Friday, 27 February 2015

The, "Omega" Years

Sally Start, Alpha Ambassador
 Something from Sally Start, our Alpha Canada Ambassador
"How do you want your life to count? What can you leave behind that cannot lose its value? "
As I say in my little blurb to the right, Alpha is my retirement career. I hope to do it until either God or my boss tells me it's time to quit.

I may have mentioned this in another post, but I remember, a number of years ago, a woman, exactly my age, who came to faith on an Alpha weekend. I remember her saying, through tears, that she thought her life up to that point had been a total waste. It brought to my mind, and I shared with her the verse from Esther 4:14b
       "And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
I came to faith rather late in life, when I was 45. I could be tempted to envy those who have known the Lord all their lives, but that would not be fruitful. I'm sure God knew exactly the right time to reel me in, and I can accept His timing. But the journey is not over until it's over. It's not over until we hear, "Come up here." God has something for us to do in every season of our lives. His mission for us may change with our years, but it is never over.

Life has just begun. Are you ready for what's to come?

Blessings,

John

P.S: I took those last words from a song by Creed. The song may not be to everyone's taste, but I think it's a great thought in a Christian context. I often think of it in preparation for an Alpha weekend (which we are starting tonight, if you are in a praying mood). In any case, here is a link to it. Click on "Show More" to see the lyrics.

Friday, 13 February 2015

'5 Things I Love About Working with Protestants,'

By Josh Canning, Alpha Canada's Coordinator for Alpha for Catholics.

Nicky Gumbel of Alpha meets Pope Francis in 2014
Here... is a wonderfully written article by my friend and colleague Josh for Canadian Catholic. I hope it will be convicting of all Christians of the reality that there is only one Body of Christ, and all who truly believe are a part of it.

It reminds me of this song:



Break Dividing Walls
There is a place of commanded blessing
Where brethren in unity dwell
A place where anointing oil is flowing
Where we live as one

You have called us to be a body
You have called us as friends
Joined together in the bond of the Spirit
Unto the end

Father we join with the prayer of Jesus
As You are so let us be one
Joined together in unity and purpose
All for the love of Your Son

We will break dividing walls
We will break dividing walls
We will break dividing walls
In the name of Your Son
We will break dividing walls
We will break dividing walls
And we will be one

David Ruis
© 1993 Mercy / Vineyard Publishing (Admin. by Vineyard Music USA)

Blessings,

John

Friday, 6 February 2015

Back From Calgary

Back home from my 2-day trip to Calgary, and a great trip it was.

Once again, my trip was predicated on my being able to meet with Deacon Adrian Martens of the Catholic Diocese of Calgary. And like the fleece I had laid in a previous post, this one came through. In other words, if this meeting was arranged, I would go, if not, I wouldn't.

But this meeting was only the trigger, so to speak. Other appointments I had, or made, are as follows:

Wednesday, late morning and afternoon:
  • a very encouraging meeting with Jerry Orthner of Foothills Alliance.
  • another great meeting with Pastor Jin Kim of the Calgary Korean Presbyterian Church. Pastor Jin is a youngish man who came to Calgary from California, and you will probably join me in wondering, "Why?" I get a kick out of his e-mail address. I won't give the whole thing, but it is, joey2daworld@(something or other dot something or other) Maybe it's just me, but I love it!
  • a meeting with Pastor Allan Pole of New Beginnings Church at his home out in the country north of Calgary. The reason we had to meet there was that he had fallen and broken his ankle and wasn't able to leave the house. I'm developing a growing appreciation for Google Maps on my phone, because it led me right there, as soon as I got the county right.
  • My meeting with Deacon Adrian of the Catholic Diocese of Calgary, along with Mark Richards, our very enthusiastic and extremely helpful Alpha for Catholics coach in Calgary. Our discussion centered around how to get more parishes involved with Alpha, and Mark had the excellent suggestion that we focus, in parallel with the parishes, on getting the Youth Film Series into more Catholic schools. That way we might create interest in both schools and parishes. More on that to come as it develops.
  • I was invited to join Faith Lutheran at their Alpha supper. This is their first Alpha, and I must say they did it wonderfully. Their team brought various potluck dishes for a delicious spread. The video last night was week 2 of the 7-week Alpha - "Why Did Jesus Die." They usually have about 30 people involved, and 8 - 10 of those are invited guests from outside the church. May God bless that Alpha and provide a great harvest.
Thursday:
  • Coffee at Tim Horton's with an Alpha friend and coordinator, Robin, from Cochrane, who has run Alpha for a number of years. I invited her to become an Alpha coach, and she was pleased to accept.
  • I had also been meaning to contact Fr Andrew Pyon at St Mary's Catholic Parish in Cochrane, so I called and left a message before my above-mentioned coffee at Tim's. He called back during that meeting, so I just let it go through to voicemail, and listened to it as I drove to my next appointment. Fr Andrew apologized, but said he had many issues to deal with, so wasn't looking to run Alpha right now - maybe next year. After I listened to his message, I had what I thought was a brilliant stroke of genius, so emailed him back later. Why not, I said, have some of his people join Robin's Alpha, right there in Cochrane. He wouldn't have to be involved, and this might give his potential Alpha leaders an introduction and some training for when they do decide to run it. I've not yet heard back, but praying (and perhaps if you read this, you would too), for a positive response.
  • lunch with Earl, his wife and his pastor from Life of Faith Church. A very positive meeting. Earl is determined to make this a great experience for his church and his guests, and with the diligence and care he shows, I'm sure it will be.
  • Dropped in to Glamorgan Church of God, where the lead pastor was not in, but the associate pastor has run Alpha for Youth and loved it.
  • Coffee at another Tim's with Leeanne, who coordinates Alpha at Skyview Church of the Nazarene. I arrived at the coffee shop about 20 minutes before she did, but when she walked in, she came right up to me and said, "Hey, we've met before." It turns out we had. Two years ago my wife and I were walking down the laneway from Holy Trinity Brompton in London England, home of the Alpha course, when we met a couple of young women, one of whom, it turned out, was from Canada. She was a young lady who was serving at HTB, and I don't remember exactly how our conversation started at the time, but we learned that she was from Calgary and was spending 2 years in England. I joked today that she had come all the way back to Calgary just to meet me again in a Tim Horton's coffee shop.
That was it. It was 4 o'clock and time for me to start my drive back to Edmonton. Well, OK, Leduc. There was a snowfall and hazardous driving warning for the Edmonton area, and so I prayed for travelling safety as I left. The highway was fine out of Calgary, but talking to my wife, she assured me it was treacherous closer to Edmonton.

But off I went. Once out of the rush hour traffic in Calgary, I was able to travel the 110 km/hr limit. By the time I got to Red Deer and stopped for gas, the roads were still good; a little blowing snow, but still driveable at the speed limit. The further I drove, I found my prayer changing to something like, "Lord, I don't know when I'm going to hit the bad stuff, but I thank you for every kilometer of good road You give me."

Well, Highway 2 was basically clear right up to  the turnoff I take to get to my house, a couple of clicks off the main highway. Then and only then did I see the 10 - 20 cm of snow I had been warned about, but then it didn't matter. I was safely home.  Now, I don't know if God kept the roads clear for me. If He did, every motorist travelling the same route benefitted as well.

I can't be sure, but I'll thank Him anyway.

Blessings,

John