Friday, December 31, 2004

2004 Year in Review

Well folks, it's that time of year again where we look back and reflect on the year gone by. For us here at the athensblog it has been quite a year. For me personally it has been quite a year. Here is a brief summary of what went on:

- 56 people stayed overnight at our house this year
- 420 people came over to the house to eat (23 times we were invited out for meals)
We attended 36 major events (everything from Raptors basketball games to youth retreats)
- Shawn preached 74 times (not counting every Thursday reading to daycare kids)
- We made 295 contacts going door to door
- 26 home bible studies with groups of unbelievers & new believers
- 4,480 tracts were handed out. Mainly to kids at the three local highschools (MAC, TimE, LAM)
- 21 kids/Friday average for youth group
- We saw 41 new teenagers come through the doors to play basketball at youth group this year
- 2 young people were baptized
- We took youth on 2 trips – 1 to PEI, 1 to Athens
- We flew 8 times this year to 4 countries and 4 provinces

All while enjoying married life, trying to raise 2 boys and maintaining relationships and contacts we have made in the past. Truly it is God who works in us “both to will and to do” – Eph 2:10

*other highlights from 2004

- Olympic missions trip
- ChesterLe Sunday School
- “E-Benji-lism” – evangelism seminar with Benji from SIM
- KLBC students visiting us a number of times to help in evangelism.
- Camp in PEI
- Derek & Maggie
- countless basketball games in front of our house, or at the chapel on fridays
- Bridlegrove Day Camp (Aaron Lewis)

Do you have any other events for the list? Of those events, what was your favorite memory of 2004?

Thursday, December 30, 2004

4 years

4 Years ago today Hayley and I were married.
More mushy sentiments and pictures to follow.
Happy anniversary :)

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Happy Birthday to Hayley & Alyssa!!

My lovely wife Hayley celebrated her 23rd birthday today!

She loves sharing her birthday with Jesus, however this year she has even more competition! Our sister-in-law's (Leah) sister-in-law (Amy) gave birth to Alyssa Lee Mayo today, December 25th, 2004 at 2AM to parents Peter & Amy Mayo.

Congratulations to the Mayo's!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Look into the future...

I originally posted this at www.thecuthills.com, I thought this article was appropriate as we look forward to 2005!


Today I had a great chat with my good friend Dave Sutherland from Leaside.
After the Markham Bible Chapel's "prayer and share" which was held at our house, Dave and I looked into the Brethren Crystal Ball to see what the future holds for us conservative assembly folk in Toronto:



Something Dave said stuck with me. Something powerful. At least for us who live in Toronto, and not in suburbia where the assemblies are still growing. I asked Dave mid-conversation what other people our age thought about the issues we were raising and he looked directly at me and said
"Shawn, there isn't anyone our age - they're gone already"
As we sat there and stared at each other, there was a painful admission on my part that he was right. Who is left to uphold the New Testament principles in Toronto? Bethany, Leaside, Greenwood, Bridlegrove, Westmount. The gospel halls seem to be doing OK but what about us? What will happen to the Bible Chapel's in Toronto? How long will they
last? Where are the young people? What can we do about it?

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

New OG site

I was googling around and found another site about the "Operation Gideon" Olympic outreach this summer, this time from a lady named "Suzanna". It seems Suzanna was on the Cumberland Church Atlanta team. Here is the link:

http://mywebpages.comcast.net/travelsaround2/pages/greecej.htm

Some excerps:

This was a mission trip arranged by Hellenic Ministries and it is called Operation Gideon http://www.operationgideon.org/ Hellenic Ministries (HM) http://www.hmnet.org.gr/ is a Christian agency which serves as a sponsoring and support organization for people called to serve Jesus Christ throughout Greece, the Balkans and the Mediterranean world.

This is a trip like no other trip that I have ever been on. My participation on this trip was inspired by many things, including my experience with the Greek Orthodox church back in 1997 and Jonathan Macris (head of HM) coming to Cumberland Community Church (CCC) in February, 2003. On this trip I felt many things, including joy, “enlightenment”, God, discomfort, hurt, and accomplishment. It is the work of Lord and the tribulations that accompany it. This is personal account of my experiences, feelings, and some the prayers during the trip. I dedicate this to all of you who supported me, prayed for me, and to those who also enjoyed this once-in-lifetime experience.
Suzanna has quite a detailed daily log. It's a good read so click, read and enjoy the athensblog memories of the outreach.

The season of giving...


To celebrate the birth of Christ and to say thank you to everyone who has visited the athensblog this past year I wanted to offer a free gift to my readers.
I've got more Gmail invitations! Who wants them? The first people to comment below get em (athensblog team members get first dibs). Click quick! Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Bridlegrove on the map

Googling around for the word "Bridlegrove" tonight and found a new entry on the MSC website!!

http://www.msc.on.ca/SHORTTRM/2005WORKTEAMS.HTM
Argentina; May 13 - May 30, 2005
This team is being organized by Bridlegrove Bible Chapel in Toronto, and the plans are to upgrade the playground area of the Hogar El Alba school for children in the Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Three stages are planned: 1) to upgrade the actual equipment, 2) to upgrade the security of the playground area and, 3) to pave some of the access ways between the various buildings. Hogar El Alba will be celebrating its 80th anniversary while the team is there, and this will give opportunities for evangelism. The cost has been set at cdn$2,450. Please use the contacts shown for information, and applications.
So there you have it folks, sign up now while there's still space!

From bad to worse

After the last report from the UK, here's a disturbing report from right here at home:

http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2004/12/20/sharia-boyd041220.html

Ontario report criticized by Shariah opponents
Last Updated Mon, 20 Dec 2004 22:11:38 EST

TORONTO - Some Muslims fear a report released Monday will encourage Ontario to introduce Shariah law to settle family matters.

The 150-page report presented by Ontario's former attorney general Marion Boyd concludes that Muslims have the right to seek religious arbitration and mediation for family disputes such as divorce, custody and inheritance cases.

The religious laws referred to are not Shariah law, cautioned Boyd, but a set of principles within Canadian law.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Greece Hijacking

Some of you may have heard that recently there was a hostage taking in Athens - click here -
What some of you may not realize is that the place where the bus was held up was very close to where the athensblog team stayed for the olympics! Read the details below from Johnathan Macris:

First, his report during the event:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Prayer Team,

The police chopper is flying overhead. 17 hostages have been released of the 28 who were aboard the Marathon-Athens Bus. The Bus left at 6.00am from Marathon, picked up the two gunmen in Pikermi at about 6.30am - about 100 yards from Kyle and Natassa's school and 100 yards or so from the Greek Bible Institute. The bus (with TIM written on the back) that you may have seen in the news is only a few minutes from our house. Its on Marathon Blvd where the Marathon race was run during the Olympics. The bus driver escaped earlier this morning - taking the keys with him. Pray for the remaining hostages that their lives will be spared. It's cold out. They must be hungry, scared and very tired.

It's hard to believe that 2 people can take our little neighborhood around the world through the news. (The bus is being held up in front of the supermarket where we do our shopping.) It reminds me of the impact of what a few men did on Sept. 11 to change the way the whole world lives.

Let's be the catalyst for positive impact in our world. Please pray for a peaceful resolution of this unfortunate situation.

Johnathan


Now after the surrender:
---------------------------

Hi-jackers Surrender!
Miriam and I wondered if this hi-jacking wasn't another event to put Greece in front of you and on the map of the praying world? Don't you have to ponder the "whys" sometime?. So often what has the mark of the enemy, God uses for the advantage of His Kingdom plans.

PTL! I believe your prayers made a difference yesterday. Less than 3 hours after I mailed you the prayer request, to everyone's great surprise, the armed men threw their guns down and the remaining hostages were released. No one was hurt! Praise the Lord. He has been gracious. Thanks for being a part of an event in our 'back yard.'

ORTHODOX CHURCH ARCHBISHOP SPEAKS PUBLICLY: On the 12:00 news last night, it was sad to hear the Archbishop of Greece, Christodoulos, ask the nation to pray...'pray to the St. Eleutherios (which means freedom) who has the power to release the hostages in safety. Not to Jesus!

Mrs. Kotopoulou has been on another national talk show on Tuesday. She was to be on air again yesterday, but the program was interrupted due to the hi-jacking. Mrs. "K" is the one that took dad to court in the mid '80's when dad was tried and sentenced to 3 1/2 yrs in prison for sharing Christ and giving a NT to her son. (Dad was later acquitted at the appeals court.) Non-the-less, this woman is still filled with a 'develish' rage. The talk show was an attempt to nationally and publicly demoralize a Greek pastor from the small country town of Karthitsa that had been invited to the talk show! They publicly ridiculed and denounced the Bible Society's New Testament that we distributed during the Olympics as heretical! (I wonder how they get around the 4 first pages that have the signatures, stamps and testimonial letters of the 4 Orthodox Patriarchs, the Archbishops public approval of this modern translation and 19 Orthodox Churches that are currently using it in Athens!)

The talk show was the most dissonant, loud, uncontrollable, frenzied, disorganized, chaotic, pathetic, annoying thing I have ever seen! One Greek pastor was in the hot seat and a panel of about 8-10 where attempting to verbally whip him into oblivion! The panel host couldn't even be heard over the din of yelling and chastising....and this carrying on happened on one of the leading TV channels in mid day! If the verbal abuse wasn't enough, they kept replaying a baptismal of a lady that took place by this church in the sea.

Pray for our country that is so desperate. In the one case - poor desperate unemployed Albanians who like thousands of others are facing the financial realities of a 'post - Olympic' Greek economy. In the other case, a fanatic Orthodox mother who can not dismiss the fact that her son today is a fine Christian and working for a large International Christian Organization. (Her son is the young man my Father gave the New Testament to nearly 20 years ago.)

All publicity, good or bad doesn't cease to be publicity! What the enemy desires for harm and shame - God, through your awareness and prayers is leveraging for the advance of the Kingdom throughout our country - please don't let up on your prayers!

Thanks,

Johnathan

PS GreekTax Saga: Have been twice to the tax office since writing you - for a total of 5 times. On my last visit that was supposed to be merely to pick up documents, I was sat down and somewhat interrogated as to what we use Porto Astro for, what we teach the kids, who teaches and why we differ from the Orthodox Church as a 'heresy'. Imagine being audited for your faith by the IRS! It turns out that the chief officer is a staunch Orthodox and responsible for certain Orthodox camps. I was refused access to the report that they will be publishing concerning our status. I know we are squeaky clean. I can not be so certain, however, of their 'conclusions'. So, for this too, may I ask your continued prayers.
_________________________________________________________________
" See I'm doing a new thing! Now it springs up...a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland" Isaiah 43:19

Hellenic Ministries/Greece
Athens
Greece
www.hmnet.org
www.operationgideon.org

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Let's continue to pray for Greece! Many Christians visit there on vacation or on bible tours. Pray for the Lord of the harvest to raise up missionaries and labourers for this needy mission field

Thursday, December 16, 2004

What's wrong with same-sex marriage

How do you read the title of this post? Is it a question, a statement, a challenge or a bigotted homophobic slur? Increasingly this topic has been in the news and on the minds of many Canadians, as the Supreme Court ruled last week that there is no problem changing the definition of marriage to include homosexual male and female unions - click here - .



What does this have to do with me? Well, I will be doing a talk about the topic of same-sex marriage to a group of teenagers in the next few days. What would you say if you had the microphone? Would you condemn it? Would you defend it? Would you ask for a different topic? What would you say? What should I say?

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

From the mailbox

From time to time on this site I will post portions of emails I get. This one came in the other day:

"i was reading exodus chapter 28 and i came accross this verse, 28:15. what do you suppose it means when it says, "a breastpiece for making decision"? why was the breastpiece itself so important to making decisions?

Any ideas?

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Chuan?

Chuan is a word that my Chinese friends taught me this week. It means "Great Ship" in Mandarin. As you know, Chinese is written in characters (it's practically art). The character that represents the word "Chuan" is a picture of 8 people in a boat - exactly like the story of Noah's ark!



"The breakdown reads "Eight mouths (people) were in the ship."

Very interesting stuff. Does anyone have any other info on chinese characters proving the Bible? Click here for more amazing characters or here.
"Over 100 of the basic Chinese characters seem to mirror the creation account we see in the book of Genesis."
Another good reason for you to believe in the God of the Bible and his son Jesus. What do you think? Is this just a "coincidence" or is this God's Word embedded in the Chinese language?

Friday, December 10, 2004

Good Bible Software?

Had a great Bible study today with our friends from Pakistan. They were asking for some Bible software, but I didn't know what to recommend.
What software do you use? Would it be suitable for unbelievers/seekers? If not, what have you heard of that is good for "beginners"?

Loggin in

08Dec04-Wed-Log: 9:30AM-1PM=prayer with elders, Nev/Max. 1-2:30=paperwork,emails, calls. 3-4:30PM= 50 tracts @ TimE & LAM (w Scott Grieve). 5-7=phone,dinner. 7:45-10=Prayer meeting, chat with Wilfred/David
09Dec04-Thurs-Log: 10AM=read to daycare kids. 11-2:30=prep for weekend, esl preach, sri lankan preach. 3-4:30PM- 50 tracts @ MAC. 6-7 Awana. 7:30-11 study with M & D (Kyle over).
10Dec04-Fri-Log: 9:30AM - set up for "chapel", 10:30-12 "chapel". 12-4 putting chairs away in gym, emails, calls, paperwork. 5-10 setting up & youth group with Greenwood
11Dec04-Sat-Log: 9AM preach at ESL, Pakistani couple over, Preach at Sri Lankan group, Bridlegrove Christmas banquet
12Dec04-Sun-Log:church, mormons, shawn's parents

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Pray for Len

I was chatting with Len Carolan, computer science student and web designer extrordinaire, today when he mentioned his new role as "evangelism director" at his Dublin University Christian Union (Ireland)!
Pray for Len as he takes the students out doing evangelism twice a week with surveys and tracts to reach the student.

There are 19,000 students in the school!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Discipleship

In honour of Scott Grieve heading to Brazil I thought I'd repost something I had posted at www.thecuthills.com. Enjoy:

I was really encouraged this week when my homeboy Scott Grieve called me up out of the blue. I'd met Scott at KLBC , he was the year ahead of me and we got to know each other through various activities. I hadn't heard from him for about 5 years and now he's back in the T-dot with a desire to get involved in "extra(outside)church evangelism". "but" he continues, "i think i need some help getting started.".

What a thrill this was to me, what an encouragement, even just that he said that, let alone the fact that he really wants to go knock on some doors with me. We are meeting up tomorrow to hand out tracts at a local highschool and then knock on doors.

This my friends is what the church is lacking - discipleship - hands on, apprentice-type ministry where someone doing the work takes along someone else that wants to do the work. Kinda like Jesus and the 12 disciples - what a concept :P

I believe that the church in North America will be completely stagnant, impotent and lukewarm until we get this idea integrated into our "church life". NO MORE sitting and listening to messages on sunday. NO MORE meetings. NO MORE intellectual, doctrinal, verbatim feedback. We need practical, hands-on, front-line stuff.

That is why Gospel for Asia started 2,000 + churches in India last year. Go to www.gfa.org and see why God is using people in India and China and why the church over here is sucking like a michael jordan comeback and calling it a revival.

I know that was a bit of a rant, but I just don't know how to incorportate that church model into the North American "church on Sunday" mentality. Maybe it's impossible, maybe God has left Canada and is hanging out in Bangalore right now - who knows?

All I know is that I want to understand how Jesus took 12 guys and changed the world.

Grieve-ance

Looks like my homeboy Scott Grieve is in Canada a bit longer! He was supposed to head to Brazil for a month, when the Lord had other plans. Here's what happened:

Session Start (MSN - Shawn:Scott): Mon Dec 06 14:58:48 2004
Scott: c-hill
Shawn: you out?
Scott: i was supposed to leave last night
Shawn: too much snow?
Scott: my travel agent didn't mention that i needed a visa
Shawn: oh dear
Scott: yeah
Scott: its been a rough 12 hours
Shawn: on the phone - new flight?
Scott: but it seems to be worked out. i leave next sunday and will now be staying for 38 days instead of 27
Shawn: sweetness - and you get to see the snow before you leave
Scott: now that its worked out, it makes it cool
Shawn: so what are the new dates?
Scott: as it stands now, i leave on the 12th and return on the 20th or 21st
Scott: of january that is
*** scottgrieve@hotmail.com signed off at Mon Dec 06 15:13:32 2004
Session Close (Scott): Mon Dec 06 15:13:35 2004

So it looks like the tag-team of Cuthill and Grieve will again stand out in freezing cold weather to hand out tracts and talk to teenagers in front of MAC, Timothy Eaton and LAM highschools. Thank you Lord for delaying his flight!

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Cuthill Rant series # 2

I'm recycling again. The post below previously appeared on www.thecuthills.com site. Hayley's brother Ryan is here from BC so we're busy this week. Enjoy.

Had a good chat with my new evangelism buddy Scott Grieve on Friday about "the box", which we defined as "church-on-sunday" type christianity. The box, as we defined it, is the mentality that sitting in church meetings is paramount.
You've probably hear this line yourself in some form, about how being "at the meetings" is someohow equated with spiritual maturity. WRONGO! This mentality was around in the days of Ezekiel as well:
Ezekiel 33:30 "As for you, son of man, the children of your people are talking about you beside the walls and in the doors of the houses; and they speak to one another, everyone saying to his brother, "Please come and hear what the word is that comes from the LORD.' 31So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain. 32Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them.

The two fallicies of this "box" thinking are this:

1. It promotes "knowledge which puffs up", instead of practical "wisdom" that "understands his way". The key is applying the knowledge to "their way". Where the rubber meets the road. When does that actually happen at church? One guy talks for an hour or so and then we pray that everyone who hears applies what he said, but we have no mechanism for actually applying it. Imagine a coach who gave his team 30 minutes of instruction a week, but never practised - then expected them to win when it came time for the game! Absurd. Such is the absurdity with this "box" line of thinking.

2. It promotes inactivity, and is revealed as lacking when activity is introduced. Some of my best "church" friends, who knew all the right things to say and went to all the right meetings were virtually speechless when confronted by an unbeliever, or were terrified when it actually came to doing that which we believe. Either that or "church talk" was spewed out, reminiscent of the modern Pez dispenser (which can, by nature, only dispense what was entered and not process the candy for itself):
. Not to say that evangelism is paramount either, so you can draw your own parallels with helping the poor, orphans, widows, fasting, prayer, etc.etc. Once I called up a very well respected preacher and asked the "what is the right way to fast & pray". Their response almost slew me..."I don't know, I've never done it".

Astonishing, however the dilemma for our generation is...what is the remedy. How do we break out of this "box" mentality? The comments section is open....

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Loggin in

Mon - Kitchener
Tues - Kitchener/Home/Hayley sick all day.
01Dec04-Wed - Shawn sick, Hayley printing calendars, Kelly over after school
02Dec04-Thurs-Log: 10AM Shawn reads Bible stories to kids, 12PM lunch with Bill Yuille, 2-5 meeting, planning, paperwork, contacts, email. 6-7 Awana. 7-8: put Awana flyers in mailboxes with Clayon, Kevin, Jamoy. 8-10:30: home study with Maggie & Derek, Matthan, Jason.
03Dec04-Fri-Log: 10:30AM daycare "chapel", 3-4 tracts@MAC, 7-11 Daycare Christmas party
04Dec04-Sat-Log: 9:30-12:30 ESL. 2-5 calls, email, calendars. 6-11:30 Leaside C&C with Clayon & Kevin.
05Dec04-Sun-Log: 9:30-1PM BofB, FBH. 2-5 Hayley at wedding shower. 5-10 pick up Ryan at airport drive to Kitchener

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

November report

I don't want to disrupt the great discussion below on God's will, but seeing as it's December 1st I just wanted to post our stats for last month:

-8 big events attended (evangelism seminars, missionary breakfast, rossland youth rally, bridlegrove/greenwood joint youth event, etc)
-20 contacts via door to door
-3 solid contacts with info & followed up on
-preached 9 times (2 @ LAM highschool christian fellowship, prayer breakfast, 3x
@ rossland youth rally, 3@youth)
- 2 daycare "chapels"
- 2 invites out for food
- 3 lunches out (clayon, sabah, jordan)
- 550 tracts out in front of highschools
- 5 home bible studies
- 10 new youth (76 total youth on fridays)
- 32 people over to eat