Thursday, April 26, 2007

Behance Action Book

So remember how I posted a while ago about being a little obsessed with productivity toosl and I was excited about the Behance Action Book I ordered? Well it arrived a couple weeks ago and I figured it was about time to do a little update.

I actually ordered 8 of the books and gave one to our senior pastor (he's pretty creative and I thought he'd appreciate trying out the book too) and I'm planning on giving them to some ministry volunteers too. So when they arrived there was a little drool that came out of the corner of my mouth when I opened the box.

So what do I think of the thing? So far, so good! It is pretty much as advertised. The cover is indeed "suede-to-the-touch" (I know you were wondering, Rich!) and the pages are set up well for me to take notes freely during a meeting and be able to direct my thoughts to certain locations on the pages.

The only downside so far is that I find the the grids on the pages to be just about the wrong size - they're too close together for me to write on every "line" (although there are no actual lines on the page) but too far apart to use every other line. So as guidelines for writing, they're pretty useless.

The orange "Action Steps" boxes on the right are super handy and I'm having lots of fun keeping my on-going checklists in one spot.

All in all, if you're looking for a nice looking way to keep your thoughts organized and want to go a little low tech, this thing is definitely a great option. And if you come up here and lead one of our ministry teams, you might end up with one for free! :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

We are counting down the days!

Sonya was due yesterday and our doctor has scheduled inducing for Saturday. So it won't be long now!

Sunday, April 22 Recap

Another great week in a series that I'm really enjoying. This week was all about security - "Will everything be okay?" In light of Virginia Tech we decided to switch weeks and talk about security on Sunday and push our discussion on significance to next week. It's good to be flexible.

Sunday, April 22 - "Dear God, I Have A Question"
"Will everything be okay?" - Matthew 11
Your Name Is Holy - Brian Doerksen
Forever - Chris Tomlin
That's Why We Praise Him - Tommy Walker

Faithful One - Brian Doerksen
Everything Cries Holy - Robin Mark

Rescue - Jared Anderson

Great morning. The songs flowed really well and our worship leader did a great job. We closed the service with "Rescue" as a presentation song and the band hit it out of the park!

During the service we also prayed together as a congregation through Psalm 62. It went something like this:

My soul finds rest in You alone; my salvation comes from You.
You alone are my rock and my salvation;
You are my fortress, I will never be shaken.

Our Father, we declare today that our confidence and our trust is in You.
You are our rock - You are steady and a strong foundation.
You are our fortress - You protect and guard us.
We will never be shaken. We know that You are faithful and unchanging. We place our confidence in You.

My salvation and my honour depend on You, God;
You are my mighty rock, my refuge.
O God, we trust in You at all times;
We pour out our hearts to You, for You are our refuge.

Our Father, we declare today that our dependence is upon You.
We place our hope and our faith in You and we know that You are mighty.
When we come to You, You hear. When we pour out our hearts, You listen.
So we do this now, together. We stop and take time to bring our prayers before You and we ask that You would hear as we pour out our hearts.

One thing You have spoken, two things I have heard:
That You, O God, are strong, and that You, O Lord, are loving.

Our Father, we declare today that Your love for us, Your children,
is without condition.
You are strong and You are loving.
You are mighty and You are tender.
You are the conquering King and you are the gentle Shepherd.
Thank You, Father, for Your love, Your strength, Your faithfulness.
You alone are our rock and our salvation.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Some consumer good news

Okay so usually people rant about awful customer service and, to be honest, in the past few months I've had my own opportunities to complain about poor service from UPS and Rogers Cable.

But today I want to celebrate great customer service and remind consumers and companies out there that greatness can be achieved!

Here's what happened, a mere 24 hours ago.

10:30AM - walk to the basement and discover a small water leak in our hot water tank.
10:45AM - Call Direct Energy to report the problem.
11:45AM - Direct Energy technician arrives, says rental tank needs to be replaced.
1:30PM - Replacement tank arrives.
2:15PM - New tank installed at no charge to us, technicians leave.

WOW!! Great work Direct Energy! Two gold stars for you!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sunday, April 15 Recap

Seems like it's been a while since we've had a "normal" Sunday. After running three major events over the course of 7 days at the beginning of April it's nice to get back into the groove of things.

Of course, that won't last long since my wife is due to have our second daughter in 4 days.

Sunday, April 15 - "Dear God, I Have A Question"
"Is this all there is to life?" - John 10
Because of Your Love - Paul Baloche & Brenton Brown
Your Grace Is Enough - Matt Maher

Yesterday, Today & Forever - Vicky Beeching
Jesus, Lamb of God - Dennis Jernigan
Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) - John Newton, Chris Tomlin & Louie Giglio

Reign In Me - Brenton Brown

The message on Sunday focused on the idea of "life to the full" but Earl also talked about this notion that following Christ (the shepherd) is in the coming in and going out - it's in the routine, the day-to-day. Not the mundane, boring and trivial but in the faithful, steady life of the believer who follows Christ each day.

It's an exciting time for us as we design this series specifically for those who are not followers of Christ, as we think about every word we use, every communication piece, every component that goes into the service - trying to see it through the eyes of those who are not there to worship while at the same time creating a space that inspires them to worship.

Having said that, I need a rest. We have been go! go! go! for so long and I am looking forward to some time off but I know that the time off will only come when my new 8 lb. bundle of joy comes roaring in to my life!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Easter Sunday - April 8

What a day! What a celebration! How could you not be pumped on a day when you know that a whole whack of people will be in your building and this is probably one of maybe two times that they'll step in to a church this year?!!?

Knowing this, we did something different and decided to begin a series on Easter Sunday. Over the past couple months our staff has been talking to people in our community - friends, neighbours, waitresses, mechanics - and asking them what they really - like rrrrreeeeally - want out of life. We got lots of answers - happiness, money, vacation, etc - but we were able to boil the answers down to four basic categories - love, purpose, significance and security.

So we launched the series on Sunday titled "Dear God, I have a question" and began with "Does anybody really love me?"

Producing a service that was focused on celebrating the resurrection as well as building around this idea of the need for love was a really great challenge and I think we pulled it off very well. We were video-heavy this week and the band pulled the songs off 100%!

Here's our list -
Video - Easter Drawing
Everlasting God - Brenton Brown & Ken Riley
Christ The Lord Is Risen Today - Charles Wesley
In Christ Alone - Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Our God Reigns ("up from the grave" verse & choruses) - Leonard Smith

Video - I Am Loved
Your Love Is Amazing - Brenton Brown & Brian Doerksen
Because of Your Love - Paul Baloche & Brenton Brown

God So Loved - Reuben Morgan

In the middle of that first set I read a couple of verses of 1 Corinthians 15. The "In Christ Alone"/"Our God Reigns" package was incredible - the response from the congregation during the last half was amazing. People's hands were raised, their voices were going full blast - we really were in the presence of God singing His praise and just celebrating the fact that He is victorious and conquering.

Good Friday - April 6

One of the really cool things about being on staff at this church is that all of our churches gather together on Good Friday for a regional service. So on Friday morning we all jammed into our gym/overflow and packed the place out. One of the other pastors in town led worship and we brought in a speaker to talk about the power of the cross and how it restores our relationship with God and also with each other.

Here's our setlist -

Video - That's My King
Crown Him With Many Crowns - George Job Elvey, Godfrey Thring & Matthew Bridges
What The Lord Has Done In Me - Reuben Morgan
When I Survey The Wondrous Cross - Isaac Watts & Isaac B. Woodbury

Power of the Cross - Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Nails In Your Hands - Richard Cimino
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus - Helen Lemmel
Worthy Is The Lamb - Darlene Zschech

The Wonder of Your Cross - Robin Mark
Lion of Judah - Robin Mark

The hilight of this service was definitely communion - we've got to figure out how to make this service more and more about focusing on the cross of Christ and the implication that sacrifice has on every day of our lives.

Celebration Sunday - April 1

Alright, so I've got some catching up to do. Although I'm quite excited for that purely Canadian national ritual of the first game of the NHL playoffs (Go Sens Go!) I will take some time to re-cap three major events that happened in the life of our church in the past 10 days.

Two Sundays ago we threw a huge party to celebrate the end of our BEYOND fundraising initiative. We wanted to do a service that would celebrate the past, present and future of our church and what God has done in the past 145 years here. We also wanted to give an opportunity to thank our children, students and adults for committing to supporting the BEYOND campaign - including an expansion to our building, financing some new regional ministries and partnering with a ministry in Uganda.

Normally on a Sunday morning we run two identical services. Because of wanting this to be a celebration event we thought it would make more sense to run a single service and then give people an opportunity to be together afterwards. To make this happen, we had to go off-site - so on Saturday we had about 30 volunteers move 700 chairs, all of our sound equipment, nursery supplies, rocking chairs, ministry displays - lots of stuff! - across town to one of the high schools.

On Sunday morning we met and the energy was very cool. We brought in a guest artist to paint for us and the whole thing was a huge success. Our time of bringing commitments forward was really moving and the image of children giving their money to buy doors in the new building will stick in my mind for a long time.

Here's the songs we did -
Hosanna - Paul Baloche & Brenton Brown
Blessed Be Your Name - Matt & Beth Redman

How Great Is Our God - Chris Tomlin
How Great Thou Art (chorus) - Stuart Wesley Keene Hine
Great Is Thy Faithfulness - Thomas Obediah Chisholm & William Marion Runyan

There were some very cool historical tie-ins with this service. We found a book that someone had kept in the 1940's and '50's at our church. Every week they would write some notes about what they did that Sunday. On April 1, 1940 - exactly 67 years before our Celebration Sunday - our church gathered and read Psalm 46 together, so we included that in the service. We also showed some pictures of the life of our church dating back to the 1920's - including a picture of T.T. Shields baptising some early members of our church.

Mark - I'd love to talk more with you about what we did (and didn't!) do for this service. Fire me an email or give me a call.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I know, I know, I know!

I said I'd get photos and details from our Celebration Sunday service online very soon - and I will!

I'll also pass on all the info from our Good Friday & Easter Sunday services but let me just say that this past week has definitely been one of the most stretching, inspiring, nerve-wracking, joyful weeks of my life. Serving God and our congregation with the other people on staff here at OBC really is an honour.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

What a day!

So I don't have the full recap yet (mostly because I want to gather some photos to show you what an amazing thing our volunteers pulled off this week!) but let me say that Sunday was pretty much one of the greatest corporate worship times I've ever been a part of.

To see kids, students and families pledging their commitment to the vision God has given us as a church and agreeing to support that vision with their time, their talents and their treasure for the next several years was a pretty emotional experience. To have the honour of leading people in praise and worship of our great and glorious God on that day was something that I hope I never take for granted.

One of the hilights of the service was definitely Marc Eckel who came all the way from Indiana to be with us. His painting was beautiful and the presentation really was an act of worship which inspired an amazing response from the congregation.

I will post later this week with a full re-cap of the service and why it was so memorable.