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Michael Voll

There is More!

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In 10, 9, 8, 7…

There is something powerful and exciting every time I see a video of a rocket launch and the deep voice that accompanies it, slowly counting down the numbers to lift off.

When the engines ignite, and the rocket breaks free of the tower, there is an expectancy of adventure, exploration and hanging on for a great ride!

Ready to Launch

This weekend at North Pointe we are launching our programs and ministries for the fall. This is also a time of adventure, exploration and hanging on for a great ride, and we want you to to be a part of it!

We are hosting the community for our annual Fall Family Carnival on Saturday, September 7. This event is free and goes from 10am-3pm. It is a family event that will have every age smiling. Will you consider who you could invite to come with you? Each year people decide to check out North Pointe on a Sunday because of the warmth they felt at our Carnival.

Then…Sunday morning, in all three services (9:30, 11:00 and 12:30) we are going to be celebrating what God is doing in and through our congregation. This month we will be doing a series called “There is More.” Let me assure you, regardless of where you find yourself at in life, God has more in store for you, and he wants to work more through you.

There is MORE

In Philippians 1:6 the Apostle Paul boldly states, “I am certain that God, who began a good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”  Paul is certain that God will finish what he has started in us. He is not done with us yet. He has more in store for you and me! So regardless of how you feel or what you’ve been through, you don’t have to be confident in yourself or your own strength, you can be confident in the strength that comes from Jesus alone.

Jesus accomplishes change in us through a series of small things. More always starts with little. What little things do you need to begin to do to reconnect with God? Maybe you need to connect with him for the very first time. May I suggest that you start by showing up this Sunday? You will be glad you did. Then step out of your comfort zone at try out Alpha. Or sign up for a bible study. Or just eat bacon with some guys (Men’s Breakfast on Sept 14th!).

Jesus isn’t finished with you yet. Take confidence in this truth today.

It’s time to launch.

There is MORE.

Blessings.

Pastor Michael

Bringing Hope One Person at a Time

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 In the last week, our home has been buzzing with the excitement of labeling new school supplies, resetting sleep schedules and determining what clothing we need to buy for the coming year (kids grow so much!). 

Hope in Zimbabwe

In Canada, we have a lot of freedoms we take for granted. One of those freedoms is a quality education from kindergarten through grade 12. This is not the case in many countries around the world. But through the generosity of North Pointe, this is slowly changing. In Zimbabwe, a country with political and economic instability, your giving is bringing stability to families and children.

As a church, we are a supporter of the Village of Hope. At the Village, kids receive a fantastic education, nutritious meals and for many orphans, a home and family to love and care for them. Last year we gave over $25,000 to the Village of Hope, and many others in our church directly support a child at the VOH through ChildCare Plus. Our partnership makes a difference.

This Sunday, Pastor Zowa from the Village of Hope shares with us the final message in our unCommon Sense series called “Powerful Prayers.” Pastor Zowa and the dedicated staff at the Village of Hope understand the power of prayer! 

Hope in Edmonton

We bring hope to kids in Zimbabwe, but we are also sponsoring Nora as she makes her home in Edmonton shortly. Nora is an Iraqi Christian living as a refugee in Jordan. Through a connection with Steve and Patti Hertzog, our global workers in Eurasia, we are sponsoring her to come to Canada. As a result, she’ll have an opportunity she would never have in Jordan.

We can help Nora get settled in our neighborhood. We as a church family are supplying her with home furnishings. On Sunday you will receive a list of items she needs to get started. Don’t wait or hesitate…donate! We want to bless her with new or very gently used items to get her started here in Canada. Let’s make this happen!

In short, North Pointe has an awesome track record of generosity…let’s keep it going! We can make a difference and bring hope to people in our neighborhood and around the world!

See you on Sunday!

Baptism by Fire

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This Sunday we are going to be celebrating with 19 people who are taking the next step in their faith journey by getting baptized. I love cheering on the people who are ‘taking the plunge.’  This is a very important symbol and step of obedience in the life of a Christian.

Submerged

Baptism is an outward symbol of an inward reality. The reality for each of these people is that they have believed in Jesus and have chosen to follow Him for the rest of their lives. And now they are living out Jesus’ own example-he was baptized and then he commanded all who follow him to be baptized as well (Matthew 28:18-20). They will be symbolically buried with Christ, and moments later raised again to new life as they come out of the water. This is the reality of what has happened spiritually, now we get to witness this physically. Don’t miss out on this exciting day, you’ll be glad you came!

Scorched

But there is another kind of baptism that we sometimes face through the course of our lives called ‘Baptism by Fire.’ This is a situation that you are thrown into where you have very little preparation…you just need to hold on and survive by using your wits and wisdom, and likely a little bit of grit.

Maybe right now you are facing a baptism by fire. It could be in a relationship that is going sideways, a parenting struggle that leaves you scratching your head for answers, a problem at work or a diagnosis that is more than you can endure. In these moments it can be hard to have patience. All we really want is for things to get better NOW! Some feel their situation is so hopeless that they simply give up. The pain and pressure are too much to persevere through.

Don’t give up.

Keep on going. Persevere. Be patient. There is more happening than you can see.

Perfect Timing

Over 2000 years ago Jesus came to save the world, in perfect timing. He was not a minute too soon, or a moment too late.

And he is coming again. His timing is always perfect (even if we think he should hurry up!).

The first time Jesus came to “seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). He came as a Saviour for our sins. When he comes again he will come as Judge. He will judge the whole world-including those who have hurt, persecuted and oppressed others, and he will judge you and me for all that we have said and done. It is a humbling thought. And it should give us courage in our situation. We don’t have to retaliate, we don’t have to focus on ‘payback.’ We can simply trust that God will make all things right. Our role is to be patient and to persevere.

Patience

Think about how patient God has been with us. He has waited on us to make good decisions, to allow him to have control of our lives, and to surrender our hearts to him. Today God still waits patiently, because he loves everyone in the world. And he doesn’t want any of them to live without a relationship with Him (John 3:16).

So if you haven’t already, put your trust in Jesus. He will get you through your baptism by fire, and lead you into real hope, new life and lasting purpose. That’s what those who are getting baptized have done. Jesus is with you, even if you are at the end of your rope, and he will make all things right.

Just be patient. Persevere. Keep on going. He is coming. And his timing is perfect.

Make sure your timing is perfect on Sunday. 9:30am, 11:00am and 12:30pm are the service times. We look forward to seeing you and celebrating with you!

Priority Matters

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Around the middle of August every year, I get a growing sense of expectation. Summer is awesome (it’s BY FAR my favourite season), but there is something to be said for getting back into some of the regular rhythms and routines that September naturally brings. It is an opportunity to hit the reset button on the year, 2/3 of the way through. What a deal!

Never Too Late to Make a Change

So if 2019 hasn’t been all that you had hoped, or if you really need to bear down to make some changes in your personal life, now is the time to do it.

However, if you are going to make positive changes, makes sure your priority is Jesus. Often we fill up our schedules with appointments, work tasks, driving the kids to any number of sports, music or art-related commitments. Once we fill up our schedules we may wonder if we can squeeze in just one more thing…like church on Sundays, or joining a small group Bible Study. Often we just can’t squeeze it in, so we tell ourselves, “It will be different in January.”

It won’t be.

Priority

Not unless you prioritize. And priority means “first concern” or “most important.” Is a growing relationship with Jesus most important for you? If you answer yes, is there any proof of that in your schedule? If not, why isn’t it your priority? Do you think it is unimportant or irrelevant, or perhaps a nice extra, but not the main thing?

We all have things we must do. Make money, put food on the table, pay bills, develop relationships…and the list could go on forever. Jesus knows all that we have to do, but he also knows what we MUST do to get it accomplished in the right order.

The Right Order

In Matthew 6:33 Jesus outlined the number of things that we can spend ourselves chasing and worrying about. His solution? “…seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Look to God first and all of the other stuff will fall into line.

This may seem too simple, but I’ve found in my own life that when my relationship with Jesus is growing and developing, so many other areas flourish. I am more patient and loving, and often far more focused with my time and energy. Starting the day reading the Bible and praying centres me in on what is really important, and keeps me from chasing after the wind.

This fall at North Pointe we have many different options to help you build your relationship with Jesus, either by attending a class or serving others. Make sure to include your spiritual life in the plans you make for September. It starts with a click to the North Pointe website…here.

Now enjoy the rest of your summer!

True Wisdom

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Experts have charted the progression of knowledge that the world has produced, and the rate that is has grown over the last several thousand years. It’s quite startling.

Knowledge Growth

Up until about 1900, knowledge doubled approximately every hundred years. By 1950, it was doubling every 25 years. In the year 2000, knowledge doubled every year….and now it sees to be doubling EVERY DAY.

Wow. Mind Blown!

Regression?

With all of this knowledge, you would think that the human race would be progressing. It doesn’t seem to be that way.

While we may be gaining knowledge, it seems we have not gained wisdom.

There is a big difference between knowledge and wisdom.

The Bible tells us that “Knowledge puffs up” (1 Corinthians 8:1). We have all been around someone with a lot of book smarts that was almost impossible to bear with. Their bragging and better-than-you attitude actually made them look pretty, how shall I say this…stupid. It seems to me this is how we communicate on social media, in politics, and unfortunately on issues of faith more and more. It’s not wise.

Real Wisdom

On the other hand, we have been with wise people that carry with them a humility that is born of pure motives. They care about others, and they seem to have learned from past experiences rather than repeating their error over and over. In the book of James, we are clearly told that a wise person proves their wisdom by living an honourable life (James 3:13). Wisdom may be an invisible quality, but it shows through how we live. It is rooted in our relationship with God (Proverbs 9:10) and is peaceable, full of mercy and shows itself through good deeds, among other attractive attributes.

The best part of it all?

Everyone can become wise. It has nothing to do with your “smarts” or GPA or level of schooling. It has everything to do with your relationship with Jesus and your willingness to both ask for wisdom and walk it out in your everyday life. The more you do wise things, the easier it gets, and the wiser you will become.

Let’s not get too caught up with a whole bunch of head knowledge that may or may not make a real difference in our lives, or in the lives of others around us. Instead, let’s pursue godly wisdom and walk it out by the way we speak, act and react to everyday situations.

Now that’s wise!

Taming the Tongue

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I was five years old when I first saw fire damage. A house in our neighborhood went up in flames and before long it was burned down to the studs. Little was left except for the charred remains of what was furniture, walls, flooring, and memories. My dad walked me through it a few days after the fire and it was an eerie experience.

Total Devastation

Fire devastates.

As Albertans, we have experienced large fires in the last few years. Slave Lake, Fort Mac, and the number of forest fires in the northern parts of our Province that have blanketed our open sky with smoke and threatened to block out all sunlight from our summer. For those far away from the fires, they are an inconvenience. For those caught in the middle, it is devastation.

Tongue Tied?

In James 3:6 the tongue is described as a fire. He is referring to the words spoken and the thoughts/attitudes that pour out of our mouths. At times our words are fiery, and they can literally burn down everything in its way. Have you ever had someone tear into you? It hurts. Ten seconds of careless words can break a relationship forever.

It seems that there is little hope for us. James tells us that the tongue can’t be tamed (3:8). Kind of sounds bleak doesn’t it?

Does that mean that we just keep swearing like a trucker, lying, slandering and gossiping?

Not at all.

There is hope. Things can change.

Tongue Tamed

It’s a hopeless cause to try to change on our own strength. At some point, we will end us saying something dumb, or worse, destructive. We will burn down those around us.

Thankfully we don’t have to change on our own. Self-help won’t help.

The Holy Spirit is there to help us. He’s the Helper (John 14:26).

Our politicians, movie stars and social media warriors talk enough trash. What we need is for Jesus to flow out of us in our words and actions. Change is possible, but it won’t happen overnight. 

ALL THINGS are possible with God. Even cleaning out that potty mouth!

Jesus wants us to speak life where there is death, and bring encouragement to the weary through our words and actions.

Remember, your words are powerful. Use them wisely. Ask God to help you this week to be a source of vitalization, not devastation.

Faith and Good Deeds

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Milk and cookies, popcorn and the movies, love and marriage. They go together. You just can’t have one without the other (or at least it’s not nearly as fun!)

The Perfect Pair

In the last few weeks, we have been learning some unCommon Sense that comes straight from the Bible in the New Testament book of James. This tiny book packs a powerful punch of wisdom that sometimes has us shouting “Amen!” then crying “Ouch!”

This week we will be talking about the dynamic pairing of faith and good deeds, two things that are inseparable in the life of any healthy and thriving follower of Jesus.

If we say we have faith in God it needs to be demonstrated in the way we act, speak and think. It needs to shape us. There is no such thing as a theoretical faith. Undemonstrated faith is dead. Lifeless. Worthless. James points out to his hearers that even the demons believe in God (James 2:19). However, their belief in God makes them shudder in terror. Our faith/belief is meant to bring love, joy, and peace (Galatians 5:22). They run from God, our faith is meant to bring us closer to God.

Living Faith

The life of every human is in the spirit. If you have ever been with someone as they passed away you know that there is a marked difference in the moments before and after their heart stops. Their life is gone. Their body doesn’t look or feel the same. They may not have moved, but their spirit did, and now their body is dead. 

Too often our faith is on life support or even dead because we have a faith that believes in God but has no demonstrable actions to back it up. James does not let his hearers get away with this ‘fake faith’, and I believe that Jesus doesn’t want us to either. He wants us to be full of life, and to bring life to every situation we encounter.

Faith and good deeds go together. You can’t have one without the other. We don’t do our good deeds to prove our faith, we do good deeds because of our faith. It is a natural outflow.

This week may you let your light shine so that people will see your good deeds and praise your Heavenly Father (Matthew 5:16).

Playing Favourites

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Some of the most frequently asked questions adults ask kids (and kids ask each other) begins with these three words: What’s your favorite______________?

You Must Have a Favourite…

We ask about a person’s favourite colour, food, sport, subject in school and movie. From our earliest years, we are ingrained to choose a preference in almost every area of life. If you say you don’t have a favourite song, you might be met with incredulity…”You don’t have a favourite song? What’s wrong with you?”

Unfortunately, what starts out as being a harmless way to start or keep a discussion going can quickly become something more destructive if taken too far.

Preference Over People

We begin to choose sides, and before long we draw lines of distinction between one another based on preference rather than treating each other as people. Preference over people is rarely productive. In fact, it can become destructive in a hurry.

This summer we are looking into the book of James to find some unCommon wisdom that needs to become common in our lives. In James 2:1-4 we are told that it is ‘unChristian’ to show favouritism. An example is showing favouritism to rich people over poor people. It seems that in our desire for status and money we often end up sucking up to people who can give us what we want, and shunning those who have little to offer in the way of money or power. James says it’s not cool.

Breaking Down the Barriers

But we discriminate all the time. We discriminate by race, sex, age, and ability. We may not share our opinions aloud, but there are assumptions and prejudices we hold to that need to be rooted out of our lives. They are killing us and killing the good work Jesus came to do-to break down barriers that divide us from one another and from Him.

This Sunday I encourage you to join us for one of our gatherings (9:30 and 11:00am, 12:30pm). It is a great opportunity to be with and worship with people of all ages, races, and backgrounds. It is a taste of heaven on earth.

When it comes to people, let’s pick favourites like God does. “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

God loves the whole world. We are all his favourites. That includes you!

Follow Through

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Follow-through is a powerful thing.

Big Plans, No Results

There are many people who make grandiose plans or set lofty goals. They look really good on paper, but they would look even better in reality. If these plans and goals were completed who knows how the course of history would be altered?

Anyone involved in sports knows that the power is in the follow-through. Whether that is shooting a puck, throwing a football or swinging a bat or golf club, the follow-through is vital to success.

The same holds true with our faith.

Faith That Finishes

Faith comes from hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). One of the main ways that we hear the voice of God is through the Bible. God has spoken and still speaks through the Bible. This is the first step, hearing.

However, in order for our faith to be living and produce fruit, we need to actually do what God wants us to do. It’s one thing to hear what God wants us to do, it’s another thing to do it. So the second step is to take action and do what it says.

I want to encourage you to read the Bible on a daily basis. As a church, we have a daily Bible reading plan. Click here to access it. As you read, ask yourself a few questions:

What was being said to the original hearers?

What is being said to me today?

Then for the hard part.

Just Do It!

The third question is, “In light of this word from God, What do I need to do?”

This is the follow-through.

Do what it says. That step of obedience will make all the difference in your life. Your faith will come alive, and you will grow.

And you just might experience more power, love, and peace in your life than you ever have before.

I hope to see you on Sunday as we explore the unCommon Sense found in the book of James. I’m praying this will be a summer of growth for you!

Pastor Michael

unCommon Sense

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Common sense doesn’t seem to be all that common anymore. Maybe it never was, or it left the building with Elvis.

Common Sense

Essentially common sense is sound judgment in practical matters. There are literally millions of YouTube videos documenting the lack of common sense in our world. Some of them funny, and some of them painful to watch. I’m sure ER doctors and nurses could tell us many stories of good times gone wrong, often involving adults on skateboards or trampolines. A little bit of common sense would have saved a world of hurt.

In our next sermon series at North Pointe, we will be looking through the New Testament book of James. Throughout this short book, we are given practical lessons to help us live fulfilling lives and avoid pitfalls like temptation or talking when we should be listening.

unCommon Sense

The kind of sense that James (and Jesus!) wants to help us hear, understand and live out in our everyday lives is quite uncommon, but I want it to become common at North Pointe. Over the next nine weeks, we will look into the wisdom contained in James and apply it directly to our lives today. I know you will walk away changed in a very positive way if you take this uncommon sense seriously.

So today, pick up your Bible (or app!) and start by reading James 1. Re-read it each day for the next week, letting the truth bombs sink deep into your psyche. Then move on to James 2 the next week. In five weeks I guarantee you will be changed as you prayerfully and practically let God speak to you through the wisdom of this hard-hitting book.

May this be your most restful summer ever. And may it also be the summer where you are shaped by God’s Word like you never have been before. You will be glad you did.

Just be careful out there. Think twice before you become the next YouTube sensation for all the wrong reasons!

Blessings.

Pastor Michael