Sunday, January 1, 2012

Thailand or Bust! Team Thai is on a Mission

A twelve-person team from Gospel Chapel will travel to Thailand January 12-30, 2012. Nicknamed: “Team Thai,” they will have a lot of work to do in this mainly Buddhist (92%) country! Ministering alongside veteran MB missionaries Ricky & Karen Sanchez and their four daughters (Sierra, Tassanee, McKenna & Aree), as well as Gospel Chapel’s own Dave & Bonny Dittrich who are already in Thailand.

The area Team Thai is traveling to is Chonburi, on the Gulf of Thailand. Chonburi has an international harbor and trades with countries all over the world. This area is also a fishing center for the central Thailand region. The small village Team Thai will work in is called Ang Sila { Latitude. 13.3°, Longitude. 100.93° }.

The team will be working primarily with the Abundant Life Home (ALH) project – which is an HIV+ orphanage located in the small, rural fishing village of Ang Sila (about an hour southeast from Bangkok). Team Thai will assist with repair (and future preventative) work from the devastating floods experienced late last year, conduct a 4-day VBS-type program (evangelistic) in a nearby slum area, provide respite for the orphanage care-takers who never get a day off(!) as well as construction and finishing projects at the orphanage and surrounding area. Basically, we will be doing whatever tasks are assigned to us. We are thankful for the opportunity to help.

Team Thai ‘s original mandate was to be of assistance in whatever way was requested at the ALH orphanage. The severity of the flooding this past year has altered (or added to!?) this mandate, for which the team is ready and willing to help. The “official” missions trip will “end” January 23/12, however the team has chosen to stay an extra week to finish projects and offer needed assistance. As a result, this extra week’s expenses will be covered by each participant. The majority of the trip cost is the flight to Thailand -- which is partially why the team agreed to stay longer (once there, why not offer all the help possible?!).

The selection of the members of Team Thai was an interesting collaboration of God’s prompting and individual responses. In order for teams to work well together, their attitudes and wills must be flexible and sensitive to God’s Spirit. The team selected by God to work together in Thailand is fantastic! We look forward to reporting back to you in February.
Team Thai wants to thank you, Gospel Chapel for your love and support!

Book Review: With by Skye Jethani

With, reimagining the way you relate to God. by Skye Jethani. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2011.

I was first introduced to Skye Jethani's book With, through a Missions conference talk he gave at Moody in 2010. Skye spoke on the story of the prodigal son and talked about the prodigal son and the elder brother. He pointed out that neither the prodigal son nor the elder brother wanted to be "with" the father. The prodigal son wanted the gifts that the father had but didn't want to be around the Father. The elder brother was working hard for the father, devoting his life to doing what the father wanted him to do, but didn't really know the father, either. But the Father wanted to be with his sons.

The book With expands on this idea. Skye introduces 5 ways of relating to God: Life under God, life over God, life from God, life for God, and life with God. The prodigal son is an example of life over God. Jethani says, "LIFE OVER GOD effectively cuts out the middleman and gives us direct control over our lives"

The elder brother is an example of life for God. Life for God places God's mission over knowing God, Himself. Neither of these ways of relating to God is adequate to give us real inner peace and significance in our lives. Only Life With God, the life God intended for us will bring real hope, faith and love.

The appendix offers specific exercises to encourage a deepening of our communion with God.

My response

This was the most profound book that I read in 2011. This was a game changing book. I recognized so many of my own attitudes in the Life For God chapter. I appreciated the candour and gentleness that Jethani approaches each attitude, pointing out its weak points and leading the reader toward a more balanced view of God and His desire to be "with" his children.

What does Life With God actually look like? Emmanuel. Jesus Christ, God come in the Flesh to be with us. The essence of the Good News of the Kingdom is Jesus Christ. Jethani states,

"The LIFE WITH GOD posture is predicated on the view that relationship is at the core of the cosmos: God the Father with God the Son with God the Holy Spirit. And so we should not be surprised to discover that when God desired to restore His broken relationship with people, he sent his Son to dwell with us. His plan to restore his creation was not to send a list of rules and rituals to follow (LIFE UNDER GOD), nor was it the implementation of useful principles (LIFE OVER GOD). He did not send a genie to grant us our desires (LIFE FROM GOD), nor did he give us a task to accomplish (LIFE FOR GOD). Instead God himself came to be with us."

This is a powerful statement. This book changed the way I think of what the Gospel is. For me it is no longer simply that Jesus died on the cross so that my sins can be forgiven. The gospel is bigger than that. Jesus came to be with us, Emmanuel. But, Christ did not come as “Emmanuel, God with us,” so He could save people from sin. Christ saved people from sin, so that God could be “with us.” Reading this book will give you a broader idea of what the Gospel is and will open for you a new and more intimate way of relating to God.

Thomas Nelson has released the first chapter of With, reimagining the way you relate to God online. Get it here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Revealed: The Gospel Chapel Theme for 2012

Hear ye, hear ye!!!

Since what people think of Jesus is sooooo important (think of Jesus’ own question to His disciples: “And who do you say that I Am”)

and, Since I want people to recognize that Jesus Christ is Incomparable and,

Since I really desire to grow in my knowledge of Jesus (think of the apostle Paul’s central passion to know Christ)and

since the most important pursuit for every believer needs to be growing in the knowledge (intimate relationship) of Christ

and, Since I desire that our church family make the greatest impact for His glory

I have chosen the following theme for 2012:THE ADVENTURE OF KNOWING THE INCOMPARABLE JESUS!

Let’s trust God for the best year ever for Gospel Chapel as together we pursue our Lord Jesus Christ in 2012.

Glory to God in the highest!
Pastor Henry

Image under Creative Commons licence: Biblevector

Friday, November 4, 2011

Never Alone

"Never Alone" is a guest post by Angie Murray-Bellerive

Winter is here. It sort of snuck up on us like a thief in the night. The days were deceptively bright with sunshine; then at night, a thick blanket of frost layered on everything, killing it for the long cold season ahead.

Winter is so much like a dining alone when you would so much rather have someone with you. Going into a restaurant and saying, “one, there’s just one today; just me.” For many, there’s an uncomfortable chill that goes with those words. We have those times when loneliness sets in and there’s not much anyone can do about it. So many times we feel like everything that should be alive around us is dead.

So, what do you do? Is there something we can do about that gap in our lives that feels cold and empty? Is there a way we can make the glossy green leaves stay on the trees or the water stay warm or the flowers cling to the stems? Is there a way?

The warmth we seek can’t be found in forcing the seasons to remain in the summer mode. Real warmth and real comfort and real contentment is found deep within us.
The medical community have told me that I do not have long to live due to cancer that was found. When I was told, it was like a city closing its doors and dust bowls sweeping and rolling took the place of bustling activities. How can this be? Now what? It was spring, but it felt like winter. The loneliness and the fear that crept up could not be measured by anyone.

The only thing that never took root was fear. How was that possible? It was possible because I knew that prayer changed things, even really big things like a death prediction. The folks in the community of faith told me that I was not alone. Was that true? Even bigger was that no one is ever alone, no matter what they are going through and no matter what has happened. Where mistakes have been made, forgiveness was freely given. Those mistakes that the bible calls sin, are washed away just for the asking.

The pain in our lives may not go away, but we can certainly continue to pray that it does. Healing is possible in many cases if we are faithful and pray fervently. It doesn’t always happen right away, and sometimes for reasons that no one understands, doesn’t happen at all, but we are not ever left alone.

When Christ promised that a part of himself, the Holy Spirit would remain with us, He meant it. When we have that dining alone feeling, we can remember that we are not truly alone. Jesus is always with us. He came to forgive us, heal us and make us new. All we have to do is ask, and He will be there.

Photo credit: Sarah Dalziel

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pancake Breakfast at Gospel Chapel this Saturday

The Community Pancake Breakfast begins at 7am this Saturday at Gospel Chapel. This is a delicious full breakfast with eggs, sausages and pancakes to start your weekend right.

All proceeds will support the Christmas Food Hamper project, providing food for needy families from Christina Lake to Beaverdell.

So no matter where you live, come out and support this worthwhile cause. Donations of nonperishable food will also be gratefully accepted.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How to read your Bible part 1 (A starters guide to following Christ)

Start Here:

Becoming a Christian and choosing to follow Jesus Christ can be a tough experience. You heard the good news, you met some Christians, and now you're wondering what's next?

Well I thought it would be cool to do a few articles for those of you who recently accepted Christ or for those who want to start taking their faith more seriously.

Lets get started!

The Bible

The best place to start is the Bible. This is where truth can be found and where we gain understanding for how to follow Jesus. Without this book we would be completely lost. This book is God’s word to us yesterday, today, and tomorrow. To know how to properly use this book we need to start with where we find wisdom.

The Way of Wisdom

Wisdom can be gained through one of three ways:

1. Personal Experience

I can learn from my experiences. For example I learned that if I kicked a hornets nest it resulted in pain…a lot of pain. Therefore I gained wisdom never to do that again!

2. Other people’s experience

I don’t have to try everything to know if it can hurt or help me, I can learn from seeing others make the mistakes before I do. Wisdom therefore can be gained when I observe other people’s experiences.

3. From God

The Holy Bible is about God. It was written by God, using the hands of men. This is the ONLY wisdom that is ultimate. This is where I can gain knowledge of God and learn more about Him. The Bible is NOT about me, it’s all about God.

The Bible also provides wisdom that shows me how to live on a very practical level. It tells me how to get along with other people. It lets me know what things are important in life and what things aren't.

Do you want to know more? Read the book of Proverbs in the Bible. It's near the middle, after the book of Psalms.

Knowing that the Bible is where the wisdom of God can be found helps us all to know how to follow Jesus. This is where we have to start. This is where we need to stay until God calls us home.

No one is exempt from studying God’s word since it should continually draw us to God. Have you read your Bible today?

-Benjamin Jepsen

You can read more from Ben on his Blog

(Photo credit: "High into the Mist" by Evgeni Dinev)

Your Turn:

What have you read lately that gave you insight? Was it in the Bible? Tell me more.

Help this blog:

Can you please help me get the word out about "Helping People Follow Jesus" . We want to help as many people as we can to find the answers that they need to live a more peaceful and productive life.

Please tell your friends. Mention this post on Facebook. And become a follower using the box on the right.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Getting daily with devotions

Do you struggle with reading your Bible every day? Do you get out of bed with intent to read your Bible and then get distracted by emails, or Facebook messages, and miss out? You aren't alone in your struggle.

Many Christians desire to read their Bible daily and fail. Don't beat yourself up over your lack of Bible reading. Instead, make a plan to succeed in this beneficial habit and you'll beat the distractions.

First, know that you are in a battle. There are forces outside yourself that are distracting you and interfering with your inner desire to read the Bible daily. When you read the Bible you will defeat those forces.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Eph. 6:12 NIV)

Why you should read your Bible every day?

Bible reading feeds your spirit and your mind.

Just like eating physical food nourishes your body and sustains your physical life, reading your Bible nourishes your spirit and mind and helps you grow closer to God, transforming your thinking.

Bible reading changes your thinking.

Reading the Bible changes the way you think. It renews your mind. It short circuits the defeating messages that go through your mind every day, and replaces them with God's love messages for you.

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:2. NIV)

Reading the Bible changes your behaviour

By thinking differently, you can change defeating habits. Many problems have their roots in negative thinking. "I do everything wrong." "I'm stupid." "Nothing ever works for me." "I am always to blame." Negative thoughts zap your energy and prevent you from making beneficial changes in your actions and feelings. By changing how you think -- renewing your mind -- you can overcome the habits that hurt you. Daily Bible reading will help you short circuit the negative thoughts and change you, making you stronger.

Make daily Bible reading a habit

It takes 30 days to develop a habit -- so start today and commit to reading your Bible every day for 30 days. When you do anything regularly, 30 days of repetition will form the habit in your life. After 30 days, the habit will be formed, making every day of Bible reading easier, like eating or brushing your teeth. Start now.

How you can short circuit the hindrance

When you decide that you are going to work to form a new habit, you will have interference. That doesn't make you weak-willed or lazy. Look for the things that are hindering you from making the good choice to read your Bible and confront the hindrance head-on.

Are your emails and Facebook friends getting their messages to you before God's message can reach you in the morning?

Make Bible Gateway your homepage. Bible Gateway has several daily Bible reading plans that will meet your needs. Sign up for a plan and that will be the first thing you see when you open your web browser. Read it first and get God's message to you, before you connect with your friends.

Are your eyes struggling to read the Bible, making the task tiring?

My husband struggled to read his Bible every morning because of aging eyes. His progressive lenses made reading small print very difficult, compelling him to remove his glasses and squint at the page to make sense of it. Getting prescription reading glasses made the task of Bible reading easy on his eyes, and changed his attitude toward Bible reading. Perhaps a change in prescription or storing an extra pair of reading glasses with your Bible will make daily Bible reading more enjoyable for you.

Are you a nonreader who is guilt-ridden because the task of reading is daunting?

Change the format of your daily devotions by listening instead of reading. Bible Gateway has several audio Bibles available for you to listen to. You pick the book and the chapter, make sure Flash Player is installed on your computer, and press play. Close your eyes and let God's word transform you.

If you've never read the Bible before, a good place to start is "The Story of Jesus", a concise single narrative of the life of Christ, based on the NIV bible. You can listen to it at Bible Gateway.

Do you find the Bible difficult to understand?

Pray and ask God to open your mind and give you understanding before you start to read. He will.

What is hindering you from forming the habit of daily Bible reading? Have you found ways to overcome the resistance? Leave a comment.

Guest post by Chris. Read Chris' blog.