Another Kickoff

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kickoff

“You won’t die!” the serpent hissed.  “God knows that your eyes will be opened when you eat it.  You will become just like God, knowing everything, both good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5)

Well, another Christmas is gone, the presents and decorations filed away.  And it is a new year.  I love this time of year – a time of resolutions, new beginnings – an annual “do-over”.

Speaking of new beginnings, I am back reading in Genesis again.  You really can’t get more “beginnings” than Genesis and reading it is always a painful reminder of the reason I need a yearly “do-over” – I come from a long line of wayward sinners. And apparently you don’t have to go too far into a year before you need a new beginning – it seems like Adam and Eve are barely into this new adventure together and they are lured out of sync with their Creator.

This New Year is a bit of a special one – not only do we kick off a new year, but a new decade.  I am tempted to dream about what my life – and my family – and the EFCC family – will look like by 2020. And if I listen to all the self help coaches out there, I should be busy not only visualizing the future, but creating it.  There is likely some truth in this approach, but I am painfully aware that a bit of this attitude is what sunk Eve.  The serpent got her to ignore the agenda of God because she had the chance to see…to understand…to be like God – all knowing, powerful and in control.  So this year I am trying to hold my plans a little more loosely – with a bit more humility.  It’s not that making plans is wrong – it’s just that I know that Eve’s temptation is mine. I want to know, to understand, to control, to be like God.  These are the attributes of God that interest me the most anyway.  Being longsuffering, forgiving, loving, holy – well, these are attributes of God too, but somehow I’m not as tempted to be like those attributes of God.  No, I like the ones that can make me significant, successful and independent.  But independence sends me my own way and leads to shame, and shame leads to hiding from God, and that leads to excuses, blaming, broken relationships…and ultimately, death.

All in all, I’m excited about 2010 – and this decade.  I have a sense that God is going to do some amazing stuff in the EFCC and this world this decade.  But I’m OK with not having complete clarity and control of how it will all play out.  God’s spirit will move, we will attempt to follow, and He will build His Church and Kingdom.  It is an honour to follow and fellowship with my Creator – by faith, not by sight.

Trusting you are looking forward with hope,

Bill

The Journey in Thailand

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Many of you probably know that Randy coordinated the Journey house church plant in Langley, BC. In the last few months he and his family have made the transition to Thailand where he is continuing to share the vision of the Journey in a population that is mostly non-Christian. He’s maintaining an informative blog — and I thought it’s worth letting you know about it.

You can find it by clicking here.

The Pulse is Live!

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pulsescreen

The Pulse publication has now gone online. Check it out by clicking here.

Our theme is Works or Words: What Do We Lead With?

This edition also kicks off a new format. We are using the Pulse to host charitable debate on a new topic each time. Leaders will be given the chance to speak their piece, and then even address each other’s points.

We are excited to bring you as much dynamic, compelling content as we can all in one document, with a new page-flip look that’s easy and fun to navigate. You can also download a pdf for yourself, which you may find useful for printing if you need to read it in your hands.

Over the next little while, we will add Pulse content into the main body of the website in order to keep the dialogue going. As always, feel free to comment on anything you see!

Incarnational Incarnate

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ExDirWell, Christmas is right around the corner once again! It’s time for another update from the soggy coast to connect with our EFCC family and pass on musings from the mud! I must admit, it does not “feel” like Christmas right now. The only realities that jolt me into a pseudo sense that Christmas is imminent are the lights in the mall, the task of writing endless Christmas cards and the mounting expenses of the “giving season”. None of these are hardly “great news of great joy for all the people”! I likely need to go watch Jim Carrey’s new portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge – perhaps then I will feel appropriately festive. At the moment, the birth of my Saviour feels mythical and unreal.

Yet, I know this is untrue. As I look again at the gospel accounts, I am reminded at how, um, well, incarnational the incarnation was – how utterly grounded in time and space – in human history/politics and earthly mud, dirt and grime. John tells us that the “Word became flesh and dwelt (‘tabernacled’) among us”. And they beheld his glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father. The trouble for me is that I didn’t see him – neither as a helpless baby, nor as the son of Mary and Joseph, nor as the One who claimed to be the Son of God. But the disciples saw Emmanuel, “God with us” and He walked with them.

I almost said “among them”. But Jesus came to walk “with them” – to seek and save the lost. I recently spent time with our missionaries in Hermosillo. Hermosillo is in the desert. I had dust on my shoes every day. It reminded me of Jesus – God stooped so low to get dirty feet, not to live like some alien in secret among us (so He could destroy us when the time was right) but to identify fully with us – in order to fully save us (see Hebrews 2:14-18). In fact, Jesus became “earthy” like us – read His genealogy in Matthew 1 and you may spot a few “earthy” folks in his lineage (Judah, Tamar, Rahab and a few others). The good news is, Jesus was fully human – complete with a questionable lineage. He not only can save us humans, He understands (and walks us through) the temptations that assail us.

This is good news indeed! Our Saviour came not only to help us die well, but to help us live well. He could have just issued the certificate of forgiveness and emailed it to humanity from a safe distance in His celestial home – He preferred to descend to our level. It is indeed a “mysterious plan” and perhaps this is what the apostle Paul is thinking about when he reminds the Colossians to pray for him as he shares it and to “live wisely among unbelievers” (Colossians 4:2-5). We are the Evangelical Free Church of Canada – we are “evangel”, gospel people. The plan is mysterious – and this season reminds us that while God’s choice to live among us in order to save us may seem strange to us – it is also our call to live among people and share that hope. May you be brought back to the mystery – the stark reality of how the “Word became flesh” and may you have the joy of sharing that message with those who need to hear!

Merry Christmas,

Bill

Conference Intros: Part 1

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confspe1We are eager to begin introducing our line-up of engaging speakers for EFCC Conference 2010.

Dr. Paul Chamberlain is the director of the Institute for Christian Apologetics at Trinity Western University (ACTS division) and has taught ethics, philosophy of religion and Christian Apologetics at TWU since 1990. He has also worked with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries during part of that time. He is an effective communicator both in and out of the classroom. His humorous, down-to-earth manner appeals to a wide variety of people. Drawing from the media and using a professional power point presentation, his seminars are both interesting and relevant.

Dr. Chamberlain has appeared on numerous radio and television talk shows, debated on university campuses, and is a frequent guest speaker at public functions. He is the author of Can We be Good Without God, Final Wishes, How To Talk About Good and Bad Without Getting Ugly: A Guide to Moral Persuasion, and The Fear of Faith, as well as a number of articles addressing current social and moral issues. He is currently writing a fourth book which responds to the widespread charge that religion is evil and breeds violence.