Monday, February 28, 2011

travel woes

Traveling in Canada in February is challenging and always has the potential for surprises.

As I mentioned in my post on Saturday, our early Saturday morning flight was canceled due to the blizzard New Brunswick received overnight Friday. Liz came down with a flu and was not feeling very much like traveling, so when they cancelled our flights it gave us the opportunity to get her tickets refunded. We were able to reschedule the rest of our flights (Kevin, Venus and myself) for Saturday night, to depart Moncton at 8:40pm. The biggest setback to this being the camp truck. It seems, based on the symptoms, that the alternator needs either a good smack in the head or replacement. As we won't be able to get it looked at until a weekday, we had to scramble to find a way to the airport. Venus will not be returning with us so we had thought her car wouldn't be an option. But as time and options ran out we decided to talk to her about it and made arrangements to use her car. Kevin and I will return the car to Fredericton when we get back next Wednesday.

I had planned to sleep in on Saturday to prepare for our long travel into the night Saturday night, but woke up at 8am. So I got up and got busy with the tractor, blowing the 18 plus inches of snow out of the driveways so we could be mobile later in the day. I had no sooner finished the plowing and was closing up the shop when the garage door slipped off it's pully and wouldn't close. Roger came to the rescue and with his help we had the door fixed in five minutes flat. Crisis averted!

Kevin, Venus and I caught our flight in Moncton at 8:40, our flight was only about ten minutes late leaving. It was, however quite a bit longer than our typical flight time from Moncton to Toronto. Instead of the usual hour and forty five minutes it was much closer to two and a half. Which left us less than ten minutes to make our connection in Toronto. But our connecting flight was delayed by an hour, so we had time for a leasurely supper at the deli near our gate. We boarded our Edmonton flight at 12:30am (ATL), but it was short a few passengers from a connecting flight and their luggage was already on the plane. They never showed, so we had to wait while their luggage was removed. In the meantime, our aircraft developed a healthy snow and ice buildup as it was storming in Toronto. So we had another half hour wait as we went through central de-icing. We arrived in Edmonton at 6:30am (ATL) and were very kindly met by Tom and Donna Cnosson who ferried us to their home. We arrived there at about 7:30am (ATL) and were able to have about three hours of sleep before we rose for church.

After church we headed for KBI in Lac La Biche. Our trip from Edmonton up wasn't without it's adventure. There was quite a snowstorm in the Edmonton area and the roads were quite slick. We saw fourteen cars off the road in a short stretch. But thankfully, the weather cleared as we drove north. We arrived here at 5:30pm, just in time for dinner.

It was a long journey, and we are certainly weary, but it has been nice to reconnect with friends from across the country. I'm looking forward to a great week here in Alberta.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Spinning our wheels...

NCEM is hosting a week of meetings in Lac La Biche at KBI for missionaries from across the country. Kevin, Venus, Liz and I were scheduled to fly out of Moncton tomorrow morning at 7:25am. As of this morning that flight was canceled. We rescheduled our flight for tomorrow night at 8:40 to arrive in Edmonton at 1:00am local time.

This afternoon it began to snow, but suppertime we had about a foot of snow down. And the blizzard is scheduled to start about midnight. We still have our power for now! But to complicate things, the alternator seems to have quit in the ANBC truck, so we are now stranded without transport to the airport. In the morning I will need to plow and we will try to find a drive to the airport in time to catch our flight... there certainly seem to have been a lot of obstacles to this journey.

Please keep us in prayer as we try to get ourselves to the West for these meetings. We are scheduled for several days of camp meetings at headquarters as well, which will be quite valuable, providing we get there.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Gospel of Jesus Christ

This is a short video I put together using a few audio bites from various sermons by preacher and evangelist Paul Washer. The truth is, that coming to Christ is not about simply keeping ourselves out of Hell. It's about seeking after righteousness, it's about falling on our faces before a terrible and awesome and Holy God (Nehimiah 9:32) and repenting for the vile sins in us and continuing to seek after Him in ALL things. Without Christ we are damned.

In All Things, Christ!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rolling to a Halt.

Yesterday as we pulled out of the yard we had no idea that our little car would never be returning. As we drove to an appointment in a neighboring community the car made some strange noises. Little did we know but, although the gauges never fluttered the engine had run out of coolant and just as we pulled into the parking lot of our destination the car breathed it's last, and coughed out one small little puff of smoke. Unfortunately, because of the age and condition of the car, it is not worth attempting a resurrection. It will be going to a junk yard tomorrow. I salvaged the tires and battery and will get as much as I can for them on Kijiji.

Since we are going to be out West for a couple of weeks beginning this weekend we won't be looking for a replacement vehicle until we return. Please keep this in prayer, that we might be able to find a suitable vehicle within our means.

Extra Extra!

Our local Newspaper, The Grand Lake Mirror, recently interviewed Kevin and I for an article about Arrowhead. We felt it would be a great way to let the community know that we're here, and what we do. We've often been surprised by how many local people we encounter that have never heard of us. Below is the article as it appeared in the paper (click the image to enlarge it).

Monday, February 21, 2011


I am obese. I take no pride in it, but as of today, my body mass index is high and I am considered obese. I had a scare three months ago with respect to my blood pressure and my doctor put me on a strict diet. Since then I have lost some weight and have begun to feel much better, my goal is yet distant, but achievable. What has taken place in my life is a change of lifestyle, not just in what I eat, but how and why. Initially this change in lifestyle was borne out of a fear for my health, but as the months have come and gone, I've begun to think seriously about the greater ramifications of my health with respect to my spiritual life.

It is sinful to smoke. I've "known" this my entire life. I've often heard Christians expound on the evils of cigarettes and cigars. I've even, at one time, heard it asked if someone could really be a Christian and smoke tobacco? Inevitably the following passage is quoted:

"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own," ~ I Corinthians 6:19

The idea here is not that the act of smoking is a sin, but that the sin is in the willful destruction of the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Our body is a valuable and delicate gift.

"Every act of fornication, adultery, or any other sin is committed by the believer in the sanctuary, the Holy of Holies, where God dwells." ~ John MacArthur

Our bodies are surrendered to Christ when we accept and serve Him at the cross. The Holy Spirit indwells us and we become living sacrifices to Him. Our bodies are not our own, we are to be stewards of them as we seek to serve God with the time we have on Earth.

"Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food"—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body." I Corinthians 6:13

It is widely accepted that smoking is very damaging to the human body. And, I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone who would contradict the idea that the damage to the body by the smoking of cigarettes is sinful.

Is it sinful to be obese? This is where walls go up, and in favour of polite interaction and not offending a brother we begin to make excuses. The time has come that we must get beyond our pride and have conversations with one another that are true and compelling. Certainly there must be love, but ultimately there should be truth. As Western Christians, we have become far too comfortable with telling lies to each other (and ourselves) for the sake of propriety. It's time for some hard truth! If you find yourself offended by the content of this article, please choose to instead be challenged and edified.

It is true that we are to be good stewards of all we are given in this life, including our physical selves. Yet, somehow we have become very comfortable living lives that are very much in tune with the world instead of with Christ. We have adopted humanism into every aspect of our lives, right down to our diet.

"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:1-2

This new diet prevents me from having an overabundant quantity of sodium. Salt, harmless enough in moderate quantities. The average adult requires only about 1500mg (1.5 grams) of sodium a day to meet dietary needs. So, for the past three months I've been striving to live within that daily guideline. And I've made some startling discoveries. Salt is in almost everything, if it didn't grow on it's own and go directly into a pot on your stove it likely has some amount of salt in it. The biggest culprits of salt are pre-packaged foods, even store bought bread has unhealthy levels of sodium. As we've discovered this, we've found ourselves requiring a lot more time for preparing food in our home. Unable to use pre-prepared foods we've had to purchase more raw materials and prepare every meal from scratch. This got me to thinking about just why there is so much of a drive towards prepared foods in the supermarket. There's a lot, and there's more every week. ("The Paradox of Choice" by Barry Schwartz outlines the insanity of excess in Western Society. I highly recommend giving it a read)

We live in a society driven to be busy, there is so much to do now, that we have had to cut corners just to keep up. The first place those corners have been cut (and continue to be cut) is with our eating. The whole shift in living has been very slow, beginning with sliced, store bought bread, progressing to TV dinners & microwaves and now the veritable smorgasbord of packaged foods. Not to forget the extreme excess of so called snack foods, most people have made chips and soda pop a staple of their diet instead of an exception (I have been included in this group). But all of this talk about food, convenience and excess begs the question, why? What has caused this drive to busy lifestyles and fast foods? Why is there no longer someone at home, able to prepare healthy meals. What has driven us from our homes and into the rank upon rank of restaurants? (no longer is 'eating out' a special event, but a weekly, even daily activity).

As a Western culture, our expectations of lifestyle have dramatically changed over the course of the twentieth century. What I mean is that, the financial requirements to maintain the lifestyle of the status quo is far beyond that of a hundred years ago. Inflation aside, the average family requires a much greater consumers income to achieve their desired lifestyle. The cost of living requires two incomes or more just to "live comfortably". At least this is what we've led ourselves to believe. Cell phones, satellite TV, land line, internet, movies, that shiny new car (or two), a lovely home and cottage, lavish vacations, electronics, clothes, the list is quite literally limitless. We rack up debt and max out credit cards to put fuel in our SUV's and put big screen TV's in our living rooms (hey, without a TV what would you point all your furniture at anyway?) All of these things have come to be understood as necessities. But are they really. We spend our lives striving to have and maintain a lifestyle full of these things. Most often both husband and wife will work to try to attain this level of 'comfort' (which means a second car of course by necessity). And why not, this is what the world has come to expect as normal, and hey, you should make the most of your life... (and making the most of your life must mean having this opulent lifestyle!) We've even taught our children to hold the same level of materialism by showering them with mountains of junk at every possible opportunity. Every holiday that has been commercialized within our culture is now associated with gift giving - more stuff. Now these same couples have to pay for day care, and someone else is raising the children while they work to help achieve the ideal lifestyle, as expected by our culture. Everyone gets home far too late to prepare a wholesome meal and voila packaged foods. But then everyone must rush out to their various clubs, classes, teams and programs. A part of the ideal lifestyle is taking advantage of every opportunity available to us and providing those opportunities for our children. That is after all the American dream that we have a DUTY to make the most of - certainly our children deserve it! Don't they?

Our culture is socially obese, and the church has blindly followed suit. We have become mired down in a cesspool of secular humanism, materialism – social, physical and spiritual obesity.

I'm not trying to simply lay blame on materialism and secular humanism for the state of our health. The point is that our own selfish ambitions have resulted in our collective poor health. We eat poorly because we have an insidious desire to live the lifestyles of the world. "Live in the world and not of the world." We've lost sight of what this phrase really means. I've heard it used to twist truth and to present false teaching, it is often misrepresented. Romans 12:1-2, admonishing us to not be conformed to this world, but to discern what is the will of God, is talking about how we live. Throughout scripture we are taught what is expected of family, what are the responsibilities of parents and grandparents, what is expected of children. Yet, for some reason, we have allowed the world to dictate how we live and what we strive for. We've allowed ourselves to be deceived into living in the world and of the world. It's not talking about what music we listen to, whether or not we grace the doors of a theater, whether or not technology is okay or whether or not we drink wine. It's talking about our attitudes and hearts. Our goals. Is it our desire to work hard so we can have the next class of car, a bigger house, nice toys for our kids? Or, is it our desire to seek and serve God in all things. This is where we find the destructive power of the prosperity gospel (which isn't gospel), it has allowed the lifestyle of the world to dictate it's spiritual condition. And it is wrong. The social obesity of our culture is being greedily translated into spiritual obesity by many churches.

"I don’t know what you feel about the prosperity gospel; the health, wealth, and prosperity gospel. But I’ll tell you what I feel about it; hatred. It is not the gospel. It is being exported from this country to Africa and Asia. Selling a bill of goods to the poorest of the poor, Believe this message, your pigs won’t die. Your wife won’t have miscarriages. You’ll have rings on your fingers and coats on your back. That’s coming out of America! The people that ought to be given our money and our time and our lives, instead selling them a bunch of crap called “gospel.” ~ John Piper

Our lives are to be a living sacrifice, which may mean we will not live the twenty-first century idea of a comfortable life, complete with all the trappings. It may mean no cell phone, it may mean only one car, it may mean no internet or cable TV. It should mean we are willing to raise families ourselves, as directed in scripture and be content with whatever the Lord sees fit to provide. We need an attitude change in our churches and it needs to begin with ME. We must come to terms with our own Spiritual condition before the Lord and determine just where our affections lie. It may be high time we made some sacrifices and had a parent at home, preparing healthy food and helping establish a Godly lifestyle within the family.

There are a lot of Fat Christians. I am one of them. I don't think the sin is in the over indulgence of food alone (although gluttony, excess and avarice are clearly sinful (2 Peter 1:5-7, 2 Timothy 3:1-9). The sin begins far deeper than that, it begins in our hearts and our relationship to the world. But it's an excellent place to begin coming to terms with it. We are meant to care for our bodies, yet while we slobber over our Big Macs we condemn those who are damaging their bodies by smoking. It's hypocrisy and the world sees it! We commit the same sin as the smoker every time we eat a burger dripping with cholesterol, fat and sodium. We commit the same sin as the smoker every time we gobble down a chemical laced TV dinner. We commit the same sin as the smoker every time we have a pot luck at the church hall and eat ourselves to discomfort. We commit the same sin as the smoker every time we polish off a box of chocolates. We commit the same sin as the smoker every time we polish of our fourth "large double double" of the day.

"In all things moderation", is often misquoted as having come from scripture. It is in fact attributed to Aristotle. However, Paul shares the same idea in this passage.

"Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable." 1 Corinthians 9:25

Moderation is healthy and wholesome and not very well practiced in our society. Excess is rapidly becoming the norm, it is encouraged, serving only to contribute to the state of our lifestyles.

"All things are lawful," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful," but not all things build up." 1 Corinthians 10:23

It may seem that it is harmless to eat this food, it is after all food and we must eat (the fact is, that most of this 'food' is more damaging than it is food) . But consider it in context of the big picture. Is it honouring to God or is it simply contributing to a lifestyle that leaves God out of the picture. Our own pleasure and comfort must be secondary to a lifestyle not of this world. A lifestyle that serves to bring glory to God at all costs.

So, I will continue to diet. No longer simply to stave off death and improve my blood pressure. I must shed the social obesity of the world and prevent it from making me spiritually and physically obese.

"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31

I challenge every Gospel preaching, Bible believing church to take a good hard look at itself. If our congregation is physically and socially obese, it is a symptom of our spiritual health! It's time for a church diet. We must shed our obese lifestyles and seek to live a life apart from the mad materialism of this world, be content in Christ and good stewards of our short time on earth, if for nothing else but to honor God with our testimonies and our bodies.

Follow Christ. Live healthy lives.

New Brunswick Bible Institute Teen Retreat

I had the opportunity to take some teens up to N.B.B.I. for the teen retreat this past weekend. Several youth from our home church are faithful staff at A.N.B.C., so I arranged to go as their leader for the weekend. The Lord worked it out so I was able to take along a young fellow who had been to camp this past summer as well.

The weekend started out with lots of adventure. School had been canceled, so we left early, and as it turned out it was for the best! On our way we noticed a smell coming from the truck. It turned out the truck had a brake engaged that didn't want to let go. We found a garage and they were able to get us back on the road in a few hours. We arrived at N.B.B.I. just in time for registration.

New Brunswick Bible Institute always puts on a fantastic youth retreat. The students and staff put a lot of work into making the weekend a lot of fun for the kids as well as offering a clear presentation of the gospel. The guest speaker, Wayne Heikkinen, spoke from Philippians in four sessions over the course of the weekend. It was a real pleasure to hear him challenge the teens from churched families as well as those who might not know Christ. N.B.B.I. has posted the four messages on their website, and you can listen to them by clicking on the links below.

2011/02/18 – Is Christ Your Life? by Wayne Heikkinen
2011/02/19 – Be Not Conformed to this World by Wayne Heikkinen
2011/02/19 – Christ Our Goal by Wayne Heikkinen
2011/02/20 – Christ Our Life by Wayne Heikkinen

I had the opportunity to connect and reconnect with some pastors and missionaries who had brought teens to the retreat. It was an encouraging weekend as we had great conversation and fellowship. And, of course, it's always fun to spend a night or two in the dorm.

ANBC's Students and retreaters!

After dropping all of the kids back off at their homes I returned home last night ready for some sleep. I pray that the weekend impacted our kids and got them to thinking more seriously about things of the Lord and just what it means to have a relationship with Him every day.

This week, Liz and I will be preparing, along with Kevin, to travel out to Lac La Bische, Alberta for a week of training with Tom Steffan and Mike Matthews. The focus will be the Five Stage Church Planting Strategy. After the meetings are over we will be traveling to Prince Albert to meet with the executive and other NCEM camp administrators for a couple of days of camp meetings. The trip will be twelve days and we will be covering a lot of ground. We covet your prayers for safety as we go, and that we will be able to make the most of our time.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Last week Liz and Marcia took the St. John's Ambulance First Aid course in Fredericton on Monday and Tuesday. Kevin and I took the same course, with a different instructor, on Thursday and Friday. Prior to having taken the course, we felt strongly that it would be beneficial for at least the four of us to have this training. After taking the course, it is abundantly obvious that it was worth both the time and expense. Although the course is short, some of the skills and knowledge that we gained over the two days are invaluable for anyone to have. By all taking the course, we share the burden of safety. The pressure that would be on only a single individual having First Aid would be significant. A fifteen acre property, hosting as many as a hundred individuals per week is no small thing and a lot of ground to cover in an emergency. So, we've shared the burden, and we feel, improved the safety of all those on the property.

Year end is drawing near. It is time for the bookkeepers to show for all of their work throughout the year. N.C.E.M.'s C.F.O., Roan Elford, has been encouraging all of us to work to the very best of our abilities for the Glory of God. For the past couple of years he has been impressing upon us the importance of working to the greatest of our capability, and not simply to do just enough. With our bookkeeping practices, we want to strive to be above reproach and better organized than is required by law. The way in which we work and carry ourselves professionally is seen by the world at large and is a direct reflection on, not only the ministry, but our testimonies as well! This month all N.C.E.M. bookkeepers will carefully examine their books and documents to ensure that everything is correct and in order. All of this will be done prior to year end. Is it required by law that we do this? No, but that is entirely beside the point. The point is that we will strive, together, to ensure that our bookkeeping practices are accurate and organized. This is not done simply to please the auditor or the government, it is done to bring Glory to God in our labours! It is good stewardship.

We try to carry these principles into all aspects of the administration of Arrowhead. We seek out appropriate training opportunities. We strive to be more organized than required and operate at as high a level as possible. As with our desire to maintain the buildings and property, good enough is not sufficient. And by the wonderful generosity of individuals with their time and finances, we are able to operate this wonderful facility. We are excited to see it grow to it's full potential for the Glory and Honor of God!

By way of announcement, Liz and I received a notification that we have graduated to Junior Membership with N.C.E.M. This means that we have met the criteria of Junior membership by completing our P.A.T.H. training and our regular monthly support has reached 80%. For this we praise the Lord. We look forward, Lord willing, to many years of ministry wish to thank each of you for your continued prayer and support.

Monday, February 7, 2011

a little first aid.

Today and tomorrow Liz and Marcia are taking the St. John's Ambulance first aid training in Fredericton. Kevin and I will be taking it on Thursday and Friday. It is important that we all have at least some basics in first aid as we run events and programs here at A.N.B.C. for people of all ages. There are a couple of other courses that we will need to take as well before summer hits. I will need to have the boat safety course in order to operate the new boat. Kevin and I are also hoping to be able to take the food handling course this Spring. All of these courses are important for the various aspects of the ministry here at Arrowhead.

We've been having a snowy winter to be sure! On Saturday I spent several hours shoveling the two feet of snow off the roof of our home. Talk about a good workout! It's a good thing I did shovel the roof, Saturday night we got a foot of very wet heavy snow. I've been getting lots of experience operating the tractor and blowing the snow out of the roads at the center. It is actually quite relaxing... shoveling the snow of the roof... not so relaxing.

Lately, I've been thinking about looking into getting a quad. A four-wheeler would certainly be useful to me here for getting around the property. Not sure how that'll work out, but you never know, the right deal may just present itself!

There is lots of planning happening for the upcoming events at A.N.B.C., the Men's Retreat is shaping up nicely. And Kevin tells me the need for speakers and staff for camp are beginning to fill up. We will be sending out applications with the Arrowhead Prayer Magazine, 'The Quiver'... so watch for them and get them back to us asap. It's going to be an awesome year!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Operation Park Bench: Complete!

Praise the Lord! Operation Park Bench has been a success. I wrote a blog last November detailing a specific need at Arrowhead for some new, durable outdoor seating at the Center. This need has been met with overwhelming support. Arrowhead has had four churches contact us and let us know they will be donating funds for the benches. This Spring we will be ordering the materials for 9 new benches to be placed on the grounds at Arrowhead.
A great big thank you from all of us at Arrowhead to all those of you who so generously contributed to this project. The ministry is certainly blessed by your kindness.