Thursday, January 10, 2013

Happy New Year - A Year of Jubilee or PARTAY!

Hey Everyone,

Esther and I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year! We realize that the Christmas season has been both a time of celebration for some and sorrow for others. For those of you who haven't heard yet, Stephanie's mom passed away and went to be with Jesus over the Christmas break. Stephanie, we want you to know that we love you and are praying for you through this time of grieving as well as bearing a lot of the load of dealing with your mom's affairs and the funeral arrangements. There will be a Celebration of Barb's Life next Saturday, Jan. 19th @ 1pm at Jesus Loves You Society downtown. Let us know if you need any help with that, Steph. and to confirm the above.

We want to give you a heads up on some of our forms or types of gatherings over the next month or so:

  • Sunday Jan. 13th- We will meet at our place 7719 Bowcliffe Cres. N.W. @ 10:30am for some worship, prayer, and listening to another teaching on Jubilee from Leviticus 25 and Is 61: 1-7, and Luke 4:18-19
  • Saturday, Jan. 19th - Celebration of Steph.'s mom at 1pm @ Jesus Loves You Society
  • Sunday, Jan 20th - possible gathering - Who would like to host...Mcfadden's? Let us know Joel and Amy if that would work for you
  • Saturday, Jan 26th - Esther's 50th B-day. We need to celebrate. Stay posted for more details
  • Sunday, Feb 3rd -  Super Bowl Party @ Schultz's - chance to invite neighbours to hang.
  • Sunday Feb. 17th - Gathering for worship, pray, and the Engage Series - at the Schultz's place.
  • Sunday, March 3rd - Gathering at the Braun's for worship, prayer, discussion, ministry time or whatever the Braun's plan
  • March 31st which is Easter Sunday, we are planning to have a bigger gathering with some of the other communities connected to the Mosaic from around the city and possibly from folks from out of town. Stay posted for more info on this.

Hope that helps in the planning. There may be other forms of gathering I've missed or that 'organically or spontaneously come up. Let us know if you have something you're planning where you would like the community involved. We want to keep gathering with friends and neighbors who are close to the Kingdom and deepen our friendships with them.

Just a closing reflection to ponder. Esther is turning 50 this year and I'm in my 50th year Esther tells me even though I'm 49. 50 is the number of Jubilee. (Read and Reflect on Lev. 25:8-54, Is 61: 1-7, Luke 4: 18-19) If you study the Old Testament, the nation of Israel was called by God to Celebrate, Get Rid of Debt, and Get Freed Up from any bondage or slavery that is robbing you of joy and life. I will be sharing more about this on Sunday. We have had some practical and visible signs, not only in the number 50, but in other ways that this is to be a year of JUBILEE.  God wants us to celebrate - in fact God ordered that the tithe be spent on celebrating and helping the poor. It is a year to work at getting out of debt and it is a year where God wants to bring freedom where we are bondage or bound up, which is a form of slavery, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Come on Sunday prepared to share where the HS wants to bring application in your life around the theme of Jubilee. It is to be a year of breakthrough in this areas. So get ready to PARTY!


Tim and Esther

Friday, December 7, 2012

Keeping Relationship as Our Focus For the Christmas Season

Hey Everyone,

The Christmas season has kicked into full gear with all the advertising, work parties, Christmas music on the radio, kids programs at school and all the hooplah surrounding this time of year. I've been pondering that really the core message of this celebration is real relationship with God and one another. It's interesting how Christmas often surfaces our pain around broken or dysfunctional relationships alongside the anticipation or hope of finding joy by being with those we love. So in the midst of all the activity and busyness of this time of year, take some time to reflect and get in touch with the longings of your heart, even allowing the pain around broken or superficial relationships to bubble up. It is a chance to listen to our heart cry for a deeper relationship with Jesus and those around us. Isn't quality time connecting heart to heart far more satisfying than being preoccupied with getting stuff, and filling the void in our hearts with more superficial activity as a means of avoiding or covering over the pain? Create some white space during this season to just 'be' with Jesus, and those you love, simply enjoying their presence!

We are meeting this Sunday at Beth Brown's place in Bowness at 4301 A 70 St. N.W.  We'll start with lunch at 12pm, so bring some food to share. We may watch another of Carl's dvd's from the Engage series as we explore, discuss, and learn together how to be friends with our neighbors, co-workers, and naturally converse about Jesus and how He is at work in our lives without all the baggage around the words 'evangelism', 'Christianity', 'religion', and even 'church'.

We also want to do a little planning around our Twinkle Christmas Party on Sunday December 16 @ the Boys and Girls Club in Bowness, #36 - 7930 Bowness Rd. This is an opportunity to invite friends and neighbors and have some fun together. I will forward everyone an invite that you can print off and handout to folks. The suggested cost is 10$ an adult and kids are free. The money goes to the artists putting on the play. They ask for 300$ for the evening, so we just want to cover our costs. From all reports the play is interactive and fun with a great Christmas message without being religious in language or preachy at our 'non churched friends' will not feel 'cornered', and the event is at neutral setting on purpose. We want to create safe spaces for people to connect, and you never know what can happen from there. So get the word out to your friends asap!

See all of you who can make it on Sunday and let us know if you can make it.

Tim and Esther

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Learning to Be the Church Gathered and Scattered

Hey Everyone,

We really enjoyed connecting with all of you who could make it on Sunday. We had a deep time of remembering the sacrifice made by Jesus, our soldiers, and others, so that we can live a life of freedom both now and forever! We also had some powerful moments of remembering some 'painful' events in our lives and allowing the Holy Spirit to come and minister more healing and freedom.

On a side note, what an amazing come back victory for the Stampeders over the pesky, and never say die Rough Riders! We will be watching the Western Finals on Sunday between the Stampeders and B.C. Lions at 2:30pm. Any of you are welcome to come to our house and observe how avid a football fan Esther is:--)

We are slowly finding a rhythm of regularly connecting with each other, God, and our neighbours. We are aiming to have one regular gathering a month all together where we practice some form of worship, prayer for our neighbours and the nations, discussion around the Bible, God stories, sharing our needs both spiritual, emotional, relational, and practical, ministry to each other, some eating of food and of course fun. This is not to say that we have to squeeze all of this into any given gathering. Sometimes the focus will be one or two of these practices such as worship and prayer or teaching and other times the focus will be on just hanging and having some fun.

Once a month we are aiming for the guys to get together and the gals to get together. In these smaller settings we want to have fun around our common interests such as cooking, beer and wings or football as well as go deeper in being vulnerable with where we are stuck or struggling to grow. These two gatherings a month are what we call the Church Gathered. We will be participating in the ageless practices that Jesus followers have engaged in no matter what the culture, the age, or period of history. (You can look at Acts 2: 42-47) The end goal is that Jesus is the center and the focus of why we gather. The other reason for church gathered is that we need to help each other grow in what it means to be apprentices of Jesus in His character and calling. We cannot grow as Jesus followers in isolation. By the way if you haven't signed up to receive the Mosaic posts, you should. Trang has been sharing cool stories of how Jesus has been connecting her to people through cooking and hiking. She then shares how she is naturally sharing Jesus with them and how these friends are inviting others to come. Go to  to sign up to get the posts.

The other aspect of church is being the Church Scattered. This means connecting and loving our neighbours where we live, work, study or play. We want to support one another in this. So once a month we are attempting to have a gathering where we can invite our friends to connect with each other and have a party! Over time as we see who is spiritually curious and who the Father is drawing into the Kingdom, we hope to have gatherings where we can intentionally invite our friends and neighbours who are interested to have conversations about Jesus and His Kingdom. This does not mean we can't invite friends to our Church Gathered Community Events. In fact it gets fun when the lines get blurred.

With these intentional rhythms in mind, we want to give you a heads up on different ways of gathering over the next month:

  • This Sunday Nov. 18th we are gathering as guys and gals. For the guys, we want to connect over beer and wings at Seanachie's Irish Pub 5909 Signal Hill Ctr SW @ 6:30-8:30pm. It is in the West Hills area. Rumour has it that the gals are going to be gathering at Amy's for some chocolate fondue from 6:30-8:30pm....guys we might have to crash that party. Let Joel or Amy know if you are coming. IF you want to watch the Western Finals, you are welcome at our place. Just bring your favourite beverage and snack to share, and let us know you're coming
  • Nov. 25th is Grey Cup Sunday and no official gathering though rumour has it that the Brauns are having a neighbourhood Super Bowl party. Linda or Rob let us know what you are thinking for this.
  • Esther and I will be away from Nov. 25h to Dec. 2nd celebrating our 25th...Yes, its hard to believe, but its true!
  • Dec. 2nd could be another guys and gals gathering. Joel and Amy will let you know if this is on. We should start a FB page for this or Joel I can add you as an author for the Close2Home blog site if you want. Joel and Amy will you let everyone know if this is a go.
  • Dec. 9th we'll meet @ Beth Brown's from 12pm - 3pm for a church gathered time. This time we want to start with lunch together so bring some food to share, and hopefully Emily can make it:--)
  • Then Dec. 16th @ 6:30pm we are having a Community Theatre night at the Boys and Girls Club in Bowness @ #36 7930 Bowness Road. The show is called Twinkle. It is not churchy and only goes for 45 minutes with Christmas theme. We hope to have some food as well. I've included the e-card below which you can use to invite friends. It will cost $300 to put it on and we will suggest $10 an adult with children coming free. It is family friendly and a chance to invite our neighbours and friends to connect. Start getting the word out and inviting friends.
Have a great week everyone and shoot up some prayers for me for a successful hunt as I head out Thursday and Saturday with a good friend....hoping for a bull elk or mule buck:--),

Tim and Esther

Thursday, September 27, 2012

What's Next For Church - Harvest Time?

Hello Everyone,

This morning the crisp fall chill in the air was a reminder that the seasons are a-changing! Esther and I have been sensing that what has been happening in the natural is a reflection or indicator of what season we are moving into as a community. Fall is about taking in the harvest and giving thanks for the harvest. So we believe this is a season of harvest. There are people around us that are ready to come in to the Kingdom! We've been reflecting on the words of Jesus from John 4: 34: "My food," Jesus said, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Do not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look as the fields! They are ripe for harvest!"

This summer we tasted of this harvest when we saw a number of young people say "Yes" to Jesus at camp. We believe this was an encouragement from God that we are entering a season of seeing some friends and family around us say "Yes" to Jesus.

So with that in mind, we want to meet this Sunday and ask the questions: 'What Next for Church?' and 'How do we be and do church in this next season?' These questions flow out of the 'Why Church?'  question. Simply church is about relationship/community/family on mission together- so we want to ask, 'How we can go deeper in our friendships to help one another grow as followers of Jesus?' and 'How do encourage, equip, and go with each other on the mission of seeing people come into the Kingdom?"  The cool part of simple church is that we can turn the rudder of the schooner and change direction without much effort. We want to get our sails up and point our sails in the direction that the wind of the HS is blowing!

We don't want to just go through the motions of 'doing church' where we do the same thing getting the same results; which is pointless. Where we need to re-calibrate our compasses to point in the right direction of God's purposes for church, we want to do so. Where we need to re-tool for the journey, we want to do so? Where we need to re-align our resources of time, energy, and money, we want to do so? We may use the SOAR tool to draw this out. If you are curious what SOAR is, you'll just have to come and find out.:--)

So come prepared to dive in on the discussion around the above. The end goal is we want to come away with some practical steps of how we gather, when we gather, who we gather with, and where we will each put our time, energy, and money towards being missional community together!

We will meet @ the Schultz abode at 10:30am this Sunday! Bring food to share for the feast as we connect around the table together celebrating who we are in Jesus.


Tim and Esther

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Serving Our Neighbourhoods Together

This Sunday churches all across the city are banding together to serve their neighbourhoods in some practical way. It struck me a couple of weeks ago, after listening to Mayor Nenshi on the news encouraging all of us to donate a few hours to cleaning up the trash around our communities, that this would be an easy thing to do. It doesn't require a lot of organization, and is a practical way to demonstrate that we love our neighbourhoods.

So this Sunday we will gather at the Schultz residence at 10:30am. We'll a time of worship and prayer, a short Bible reading on serving, and then go do it, weather permitting. If you would like to join us in serving our community of Bowness, you are welcome. You never know what surprises God will have in store for us! You are then welcome to come back to our house for lunch. Bring enough food for yourself and to share around.

An early hurrah to Joel and Amy who will be celebrating their wedding anniversary next weekend. Way to go guys.

If it is rainy, we'll go with plan B.


Tim and Esther

Friday, May 25, 2012

Finding God in the Midst of the Collisions of Work, Play, Kids, and Community

One of the given conundrums of life in the Western World is that everyone is busy. We all have noble or good intentions to get together with people we have a natural affinity for, to spend more time connecting with God in prayer and reading the Bible, to be more active and get in shape, to spend quality time with our kids, and the list could go on and on. If we are honest, we all feel overwhelmed and live in survival mode hoping to make it to the weekend. Then on the weekends there are a whole other set of options of what we could be doing with our time. There are kids sporting or relational activities, chores to catch up on, and even church. Unless we all become hermits, or go live in isolated communes in the country, or in monasteries, which even then doesn't negate all work or activity, we will wrestle with the centrifugal pull of being busy. Living a full life of significance, service, and fulfilling relationships is a good thing. Living a stressed, reactive, scattered, and anxious life is not God's intention for us.

So the three questions I want to leave with you to ponder are Why are we busy?; What are the right things to be busy with?; and How do we make the choices of what we are to be busy with? Jesus was busy doing the right things. He didn't sit around twiddling His thumbs, or sit in the lotus position meditating all day. Yes, He did take time to be alone with the Father to be fueled for the full life He lived. Take some time to ponder John 5: 16-23; 36-40, and reflect on how Jesus made decisions about what to be busy with. He didn't let other people's agendas determine what He did and didn't do. He didn't let the values of what the world considers to be most important drive His decision making (status, money, bigger and better possessions, pleasing people).

When it comes to church, we are to be the scattered church in who we are and how we live at work, with our families, and with our neighbors. This is where we spend most of our time in a week. We also want to practice the regular rhythms of being the church gathered. These are times to come together to be encouraged, to be trained how to live the Jesus Way when we are out there, to carry each other's burdens, and to worship Jesus. We don't want the running of and or amount of 'church meetings' to compound our busyness, yet as Hebrews 10:23-25 says, we don't want to give up meeting together, but spur one another on to love and good deeds.

So this Sunday we will be meeting at the Schultz digs at 10:30am. You are all welcome. If you want to stay for lunch bring something to share. Please RSVP by Sat. if you can make it.

Have a great weekend seeing what the Father is doing and joining Him in that.

Tim and Esther

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Soccer and Serving in the Hood

Esther and I have been fumbling and bumbling along for the last 10 years trying to learn what it means to have authentic relationships with our neighbors in Bowness, and how to serve our neighborhood with no strings attached. The door that we have tripped into is through a passion and skill we have for coaching soccer that is so natural and easy. Through doing what we love, we have had the opportunity to find some cool friends who are 'not yet Jesus followers' and other Jesus followers who also have a value for loving our hood.

Every spring from April to June for over 10 years we have had the honor of coaching soccer in Bowness. It has become a natural rhythm in our yearly cycle. Through soccer and even hockey in the winter we have connected with some of the families from Bowness. This has spilled over to having barbies together, going camping together, being in each others homes, and us receiving as much from our neighbors as we give to them. My dream is to go on a 'soccer missions trip' in a few years with my present team and some parents where we get to serve and connect with other kids that love soccer in a developing country.

To do this we have had to learn to say 'no' to other good invitations and activities that would consume our time and energy, and that could keep us from having time to 'be present' with people in our hood. This has also led us to the choice of keeping church 'simple'.  One of the main distractions we have found to building relationships with our neighbors is the reality and trap of busyness.  In our past lives, we found ourselves so busy with church or 'Christian meetings' that we had no time for more relationships. This is true for many Christians. With work, kids activities/school, and then getting involved with running church or church meetings/relationships, people have no time for being with their neighbors.

Real relationships take time to build, especially with the trust necessary for folks to let you in to their lives, and for us to have the credibility or equity to even talk about Jesus. We now can say that we have some friendships with folks where the relationship is not conditional on whether they choose to follow Jesus or not. We like them and they like us. They serve us as much as we get to serve them. In the course of natural conversation we have been able to talk about what Jesus has done for us.

So we want to encourage all of you to let Jesus show you how to connect with your neighbors, and how to serve your neighborhood.  It can be alot of fun and natural as we just simply serve or get involved through our areas of interest or expertise or through opportunities to love our neighborhoods. We long to see communities of Jesus followers and yet to be Jesus followers loving and serving each other in their hood!

Thanks Beth and Emily for diving in and serving with Steph. at the Bowness party put on by the Boys and Girls Club last Friday night. You guys rock! Real community is shaped around having a common mission or task that you do together! When we work together on a common task we bond, and get to closer to one another.

This Sunday we will meet at Beth's place at 10:30am. Her address is 4301A-70 st. NW. If you want to stay after to eat together bring a lunch along. We will be going through and discussing another of the teachings from the Engage series as we learn how to live a missional lifestyle together.

An encouragement for all of us is that Jesus is already at work in our neighborhoods drawing people to Himself. We just need to have our eyes open and obey when He gives us the nudge to partner with Him.
Our neighborhoods are our parish where we get to be pastors- caring for people, and missionaries- bringing the Good News of Jesus and His Kingdom to folks!


Tim and Esther