Thursday, 29 May 2014

Some Things Never Change

My roommate these last couple of days here in Calgary has been John Kreklo (another John K), our National Alpha for Prisons Director. Sometimes when speaking to people at our Alpha table at the ACOP Congress, I introduce us saying, "Hi, I'm John with Alpha Canada and this is the other John with Alpha Canada (a la the old  Bob Newhart Show, about the 2:50 mark))

But that is not the point of this post. The real point is this: I was thinking (wait for applause).
First I must give you the setup. John K (the other one) sets his alarm for 6:50. What a weird time! Nobody sets their alarm for oddball times, do they? I set mind for 7. Well, the reason, he told me, is that he has to iron his shirt. OK - makes sense.

So I awake the next morning to an unmistakable sound - the squeaking/grating sound like that of fingernails on a blackboard. It's the ironing board being opened.

Which got me thinking - of all the wonderful advances in technologies in almost every area of life, one of the things that has not changed in my lifetime (which is a very long time), is the ironing board. Ironings boards still have that same little lever you squeeze, and that same metal rod that fits through that same slot that still makes that same grating noise when you open it. My mother, in the late 1940's in an apartment on Bloor Street East in Toronto, did it in the same way as my roommate in the Travelodge in Calgary in 2014. Other things may come and go; other things may change, not always for the better. but one constant that remains in this world of seemingly constant flux is the good-fashioned ironing board.

Another thing that hasn't changed is the message of the Christian faith. Nor has poeple's need to hear it. It began as good news and remains so. It remains our only hope for eternity. Here at the Congress are speaker after speaker exhorting the audience to reach out to the neighbourhoods and the nations with the saving message of Jesus Christ; the opportunity of a relationship with God through him. My involvement with Alpha is my humble attempt to be obedient in that area.

We Christians still have the burden, yet the joy, of telling others this most wonderful news.

Some things never change.

Blessings,
John

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Free Car!

At least that what it was going to be.
It is a 2000 Hyundai Tiburon. This is a picture of the two of us. I am the taller one. I think it looks like a toy car when I stand beside it, but I really do fit in.

It was a free gift from my daughter a couple of years ago. This is the daughter I love more than I can say, but who is the only person in the world to whom I cannot say, "No."
In any case, she had this car, and it was an extra one; surplus; extraneous; a spare.  You get the picture. So she said,
"Dad, I would like to give you my car."
I said, "Sure."
"All you have to do is pay the bill to get it out of the repair shop."
"Thanks," I said.
It sounded like a good deal at the time.
The bill was $3500.00
Well, the car was probably worth that much at the time, so at worst I got a good car at a reasonable price. In the meantime, I have become quite attached to it as we travel the Province representing Alpha. It turned over 240,000 km on the way down to Calgary. Still runs like a top.

When I refer to it in the third person I call it, "the Tib." When I speak to it directly, in the second person I simply call it, "Tib." Some guys call their cars girls' names, but in the interest of gender equality I simply think of it as an, "it."

For example, the Tib has learned, as we drive through a city, town or village, to recognize a building with a cross on it, apply the brakes, and turn into the driveway. It sees every such building as a potential Alpha host. But sometimes we are in a hurry, perhaps to a previous and important appointment, and I find myself having to say "Not right now! Tib, maybe we'll be able to come back." It usually obeys.

People often pray for me in my travels, but perhaps we should include Tib in our petitions.

Blessings,
John

ACOP Congress - Calgary

 
The Apostolic Church of Pentecost is the denomination. I was surprised (and so was she) that my daughter in Grande Prairie attends an ACOP Church, People's Church - a very lively church and an Alpha one.
 
Another ACOP Alpha church is in Slave Lake, Alberta. They also ran Alpha last fall. Pastor Syd is here at the Congress. The last time I spoke to him was in January of this year, on a Saturday, the day before his congregation was to meet for the first time in their new church building. Their original building had been destroyed in the Slave Lake wildfire of 2011. Their new building is a steel one.
 
This is an International congress. One of the first guests I spoke with was a woman from Taiwan. She was not familiar with Alpha, but you should have seen the smile on her face when I gave her a postcard I happened to have written in Chinese. She signed up for more information so I will pass her name on to Wando Ho, our National Chinese and ESOL Alpha Director.
 
Here 'til Thursday. (I'm tempted to say, "Try the veal," but it's an old joke.)
Blessings,
John
 



Sunday, 25 May 2014

Is This the Generation to Change the World?

We can only pray:



I spent Saturday at YC Alberta. I'm sure I was the oldest guy there.

Alpha's own Ben Woodman spoke at two sessions Saturday afternoon, to a total of several hundred young people. The first session was on sharing one's faith with friends, the second was about going deeper in a relationship with Jesus.

This picture was from the first session, where Ben, at the end of his talk, interviewed some high school students about Alpha's Youth Film Series in their schools. One student was from a Pentecostal church but ran Alpha in the Catholic High School he attends. Another spoke of praying with her peers when they were organizing their Alpha, for, first 20,then 30, 40 50, guests, then thought they should stop praying because they might be asking for too much. They had 80 kids come to their first session.

The third commented that the school's entire Gay-Straight Alliance came to their first session. I should have asked (but didn't) if they stayed for the entire course. It will be interesting to find out.

I may have written, but it doesn't hurt to say it again, that in all my travels around Alberta so far, I have not heard one negative comment about this Youth Film Series. (Well, I did hear one - someone thought the rap at the beginning of one of the sessions was a bit cheesy, but I think it was supposed to be.) Its reputation is catching on like wildfire, and it has only been out for less than a year. Churches across the Province are planning to run and rerun it. Young people are way better at inviting friends than we adults are, and in many courses, over half the guests are from outside the church - and they're staying in the group.

Having said all this, I have also been listening Sunday mornings on my way into church, to the White Horse Inn program. The last couple of weeks have been on preparing our young people for the time they leave home and high school and head off to college, where they will often meet a worldview and a morality in direct opposition to their Christian faith. Statistically, there is a great fall-off at these times of a young person's life, even among those who have grown up their entire lives to this point in the church. It would pay, especially for parents or grandparents of teenaged kids, to click on that link and listen to the podcasts.

There are serious things to think about, even in light of the buzz of YC.

Blessings,
John
PS: I also have a selfie of Ben and me, just to prove I was there, but some pic's are just too embarrassing to post.

Friday, 23 May 2014

You Won't Believe This Coincidence

I attended a funeral today - the father of a good friend from our church. There were a number of other fellow parishioners there as well. One of them, Garry, asked me how my week was, and I told him of my trip to Provost, Wainwright and Lloydminster.
"Oh," he said, I'm from Lloydminster, and Shelley (his wife) is from 10 miles south and 3 miles west."
"I was just there, " I said, "And I found this little church" (see my previous post here.)
I reached for my phone and showed him the pictures I had taken.
"That's Shelley's church," he said, "Show her the pictures."

I did. I first showed Shelley the picture I had taken of the interior. She put her hand to her chest and gasped. She seemed rather choked up. She put her finger to the altar in the picture and said, "I was both baptized and confirmed right there!"

I couldn't believe it! What a coincidence! All her forefathers; parents and grandparents are buried in the cemetery there, which is still well-kept up. Her parents were married there. It was Garry's grandmother who wrote the Queen for the donation to buy the organ (link on the previous post)

And just to have a picture in this post, here is the picture I took of the exterior, which was not the one in the original post.
Holy Trinity Golden Valley
I mentioned a cross in my previous post. You can see it from the side right at the left-hand back  corner of the building. Turns out that was to commemorate Garry's mother's brother, who was born and died in December, 1914.

This was a blessing to me, so

Blessings to you,
John

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Lloydminster - An Interesting City

I just returned from a bit of a whirlwind tour of East Central Alberta, with encouraging visits in Provost, Wainwright and Lloydminster. My previous two posts were also from this trip. Today it was Lloydminster.

Three churches there (Southridge, LGF, and Living Faith Pentecostal) ran Alpha in 2013, and I received very encouraging reports from all of them, plus a couple of meetings with prospective Alpha churches, one of them a brand new church.

Some of the city's interesting history is here
Lloydminster has the unusual geographic distinction of straddling the border between Alberta and Saskatchewan Unlike most such cases , Lloydminster is not a pair of twin cities on opposite sides of a border which merely share the same name, but is actually incorporated by both provinces as a single city with a single municipal administration. Intended to be an exclusively British utopian settlement centred on the idea of sobriety, the town was founded in 1903 by the Barr Colonists, who came directly from the United Kingdom. The town was named for George Lloyd, Anglican Bishop of Saskatchewan.
The suffix, "minster" means, "Mother Church," the idea being that St John's Minster, the new town's Anglican Church would plant a number of, "daughter churches" in the area, which of course they did. Sadly, most of these, like the one I posted yesterday, have now fallen out of use, although a number of them are apparently still standing.

But while meeting with Pastor Tim Acey of Living Faith I learned a bit more. He is a Brit himself, and pointed out another unique fact about the city. Aside from being a very rare, "border city", as described above, it is unique in that it is not situated on a water course, a lake or a river. The original settlers, he says, were given a bit of a raw deal - almost the equivalent of being sold the proverbial Florida swampland. Lloydminster now draws its water from the North Saskatchewan River, over 30 kilometers away, but how they quenched their thirst in 1904, I don't know.

Because this blog is a diary, I reserve the right not to be strictly coherent, so I will mention that there were a number of other encouraging moments as well, the last couple of days.
  • By cell phone I made connections to form additional relationships for Alpha's Prison Ministry,
  • I discussed with a large church who wants to plan a regional training conference within the year.
  • I made an encouraging cold-call to Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Wainwright. (I always drive around in these towns a bit, and whenever I see a Cross on a building it immediately draws my attention, so I popped in, had a great conversation, and left some material)
  • I communicated back and forth regarding a new Alpha in Fairview, Alberta, possibly in the college there.
  • I met a number of Youth Pastors who plan to be at YC this weekend, so perhaps I will see them there.

Have I told you I love what I do?

Blessings,
John

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

A Not-So-Subtle Warning

A little more forceful than, "Keep off the grass," or even, "No Trespassing!" This is from CFB Wainwright, beside the highway on the way from Provost, AB.
 
It reads, "DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING IT MAY EXPLODE AND KILL YOU", although the most important word, "KILL" seems to have been partially erased.
 
For some reason, two Bible verses sprang to mind: Proverbs 14:12 and Romans 6:23.
 
The first seems fairly self-explanatory - there are things we may think it OK to touch, activities we may think harmless to engage in, but doing so may have dire consequences.
 
The second verse then gives us hope. No matter what our past, the gift of eternal life, through a relationship with the Creator Himself, has been made possible, the doing of Jesus Christ. And what he did is done already; the only thing for us to do is accept it.
 
Check out an Alpha course to see if this relationship is right for you (to paraphrase the TV drug commercials).
 
Blessings,
John
 


Holy Trinity Golden Valley

Taking the back roads from Wainwright to Lloydminster I passed this:

I slammed on the brakes and turned around to check it out. This picture actually makes it look big. It is Holy Trinity Golden Valley, an Anglican church planted in 1911. I don't quite know how they named the location. It may be golden but there is not a valley in sight. A bit of its history can be found here. You may be able to see a small cross right next to the building, towards the door. It commemorates the life of a baby who lived for about one week in 1914.

The door was fastened with only a clip, so I took the liberty of opening the door and peeking inside. Here is the interior:
 
Yes, that is the entire inside of the church - 4 pews each side. Can we who may consider a congregation of 100 to be smallish imagine the worshipping community here back in the day? Can we imagine the joy of those people of faith who had it as their first and long-awaited church, or the dedication of those who built it and served here?
 
It just reminds me in a way that we Christians today stand on the shoulders of those who came before.
 
Blessings,
John

Friday, 16 May 2014

Our New Black & White TV



I have said that I grew up in a small town in Southern Ontario. My walk to and from school was about a kilometer. I remember in 1953 coming home from school and, from a distance, seeing something brand new - a television aerial on the roof of our house. My whole family had been talking about getting a TV and looking forward to it for weeks. Finally it was here. We were so excited. It was a grainy little black and white TV, as deep as it was wide, on four spindly legs, but we loved it. We got three channels. My brothers and I huddled around it watching all our favourite movies and shows.

I now have a 42” colour flat screen on my wall. Larger and larger ones seem to be becoming available all the time. As much as I loved that first TV, I would never want to go back to it. To me, the Christian life is like the flat screen, and my life before knowing God in the way I do now was like that old grainy black and white. As much as we loved it at the time, I would never want to go back.

I think that trying to explain the existence of God to someone who doesn't know Him,  and the relationship that is available with Him, is like trying to tell someone in 1953 about the colour LCD flat screen. You could insist that there was something better than what they have now, but they might scoff at you in disbelief. "Nah, I don't believe it!" As I have also said, I came to faith late enough in life that I can remember both sides of the fence, so to speak. The person without that relationship knows only one. Some people are still living with that old black and white when the flat screen is available to them just through faith in Jesus Christ.

If you don't yet have that relationship, but wonder what it might be like, I encourage you to look for it. Check out the claims of the Christian faith. An Alpha course is one way of investigating - only one, but a very good one. If knowing God is your goal, take a first step. Then take the next. God promises that anyone who truly and honestly looks for Him will find Him (Jeremiah 29:11, Luke 11:10)

And don't be nervous; God gives His children only good gifts, never bad.

Blessings,
John 

Thursday, 15 May 2014

The Holy spirit - Wonderful and Noticeable


This is one of my talks on the Holy Spirit, adapted from Nicky's own.

What Happens when we are filled with the Spirit

The book of Acts has been described as Volume 1 in the history of the Church, and throughout that book, there are several examples of people experiencing the Holy Spirit. I want to look at some of them. The circumstances are different each time but they all have something in common – there is always something wonderful – something noticeable that happens. There are signs, or manifestations. Let’s check out some of these occasions; 

In Acts Chapter 2, it was unexpected. 
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”

This is the occasion when believers were first indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and something wonderful, something noticeable took place. 

Some wanted the ability to give it for selfish reasons

In Chapter 8, Peter and John prayed for the people in Samaria to receive the Holy Spirit, and Simon the Sorcerer saw the results, he offered them money and said,

“Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

Peter warned him it was a terrible thing to try to buy God’s gift with money, but the thing I want to point out here is that there must have been a reason Simon wanted to buy this ability - something wonderful and noticeable must have happened. 

Someone who was actively hostile to it.

In Acts 9 a young man named Saul (a Pharisee) had been actively persecuting the church. But on the road to Damascus to persecute even more Christians, he was confronted by Jesus and struck blind. In a house in Damascus a Christian disciple named Ananias placed his hands on him and prayed for him to receive the Holy Spirit. Immediately, the Bible says, something like scales fell off his eyes and he could see again. Within a few days Paul, as he was known now, was preaching in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. Again, something wonderful and noticeable had happened. 

Some weren’t aware of it

In Chapter 19 we read:

“…Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

… On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.

Something wonderful, something noticeable happened. 

In Chapter 10 we find another amazing example, and totally unexpected. Through a number of visions, God had brought the Apostle Peter to meet with a group of Gentiles at the house of a man named Cornelius. This was the first occasion where the Gospel was communicated to people who were not Jewish. Peter began speaking, but halfway through Peters talk, something remarkable happened:  


“,,,the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers (Jewish Christians) who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles for they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.”

When the Holy Spirit shows up - something wonderful, something noticeable usually happens.

Blessings,
John 


 

Monday, 12 May 2014

Camrose Story Made My Day

                                                                                                                                                                  ,
This picture is taken at Gwynne, Alberta, on the way to Camrose. Apparently they have a severe shortage of parking space there.

I visited the Camrose Community Church in Camrose (well, where else would it be?) I was to meet with both Senior Pastor Ralph Kassen and Youth pastor Shannon Payne. They ran Youth Alpha last fall.

Shannon wasn't there when I arrived so I spent some time with Pastor Ralph. He was elbow deep in watermelon when I walked in, cutting up dessert for their Kids Club this evening. We spoke for a while but, fearing I was getting in the way, I felt I should leave and just have Pastor Ralph tell Shannon I had been there. However, I waited, and sure enough, in a few minutes Shannon came in, loaded down with prizes for the Kids' Club.

I'm glad I waited.

Shannon had great things to say about the Youth Film Series. They hosted up to 40 or more kids on Wednesday nights, with most of them from outside the church. Their church is, "on the wrong side of the tracks," as Pastor Ralph told me, so some of the kids are a bit rough around the edges, so to speak, but even the unchurched kids are loving Alpha. She told me of one young man who, on the first night of the course, said, "I don't believe in God; I believe in science!"

Shannon said, "Well, that's good because God believes in science too." At he end of the course, around Valentine's Day, she had each kid do some artwork. This same kid drew a heart and wrote, "GOD" in the middle of it because, as he told Shannon, "God is love." That's the kind of progress we see time and again.

Then she told me something else. During our conversation, I mentioned that this church was one of the first I had called on when I first came onboard with Alpha, a year or two ago, and I remembered recognizing what a heart she had for the young people of her neighbourhood. She told me that she was in her office that day praying, feeling she was at a bit of an impasse, and asking God what she could do to reach these kids.

"Within a half an hour, " she told me today, "You walked into my office."

Have I told you I love my job?

Blessings,
John

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Done Too Soon - St Paul Alberta

You may have heard of the shooting incident in St Paul Alberta on Friday. I woke up to the news early Saturday morning. Three RCMP officers were wounded and one man, the shooter, killed. What came to light later is that there was another shooting victim. Police have not, at time of writing, definitely connected the two incidents, but the first man killed was a Catholic priest. His name was Father Gilbert Dasna, an assistant priest at the Cathedral in St Paul. St Paul Cathedral Parish is an Alpha parish. They were one of the churches who participated in Alberta2013. I had not met Fr. Dasna, and I hadn't made it out to St Paul for a visit yet this year. That was going to come on a trip to Bonnyville and Cold Lake.

My heart is heavy tonight. Who could have known, but I wish I'd made it.

Please pray for the people of St Paul and all grieving over the loss of these lives. Lift up the people of St Paul Cathedral Parish as they mourn the loss of one of their leaders.

Blessings,
John

Friday, 9 May 2014

Whirlwind Tours

Because, as the title of this blog indicates, this is a diary, it will not always contain great theological or philosophical revelations. Sometimes it will be just what a diary is - a record of my thoughts and/or activities.

I have set myself a bit of a busy schedule over the next two weeks, but that's the whole point, isn't it. Even though this is my retirement career, I still treat it as a full-time job. Basically, I do my best to devote 9-5, five days a week to my Alpha duties, and Saturday and Sunday are never ruled out if Alpha stuff needs attention.

So... my schedule as it stands so far for the next couple of weeks includes two presentations at St Paul's Anglican Church in Edmonton this Sunday, trips to Westlock and Morinville, AB, a Pastors' lunch presentation in Whitecourt and visits to churches in Provost, Wainwright and Lloydminster.

One thing I like to do wherever I go is check out a bit of each town's history and sources of local pride. Many Alberta communities seem to have the world's biggest something. I smile as I drive the various highways and imagine the towns and their people and the pride they must feel at the honour of having the world's largest egg, or sausage, or lamp, or drilling rig, or what-have-you.

You may remember this episode of the TV show, "Corner Gas." It still makes me chuckle as I watch it, although [WARNING] some content may be considered mildly questionable by some.


Blessings,
John

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Back in the Alpha Trenches

We launched our latest Alpha Monday night at Christ the King Edmonton. We had our team of 4 plus 7 prospective guests, plus a couple of visitors who didn't intend to join the course, but came either for the free food  or just to keep someone company.

I figured:
  1. the Alberta Regional Director's church should be running Alpha, and
  2. the Alberta Regional Director shouldn't necessarily be the one coordinating it.
However, I compromised on the second point to accomplish the first. Our congregation is just a year old, so there was not an overly-large talent pool of experienced, "Alphaholics" from which to pick an actual coordinator, although a couple of wonderful women did step forward as helpers. I invited a friend who was a great Alpha team member a few years back, hoping that he might join our new congregation and become, "the Alpha Guy" next time. (Don't tell him I said that - you'll give away my secret agenda.)

So... at the moment we look to have two small groups, with the possibility that more might arrive next Monday. I have made it known that we are open to receive new guests for another week or so, even if they missed the intro and the first week. Frankly, I have always made it my policy, as an Alpha Coordinator, to discourage new guests from arriving after week 2 (The Why Did Jesus Die? talk). That session is so powerful that I think they will have missed the real core of the message as presented on Alpha. That's not a firm rule, but just my preference.

Having said that, I spoke to one church who ran Alpha for a support group for single mothers. One young mother came to the introductory meal, then was unable to make any more meetings until the celebration meal at the end of the course. She accepted Christ at that second session. God will work in His own way, despite all our planning. "The Lord knows those who are His..." (2 Timothy 2:19)
At any rate, there comes a point on an Alpha course when new people coming in disrupt, to put it bluntly, the dynamics of the small groups and the intimacy that is developing.

Every Alpha is new and every Alpha is different. Every Alpha presents its own challenges and its own surprises, but every Alpha is its own adventure. I'm looking forward to see what God has in store for this one.

Blessings,
John

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Pre-Alpha: The Existence of God, Episode II, How Did Stuff Get Here?


Walter Martin, founder of the Christian Research Institute, put it this way: There are two possibilities; either something in the universe is eternal, or something came from nothing.

If something came from nothing, we have to ask, “OK, how?” How did something come from nothing? I mean absolutely nothing - anything that was there before the beginning is not nothing. And for those who insist on proving everything scientifically, how does one explain this. 

So… first possibility – something is eternal. If this is the case, we have to ask, “What is it?" Two choices - it must either be matter, or whatever created matter. I can’t see a third alternative. Either matter – that is all the atoms and molecules in the universe - have been here forever, or at some time in the past they didn’t exist and then they somehow began to exist. But that still leaves the question; if matter is eternal, where did it come from? How did it come into being in the first place? If it came into being at some point, how? The question is the same in both cases; if matter is eternal, how did it get here? If it is not... well... how did it get here?

Most scientists agree that the universe had a beginning – the Big Bang, but where did all the atoms and molecules, the actual physical stuff involved, come from? Scientists will also tell us that not only did the universe have a beginning, but that it is expanding outward. But if the universe is eternal, and is expanding, it has been expanding for an infinite length of time. Therefore, it would have expanded to infinity already. If it has been expanding for infinity, it would already have expanded to infinity. There would be no more room for expansion. Therefore, because it is still expanding, it has not existed eternally.  

So if matter has not been here from infinity past, that leaves whoever or whatever created matter. People might ask, “Who created God?” Well that question is irrelevant. God is not stuff. God is Spirit, as the Bible says. God is not physical, so the same questions don’t apply. We ask the question about the origins of matter scientifically. Science doesn’t concern itself with the non-physical. So the question comes back to this: What is eternal, matter or the creator of matter. I believe reason would lead us to believe that if anything is eternal, it is whatever caused matter to come into existence.

That then leads us to ask another question. It is this: is there anything outside of the purely physical, or is “stuff” all there is? I’ll talk about this in another post, but for now, just something to think about.
Blessings,
John

Monday, 5 May 2014

Pre-Alpha. The Existence of God. Episode 1: Question Everything


Alberta2013 was a media campaign for Alpha in Alberta, Canada, in the fall of 2013. The tag line was, “Question Everything.”  I remember seeing a comment on a website to the effect that if everyone questioned everything there would be a lot more atheists, and I thought immediately, “No, there would be a lot fewer.” 

I came to faith at the age of 45, so I’ve been on both sides of this theistic fence, so to speak, and recently enough to remember both sides. And I’m not stupid. Years ago I applied for membership in Mensa and fell a half a percentile short. I don’t say that as a boast, just to point out that to be a theist, to believe in God, doesn’t automatically mean one has a low IQ. Many of the most intelligent people throughout history have been theists, and I don’t think any reasonable person could accuse them of being stupid or gullible.

I have a sort of engineering mind – I like to see how things work. I like to see things make sense. I like to see how things fit together. In fact, I know a number of engineers who are Christians. In my opinion, the Christian faith makes sense; it is entirely internally consistent; everything fits. My journey to faith began by just thinking – pondering various philosophical questions and gradually coming to the realization that it made just as much sense that God existed as that He didn’t. From there, of course, in my case, it progressed to becoming a certainty. 

Ultimately, the existence of God can be neither be proven nor disproven, and that is not my point here. In fact, as has been said, God is not so much proven as known. All I want to do is accomplish two things:

  1. to establish that theists are not, out of hand, stupid, unthinking or gullible people, and
  2. to get people to ask, think about, investigate and address certain questions.

I’m a Christian, and I have no fear of questioning everything about my faith. In fact, over the last twenty-odd years, I have. And I must say that the questioning, while it may have raised some doubts at times, when I really thought (and prayed) things completely through, has really made my thinking more certain. It has reinforced my faith; made it stronger. If something is true, it need not fear being questioned.

The Alpha course begins with Jesus; who is he and is he who he said he is? But I think there’s also a place for going back a step and examining the existence of God as well. So… to engage any atheists who might see this, or even to engage the thoughts of fellow Christians, I will from time to time compose a few posts giving my thoughts on the matter.

Stay tuned
Blessings,
John

Friday, 2 May 2014

Alpha in Alberta, 2013

Great video showing all the churches who participated in Alberta2013 with Alpha. I love watching this because I see all the churches I was in touch with last year. Many of the people who participated in Alpha in 2013 also enjoy seeing it, as they often know various churches or the people in them.





Blessings,
John

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Alberta2013 - What A Ride!


Here are final stats, now official, for Alpha in Alberta for 2013.
In 2012, there were 61 churches or organizations running 111 Alpha's.
In 2013, there were 325 running 911.
What a difference a year, a lot of work by a great team, and the LORD's blessing make!
 
Blessings,
 
John