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Sunday
Nov232014

Celebrating the Season

Jeff Bjorgan

Spiritual Formation Pastor

Next week is the beginning of Advent, the time of the church calendar where we begin to anticipate the coming of the Christ-child, Jesus Christ at Christmas time. Around the office, we are gearing up for all sorts of activities to celebrate the season:

We like to decorate the church foyer for Christmas. There are a whole bunch of Christmas trees that are stored upstairs that need to come downstairs. If you could lend a hand either after church or on Monday, that would awesome.

At the info desk or in the foyer there are three events that you can purchase tickets for. This is the last week to purchase tickets for the women’s brunch taking place on Saturday, November 29. Also Elvis tickets are still available for the fundraising concert taking place on December 5. And tickets for our Christmas banquet taking place on December 13 go on sale today.

We’re also trying something new at Emmanuel. We want to encourage people to have their neighbours over for a turkey dinner at some point of time during the holiday season. We know the holidays can be a busy time, but it’s also a great excuse to be hospitable and invite people into your home. This is what we’ll do:  If you commit to having a meal for your neighbourhood, we’ll provide the turkey. All you need to do is sign up at the info desk, and we’ll make sure to get a turkey your way!

Lastly, we move to a single service on December 21. On that day we’ll also be having our baptismal service –should be a fantastic Sunday. On December 24, we’ll be having our two Christmas Eve services, one at 5 pm and the other at 6:30 pm.

Sunday
Nov162014

Politics and Peters

Jeff Bjorgan

Spiritual Formation Pastor

On Saturday we, along with many municipalities across the country, had the opportunity to vote for the leadership of our community. Politics often falls into that awkward “do not talk about in public” category that sex, religion, and money reside in. People go all funny when it’s brought up—they get passionate or defensive, highly opinionated or dismissive—and the topic can sour a good natured conversation rather quickly. Christian apologist C. S. Lewis had a strong distaste for politics, as seen in such memorable quotes as this one:

A sick society must think much about politics, as a sick man must think much about his digestion; to ignore the subject may be fatal cowardice for one as for the other. But if either comes to regard it as the natural food of the mind—if either forgets that we think of such things only in order to be able to think of something else—then what was undertaken for the sake of health has become itself a new and deadly disease.

You can almost imagine Lewis holding his nose while he was writing! But his take on politics only suggests that Christians should be cautious about how much it occupies their values and purposes. To be involved in politics is not the unforgivable sin! In fact, the idea of Christians engaging the political process as a desire to be good citizens and serve their community is admirable. That’s why I would like to commend Jerome Chung and Stephen Johnston who have put their neck on the line in the recent campaign. It takes guts to run for office! Thanks for providing excellent examples of how to engage our local community.

I want to welcome Ralph and Carrie Peters as our guest speakers this Sunday. The Peters have a long history with Emmanuel, serving on our staff and being missions partners with us for many years. Make sure you take a moment to greet them this morning. Also, we’re going to be passing around copies of the directory this morning. Please find your name in it and make sure all of your information is correct before we publish it.

Sunday
Nov092014

The Persecuted Church

Jeff Bjorgan

Spiritual Formation Pastor

The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:12, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” This Sunday we stand with our persecuted and suffering brothers and sisters around the globe. Today, Christians around the world will be praying for the 200 million who face oppression and discrimination for faith in Christ.

Persecution doesn’t know geographical bounds. There are atrocities taking place throughout the Middle East, where ISIS is violently persecuting Christians and other religious minorities. But they are also taking place in Europe, where, in Eastern Ukraine, there have been many reports of Evangelicals being beaten, kidnapped, and churches ransacked. And we heard last month from our missions partners, Gerald and Pat Golbeck, about a young missionary couple in the Congo being slaughtered by rebels in front of their children.

And persecution has many faces. There have been firsthand accounts of pastors and church members dying due to helping others who are suffering from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. We have also seen religious rights challenged throughout North America.

Being a Christian is not a choice to live an easy life.

I want to encourage you to make yourself aware of the issues that are taking place around the world when it comes to persecution. Join the conversation at Facebook.com/PAOCMissions. Follow the prayer calendar found online at forthesilenced.paoc.org. And pick up a prayer calendar at the Info Desk to pray through the rest of the month of November.

Let’s make praying for the persecuted church a priority.

Sunday
Nov022014

Community

Jeff Bjorgan

Spiritual Formation Pastor

A big heaping bucket load of thanks to all those who helped make our Fall Harvest Carnival a success this year. Much appreciation goes to our co-ordinators, Pastor Arte Overby and Nancy Beselt, along with the many other volunteers who put many volunteer hours into this family, community event.

We are always on the lookout for providing creative opportunities to engage our community in a positive way. Whether that is through putting on events like the Fall Harvest Carnival, or making our building available for community events like the Grand Ol Opry and the blood clinic, or providing meaningful environments like our Christmas Eve services, we want to be a church that values its community.

For too long churches have been accused of being these big buildings that sit empty throughout the week, garnering tax breaks even though they seem to exist merely for their exclusive members. This can’t be the case for us. The question that should always give us pause is this one: if our church suddenly disappeared, would our community notice or care?

Questions like this remind me that, at the end of the day, we are about mission. We want to do whatever it takes to connect, redeem, care for, and bring life to the community we find ourselves in. Whether it’s providing a safe environment on Halloween for young families, or singing our hearts out in worship on a Sunday morning, our job is to let those around us know that God’s vehicle of grace in a lost and struggling world, the church, is alive and well and is an integral force of good embedded at the centre of our community.

Sunday
Oct262014

Growing Together Update

Jason Roffey

Treasurer

From the day I walked through the front door, one of the things that amazed me about Emmanuel Church is the intentionality with which we step out in faith. What is happening next to us is one of those stories that began many years ago with a small community of people stepping out in faith and purchasing an orchard on the edge of town. Each generation has helped grow that seed into what is now the largest church in West Kelowna, and one of the largest ministries in the Central Okanagan.

In May of 2014 we stepped out in faith again and started construction of a $2.4 million, 15,000ft2 facility, including a 600 seat auditorium, large foyer, coffee bar, commercial kitchen, and more. This is the facility that you all see coming to life next to us, as you drove in this morning. Walls are going up, roof trusses will be going on soon, and we are half way through phase 2 of the Building Expansion.

Even more exciting is that fact that we are only $7,000 from our goal of $1 borrowed to $1 pledged! This is definitely something to be celebrated and to praise God for!!

Just remember that this includes funds pledged for 2014 and 2015, so we still need your pledges to come in to meet this goal. In addition, I encourage you to seek God on what part you can play as we continue in this journey:

  • Maybe you have not yet pledged for 2014 or 2015 and are being led to do so; pick up a Together We Grow package from the Info Desk and fill out your pledge;       
  • Perhaps you can give now and through the remainder of 2014;
  • Maybe you have a gift or ability that God is calling you to use as we Grow Together; or
  • Maybe you know someone who would give towards this vision and dream to help grow the seed that was planted here in West Kelowna many years ago.

However you are being led by God to be a part of Growing Together, take action and join us.

I look forward to Growing Together as we enter the next phase of landscaping and occupancy, trusting God for great things in the months and years to come.