The Things We Do (Students. Part 1)

The thing about being a follower of Christ is that we don’t actually have to “do” anything to earn God’s love. The “Amazing Grace” of it is that Jesus reached out to us and showed us God’s love, with the ultimate expression of that love given when He died on the cross for us. In that amazing act of sacrifice He paid for our sin and fixed the impossible divide sin had caused between us and our heavenly Father.

When we “do” things as a church community it isn’t to earn some kind of spiritual points; we “do” things for others as a grateful response to what Jesus did for us. We “do” things because how could we not? God has filled our lives up with His love, and we want to pass on that goodness to others. SunRidge loves to “do” things because of this.

I want to spend the next few weeks highlighting some simple ways people have been “doing things” during this Fall season…we are inching towards Christmas and if this season highlights anything, it is giving and if there is one thing followers of Christ out to “do” really well, it is give.

As you know we have an awesome group of students at SunRidge. These grade 7-12’s and their leaders actively “do things.” They don’t just happen to “do things” — they actively seek out opportunities to love the community by serving.

Just recently they tackled two jobs around our campus. They raked up the piles of leaves around our property, and they finished up some much needed painting in our Out of School Care rooms and the lower bathroom. Here is some photo evidence:

Isn’t it encouraging to see “the young” setting an example by how they lean in to “doing things”? Our group of students are amazing! They have served in all kinds of ways in our city, on our campus, and even beyond our borders. The future is in GOOD HANDS with students like these.

And, I love this: the next day some of our big people showed up with trucks to cart away the loads of bagged leaves and one dad (Jon) brought his little guy out, starting him down the path of serving too! This made my day:

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May the “things we do” shine, not on ourselves to give us glory, but shine on Jesus who gave us everything and asks us to share that everything with others.

 Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

Get a Little Childish

I have a weekly catch-up with Walter Blackwood about Out Of School Care (OOSC) as he finds his way through his first year of being the Director of this program that is now 12 years old. It is always a good time, and I mean that. I love Walter’s heart for his role, extending love to these families in our care, leading our staff to passionately represent Jesus in this setting.

Walter is really getting into his role and embracing the child-like spirit. Check out his new shoes, a smashing success in OOSC last week!

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Every weekday we have up to 30 children spilling through our doors with all kinds of noise and silliness, stories and sorrows. It’s quite the little flock to shepherd, full of variety!

Here is one of the ways the staff work with all those wiggles. Periodically they roll some foam dice and everyone engages with a quick, active energy spender! There are rewards for doing this well (OOSC dollars) and these dollars are so coveted, kids will go to all lengths to win them.

If you look closely at the chart below, you will see that one girl ran on the spot for 40 minutes to beat out the competition. Another child did a 10 minute wall sit (have you ever tried a 10 minute wall sit?)

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Amid all the fun and games, Walter, Olivia, Julie, Holly, Alecia, and Matt throw themselves into KNOWING these kids and moms and dads so that they are there — like superheroes — on their ready for what is needed: a kind word, a prayer, a listening ear, guidance, mediation, brainstorming, encouragement, a challenge, comfort, approval and most of all, eyes to see them. Have you ever just needed to be seen in this big noisy world?

OOSC is going strong, but your prayers are needed. This past week Walt talked about two girls who are not getting along, each vying to get more attention than the other. How can the staff help these kids work together instead of against each other? We talked about kids who have questions about God and how can we handle this respectfully? We talked about someone in financial need and how we can help. We talked about sad kids, angry kids, kids that seem to get lost in the corners…there is always lots to talk about when you care.

In Matthew 18 Jesus called a little child over, and placed the child in the center of the circle of people. He said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

It is a privilege to love and lead the small ones…and to learn from them too, the way of God’s Kingdom. If you want to find out more about oosc or be a volunteer and get in on the joy use this link!

 Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen


Can We Talk?

I’m not saying it always happens this way, but recently I was really troubled by something. I am not saying “something” to mask what I was troubled about; the truth is, I didn’t know what was bothering me. I found myself feeling tight and unsettled and I couldn’t sort it out. I sifted through recent events, commitments and obligations and I couldn’t place what would be bothering me.

It is my practice to sit down with God in the morning with my Bible, Journal and Pen to talk to Him, listen and hopefully take some lessons to heart. That morning I began by writing, “Lord, I don’t even get it…”

What followed brought such relief. I read some passages from the Bible, I reflected, I prayed and I listened. I wrote in my journal what I was hearing and the counsel of the Holy Spirit was so direct. He impressed on me the root of my anxiety — what it was about. And He spoke to me about what He wanted me to do about it. It was like a Q&A that day. The instruction was so clear that it left no room for argument or doubt and the burden was lifted.

I was and still am so grateful! I am so grateful for a God who untangles, advises, enlightens and encourages. I am so grateful for True Truth in a confusing and conflicted world. I know I do not need to live with a cloud over my head in a state of unrest or in a place of darkness. Our God is the God who speaks! Always has…

If you have not entered into a “devotional life” I urge you to begin. Like almost everything we learn, it doesn’t just come naturally. It comes by trying and trying again. It comes with persistence and it is something that grows.

If you believe there is a God and He wants to have a personal relationship with you, a life-giving one, and the kind where you have a back and forth conversation…how is this to happen if you don’t begin to try to communicate with Him?

On His end, He is ready and waiting. What are you waiting for?

If this is a new idea for you and you want someone to walk with you, then reach out. It is your step to take.

Some additional Bible reading resources

There are also weekly Small Groups and men’s and women’s Devotions groups. Link up! It’s such an encouraging thing to meet with Jesus in community with others!

 Teresa Klassen

Teresa
Klassen

 

Measure of my Days

Series Description

What if you were told you had 1 month left to live – 30 days? How would you use and make the most of those precious, remaining days? As you consider that, I want to ask you, “Is there something you should be doing differently now to make the most with your days”? Something to think about isn’t it?

About The Artwork

We went back and forth on so many names for this series, pouring over terms and one-liners that could sum up what we were trying to convey. After several rounds we read Psalm 39:4-5 again and were so struck by how beautifully and poetically it talked about mortality. The words of these verses just felt complete and so for this series artwork we’re just embracing the whole text! The series is called “Measure of My Days” but it is designed and shown in the context of the whole Psalm 39:4-5 passage in order to really say the words are the feature.


Mending Relationships

November 18, 2018

Romans 12:18

If you were told that you had 1 month to live you would have the chance to review the different people that have played a part in your life. What you might see are some broken relationships – now what are you to do about them?


What is Your #1 Thing?

November 11, 2018

Matthew 6:19-20

If you were told that you had only one month to live; and after you got over the shock of that, here is a question that we need to ask ourselves. What is the most important thing to me and does it show up in the way I have lived?


Life is Short

November 4, 2018

Psalms 39:4-5

If you were told that you had 1 month to live would you be doing the things that you are doing and what are the things that you are not doing now that you would start to do? Because life is short.


And Now What?

Remember that beautiful day in September when we Barbecued and kicked off the new Fall season at SunRidge? Mike spoke about maturing in Christ. He talked about how, as in life, we grow spiritually from infant to child to young adult to a parenting role. All of these “markers” are natural, right and good. No one begins a journey with Jesus at a place of maturity; we all start at the beginning and go from there. We grow from there. It’s like we are always asking, “And now what?”

This past summer (remember summer? sigh) we had so much fun being together as a community at Green Bay Bible Camp. This is a tradition we love as a church community, and a part of that weekend is setting time aside to celebrate the step of Baptism. It is a step. It is one of those steps on the path of maturing; a very first step or maybe a step to catch up on if you missed it!

As we say at SunRidge, “Baptism is initiation, not graduation.” You don’t have to be far along in your walk to decide to be baptized. Baptism is simply a public statement of a private decision. It is one of the things Jesus asks us to do and it is a decision we can make early on when we understand what it is and why we would do it. It is one of those “maturing” steps. Maybe it is your next step. If you think it might be, reach out and get the ball rolling!

At SunRidge we are about “becoming”…not staying the same but tackling our issues, being set free, moving with passion towards the things of God….together.

Thank you to Chris Keller who served so lovingly, sewing the baptism badges onto our towels!

 Teresa Klassen

Teresa
Klassen

 

What Are You Guys Doing?

A short story:

Recently, a few ladies and I were sitting at Bliss doing our D’s — Bibles out, journals, pens. Ladies Morning Devotions go like this: hey everybody (catch up), let’s read (quiet Bible reading and journaling), let’s talk (sharing what we heard from God).

On this particular morning we were at Bliss and a young couple was at the till right next to our booth. The girl looked over and in a friendly way called over,

“Hey, what are you guys doing?”

A little conversation followed about what we were doing and I jotted the incident down in my journal.

The funny thing was that the week before, there were a few groups of SunRidgers at Bliss doing the same thing and another woman walked up to our table and said, “Is everyone in here reading the Bible?” (If only it were so).

One of these days, I expect someone to join us. Maybe it will be a regular customer who has seen a few people “in the habit” of doing their D’s at Bliss. You never know what will catch someone’s eye and start something new in their life. There is room for them at the table.

That’s my thought for today. Keep doing your D’s and just be open to who God might invite to join you while you are hanging out with Him.

 Teresa Klassen

Teresa
Klassen

 

When Everyone Was In On It

Is anyone still surprised that time flies? We comment on it repeatedly as if it suddenly sped up: “Can you believe it is the middle of October?” Actually, I can’t believe it! How can it be the middle of October already?!

I find myself looking at the day and all the hours in it and then suddenly there are no more hours and I have hardly made a dent in all that needed to be done. That is sobering isn’t it? I think in the larger picture, it is even more disquieting. Not only do I want to make a dent on my list but more importantly, I want to make a dent in life. I want to accomplish some things of significance; I especially want to live with significance.

And yet in all this chasing, the very thing, the key, I rush past. Do you?

D. L. Moody once said, “Next to the wonder of seeing my Saviour will be, I think, the wonder that I made so little use of the power of prayer.”

There’s a life regret. I am so thankful for this mentor from the past who urges us in the present to do better!

There was a time when people really understood the place of prayer. I am not saying they did this perfectly, but there was a time when people did not brush past it. In the first chapter of Luke, for example, we read how “all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.” Community Prayer was a familiar and urgent practice.

In some ways, I think prayer has become awkward in the way that talking has become awkward. With our cellphones attached to our eyeballs, we don’t need to say words out-loud. Why was praying together once so natural and now so foreign, I wonder?

Jeremiah 6:16 calls out to us!

This is what the LORD says:
"Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is,
and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.
But you said, 'We will not walk in it.'…”

Ouch.

We must get back to praying together, because the Lord our God has called His house to be a house of prayer.

We have pre-service prayer at 9 am every Sunday in the portable. It is not an adequate amount of prayer for a church who doesn’t just want to be a church WITH prayer but a church OF prayer, but it is something we are stubborn about getting right; would you come and be stubborn with us?

  We do our best to make prayer user friendly — written out prayers for those who want this, easy to follow instructions, creative approaches, we change things up so it doesn’t get “old”.

We do our best to make prayer user friendly — written out prayers for those who want this, easy to follow instructions, creative approaches, we change things up so it doesn’t get “old”.

If you are new to this, don’t be anxious. No one prays really well; can any of our homemade words impress God? We are all learning at pre-service prayer so we do our best to make prayer user friendly. Prayer is just ordinary words from ordinary people that God does extraordinary things with, but if you are concerned about your ordinary words, we also provide a “Prayer Assistant” with prayers you can read until you see that your plain words are just fine.

Got kids? We don’t even mind for a second the noise they make. We can pray louder.

Wouldn’t be amazing if everyone was in on prayer so that we would need to find more and more times to accommodate more and more people who wanted to pray?

“Then if my people who are called by my name
will humble themselves and pray
and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways,
I will hear from heaven
and will forgive their sins
and restore their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14

There are some “ancient paths” we need to get back to in order to walk the path ahead. John Wesley once said, “God does nothing but by prayer, and everything with it.” Let’s not let time just fly, let’s grab it and stop and pray together and see what God will do.

*Photo credit: Faith Peters

 Teresa Klassen

Teresa
Klassen

 

Shawn Talks "Group Life"

I recently put some questions in front of Shawn Klassen, our Connections Pastor and asked him to talk a bit about group life at SunRidge and this is what he said:

Why do we have small groups if we are already getting together on Sunday?

Sunday mornings are awesome and being a part of a Small Group allows us to take that experience further. We get to know and be known, help and be helped, love and be loved. They’re also great for exploring what we heard from the message on Sunday morning - to see where it connects with our day to day life.

If you could describe the benefit of a Small Group in 6 words, what would they be?

Journeying together in Friendship and Faith.

What happens in a small group? Is it all a big discussion?

They involve food and laughter, catching up on what’s going on in each other’s lives, seeing how we can help/serve others, talking about important things, and praying for each other’s needs.

Are groups divided up by age and marital status?

We’ve got groups that can fit any age and marital status. There’s one specifically for young adults; the other groups are for any and all.

What if a person feels it is a bit out of their league, they are new to talking about the Bible and issues of faith?

For those who are exploring or new to faith, I would encourage you to connect with Starting Point when it’s offered. It’s the perfect place to ask questions and have a conversation around what it all means. At the same time, it’s important to know that our Small Groups are safe environments to ask your questions and bounce ideas of people you can trust - you won’t be judged for being new to it all!

What if a person can’t come every week?

We understand life is busy. I would say connection is important! Don’t miss out on community because you have other stuff going on in your life. Last night for example — my small group ended up being three people and I couldn’t be there because of a board meeting. They still got together because meaningful connection can still happen. The idea is that we know each other and can track with each other even if we can’t make it all the time.

What’s the best way to get connected, do people just randomly show up at the home of the person who is hosting it?

A conversation with me is the best first step. We’ll talk about what you’re looking for, what night of the week works best for you, and what to expect at our Small Groups. I’ll buy the coffee! email me anytime at shawn@sunridge.org or link up with our small group connect page

Meet The Interns (Part 2)

Last week I posted a little interview with one of our interns, Naomi. This week I am happy to introduce you to Matt De Jong — another one of our wonderful SunRidge interns.

An Internship at SunRidge is an opportunity for someone to come alongside our SunRidge family and staff to serve for a time in a variety of capacities. It is an invitation to explore different areas of ministry in a church, to be challenged and mentored and to allow God to use this time “set aside” to see what new directions, gifts and ideas come from the experience.

If you haven’t met him yet, this blog post is all about Matt!

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Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Calgary, AB

3 words a good friend would use to describe you:
Passionate about debate, learning, and sports!

Bible not included, what is one of the best books you have ever read and why?
CS Lewis Screwtape Letters was super valuable in showing me how I tried to cover my own sin

If you could invite 6 people to sit around a table with you for an evening of good conversation, who would they be?

Living: John Piper, Barack Obama, Noam Chomsky, Francis Fukuyama, David Cameron, and Reginald Bibby

Dead: John A. Macdonald, George Washington, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Maximillien Robespierre, and Niccolo Machiavelli

A great piece of advice you have received is...
That Gretzky's "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" quote is best applied outside of sports.

If a SunRidger invited you for dinner, what would your food aversion be?
Not a fan of stir-fry

Cats or Dogs?
Dogs

Country or Rock?
Country

Starbucks or Tim Hortons?
Tims

What was your role at Green Bay Bible Camp this summer?
I was the DTP (Discipleship Training Program) Manager at Green Bay this year

A recent thing God has been teaching you:
God has been teaching me the value of investing in him as a first priority, rather than a last resort.

in 200 characters or less describe your faith journey:
Grew up in the church, doubted my faith from about 12-15, but had an amazing experience of the kind of community Christianity can provide at Green Bay Bible Camp (here in West Kelowna) and have been devoted to my faith ever since. I've gotten to see and learn so much about God in 5 summers at Green Bay, and me being here this year. 

Why intern?
I felt God weighing it on me pretty heavily as soon as the internship was offered. I've been considering pastorship, and so this was a great opportunity.

What is a goal you have as an intern?
To get to explore what pastoring means and what it looks like on a more day-to-day basis.


We are super excited to have Matt serving in OOSC (SunRidge Out of School Care), it’s awesome to have a great mix of men and women in there, loving kids in our community.

SunRidge, hope you will go out of your way to meet Matt, get to know him, feed him, and make him feel like he has been our friend for a long time already!

 Teresa Klassen

Teresa
Klassen