba; yup, middle of winter. What would draw us there?

Two years ago, Pastor Mike and Pastor Shawn went to Southland for the same experience and came back very challenged by what they had walked through. For the past two years, Pastor Mike has been walking through weekly mentoring sessions with Pastor Ray from Southland for the main purpose of helping our church grow in prayer.

For the six of us who went (Teresa K., Michael K., Jo-Ann K., Kyle D., Bernie S., Jon B.) it was a remarkable weekend and I thought I would pass on just a “taste” of what impacted them.

To give you some context — this is Southland Churches website. This is a link to this weekend so you can read about the Set Free portion and the Church Renewal portion. As a part of this weekend we also attended their service and their Prayer Summit (which they do monthly). I could talk to you about this for at least an hour…so I will just stop there and let the team chime in:

Mike, Teresa, Jo-Ann, Kyle, Jon, Bernie

Mike, Teresa, Jo-Ann, Kyle, Jon, Bernie

Kyle’s Thoughts

For me the whole weekend was so refreshing because of the way in which it was communicated to me. We weren’t wrestling with these huge topics that require years of study and schooling to fully grasp, we were tasked with simple and BEAUTIFUL processes that date back to the ancient times. Whether it was confessing sins to each other, or participating in listening prayer, it was remarkable how moving it was to take part in it. I quickly realized that I over complicate things so easily. The weekend called me back to the beautiful and simple practises that scripture call us to.

Listening prayer is also something that I haven’t done a lot in my life but this weekend we practised it and it was amazing. I actually heard the voice of the Lord. It was incredible. The God of the universe spoke words TO ME and it brought me to tears. I desire growth in this area as well. Especially as I ask the Lord for encouraging words to share with others who are doubting. 

Returning home, I have experienced a “re-ignitiing” of sorts. Conviction that I need to really look inward and make sure that my spiritual practises are of the utmost importance. It sounds simple, but life can quickly make them see less important. It also convicted me in the way that I communicate truth. Simple. I don’t need to dress it up. Truth is scripture and scripture is truth. Students in Student Ministries need to know truth. Especially all of those who are in broken families. 

Lastly, my prayer and devotional life. As of late, they have become, “when I have the time.” A lie of the enemy. This must be a non negotiable. They must start my day and continue through it. How can I speak truth if I am not clear in what truth is?  


Bernie’s Thoughts

There were so many positive experiences from our trip to Steinbach, Manitoba, this past weekend and a few that are just plain memorable, like when:

1. We were in the ditch, wondering about how we will get out and hearing our leader say "OH, I did something bad".

2. Watching brother Kyle, who was sitting next to me on the plane - bouncing his leg up and down continuously, while watching his movie with the screen moving to the rhythm of his leg. God makes us all wondrously different!

All kidding aside, there are two experiences that I hope can be turned into practices at Sunridge:

During the Church Renewal - Set Free sessions we were encouraged to open our hearts to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying about sinful attitudes and practices, such as unforgiveness, anger, breaking promises and dwelling on impure thoughts. After listening we were encouraged to note these and confess them to one another. We also practiced a prayer of release to those that confessed. It was a liberating experience.

In numerous teaching stories, the Sunday sermon and the Monday session on "Hearing God" we were introduced to the practice of "Listening Prayer". From the time I was young, I have longed to hear from God like the prophets, apostles and more recently like George Mueller and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The pastors in the various sessions provided numerous examples of how they also received direction and specific instructions by learning to listen to the Still Small voice of the Holy Spirit as they prayed. I was challenged to re-think my earlier conclusion that this was not for me: would the Holy Spirit speak to me like that? The passages in Luke 11:13, John 16:13 and Rom 8:32 impelled me to reconsider and with humility just keep asking. I'm not sure where this will lead but I find I have a greater joy in prayer and my list of things to pray for is much shorter, since I'm listening. So, this is not complete - still waiting for what is to come but I'm thrilled by the potential.

Jo-Ann’s Thoughts

Southland was an incredible experience. I know some of you were worried about us being in the cold, but the fire that we felt inside of us through the Holy Spirit made it so worth it. 

The Set Free part of the conference was amazing. James 5:16 says therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed (set free). They made it so simple for us to confess our sins to one another and then be released of our sin. It wasn’t a time of trying to fix each other. It was simply confess, pray and be released. It may not always be comfortable confessing to someone else but wow when you do, you can really feel a sense of being set free. If there is one hope that I have for my brothers and sisters at Sunridge, it would be that they would want to walk in total freedom. 

Jonathan’s Thoughts

  For me, the Sunridge Leadership Team's trip to Southland Church for Church Renewal Weekend in Steinbach Manitoba was a stand-out, pivotal, and eye-opening life experience. There are moments in life that you look back on a few years down the road and realize, "Man! That experience changed my life forever.". This was not one of them. Only a week behind us and I already know with full confidence that this changed me for eternity which in turn will change the way I approach leadership forever.

When I walked into the Southland's building I was initially amazed, but the sheer physical size of the structure was quickly disregarded the moment I was greeted at the door with a smile from someone I didn't know but felt right away "There's something happening in this place and I need to figure out what it is."

Well what it was, was a church that has a deep desire to see their people set free from the chains that hold us down in sin, a church that approached the bible in a beautifully conservative and simple manner but that led to a pursuit of seeking God to hear him speak, a church that sung songs that were almost verbatim from the pages of your Bible, a church not with prayer but of prayer. And somehow when walking out for the last time I was struck with this feeling: "This is all happening because of one man: Jesus, and what he did for us on the cross."

Oh that people would walk into our church family and experience these things and leave being awestruck not at our programming and what we do, but rather; what was done for us on the cross.

It's going to be an exciting year Sunridge.

Mike’s Thoughts

What I have really come to value with the ministry of Southland church is how diligently and yet simply they bring spiritual practices into use. 

Most churches do a great job teaching Bible - ORTHODOXY - but are somewhat weaker at practicing the Bible - ORTHOPRAXY. 

This is what I hope and pray will more and more take place at SunRidge. 

Teresa’s Thoughts

I knew a little bit about what I would experience coming into this weekend because Mike had been a part of it. However, nothing prepared me for what it would mean for me personally. The Lord truly does want to set people free and there were a number of distinct things He showed to me that were slowing me down. It was time to see it and let it go. Time will tell, but I experienced both insight and release from a number of things. I experienced encouragement from the Holy Spirit specifically. I saw very practical things, simple things, that can significantly impact my own, and our churches, life of prayer. I was so challenged by the honesty in this church, the willingness to confess all-too-human failures, and the joy of speaking to and hearing from GOD.

I was so energized by seeing students praying, not just praying, but praying over people with their authority in Christ with clarity and conviction and truth! Wow! Mike and I were prayed over by a group of grade 10 girls and what they said to us was not just “nice” — it was touched by the Spirit and used by GOD to speak to us. It was insightful and impacting on our ministry. Only GOD can take a young person and do this. I have come home feeling like I ate a HUGE meal. Both Mike and I felt this and also heard the Spirit say: don’t do anything, just digest. Ah, GOD is good. He will lead us one step at a time.

Thanks Team for sending these short reviews!

What is GOD saying to you about prayer among us? Currently, I am praying for 25 prayer-people consistently for our Sunday morning prayer time — 9 am in the portable. That will represent more than 25 people because not everyone can come every week. When we see this happening, I will be seeking GOD and asking for the “what’s next.” If you hear GOD nudging you to be a part of this morning prayer movement, don’t delay…come running!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

Day 21/21: With Us

Welcome here! This blog is an “extra blog” being posted daily between January 13 and February 3 to come alongside the 21 Days of Prayer. We are reading the book of John with the intention of looking at Jesus very closely. We want to know Him really well so that we will love Him even more!

February 3, 2019

Good morning Jesus,

What a good word to end on. John 21:9-10 and 13

When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”…

 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.

The thing that stands out to me in this is that You anticipated the needs of Your friends and provided. But You also invited them to put in what they had been busy working at. To me this is such a picture of partnership. You didn’t “need” their fish, yet it was important to You to include their efforts also.

You told them earlier in John they would become “fishers of men;” why? Why…because You want it this way.

  • You want Your followers to know that they aren’t just recipients of new life, but also heralds of it.

  • You will provide all our needs, but You call us to participating in meeting needs.

  • You know what we are going to pray before we pray, but You still call us to pray.

  • You can do it all very handily without us (we slow You down actually), but You have called us to do the work You have gifted us to do.

Isn’t it so interesting to think about?

I sometimes think that part of this is reinforcing the mess we have made. I don’t mean that GOD is constantly guilting us about it but wouldn’t we be cavalier if we didn’t have to get our hands dirty in this stinking mess?

  • If at the snap of our finger GOD would fix the ocean, would we even care that we are creating the decay?

  • If at the drop of a hat, GOD would heal all our diseases, would we even care that we are introducing them constantly through our recklessness?

  • If, without hesitation, GOD would solve our problems, wouldn’t we be less inclined to grieve how we (the collective we) brought them about in the first place?

GOD calls us to step into the consequences and care about them…

  • In so doing, we realize our greatest need for forgiveness.

  • In so doing, we realize that GOD’s way was right all along and rebellion has a terrible and ongoing aftershock.

  • In so doing, we ache for the perfection that will come once again and love the promise of our future.

  • In doing so we participate in His redemption plan! We extend ourselves, copying the way He does.

So You provided the fish and bread…and You said, “Add in what you also pulled into Your boat” (which, by the way, GOD provided for you to catch…you can never get away from GOD’s provision, He is always involved).

I also think it is significant that the disciples are still confused, kind of in a haze. You already appeared twice to them but in Peter’s tone I just hear a lostness when he says, “I think I will go fishing.” Peter is filling time, not really knowing what to do with himself. He is living in shame also, which is so debilitating. When he sees You this third time, he jumps out of the boat (love Peter!) – he is so ready for something more!

And so, Jesus, not only do You invite him to participate with You over the breakfast table, You go further and in a redemptive exchange You call him to the thing that will govern his schedule for the rest of his life. You showed him his calling.

Sometimes I want You to “just do it”. I just want You to fix things, to make things, to move things, to build things, to mend things… but this is a group project. Even when You step in and do something startlingly miraculous, this still seems to have been participated in by us through prayer. You call us to seek You in prayer and to ask as our very first act of participation. So I should not get all tripped up asking questions about this. Jesus said ask. So ask.

These 21 days have been rich. I am walking away with some very practical things and one practical thing is that I need to pray more steps. I often pray for big things – like the ultimate end result. But what about in-betweens where I can actually see how You are moving towards that big end?

This past weekend You challenged me on this and You gave me an example. I have been praying so much for my son Josh and the “big end” prayer. But You said, “Why don’t you pray for some smaller things along the way…like pray, ‘Please prompt Josh to text me.’”

Ah, good idea. Yes, I do pray that…because he has really been out of touch and I would love to have some little connection with him.

Not even an hour later…a text. And what did this little text do for me? A beautiful shot of relief, not to mention a little shot of faith.

One thing I am marvelling at today is how our participation with You is purely an act of love. It does not move our status with You even an inch. We are fully accepted, forgiven, redeemed, saved… all of that, without any work by us. We believe in You and receive this from You. That’s that.

When You call us to participate, it is purely a loving response on our part. You demonstrated Your love to us, and we get to do the same back. Serving for us does not get us any sort of points…it is only ever a way that we express thanks for the great thing You have done for us.

Also what I am marvelling at is how You give us everything we need to serve, You supply all our needs, You do miraculous things in the middle of that serving, You guide us as we serve so we aren’t overwhelmed, and You celebrate what You did and what “we did” as if we really did something great together….only, really, it is You who did it. This gives You pleasure.

We are like toddlers helping our mom bake cookies. She gives us the chocolate chips to pour in. We eat half the chocolate chips before they even get mixed in. She does everything else and then says, “These cookies are delicious! Good job, little one!” while we eat that freshly baked cookie with a big grin and sense of personal accomplishment.

She knows…she knows she baked the cookies. But she delights in our little part, seeing our little hands around that measuring cup. She loves hearing our voice ask when they will be done and will we be able to have one when they are? She is genuinely proud of our tiny contribution in the project and can see how next time we might even do something more in the process.

Isn’t it like this? You are with us always.

Jesus, I have loved walking with You these past 21 days and looking closely at You in the book of John. I have loved seeing how You talk and walk. I have loved hearing Your voice. Really, I have swept over 21 chapters and there are hundreds of details (more then that) I could spend time with. I will, on my own time do so.

But for these 21 things about You that You have drawn me to see and I have written about, I pray whoever has read this, that my words only pointed to Your words. I pray for those readers that You would do Your supernatural work in their hearts…the thing You do, that only You can do. Yes, I pray for a renewal in Your Church where people will come closer to You than they ever have before, seeking You. Seeking You!

May we be set free where we need to be set free — done with the things that hinder us — and COME ALIVE to all the new things You want to do in us and through us.

With much love from your daughter,

Teresa.

Day 20/21: Status Change

Welcome here! This blog is an “extra blog” being posted daily between January 13 and February 3 to come alongside the 21 Days of Prayer. We are reading the book of John with the intention of looking at Jesus very closely. We want to know Him really well so that we will love Him even more!

February 2, 2019

Good morning Jesus,

Wow. Tomorrow is the last day of the 21 days of prayer. It has been a very full, very good time. I have been so encouraged by so many things. I have loved our Wednesdays together as a church family. Eating together, learning together, praying together. I have loved the mix of young and old, new followers and seasoned followers, men and women. I have loved seeing all the students and how they have engaged with this.  I so believe that students can pray POWERFUL prayers and have insight beyond their years (Mike and I experienced it last weekend when that group of highschool girls prayed over us and spoke words and Scripture over our life…so good!)

I loved that we were able to go to the Set Free/Church renewal weekend right in the middle of the 21 days. For me that was really, really special.

Thank You for all of this goodness!!!

Today, more goodness. In John 20 those words You said to Mary Magdalene when she first saw You are so beautiful:

“Go instead to my brother and tell them I am returning to My Father and your Father, to My GOD and your GOD…” (17)

What a point You made of saying, right out of the tomb, “There is a new arrangement.”

While people might have said “Our Father” before…now there was a brand new feel to it. No more bloody sacrifices to try to achieve a right standing with GOD. Now, accepting Christ as the sacrifice to end all sacrifices, we could approach our Father boldly

Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

With Christ risen again, we could be born again as children of the Father, co-heirs with Christ!

Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:17

 The whole relationship has been redefined! So Jesus says this to her, “My Father, and yours” and “my GOD, and yours.”  Status change.

Today I want to just sit with this and really let it sink in. This is truth.. “I am who You say I am,” as the song goes.

 Christ came alive to make me COME ALIVE. I understand this somewhat now…but I know this is really going to hit me one day when the whole thing, the whole picture is seen for what it is.

Hurray!!

T