Saturday, October 31, 2009

OSU Football Baby!

Some one called me yesterday and generously offered me two tickets to the OSU vs. NMU game. Their suggestion was for me to take my son Zach and that's exactly what I did. We got to sit up in "C Deck" seven rows from the highest row in the stadium and loved it. It was a blowout game with OSU winning 45-0. Last night we had rain but not at all for the game. It was windy but we came prepared for that. I think they announced that there was 104,719 people in attendance. Zach and I got to the stadium in time to see the band enter and perform the famous "Script O-H-I-O", and see the huge flag raised while we sang the National Anthem.
Hanging with the boy was really fun.

Speaking of people doing generous things...tomorrow is the Day of Generosity for Encounter Church. I'm excited to co-preach with my friend Rob Comfort and see what God's people have decided to do in building HIS Kingdom in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America through their financial gifts.
I'll let you know tomorrow what the total offerings are.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Family fun with the Artrips

Well it's that time of year again...time when I send out my children to get me candy from the neighbors who for some reason are handing it out to anyone that comes to their door:-) The Artips came by to hang as well. Melissa and Kristin stayed in and chatted whilst Mark and I hit the road with Malachi and Rachel. For the first three homes Abby and Sara stayed with us but Artrip's kid was too much of an anchor and the twins cut us loose.
For all of you who know me well you know I make it my habit to pilfer through my children's candy bags when they are sleeping. I know, I know you'd never do a thing like that. But when I came into the house after connecting with my next door neighbors, my three girls had each donated some of their candy to me. They had left a small pile on the floor of my bedroom with a note that said, "Surprise, surprise daddy". So after I prayed with them I told them I wouldn't take any of their candy this year. Lesson learned.

Fun @ the Blue Jackets game

I haven't been to a Columbus Blue Jackets hockey game in years but last night four of us went and had a blast. Mike Arena's (the small dark handsome one) company has four season passes and the seats are great! We were seated right where the zamboni's enter to resurface the ice.
Last week I ran into one of my son's old classmates dad. His name is Greg Murray and he is the "voice of the Blue Jackets". He's announced every home game they've ever played minus the first two. That's over 300 games without being absent! Anyway, Greg said after the game we could come down to the ice and take few a pics. That's him in the gray jacket.
Also during the game a cameraman put Kyle and I on the big screens (I suspect Greg had something to do with that) and one of Dalan's firemen buddy's brought us each a hockey puck.
All in all it was a really fun night hanging out with some buds.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My administrative assistant Adam

Sometimes it's hard to find good help. God in His loving kindness has surrounded me and Encounter Church with some really, really sharp people.
One such individual is Adam Koloff. An engineer by trade (not the train driver) but the guy is totally ministry-minded. He also happens to be a detail guy which I like and he has initiative which I like even better. Oh and did I mention he also drives a Jeep Wrangler?:-)
I can only wonder what God may choose to do through this young man's life and the lives of many others at Encounter.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Daniel Wallace speaks @ Encounter

B/c of the leadership retreat this weekend I asked my good friend Daniel Wallace to speak this morning in the service. He is the director of Gull Lake Ministries, an excellent family camp in Hickory Corners, Michigan about four hours from Dublin.
Our family has enjoyed being there two different summers and will be going again July 10-16, 2010. (Week #4)
The winter before going to Gull Lake for the first time our family went to Disney for a week. After that first time at camp we asked our children where they would prefer to go they unanimously said, "Gull Lake!". It's that's good.
Anyway, this Sunday's message was given by Daniel and it was excellent. He is a fun, energetic speaker who is very authentic and persuasive. Through his explanation of God's Word you know he has studied it and has allowed it to first convict and change him.
Thank-you Daniel. I loved seeing you again bro. Until next summer.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Great discussion with Encounter Leaders @ Retreat

I've gotta say I just love spending time with the leadership of Encounter Church! It energizes me.
This past Friday night from 6-10pm and Saturday 10am-4pm was our first leadership retreat. Our Ministry Coaches and Apprentice Coaches as well as our Small Group Leaders and Apprentice Leaders were all together to discuss four main topics: 1) Membership and Assimilation 2) Appointing Elders 3) the 2010 preaching schedule and 4) the 2010 calendar.
Prayer was sprinkled throughout the days and we ate two meals together. There's plenty of follow-up action that needs to take place but our time together was both bonding and productive.
Thanks team for making ministry at Encounter a joy!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Time with other pastors

I've written in the past about going to the North Central Ohio (NCO) pastor's fellowship. It's approx. 25 other churches in the greater Columbus area that get together every other month. I love going b/c I've known some of these guys for over ten years and this is the only time I get to see them.
This morning I drove down with my friend and barber, Mark Artrip. He's the HS youth pastor at my mother church, Grace Church in Powell. He and I are both extroverts and think a lot alike. It's fun to listen to his crazy ideas when we talk ministry stuff.
This morning we heard from four of our area pastors that have recently been in the Central African Republic and the Cameroon, Africa teaching in a seminary connected to our fellowship of churches. The guy pictured below is Clancy Cruise. For a year he coached me in the ways of church planting. I really enjoy being around him. He got back from the CAR just a few weeks ago. He said it challenged the way he thinks about many things.

After hearing from all the guys we prayed at our tables. The last thing we heard about was an update on the Day of Generosity. The date is November 1st just two Sundays away. We were reminded how our resources will be used to help our brothers and sisters in Christ share His love in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. They have the people to do it but not always the finances.

With the great wealth God has given us to steward, we can bless these partners in the faith. Encounter Church has chosen to gift 100% of our morning tithes and offerings on November 1st to show our love and support.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Big Weekend Ahead

Once a year Encounter Church will have a Leadership Retreat to seek God for what the next year will hold and to discuss/wrestle with decisions that need to be made to better shepherd His flock. That weekend is two days away. This will be our first retreat together as leaders.
A year ago we were meeting weekly to discuss our core values, dream, pray and visit other churches to see what they were doing. Now we find ourselves with 38 Sunday morning services under our belts and new people coming every week.
The retreat will be at the home of Chuck & Deb Taylor's and includes Ministry Coaches and Apprentice Coaches as well as Small Group Leaders and Apprentice Leaders. The Finance team will also be there.
On Friday night we'll have supper together, hear from all the ministry Coaches and various other leaders and have a concert of prayer. Afterwards for those who desire to stay later there will be some fun games. On Saturday we'll have lunch together, have three times of prayer and the agenda items will include membership/assimilation, elders & deacons, the 2010-11 preaching schedule and calendar of events. It's a pretty full schedule to be sure. No matter what though we'll end by 4:00pm.
Pray that we will make wise decisions.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

October 18th service and Communion

What a great day with the Body of Christ. I just love spending time with those at Encounter Church.
It was a neat Sunday morning service together and afterwards we had a lady ask to receive Christ! What a great privilege for Melissa and I. We went onto the stage behind the curtain and spoke for a bit and then Melissa lead the lady in a prayer. She had been invited by one of our newer members and had been attending for just over a month.
Minutes later she was sharing communion with us and at the end I told the group about her receiving Christ and she was warmly received.
Praise the Lord.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fall, Family and Fruit

Like I said in the last entry, we have family in town. B/c of their late through the night drive there was quite a bit of resting by some:-) My young nephews Caleb, Sam and Ben really like it that there Uncle Sean has a jeep. So I took them all off-roading under the section of 270 by Riverside Dr. and Emerald Pkwy. They giggled and my children screamed:-)
Last night was also an evening of playing Settlers of Catan. We got 3 games in before calling it quits right after midnight. We're prepping for a few more games once the kids are "settled".
This afternoon all 12 of us headed over to Lyn's Farms to apple pick. We got a bunch of Rome & Sun Crisp and my sweet wife already baked two apple pies. One is already gone:-)
I'm looking forward to our church service tomorrow. We're in week #3 of our 5 week series in the book of Proverbs. Following the service is communion. We do communion somewhat differently than many other churches. We actually have a threefold communion: a meal, footwashing, and the bread & cup. It takes about an hour and a half. For a full description with some pics. you can go to our church website and click on Beliefs.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The perfect season

Well they did it. The Davis MS 7th grade football team won every season game they played. Last night was the final, and coldest, game of the year. The final score was 12-0. We were at Grizzell MS right in the target area of our church plant. I saw a bunch of our own Encounter folks there. People like Matt & Chrissy Jacobs, Rob Comfort, Diana Biocchi. I also saw some friends I hadn't seen in a while like Kevin & Susan Smith and Jim Cline.
It was also fun to spend most of the game huddled under my umbrella with my new friend Chuck Confar. As you can see by the ridiculous pic. we were more concerned about keeping warm than our looks. It was rainy, windy and cold. We felt bad for the guys on the ground being tackled and the others standing on the sidelines.
Tomorrow my sister and brother-in-law come into town. They are bringing with them four of their six children. Caleb, Sam, Ben & baby Isaac. The two girls, Faith and Esther will be watched by my mom back in Hamilton, Ontario. I'm sure you'll see some pics. of our time together this weekend. Now I need to finish the message for Sunday before they get here.

Friday, October 9, 2009

So good to be good to be home

Well Melissa and I are back now and hit the ground running. The kids schedules as well as our own dictate most of the hours in our day. We both were really looking forward to seeing the kids. They were well cared for by our friends Phil & Jen Hill who actually moved into the house for the days we were gone. Thanks Phil & Jen!
The last full day on Sanibel Island was very relaxing. Another walk along the beach, reading, tanning, etc. Our attempt to play shuffle board was busted up by bugs biting Melissa's beautiful bare legs (it was all for the alliteration).
The day we returned Zach had his second last football game of the season. It was against Worthingway. He got to play wide receiver like usual but then coach put him in as a safety on defense and that was fun seeing him trying to figure that out. I like it that I got a pic. of Head Coach Althouse instructing Zach and even heard him yell, "Spoelstra!" once while Zach was on the field. It reminded me of when my HS coach would yell my name:-) Our boys won again (33-8) and have one final game next week against Grizzell MS. That'll be especially fun since Zach's buddy Alex plays there and his parents Matt & Chrissy are our friends.
Enjoy this short video of me chasing a bunch of birds of the shore.

Monday, October 5, 2009

On vacation with my sweetheart

Today was day two of three here on Sanibel Island on the lower Gulf side of Florida. The weather has been nice and hot, high 80' to low 90's, despite the fact that it's October. We left Columbus wearing jeans and hoodies.
The beaches here are covered with shells. Because Melissa and I landed late in the day and were really tired we slept first just to recover from a very long week. The slight problem was that we woke up around 11:30pm very awake. So after I went to get some drinks, bread, milk and cereal we went for a midnight walk along the beach. It was nice.
Today we slept late, ate breakfast in the condo and then sat out on the beach reading. Mmm, it was relaxing. We also walked a bit picking up shells for the kiddos. I even saw a washed up baby hammerhead shark about one foot long. What an amazing creature. I put him back in the ocean.
We sorta skipped lunch knowing we'd be eating at The Bubble Room. It's been an island restaurant for decades. Our waitress Karen, whose been working there for years, made our experience there fun. After supper another walk along the beach.
I'm not fully sure what tomorrow will, shuffle board, Cheeburger, Cheeburger, more shells...but whatever it is I'm doing it with my best friend:-)
Here's the great view from our balcony:

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Fun at Alum Creek Dam with the kids

Yesterday all four kids and I piled into my jeep and headed to the parking area just below the Alum Creek Dam. We were there to greet and feed a handful of cyclists who were raising awareness for the Grace Brethren International Missions (GBIM) "Day of Generosity" November 1st. The four hours was mostly spent skipping rocks in the water, throwing a football, and eating granola bars and PB & J's.

My first "American" HS football game

In Canada I played HS football in 9th and 10 grades. I loved it but ended up transferring to a much smaller HS for 11th and 12th. That is where I learned to play and love volleyball.
Anyway, this past Friday night Zach's football team got to be introduced just before the Scioto HS football game started. I'm ashamed to say that after 10 years of living practically across the street from Scioto, I finally went to a football game there. Believe it or not, this was my very first time to attend an American HS football game. If you'd like a laugh, ask my wife Melissa about her experience watching a HS football game in Canada when we lived there.

Scioto demolished Westerville north 34-7.