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Sunday
Jun072015

Grad Sunday

Jeff Bjorgan

Lead Pastor

This past week at Route 456, our midweek program for kids in Grades 4 through 6, Leah Johnston got 3 pastors up on the stage and had the kids fire difficult theological questions at us. It was a thrill, and also terrifying. As each question was asked, and as we stammered through the answers, I had this quote from C. S. Lewis reverberating around my head: if you can’t explain something in its simplest form, you probably don’t understand it. Some of the questions included such gems as:

  • Is God a boy or a girl?
  • How big is heaven?
  • If God brought peace, why is there war?
  • Is God a legend or fact?

One of the key factors in kids' (and adults') ability to thrive in our Christian faith community is the opportunity to ask questions. Questions help us gain knowledge, help us wrestle with truth, and help us gain a sense of support from others. Although some of these questions about faith remain throughout our lives, I find that, when our kids graduate, a different sort of question emerges, one preoccupied with life choices:

  • What career should I choose?
  • Is it worthwhile getting married?
  • Will I be able to support myself?
  • Where will I live?
  • What should I believe?

Today is Grad Sunday, meaning we’re focusing on those who are graduating from high school. Our grads still need a faith community that offers them a safe place to ask the hard questions. It’s not like the questions above have easy answers, and it is fine for us as a community to sometimes answer, “we don’t know.” My prayer is that Emmanuel continues to be a place where people of all ages can have the confidence to ask questions and feel the support of a community that believes in them regardless of how much they grapple with the answers. High five a graduate today! Know their name! Pray a blessing upon them.

Sunday
May312015

Together in One Service

Jeff Bjorgan

Lead Pastor

I hope you have been enjoying being back together in one service.  There is a lot of joy when the family comes together.  There is an energy to the place when the house is full, we get to see people we haven’t seen for awhile because they attend a different service, and the timing of the service is more relaxed, knowing we don’t have another service to prepare for.  There can also be a bit of tension going back to one service!  Parking is at a premium (please car-pool if you can, park at the city park down the street and walk, etc), children’s ministry has all of our kids lumped together, and the sanctuary gets quite warm with all of the bodies gathered in there at one time.  Oh the joys of being a church!  Thank you for your patience and prayers.

Speaking of buildings, we are very excited and pleased with the progress taking place outside.  This place will look a lot different soon with a nice layer of asphalt surrounding it!  We are definitely approaching a very busy time where we’ll be working on the inside of the building.  This can be both exciting and unnerving as many, many small decisions have to be made on a daily basis.  Again, thank you for your patience and prayers.  We’re also very grateful for the ongoing financial giving that has been going on.  We continue to be sitting well in this regard, although we still need to raise a few hundred thousand dollars in order to complete our interiors.  We’re going to have to prioritize what needs to get done first in order for us to have services in the Fall.

All that to say, God has been incredibly faithful to us throughout this process, and my prayer is that we as a congregation will continue to respond to God’s faithfulness with thanksgiving and praise, unity and a focused mission.  There are amazing days ahead.

Sunday
May242015

Pentecost

Tom Harbour

Tom Harbour

Counselling Pastor

Welcome to church! Today Christians the world over celebrate Pentecost. In John 14, Jesus foretold the Holy Spirit's coming,

"I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you."

We celebrate this promise and reality to this day!

We also celebrate bringing the family together with the start of our summer schedule, beginning today. From now until Labour Day we will meet together Sundays at 10 am. For the next five Sundays we will also make a point of wearing name tags and finishing each service with a barbecue lunch together. There is a suggested donation of a few bucks, but don't let that deter you; stay and join us if you can!

I also wanted to let you in on something I've been learning! Earlier this month, Carol Hawkes, Brendan Messer, and I had the opportunity to attend a resiliency workshop with the school district. The presenter, herself a Christian, "preached" the concept of resiliency, or looking for the positive in a person's life and building from those strengths. This contrasts a traditional deficit model in which you highlight what's missing in a person's life. How does this relate to the church? Ultimately, it is about seeing the "redeemability" in everyone you encounter, much as Jesus does. Embracing this change in perspective allows you to see anyone—coworker, student, child, parent, sibling, spouse—in a new light, as one worthy of redemption and capable of change. Let's breathe life into the people we come in contact with! Start looking for strengths in those around you.

Sunday
May172015

Worship

Cal Krahn

Associate Pastor

Hello Emmanuel! I'm so excited to be with you and I'm looking forward to what God's plans are for Emmanuel and for West Kelowna as we are a shining light for Him in our community. One of my roles here at Emmanuel will be to oversee and develop our expression of worship.

So what actually is worship? Worship is whatever we adore or are devoted to. Everybody worships. The question is what is the object of our adoration or devotion. People can worship possessions, people, ideals, and even themselves. In Romans 12:1 we are encouraged to offer our whole selves as a living sacrifice to God. He is the only one who actually deserves it. God desires every part of our lives; our thoughts, words, and actions. Every moment of every day has been given to us by God; therefore, we should use everything that we are, say, and do to express our worship to Him. Ultimately worship is the life we live.

Music is one of many expressions of worship. Often people have seen worship as just the expression of singing during our services. Worship of God; however, can be expressed in many forms - music, service, words, dance, work, art, kindness, etc. Music has become the most commonly known expression of corporate worship because of the ease and commonality of it. It has the ability to touch both the mind and the spirit. Music is also one of the easier ways for a corporate gathering to worship together because it is something of a common language for most people. This will be one of the main areas that I will be helping to develop and encourage.

So choose today to make God the center of what you adore and are devoted to. Allow your worship through whatever expressions you have to come authentically from your heart and mind to our Savior and Lord. It will bring you closer to Him and change your life. Le's be a Church that is known for adoring God both through our personal lives as well as through our corporate worship.

Sunday
May102015

Mother's Day

Jeff Bjorgan

Lead Pastor

Mother’s day gives us a wonderful opportunity to take time during the worship service to honour the mothers in our midst. Everyone has or has had a mother. We have all been influenced in some way or another by the person who has birthed us. Today is a day where we can honour these women, pray for them, and reflect on the importance of motherhood in society.

Pastor Ben is also continuing our series on worshipping God with our bodies. He will be speaking on women and equality, and how the gospel radically turned the conventions of Jesus’ day on its head. We want to honour all women today, and encourage them in their connections by providing a gift for them that’s really a symbolic gesture of relationship: cookies and tea. We would love this gift to be a reminder to you that some of the most meaningful connection takes place over a conversation with your mother, your child, or with a friend. Start planning your get together!

It’s also an important Sunday of welcoming people! Pastor Cal Krahn began working in the office this week and he’ll say a few words in the Sunday service. Chrissy, his wife, will be joining us periodically up until July, when she’ll join us permanently.

 I also want to introduce to you our two interns. Jeremy Bukowsky is from Chilliwack and is in his third year at Summit Pacific Bible College. He will be working as the pastoral intern under Cal and my supervision. He’ll also be working part time at Green Bay camp this summer. Nathan Hayward is one of our own, and he’s our paid intern through the government grant program. He will be working as the youth intern and under the supervision of Pastor Ben. We’re happy to have them on board. Please take a moment to greet them when you can.