2012 is bringing some changes, and one of those is to move this blog...
2012 is bringing some changes, and one of those is to move this blog...
This is really cool. I've been hoping, praying and talking about this kind of thing for a few years now, and I'm really excited to see it coming to Ottawa.
Rock the River is a BIG outreach that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has been doing for a few years now across North America. They bring in a lot of Christian Artists and Franklin Graham preaches the gospel.
Here's a promo video that they did in advance of Winnipeg last summer.
Rock the River is planned for Ottawa September 29, 30th in Lebreton Flats, right downtown. Saturday has a youth focus, and Sunday is for everyone. There are a several meetings scheduled in advance of this for prayer, training and organization. The first one is January 25th.
Let's pray for an overwhelming response to this, not only from the churches and Christians in prayer, volunteering, training and inviting, but let's also pray for the nets to break. I'd love to see this city get rocked with the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ...
I wanted to share with you my favorite Christmas Song, and what I think is the best version of it. When Celine sings this, I think she believes it, and I want to get saved all over again. I hope you enjoy it...
Trust me... you'll share it after you see it...
This was the last weekend meetings of the year for us. Next week, our only meeting is Saturday night, 5:30pm for Christmas in the Park. The following weekend, our only meeting is Sunday at 10:30am at Bon Berger for a time of worship, testimonies, prayer and communion.
Here's what I saw the Lord do on Saturday night:
- new people... I met a young lady, it was her first time at Calvary and she had no other experience in church. Her friend who has been clean for a while invited her. There were others, there for the first time, invited by friends as well. I got to meet at least 3, and prayed with one of them in response to the message. Scott even invited his parents. That's always a big deal, when your parents come to your church.
- Encouragement in Family Time... always a blessing to hear what the Lord is doing in and through people. One of the things that was shared was what the Lord showed my friend Patrick in Psalm 37, and how he felt that God renewed his spirit through it. Others later, told me how that really encouraged them.
- Prayer during Worship... Josh invited people to prayer around the last song in the worship set. The invitation was almost word for word of what I felt the Holy Spirit leading me to do when it was my turn to go up. I was so proud of Josh for hearing and obeying the Spirit's leading.
- Significant Conversations... I had more than one conversation that I walked away from, realizing that it was a conversation that the Holy Spirit was present in, and hearts were being changed, moved, wisdom was being revealed, character was being shaped. It blows my mind to consider it.
- Love... They suprised me just before the Bible Study, by gathering around me, laying hands on me and praying for me and my family spontaneously. There was a lot of love in the room. There was also a lot of worship and thanksgiving given to God.
- Baptism... Looks like we will be scheduling another baptism in a couple of months. I can't wait!
And, here's what I saw the Lord do on Sunday morning:
- Sharing... my friend Joel shared some things that the Lord had been showing him through the life of Job. It was great stuff, and really encouraged Gen and I. It was a word from the Lord for us.
- Communion... We are having some sweet times of worship and I can just tell that the Lord is ministering to hearts in a deep and healing way. We need grace. We are living for grace, we are looking for grace, and grace is the only thing that truly helps us. It opens up our hearts and allows us to let the Lord change things, help us let go of things that are toxic, it makes us vulnerable in all the best ways.
- Encouragement... Alan came and led worship for us and brought his wife Robin. It was her first time there, and she was blessed and encouraged us in return.
I feel very blessed to be a part of what God is doing here in Ottawa. The scope blows me away. Calvary Ottawa is playing a small role along with a lot of other groups, ministries, churches and just godly people. We are in for a rockin' 2012. I'm headed to Florida for a vacation, with my heart full, head spinning, and full of hope.
Here's the promo video (in French) for Heritage Vol. II. This is the project that Gen has been participating in for the last year. There's a shot of her towards the second half. This music has been something of a phenomenon in the Francophone Churches across the world. The concerts have been moving spiritual experiences and there's a sense that a movement has been started with some of these songs being reintroduced to Christians.
Would you take a minute and pray for our brothers and sisters in the Francophone churches? Pray for revival, pray for more pastors, missionaries, church planters, evangelists, apostles, songwriters, worship songs and worship leaders. Pray for Sebastian Demrey, Jimmy Lahaie and the rest of the people at CIME Musique who are giving their gifts, talents and lives for the cause of Christ among the French speaking peoples.
If you and I went for coffee sometime in the last few weeks, this subject would have come up. It's something that I've been working on for a couple of years.
How do I tell this story?
Over the last couple of years, I've had at least a dozen people (male and female) ask me what they could do to prepare for ministry. They felt called. At first it was just a couple, so I started the intern program. Then when we passed double digits, I knew that I needed to do something different than interns.
I think it's important to take these conversations seriously. Calling to ministry isn't something that people come up with naturally or ordinarily. So, I want to take it seriously, and see that we as a church have a responsibility to encourage and equip these people.
So, for the last couple of years, I feel like I've been around the block with Bible College ideas, school of ministry, online and distant learning, discipleship programs and so on. Back in October, I had a conversation with a pastor that was in the Ukraine for a few years. They had a similar situation to ours, with the same limitations and opportunities and they felt the Lord leading them to offer a handful of basic courses. As he shared their experience with it, I felt the witness of the Holy Spirit. It was a simple idea, biblically based, church based, inexpensive, practical, personal and transferrable. The courses they taught were New Testament Survey, Old Testament Survey (split into 2 parts), Romans, Acts and Revelation, 6 courses in total. The Bible serves as the textbook and the homework.
So, after a lot of discussion, conversations and prayer... Here's the BIG Announcement and our plan for 2012:
Starting on Thursday nights, March 1st-May 10th, from 7pm-10pm, at the church office, we will be offering 2 courses:
-New Testament Survey - An overview of the entire New Testament, it's origin, it's authority, it's themes, emphases, unique features and connections to the Old Testament. This course will be taught (in English!) by Pastor Georges Larabie of Eglise Baptiste Evangelique du Bon Berger.
-Romans - A study through the Apostle Paul's letter to the Romans. Romans is a great letter to examine the basic doctrines of sin, salvation, Spirit-filled life and God's plan for Israel. This course will be taught by myself.
New Testament Survey will be from 7pm-8:25pm and Romans will be from 8:35-10pm. A person should take both courses simultaneously, and be able to apply the content and homework into their life. We will only be able to take 20 people for this first term. There will be no courses for Spring Break which is March 15th. We will have a registration page up shortly on the church website, along with some more information and details. The cost is still being decided, but it should be very inexpensive and accessible to everyone.
We are planning a second term to start in the fall, probably at the end of September. In that term we would like to offer Old Testament I, and Acts. And then in a third term starting in January 2013, we could look at offering Old Testament II, and Revelation. Of course, this is all subject to change, but we could also look at offering additional courses and so forth and so on...
Obviously, this is a big deal. My friend from the Ukraine, told me that God really blessed what they did, and raised up all kinds of workers for the Harvest fields there. It turned out to be such a fruitful thing for the church there. If you think about it, this really is what the church is supposed to do, raise up it's own leadership, and reproduce itself in other places.
Can I ask you to take a minute and pray for us in this? Pray that we would stay focused on what the Holy Spirit wants us to do through this. Pray that the Holy Spirit would put the people He wants in the room, and would continue to guide our minds and hearts further into the truth. I believe with all my heart, that God wants to equip people from our congregation to do some amazing things not only in Ottawa, but in the surrounding area and all around the world. May we be faithful to His call.
I got a text from someone at the service on Saturday night that will remain nameless...
'What does crow taste like?"
It's because I referred to someone eating crow in an illustration...
Here you go, in case you were wondering...
Another hard charging weekend...
Gen had an instore concert lined up for Salem Storehouse on Saturday. She and Amy D., headed over there in the morning, Dan helped them set up some sound equipment and they did 5 sets of music from 10am - 3pm. The store was busy, some of our friends stopped by to say hi, she signed lots of CD's and got to meet some new fans. Salem has both of her CD's on sale this month for $12.99, and we are very happy with how her music has been received across Ottawa.
Saturday night was another packed house. The Gilmans led worship, Dad, son and brother. Alan shared his heart around the song 'Cry Out to Jesus' and then played it for us. I think the Lord spoke to me and gave me an idea for Orleans through it. I'll share more if that comes to fruition.
Family time can't get any better than when someone shares how they gave their life to Christ in the preceeding weeks. These are very exciting days.
We were in 1 Peter 3:8 through the end of the chapter, and we were talking about doing good. I had an illustration planned about a guy in our church that had been jumped and injured by another guy that has been in our church. I had permission from the guy that was injured to share the story of forgiveness and blessing and doing good, but then the other guy came to church too! It's still a fresh story, one that's obviously still in process, and it wasn't appropriate to give the illustration. I'm sharing it here hoping that you will pray for both of these guys, and pray for us as we are seeking to minister to folks in these kinds of situations.
After the service, I had to run an errand down to Ottawa South and one of the guys jumped in with me. We had a great conversation about how to be in a dating relationship as a Christian. We have so many single adults on Saturday night, I think I'm going to be having more of those talks with people. I was all fired up after that, I love challenging young guys to purity, holiness and being a man.
Sunday morning was a first on many levels. I should have taken a picture somewhere in there. Calvary Orleans and Bon Berger had a joint service. Gen led worship in both languages, and Pasteur Georges (that's how they spell it in French) and I took turns speaking a message on "Unity of the Spirit." We all shared in communion together and then went downstairs for a glorious potluck. I didn't get to talk with all the Calvary people, but I think we all enjoyed ourselves and expressed an interest in doing it again.
Gen and I recognized one of the ladies from Bon Berger that has a little boy in Luc's class at school. It was cool to make another connection in the neighborhood. I love hearing and seeing how the Holy Spirit is at work all around us revealing Jesus and relationship with God to people.
I have a big announcement to share. There's one more detail to be squared away, but I'm hoping to be able to share it with you this week.
I neglected to put this in the post this a couple of weeks ago.
It's hard to believe that this was recorded live at Calvary in the Jack Purcell Community Centre. Dan did a great job of editing, mixing and producing it. I need to get him some more midnight oil to burn...