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

Friday, April 13, 2012

Spring in Calgary!

Hello All,

As I'm writing this, the snow is trying to melt after the fresh dump we received last night! With the arrival of spring, we who have lived in Calgary for awhile know that we can expect at least one or maybe two significant snow deposits before we finally get into spring. Makes it interesting for those of us planning soccer practices, or for planting gardens. Oh well, we know the farmers are happy as they needed the precipitation for their fields!

Hope you all had a great Easter/Spring break with family!

We plan to meet this Sunday at the Schultz residence at 10:30am. Come prepared to share something for worship such as a song, a story of God working in your life, a scripture, and such! We will then listen to another of the teachings from the Engage series by Carl Medearis and Jay Pathak leading into some discussion and application to our lives. If there are any prayer needs we want to support each other in prayer. Then of course any of you are welcome to bring your lunch and and hang out afterwards.

See all of you who can make it on Sunday!

Tim and Esther