All Posts By

Michael Voll

When Old is New

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There are some things in life that we avoid. Some kids avoid vegetables. Parents, like me, avoid Chuck E Cheese. There are some seniors who avoid new technology. And some Christians avoid reading the Old Testament. It seems “old” means irrelevant to us.

We avoid the Old Testament at our own peril. It has many lessons and principles that are vital for us today.

A Little Verse with a Lot to Say

Lately, I have been reminded of a small verse from the book of 1 Chronicles that has extreme relevance to us today. In 1 Chronicles 12, we are told about the people who joined David when he was on the run for his life from King Saul. There David was, in dire straits, living in the wilderness, and we get a list of the people who did not abandon him in his time of need. Instead, they were intent on making him King.

Most of the reading seems boring and filled with numbers, but then we encounter verse 32:

“…from Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do—200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command…”

Do We Understand the Times?

There was a group of men from the tribe of Issachar who understood the times.

They understood that David was going to be King. They knew that Saul had lost his mind and wasn’t acting like he should.

Do you understand the times we are living in? We can watch the news and not understand the times. Or we can understand the times and be paralyzed with fear and indecision.

They understood and knew what they should do. That is the key. They took action, joined David and supported him.

What Do We Do Now?

During this time of Covid-19 may we be the type of people who understand the times. There is a global health crisis. Let’s be smart and respond with faith and not fear. Wash your hands, be cautious and loving to our neighbours. And let’s remember that through all of this that God is still in control! Understanding the times has a lot to do with us understanding that regardless of the crisis-be it leadership, pandemic, or a natural disaster like flooding in Fort Mac, that God is still powerful and in control.

Then let’s respond appropriately. If God is in control, we can be free to love, respond with generosity, and carry on the mission that Jesus gave to his followers for all time.

No matter what the circumstance our job as followers of Jesus is to share his message of love and hope to others. And that is what we continue to do as a church. In good times and bad times, we will tell others about the Real Hope, New Life and Lasting Purpose that can be found in Jesus alone.

That is a message that is timeless.

It will never get old.

Lights, Camera…Action!

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It is incredible how much time I have spent in front of a camera lately. Believe me, it isn’t what I had in mind a few months ago. Now it’s second nature, whether it’s for my sermon on Sunday, daily devotionals or for just about every meeting I have via Zoom, Skype or FaceTime.

Technology and the Church

While televangelism has never been a goal of mine, it seems that I have become a televangelist overnight. I am thankful that we have the technology to reach people through live streams and social media. It would be very difficult to stay on the same page as a congregation without these powerful tools at our fingertips. But there is so much more to being “the church” than watching a Sunday gathering.

As the days have turned into weeks and now over a month, we need to look beyond watching a service or receiving content from any number of sources. I am concerned that we will become increasingly consumeristic as a church body. It’s easy to care more about our comfort and preference, rather than being a body that reaches out to others with the love and grace of Jesus.

Being the Church in Crisis

We may have to distance ourselves physically, but this is a perfect opportunity to become more connected than ever to our friends, neighbours, relatives and co-workers. Last week Melissa bought pasta sauce from a local restaurant, and we distributed them in the neighbourhood with an encouraging note. Our phone rang off the hook with thankful neighbours who were touched by the simple gesture. I also want to encourage you to make at least one phone call a day to someone who you have been thinking of. There is power in your voice and in your words.

This is a time when we can tangibly share the message of Jesus as well. People who would normally never come to a church building for an Alpha group now have the opportunity to ask questions about Christianity from their homes. We are running Alpha online right now and would love you to join us! If you have been following Jesus for decades or if you are not even sure if you believe in God, the Alpha Course will get you thinking.

Would you consider signing up for Alpha and then inviting some of your friends to learn with you? Click here for more details and to sign up. You will be glad you did!

Also, on Sundays, rather than just watching the service online, why not host a Watch Party? This is a way that you can connect with friends ‘virtually’ and maybe even go beyond the normal “so…how about the weather…” conversations we are prone to have. If you aren’t sure how to host a Watch Party, I have included a link to a video below.

I am so thankful for our North Pointe family. During this time I have seen your servanthood, generosity and love at work in creative and powerful ways. Keep it up!

How to Host a Facebook Watch Party

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJSnOIE5FEI

Share Life

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This morning a friend in our congregation reached out to me on Facebook and shared a video with me. I have a lot of people who share videos with me, some more appropriate than others…

The Video

Sometimes I watch and sometimes I don’t. Work has a way of getting in the way-meetings, phone calls and other pressing concerns that need attention. I’m glad I watched the video in my inbox today. I’ll include a link at the bottom (you’ll want to watch!)

The video is about a man who had his life impacted by a cleaner in the hospital. He was suffering from COVID-19, and a cleaner in the hospital took time to encourage him. The cleaner prayed for him and was an answer to his prayers. By the end of the video, I was weeping. Sometimes I am so emotional it’s embarrassing.

You Are the Answer to Someone’s Prayer

It made me think of the ways that people have encouraged our family since life changed for all of us in mid-March. We have been sent notes, given gift cards, had groceries anonymously delivered and even a box of Dairy Queen Dilly Bars left on our porch! All of these kindnesses, including emails, FB messages, and texts have given us lift on the difficult days.

As a pastor, I get to listen to people’s concerns, encourage them through tough times and pray for them when they are out of words. It is an honour, and something I wouldn’t ever trade. But we are all given the responsibility to reach out. All of us can be messengers of hope and helping hands. All of us are sent to share the love of Jesus with those around us.

This weekend is Easter, the most important weekend in the Christian calendar. It is when we celebrate Jesus’ death and resurrection-the foundation for our faith and the reason we are able to have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Make This Weekend Count!

Don’t let this weekend slip past without taking the time to do a few things:

-Call someone who you have been thinking about. When they share how they are doing, ask if you can pray for them. If they are open, pray right then and there on the phone. Your boldness will grow and someone will be encouraged!

-Invite someone to view our Easter Sunday Services. You will find promotional materials on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/NorthPointeYEG/Consider hosting a watch party on Facebook.

-Buy a small gift to drop off at someone’s home the next time you need to go grocery shopping. This is a good way to have fun…Place the gift on the doorstep, ring the doorbell and run! You’ll feel like a teenager again!

-Write a note and pop it in the mail. Handwritten notes always make me smile. Make sure to include something you are thankful for about the person you are writing to.

-Pray for open hearts to the Good News of Jesus during this Easter season. The most important decision a person can ever make is to follow Jesus.

Here is the link for the video. Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pp98cK4YIoM

A New Normal

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Unless you have been living in a cave in the last four weeks, you know that life has changed. Drastically.  You understand that normal rhythms of life have been shaped by a two-metre bubble, sanitizing wipes for every surface and perpetually dry hands due to washing.

I fear I may wash my skin off!

I Want My Life Back

I think the overwhelming public sentiment is “We want to get back to normal!”

I want to hug and high five again, eat at restaurants and be able to shop wherever I want-be it essential or not! I want to hang out at church and go to a concert or hockey game with 18,000 people.

But another part of me wonders if going back to normal is a good idea.

If normal is rushing from one appointment to another without taking time to stop for a break, maybe it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

Or if it is putting our kids in every sport/activity under the sun so we only see them in the car or from the stands…I don’t think that is really family time.

If it is eating meals at a drive-thru then scrolling through our phones all night when we could be outside BBQing with friends, I think we have missed the point.

Or if it’s skipping church because you are a bit tired from a late night, and you aren’t “feeling it…” maybe normal isn’t all that healthy.

I don’t think God wants us to get back to normal.

A New Normal

Maybe the new normal God wants to set for us is where we pray, not just because we need something, but because we need Someone. Where we spend time with our kids at home with no agenda other than to play a board game or throw a ball around in the back yard. Or where we call a friend on the phone or go for a coffee because true emotion is better expressed in person than through an emoji.

We are going to get through this crisis and come out stronger. Let’s just make sure that we set Jesus as our priority and view people with His love and compassion.

Now that is a “New Normal” I can get behind!

 

Here is an update on the happenings at North Pointe:

-Our Pastoral staff continues to work to provide online opportunities for connection and growth. We have small groups for women and men meeting via Zoom, and many meetings taking place on almost every video platform. If you ever need to speak to a pastor or would like prayer, please call our office at (780) 452-5566 or email hello@np.church

-The church office remains open (M-F 8:30am-4:30pm). The rest of the building has gone into shut-down mode to save money. Everything is cleaned and ready for the day we are able to open our doors up again.

-Each weekday at 10:00am I am doing a devotional on our Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/NorthPointeYEG/ Between 3-500 views of this video teaching is happening each day. Join the fun! Make sure to read the North Pointe blog at www.blog.np.church  Each Thursday a new blog post will be released. Sign up to get email reminders whenever a new blog is posted and to receive important updates on what is coming up in the life of the church.

-We are looking for people who would be willing to make some calls to seniors in our area. Please contact Patricia Petrie (patricia@np.church or 780 452-5566) to help out! Thanks!

-Sadly, with our Sundays going to an online format and with programs and rentals halted, we have had to make some tough decisions this week. Several of our support staff members in our Facility, Play School, Administration, Tech and Kid’s Ministry have been temporarily laid off. As well, our remaining Staff and Pastors have taken a 20% reduction in pay. We are doing all we can to help our church family weather this storm and emerge stronger on the other side. We are in this together!

-Many people have asked how they can give now that we don’t have services in our building. You can give online at www.np.church or at our giving station inside the north doors of the church (M-F 8:30am-4:30pm). We thank you for your continued faithfulness in giving. Your generosity is inspiring.

It is a privilege to serve as your pastor during this time of crisis. I believe that as we focus on Jesus and look out for those around us, we will emerge stronger, better and will bring Real Hope, New Life, and Lasting Purpose to our area.

Pastor Michael

To the Rescue

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We are two weeks into our new Covid-19 reality.

And I think that it is starting to sink in that it may be longer and darker than we had first thought or imagined.

Weighty Matters

Don’t worry…this blog is going to get brighter, but you need to know that the weight of the physical effects and financial effects of the pandemic are felt in our home as well as yours. When I am tempted to focus on the fear, I am hitting my knees in prayer and opening my Bible for words of peace in the storm.

The Apostle Paul was not a stranger to hard times. In fact, he seemed to be a magnet for them. If you wanted to experience an easy life, he was probably someone you should avoid! In his letter to the church in Corinth, he talks about a time when he was under such intense pressure that he wanted to die (2 Corinthians 1:8). That is heavy.

To the Rescue

But then Paul changes his tone, and talks about how God has rescued us (past tense), will continue to rescue us (present tense), and will rescue us again (future tense). God has us covered and he will rescue us, past, present, and future (v. 10). Our hope is in God.

Whatever you are going through today, look up, your hope is in the Lord. Even if you are experiencing stress that feels unbearable, God will get you through. I have no idea what that rescue will look like, but I know he will provide.

Pray, and Move

And remember, God often uses US as a part fo the rescue plan! Part of Paul’s rescue was the prayers of the church in Corinth (v. 11).  Your prayers are necessary right now. Your prayers are powerful and effective. Call out on the Lord on behalf of your family, friends, and our world. Then open your eyes. Not only will God rescue you, but he will also use you to rescue others.

There are needs in our church community and in the community at large that are coming to the surface. If you are willing to help out by making phone calls or dropping off meals, please let us know. You can call our church office at (780) 452-5566 or email patricia@np.church to get involved.

I am thankful to be able to walk with you during this crisis. With God’s help, we are going to get through this. We are going to emerge better and stronger.

*Below is our latest Covid-19 update:

-Our services continue to be online only. We don’t have a timeline but suspect it will be through April at the very least. Services can be watched at 9:30 am, 11:00 am, and 12:30 pm by going to www.np.church and clicking the “Join Us Live” button. You can also view it on our North Pointe Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/NorthPointeYEG/

-If you are unable to watch on Sunday, all of our services can be viewed on the North Pointe YouTube page https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXV2cCNl3nobRPUYl9QNz7w

-Monday-Friday at 10:00am I am doing a Facebook Live daily devotional called AM/PM (A Message from Pastor Michael). Check it out at our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/NorthPointeYEG/  To receive more content from the North Pointe page, be sure to hit the “Like” button.

This is a 15-20 minute session where we will be studying the daily reading from Oswald Chambers’ classic devotional “My Utmost for His Highest.”

-The Church office remains open from M-F 8:30am-4:30pm. Please use the North Entrance for access. Pastors are available to pray with you or help with the needs you may have. You can also call (780) 452-5566 if you would like to speak to a pastor. We are here for you and will keep our distance. 

-Thank you for your continued faithfulness in giving. We are doing our best to respond to the needs of the church community as they arise, as well as cover our operational expenses and obligations. You can give online at www.np.church or at the Giving Stations during office hours.

-Each ministry is doing its best to contact people in their reach, provide online resources, and stay connected. Ministry rhythms are different, but it certainly isn’t boring!

We are praying every day for the people of North Pointe, including you. Job losses, illness, and isolation are scary. We need one another more than ever. And we need to be led by God. Call out to him, and he will answer. He will lead you and guide you.

Together we are Stronger,

Pastor Michael

Covid-19 Update from North Pointe March 18

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We are doing our best to keep you informed of the latest developments at North Pointe Community Church in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Attached is a video explaining what we are currently up to, but here is a synopsis:

-Gatherings of all sizes have been suspended for an indefinite time period.

-Our church building is still open Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:30pm. Please use the North Entrance (all other entrances will be locked). We have a room set aside for prayer and quiet reflection. Pastors will be available to pray for you and your needs. We will be cautious to keep a safe distance, but we know the power of prayer and communication during times of crisis like this.

-You can call our church during office hours (780) 452-5566 for prayer by a pastor or for someone to talk to. Even in isolation, you are not alone!

-If you have prayer requests, please let us know at hello@np.church  You can also let us know on our North Pointe Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/NorthPointeYEG

-Our Sunday services are all online (we are not meeting together at our church building). We will have our services streamed at 9:30am, 11:00am, and 12:30pm. You can access this on our website www.np.church or on our Facebook Page. As you watch, please chat with us online and let us know what the experience is like. Feel free to take a pic of yourself or your family and share it on social media. We want to know you are with us!

-We will continue to have financial obligations and will be reaching needs in our city. Thank you for your generosity in giving. You can give online at www.np.church (there is a button on our main page that says “Give Online”). Alternately, during business hours you can use the Giving Stations in the Foyer of the church. Access through the North Doors.

-If you do not currently receive the Weekly Newsletter would you consider signing up for it? It is a primary way that we keep the congregation ‘in the loop’ on our major upcoming events, and it always contains the weekly blog article. Click here to sign up.

Thank you for being a vital part of the North Pointe Family. God is good and he will get us through this. Let’s remain united in our separation!

Pastor Michael

Covid 19 Response

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In light of the Covid 19 pandemic, we have posted a video to all of our social media platforms, as well as on our website and blog. Please watch the video for information on our response as a church to the pandemic.

Here are the highlights:

-We will be suspending our services this Sunday. There will still be a Livestream at 9:30 am, 11:00 am and 12:30 pm, but we will NOT be gathering together at our building. The LiveStream can be accessed at www.np.church or on the North Pointe Facebook page or on the North Pointe YouTube Channel.

-Our smaller programs/classes (under 250) will still be meeting unless otherwise posted. We will be re-evaluating this situation on a daily basis and will be giving pertinent updates on our website and social media platforms.

-We care about the spiritual and physical health of our community and believe we must take the lead to ensure that the spread of the virus is mitigated.

-We are not operating out of a sense of fear but of faith. We believe that even in this uncertain time that God will provide unique and exciting opportunities to reach out and show the love of Jesus to our community.

-During this time we encourage people to reach out to others by phone or in small gatherings (just don’t be touchy!). Encourage one another and let this be an opportunity to show the love of Jesus.

-Giving can still be done electronically by going to www.np.church/giving or by coming to the church office during business hours (M-F 8:30 am-4:30 pm).

May the Lord Bless you. Thank you for being a valued part of the North Pointe Family!

Pastor Michael

Clocks and Coronavirus

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Sometimes things just sneak up on us.

Like birthdays, tax time and work deadlines. Or like a snowstorm in March. We know they are coming but we are rarely ready for them.

Daylight Savings Time

Tomorrow is the dreaded daylight savings time.

Since 1971 Albertans have been “springing forward” around this time each year. Accidents will increase as sleep decreases. You may want to tuck in a bit early tonight!

So remember to set your clock ahead before you go to bed. If your mobile phone is your alarm it will do it for you…but beware, when you wake up you may be confused when your microwave and oven read an hour behind!

This is a public service announcement to ensure you make it to church for the 9:30 service on time, not at 10:30!

Coronavirus

Also, I want to give you an update on the steps North Pointe is taking to provide a safe environment in the shadow of coronavirus. We take your health seriously and as a result, we have sanitizer stations at all three main entrances. We also have sanitizer in all of our classrooms and children’s areas.

We encourage people to wash their hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds after using the washroom and to avoid excessive touching. We have instructed our greeters to smile and wave (we want to be friendly!), and our hosts to avoid asking people to high five or shake hands with the person next to them.

Obviously, touch is an important part of human connection. We know the power of touch to bring comfort. We also want to keep our people safe. If you are experiencing symptoms of sickness, please consider watching the service on our live stream at our web page (www.np.church), or on our Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/NorthPointeYEG/) or YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/user/NorthPointeCommunity) page.

If you are well, don’t let an hour less sleep, a snowstorm or fears keep you from gathering together. We are better together, and we need one another! 

I hope to see you at North Pointe tomorrow.

Noise-Canceling

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There is a lot of noise in this world.

Peace and Quiet

This reality hit home a few weeks ago when I bought my first pair of noise-canceling earphones. The first time I put them on and pushed the button for the noise-canceling feature, I was stunned at how much background noise dissolved. I thought to myself, “Is it really that loud around me all the time?” The peace and quiet were exceptional, and I find myself wanting to wear my earphones every day, especially when the kids are fighting!

In a world with all sorts of noise and distractions (social media, television, advertising), peace and the ability to hear God’s voice can be an uphill battle. On Sunday I talked about being a part of the family of God, and one of the marks of being a family member is to be led by the Spirit (Romans 8:14).

Hearing the Spirit

The Holy Spirit longs to teach us and guide our lives. In John 14:26 Jesus promised his disciples, “But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.”

I guess the question is, how does the Spirit lead us?

First and foremost, we are led through the Word of God (Bible). God has already revealed so much to us in the 66 books of the Bible. We just need to read and respond to what God has already revealed. Many of our questions for guidance are already answered in the Bible. If you aren’t currently reading on a daily basis, start right now! Read one chapter each day starting in the book of Matthew. You will be glad you did!

Secondly, we are often led by the Spirit through promptings. Have you ever felt like you should call someone or you thought of a person you haven’t in a long time? You likely thought “I wonder how they are doing…?” Perhaps this is a prompting that you need to respond to with a call, text or message? Another way that I have been led but he Spirit is through a check in my spirit. It is almost like a ‘Divine stop sign.’ I have learned that when I feel sick to my stomach about a certain situation, person or place, I need to take it seriously. These are just a few of the ways that the Holy Spirit may guide us.

But are we listening?

Respond

Perhaps the best way to get this started is to respond with the words of the young boy Samuel, who when he heard an unfamiliar voice call out to him three times, finally responded, “Speak Lord, Your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10).

If you want to know more about the Holy Spirit and how he leads our lives, we are having our Holy Spirit Encounter this Saturday from 3-8pm. It is still not too late to join. Just click here to sign up.

Maybe, just maybe, you read this far because you were led to be at the Encounter weekend.

You will be glad you did.

Blessings.

Pastor Michael

Love and Spin Bikes

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Valentine’s Day is tomorrow! (I hope you made adequate preparations…or you might be at 7-11 buying a heart-shaped Reese Peanut butter cup for your special someone!) In light of this momentous occasion, I have been thinking a lot about love, how we express it, and how we know what love is. As a follower of Jesus, I believe I have the best example of love in God, who himself is love…he is love in perfection (1 John 4:8).

An Unexpected Gift

Sometimes God shows us a glimpse of his unmerited love for us. It can happen in many ways, but today it was quite specific and came in the form of a spin bike.

If you aren’t someone who regularly exercises, a spin bike is a stationary exercise bike that closely resembles the feeling of being on a road bike. And I really like to spin. I watch tv when I spin and it’s how I get my exercise at home when I can’t make it to the gym. I have a spin bike that I purchased from Kijiji last summer, but it never fit me well from day one.  Often I dreamt of a particular bike that would fit me better and help me shed the added weight from all the donuts around the office!

Then I got the call. Someone from our church had a new spin bike that just didn’t fit them. They tried to sell it, but no buyers came out of the woodwork. Curiously, my name kept coming to their mind. They reached out, asked if I wanted it, and I was there! When I picked it up from them I was blown away…it was exactly the kind of bike I wanted, and they were able to get a hot deal on the exact bike they wanted. It was just a glimpse of God’s love…he cares about every aspect of our lives, even little stuff like exercise equipment preferences!

God’s Love for North Pointe

As a church, we have seen God pour his love out on us in many unexpected ways. We have a great location, facility and some of the best people you could ever want to hang around with! We have seen God answer prayers, big and small, and in a day and age when many churches are losing their influence, God has shown us favor and has drawn people who are far from him our way. This is God’s love for us.

His love is amazing.

God’s Love Through North Pointe

Just as I was on the receiving end of an amazing gift today, I want to be the kind of person that pours into the lives of others. I don’t want to only be on the receiving end of blessing, I want to be able to bless people with my time, talent, attention and finances. And as we do this together, I know that God will continue to bless us at North Pointe.

Right now there are many in our church and community that are struggling financially. Layoffs, downsizing and lack of work have put a lot of stress on individuals and families. In times like these, we can hold tight to what we have, or we can look to God who is the source of every good and perfect gift.

We are in the middle of what we call our 3-Month Tithe challenge. If you have never tithed (given 10%) before, I want to encourage you to begin today. There is no better time than now. If you come to the end of three months and determine that it’s not working, we will simply refund your money. No questions asked. You have nothing to lose and a world of blessing to gain. Click here to find out more.

God is love. God gave. Let’s follow his lead and continue to make a difference to those in our reach, near and far.

Happy Valentine’s Day!