Join the Journey


Our Guiding Light

Posted by donna on December 6, 2018

Christmas.PNGOne of the Christmas traditions I enjoy is trimming the tree. For many, its a time to find the biggest and tallest tree they can reasonably cram into their home. The task almost always includes the “trimming” – that is, cutting off the top or bottom so the tree will fit into its assigned place. 

Many people now use artificial Christmas trees, so I’m not sure where the actual “trimming” part comes into play. I have learned that the “trimming” has come to mean the decorating of the tree. Generally, I “supervise” (stay out of the way) while Michele does the “trimming. 

We incorporate many symbols in decorating our tree which help us remember why we are celebrating. It’s not about the tree, its size, shape, colour, smell or even the decorations. It’s about the message of Christmas. I think that is why we save the star until the very end. 

We put a star on top of the tree to remind us that we have a guiding light. Two thousand years ago, it was a star that led the wise men from the east to someone extraordinary – the Child who would become our guiding light for all time. 

We often become dazzled by a beautifully decorated Christmas tree.  Yet, there is something more – there is a star on top. In a world filled with many lights, most of them false and confusing, we need to remember that on top of everything we still see the star. It points to Jesus and He is our guiding light. 

One of my favourite Christmas carols is We Three Kings. The chorus says; 

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to Thy perfect light 

The star was not and is not to be worshipped. It was not the star that was able to atone for our sins and save us. The star was a symbol that guided those long ago to the real Light, that perfect Light  Jesus! 

In today’s world we are inundated with lightMany lights block out the true Light or create a false light and countless people fail to see the true Light that can change their hearts.  Yet, that true Light still shines and brings light and hope to those in darkness. 

As you take time to celebrate the true Light this Christmas season, may you be filled with awe.  As those who followed that first Christmas star to the source of true and perfect Light, may we too not only follow, but point others to the Light. 

That light still shines in the darkness, His name is Immanuel, God with us.  

Merry Christmas, 

 

Bill Allan
AGC President              


To What End? Part 4

Posted by donna on November 2, 2018

apple.PNGI love apples. Always did, still do. I try to eat an apple every day. As kids, we’d ask my mom for a snack and she’d give us an apple. If we asked for some cookies, or a chocolate bar we’d get an apple. I also ate more than my share of apple pie and apple-crisp, after all it’s still apples! Apples are good for you; “An apple a day keeps the doctor away!”

As a society we are much more health conscious, maybe obsessed, than we likely were in the past. Consider all the TV, internet and radio adds that focus on some aspect of health … getting healthy, maintaining your health or overcoming some health issue. There are volumes of information available on vitamins, supplements and miracle drugs promising all sorts of wonders.  Then there’s the exercise equipment and workout programs that promise the strength and vitality of an eighteen-year old even though you are seventy-five!


To What End? Part 3

Posted by donna on October 2, 2018

church reproduction.jpgI love being a grandfather, albeit a very young one, at least in my mind! I’m “Papa” to three beautiful little girls, Ava, Audrey & Elia, and we are eagerly anticipating the arrival of our first grandson at the end of October! Before I was Papa, I was “Daddy” to three very special little girls who grew up far too quickly. Yet, before I was Daddy, I was and hope I still am, “honey” to a very special lady.  This in a sense describes what church reproduction is all about. The natural outcome of a loving and nurturing relationship is children … biological, adopted or even those specially cared for and included as members of the family. My girls saw and experienced our love as parents, our commitment to the Lord and in some way, it set a model for them to follow with their own families. Yes, there were many bumps along the way, as no family is perfect.


To What End? Part 2

Posted by donna on September 4, 2018

lincoln.jpgI laugh every time I read this quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln: “don’t believe everything you read on the internet.” You cannot turn on the news, internet, or social media without being bombarded with the term “fake news.” How do we evaluate what is being reported as true? As Christians, we are called to biblical truth. Unfortunately, the concept of truth is changing and often becomes whatever people want it to be in the new world of relativism. We need biblical wisdom to engage our world with both the hope and the truth of the Gospel.

 


To What End?

Posted by donna on August 1, 2018

Over the next several months, I’d like to talk about the ENDS. Not the END, but our AGC ENDS – the strategic ministry initiatives by which we accomplish our stated purpose as an Association. With the recent change in our AGC structure, we are focusing on four primary areas of ministry activity that give substance to our vision of being … A Movement of Healthy Reproducing Churches.

Kaemingk book.jpgNATIONAL COMPASSION & JUSTICE:  This is a new END for us. It was birthed from a deep compassion to address the heart-wrenching plight of Syrian refugees. Our Syrian Refugee Initiative has been the framework enabling several AGC churches to sponsor Syrian refugee families as they arrive in Canada to begin a new life, free from the sufferings of war, persecution and destitution that many have experienced.

As Christians, and as an Association of churches, compassion must be a part of our ethos. Throughout Scripture we see the compassionate heart of God.  God’s compassion is extended through His Son, who took the world’s punishment on the cross that made it possible for us to be reconciled to the Father.


Hello AGC Family

Posted by donna on June 14, 2018

Bill and Michele June 2018.jpgThe word “hello” has a welcoming ring to it. It opens doors, builds relationships and offers encouragement. It’s an expression of joy and gladness.  It has the power to overcome suspicion and make the stranger feel accepted and valued. We use it when meeting someone for the first time. It’s a friendly greeting, which allows an opportunity to engage on a personal level. We also use it when reconnecting with old friends, those we haven’t seen in a while. Michele and I wish to say “Hello AGC Family! We always love to make new friends and reconnect with old, some of whom we spent many years serving alongside in Peru and in mission leadership in Canada.

Our National Conference was a great time for us to reconnect with one another and rejoice together in what God is doing through our various church ministries and new church plants. It was an opportunity to make new friends and rejoice with old ones. It was also a time to look back at God’s faithfulness.  We gave thanks for the leadership of Willem & Lois, their many years of faithful service and the example they have left for us as we continue the journey.


ABIDE

Posted by donna on May 3, 2018

the Believers privilege.PNG

Growing up in a missionary family, our children learned the full meaning of the word “goodbye.” We lived in remote areas of central Thailand and twice a year our kids had to fly off to attend boarding schools in Malaysia. They knew that goodbyes were part of the often-unwanted aspects of missionary life.  Fortunately, for the most part, it was a positive experience. Often, it was Lois and I who had the meltdowns as we watched the plane take off. Yet, goodbyes are part of saying hello.

This historic AGC National Conference May 31st -  June 2nd, will be both “goodbye” and “hello.”

Having had the privilege of serving the AGC these past fifteen years, it is time to say our goodbyes, and hello to Presidential Candidate Bill and Michele Allan. The Allan’s have served as missionaries and mission leaders and have also served in one of our AGC churches these past years.  I am delighted to see the way God has led the Allan’s to accept this great challenge and opportunity.


"The Cup of God's Wrath"

Posted by donna on April 5, 2018

Capture.PNG(Revelation 14:9-10)

Not Enough Options

While attending Engineering College, I was growing in my awareness of biblical truth and theology. I remember as if it was yesterday having informal debates with my classmates and professors about the nature of life, death, heaven and hell. On one occasion I declared that there is only one true way to God and heaven, through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We were all close friends by this time and there was free and open communication. Yet, the response from one of my friends was a simple, “there aren’t enough options.”  In other words, there must be other choices.


Discipleship - Love ... The Foundational Principle

Posted by donna on March 6, 2018

love.jpg“Beloved let us love one another for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7) ESV.

The early church father, John Chrysostom (345-407 AD) in his sermon, “Dying to Sin” writes, “For God is not so well pleased with being our Master as He is with being our Father….  God’s exceeding desire to be loved comes from loving exceedingly.”

God loves us extravagantly! He wants us to learn and grow to love Him with extravagance. He desires that we love others as the Golden Rule stipulates.


grapes.jpgOK, … let’s do a quick review.  When we study the life of Jesus, we observe four challenges that outline His discipleship process.

  1. Come and see
  2. Follow me
  3. Fish for men
  4. Go and bear much fruit.

Although there are many nuances in the discipleship process, (and certainly the process is rarely completely linear), the discipleship journey can be seen in these four steps, or, for the sake of our illustration, these four chairs.

As leaders, our role is to create an environment conducive to making disciples. We do that by using relationships and programs to help people move through the discipling process. These four chairs correspond to the kind of people who may be in our ministries.