Sunday, December 31, 2006

Remix - Year in review

(I had originally posted this on December 20th, but thought it would fit better on December 31st)

Here's our 2006 year end report:
Microsoft Word document - here
Adobe Acrobat PDF file - here

Seems a bit anticlimactic going on about all the great stuff that happened this past year seeing as our ministry is over, however when I sit back and think about all the opportunities God has given us it is encouraging. You could say this is a "year in review", like they have on TV this time of year. As you look over the various events of 2006 don't pray for us so much, pray for all the special people who we've come in contact with along the way. Here's an overview:

January report -> Mounting huge gospel sign at Bridlegrove - here
February -> Horrific tripple murder down the street - Shawn on the national news
March -> 4 Boys complete Christianity Explored course
April -> Q1 report
May -> My mother's stroke
June -> End of school CRUX youth rally, featuring Gyasi Ferdinand, Florida team visits for missions trip to Toronto
July -> Q2 report,
August -> Greece missions trip, Chester Le Sunday school
September -> Kevin moves, Cookie moves
October -> 5 youth from Bridlegrove baptised - videos here, Q3 report
November -> Year end report

It's 2007 already in the Phillipines!!

Here in PEI it's currently 9:25PM Atlantic Time, but my good friend Heidi Lane has already been celebrating the new year for hours now. She has been serving God in the Phillipines for the last few years and today I just discovered her blog - here. Click on over to see what she's been up to and don't forget to pray for her and other missionaries who are overseas for the holidays. And while you're thinking and praying why not get practical and send her some financial support via MSC. Happy Holidays Heidi!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Happy 6th Anniversary!!

Today is our 6th wedding anniversary!! It's interesting because this will be the second year in a row that we wil be attending a wedding on our anniversary. Last year it was Matt & Starr Wilks who got married on Decmeber 30th. This year it's Bev Clarke getting married to Joseph Bondt in about 4 hours. Anyone else out there have an anniversary on December 30th?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

New counter - ClustrMaps

I found this awesome little counter called ClustrMaps and installed it on Christmas eve. You can find it at the very bottom of this blog. It shows a map and puts dots where people are who have visited your site! Click on the picture to see the full-sized map.

Need a title v25

This is a picture of my sweet in-laws. Can anyone think of a good title?

Gary Weeks' Myspace?

Some of you who read my blog may know Gary Weeks. What some of you might not know is that he put out a CD recently. I was on his son Jesse's website and came across this link to Gary's site, where you can sample songs from his album!! Check it out - http://www.sellaband.com/elwood/

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry Christmas in the muslim world

Joel Rosenberg has an amazing Christmas article on the record number of ex-muslims celebrating Christmas this year. Here is the amazing first sentence from his latest blog entry:
More Muslims converted to faith in Jesus Christ over the past decade than at any other time in human history. A spiritual revolution is underway throughout North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. As a result, a record number of ex-Muslims are celebrating Christmas this year, despite intense persecution, arrests, assassinations, and widespread church bombings.
Let's continue to pray for these countries over the holidays:

Iraq: more than 5,000 new Muslim converts to Christianity
Egypt: some reports say 1 million Egyptians have trusted Christ over the past decade or so.
Afghanistan: only 17 Muslim converts to Christianity before 9/11/01, but now more than 10,000. Dozens of baptisms every week.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy 25th Birthday Hayley!!!

Every year it's a struggle to not forget Hayley's birthday, considering it's on December 25th. This year Olivia got her a special present, she took her first steps today!!! Here's a video we got of the historic event:
To show Hayley that the world has not forgotten (she's 25 today), please leave a little comment wishing Hayley a happy birthday!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Early Christmas present from the gospel halls

Looks like the gospel halls like me. Just click here

Milestones - Olivia's first steps!!

Olivia took her first steps today!! We were in the living room when she took 2 steps to Lukas. Sadly our digital camera is currently broken, but I ran over to future shop and scooped up the first one I saw. Hopefully I'll be able to record the moment some time today. The Future Shop visit was wierd. It's the only one in all of PEI. If you want electronics it's the place to go. When we got there I asked about a few cameras and the reply I got was "sorry, we're all out of those". I thought that was strange, but he went on to explain that they only have about 5 digital cameras in stock and they were completely SOLD OUT of memory cards. Sold out 3 days before Christmas? Good old PEI

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Messianic Muslims?

I just read this very intriguing blog post about Messianic muslims:
isa al-masih

This is how Messianic Muslims refer to Jesus.

It seems that they are very similar to the first Christ followers who maintained their Jewish identities, worshipped in the synagogues, observed Jewish cultural mores (dietary, etc.), but acknowledged Christ's saving work and followed his ways.
We've heard of Messianic Jews and accept their retention of their Jewish-ness, but what about Messianic Muslims? Can muslims believe in Jesus and still retain aspects of their Islamic culture? Read the PDF below and then decide.

http://www.ijfm.org/PDFs_IJFM/17_1_PDFs/Followers_of_Isa.pdf

Monday, December 18, 2006

Monday's hot topics - The Star of Bethlehem

Star of wonder,star of night...that was an interesting star alright! It's one week before Christmas and on the forum Jpursey raised a questions we've all thought about at some point:
Can anyone explain how to identify the place over which a star stops?
Now of course we know it was miraculous, but exactly what does it mean that the star "halted over the place where the child was"? Post your thought on this miracle on the forum - here

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Need a title v24

This morning before church I was reminiscing with Josh Harding about a time I took him and kyle along with me to speak at a chapel. Here is the picture below. Can anyone think of a good title??

Friday, December 15, 2006

Video of the week: 'Jay, have you found a bar to start your church in?"

I saw this poster on another blog and was intreagued to follow the link. I had assumed it was some new emergent churchy thing but what I discovered was a new TV show titled "One Punk Under God". It's on the 'Sundance Channel' - here and it's the story of Jay Bakker, the son of Jim & Tammy Faye Bakker!!! Watch this trailer for the series:

Jay has also written articles for CNN and is attempting to bring a new level of transparency to Christianity through the ashes of his parents scandal. His methods might be quite different but his message is grace and forgiveness to those who are broken and wounded from religion. Their motto is "a church for people who have given up on church". Let's see what Len thinks about this one :)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Wednesday prayer requests - Refugees

Last month I attended a seminar where the speaker showed statistics on refugees worldwife. His statistics stated that Afghanistan has the highest number of refugees scattered throughout the world. I emailed him and asked for his source and he pointed me to the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR). You can see all the statistics on their website at http://www.unhcr.org/. It's quite a fascinating read, but it made me wonder what the church is doing for these "aliens in the land" as the Bible calls them. Are you praying for refugees? Are you seeking to reach out to them?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Touchdown in the C-town

Just arrived here in good ole PEI. I'm just downloading emails and thought I'd feature one sent to me by Salvation Army Officer Geoff Ryan. For those who don't know Geoff, a few years ago he set up shop to share the love of Jesus in the countries worst ghetto - Regent Park. This new church is called 614, named after Isaiah 61:4, and you can read all about it on his site - 614network.com. You may remember I took the Florida group down to visit this inner-city church - here. Geoff and I have developed a comaradary (spelling?) as we both live and work in the inner-city of Toronto. Geoff sent me this article today titled "Rap gets Religion":
Over the last year, regular hip-hop church services have been held at the FaithDome, attracting 7,000 to the mega-church in South-Central Los Angeles, and since February, (Kurtis) Blow, who became an early hip-hop star with his classic 1980 record "The Breaks," has led a hip-hop congregation at Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Inglewood that meets on the first Friday of each month...

With established hip-hop congregations in Harlem, Philadelphia and Inglewood, and two more begun last month in Dallas and New Jersey, (Kurtis) Blow balances hands-on ministry with projects like the television series and an upcoming European tour to promote his forthcoming album, "Kurtis Blow and the Trinity."
A hip-hop congregation?? Looks like rapping for Jesus is here to stay. Seems like Len and others were wrong back in March 2005 when I featured a post on the new hip hop church. Plz ppl dun be hatin on ya bredren ya dig!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Plans

Here's what we know for sure:

1. We are still members of Bridlegrove Bible Chapel
2. We will still keep in touch with the youth at and around Bridlegrove
3. Our stuff is currently in storage while we go to PEI for Christmas
4. When we come back from PEI we will be relocating within Toronto
5. Lukas will finish kindergarten at Bridlegrove's daycare

More details in the near future.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Marriage Do's & Dont's

Imran writes:
After 3 months of marriage, heres what Ive learned:

1. Pretend to listen when told tales about how x relative did y nice thing. Your head movement should be:
Shake-shake-break,
shake-shake-break....

5. Perfect answer for 'What did you say?' is 'I said what I shouldnt have said'...
Read the rest of Imran's do's & dont's of marriage - here :)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Wednesday prayer requests - Defrocked!

Just a quick prayer request on a personal level. The picture to the left sums up how we're feeling. I'll talk about the picture at a later date but for those who don't know yet, my ministry as youth worker at Bridlegrove Bible Chapel has come to an end. This was a very painful experience. If anyone has questions just leave a comment or email and I'll try to answer. We have really appreciated the prayers and support of so many of you over the last 3 years. Please continue to pray for the youth in this area. The Lord has blessed us abundantly and no one can take those wonderful memories away. We look forward to keeping in touch with these youth in the future.

While this is a very difficult time we know that God is at work in a big way despite current circumstances. First though, we're going to PEI for Christmas to recover and relax. So, we may be in the tomb for 3 days, but the resurrection is coming soon!! Thank you so much for your prayers. Please pray specifically for Lukas who may have the most difficulty adjusting to a change like this.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Monday's hot topics - Commandments or Faith?

Forum member Pawn Raider recently posted this question on the forum:
Hopefully someone can help me with this. While the Bible states that we are no longer under the law but live by faith, how does one reconcile this with what Jesus Christ stated in John 14:15 where He said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments. How can we live by the commandments of Jesus if we are free from the law? Paul wrote in Galatians 3:21, Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. How does one explain this.
Good question. Can you explain it? Post your thoughts on the forum

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Left Behind....the video game???

By Grayson Kamm
First Coast News

JACKSONVILLE, FL –- The makers of a new video game say its Biblically themed action is designed to stir thinking and talking about matters of eternal importance. But opponents on the First Coast say it’s offensive to Christian beliefs.With flashy graphics and intense action, Left Behind: Eternal Forces has the hallmarks of a hit video game, but with a Biblical twist. Set just after the Rapture in the Book of Revelation, the game puts you in charge of civilians and soldiers with the Tribulation Force –- an armed group fighting against the army of the Antichrist. That fighting sometimes means killing. And some religious groups are furious.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

I can't wait till Sunday morning

There is a song by a Toronto musician named K-OS - here - called "Sunday Morning" that will always remind me of our time here at Bridlegrove. Specifically, the fond memories of driving around picking up kids on a Sunday morning. Sometimes I would even sing this to them to help them get up for church :)
Everyday is Saturday night, but I can't wait for Sunday morning, Sunday morning

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Where did you get that sweet headcovering? The Mantilla Superstore of course!!

Ever wonder where all those ladies in our assemblies get their headcoverings? No it's not from that little basket at the back, it's from Sue Crowe! Now just cause she's the mom of one of my old Sunday School students doesn't mean I'm biased, but come on, these are some of the sweetest headcoverings in the GTA. Check out her website at http://mantillas.tripod.com/ (you might even recognize one of our forum members modeling them). Now don't ask me what the word mantilla means, but don't wait until the easter conference, just click on over and pick some up today!!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy First Birthday Olivia!


Wow! Our little girl is one year old today! Looking over some of her baby pictures it's hard to believe it's been a full year. Happy birthday!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Monday's hot topics - Cult avoidance

While few of us will likely get caught in cults that would drink poison Kool-aid, many of us could fall victim to cult-like tactics if we're not careful. Aussie forum member Johno recently raised the issue in his Cult avoidance topic on the discussion forum:
it is important that we are constantly aware of the possibility that any group can go crazy and become cult-like...
Three features in common:

1) Pyramidal structure: In a cult, one person or group of people has total and unquestioning authority over all members.

On the surface, Brethren assemblies should be unlikely to fall prey to this one; we're precious about plural leadership. But if we dig deeper, would we find in some assemblies that there are people who have more authority than they should, and a reluctance to lose this power?
Click here to find out what the other 2 are. If you were at the Toronto Easter Bible Conference this year, you may remember that Mike Attwood said something similar. On the conference DVD he states:

"There should be no CEO among the elders - no Chief Elder Operating"

Later on he states this leadership issue is a problem he sees as he travels and ministers throughout the assemblies in North America:
"You know one of the biggest problems in assemblies today? The bible is very clear. Proverbs 13:10 says 'Only by pride cometh contention'. It's pride. It's the kind of attitude that says "if it's not my way, it's the highway". That's the kind of attitude destroying assemblies. We have too many Diotropheses'."
Many assemblies I've been in preach against a one-man-ministry, but how has your assembly ensured it won't spiral into cult-tactics? How do we gaurd against this individually and corporately? For that matter, has anyone ever been in a real cult before? Share your experiences on the forum - here

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Random ministry pics - Tribute to Cookie



A little while ago I posted a tribute of sorts to Kevin, one of our youth group guys who moved away. Now it's Cookie's turn (or as his birth certificate reads "Akeem"). You've heard about him in the past, and how he moved to St. Catherines. Now he's getting his 15 minutes of fame in the local Toronto Observer via my friend and reporter Cassie.

Cassie recently did a report on us and even interviewed some of our youth group guys. Here's some clips from the article, along with the picture above (of Cookie, me, Jamoy and Davian):
Every Friday night the teens are welcome to come to the church to participate in a game of basketball and discuss passages from the Bible. Cuthills goal is to communicate with them at their own level and become involved in their everyday lives...Two Sundays ago we had 13 kids in church, where it used to be three' he said. 'And that is a snowball effect. These guys will be looked to by their siblings as leaders, and hopefully that will impact a whole other generation.'
You can read the entire article - here. Keep praying that as these guys grow in Christ they would continue to impact their peers!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Video of the week - Guns in Pants

Here is a video I've had in my collection for some time now. It's advocating dress codes in schools and makes an interesting point.

Will you be the savior of the broken?

Heard a very cool song recently by a group called My Chemical Romance titled The Black Parade. It's the first few minutes that really caught my attention. Here are the lyrics that I think all of us should take to heart:
When I was
a young boy,
My father
took me into the city
To see a marching band.
He said,
"Son when you grow up,
will you be the saviour of the broken,
The beaten and the damned?"
Will you?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

More prayer requests - Pakistan

Pakistan approves reforms to Islamic rape law
The amendments disappointed human rights activists who wanted the law, known as the Hudood Ordinance, to be scrapped altogether. The law has made prosecuting rape cases almost impossible, while women who press charges risk being charged with adultery.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Need a title v21

This is a picture I took at Adam Harding & Leah Collins wedding. Can anyone think of a good title?

Monday, November 13, 2006

The sayings of Lukas v30 - Bed time

Last night the kids were in their room after bath. I came up to see them and Lukas greeted me with this problem.

Lukas: Umm...daddy....mommy says it's time for a story...but we want to watch a movie now...so....could you do something about fixing that for me?

Monday's hot topics - Forum Philosophy

In the past week I've had at least 3 people say to me "What is the purpose of your forum?". One email summed up the question this way
I feel confused about my presence in this forum. The bottom line is the question of the purpose of the web site. If the purpose includes fellowship, then "what concord has Christ with Belial." I signed no doctrinal statement to post here. I can come on this channel and be gathered unto the name of Satan and still post. Yet, the name "simplegathering" bothers me. The name of the channel reflects fellowship. There is little doubt in my mind that there are heretics and apostates on this web site. I recognize that the owner of the forum has crossed lines. He has fellowship issues mixed in with evangelistic issues. He has a section on assemblies, and prayer, and insider talk for pBrethren, but has Imran moderating his own section of the web site. He allows apostates and heretics to post. I prefer to see it as little more then a method of communicating with others. I view this channel as the same as a chance meeting of someone on the street. Yet, there is confusion. There is a lack of clarity of the purpose of this website. If the purpose of this forum is to discuss spiritual things. Why would I discuss spiritual things with many believers and a few apostates and heretics, and one outright unbeliever?
Well just to be clear, at the very top of the forum there is a section titled READ THIS FIRST. There is an explanation about the purpose of each individual section of the forum. So incase anyone didn't read the "READ THIS FIRST" first, now's your chance - here. I did want to pick apart the email a bit and ask what everyone thinks about this statement. Are we not supposed to mix with people in this world and talk about Jesus and our faith? Are we supposed to only keep to ourselves? Sounds to me like the jews that had no dealings with the samaritans? Compare this attitude of "us & them" to Jesus' attitude as he mixed with sinner & tax collectors in order to reach them. Did he cross lines? Did he confuse fellowship with evangelism? Have I? As you read over the forum, what do you think? Have I crossed the line?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

R.O.C.K.in myspace

For those who don't know R.O.C.K. he's the homegrown Toronto christian rapper that we've had at Bridlegrove/CRUX 3 times now. We were hoping to have another CRUX next Saturday but things didn't work out. Luckily he's doin another youth rally on the Friday night if you want to check him out. You can get details on that youth rally and also sample some of his flava on his myspace page at :

http://www.myspace.com/rockmc

The sayings of Sylas v2 - Stinky!

Last night Lukas was sitting on the couch next to Olivia. She started to crawl away and he grabbed her around the waist to bring her back. In the process Lukas got a wiff of her dirty diaper:

Lukas: Yuck, this diaper is stinky!
Sylas: Can I smell? Can I smell??.....Yuck

Monday, November 06, 2006

From bad to worse

As if the Ted Haggard thing wasn't enough bad news, Kent Hovind is about to go to jail for 288 years!!
Kent Hovind, founder of Creation Science Evangelism, was accused of failing to pay $845,000 in employee taxes at the dinosaur theme park, an amusement park that exposed visitors to the view of Hovind and his followers that humans and dinosaurs coexisted and that evolution did not occur.

Hovind, who faces a maximum of 288 years in prison, was taken into custody Thursday evening after the jury read its verdict.

Monday's hot topics - Sex, Masturbation, Internet Porn, and Gays

Forum member Daoust raised an interesting question on the forum recently:
I was wondering if anyone who attends a brethen assembly has ever heard a sermon in their assemblies where a speaker either mentioned or openly discussed sex, masturbation, pornography and it's addictiveness or homosexuality and how all of these things are affecting/will effect our youth/children in the years to come?
Can't say I ever have. Have you? Should we be discussing these things in church? Post your thoughts on the forum - here

Sunday, November 05, 2006

What we can all learn from the Haggard scanal

Below is a portion of the apology letter from Pastor Ted Haggard. For those who don't know him, Pastor Haggard lead a 14,000 member church and was President of the National Evangelical Association in the US until this past week when he was caught in serious immorality. How did this mighty leader fall?
When I stopped communicating about my problems, the darkness increased and finally dominated me.
The core lesson that each of us can learn from this whole thing is this:

-> Hide temptations and sins = disaster.

-> Confess sins = healing

As James 5:16 says:
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Random ministry pics v7 - 3 on 3 tournament

Recently I came across the website for Nicey's food mart, the premiere Carribean grocery store in Toronto, located at the corner of Chester Le and Morecambe (where some of our youth come from). On the site is a "community events" page click here which featured some pictures of the Nicey's 3 on 3 basketball tournament last summer. While I was not directly involved with planning this tournament our boyz won it and I got to see a bit of the event, so I wanted to post this sweet picture of Nabil in action! Last Friday we had a fun time as these youth played the men of the church in a game of basketball. Nabil was the MVP, sinking 3 pointers like he was Larry Bird!! Thankfully none of the mature participants had to be hospitalized :) Praise God for the fun last Friday and also for the times of sharing that took place after the game. Please keep praying for these guys!

Remember Remember the 5th of November

Not sure why I posted that title. I guess because it's November and it's starting to get cold. October was such a monumental month but such a blah month all at the same time. In October we had a bunch of events at church and also saw a dramatic increase (again) in the number of kids coming out to church as friends tell friends. We had up to 23 one week but the average was about 15 or so. Tough to know what ways to help these kids. Thankfully many have stepped up to be mentors to them.

Anyhow the reason I'm writing this late is because I found a cool little charity called the Canadian Council of Christian Charities (www.cccc.org). They are basically like a big helpful "certification" agent that offers membership to those churches and charities that want to keep up to date. Basically it's like the ISO9000 craze where businesses get all "certified" to show that they actually do what they say they do. With Christian charities it should be a no brainer right...well not exactly. Laws change all the time and these guys are really good at helping keep you up to speed with them. I went to a seminar they held on the 19th of October and it was absolutely packed with info. 3 hours and a 50-page binder later I am much more knowledgeable about things churches & charities need to do to keep up.

I've been combing their site and found this neat little page (click here) titled "Evaluating a ministry". I've been having some fun looking over some of the info on some of the charities I donate to...give it a try. It has a link to a Canada Revenue agency page - here - that lets you search for all the info on your charity of choice.

There's alot to keep up with these days. Please pray for us who are in ministry as we face a myriad of legal implications involved in our work. For example someone sent me this link about one of the most respected evangelicals in the US who was forced to step down over unproven allegations. May God help us to rightly divide the word and rightly avoid these pitfalls.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

November loggin in

01Nov06 - Wed - Prayer with elders (Des), Gordon over for supper
02Nov06 - Thu - sick
03Nov06 - Fri - youth, Pothaar over
04Nov06 - Sat -
05Nov06 - Sun - BofB, FBH, evening MBC
06Nov06 - Mon - office
07Nov06 - Tues- zoo
08Nov06 - Wed - TW for dinner
09Nov06 - Thur- speak at Awana
10Nov06 - Fri - youth to Don Valley, set up for missionary breakfast
11Nov06 - Sat - Missionary breakfast
12Nov06 - Sun - BofB, FBH with 16 - (Mickey, Travon, Kellz, Omar, Clayon, Jamoy, Hansel, Christoff, Olivia, Kyleisha, Dominique, Infinity + bro, Moses, Maya, Mae,) 9 over for lunch, evening service
13Nov06 - Mon - office
14Nov06 - Tues-

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The sayings of Lukas v29 - Dry banana

Today while we were getting ready for school Lukas started talking to me:

Lukas: Remember when Olivia was born? I'm gonna remember that forever.
Daddy: Luke, do you remember what you said when you first saw Olivia? (below)


He thought about it for a minute.
Lukas: I remember daddy, she really felt like the driest banana ever!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Monday's hot topics - Christian "ghetto"?

TWP made a very interesting comparison between the "Christian community" and the "Gay community".
It's enough that we closet and ghettoize ourselves, and that we have pride parades/marches in the street. The numerous similarities to gay culture are getting a little bit embarassing.
When pressed on the issue he elaborated:
But (Generalizing, putting forth the image/stereotype each group is saddled with):

Some Homosexuals__________________Some Christians
===========___________________==========

-have special symbols____________________-ditto
they can put on their cars to
identify them to others

-march in "Pride" parades__________________-ditto

-enjoy ballady, syrupy, overly_______________-ditto
emotional songs

-are likely to wear t-shirts with_______________-ditto
characteristic slogans on them
which often seem cheesy and
insincere to others

-characterized by a plastic cheerfulness________-ditto
that can seem very fake

-want people to understand that they _________-ditto
are different, and to appreciate and
perhaps even emulate their lifestyle
choices

-feel their way of living makes them special ___-ditto

-want to change the world so it will___________-ditto
conform more to how they choose
to live

-tend to make others uncomfortable__________-ditto
if they start to talk in great detail,
apropos of nothing, about their
personal feelings and views on how
people should live, especially if
there is insufficient relationship
with the person they are prosyletizing

-tend to dress in an identifyingly_____________-ditto
neat and tidy style

-want to ensure the government_____________-ditto
recognizes their lifestyle choices,
and that their chosen lifestyle and
the elements of its culture remain legal

-tend to be self-ghettoized into a distinct ______-ditto
subgroup of society, not mixing socially
with groups that include people who do
not choose to live the way they do

-may find it difficult to confess their__________-ditto
chosen lifestyle to others, who
may not understand


Made me question how I practise my Christianity. Are Christians too ghettoized? If so, is it even a bad thing? Very thought provoking comparison. What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Noah's ark commercial

Got this video from a friend in Israel:

Made me wonder, why did God make mosquitos?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Monday's hot topics - Arguing

It seems from time to time that folks on the forum get into arguments and disputes.TWP asks "Is arguing always bad and a waste of time?"
Was Paul wrong to withstand Peter to the face over Peter's life choices? Were Paul and Barnabas wrong to have a dispute? Is it always a good idea to be silent rather than discuss things that may cause disagreement? Does any good ever come from discussing things of this nature? If so, when is it worthwhile to argue or discuss or oppose someone, and when is it not?
Post your argumen...uh..I mean...opinions on the forum here :)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Costas Macris safe with Jesus

The Founder of Hellenic Ministries Costas Macris passed away last Wednesday. He was 71. Here is the announcement from his son and President Johnathan
-----Original Message-----
From: Johnathan Macris
Sent: Saturday, October 21, 2006 6:15 PM
To: info@hmnet.org.gr
Subject: He Won!

My Dearest Friends and Family and to all who knew and loved my father, Costas Macris:

My sweet, sweet daddy finished the race and won! Daddy stepped over the finish line at 12.40, Wednesday, October 18, two days after my birthday. He gave all he had in this life to gain the victors wreath (crown) of righteousness and eternity with Jesus!

I long to write more about this incredible monumental day in our lives...but for now, it's pretty busy preparing for the memorial/funeral celebration to be held at the First Evangelical Church on Monday, October 23 at 1:15pm Athens time.

Thanks for walking this road of sorrow and joy mixed together.

With gratitude,

Johnathan, for the Macris family

PS I've included the invitation for the funeral/memorial service below.


______________
The Family has chosen to make a Memorial Fund for two of Dad's last desires: 1) The completion and publication of the 'Logos Zontanos' Bible in the modern Greek language; 2) A well at Porto Astro. The Tuesday before he went to the hospital we confirmed plans to move forward on the publication of the Bible, on Wednesday I urged him to cancel the appointment we had with the drilling company so that on Thursday he would have energy for the surgery..... Now we must finish the task he started.


Hellenic Ministries/Greece
12 Lydias St.
Athens 11527
Greece

Office: + 30 (210) 777.9845
Fax: + 30 (210) 748.3733
Mobile: + 30 (694) 523.6554
E-mail: info@hmnet.org.gr
Web site: www.hmnet.org

Friday, October 20, 2006

Video of the week - Snakes with legs!!

I showed this video last night at Awana in relation to God's cursing the snake in Genesis and thought I'd post it here today. This is a video of the Boa constrictor at the Toronto zoo in the Americas pavilion. Notice the title "Ancestors with legs" and the commentary about how snakes used to have legs (before Adam & Eve sinned)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wednesday prayer requests - Immigration

India poised to overtake China as top source of immigrants
62% of the applicants being processed originated in Gulf region countries. Mr. Kurland speculated the surge from that area probably comes from Indian labourers in those countries who, after working in the Gulf states, prefer to seek a new life in Canada rather than return to India.
These are the two most populous countries in the world. The mission field has come to us. What are we doing to reach these people with the gospel?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Monday's hot topics - Christian Music

Forum user "In_the_Lords_army" started a discussion a while back about Christian Music.
In christian music, (the topic at the time was christian rock), does it have to be music with a christian message all the time....or can christian rock just be christians who rock?! I was just wondering on everyone elses oppinion
Got an opinion? Post it on the forum - here

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Wednesday prayer requests - The Pumpkin Hunt!!

That's right it's back again! The Pumpkin Hunt is on October 28th at Sanctuary. Download the poster and get your youth group cause you ain't gonna wanna miss this one. The pumpkin is back and the first team to find all the clues gets to smash him to bits. See you there!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Need a title v20

We'll get back to regular "Hot topics" next Monday but since this is Thanksgiving here in Canada I wanted to post this nice fall picture.
Can anyone think of a good title?

Friday, October 06, 2006

Rejoice!!

I figure we get enough negative news in a day, so whenever something good happens I'll post it here on the athensBLOG so we can rejoice together!

On Tuesday morning I started the engine and noticed a little smoke coming from the front. I opened the hood to discover oil leaking directly onto the pavement, and lots of it! Yikes.

I turned the car off and got CAA to tow it to the mechanic. Needless to say we were terrified it would be a massive bill. After a lengthy wait the mechanic called to tell us that the "oil switch" had broken and after only 95.00 or so we had our van back!! Thank you Lord for keeping our van together!!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Video of the week - Bed time at Cuthills

Ever wonder why it's sometimes difficult to get us on the phone? Here's a peek into a usual bedtime at our home :) (is bedtime one word or two?)

PS. You can also see some videos of the baptism that took place on Sunday at Bridlegrove - click here

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Wednesday prayer requests (on Tuesday)

Journalistic wonderboy Paul Roides made us this awesome graphic last night. For those who don't know Paul, he is not only the creator of this blog, but he's also the inventor of the "McPray" concept and the designer of the first McPray logo, which you see on the left margin. We feel very privileged to know Paul, and many others of you who have shown your love to us through McPrayer :) Many of you around the world have told us that you are McPraying for us and at the end of the day that is the greatest gift you could give us. So thank you Paul, and thank you to each person McPraying!! :)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Monday's hot topics - Circumcision

Forum member VEaston opened the can of worms when she posted recently on the forum:
I think it is time for a lively discussion on circumcision. I haven't been able to find a whole lot of Christian opinions on this touchy subject, yet I'm sure most of us who've had children have had to make a decision on the subject at some point...
Post your thought on this touchy subject on the forum - here

Sunday, October 01, 2006

October loggin in

01Oct06 - Sun - BofB, FBH with 11 (Dom, kyleisha, Olivia, Alpha, Noah, Raphael, Moses, Mae, Maya, Joselyn & sister), read story to Sunday School, evening Baptism
02Oct06 - Mon - prayer, meeting 7-9
03Oct06 - Tues- car in for repair
04Oct06 - Wed - Prayer with elders (Des), prayer
05Oct06 -Thurs- Read to daycare, lunch with CWood, speak at Awana, Colin over
06Oct06 - Fri - zoo, meeting with Adair, Evaline, Tricia. Youth
07Oct06 - Sat - Pervez
08Oct06 - Sun - BofB, FBH with 15
09Oct06 - Mon - Thanksgiving, parents over
10Oct06 - Tues- Max PC, Gideons
11OCt06 - Wed - DVBC pumpkin hunt video
12Oct06 - Thur- Read to daycare, Awana, Pothaar tuxedo
13Oct06 - Fri - office, Pothaar rehearsal
14Oct06 - Sat - Pothaar wedding
15Oct06 - Sun - BofB, FBH with 23 (Dom, Olivia, Kyleisha, Travon, Jamoy, Hansel, Christoff, Clayon, Alpha, Moses, Mae, Maya, Shamar, Janise, Jocelyn, Kadyja, Troy, Damian, Nathaniel, Tyrell, Oral, + 2 new)
16Oct06 - Mon - Office, airport
17Oct06 - Tues- Ron Adams meet, party
18Oct06 - Wed - prayer, lunch with PC, hamilton seminar
19Oct06 - Thur- read to daycare,
20Oct06 - Fri - dominoes @ wilfreds
21Oct06 - Sat - boys birthday
22Oct06 - Sun - HP parents to airport
23Oct06 - Mon - office catch up
24Oct06 - Tues- Kyle
25Oct06 - Wed - prayer with elders, prayer
26Oct06 - Thur- Ron Adams, Awana
27Oct06 - Fri - Youth vs. F.O.M.
28Oct06 - Sat - Pumpkin Hunt
29Oct06 - Sun - BofB(shared), FBH with 15, evening service
30Oct06 - Mon - office catch up
31Oct06 - Tues-

Saturday, September 30, 2006

What do you do when????

Today I had a strange situation and I wanted to see what others thought would be the best course of action.

I was stopped at a stop light, which was red. In both lanes were police officers who where in front of me and talking to each other, completely blocking the road. The light turned green and they kept talking. I waited, hoping they would see, but they kept talking. I thought it would be awkward to honk so I tried to change lanes so they would get the hint, but they kept talking. The light started to turn yellow.

What would you have done?

Friday, September 29, 2006

The sayings of Lukas v28 - First Awana verse

Well last night was very special for us as Lukas started Awana! We had practised his sparks verse (John 3:16) in 5 compartments and rehearsed them a number of times on our 5 fingers, until he had it perfect:

1. For God so loved the world
2. he gave his only son
3. whoever believes in him
4. should not perish
5. but have everlasting life


We practised and practised and after he had it perfect he even called Grammy in PEI and told her too! After trying for a couple days he was getting bored and said to me:

Daddy, I want to try it backwards! (and proceeded to do the 5 segments in reverse order!)

5. but have everlasting life
4. should not perish
3. whoever believes in him
2. he gave his only son
1. For God so loved the world

Obviously every parent thinks that their child is the smartest in the world so we thank God for our Lukas and his overactive drive for perfection :) Please pray for him as he develops in his understanding of God.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Good old Toronto water

Our Scarborough water is the best!!!
Municipal inspectors have discovered that misconnected pipes are directing raw sewage from Toronto toilets directly into nearby creeks that stream into Lake Ontario. One of the worst-hit waterways is Taylor-Massey Creek, which runs through *Scarborough* before entering the Don River and then flows into the Toronto Harbour.

1994 Pulitzer Prize Winning Picture

Josh Duffy sent me this email a while ago. Click on the picture to enlarge:



This was found in his diary,

Dear God, I promise I will never waste my food no matter how bad it can taste and how full I may be. I pray that He will protect this little boy, guide and deliver him away from his misery. I pray that we will be more sensitive towards the world around us and not be blinded by our own selfish nature and interests. I hope this picture will always serve as a reminder to us that how fortunate we are and that we must never ever take things for granted.

Monday's hot topics - Over 20,000

On Saturday the forum went over 20,000 posts! Thanks to everyone who has posted!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The sayings of Lukas v27 - Crying

Today as we were lazing around in typical rainy-Sunday-afternoon form we strapped Olivia into one of the upright carseats so she could watch a video with the boys. After we put the video on and left the room Oliva started screaming and Lukas said:

Mommy could you take Olivia somewhere else to cry?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Need a title v18


Here's Lukas & Sylas at the top of the CN tower. Can anyone think of a good title?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Wednesday prayer requests - McPray deluxe!

I've been holding out on the prayer requests recently because many of them have to do with personal issues we are facing. We've shared with many of you in private, but posting them here might not be the best idea, so if you think about it, remember to McPray for us! :)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Look who's got teeth!!

Olivia got 3 top teeth last week to go along with her two bottom teeth! Here she is nibbling on some corn.

In other news, congratulations to Hayley's grandpa, Daniel MacLeod who turned 99 today!!! Click here and send him an email...even if you don't know him... and wish him a happy birthday!! -> Click here to email

Monday's hot topics - Authority

How do we view authrority? Some would advocate following leadership regardless of their ineptitude. Some don't even vote because they think God will put his chosen people in power. Others however fight for better government.

While we are more familiar with this struggle in our government, how does this obedience to authority play out in church? Recently on the discussion forum our friend Sunshine started a topic to discuss this very thing. Here's a clip from a recent post from someone (TWP) who was kicked out of their church by bad leadership:
Here's what makes the whole "obedience" thing a bit tough to follow:

-Jesus felt free to disobey and dismay all of the men who were supposed to be the respected leaders of the jewish community he was part of. Not only did he not feel the need of obeying them, he judged them, and not as God, but as a person (a human being) coinhabiting this world with them. Essentially, he removed himself from being under their authority.

-the protestants felt free to disobey and walk away from the church authority at the time, judging it and removing themselves from its authority.

-the brethren felt free to disobey and walk away from their own (mostly) Anglican churches, including the men in authority there, judging them and removing themselves from its authority.

What we now seem to be talking about is the question of whether to be under the authority of brethren elders who seem to us to be false shepherds, scattering the flock and putting people under law, because the bible says we can't do otherwise, or whether we feel we are in a position to judge their rule of us as unscriptural and remove ourselves from their authority.
What are your thoughts on church leadership? Share your stories on the forum - here

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Wednesday prayer requests - Nothing

Don't let the title fool you, there is alot to pray about. However I found this post on Heather Barnes blog - here. You've probably heard about 40 days of purpose or 40 days of community, well Heather tells us about a program called 30 days of....nothing.
The goal of this month-long fast is to break the grip of materialism in our hearts and minds. We want to live in gratitude, not discontent; and we want to live with awareness of the great responsibility our affluence has laid on our shoulders.
Maybe we should give it a try.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Monday's hot topics - Where were you on September 11th?

An American member of the forum Ciela, posted this moving remembrance of September 11th
Today I look back to honor all those innocent people whose lives were taken September 11, 2001. Too often heard that date has been used and abused for political agendas, but this infamous date, September 11, is to be honored. It was a turning point for our nation--and not necessarily a good one.

I will not forget. For the sake of those who died, I must not forget. I am an American, and when those planes hit the towers, I felt--like many Americans--I felt personally violated, personally attacked.

The morning of September 11, I turned on the radio and entered a nightmare. I remember clutching at the dresser and weeping, "Oh God, no! Oh God, why would anyone do such a horrid thing? Oh God, help us all..." and, I must confess, I angrily thought, "those IDIOTS! What stupid ignoramuses would ever do such a thing? They have to be absolutely deranged!"

There is no word in the English language, let alone any language, to describe the abhorrance and disgust I felt. And then I thought, "wow, now I know how hard it is to 'bless your enemies', to 'bless and curse not'." And it has been a struggle ever since, let me tell you not to fall into the same cesspool of hate that those Islamic terrorists were in. I'm trying instead to be understanding, trying to ask God to help me to love people that want to destroy us. Because it is certainly not easy.

I remember and grieve for those who died, and hope fervently that they will not have died in vain. I hope with all my might and main that no one in the free world will capitulate to the destructive and hateful ideologies of terrorists and those who support them, that freedom will only stand up and be strengthened, not weakened.

In Remembrance,
Ciela
What are your memories of September 11th? Share them on the forum, with people from around the world

Friday, September 08, 2006

Good news on the move2

Some of you may remember last year about this time a group led by Jabe Nicholson headed off to do evangelism across the US. This was called "Good news on the move" and my prayers were with them. It was encouraging to hear of their travels and gospel efforts and even receive a few calls from Phil while he was on the road.

This year again the call has gone out to mount up two teams and again head off to evangelise! But what a different response this year. Here is a quote from a recent update from Jabe:
To my knowledge we have not had one enquiring email or call from any elders across the continent.
Please pray for this effort, and more importantly for our assemblies. May it not be said of us that we were the generation that dropped the ball.

Another letter to anonymous

To: anonymous
From: Shawn and Hayley Cuthill

Dear Anonymous

We were again amazed by your generosity in the month of June, by the money you sent to us via MSC . It's great to know that people we don't even know are supporting and praying for us! God is at work and we thank you for your obedience to him.

We have purchased the magnetic prayer cards and fixed our squeeky brakes on our van, as promised. Also we used some of the funds towards our Greece trip. Your sacrificial gift, Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous, is a great encouragement to us!

Yours in Christ,
Shawn & Hayley

Video of the week - Everyone go to heaven!!

Well it's back to school week here so I thought I'd show the last video I took at the end of the last school year. Listen for the exhortation by this girl at the very end of the video. This goes out to all the students heading back to school:

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Wednesday prayer requests - 42 division

Hayley and I live in Scarborough. For those who don't know, Scarborough has a reputation of being one of the worst areas in Canada. The police patrol here is 42 division. This division covers all of Scarborough, which is quite a task.

Recently I found online the 2005 Toronto Police Statistical Report (pdf file). It is a report of all crime by division. If you live in Toronto, take a minute to read over the stats in your division. Here is what it has to say about crimes reported in our very own 42 division:

First degree murder: 7 (7 times more than 41 division)
Attempted murder: 28 (4 times more than 41 division)
Sexual assault: 213
Other assault: 2,793
Robbery: 915 (twice as many as 41 division)
Break & enter: 1,974
Total non-traffic offenses: 21,468

Please pray for this area, the officers that serve and protect, as well as the messengers of the gospel that bring the light of Jesus!

**UPDATE** Some of you may remember a shooting that happened near us back in November - click here. There have been some recent updates in the news about this murder:

Toronto Star article - Sept 1:
On Nov. 1, 2005, McLean — who lived with his mother at 51 Morecambe Gate — answered the phone around 2 a.m. Twenty minutes later, his killers were at his back door.

"As soon as he opened the door, he was brutally and cowardly shot ... There was probably very little conversation between his attackers and himself," Taylor said.

The suspects ran from the scene.

"This is the last place we can trace them to," Taylor said, standing at a fence that divides a plaza from a housing complex at 260 Chester Le Blvd.

Taylor said he believes the suspects knew the area well — and possibly lived there at the time. A low-level marijuana dealer, McLean likely knew his killers. The officer said he does not have a clear motive and noted McLean was not affiliated with gangs. Although Taylor released composite sketches of two suspects, he believes more people were involved.

"Maybe one of those two guys is not comfortable with the shooting. I ask that they contact their lawyer and that they contact me and I'd be more than willing to speak with them."


There is also an article in the latest Inside Toronto.

The sayings of Sylas - Air Show

Here are some sweet pics from the rooftop labour day party/Air Show on Monday, hosted by our good friends Mark J and Ben. Notice Sylas is wearing his Superman jammies. Thankfully he didn't jump off the roof, but he did have this to say about his super-powers:

Daddy, I'm going to cut off my elbows and put wings on my arms!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Monday's hot topics - BrethrenPedia admin

A little late with the hot topics this week, but it's labour day so you're supposed to be lazy I guess. Along with regular postings about what's "hot" on the forum, I'll also post updates about what's "hot" on the BrethrenPedia.

For those who don't already know, BrethrenPedia is the "Home of all things Plymouth Brethren". The site was born out of a burden to document in detail the history of the brethren assemblies as a whole and as individual churches. Things have been rolling along at the BrethrenPedia and recently we have added 2 new admins to the mix. One is Dr. Philip from India and the other is Tom from Maryland. Tom even linked us to WikiBible so get in there and post your church info before somebody else does!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Video of the week + Wednesday prayer requests - Chester Le Kev

Today (Friday, not Wednesday) I was getting lunch at Dominoes Pizza. I had to wait for a few minutes and noticed their delivery map, blown up and pasted on the wall. The map was divided into different sections, but what caught my attention was a street that had been squiggled out by a marker. I looked closer, wondering what street this was and if it was an error on the map. It was no error, it was Chester Le - the government housing area across the street from the chapel.

I asked the Dominoes employee why it was crossed out and he told us that there had already been 2 robberies of Dominoes employees in this area since the store opened in June. Dominoes no longer deliveres in Chester Le.

This past Sunday 9 youth from Chester Le were at the Family Bible Hour. One of the youth who sat next to me is on house arrest. This area is troubled because there really isn't anything to do. No community center, one basketball court near a tiny park and lots of dark areas...one of which is even nicknamed "darkside". This past week I noticed that some of the corridors and walkways between the houses had new steel bars installed. One guy commented that it would ruin hide and seek games.

Please pray for this area. Pray that our assembly would continue to be a light to this community. Two of our key youth who have been coming out to church for over a year have moved. I had mentioned in a previous blog entry about "Cookie" who moved to St. Catherines and is attending Brockview Bible Chapel with his family. However another one of our guys, Kevin, moved away just 3 weeks ago.

This is very difficult for us. Kevin had been coming to church since he was about 10 and was the spiritual leader of the group. He was part of the "level 4" group, which we took to a number of events, including the airport with Gary Weeks. We had recently connected him with a "coach" who he really enjoyed. It's sad to even type this as I think that we may never see him again. Here's to you Kevin:

September loggin in

01Sept06 - Fri -
02Sept06 - Sat -
03Sept06 - Sun - BofB, FBH with 5, visit Maggie & Derek
04Sept06 - Mon - labour day - roof top with Clayon
05Sept06 - Tues - first day of school!
06Sept06 - Wed - breakfast with TWi, prayer with elders (des only), Pumpkin hunt planning
07Sept06 - Thurs - chapel
08Sept06 - Fri - feast for youth ? 20?
09Sept06 - Sat - Day of prayer
10Sept06 - Sun - BofB (shared), FBH with 15 (Clayon, dad, Christoff, Jamoy, Tatiana, Travon, Mickey, Olivia, Dom, Kyleisha, Alpha, Jeff, Frank, Noah, Moses), evening service
11Sept06 - Mon - in office
12Sept06 - Tue - zoo
13Sept06 - Wed - prayer (no elders)
14Sept06 - Thur- read bible stories,
15Sept06 - Fri - youth - (Jordy, Rashad, Jason, Chris + 2 friend, Jamoy, Clayon, Alpha, Noah, Frank, Dominique, Tishauna, Omar,
16Sept06 - Sat - Olivia sick
17Sept06 - Sun - BofB, FBH with 14 (Olivia, Dom, Kyleisha, Tatiana, Raphael, Jamoy, Clayon, Hansel, Christoff, Omar, Alpha, Moses, Mae, Maya),
18Sept06 - Mon - office catch up
19Sept06 - Tues- zoo, ladies fellowship
20Sept06 - Wed - prayer (no elders), M&Ju, Civic center with Ryan Hue, Pick up Amanda@airport
21Sept06 - thurs-Bible stories, speak at Awana
22Sept06 - fri - youth cancelled Josh Ramberan Birthday, Clayon, Jamoy, Katherine over
23Sept06 - Sat - PTBO wedding
24Sept06 - Sun - BofB, FBH with 18 (Alpha, Noah, Moses, Mae, Maya (+ 2 neighbours), Trayvon, Tatiana, Dom, Kyleisha, Olivia, Infinity, brother, Clayon, Hansel, Christoff, Rafiki sis & bro, Evening service
25Sept06 - Mon - Offic catch up
26Sept06 - Tues - off, zoo, J&C, Amanda, Mark over for dinner
27Sept06 - Wed - Amanda to airport
28Sept06 - Thur - read to daycare, lunch with GR, read to Awana
29Sept06 - Fri - breakfast ABe, youth
30Sept06 - Sat - FFM meet

___________

13 avg per youth per Sunday morning
27 over to eat
3 stay overnight
preached twice (Awana)
2 youth events

Monday, August 28, 2006

Monday's hot topics - Does the Bible contradict itself?

TheologyStudent recently posted a few seeming Bible contradictions on the forum. Here's a sample of one:
The author of Matthew contradicts the author of Mark on the number of animals Jesus is riding into Jerusalem.

(Mat 21:7 NRSV) they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on
*them*.

(Mark 11:7 NRSV) Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on
*it*.
Are there contradictions in the Bible? How would you answer this and other seeming contradictions? Post your thoughts on the forum - here

Also, the forum has registered it's first member from Malaysia! Alvin attends a brethren church in Malaysia that is currently expanding and has planted 4 other congregations in the last 10 years. We look forward to Alvin's contributions!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Matt & Ruth flooded

I posted last week about Matt & Ruth Cook and their decision to stay in Pakistan. A few days later I received another email from Matt describing flooding that has occured during the rainy season:
The biggest problem is the flooding that's been going on. Hard to imagine that an area with an average annual rainfall of about -2cm is now swimming. It's rough for the people here. Houses are collapsing, crops and animals are dying. Apparently the city we're in right now have been hit the worst. Hundreds of families here in Sanghar are homeless now. Pray for Sindh.
Please pray for Matt & Ruth. If God moves you to send them a financial gift to help the people there you can donate via MSC

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Wednesday prayer requests - OG2 on Greek TV nationwide!!

Got this email yesterday from the staff at Hellenic Ministries!Please pray that this would be a huge blessing, instead of a curse:
1. OG2 on TV nationwide - and the impact on those that saw the ALPHA TV channel last week. OG2, our beautiful color gift bags, and hardbound Bibles were splashed on the screen nationwide in a 'Good Morning Greece'- type program. A Cretan Orthodox Bishop took the opportunity to blast Hellenic Ministries and the Evangelical community in a slanted presentation against our work and us. We believe that their efforts to slam our alleged proselytism only worked in favor of advertising our Bible distribution as a noble cause! Even the Orthodox Theologian on the talk show refuted some of the angered Bishops points in our defense. The Orthodox Theologian went so far as to challenge the Orthodox Church to wake-up; he stated the following: "We must learn from them and get out where the people are and spread the light ourselves!" (plausible implication – we are in the dark!) He also corrected the Bishop reciting the Greek constitution when OG2 was under the hammer for proselytism. Sadly, the last words of the Theologan were a quote from St. Augustine – “There is no salvation outside the church!” We thank the Lord however for Dr. Katsarkas of Thessaloniki who spoke on defense of Hellenic Ministries and the Evangelical community in Greece via a telephone link. (Conveniently, the talk show organizers were careful not to stage any evangelicals in front of the camera.)
Keep praying for the follow up from the OG2 outreach!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Monday's hot topics - Foot Washing

A little practised command in scripture is the act of foot washing. What did Jesus mean when he said ""If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet." Jn 13:13??? If Jesus did it, shouldn't we? Comment on the forum - here

Friday, August 18, 2006

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Cook's are staying put

Here is an update from Matt & Ruth Cook concerning their plans to return to Canada:
Ruth's visa application was rejected. The Canadian government is afraid that Ruth might try to stay in Canada past her allotted six months
Please pray for them.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Wednesday prayer requests - No more internet!

Alright folks, this is a biggie. After months of humming and hawing we have finally decided to cancel the internet at home. That's right no more high-speed, I'm quitting cold turkey. Since having Olivia we've hardly been getting any sleep let alone time to check email so we cancelled our high-speed account and now I'm going through withdrawl.

Pray for me that I don't turn into an internet warewolf that drives around with my laptop looking for wireless signals. AAawwwwoooooooooo

Monday, August 14, 2006

Monday's hot topics - The Dead Sea Scrolls

Last year when I was in Israel we went to the site of an amazing biblical archaeological find - Quamran - a series of caves close to the "Dead Sea". In these caves a young boy found some clay pots full of Biblical manuscripts, dating back to the first century, which became known as "the dead sea scrolls". They were in near perfect condition and have provided one of the best set of manuscripts and proof for the Bible in recent history.

On the discussion forum "InHimAlone" asks a good question about these scrolls and what impact they should have on Christians today - here:
What bearing should the Dead Sea Scrolls Hebrew Scriptures or the Greek Septuagint be given for the purposes of study, exegesis or teaching the word of God?
Can we be satisfied with our modern English translations or should we be striving to learn the biblical languages?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Back in town

Well we're back and exhausted. As if terrorist delays weren't enough, AirTransat decided to switch up their planes and so we were 2 hours late getting to Toronto. So we're here safe and sound and catching up. Hopefully I'll post a wrap up of the trip soon, including my brief stint as a paparazzi photographer, when I saw Peter Kent (Global News anchorman) sitting one row in front of us on the flight home!!). More soon but for now, here is a link to the pictures of the outreach:

OG2 team pictures - click here.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Leaving on a jet plane?

Hi everyone, hopefully this will be my last update before we get home. I'm just here at the Greek Bible Institute in Athens where we stayed last night. Many people who were part of the outreach had flights cancelled yesterday so please pray that our 2PM Toronto flight will not be affected. We do not go through the UK or US so hopefully things will go smoothly. More soon

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Chronicles of Kythnos V4 - Best night ever!

Again thank you all very much for your prayers! We really couldn't do it without you all. I want to share one story to show how God answered your prayers for us here, half way around the world! Upon arriving on our island it was clear that we needed to rent a car to travel between all the tiny villages. Villages like Merixax, Chora, Dryopida, Lefkes, Loutra and others with populations of 50-500 are scattered all over this Island of Kythnos. We got a great deal on a van and each day split up into our mini-teams of 4 (our team consists of 12 people plus Olivia - so 3 teams of 4). Each team would be dropped off in their respective village to hand out Bibles, and then we would meet up again at the end of the day to eat supper together at some location where we felt the Lord giving us the best opportunities. One such town was Dryopida. Noel, Deb, Danielle and Kelly had distributed bags there and got a good vibe, so the entire team went there Saturday night. That night there was a big Euro dance at the main ampi-theater so the place was packed with about 500 or 600 people from all over the island, some we recognized coming from other villages as this was the only thing going on on the entire island that night. We saw alot of people we had spoke to from other villages.

We weren't sure what the Euro dance was all about but we knew people would be there so we prayed, and asked you to pray, and God answered in a big way! We ate dinner there and prayed that we would get a chance to share. We had been practising singing some Greek songs and we asked the Lord to give us a chance to share, then headed to the ampitheater. We thought perhaps we would get a chance to sing our songs & talk to people after the show, hopefully if people would be mingling around after.

The ampitheater was packed and there were many performers. While we were waiting for the show to begin Hayley felt led to ask the people if we could actually perform during the show! We were very nervous and prayed as she asked the organizers. First she asked the sound guy who told her to ask the lady that was organizing it. Hayley asked the lady, who simply asked who we were and what we wanted to do and Hayley explained we were Christians from all over the world who had a few songs to sing. The lady wanted to see the songs and after she read the words she gave us the green light! Praise God, we were on the program, and not only that, we were the grand finale!! Now we were REALLY nervous...would we remember our Greek songs, would they boo and throw things at us?? We prayed more fervently now!

The program went on for about 2 hours and we were losing hope of actually getting to perform. There was Greek dancing, singing and lots of "Opa's" all around. After what appeared like the grand finale, the organizer lady went up to the microphone, motioned to Hayley and explained to the whole crowd that we were an international group of Christians that were visiting the Island and wanted to sing some Christian songs. Here is the video:

It was amazing!! We took the stage and sang praises to Jesus in front of people from the entire Island! Len played guitar, we had sheets in front of us with the Greek words and Olivia was sleeping the whole time! Looking at the crowd I figured there were over 600 people there, which was almost half the population of the entire island! Here is the video that Kelly took of us singing in Greek.


There is a video of us singing in English as well but I'll load it up some other time. First we sang "All in All" in English, then Greek, then we sang one other song only in Greek. The people loved it and were very appreciative. Debbie (our Greek speaking Irish superstar) took the microphone after we were finished and shared a bit in Greek about who we were and told everyone that we were the one who had been leaving the Bibles all over their Island!! Wow! And they all clapped!! Praise God

The best part though was after the performance. Hayley and i went up to thank the organizer lady and give her a Bible. We thanked her and asked her where she was from. She went on to tell us that she was the wife of the MAYOR!!!!! We weren't sure wether this meant the mayor of the town (I couldn't imagine a town of 500 having a mayor) so possibly it was the municipality of the entire Island!!! Wow! I've never experienced that before, where a government official has endorsed so openly the gospel or a group of Christians. It was like she had just given a "stamp of approval" to our work, and let all the people of the island know that they officially welcomed the bags!

So thanks for your prayers. We have lots more stories but I'll have to save them for another time. We leave Kythnos today on the ferry and spend the next three days at Porto Astro again, so I won't have internet access until we're back in Canada. Please pray for a safe trip home for everyone on the team! Thank you so much for standing with us in prayer through our time here!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Chronicles of Kythnos V3 - Bible bags

Just a quick update here in Kythnos. Everyone must have been praying for us last night as we went to the little town of Dryopida. It was the most amazing night , and possibly the best opportunity we have ever had in our many visits to Greece. More a little later today. Please keep praying! Here is a video of me with the Kythnos Donkey after picking up our literature bags. The bags contain a copy of the New Testament in modern Greek, a Jesus DVD and other literature. When we went to pick up our literature we had to maneuvre around this friendly donkey, but thankfully he didn't bite. Please pray for those who we have shared Jesus with and have already received bags.

More soon about our amazing night last night

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Chronicles of Kythnos - V2 - Arrival and Porto Astro

Well I finally figured out the internet here on the Island of Kythnos! I bought an internet phone card and have been reduced to dial-up. For this entry I'm going to take it back a bit to last week when we arrived. Here is a picture of Olivia, she did great on the flight! We were greeted at the Athens airport by our friend Debbie and the HM bus, which picked us up and drove us to Hellenic Ministries seaside property, Porto Astro. For 3 days we had orientation, worship, seminars, workshops, swimming and enjoying the beautiful view. There were over 200 people attending from about 25 countries! On the final night there was a commissioning service where the guest speaker Peter Grant commissioned us all after we had shared communion. We then gathered in our teams and prayed before heading off to our islands! It's encouraging to think that while we are here on Kythnos there are other teams proclaiming the name of Jesus all over the Greek Islands!!
Here is a short video I took, which only took 45 minutes to upload on this sweet dial up connection :) Hopefully I'll be able to upload some more videos and pictures soon.


Please keep praying as we will be going out tonight to the town of Dyopidra to share the love of Jesus!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Some info on Kythnos while you're waiting for pictures :)

HEre is a website on Kythnos - http://www.thegreektravel.com/kythnos/
Kythnos or Thermia is an unspoiled and very Greek Island in every aspect. It mostly attracts Greek tourists, locals are very friendly and life is slow.

The Chronicles of Kythnos - V1

Well well folks, it's another update starting with an apology for not posting more! :) Internet cafe's here on the Greek Island of Kythnos (2 hours south from the port of Pireas) are as about as reliable as the Jehovah's Witness translation of the Bible :) The monitor at the internet cafe here went down and I wasn't able to connect my laptop to upload pictures and videos. Now it's fixed and tonight I hope to try to connect so you can all see and hear how things are going.

Currently we are into our 2nd day of full-out evangelism here on the island. We have been entrusted with 512 bible packs and have had a great time distributing them throughout the island. Towns to pray for include Merixas, Chora, Kanala, Dyopida and Loutra.

Tonight we will be all travelling via our rental car to the town of Loutra where Len and Sarah had a great discussion with the skipper who runs the marina. Pray that we will get a chance to boldly share with him and many others who park their boats there. Pray that we would be able to get the packs of Bibles into the hands of Kythnonians (if that is a word). Pray for safety on these brutal and windy mountain roads. Everyone is still doing great, nothing major to report, however we still have until Monday for something to go wrong so please pray for us, as well as the other 30 teams who have spread out over these Greek Island to distribute all 30,000 Bibles in modern Greek! Pray that God would lead us to the right people! Thank you so much for your prayers so far. On behalf of the team - Noel, Len, Ger, Kelly, Danielle, Claire, Sara, Amy, Deb, Ruth, Hayley, Olivia and myself thank you for standing with us in prayer. More soon :)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

We're here!

HEy everyone, sorry for the lack of updates. This is my first time getting to an internet cafe on our little Island of Kythnos. I have lots of pictures and prayer requests on the laptop so hopefully I'll get to connect a little later. Everyone is doing great, Olivia is attracting a crowd as usual :) Thanks for praying, more soon

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

August loggin in

27July06-Aug1206 -> OG2 in Greece
12Aug06 - Sat - back in Toronto, catch up at chapel
13Aug06 - Sun - BofB, FBH
14Aug06 - Mon - daycamp
15Aug06 - Tues -
16Aug06 - Wed -
17Aug06 - Thurs-
18Aug06 - Fri -
19Aug06 - Sat -
20Aug06 - Sun - BofB (shared), FBH, HVDC by 6PM
21Aug06-25Aug06
24Aug06 - Thurs - Daycamp banquet
26Aug06 - Sat - At chapel 9-2PM, parents for evening
27Aug06 - Sun - BofB, FBH with 9 (Alpha, Frank, Moses, Maya, Mae, Clayon, Christoff, Hansel, Jamoy), afternoon youth practise, youth service till 10
28Aug06 - Mon - at chapel, catch-up
29Aug06 - Tues - zoo
30Aug06 - Wed -
31Aug06 - Thurs - meet Matt Craig @ DVBC