Off to a Truly Beautiful Start

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Bill kicked off Conference with a promise that we will celebrate much that is happening across Canada and around the world…but we will absolutely not take credit for it.

Credit belongs to our God. It is our pleasure to follow. But we must always be clear and intentional that that’s our position, and bring glory to God.

Bill reminded us that God is intensely fearfully holy, but also merciful.

Dave Holden, the EFCC’s Prayer Catalyst, coordinated a concert of prayer. A murmur of holy prayer across a sanctuary that represents a vast cross-section of churches and ministries from so many different places and experiences is a remarkable, humbling experience.

Conference Begins Tomorrow!

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Ready or not, here it comes!

We’re really excited for the next few days — we are expecting this to be a great time of celebration, vision-sharing and fellowship.

Please pray for the details (some of us have invested a lot of life into them!), and for the spirit of our Conference. We recognise that our pastors and leaders come to Conference from any number of stressful situations, or times of blessing, and our prayer is that this would be a time of releasing burdens and encouragement.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed and who is attending. We will try to keep the blog updated with Conference stuff as we are able.

Surprise! Image Really is Everything

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Rosalee was invited to submit a guest blog post for our site after seeing her portraits of Aaron and Cynthia (pictured above), who are currently preparing to become missionaries in Bolivia with the EFCCM. We are living in a time where image has unprecedented importance, and we hope you’ll appreciate a photographer’s take on it.

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Hi my name is Rosalee Roy and I am a photographer. Now, normally I would go on to tell you about my images and how great they are, but God has led me to say something totally different.

I recently watched a series online called “Why Jesus Creates Art”. This series taught me so much and has totally changed my view on my work and why I do it. I want to share what I have learned and hopefully this can be beneficial for you as well.

I am created in the image of God who allows me to create. (Genesis 1:27) If I wasn’t created in the image of him I couldn’t create at all. God gave me a gift so I need to reflect this back to him in worship but I also reflect this out to everyone else which is my mission. Now most people will start to think “Great! God made me to create awesome stuff and so I’ll just go out and do that”….. the problem with that is that its not about me and how awesome I am, its about how I am created in the image of God but unfortunately it became all messed up in the beginning (Adam and Eve – Genesis). God gave us 3 main things, LIFE, CREATIVITY and the CROSS. I cannot understand creativity until I understand the cross and what Jesus did for me.

For most artists, jealousy is a HUGE factor. I’m being totally honest here so please bear with me. I have a hard time enjoying other peoples work. I immediately think, they are better then me and/or I get all puffed up and think I’m so much better then them because Im trying to compensate for a cool pose or location that I’ve never thought of myself ….. and so on. This is not a character default, its sin and I need to repent of that. Now, the proper way I need to be thinking and doing my work is this way: I acknowledge God, and because of the cross I can now take this gift (photography) and bounce it back up to God as worship, and then it reflects back out just like a mirror which is love to other people.

To put it in simpler terms, God is the creator; he creates us in his image so that we can create. This is FREEDOM, it lets us just love God and do our stuff. Most artists believe and think that their whole life is in their art and that their craft is their whole being, but it totally isn’t. Being an artist is NOT a higher calling then being a Christian. If the highest calling is being a Christian, then I need to celebrate the gift of Jesus and what he has done for me. People think that because they are an artist, that they get a pass on Mission…..well, to put it bluntly, it didn’t come from you, it came from Christ.

One of the most amazing things that I learned from this series is that God will still love me whether or not I get any better at my craft. And since he will still love me not matter if I get better or not, shouldn’t that prompt me to want to do better? Not because he WILL love us but because he HAS loved us? I need to know that Jesus loves me and then go out and make good stuff (photos). Its because of the acknowledgement of the cross that I want to create things to be great.

As a person that owns her own business, you would think that all I should be doing is be focusing on building a bigger audience, but if you focus on the story instead and tell your story well, that will captivate people. My goal is not to get more Twitter followers or more Facebook friends, its about opening the door to an audience who want to see my work. It’s not about the numbers, it about creating something that makes people happy. Is what I’m creating loving to people? If not, then there is a serious issue because Jesus loves people, and if I don’t then I have a real problem.

God created us to make things. Relationships, Families, jobs…….. God didn’t place Adam in the Garden and say “sit on your butt, slack off and enjoy”, instead he told him to “till the field”. We were created to make great things and we messed it up due to our sin. The bottom line is I want to be excellent because God is excellent.

I pray that for each reader and that they will be able to learn from this as well and that as Christians we need to strive for greatness because God is great!

If you would like to take a look at my portfolio and my blog, please go to my website: www.rosaleeroy.com

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this! :-)

Rosalee Roy

“Mother, Please Don’t Give Up!”

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This story of Ryuichi was shared by Bella Mori (missionary at the Sendai Izumi Evangelical Free Church) and is written by Ann Little.

Ryuichi lives with his mother and grandparents near the Sendai Izumi Evangelical Free Church (Sendai, Japan). He was born with some mental challenges and because of this, his father bullied him when he was very small. His mother decided to divorce, to protect Ryuichi from abuse. After the divorce, Ryuichi’s mother became discouraged about raising Ryuichi alone, and decided that suicide by jumping in front of a train was the only answer. Ryuichi was just a small child at the time and his mother was carrying him on her back. She lacked the courage to jump and four trains passed by, but as the 5th train came into sight, she resolved to jump. Just at that time Ryuichi said to her; “Mother, please don’t give up!” His words were enough to convince his mother to keep on living!

One day when he was 8 years old, he and his mother were walking by the Izumi EFC. Missionary Bella Mori greeted them and invited him to the children’s meeting. Ryuichi and his mother promised that they would come. However, when the time came for the children’s meeting, no one came. Bella was about to go home when Ryuichi and his mother arrived. His mother confided in Bella later, that she had had no intention of bringing him to the children’s time, but that Ryuichi had insisted that they come. He reminded his mother that she had promised, and she must keep her word. So she decided at the last minute to bring him.

Ryuichi has been attending Sunday school ever since that first meeting and has come to believe in Jesus. He is a changed boy; so much brighter and more cheerful than before. Even his grades at school have improved. He wants very much to please Jesus with his life. He has decided on his own that he will not participate in the community children’s club, because it requires that he carry the temple shrine at the festivals. It is a delight to see him grow in the Lord. Bella teaches him during Sunday school and Gina Lo looks after him during the church service. Gina and Bella have become second mothers to him. (photo attached)

Just a few months after Ryuichi started attending Sunday school his mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor. When she and the grandmother told Bella about the tumor, Bella, Larry and Gina spent time praying for her. (Ryuichi confided to his grandmother that if his mother died, he would like to be adopted by the Mori family (Bella and Larry).) However, when the mother returned to the doctors for further tests, the tumor had completely disappeared! This was a wonderful miracle for this family!

Once when Bella was also passing out tracts in the area around the church, she met a neighbor. This lady was delighted to meet Bella, not only because she herself was a Christian, but because she also knew Ryuichi and had heard that he was attending Sunday School at the Izumi church. She had had a burden for Ryuichi and had wanted to take him to her church, but it was too far away. Now she was happy that there was a neighborhood church for him to attend.

Ryuichi is now 12 years old and has entered middle school. Once a student reaches middle school, there are always extra school activities held on Sunday that prevent young people from attending church. However, he has chosen an activity that allows him to continue to attend church on Sunday. Please pray that his mother, grandmother and grandfather will also come to believe in Jesus and that Ryuichi will continue to grow faithfully in the Lord.

That Old, Familiar “I’m Not Worthy” Feeling

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Good grief, here’s a sure way to make your church’s designers feel inadequate — a ‘highlight reel’ from the world’s best.

Contemporary church web design

Everything changes, including change itself. Good design is easier and easier to accomplish, but that means there are growing expectations for how up-to-date our communication efforts look.

Which must mean it’s nearly time to change things around here… :-)