Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Eve @ Encounter

It's almost here again...Christmas Eve.
This December we've been in a message series titled:
Christmas: the untold story.

Though this Saturday evening will bring the series and this year of church services to an end, the message will focus on the never ending story of Christ's love and grace for people.

Come and be blessed by the message of the Good News of Christ.

The service starts at 5:00pm and is in Eli Pinney Elementary School in the Tartan Fields development of Dublin, OH

Monday, December 19, 2011

Encounter People Give

This past Sunday I informed the people of Encounter Church how their financial giving met the needs of people in 2011.

Out of our benevolance fund (5%) and what we gifted over the year to our missionaries (10%) Encounter's giving will top $40,000.00 by years end! Wow!

I'm so proud of our people.

As we continue to "workout" our generosity muscles, they continue to get stronger and stronger:-)

Friday, December 16, 2011

I love my small group

Last night our small group Bible study had it's Christmas Party.

We did the typical white elephant gift exchange when you open the present and can steal others gifts and by the third owner it's frozen. We also played the board game, "Battle of the Sexes". The women won this year...but just barely:-) There was so much laughing and connecting, yummy food and drinks. It makes me really appreciate the fun we can have as the body of Christ.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Singing with my daughters

The other night my three daughters and I had the opportunity to partner with the Salvation Army by ringing the bell at our local grocery store. Rather than just standing there the whole time as people walked by I thought it'd be nice to sing Christmas carols. So I quickly printed off about nine of the most familiar songs and off we went.

Though a little scary at first, it became fun and many people thanked us and one guy even joined in for a little bit.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

December Message Series

I love preaching during the Christmas season.
This year will be a little different than normal for a number of reasons. I'll be talking about some topics not always covered in traditional circles.
The weeks and titles are laid out as follows:

Dec. 4 - A War Story
Dec. 11 - A Justice Story
Dec. 18 - A Love Story
Dec. 24 - A Never Ending Story (5:00pm)

The as elders we decided to not have a morning service on Sunday, December 25th so families can have that time for themselves. Then for Sunday, January 1st we moved the service start time to 11:00am and will include children in the room from three years and up. I traditionally speak about our vision as a church on this first Sunday of the year and it has been affectionately called the "Walnuts & Rice" message:-). If you don't know what that means maybe you need to be there to find out.
Also knowing there are several individuals wanting to get baptized, I announced last week that we'd do that on the 1st as well.
After the service we're having a good 'ol fashion potluck lunch.
Time together with the Body of Christ over food after a celebratory service. Good stuff:-)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fun times with the fam

This week for Thanksgiving we had Melissa's sister Marcie, her hubby Michael and their three kids Justice, Audra and Noah over. What a great time together. We love having them
over. There's a long history or friendship because we all went to Moody Bible Institute back in the early 90's. A guy who used to be my classmate has now been my brother-in-law for almost two decades. He's a pastor as well so we have plenty to talk about:-)
Our five days included lots of eating, drinking, game playing, going to the Creation Museum (thus the pic of the large snake) and going out for coffee and a movie.
We head to NJ in June b/c they live near the Jersey Shore. Ahhh, Cape May in the summer. Already looking forward to that:-)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Day of Generosity Offering Results

Wow! I wondered what the Lord would do through the people of Encounter and He didn't disappoint!
As you can see in the previous blog post, we were very specific to where the funds would go this year. I believe this helped our people be even more generous than previous years. We know the two missionary families and some of our people will be personally involved in the projects in Cruz Blanca, Guatemala.
Normally we have our offering earlier in the service but because we weren't keeping any of the funds we moved it to the end of the service so people could respond to the message.
The total amount given was $8,593.56.
That is the second highest Sunday morning offering in Encounter's history and it totally pays for the mobile classroom and community outreach for next summer's mission trip. We will send the $2,300.00 to Vision Trust as earmarked funds for the trip. The remaining funds blesses our two missionary families in a big way.
Thank-you Encounter Church for giving so generously.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day of Generosity, Sun. Nov. 20

One Sunday a year, Encounter gives away an entire mornings offering.
We call it the Day of Generosity. This year there are four receipients of the funds.
The first $1,800.00 will go towards the supplies and building of a mobile classroom in Cruz Blanca, Guatemala during our trip next summer (July 10-17, 2012).
The next $500.00 will be used for the rental and supplies for an outdoor community event also in Cruz Blanca next summer.
All remaining funds will be evenly divided between the two missionary families we support as a Thanksgiving/Christmas gift from Encounter. They are Matt & Cheryl Storer, with Vision Trust International and Ryan Janosko, with Campus Crusade for Christ at OSU.
Check out this link on our website to learn more about them:
If you are part of the body of Christ at Encounter Church, ask the Lord what He would like you to give this Sunday.
(If you will not be in the service please send your gift to the church office so it can be included in this offering: 6160 Riverside Dr. Suite #103, Dublin, OH 43017)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Last LC of 2011

Today was a super time together with our leaders of Encounter.
We small group leaders met at 8:00am to talk about how each of our groups are doing and to get some training from Kyle Mielke, Encounter's small groups coach.
Then at 9:00am everyone else rolled in for coffee, muffins and conversation. Rob Dubois had to break up the awesome connecting everyone was having to start are time with some worship.
Having my buddy Bacho Bordjadze, CRU's director at OSU, as our guest speaker went really well. He's a very intelligent man with the ability to communicate heavy concepts in an easy to understand way. Once he was done speaking we had a short time of open Q & A with the elders and then broke into ministry groups.

Friday, November 11, 2011

LC #4 for 2011

Saturday, November 12 is our last Leadership Community of the year. We've moved our LC's from Eli Pinney Elem. to the home of Matt & Chrissy Jacob's. I like having it in a home. My good friend, Bacho Bordjadze is our guest speaker on Encounter's core value multiply. Bacho is OSU's Campus Crusade for Christ Director and is an excellent speaker.
As a group we will also sing, give some ministry updates, have a Q & A time with the elders, pray, and break into our various ministry groups.
It's 2 1/2 hrs. with some of my favorite people in the world:-)

November Message Series

This Sunday I begin a three week series titled: Poverty In My Own Backyard. With Scripture and exerpts from the book, "When Helping Hurts" by Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert, we'll look at God's heart towards the poor and Christ-followers response to them.
One thing we may find is that the "them" is also us. We may have more jingle in our pockets but there's more to poverty than just lack of material wealth.


(Day of Generosity)


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I voted today

Today was the very first time I've ever voted in any election.

When I left Canada to attend school in the US I was 18. Now having lived in the US for almost 20 years and finally becoming an American citizen last month; it was a special moment participating in my civic duty:-)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Great time hang'n with fellow pastors

Today I got to be with about 40 other pastors in our fellowship of churches. We heard a brief story from two guys about how they got into the ministry; talked about church planting; prayed together and had lunch together.
Some great things are happening in our churches across Ohio - being intentional about planting churches is one of them.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Orphan Sunday 2011

This Sunday we are remembering and praying for orphans all around the world and more specifically in Cruz Blanca, Guatemala, where Encounter people have 36 children sponsored.

My good friend and president of Vision Trust International, Matt Storer, is speaking and bringing with him more children for our people to sponsor.

Next summer, Lord willing, we will return to Guatemala and I'm excited Matt is able to make it to our first planning meeting this Saturday night. He is also planning on being on our July 10-17 trip with his daughter Olivia.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fun time Hosting Real Life

Last night was a blast hosting Real Life down at OSU! Our congregation did a great job making dozens of cookies and veggie trays for us to offer the students as they entered Independence Hall.

As you can see, Brutus the Buckeye showed up to join in the fun:-) Karen Arena and Angie Kelly couldn't help themselves. I know their husbands must be jealeous that Brutus hugged their wives.
Even my good buddy, Bacho Bordjadze, CRU's director at OSU, and I got a pic with Brutus.
Eleven of us from Encounter were there greeting at the doors and I was able to get up in front of the students to tell them a little about our church plant.

I also challenged Bacho to an arm wrestling contest...he won and then I gave him a gift. Yesterday was his birthday:-)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Preaching through the book of Daniel

It's been a while since I mentioned what we're going through on Sunday mornings. Yesterday 10/23) I taught through chapter nine of Daniel. It was about how Daniel prayed earnestly to God for himself and Israel b/c of their sins against Him. The second half of the chapter deals with the future prophecy of 70 weeks laid out for Israel. B/c I didn't have time to speak on it, I provided two links to short teachings on the subject. Here they are:
John MacArthur -
Chuck Missler -

This coming Sunday is the seventh and final message in the series on chapters 10-12.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Guess What's In My Pocket Right Now

From day one of our church plant we have talked about and dreamed of sending out a church plant from Encounter.

Not surprising, the most asked question I've had in the almost three years we've had services is, "What's your timeline on land and a building?" Here's the thing; it's certainly not that I think owning land and a building is've got to have something to meet in! But we at Encounter just like the flexiblity renting allows us and the ability to be extra generous with the funds that are given by our people.
Again, from day one of having services (Feb. 1/09) we have laid aside 5% of total offerings for a future church plant. The amount as of September 30 is $27,400.00.
So what's in my pocket...a check for $10,000.00 to add to Encounter's future church plant!
Praise the Lord for Kingdom minded people!

Elder / Leader Retreat Update

This past weekend was a bonding time for Encounter's leadership. Once a year all our elders & wives, small group leaders and their wives, ministry coaches and their spouses and all ministry apprentices gather to look back at the past year and look ahead to the year to come.
It was a time of great camaraderie and laughter for the team as we ate sweet and salty snacks together.
First up on Friday night was hearing a report from each ministry coach about their ministry wins, things we could pray for and what they're dreaming about for 2012. After each one shared I asked if people had any questions or words of encouragement for the coach. I took about 10 minutes to remind the team that we serve a good King whose Kingdom is worth looking forward to and read out of Matthew 6:31-34. Then we went over church financials and had an open Q & A time with the elders.
We ended Friday night with a good time of prayer and then some of us stayed later to play Encounter's unofficial cult game: Settlers of Catan. A few of us even slept over b/c we were meeting at 9:00am the next day anyway. (only a few people teased me about wearing the same shirt:-)
Saturday was our time to look back over 2011's calendar and begin planning 2012's calendar of events. Then we spoke a little about the survey we had given to the congregation back in the Spring and that we would like to continue evaluating how we are doing in living out our core values and the metrics we put in place to do so.
The morning ended with a short update on how the elder in-home visits have been going and that Encounter is still more than ever committed to sending out a group of people to plant a church in the near future.
Our time ended with an extended time of prayer.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dublin Pastor's Gathering and Tutoring

Today I had the opportunity to hang with about a dozen pastors that shepherd congregations all over Dublin. We got together to share what is working to reach people for Christ and offer resourses to each other.
After my time with the pastors I headed over to Wright Elementary School to read with my second grader. There are five of us from Encounter that are spending our Wednesday lunch hours with these students who need a little help with their reading skills. The four of us in the pic are me, Jean Griffith, Elizabeth Preininger and Greg Blatt. Tanya Heath had left just before we took the picture.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Looking forward to our Elder / Leader Retreat

Once a year our elders and their wives, our ministry coaches and their apprentices, our small group leaders and their apprentices get together to connect, pray, dream and plan for the next year.
We also look back on the past year weighing what we thought was good and what we might discontinue.
I'll be sure to let you know how it goes. It's this Friday night and Saturday morning.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Hang'n with my NewThing buds

I'm up in Naperville, Ill. with one of Encounter's elders, Rob Dubois, @ the NewThing lead pastor gathering. This pic is of Dave Fergusen, Lead Pastor of Community Christian Church, welcoming us and setting the tone for our gathering. We get together twice a year to connect relationally, re-align ourselves with the mission of multiplying churches and to meet in our smaller networks for friendship and accountability. There are six other churches in my network. They are as far away as California and as close as Cleveland. Monthly we have a conference call to celebrate ministry wins and to pray for struggles we're going through.
It was Rob's first time to be around these folks and I think it was a really great experience for him. The only elder left to get up here is Luke Fields. Watchout Luke, I'm coming after you:-)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Becoming a US citizen

Today, after a long application process, I became a citizen of the United States of America. I've lived in the US for a total of 19 1/2 years and over the years I've had a student visa, a religious workers visa and a 10 year permanent resident card (green card) that expires on Oct. 11/11. I didn't mean to cut it this close but the timing is perfect. I began the application process in May of this year.

I swore allegiance to the US today but am grateful I did not have to give up my Canadian passport, essentially keeping my Canadian citizenship.

I'm so glad the family showed up to see it happen and my buddy Mark Artrip too. By the way, the baby in his arms is the little girl Ellie that Melissa watches.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Week #2 in Daniel

This Sunday I have the privilege of teaching from the Old Testament book of Daniel. Last Sunday while Melissa and I were in Texas at her 20 year HS reunion, one of our elders, Chuck Taylor, taught through chapter one.
Chapter two is the text I'll be in. It's where King Nebuchadnezzar has a dream and makes an outrageous request of his smartest magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and astrologers - "Tell me what I dreamed, for I must know what it means".
This chapter sets us up for a great character study of young Daniel and how God works through his life.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Melissa's 20 Year High School Reunion

It's hard to believe my sweetheart has been out of high school for 20 years! I still remember going to her 10 year reunion.

What a fun time we had. We got to connect with our good friends Lee & Melanie Coleman, some family members and a bunch of folks Melissa went to school with 20 years ago. You can see more pics. on either of our FB pages.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New Message Series - Daniel

This Sunday starts our next message series. We will be in the Old Testament book of Daniel. Though the book was written 600 years before the birth of Christ it contains many things for us to apply in our lives in 2011. It also speaks of events yet to happen in our future.
Familiar Bible stories like the fiery furnace, the handwriting on the wall and Daniel in the lions den are within the book but so are angels, end times prophecy, the power of prayer, and God's sovereignty to name a few.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Last Radical Series Message, Communion & 9/11 Memorial Video

This Sunday's service will have numerous special moments:

*we will be finishing the five week message series, Radical: What the Gospel Demands and an invitation for people to make radical commitments will be presented

*we will remember our Lord's death, burial and resurrection by taking the Bread & Cup

*a September 11, 2001 memorial video will be shown and there will be a time of silence and prayer

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Great time at LC #3

Man, do I ever love spending time with people who want to do great things for God!
We're not the special ones, God is. Like I said on Sunday, "God doesn't call the qualified; He qualifies the called". Our time together at leadership community was fun and productive. We had a time of worship, I invited our leaders to consider going to Guatemala next summer and 37 signed up, we had an elder Q & A time with numerous questions and then Melissa and took the group through a fun personality survey where there was much laughter over some of the extremes. The morning ended with ministry groups meeting together to go over best practices, training, connection and prayer.

An early birthday present

Last Friday night Rachel and I went to the Clippers game downtown. Her birthday is coming up in early September but we thought the two of us would celebrate a little early. I hadn't seen the new stadium and it was her first experience at a large sports venue. Having time one on one with your kids is the best. We had such a fun time together:-)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Radical Message #3

This Sunday will be the third message in the Radical series.
We started off with Radical Sacrifice, hearing Christ's expectation of those who follow Him in Luke 14:25-35 and then last week with Radical Compassion, listening to Christ's heart in Matthew 9:35-10:42, on the lost and how He commissions us to reach them.
This week is Radical Urgency, looking at how Christ crossed over religious, social and culture prejudices in John 4:27-42, to proclaim the message of the coming Kingdom and the fact that He is it's King.