In The Meantime

This is just a little Blog to remind you it is the week lovely Liv is getting married to Andrew. It has only been a few weeks since we said goodbye, but don’t you miss her already? Liv always walked around with such a sunshiny smile, joyful steps, always ready to laugh. Having spent quite a bit of time with her, there was something else I really loved (still love) about her: how quick her heart was moved by the things kids said and did. Liv had such a genuine love for all our little rascals. There were so many times she would text with something some little child said or did that was moving…or funny.

So what now, SunRidge? We can allow ourselves a little bit of wistfulness, but we have something in front of us that really matters!

  • Some months ago a letter went out to all our families to pray, pray, pray for a new Children’s Ministry Team leader.

  • All those who get the prayer letter have been praying.

  • Those in pre-service prayer have been praying.

  • Our SunRidge staff has been praying; Liv prayed for her replacement!

At the writing of this blog, I haven’t seen anyone on the horizon coming to save the day but I do know that Philippians 4:19 says “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” So how will He provide for this need? Is there something on our part left to do?

While we wait, there is a practical thing: 1 Peter 4:10 says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” and for this I get the idea we are supposed to pitch in. This brings to mind an Old Testament story in 1 Chronicles 29 where people brought all their precious jewelry and gave it all together so they would have enough to build the temple. This reminds me of Acts 2 where people shared everything they had for the common good.

Maybe this is the time for that.

Maybe we are to be a group of people putting our talents in a box and seeing what we have to give our kids. What is in our smorgasbord of gifts? Maybe GOD is calling a new willingness out of us. A new heart of service.

Maybe the more we serve “the least of these” the lessons we learn will make us more ready for “the next.” What does the next leader have to lead, if not a team of people in the trenches, ready to be led.

One thing I know about GOD is that He does some of His best work “in the meantime”…while we wait.

May our church be pleasing in your sight, Lord Jesus, with an energy about us, an evident joy, to love and bless the young ones you have entrusted to us!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 






What Happens at Family Camp

What happens at Family Camp doesn’t stay at Family Camp and that is the great thing. Over the years we have had more and more fun, more and more community, and more and more reasons to do it all over again because it pulls us together and gives us stories to remember; and isn’t that what makes life rich?

So much happens in a few days that is unique to a weekend like this and so we make a big point of calling SunRidgers to SIGN UP (early would be nice)! Every person who adds themselves in and engages with others, creates another dimension to what the weekend ends up being. Each person — single, married, young, old — is the family at family camp.

What laughs will happen?

What games will get played?

What conversations will be new to us?

The kids run wild, the adults find their playful side, and in the middle of it all, Jesus does some beautiful and meaningful things (He does love a good party).

So come and kick off your shoes and be campy with us and be part of the “remember when” stories that will come out of it all.

Camp will be at Green Bay Bible Camp on June 14-16; Details can be found at this link: Family Camp

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

Isn't That Great?

Isn’t that great?

This past Sunday was so encouraging as the Student Team led the morning. They were involved at every level, from entertaining to explaining, to challenging, to testifying, to singing, to preaching to calling us to love the way Jesus loves.

Isn’t that great?

We have so many student leaders with gigantic hearts that selflessly give of their time, treasure, talent to be in the lives of these students with such passion and integrity. They see what is “going on here” and they feel compelled to do their part to stand guard for these students.

Isn’t that great?

We as a church family get behind this ministry by creating space for them, by helping where we can, by giving money, by supplying resources, by applauding and encouraging.

What isn’t that great”

When the lights go out in the auditorium after a morning of joy, it’s what isn’t great that we must remember and this is where we as a church family get to be great in a crucial way.

We know the enemy wants to steal, kill and destroy the younger generation so we must pray. We must pray in the morning, we must pray in the noon-time, we must pray in the evening because these students aren’t tucked away safely in the corner of the week. We must be so acutely aware of what they are facing that isn’t great…

  • What isn’t great is we have students who feel their identity slipping away from them because the world is deliberately confusing. The enemy nudges this along so that they literally do not know who they are and what their purpose is. Instead of hearing the kind and affirming voice of the Father, they think they are a neutralized pronoun without GOD-given shape or form or purpose or uniqueness. Oh how we must pray!

  • What isn’t great is we have students who hurt themselves because they are hurting during the week and this self-inflicted pain seems better then that pain they have no choice over. Oh how we must pray!

  • What isn’t great is we have students seeing things they counted on, erode before their very eyes so that they don’t feel a firm foundation under their feet. Oh how we must pray!

  • What isn’t great is we have students who fear, who doubt, who crave, who cave, who watch, who want. Oh how we must pray!

There are so many things that aren’t great that we better be great at prayer; there is so much at stake! Don’t let the lightness fool you, many of these students are navigating things that aren’t great. Let us not fail them as a family. Let’s adult; let’s pray and not just when we are prompted.

Pray with hope and expectation. GOD will advertise His goodness through their lives and we will live to see it and

Isn’t that the greatest?

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 




Mud On My Boots

“There’s dirt on my shirt
And leaves in my hair
There’s mud on my boots
But I don’t really care… “

— Jeff Foxworthy, Dirt on My Shirt

You may not be aware of this, but recently our SunRidge campus was the site of a large and messy youth event involving water and dirt. Low in cost, but requiring a large sacrifice of time and energy and soap, this was the first, and most likely annual, mud fight.

A week out, leaders spent the day picking up a truckload of dirt (thanks to Cole’s dad for providing high quality dirt) and shovelling it out at SunRidge. There were hours needed for set-up to have different mud-fight challenges (including a duel-pool, an army crawl and slip-n-slide), lots of energy was required for the event itself and even more energy and a pressure washer to clean up.

This is what our Student Ministry Team is willing to do for the students they care for week to week. No one is telling them to do this. On no job description will you find “Mud Fight.” This amazing team is making this up as they go out of a great love for Jesus that spills over onto these young lives.

When you love people you look out at them and ask, “What do they need?” We should all be asking this because it is what Jesus did. At a wedding once, people needed wine so the party wouldn’t stop so Jesus stepped up and provided. Another time, out in the middle of nowhere the crowd needed loaves and fish so that hunger wouldn’t take away from their experience with Jesus — He made dinner for everyone. Sometimes He saw people needed defending sometimes He saw they needed a story. Sometimes He thought the time was right and they needed to get out of a boat, on other occasions He saw they needed to go fishing.

What do our students need? In this time of life where there is so much angst, with this generation where there is so much social disconnection — the team looked at those they love, like Jesus would, and said: mud fight (and couldn’t we make a Biblical connection to Jesus also using mud to show love to people along the way? See John 9)

So all this investment of energy, all this time, all this clean-up, all for the memories, all for the joy, all to build a community who can laugh together and the next week talk about the most serious of things. That is in fact what happened because this week they tackled a big heavy topic: how to deal with the problem of pornography.

SunRidge, please express thankfulness to GOD for those who BLESS our students. Pray for them. Say nice things to them! Pray for the future too, that our Student Team will always be well led, well staffed, well loved. We so value the blessing, the discipling…and the mud-fighting.

PS. I should mention, there were fish involved. Each team was given a large fish they had to carry with them through every event and the fish “most intact” at the end, won. Also, during different mud challenges the students were rewarded with sardines.

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 





One Little Note

Do you have what it takes to BLESS others? You may be reading this and thinking, “What have I got to offer?”

This is the perfect question to ask Jesus and I guarantee you, He will show you what you have to offer and to whom! He has already told us in His Word in John 14:13 “You can ask for anything in My Name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.” Will blessing someone else bring glory to the Father? Yes. Pray with confidence about what He would have you do, this is one of those “sure to be answered” prayers. You will not be stuck for ideas for long, because the Spirit will whisper instructions:

“Try this…”

“Say this…”

“Get that…”

“Go there…”

“Give this…”

“Sit with…”

“Write this…”

“Help them…”

“Cook this…”

“Buy this…”

“Invite them…”

“Listen to…”

Before you know it, you will have done something simple and sometimes sacrificial that will fill you with pleasure at having partnered with Jesus to do some of His favourite things with his favourite walking, talking breathing creation who are made in His image!

Recently our students and Student Min Leaders went to Mexico to build a house. They were there to bless others. On the way back, they made a stop, came back to the van and found this note on their windshield wiper.

BLESS.jpg

Now you tell me. Who was blessed in this story? The students were blessed. The leaders were blessed. The woman who wrote it was blessed. I was blessed to hear about it and now you are blessed reading about it. One little note, written quickly on some notepaper. One little bit of time. One little surprise for those who would find it.

I am picturing her in that parking lot. She sees a van drive up. She sees the kids tripping over each other to get out. She hears the laughter. She sees the logo on the van. She puts two and two together and that could have been it! But no…she listened. She listened and felt the nudge of Someone telling her: acknowledge this. Acknowledge what you are seeing and take 1 minute to bless this team of strangers.

We need to be that pen in GOD’s hand. We need to be that voice in His service. We need to be that smile, that servant, that one who will.

SunRidge…who is the Spirit nudging you to BLESS today? Let’s be passionate about our obedience to BLESS. Let’s be Disciples who are of good use to our Father!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

Easter Sunday

Not Undercover Anymore

April 21, 2019

Have you ever found yourself hesitate to make your opinions known to your friends? How about when it comes to what Jesus means to you? There are a couple of fellas that were quite hesitant to let their colleagues know what Jesus meant to them. They were undercover followers of Jesus. But as we will see they didn’t stay that way and our hope is that neither will we!  

About The Artwork

The words are all spread out and clean as compared to the Good Friday artwork! Jesus’ death and resurrection cleared things up. His message was personalized for many different groups, Jews and gentiles, young and old which is signified by the different lettering styles. Its black and white, clearly visible, like we, as Jesus followers, are called to be.

You 25

When does a church with prayer become a church of prayer? When can we say, “We are a church of prayer!” — How does one measure that?

  • A measurement might be when we notice in ourselves and in each other that we are thinking of prayer without being reminded to. That nudge of the Spirit, that inner call.

  • A measurement might be when we notice we are praying without being asked to and we are seeing others do the same. In all kinds of gatherings, groups, and one-on-ones it would seem strange to not be praying.

  • A measurement might be when we see we are more quickly moving towards prayer as an instinctual response and others are doing this also. Something happens and the call goes out, “Let’s stop everything and pray…”

  • A measurement might be when we notice we are less self-conscious about prayer and much more aware of GOD than ourselves. I think we would see old praying with young, and young praying with old and peer to peer and group to group and no one would use disclaimers.

  • A measurement might be when we begin to listen for GOD to speak to us and to look for answers that come from Him and we see others doing that too. We would be hearing about it.

  • A measurement might be the change we see! When GOD’s people are praying then change is literally in the air. When GOD’s people are praying there is a visible movement and measurable results from it.

  • A measurement might be how, through a new confidence gained in prayer, we come alive in our faith, hope, resilience, freedom, and the practicing of our gifts.

I don’t know what more to say — there is more to see than say, I think. To witness. One thing I know: until we witness that “constant” of prayer, the nail — the call to pray — needs to be hit over and over and over again. We need to learn this. We need to learn the faithful walk of prayer and not slip into a malaise.

So right now we are praying for pre-service prayer to be a solid place of prayer. Twenty five who won’t give up praying Sunday mornings at 9 am. It isn’t a magical time slot, and it probably isn’t even an indication of what prayer will be down the road for our church, but right now…we need to get one thing down with some steadiness and stubbornness.

We are praying for you 25.

PS. Right now we are at a pretty steady 15. Come on Disciples, Followers of Jesus, let’s do this. 9 am, Portable, Every Sunday. Kids are welcome to come play while we pray. Interruptions are allowed!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

Behind the Fun

There were balloons…hundreds of them!

There were costumes…all kinds and all colours all mixed together!

There was lots of loud and lots of laughs!

Moms and Dads got right into it…

And a dance floor filled with EVERYONE: toddlers, kids, teens, young adults, and….adult-adults. One big mix of happy!

When it was over…it wasn’t over. If there was music, there was dancing, even while the clean-up was well under way! Sometimes you just can’t stop having fun.

This is the Goofball, but there is more! It’s the more you need to know to understand why we would even host this event. The Goofball is a complete goofy, fun-filled celebration of childhood, but it has a serious vision. The Goofball exists to create space for joy and to affirm each child’s GOD-given identity. This year the main point was to not live under the pressure of a label. From the stage, on-screen and around the tables the message was that each person is unique — they can be themselves and let other people be who they are! We don’t need to give in to pressure to be something else or do what everyone else does. You can enjoy a whole variety of things, and that just makes you interesting! Kids were challenged to listen to the voices of people who truly love them and have their best-interest at heart and put negative influences waaaaaaaay in the back row of their lives.

After the food (including Nikki’s hilarious cupcakes), the games, the pep-talks, the prizes…all that was left was dancing, and did everyone dance!! So much freedom and happiness, fuelled on pure fun…is there anything better then that?

The next day I was still grinning, thinking of all the spontaneous, crazy, goofy, lovely things that happened all evening.

If there was ever a time to cheer the next generation on and feed them hope and encouragement, this is it! So thanks to all of you who did all the behind the scenes stuff: the hours of planning, the decorating, the set-up, the cooking, the serving, the dish-washing, the sweeping, the wiping down, the putting away…

Yay SunRidge, I love your attitude! Thanks for getting behind the fun.

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 



Three Kinds of Pie

When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.” 
― C.S. Lewis

A little about what’s behind the Goofball (happening this Saturday). Just over a year ago, Holly and I were out having coffee together, talking about Out of School Care (OOSC) and all the kids. There is always lots to laugh about when it comes to our OOSC kids but there is a lot of heaviness too. It was this heaviness that we settled on a bit and talked about how, at younger ages it seems, children are becoming so self-conscious. At a younger age children are giving up child-like things. At a younger age the conversations they are having are less and less care-free and innocent. What ever happened to loving being a kid?

Me as a kid. The one time it was cold enough in Richmond to make a backyard rink. I really couldn’t skate and I always, always had “holes in my knees.”

Me as a kid. The one time it was cold enough in Richmond to make a backyard rink. I really couldn’t skate and I always, always had “holes in my knees.”

We talked about our own memories of being awkward and nerdy and all the things we loved to do that don’t seem to be a part of many children’s day-to-day now. We talked about how it should be, how kids should just have the chance to be goofy, to explore lots of different kinds of play, to be creative, to make-believe, and to be who they are and not be so image-aware. Out of this came the idea of an evening to just celebrate childhood and to affirm childhood.

Conversations rabbit-trail…we also talked about why you have to wait until a wedding to just have a good fun dance-party with your friends. What if we could bring those two ideas together? And out of this was born the idea of the Goofball.

Jesus celebrated children. He also poked at adults who had lost the ability to remember the spirit of childhood. It’s a good thing to lift childhood up and say, “hurray!” So that is what we are doing on Saturday — just throwing away our more conservative tendencies and having fun with a pile of kids!

Do you still know the joy of childhood?

Our students and student ministry leaders do. They all just came back from the Mexico House Building trip and it is something that is saturated in play. Oh the stories! When they share about their trip, DON’T MISS IT, because it will do you good!

Small groups are a great place to practice play too. We take time off to do things just for fun. This week our group celebrated a birthday with loads of food and laughs (maybe a little prank thrown in) and great conversation. We had not one but three kinds of pie just because we could (or, more accurately, because Marcella could) . One was even baked with a great big smile carved into the crust.

I happened to be reading in John 2 again this week about the wedding in Cana and I just can’t stop chuckling about this miracle. Was Jesus being a bit mischievous? The guests have all been having a great time, such a great time that they run out of wine. This celebration has obviously gone on for a while, everyone has had their fill but when asked to help with the issue, Jesus goes big. He has them fill 6 cisterns that are 20-30 gallons in size with water. Let’s go with 25 gallons each — that is 150 gallons or 567.812 litres which is approximately 757 bottles of wine. What an un-conservative, ridiculously excessive thing to do. One might even say “childish.”

Come on Saturday and leave your “adult” at home. Come and appreciate jumping around and noise and not being self-conscious. Come and appreciate the wonder and wealth of childhood and celebrate all their goofiness just the way GOD made them.

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

This Is The Way It Starts

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of sitting down with two of our students to do a little mentoring on “how one writes a devotional guide.”

Every year the students start their Mexico mornings doing devotions and in the evening they have a discussion about the topic. I have had the privilege of writing these for the past few years and this year I decided to grab a few students to join me. The reason I chose these two girls was the interest they expressed after I spoke on prayer one evening at a Youth event.

They were so encouraging and inquisitive, and that got me thinking: next time, I will invite them to help.

They gave up a chunk of their Saturday to do this with me. We met at a coffee shop and went through some “framework things.”

  • How do we start this? By praying and being with Jesus, and listening to His Spirit

  • Who are we writing for? Let’s think about who will be on the team. What do we need to be mindful of? Who is our audience?

  • Our topic for the devotions was “Hearing GOD” so we spent quite a bit of time talking about our own questions about hearing GOD. We jotted these down.

  • We talked about some of the fun and creative aspects we could include in the evening — as usual, some ideas are hilarious but never make it into the plan. Other ideas are hilarious and they do make it! Brainstorming: ideas spark ideas.

Both Martine and Grace had such interesting perspectives, feedback and ideas. They had a good pulse on what works and what doesn’t. They were so honest about their own lives too.

The next step was to meet after the rough draft was put together. We met on another Friday and walked through the details. Again, both girls had lots of valuable things to say and brought their personality to the table to shape what has been sent along with the team!

This was a first step in learning how to prepare something like this. I was thrilled to have the opportunity and my heart was filled once again by how the Lord works in the hearts of the young. The Spirit of GOD can make them wiser than their teachers (I am counting on this!) and can call them to such deep things so early on.

This is just a reminder to love and encourage and NOTICE the children and youth. It really matters that they feel a part of this family — and the way we do that is through kindness, encouragement, relationship and making ourselves available to them. Really, it is doing what Mike has called us to do — to B.L.E.S.S. Don’t be afraid to include them in what you are up to…it is the way they will learn and, it is the way we will learn too!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen