The Reeses decided our vacation time this summer would include time spent in one of the most beautiful parts of the homeland of Canada, Banff National Park. Just before you get into the park along the #1 Highway you come to Canmore, Alberta. An impressive little town with ginormous sentinel mountains surrounding the town.
One of those mountains is called Ha-Ling Peak, named after a Chinese cook for the Canadian National Railway who in 1896 was double-dog-dared for fifty bucks to plant a flag at the top of the mountain. Those wagering the fifty bucks said he couldn’t do it in less than ten hours. He started at 7am and was back in time for lunch, planting a large enough flag for the doubters at the local watering hole to see. That was before any paths were cut to make it “easier” to get to the top. Continue reading →
Jason Koleba is the lead pastor at Cochrane Alliance Church in Cochrane, Alberta. If you get a chance to hang out with Jason, before you reach the end of your grande coffee you get a sense that he is a person in love with Jesus and His way in the world. In fact, a concern for unleashing the church to live more missionally is a significant part of Jason’s signature, and why he knows the importance of investing in the deepening and empowering of those who call Cochrane Alliance their home.
The following are some words of encouragement and challenge he offered to those whom he had been walking alongside over the past three years, helping them discover more deeply who God is, who they are, and what God desires to do through their lives for the Kingdom. To be honest, I find myself prayerfully hoping for similar words and letters to be given by more pastors across North America. The church would become an attractive community again if such “walkingalongsideness” were practiced. Continue reading →
I have been re-reading the Bible. It’s been a while since I’ve read it from ding to dong. Usually my intake of the Word is guided by a bit of a gut check to be honest with what book of the Bible or passage I need to land on for a bit. And I have never been disappointed in the Spirit’s way of timing what I read with the particulars of my life. Maybe that’s part of the “living and active” thing.
I’ve been making my way through Genesis over the past several weeks. There have been many foundational blocks laid in Genesis that our faith has been built upon, held together by the mortar of God’s Spirit. Quite frankly, I have found myself saying to myself many times on this read through, “Holy moly. Talk about your crazy narratives and timelines!” Continue reading →
It is a good practice to glean what you can from those who know how to practice well. Last week VP3 hosted a webinar called, “Best Practices in Local Church Leadership Development.” Three panelists joined our time to share what they have learned over the years regarding an investment in the formation of those within their local communities.
Pam, Kent and Beth are seasoned at knowing how to notice the particulars of those whom they walk alongside. All three know how to “call out” what they see dormant in peoples’ lives. They are careful, yet direct in making appropriate and tailored prescriptions, helping people move toward a better place of maturity and a truer place of service. Quite frankly, I was impressed with the practices they keep in this sometimes misunderstood deal of leadership development. Their practice grows from a conviction that leadership development from a Christian perspective is first and always tethered to helping people tend to their followership to Jesus Christ. You will benefit from listening in on what they said. Here are some highlights… Continue reading →
Last week twenty-seven of us gathered together in Sioux Falls for a retreat. By the end of our two days together we realized we were no ordinary group of twenty-seven people. We became a remarkable community of brothers and sisters in need of some space, perspective, words, silence and friendship. The theme for our gathering was “A Sacred Heart.” The hope for the gathering can be heard in David’s prayer, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me (Ps 51:10).
There are no shortage of things that get us entangled and snared along the way of this deal we call ministry. This unusual gathering of saints had plenty of tangles and snares to share, but more so plenty of presence, experience and from time to time a word or two to offer. Continue reading →
VantagePiont3 has been around for about a dozen years. In that time we have encountered remarkable changes in the lives of hundreds of people who have gone through one or more of our processes. And, we have also been able to see some of the ripple effects from those changed lives upon their local church communities. We have experienced in good measure James Houston’s wise words, “Shape the person and you shape everything else.”
This work I’m a part of at VP3 is such a good work…a deepening and empowering of peoples lives so that they might participate more fully in the ongoing Kingdom work of God. But, it has also been a hard work and in my more honest moments I sometimes confess why something so good and consistently life changing has been a rather difficult sell. ”What am I or we doing wrong?” is usually the question that immediately follows such honest moments. Continue reading →
February 2, politicians, cultural influencers and the like (some 4000), gathered in Washington DC, to participate in the National Prayer Breakfast. I am not usually one to pay attention to such occasions, but I was drawn into this event when I heard who was to be the main speaker for the morning. Eric Metaxas, the celebrated biographer of William Wilberforce and, most recently, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, was asked to address this distinguished group. As I listened to his words, I was blessed and challenged by his wit and courage. Then I wondered about this quote from Tom Marshall, “The great question today is whether there exists in the Christian church a sufficient reservoir of spiritual strength with the capacity to raise up leaders of the right caliber to meet the challenge of the present leadership vacuum.” I wonder if the church has the kind of capacity to raise up the next Bonhoeffer or Wilberforce. Maybe we need more Ed Tuttles, apprentices of Jesus who have the courage to disciple and mentor people like Eric Metaxas.
Check out the video. I wonder what you find yourself thinking?
Today BrianSteenhoek and I facilitated a webinar called, “Discipleship: The Critical Need in Leadership Development Today.” It seemed to scratch an itch from the responses of those who attended. We thought we would offer you a condensed version of some of our notes here. Continue reading →
To be honest, a theme I’ve noticed in my own walk lately has been dying. Now, although it sounds silly, I must confess that even letting you in on this will make me wonder if I’ve just entered my final days…a peculiar sort of superstition. But I have heard stories of people who said, “I’m ready to die!” And then two days later actually die. So, to set the record straight, although I love Jesus and look forward to meeting him I sure hope I don’t die two days from now.
What I have been wondering about is what it means for aspects of my life to die in order to bear more and better fruit. Jesus did say, and even with a verily, “Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24). Lately, three “deaths” have caused me to wonder what sort of fruit I am being invited to bear… Continue reading →