Gathering

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

 

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

 

Meet The Interns (Part 1)

Hey, did you know we have two really wonderful people who are serving at SunRidge as 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 her yet, this blog post is all about Naomi Spoelstra who is serving as an Intern until the New Year before she heads off to YWAM in Hawaii

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We sent some questions her way to help you get to know her and here is what she said:


Where did you grow up?

I have moved around lots across the East coast and West coast of Canada for my dad’s work but when people ask me where I grew up I always say most recently, Vancouver. 

Six words a good friend would use to describe you:

Optimistic, Determined, Outgoing, Strong-willed, Understanding, Conversationalist.

Bible not included, what is one of the best books you have ever read and why?

The Artisan Soul by Erwin McManus. Erwin McManus has always been one of my favourite communicators but this book especially is so inspiring to worship ministry. Its bottom line is that us, as Christians, were all created to create works of Jesus in the mundane everyday not just on stages or where our “craft” seems easy. We create because our creator intentionally created us. 

A great piece of advice you have received is...

Seek in your day your daily bread and God will provide. In other words, take days one day at a time and don’t plan your life in one sitting. 

If a SunRidger invited you for dinner, what would your food aversion be?

Any pasta dish ever. 

When you have time off you like to:

Organize my space. write songs. read books. write poetry. 

Something you love to talk about:

I love to talk about what makes a song special. 

Cats or Dogs?

Dogs

Country or Rock?

Rock

Starbucks or Tim Hortons?

Starbucks

What was your role at Green Bay Bible Camp this summer?

Worship Director 

A recent thing God has been teaching you:

God has been teaching me to slow down and be still and know he is present in my everyday. I’ve been realizing that my productivity is not the same as my worth and that not every one of my stressors needs to be figured out within the night. God has been teaching me to lean into him like a backbone when  I am weary and stressed. 

in 200 characters or less describe your faith journey:

The moments my faith became real and tangible to me were the moments I saw myself as a failure. In those moments I was able to take a step back and have my pride broken down in order to see more of how Jesus was actually working in my life. I was baptized at fifteen years old in my home church because as a Christian, I knew that was the next step to publicly declare my faith and to seek accountability. These past two summers I was given the opportunity step into my calling as the Worship Director at Green Bay Bible Camp. This past summer, more prominently than ever I have felt the Divine call to be a worshiper at heart first and then also lead others into the presence of God through worship. I have felt this calling presently in my devotional life and through trusted leadership around me speaking into my life. I love Jesus and I know he is for me and willing to walk along side me and qualify me for positions He has called me into even though I might not feel qualified myself. (Editor’s Note: 989 Characters, but who’s counting?)

Why intern?

Being an Intern at is something that has been on my mind for the past while, especially a worship intern. I believe the practical and hands on learning experience while still being called to a higher standard of leadership is such an journey. I was interested in Sunridge specifically because when I walked into church on a Sunday here, I felt at home. I come from a church of 2000 so its easy to get drowned in a sea of people, but I really respect the community of people here that made it a priority to introduce themselves. I really am so happy to get on board with a community like that. 

What is a goal you have as an intern?

My goal as an intern is to further develop my relational skills so that I may be able to ask God how he wants me to best love of specific people he brings into my life. Another goal I have is to bring more prayer into practice in worship. And have a more sustainable devotional life.


Hey SunRidge, hope this helps to fast-track you in getting to know Naomi. Hope you make the most of the time we have with her to get to know her, make her feel really at home, and help to make this whole experience rich for her!

 Teresa Klassen

Teresa
Klassen


And More Friends Inside!

One fine evening last week, I happened to be within earshot of our Student Ministries Pastor, Kyle Dyck, greeting the Student Ministries Lead Team. As you can imagine, it was enthusiastic! Kyle stood at the door and called out, “My friends!” as they came to the threshold of his door and then he added, “And look, there are more friends inside!”

I smiled to myself; I love a good moment and this was one. How beautiful it is when friends gather around a purpose. The goal of that night, as I understand it, was to move beyond planning to a time of building into one another, to listen to God and prepare for the journey ahead of investing in and discipling students.

I can say, from experience, there are few things so wonderful and so hard at the same time. It is wonderful to stand as brothers and sisters for such a great cause as loving people. And…there is nothing so challenging, because people are people and we all know what that means.

But it is worth the effort and it is worth the risk to welcome people at the threshold and then walk together for the long haul around this mission. Jesus calls these gatherings “His Bride” and He asks us to do what He does: serve with each other in sickness and in health, in good times and bad. Laugh with each other, cry with each other, exhort and encourage each other, keep each other on the path and spur each other on along it.

The Student Team is one way to practice this walking/serving together and there are lots of other ways. You can find out more here. It’s the best way to make a friend and be a friend so do some exploring at SunRidge and find friends inside!

 Teresa Klassen

Teresa
Klassen

 



In The Garden

Like so many others who are able to till, seed, and water the soil to bring forth plant life (I exclude myself from this list), Shawn and Lisa Klassen put in a grandé garden this summer. As we heard this past Sunday, it was Shawn's idea and he brought Lisa and Mac into his vision and behold there were vegetables, lots of vegetables.

I love what their garden became this summer: not just a place to feast on fresh produce, but a sacred space to "do devotions," to ponder what is growing in the depths of our lives, feeding on God's Word. At different times over this summer season, the Klassens had people over to linger in their garden, read the Bible, journal a bit and share. Lisa described this in the photo below, taken in their garden:

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"Devos in the garden.
Quiet reflection on passages, journaling,
sharing and prayer. Just simple get-togethers
where we invite others to do devos together."
-- Lisa and Connie

What I love is how Lisa and Shawn made space for this...or better put, made this space to include this.

When I think of devotions, it is something we do intentionally in our lives, but there is so much creativity as to the how and when and where and with whom. Spending time in God's Word doesn't need to be complicated. You don't need a big lead up. You don't need a giant amount of time. You don't need to "be a great writer" and you don't even need to "be a big reader." What you need is a seeking heart and a willingness to let the Holy Spirit teach you.

You can sit in interesting places with God, you can steal 15 minutes at a coffee shop, you can invite a friend to create a shared experience.

The Bible says, "Certainly the Lord watches the whole earth carefully..." (I am sure He saw a few people who just happen to be opening God's Word in a garden in Kelowna) "and is ready to strengthen those who are devoted to Him." 2 Chronicles 16:9 NET

Devoted = very loving or loyal, to study and discuss = devotions.

If you haven't figured out what this looks like in your own life, you can

  • contact any of the @sunridge.org staff (mike@sunridge.org, shawn@sunridge.org, teresa@sunridge.org etc.). We will meet with you and walk with you!
  • stop by the Connect Centre on a Sunday
  • access a reading guide here (remember, you don't have to conquer the guide. Read some, read all...there are no rules here)
  • Get in touch online here and we will get back to you about a devotional life!

Don't let this year go by without meeting with Jesus regularly. You will find Him in all kinds of interesting places...

 Teresa Klassen

Teresa
Klassen

 

The Whole Bunch of Us

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On Tuesday most of the SunRidge Staff were all in one place for a post summer staff meeting. We worked through an agenda, looking beyond our more relaxed summer routines and approached the calendar more intentionally.

If you look at the picture in this blog closely, you will see there were seven people in attendance at our meeting. These seven "staff" have certain gifts, certain callings, and a certain amount of time each to put those to work. But these seven are inadequate. These seven can be obedient to fulfill maybe seven roles, but Jesus' call to His Church is for the whole bunch of us to fulfill all kinds of roles -- hundreds of them with varying degrees of personal sacrifice.

As we were putting some plans to paper, I couldn't help but think: there are a whole bunch of SunRidgers and there isn't a single person who isn't called to engage. We all have something to offer. Wouldn't it be amazing if every single person at SunRidge actively played a part making SunRidge a beautiful community to be a part of? And wouldn't it be amazing if every single person at SunRidge actively played a part in taking that spirit out into our neighbourhoods? Week in and week out...

We have been reminded of this in this 10:02 series and the "art of neighbouring" and I think it is a great nudge for the Fall.

I wonder, as the whole bunch of us listen well to the Holy Spirit, what needs will be filled in this new season? What new ideas will be tried in the coming days? What connections will happen week to week? What conversations will set a new course for someone? What service will be offered that will provide relief and make this world just a little bit more the way God intended it?

It's up to the whole bunch of us.

If you are "in" you can make it known by initiating some contact through our Get Connected tab on our website, or go to the Connect Center on Sunday and start a conversation about serving!

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Teresa Klassen