Saturday, 10 December 2016

Perhaps the CIA can Give an Answer (Bumped and Updated)

здравствуйте
Which means, "Hello," in Russian. At least Google says it does, so I hope it is not some terrible insult.

Blogger tracks page visits to this blog, and again lately there have been quite a few visits from Russia. In the hundreds in fact. My tongue in cheek title for this post refers to the current news that the CIA accuses Russia of interfering in the recent American election. Well, if they want to know about Alpha, I'll be glad to tell them everything they need to know, even with no hacking. I'd even come over to do training if they'd pay my way, although the only Russian I know is, "Hello." And that only to write.

Interesting indeed. Perhaps we will see a growth of Alpha there.



Есус ловес ею Jesus Loves you.
Есус ванц то кнов ею Jesus wants to know you
Ооо сан кнов хим алсо You can know him too

#аттенд Alpha #RunAlpha

Blessings,

John

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Always Changing

Not me; Alpha numbers. I can't keep up. I believe I posted recently that there have been 650 Alphas run in Alberta in 2016, and that I didn't expect many more, as it was so late in the year. Well, I now see that number is up to 677. I don't think I have much to do with it, but it is such a blessing to me to see how many churches have it on their heart to reach out to those in their communities who do not yet have  Jesus Christ in their lives.

This picture is from the course-end Celebration Supper at Beulah Alliance in Edmonton, to which their fantastic Evangelism Pastor, Angie, invited Eva and me. Beulah is one of my best Alpha churches (they run, in various contexts and venues, about 30 Alphas a year), and Angie, who calls herself, an "Alphaholic," is not only a very good friend, but one of the most passionate and enthusiastic people I've ever seen on behalf of the Lord. The supper was attended by about 140 people; graduates from their just-completed courses and their invited guests. It struck me that Beulah's Alpha supper had more people than some congregations. And we're concerned with church growth! Alpha, run properly, in the context of a real invitational culture, is, I would say, one sure way of ensuring church growth.

Having said that, let me say that that is not our primary focus. Our real goal is Kingdom growth. Our task is to obey what I personally see as the first prerequisite of Christ's Great Commission (go and make disciples), which is first to go and make Christians. (Even that seems to have come out wrong - all we do is make the introduction to Jesus. He, by his Holy Spirit, actually does the, "making").

Alpha called me the other day and told me I should take some holidays, as I still had three weeks coming, so I suppose I'm officially now on holidays, even though I'm still sending and receiving emails, making and receiving phone calls, and prepared to meet with key contacts who want me to help them with Alpha. Have I ever said, "I love my job?"

Blessings,

Happy Advent,

John

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Great Stories

Back from Southern Alberta and to a certain extent looking toward Christmas and the end of the year. I don't have any major trips planned between now and then, but Alpha never sleeps, nor would I want it to. I consider myself to be constantly, "on call."

In the last little while I've heard some great Alpha stories and had some encouraging meetings. A story about an Alpha table leader who came to Alpha looking to serve behind the scenes but was thrown directly into the fire, so to speak, and was incredibly blessed by the experience.

A story about a couple with a young family, relatively new to the faith, with almost no Christian background or experience who found that Alpha strengthened not only their faith but their marriage as well.

A meeting with the Senior Pastor of a fairly large church, influential in its community, whose Alpha attracted 200 guests, and is turning out to be very fruitful. This church is hoping to integrate Alpha into its small group program, as well as running it in a local high school in the new year. It is already involved in running it in an area community college.

All in all, as they say at McDonald's, "I'm lovin' it!"

Blessings,

John