sunridge community church

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

 


Money Matters!

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

It Is Better To Have Tried

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

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

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

Here is what I love about this story:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

Have Some AGM With Your Soup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

The Marriage Retreat

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

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

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

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

Here are some photos from the weekend:

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

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

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

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

The Amor Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It Keeps Families Together

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


Promotes Health & Education

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

Averts Trafficking

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

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

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

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

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

Prayer: My Story (Part 1)

21 Days of Prayer — January 13 to February 3
This month we are featuring interviews with SunRidgers highlighting their understanding and perspectives on prayer…

Randy’s Story

Who introduced you to prayer?
In all honesty, I grew up with prayer. As a family, we said our mealtime and bedtime prayers every day. We went to Church and Sunday School every Sunday. I could probably count on one hand, the number of times we missed attending. Mine was a traditional, liturgical religious background and in retrospect, somewhat mechanical in nature. I remember my mom and grandmother especially, praying for me as I went through many surgeries, throughout my life as a result of the polio I contracted at age three. I was thankful I could do things that the medical professionals never thought I could, such as walk without aids. By the time I was eighteen, I had read through the complete Bible twice. However, my prayer life really didn't change until Pastor Rick, at our home church in Dawson Creek explained the Gospel message for the first time. I was thirty-two years old then, but I learned that Christ wanted a relationship and not just a want or need list. Although I had thanked Him often, I realized that the focus of my prayers, had been pretty much self-centered. It was then, that my prayer life changed.

If someone were to ask you why you pray, what would you say?
As new Christians, we are often told that Jesus has now become our best friend. It follows that, as a new best friend, I would want to spend a lot of time with Him. Best friends are open with one another and share the most intimate details of their lives with each other. I can say Jesus is my best friend because, He, more than anyone, understands me completely. My biggest difficulty is taking the focus off me and placing it in Him. At times, I struggle with listening to Him, even though I know He cares about me more than anyone. He wants what is best for me always, even while I am resisting. I pray because I know, though human relationships will fail me at times, He will never fail me or leave me. He always forgives, never holds a grudge and is patiently waiting, while I go through self-inflicted trials and finally realize that He had the answer all along. Why wouldn't I wholeheartedly want to communicate and spend more time with my best friend.

What are you learning about prayer?
I am learning that the most difficult for me is to listen and then patiently await His answer. Because I often want to barrel ahead (patience is not one of my virtues), I sometimes miss opportunities to do His will and add stress to my situation needlessly. Please pray, that I when I pray, I will quiet my heart, allow God to inform me and give Him a chance to respond. As noted earlier, God knows all my shortcomings, but continues to be faithful. Prayer also makes my day run better, as through it, I am preparing for what's ahead.

Why do you think it is important to gather and pray together as a community?
Probably the easiest answer here is that I have a support system in place. I am never alone, unless I choose to be. I receive encouragement, counsel and understanding from those that are close to me. I can identify with some of the struggles other brothers and sisters deal with and they often can identify with mine. Willing help is only a phone call away when necessary. We are family, anchored in Christ, so we do what family does. We love, support and encourage each other. Coming together and praying edifies and unites us. We pray communally to "our" Father as we share together in His blessings.