Life On Life

Every Friday a group of ladies gathers around a table with a Bible, Journal, Reading Guide and Pen. It’s a pretty simple thing we do.

We meet at 9.

We catch up with each other about the week.

We read a passage of Scripture.

Then we are quiet and we journal on something we saw there (or from another passage) — nothing fancy, just what we “hear” and what connects with us. We write a little, we ask “How does this apply to me?”

Then we share with each other. Either as a whole table, or in a few groups.

Then we pray for one another.

Pretty simple.

But there is so much more happening. We are taking time to stop for an hour and a bit and consider what the Holy Spirit is wanting to say to us. Sometimes there is laughter, sometimes there are tears, there are questions, most often we say, “I really needed this today.”

The group changes as some women can come one week, and others can come on another.

We are learning together, we are persevering together, we are growing together.

This little blog is just a reminder to the reader that this is what happens in small groups. It is life on life, going down the road together and pulling along the weary, celebrating those who are sprinting, learning from one another’s musings…it is keeping our lives focused on what lasts.

Join us, join another group, just join! All the other Small Groups start-up next week! Connect at the Connect Center on Sunday or sign up online.

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 



KICK-OFF SUNDAY

Series Description

KICK OFF SUNDAY is here, and as many of our ministries and events restart, we want to regather knowing why SunRidge exists! Join us for the next three weeks as we dive into the meaning and importance of these three core values:
LOVE JESUS
LOVE PEOPLE
LIVE MISSION


LOVE PEOPLE

Mike Klassen / September 22, 2019

Everyone would love to have deep meaningful friendships in their life. Especially when it comes to church – people want more than just friendly; people want friends. But how come it is so hard to have this? Here’s why!

Small Group Questions


LOVE JESUS

Mike Klassen / September 15, 2019

Jesus was fully God and Jesus was fully human. It’s the fully human part that we too often miss. But when we really look at Jesus, we see a man just as human as us but very different from us – Here’s why!

Never Short

This is the time of year, emerging from summer, when the calls come out inviting people to “get involved.” Getting involved in a church community isn’t simply to volunteer, it is actually the sharing of one’s Spirit-given gifts (given to share) with the church body. While this is true, a church often feels its missing parts as people sort out “sharing” in their lives.

Recently, putting some finishing touches on things for Sunday I was musing on this while listening to some inspiring worship music. I stopped and sat on the stairs to listen. I was thinking about how incredible the combination was of the many singers and the orchestra and what a luxury it must be to be able to assemble what is needed to create such a rich sound! Most churches don’t have that ability — we pour out our hearts with what we have, but there may be parts missing…

I allowed myself a little day-dreaming and thought about how one day we will never be short of worship leaders. One day we will have more than enough instrumentalists. One day we will turn out a sound richer than anything we have experienced thus far. Oh the acoustics! Imagine! Our pool of talent, instruments, staging, sound, will be mind-blowing!

Imagine heaven and the worship leaders from all over the world and from the heavens themselves (angels have been worshipping a lot longer than us) who will converge, putting their heads together to create and create new worship experiences.  Imagine the joy of those concerts! Imagine the celebration of the nations. Imagine the roar, the light-show, the way music will saturate everything and us in the Presence of GOD, the One who will be the guest of honour, always.

Imagine never having to ask someone to serve on this worship team, imagine the abundance of gifts freely offered, imagine the crowd waiting for the unveiling of the song they haven’t yet sung. Imagine the enthusiasm and the laughter and the JOY, how will it even stop? How will we move from that place?

 There will be a new kind of work going on in heaven and this will be one: musicians creating out of a place of GREAT WEALTH. There is something about a meaningful time of worship here on earth, but it is just a hint of what is to come. Can you imagine it?

 And music won’t be the only thing we will never run short on. We just won’t run short anywhere and for someone who has lived most of my life creatively patching together people and plans, simplifying, improvising and modifying and wondering how something will work out in the end…that seems like the most AMAZING thing to look forward to.

 May Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. Yes, I see bits of pieces of this new day here. Just in SunLand alone there are evidences of heaven on earth. Like this week when I walked into the SunLand room and there was a lock on a cupboard that wasn’t there before. Wayne was in, and this was the result of his labor – a small necessity that shouts out love for our kids. Lloyd was in. He worked with Walter on Friday morning to install chair rails so that we could keep on top of wall repair and make our rooms inviting (we can now paint more often, from the rail down). Bethany was in on her day off; she spent an hour recording a lesson for kids about how to pray. So plainly practical…but what we do in the Name of the Lord is not done in vain. Like a movie preview before it comes out, our service now is a Trailer of heaven.

 We bless the earth by practicing such service. Our service should be like a cup overflowing all its sides. GOD has given the Church worldwide everything it needs to bless others which means, if we all give ourselves to it, we should never run short.

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

We Are A Group Project

There is healthy fear and unhealthy fear. A healthy fear spoken of in the Bible is referred to in Hebrews 4:1 — a kind of fear about missing out on GOD’s rest because of our unbelief. I was reading up on this and saw a healthy kind of fear attached to this. We should fear losing belief! We should fear being lured away from GOD, falling to the temptation of not trusting, falling to the temptation of anger, bitterness, self-reliance. Finding our selves in a dark an anxious self-imposed exile. It is healthy to fear that.

This fear is motivational. This fear is the kind of fear that keeps us away from danger and in the freedom and joy of healthy boundaries. John Piper uses the illustration of a child being told to STAY OFF the busy street where there are cars zooming by. In the yard the child plays, full of freedom, not thinking about the street at all. It isn’t as if those boundaries have stolen joy, they have actually given the child a sigh of relief to be able to play safely. If they look over at the street they might think for a moment, “What would it be like to play there…” and maybe imagine it. Along with this should come a little warning in their conscience, “Don’t do it.” The “don’t” instills a little fear of consequences. That fear should be enough to make the child determined to keep playing within the safety zone and not risk losing it!

Piper says that in our journey following Jesus, “persevering is a group project.” We need our “fellow followers” to be united with us in faith. We need to take care of each other and call each other to not fall away. When we see our brothers and sisters heading towards that curb by the street, Hebrews says “call out” (exhort!) each other so none of us are deceived and pulled away from what we believe.

Pulling away from belief happens. It is usually not an abrupt denial, it is the slow “not sure” and the step back from “being with” and the gradual withdrawal of our affections and our "worship. It is the grumbling, it is the disgruntlement, it is the dissatisfaction that excuses the erosion of our faith. It is when we begin hiding and justifying stepping out onto the street.

Pulling away can happen when we wrestle, waiting on GOD to solve something. In the waiting distance can grow, we can forget the GOD of miracles. Impatience can make us rush towards alternatives found elsewhere.

Fearing this is healthy! It causes us to put into place things that will keep us sure-footed. What we do in community is the yard vs. the street. There is safety in numbers as we ponder GOD together, pray together, be in His Word, share from our lives, practice being family, looking out for one another, partnering with one another (speaking of Partnership, if you would like to be unified with us and confidently be on the same team, join in with the Partnership class this Sunday afternoon, September 8, from 11:30-1:30, lunch included. Contact Shawn Klassen: shawn@sunridge.org)

Small Group sign-ups are up! Run towards it — have a little healthy fear for being “out there” on your own, and get in a group where you will be known by people who will watch your back. Feel the relief of being prayed for and celebrated and part of the conversation and the growth that happens as we sharpen one another.

Sign up on Sunday at the Connect Center (even if you have been in a group previously), or online!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

To India With Love

I love how Paul writes about one church helping another. There is no feeling of superiority (“us vs. them”). It is simply, “You have this to be generous with. Share it with those brothers over there.” And, “Brothers over there, you have this to be generous with, share it over here.”

SunRidge has had the opportunity to partner with our brothers/sisters in India for a lot of years now and like those early New Testament churches, the same thing holds true. We receive from them from what they have to give, and we come to them with something also. We make what we have available, available. And so do they.

This October Kyle & Alecia Dyck will be co-leading a team going to India. We have sent teams in the past from SunRidge, linking with others from other churches. This year we are sending the leaders, Kyle & Alecia, who will bring what they have to offer to the team who go to India under the banner of Child of Mine, and ultimately to our friends waiting in India at two children’s homes who care for children in desperate situations. These homes take children in, care for them, become another part of their family if they have family already, or their only family in some cases! They provide education right through post-secondary and they see themselves as raising India’s future church leaders!

This is what Kyle and Alecia had to say about their roles:

Alecia

Alecia, what is your role with the India Team?

My title is the Trip Co-Leader. Some of my work has been on this side of India, and the rest of it will happen when we are there. My role is to

  • Resource and inform team members (communicating everything necessary to plan and be prepared for trip)

  • Help brainstorm around itinerary

  • Train up team so they feel equipped for jobs and cultural interactions

  • Plan soul care for team (devos, prayer leading up to trip, debrief)

  • Coordinate team while on the ground, leading group through various points of travel

Describe the team this year?

It is a smaller team this year, but the right size for the project we are taking on. Just over half have been on a COM trip before and the rest are just stoked to finally see the homes which they’ve been supporting. There is a mix of young adults and older.

Describe what the team will be doing?

We will be building a roof on another story of a building for visitors. Consider these students, once they leave the home for university, often do not have a family to visit during holidays and such; they want to come back “home” but have no place to stay! This facility we’re working on will allow students to return home. We will also be painting; there is always painting to be done as monsoon rains strip buildings!

What do you want to help the team see and experience?

I want to instil a deep love for another group of people, another country and culture! I want to inspire the team to learn from the dedicated faith of the staff and kids. I want to be a part of fanning into flame a spiritual vibrancy through the joys and challenges of India

Why do you give up your time and earnings to do this?

When Kyle and I have lead Student teams to Mexico, we have been so well supported and inspired by Amor Ministries. Their experience over their 35 years has resulted in some amazing systems for resourcing teams. We would love to bring some of what we love and have learned from Amor to Child of Mine, to make it the best it can possibly be!

Additionally, we personally, despite being suuuuuper challenged and stretched through the trip and preparing for the trip, feel inspired and filled by these experiences. Its a faith reviving time.

Supporting these homes is just one of those unquestionably important and impactful things anyone can do. Being there, it is such an easy “yes” to wanting to be a part of the work God is doing their through the Indian staff.

  • Alecia needs to raise her own support to go: $4000. You can support her through SunRidge Church (indicate the funds are for Child of Mine Project, if online attach a note, if by check please write this on a separate piece of paper not on the check) or directly through Child of Mine (indicate online, or phone the office to indicate the funds are to be directed for her support).

Kyle

Kyle, what is your role with the team?
I am the co leader of the construction portion of the trip and Alecia and I are leading all of those attending from Kelowna churches.

What is this year’s project?
We are going to both homes this year which is really exciting. At DUF, we are going to be adding a shed style roof on a three story building that houses staff and visitors. As always, there is much painting to be done at DUF and Shanti. We are only at Shanti for about 4 days so we are going to lend a hand in any way that we can during our short stay there.

What are you learning as you help lead these endeavours?
I am certainly always learning about the good challenge of leading people of all ages. It forces me to be clear and concise, while at the same time doing my best to model love and compassion.

What motivates you to put your job as a Finish Carpenter on hold and head out to lead something like this?
I give up my time and earnings because this is it. This is the call/charge that is put upon me as a Christian. To love those who have been cast aside, to model the gospel as I serve and to help raise the future leaders of India’s church. BOOM. Amazing! I want to help.

It’s also interesting how quickly we can become very possessive of our time and what we earn. We can become too dependent them. I believe it’s good practise to loosen my grip on these things and put my trust in my Heavenly Father. It’s a good challenge and I don’t want to shy away from challenge.

  • Please regularly pray for Kyle & Alecia and for the team who will leave October 5.

  • Pray for their travels in and outside of the country.

  • Pray for unhindered passage.

  • Pray that each person would go with hearts of servants.

  • Pray that their work would assist the work that is already alive in India!

  • Pray they would bring Good News and encouragement, to lighten the load of those leading in these homes.

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

Matters of the Spirit

This past week something devastating happened. A young man, just 15, drowned after jumping off of the Gellatly wharf structure. A phone call from a friend to my son, to me: “Did you hear…?” And then a local news story confirming: I knew this boy.

I knew this boy in the past; he was one of the kids we picked up from school for our Out of School Care Program. He was what you would expect a 10 year old skateboarder to be! Where he went, the party went. He was that boy who could at the same time drive you crazy and make you laugh, with too much energy to be contained. He had these dark curls in his hair, cap on all the time, such a grin; such charm. He was the kind you kept forgiving because in his mischief were layers of all kinds of good.

Others must have been captured by him too because at the vigil there were hundreds of people, hundreds of mourners making the air thick with grief. Some, overcome with grief.

I had earlier been to the WK1 gathering, the gathering of the churches at the Annette Boudreau Amphitheater. The theme was “the power of the Holy Spirit.” We gathered — followers of Jesus — we gathered and prayed and sang and listened and asked of GOD: fill us with Your Spirit. We prayed over our city…

Then a few minutes later Mike and I stood on this wharf with evening settling in and the water below us dark and sad. We prayed silently. The lyrics of a song we had just sung, in mind:

“Holy Spirit
You are welcome here…”

Here too. Please be here.

”Come flood this place
And fill
this atmosphere…”

If ever there was a place of need for GOD to walk among us, it was here.

GOD is so near to the brokenhearted. Often, I think, His nearness is through us. His Spirit present through us.

Doesn’t He send His Spirit to work in times like these? Doesn’t He give us, as followers, the ability to be useful to the grieving? We are comforted so we can comfort, the Bible says.

Our own words fall flat, we need the Spirit to speak, to bring real comfort and hope. We need the deep Truth of the Spirit forming words that matter.

So followers, let’s ask to be more surrendered to GOD’s Spirit. Yes, let’s ask. Let’s ask Him to empty us so He can fill our hearts, our mouths, our decisions, our obedience so that when it matters the most, we are the most ready.

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 




Three

This week I was thinking about how I relate to GOD

and He turned the question around

and had me ask instead,

“LORD, how do You relate to me?”

It was like He was waiting to tell me because there it was:

“Like you are three.”

What? Three?

I smiled at this picture. I have spent summer Sundays with the preschool class so I had ready ideas about this…

  • Three is big enough to ”help,” yet is she? Her father smiles, affirms her efforts and then does it all Himself. All glory goes to GOD!

  • Three thinks her words and theories make so much sense! On and on she goes. Her Father isn’t taking notes, let’s just say. He does, however, love her chatter.

  • Three over-exaggerates injury like it is the end of the world! “Oh that looks like it hurts,” He says, applying a bandaid for good measure with His nail-pierced hands.

  • Three is outrageously stubborn. Three has a will ten times her size! Three is very sure what she wants is what she needs, and her Father (thankfully) is firm for her own good.

  • Three wants snacks (mostly ice-cream) and resents carrots. The Father gives her carrots and rolls His eyes.

  • Three plays. She plays! She is full of wonder and imagination and freedom and this is an absolute delight to the Father who enters in to The Joy, The Grace, The Communion.

  • Three needs watching. She needs a hand across the street. She needs instruction. She needs rest. The Father knows what she needs and doesn’t withhold that care.

  • Three is so repetitive. She mostly asks “how” and “why” and “when.” The Father does not remain silent, though often the information is too big for her and He can only say “you’ll see” and “because” and “wait and see.”

I wrote more about three and it was so satisfying. So freeing. I am that childlike, Father, and it is good to know. My role isn’t to impress GOD, but to love Him.

My Father sings over me Zephaniah says, this is what a Father does with a three-year-old. He sits at the table, and by her bed, and in the living room, and He starts a tune that becomes a laugh that becomes a play that becomes a hug. He enjoys Three and she enjoys Him right back. This is worship, this enjoyment we have in our Father and all He has made and all He has done.

Three thanks her Father more than anything! This is because He does everything! She isn’t doing any of the heavy lifting even though she thinks she is — thank GOD!

I can forget this but I shouldn’t.

Being in preschool class this summer has been a class I needed to take. This too is the way of GOD. He calls us out, out of wherever we are to give us a view we can’t have where we were.

He gives us an experience, He gives us material to draw from and then He one day says, “This is what I mean…”

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

The Day You Take A Name Off The List

It was August 1 and we were doing devotions in the morning when Mike said,

“Today I took a name off my top 10 list…”

Every month he transfers 10 names off the previous month’s reading guide to the back of the new month’s reading guide and on this day, one of the names he always prays for didn’t need to be on the list any more. That person on just the right day at just the right time with just the right heart heard GOD knocking on the door of their heart. In this moment they were able to cry out and confess their need for Him and invite Jesus to lead their life.

What a great day: the day you take a name off your list.

There is no better day…none at all.

Who is on your list?

IMG_5745.jpg
Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 




The Story of My Life

A few weeks ago Pastor Mike put out a strong call to the church, asking, “Are you reading the Bible? Are you allowing it to read you?” Again the plea to feed on the Word of GOD — look at it, think on it, prayerfully apply it. It is called the “Living Word” for a reason.

For those of you who are, who are cultivating this practice, there comes a time when the bond between you and the Word of GOD becomes inseparable; you are so led by it, so washed in it, so comforted, so fed, so dependant on what the Spirit is doing in your life through it. You will LOVE the Word of GOD. You will treasure it!

Friends, the month is turning over and the August guide is out (posted here online and at the Connect Centre). Today I want to take a moment to explain it once again.

The reading guide is a guide — a tool. We do this every single month so that we aren’t random with our reading. From beginning to end, we are invited to sit with these many Biblical mentors — Old and New Testament. The beauty of doing this as a community is we have a shared experience we can talk about.

You don’t have to conquer the guide — there is usually an Old Testament Reference, a New Testament Reference and a Psalm or Proverb. You can read everything, or you can just track with one or two of those readings. You don’t have to conquer it all. For myself, I have been following the New Testament Readings and sometimes the Psalm. Sometimes I save a Psalm for Saturday/Sunday (since the guide is for 5 days of the week). Don’t get “rule bound” with it…just enjoy the journey.

You can’t get everything out of it if you don’t reflect on it in writing — you can try to convince yourself otherwise but, as John Piper says, “pens and pencils have eyes.” Don’t give yourself an excuse to bypass this…write in a journal in your own awkward way. This isn’t an exercise to impress anyone — it is an exercise of honesty, it is a decision to command your heart to be examined, to slow yourself down to hear, to more deeply see and apply what the Spirit is showing you. This takes practice and as a church we say: “Yes Lord, we are willing to do this small thing!” Psalm 85:8 says, “Let me hear what God the LORD will speak…”

If you enter into this sincerely and don’t give up SEEKING the Lord (think on this word, it is a word used throughout Scripture…the Lord wants us to SEEK Him) — this beautiful gift of GOD’s Word and your conversation with the Spirit as you soak in it is going to become the story of your life.

Today, I give you my extremely messy printing as an example of my Ds in Psalm 84 this past week…it was such a shot of adrenaline!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

I Have Learned

It’s a little detail, but at the beginning of Philippians 4:11-12 Paul says, “I have learned…” Have you ever paused to think about that? This implies that there was something Paul didn’t know how to do in his walk with Christ and had to practice in order to “get it.” So just pause here and ask yourself, “What do I have to practice?” and then add on, “Do I?”

I was at the Connect Center looking at these four cards and thought of how this little display captures the priorities of what we have been called to practice:

Say YES — it’s a first step, but it is a surrender our whole life long. Are we practicing surrender? Surrender to the beautiful Gospel truth of our absolute need of the cross, and then to living out this life of freedom because of Jesus? Can we say we are learning to?

BiBLE — are we even trying to practice this? Right below the card is a journal and a reading guide. How many in SunRidge are learning from their Bible, letting it reach into their daily lives? Are we slowing down to let the Word of GOD speak, are we humble enough to try journaling to let our pen on paper be led by the Spirit? Oh I so loved this quote by John Piper: “there are eyes in pencils and pens.” Yes! I know this to be true! Are we learning here, allowing this good habit to drive out our harmful ones and introduce life back into us?

PRAYER — Daniel prayed three times a day “just as he always had done”, practicing. What did he practice? Thankfulness above all! (Daniel 6:10). This is what we learn in prayer, eventually. That prayer “to be prayer, to have any power to change anything must first speak thanks…prayer without ceasing is only possible in a life of continual thanks” (1,000 Gifts, Voskamp, 60). This actually creates a seismic shift in how we pray…I am learning this.

CONNECT — this surrendered, Word of GOD filled, prayer life always ends in connecting with what GOD loves, His mission. When we practice these things we always end up practicing loving, outreaching community because we can love the church and love the people of the world out of what we are learning in our times of surrender and solitude with the Spirit of GOD.

Four little cards. They call out to us — Yellow, Black, Blue, and Red — practice….

Though Pastors had preached, “I had never practiced. Practiced until it became second nature, the first skin. Practice is the hardest part of learning, and training is the essence of transformation. Practice, practice, practice…” (Voskamp, 54)

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen