The MAY 2013
Faith Extends our Vision Donnie Scearce, Lead Pastor
In September of last year when we began the Enter the Story series and dared to enter, risk, and change, we had no idea how God would use the teachings and readings. We just knew that he was clearly calling us to take the step of faith with an elongated series and trust him with the outcomes. As we looked at the stories of Scripture, we were reminded often of the times God called his people to step out in faith and trust him with what would come next. Think about it ... Abraham took Isaac to the altar believing “God will provide.” Faith. Joshua and Caleb return from a survey of the promised land and, unlike the other 10 spies, they see the opportunity rather than the obstacles. Faith. Shepherd boy David faced the giant warrior Goliath. Faith. The disciples followed a homeless rabbi whose only initial offer was: “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Faith. Faith in God leads us to dare enter the story. Faith causes us to risk sacrifice. Faith forges in us a fresh and exhilarating wind of change. And on the front end we have this heart racing excitement wondering “this is either going to be an amazing adventure or an absolute disaster.” That is always the risk of authentic faith. Will God really show up? And it is not always clean and simple. The stories of the Bible and our modern lives are, of course, often messy which is why, in part, faith is so necessary. Hebrews 11:1-2 says: The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd. (The Message) At the annual meeting, I mentioned a developing vision called “Strengthen the Core...Extend the Story.” While still in its embryonic form, on May 4-5, our Elders and some of our staff and volunteers are taking two days to be together to pray and plan. And we need you! Will you join us in praying? Pray that we will have eyes to see all God has in store for our future. As you may be aware, our 50-year anniversary is around the corner in November 2014. We look back in awe at God’s faithfulness. We want to look forward with renewed faith to strengthen the core of our ministries here at North Park and we want to extend the story of his grace around our city and world. When we return, we will be speaking with you, engaging in what one author calls the “Holy Conversation” of long range planning. These are exciting days of ministry as we look at the horizon and anticipate the future! Looking forward to an exciting future together!
“When you have eyes to see the vision that God has given to you, you’ll know it because your heart will feel it so deeply that, over time, any lingering uncertainty will vanish.” - Bill Hybels
S.O.A.P. Bible Reading & Journaling Plan
Paul McIlwraith, Teaching Pastor
One of the best things coming out of the E100 series was the call as a community to read the Bible on a regular basis. We do not want the momentum that we have created through this Bible reading plan to be lost. So, we want to give you some ideas for how to continue to enter into the story of God through regular Scripture reading. I wanted to share a reading plan that I have followed for almost eight years. In the Spring of 2006, I attended a Pastor’s conference in Hawaii. It was hosted by Wayne Corderio of New Hope Church in Honolulu. He shared with the Pastors who were present, a daily Bible reading plan that he had followed for several years and one that he had taught his congregation to use on a regular basis. It is a “read through the Bible in a year” reading plan and I followed it over the nine days I was at the conference. I continued to use it daily when I returned home and continue to this day! This daily reading plan has changed the way that I preach and the way that I understand Scripture. I highly recommend it. It also involves journaling each day. Here is how it works. I follow the reading plan every day according to the date, so if it is May 1, my reading plan would have me in 1 Chronicles 14,15, Psalm 132 and Matthew 8 (see reading plan below). I would start by simply praying and inviting God to speak to me through the readings for the day. After I have finished reading the Bible passages, I would put the date on a piece of paper in my journal and I would write down the Scripture references I have read. Then off on the left hand side of the page, I would put an S (that stands for Scripture). I would then write one or two of the verses that I read that specifically stood out to me. I would then put an O on the next line. O stands for observation and I would write a few lines about what I observed about the Scripture passage I had written down. Maybe just some key things about the context or use of the verse. I would put an A on the next line. The A stands for application. I would write a few lines about the ways I could apply this verse (or verses) to my life. What impact does it have on the way that I live? Finally I would write a P on the next line. Here I would write out a one or two line prayer for myself coming out of what I had journaled about this verse (or verses). I usually use up one page for each day. It is amazing to read over my thoughts at the end of a day and see what God has done. I also keep all of my journals so I can look back at what God was teaching me a year ago from the very same passage of scripture.
S.O.A.P. Daily Reading Plan:
S - Scripture
O - Observation
A - Application
P - Prayer
If you would like to participate in this reading plan, I have included the readings for the month of May. May: 1. □ 1 Chr 14,15; Ps 132; Mt 18 2. □ 1 Chr 16; Ps 106; Mt 19 3. □ 2 Sam 7; 1 Chr 17; Ps 2; Mt 20 4. □ 2 Sam 8,9; 1 Chr 18,19; Mt 21 5. □ 2 Sam 10; 1 Chr 20; Ps 20; Mt 22 6. □ 2 Sam 11,12; Ps 51; Mt 23 7. □ 2 Sam 13,14; Mt 24 8. □ 2 Sam 15,16; Ps 32; Mt 25 9. □ 2 Sam 17; Ps 71; Mt 26 10. □ 2 Sam 18; Ps 56; Mt 27
11. □ 2 Sam 19,20; Ps 55; Mt 28 12. □ 2 Sam 21-23; 1 Th 1 13. □ 2 Sam 25; 1 Chr 21; Ps 30; 1 Th 2 14. □ 1 Chr 22-24; 1 Th 3 15. □ 1 Chr 25-27; 1 Th 4 16. □ 1 Ki 1; 1 Chr 28; Ps 91; 1 Th 5 17. □ 1 Ki 2; 1 Chr 29; Ps 95; 2 Th 1 18. □ 1 Ki 3; 2 Chr 1; Ps 78; 2 Th 2 19. □ 1 Ki 4,5; 2 Chr 2; Ps 101; 2 Th 3 20. □ 1 Ki 6; 2 Chr 3; Ps 97; Rom 1
21. □ 1 Ki 7; 2 Chr 4; Ps 98; Rom 2 22. □ 1 Ki 8; 2 Chr 5; Ps 99; Rom 3 23. □ 2 Chr 6,7; Ps 135; Rom 4 24. □ 1 Ki 9; 2 Chr 8; Ps 136; Rom 5 25. □ 1 Ki 10-11; 2 Chr 9; Rom 6 26. □ Prov 1-3; Rom 7 27. □ Prov 4-6; Rom 8 28. □ Prov 7-9; Rom 9 29. □ Prov 10-12; Rom 10 30. □ Prov 13-15; Rom 11
Some ideas for devotionals for Families: Cathy Thornton, Director of Preschool Ministries recommends these resources for devotions for young families: For Toddlers - God Helps Me Bible by Candle Books Publishing For 2-3 year olds - Little Angels Bible Story Book by Tyndale Kids Publishing For JK/SK - Hide the Word & Seek the Lord Devotional by Tommy Nelson Publishing Jim Wells, Pastor of Children’s and Family Ministry recommends these resources for devotions for families: A Backpack full of stunning stories by Anne McFarlane OneYear of Dinner Table Devotions by Nancy Guthrie
Meal Support Ross & Noelle Martin
Near the end of February 2012, Noelle was put on bed rest due to complications with her pregnancy. One month later, on March 23, our twin boys were born 10 weeks early. We would go on to spend 7 weeks making trips back and forth to the NICU at LHSC. The days were long and the hours of sleep were few. When the boys came home on May 11, our hectic schedule remained.The boys had reflux as a result of tube feeding, and needed to be held upright as much as possible. In addition, their breathing was unreliable at times. We had our hands full (literally) all of the time! We had little time for rest or food preparation. During these months, we were incredibly grateful for the prayer and meal support from our North Park family. Once each week for 4 months, we had a wonderful meal delivered to our door. The meals had a salad, main course, and delicious dessert. We felt such relief and gratitude on the days we knew a meal was coming. There were often leftovers that we could enjoy for lunch the next day as well. Thank you North Park, for providing this incredible service to us!
The Meal Team has been a part of North Park’s ministry for many years now. It is just one of the care ministries where Christ’s hand is extended to others.
Currently there are six teams with a team leader and approximately six others on the team. Each team is “on call” every six weeks. In 2012 about seventy-five meals were given through this ministry.
Attendees of North Park who are going through difficult situations Meal Team or have family members that are very ill, are usually the people that receive meals. Caring for loved ones can be “ Dear children, let us exhausting and time consuming, so having a prepared not love with words or meal available can really help. tongue but with actions
and in truth”
members volunteer their time and energy to prepare the meals and deliver them to the families, after setting up a day and time that works best for all involved. If you are interested in becoming involved in this care ministry please contact Monica Nolan at email@example.com.
Members of meal teams prepare a meal each week. - 1 John 3:18 Our prayer is that this ministry can share and provide the Usually the meal is large enough to supply the family for two nights. Many times these families also receive compassion of Christ to those in need as we continue to loving care by church family members (for example, those in their love one another. Thank you for all the appreciation that has been excircle of friends, those in their small group, etc.). Each situation is pressed to people that are involved in this vital ministry. different, so the length of time the meals are delivered varies with the specific needs of the family. - Monica Nolan
Relationships: Recommended Reading Donnie Scearce, Lead Pastor
One of the ways we are “mentored” by others is through reading. You may find that statement somewhat surprising because we normally think of “mentoring” in terms of a direct one on one face-to-face experience. But when we read, we observe “the growth, struggles, responses, and decision-making processes of those who have lived before”. (Stanley, P. and Clinton, R. Connecting:The Mentoring RelationshipsYou Need to Succeed in Life). One of the ways our Pastors can serve you is by linking you to people who have influenced us through their writing. We are committed to only recommend what we have read! We hope you enjoy this section in future LINK issues. Most of these books can be found in our North Park Library. Enjoy!
Recommended by Matthew Eckert
Recommended by James Bekkers
Fit to be Tied: Making Marriage Last a Lifetime by Bill and Lynne Hybels Bill and Lynne draw on their own personal experience and a guiding faith to offer practical advice on how to enjoy a lifetime of togetherness. Whether you are already married or planning to marry in the future, the authors’ sound, wholesome advice can show you how to make wise decisions about whom to marry and how to stay married for a long time.
Forgive and Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve by Lewis Smedes Relationships, at one time or another, all struggle with the issue of forgiveness. Lewis Smedes understood the deep challenges involved with this reality. The author writes with profound, practical insights into this important area of everyday life.
Recommended by Paul McIlwraith The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller Keller introduces the reader to all the characters in this timeless story, The Prodigal Son found in the New Testament, showing that it concerns not just a wayward son, but also a judgmental older brother and, most importantly, a loving father.
Asian Fellowship Wayne Lem & Ian Service
Chinese Food and Faith: There is such a thing as a free lunch. North Park Asian Fellowship meets every Sunday after the 10:15am service in Room 142. We gather for a time of worship, discussion on the morning sermon (separated into both English and Mandarin groups) and lunch together. The English discussion benefits many, since English is not the mother tongue for over 90% of us.
Afterwards, there is the hustle and bustle of arranging tables and chairs for lunch, bringing out the food, plates and utensils, and ushering the kids to wash their hands and sit down. As we dine together, people are at ease, catching up, connecting with newcomers, exchanging contact information and conversing with frequent laughter. This is community! After the meal, the clean-up effort begins and everyone chips in. As busy and chaotic as all this sounds, lunch is fed to 70-80 people every Sunday; and we have joy in doing this as part of our ministry. Different teams of volunteers and/or wanna-be Iron Chefs take turns doing the meal preparations. And not surprisingly, one item that is guaranteed to be on the menu each week is…steamed rice. Food is an important part of Chinese culture. Sharing a meal is a common way to socialize. We can’t celebrate special occasions without having dinners. In Chinese culture, food is the most appropriate gift for friends, especially when they come from a long distance. Eating does not just mean filling the stomach, but it is an occasion to unite a family. More than physical enjoyment, eating is a good way to maintain social harmony. The importance of food in Chinese culture and daily life is reflected in greetings. Instead of asking “How are you?” we often ask “Have you eaten?” The reason for this is that people who have just eaten should feel well and happy. The Gospels record the story in which Jesus feeds 5000 people: He has taught the crowd “many things.” As it gets late, the disciples urge Jesus to send the people off to buy food for themselves. But Jesus has another suggestion, one that hints at the hearing of the Word and the nourishment of life – “You give them something to eat.” They are astounded! Feed them with what? “Five loaves and two fish.” Jesus organizes the crowd, then blesses and provides food as a source of physical strength and nourishment. This mirrors his Father’s goodness to the world. Part of God’s goodness is that he invites us to his table. And as we mirror Christ, we can also feed those in need, sharing the Father’s goodness with the world. In our fellowship, the meal every Sunday afternoon is where we demonstrate Christ’s love by providing a hospitable lunch – be it an invitation for newcomers or a place for friends to belong. Although food is the common cultural denominator which draws people to our fellowship, it is Christ alone that defines who we are. Over a meal, there are no strangers. Everyone fits in. This is a time of bonding and an opportunity for friends to ask questions about faith. What draws new people to our fellowship and keeps us together is the fact that food and faith are inextricably linked. The sharing of a meal demonstrates warm hospitality, opens the door to people’s hearts, and demonstrates Christ’s love.
The London Crisis Pregnancy Centre is a Christian, non-profit organization that provides practical, emotional and spiritual support to those in distress because of an unplanned pregnancy. The LCPC also partners with schools in Thames Valley to educate students with up-to-date statistics and facts related to teen pregnancy. Please support this vital ministry by filling a baby bottle with change or a cheque. Bottles can be picked up in the gym starting Saturday, May 11th and must be returned by Sunday, June 16th (Father’s Day).
Questions: please email firstname.lastname@example.org The LCPC does not receive government funding. It relys on the generosity of the public sector and fundraising events like this bottle drive to support their programs.
Food Cupboard Brenda Doerksen
Have you ever wondered what happens to the food donations dropped off in the yellow bin at the main entrance? Once a month, on a Monday, North Park hosts a Food Cupboard drop-in where people who are in any kind of financial crisis can come and receive food and encouragement. But this involves so much more than just food. Over the past ten years, many new friendships have formed through this ministry. For some people, the Food Cupboard was their first introduction to North Park, and they have since become regular attendees. It has been amazing to see how people help each other in this ministry. Some single moms have been able to connect other moms to community programs. Volunteers have helped with job hunting and providing references. We have helped people get furniture, clothing, bikes, etc. There have been people who could translate for newcomers to Canada. We have attended weddings and funerals together. The volunteers have been blessed as much as they have sought to be a blessing. In recent years we have also started a Food Cupboard lunch as another way to encourage friendship and fellowship. We spend an afternoon together once a month, and recently have been watching a DVD series by Andy Stanley. Many different ethnic backgrounds are represented in the group, so we have enjoyed Italian, Chinese, Mexican, and Canadian lunches! Many different situations can bring people to the Food Cupboard. Sometimes the individuals are brand new to Canada, are just learning English, and donâ€™t yet have employment. Others come because of illness, job loss, disability pension that doesnâ€™t cover expenses, separation or divorce situations, and the list goes on. Our goal in the Food Cupboard is to allow God to use us to be a blessing to each person who walks through the door. We have the opportunity to be a listening ear, to pray, and to show that somebody cares. The coffee pot is always on and there are volunteers ready to visit. Thank you to each person who donates to this ministry either through food donations, or financially through the offerings at North Park. You have blessed many lives. If you know anyone who needs help from the Food Cupboard or you would like to be involved, please email email@example.com.
Calling All Gardeners Alex Cuz, Facilities Manager
Our gardens have advertised beauty at North Park for years. Thanks goes to Mary and Mike Rice, who have done a wonderful job of organizing volunteer help and doing a lot of the work themselves. Unfortunately they are unable to continue the gardening ministry which they have served since the opening of this building 20 years ago. What a great blessing they have been to us! Please give a heartfelt thank you to them when you see them around the church. The gardens do not go unnoticed; we get great compliments all the time. This is the first impression newcomers get as they enter to discover the blessings this church offers them. As facilities manager, I am responsible for our gardens; and I would love to keep them beautiful, to maintain a great first impression. But I certainly need help.
We have a handful of people who do a great job every year, and most are coming back. Thank you all so much. But this is a large property and we need more people willing to donate some of their valuable talents and some of their free time. If you wish to get involved and/or to oversee this ministry, please call Alex at 519-457-1400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Young Adults Intern Matthew Eckert, Pastor of Adult Discipleship
We are excited to introduce Aileen Hunter as the new Young Adult Intern overseeing the EnRoute ministry. Aileen has been part of life at North Park with her family for many years and has been a volunteer with both the youth and EnRoute ministries. We look forward to working with her, both as she gives leadership to EnRoute as well as a great opportunity for North Park to build into her as she continues to pursue a future career in ministry. Welcome to the team Aileen. My name is Aileen Hunter and I am the newYoung Adults Intern here at North Park. I have been coming to North Park for 18 out of the 20 years of my life, and I’m thrilled to say that North Park has played a huge role in my physical as well as my spiritual life growing up. I’ve walked through the children’s ministries and the youth ministries both as a participant and as a volunteer for the entirety of the time I’ve been at North Park. I am currently in my second year at Western University as an English major, with plans to go on to Seminary to complete a Masters of Divinity. Since I’ve started University, I’ve been regularly attending North Park’s young adult ministry, EnRoute. I’m incredibly excited to have the opportunity to lead my peers as the Young Adult Intern for the next year. EnRoute is an amazing ministry with some fantastic people within it, and I am so excited to see what God does through us in this coming year.
EnRoute is a creative community that is focused on telling and living out the Christian story in a fresh and engaging way. Our desire is for EnRoute to be a place where young adults cannot only gather in a Christ centered community, but also be cared for. In our culture, it is so easy to just attend an event, and to not really plug into a community. We run the risk of making church a spectator sport, and never engaging in our own communities. Part of our vision for EnRoute is that anyone and everyone may attend and experience the love of Jesus, find a way to plug into the community and to be cared for. We are passionate about raising up young adults to be leaders within the church and community of London, in order to spread the good news of Jesus. In one sentence, we are simply finding our way in the way of Jesus. God has given us, the young adults of North Park, a huge opportunity to reach our peers in this city for Jesus.We want to show God’s love to all those that walk through our doors, and we ask that you would be praying for us this Summer as we seek to uphold our vision through this transition and make plans for the Fall.
Relationship = Caring Anne Robertson
If you look into Room 142 on the first Saturday of every month, you will find 10-12 women working away at a variety of activities. Some will be rolling bandages, others sewing dresses or shorts, while the remaining ladies make up sewing kits. There are also many other responsibilities to keep everyone busy. There is fellowship and relationship building, with tea or coffee of course, and through this the team learns to care for each other. The 3 hours spent together provides a time for sharing concerns and rejoicing in each other’s blessings. Additionally, this room provides a venue for us to be a blessing to others through what we make. We often talk of the use of the rolled bandages being sent to hospitals in Africa. We wonder about those who will catch the solar radios that are dropped with our handmade parachutes. We all would love to be in Zambia to see the look on the faces of the children when they receive the clothes. I am told that based on their needs, receiving new underwear is more exciting than a new dress! Many women knit pullover sweaters for the cold nights in the higher elevations. Other things that we send also bring very vivid pictures to our minds, and we feel very close to the children at Faith’s Orphanage in Zambia. Our relationship with these children is a bit similar to our relationship with the Lord in that we are relating with those we have never physically seen. So we exercise faith in what we are doing. Even if we were to see those children, we may not be able to communicate with them in their language. However, acts of kindness are their own language that touch the heart of the recipient. Relationships are built through caring and Hands of Hope encompasses a lot of caring both at home and abroad. “May the beauty of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us - yes, establish the work of our hands” - Psalm 90:17
Spa Day for Women in the Community Monette Benjamin, Admin Assistant for Community Outreach
The Life Resource Centre of Northeast London is a ministry of North Park that exists to provide support and assistance for new immigrants and anyone facing difficult life situations. It is our desire to provide dignity and empowerment for men, women and children of the Kipps/Huron/ Adelaide community. For the past four years, we have been hosting a Spa Day for women in the community. This year our Spa Day will take place on Friday, May 10th 2013 from 11:00am-1:00pm. At this event, the women will be offered haircuts, manicures, foot soaks, massages, and a light lunch in an atmosphere of acceptance and community. In the past, this has been a wonderful event for women to get together for a social time but also for them to receive professional services that they may not be able to afford or have not taken time for special treatments. For many of the women, this day is a highlight and it is remembered throughout the year. If you would like to be a part of making this day special for the ladies in the community, we would love for professionals in relevant fields to be involved. If you have professional skills in hairdressing, manicures, pedicures, facials, makeup or massage and you are interested and available in helping out, please contact Monette at 519-615-9678 or email@example.com.
Building Global Partnerships on Conversation and Trust Ron Burdock, Director of Global Outreach
The greatest joy of being involved in global partnership is not what you think it might be. While it is noble and right for us as a church family to be engaged in making a positive difference around the world through our Global Outreach, the greatest joy actually comes through getting to know one another and experiencing the rich beauty of the body of Christ through engaging with different cultures. As Daniel Rickett points out, “Global partnerships are built on conversations not on contracts.” We experienced this recently with Khem Saksakunmongkhon in our midst. Khem is the country leader for International Justice Mission Thailand. North Park became the lead partner for IJM Thailand’s work two years ago as we chose to enter into their fight for justice for Hill Tribe people. Khem faced injustice himself as a young Akha Hill Tribe member and was inspired to seek out a way to impact the world around him. His family was poor and unable to afford schooling so Khem was taken in by the Buddhist temple in the city and for six years studied there. He chose to attend University to study Law and it was there that he became an operative for IJM in their undercover work in the brothels of Chiang Mai. Khem’s heart was stirred as he saw the plight of his own people, as the brothels and bars of Chiang Mai were filled with Hill Tribe members. This began his awakening to the fact that many of these young boys and girls were trapped there as a result of not having an official identity or Thai citizenship. Thus began Khem’s relationship with IJM and the fight for the rights of Hill Tribe members for legal status citizenship. We started a conversation with Khem four years ago and our friendship grows deeper and richer every year. Last Summer, a team of five people travelled with Khem into Northern Thailand to meet the Akha Pastor who led Khem to faith while in University. We also met his cousins and friends who are working across the border in Burma on behalf of children in poverty. Meeting Khem’s mother in their home village high in the mountains was a highlight of the trip. As we entered into Khem’s friendships we could see and experience his world, and get to know his challenges as a Christian leader in Thailand. Oscar Muriu from Nairobi pointed out to us when he was here that North American’s would be wise to build global friendships before attempting to resolve global problems. This is wisdom indeed, and something that we as a Global Outreach Team are thinking carefully about. Khem travels to visit us annually and on this trip he chose to stay for a longer period of time...just to get to know us more. Khem understands partnership and friendship as the most significant aspect of our working together. On this recent trip, we managed to not only host gatherings to get to know Khem, but we shared much fun together with a day on ATV’s in Bayfield with Mike Nixon and his family. All in all it was a rich moment to simply get to know one another as Christian brothers and sisters. This is an important season in our relationship with Khem and the team at IJM Thailand. Khem has asked us if we can locate an intern to teach English to their staff, and as well a second intern who will focus on communications and who will begin to write the story of citizenship for the world to learn. We are praying for wisdom to locate these two people so that we can not only meet Khem’s need but also deepen our own awareness of the IJM work in Thailand. Maybe you are one of these two people...there is more information on the North Park website. Join the friendship with IJM Thailand and North Park....together we are changing the lives of thousands of Hill Tribe members. For more information, contact Mike Nixon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BIRTHS Jack Peter James VanderHeide (February 4) - Parents Matthew & Lynsey Jaxon Roy Archibald Walker (February 24) - Parents Terry & Rachel, brother Mason Kylie Marilyn Timmerman (March 17) - Parents Joel & Lindsay, brother Scott BAPTISMS Kim Redlin (April 8)
DEATHS Barry Mooney (March 26) - Husband of Joan Mooney; father of Amanda, Justin, and Matt Mooney & Jason Laughlin
We would like to thank our North Park family for the incredible prayer support over the past year. We were also very grateful for the meals provided last Spring and Summer. Clay and Wesley turned one on March 23rd and are doing very well! - Ross and Noelle Martin We are very grateful for all the kindness and love that has been shown to us these past few weeks. We are so thankful for all the support from North Park.. - Amanda Mooney
The Spring edition of GOING DEEPER OPPORTUNITIES is available at the Welcome Centre in the gym.
We encourage you to pick up a copy and check out the learning opportunities. A copy is also available on our website: www.northpark.ca.