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Sunday
Apr122015

Summit Pacific Bible College

Jeff Bjorgan

Lead Pastor

It is my pleasure to welcome Dave Demchuk, the President of Summit Pacific Bible College, and Rejoice, a worship ministry team made up of students from the college, to Emmanuel this morning. They will be leading us in worship and in Word.

We like to follow all of our youth and young adults that head off to higher education, praying that God would be with them in their studies, that they would stay true to the faith, and that the knowledge that they learn in school would help them make a positive impact on our world. Our Bible College, however, gets a fair amount of attention at Emmanuel over other institutions—and for good reason: it is the primary spiritual development centre for providing church leadership. Every pastor in recent memory that has been hired at Emmanuel has graduated from Summit Pacific. I can think of others, like Zach Wylie, Gavin Brisco, and Mike Pennington, who grew up at Emmanuel, went to Summit, and are now pastoring other churches or leading other ministries around the province. We currently have 6 students at the college, and there could be as many as 7 new students attending in the Fall. Whether it’s for honing skills to work in church ministries or for taking a year for personal spiritual growth before pursuing a different degree or trade, Summit is an essential partner of our church in coming alongside our people in the discipleship and leadership development process. In response, Emmanuel tithes to the local BC/Yukon District which in turn provides funding for the Bible College. We have also over the years contributed to specific fundraising campaigns to help the school move forward into the future. We have a vested interest there!

To find out more about the college, make sure you take some time to visit with the students after the service, or pop by their booth in the foyer.

Sunday
Apr052015

Easter is Good News

Jeff Bjorgan

Lead Pastor

“The resurrection completes the inauguration of God’s kingdom... it is the decisive event demonstrating that God’s kingdom really has been launched on earth as it is in heaven... the message of Easter is that God’s new world has been unveiled in Jesus Christ and that you’re now invited to belong to it.”

–Tom Wright

Easter is good news. I asked our Prime Timers on Thursday what their response would be if I marched in one day and proclaimed to them news that they had heard for the first time: “The Vancouver Canucks have won the Stanley Cup!” Some would shout in excitement, others might be a bit sad because their team didn’t win, and others would say, “Who or what are the Vancouver Canucks?” Regardless of what people said, news tells people about something that has happened, and sets us up for the consequences or ramifications of what happened.

Easter news says that something has happened: King Jesus has conquered death and has established his kingdom on earth. As a result, something is going to happen: King Jesus is going to return to reign in his kingdom of justice in peace. In the mean time, we get to be participants in the kingdom, living out resurrected lives, representing the values of the kingdom, in anticipation of what it’s all going to look like on the final day. This is really good news. A news story we are invited into. All who are thirsty, come!

I want to give a shout out to Heather Cooper (who wrote and directed the play) and her team of actors and technicians who have put in hours of rehearsals into Sunday morning’s drama. May God bless all of those involved. Thank you for allowing the arts to be presented as a form of worship to the living King.

Sunday
Mar292015

Palm Sunday and Pastor Tom's Ordination

Jeff Bjorgan

Lead Pastor

Palm Sunday is the day Christians remember Jesus’ entry into the city of Jerusalem, greeted as a king who would rescue the people of Israel. All of his life was aimed towards this last trip to Jerusalem; Palm Sunday recounts the beginning of the final week of Jesus as he walked through the gates of the city into the final steps of his mission.

Palm Sunday reminds us that we are all on a mission. As part of our Palm Sunday reflections, we are also holding an ordination service for Tom Harbour, our Counselling Pastor. In the Pentecostal Assemblies, like many denominations, when someone chooses to go into a ministry profession they apply for credentials. Credentials signify that you are now in association with and held accountable by the organization. Credentials, however, do not automatically equate to a sense of pastoral or ministerial calling. Time is given for an individual to practice the vocation to see if this is really what they feel God is calling them to, and to see if this calling is affirmed by the Christian community. This period of time “discerning through practicum” takes a minimum of 3 years in our British Columbia/Yukon District. When someone like Tom decides that it is time to begin moving towards their ordination, they begin a process of ministry reflection aided by training retreats, assigned study and reading, and the input of personal mentors.

Ordination is ultimately a spiritual credential: that’s why we will be laying hands on Tom and praying for God’s anointing in his life. But it’s also a government credential: the government sees that you have gone through a process that allows for ministerial integrity, and so they bestow upon reverends the right to perform marriage ceremonies and funerals, as well as sign some legal documents. Ordination is a big deal!

So, on this day that we remember Jesus moving forward on his mission, and we celebrate Tom moving forward on his calling, may we also be challenged to continue to pursue the mission that God has called us all to be on.

Sunday
Mar222015

Two Notes and an Applause

Jeff Bjorgan

Lead Pastor

Two things, nay, three things for you today: two notes and an applause.

Applause. I want to publically thank Leah Johnston and her team of volunteers for doing an incredible job putting together last week’s VBS. It was well organized, with lots of participation, and a great bunch of enthusiastic kids. I’m so pleased to see people taking initiative, catching a vision, and with a little bit of elbow grease, putting together something new and vibrant for the sake of the kingdom. May God bless all those who sacrificed some of their Spring break for such a great ministry. Make sure you take a moment to give these volunteers a high five for a job well done.

Note #1. We have a great resource for families and small groups that’s available for free called rightnowmedia. If you have ever needed a small group video study, or wanted to go watch some Christian media alongside your kids, we have access to thousands of resources that can be streamed online. The church subscribes to the organizations and then passes on the benefits to our members. The only thing you need is a user name and password and you can access the library. If you would like an invitation (or a new invitation) to join rightnowmedia, please send me an e-mail (jeff*rightnowmedia). To have a preview of the site, check out www.rightnowmedia.org.

Note #2. We are looking for volunteers to help “de-clutter” our present building as we prepare to move stuff into storage in the new section of the building. Also, we’re going to need some help painting the hallway near the offices. If you have some spare time and you like sorting through all sorts of junk, give Margo at the church a call and we’ll sign you up. Steve Johnston has also set up a volunteer list at the info desk for people who have different trades that they could offer as a service to the church. Many hands make light work... and it also helps make the project more affordable as we move towards our grand opening.

Sunday
Mar152015

Vacation Bible School

Jeff Bjorgan

Lead Pastor

Spring break has begun for most of our school aged children, and we’re excited to be able to offer a Vacation Bible School (VBS) during the hiatus from classrooms. As a child, I remember anticipating VBS with a fair bit of excitement. Growing up in a small town, many times VBS was organized by traveling children’s evangelists. There was an exotic nature to the event, where we got to connect with new people who were also Christians and were putting on an event just for us. To be honest, I’m guessing mom and dad insisted I went whether I wanted to or not. I may have grumbled through the first day. But then there were points to be awarded, contests to be won (boys vs. girls), and prizes to be collected. I remember having my eye on a plastic, red, Bible-shaped thingy that acted as a piggy bank, something that you might buy out of a dollar store today. I hadn’t seen anything like it. So I did my memory verses, I honed my Bible-sword drills, and I brought my offering pennies, and by Friday, I claimed my prize.

I may have even learned something too, in all of that. I had an inkling already that there was a God who loved me, but through VBS I would have learned that the church is bigger and broader and more colourful than what I saw in little old Invermere on a regular basis, that kids in my community who had never darkened a church door throughout the rest of the year did not look out of place in our pews, and that learning about God didn’t have to be dull.

When I grew up, I became a children’s pastor, a pastor who took his turn in putting on VBS. At Emmanuel we practice a form of VBS every summer when we do backyard kids clubs. Needless to say, I’m excited that we’re doing one this coming week.

In this light, I encourage us as a church to do a couple things:

  1. Pray for the week, that kids would be impacted by the gospel, that they would feel welcome and appreciated, and that they would grow in their relationship with Jesus.
  2. Come support the team, either by volunteering, helping clean up, or just by cheering people on.

It’s fun work, but hard work; the volunteers need our support. If you do a good job, there might just be a plastic Bible bank on a prize table at the end of the week with your name on it...