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He is Risen!

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There is nothing quite like finishing a task that you have had on your to-do list for a long time. Until you complete it, there is always a weight on your shoulders. No matter what you do there is a nagging feeling that there are other things that must be accomplished. I take great pleasure in putting a checkmark beside that task. Done. It’s off my plate. Now on to other important things.

Last Words: It is Finished

In the last four weeks, we have been talking about the last words of Jesus from the cross. This Friday we’ll dig deeper into Jesus final words from the cross.

These aren’t words of defeat. Instead, they were a cry of victory. All that Jesus set out to do on earth was fully accomplished.

Jesus came to give his life as a ransom for the sins of the world. And on the cross, he did just that. His cry of victory from the cross echoes through the centuries so that we, too can cry out in celebration that we have been forgiven. We can have new life, if only we accept it.

First Words: He is Risen!

Because of this death did not have the final say. Jesus rose on the third day. He conquered the grave. He was not only revived like a flatlined patient shocked back to life, but he was resurrected, with a new, eternal body.

And that is the hope that we have too. Death does not have the final say. We can be resurrected to new life because Jesus was resurrected. The cross was the payment and the resurrection is the receipt that the payment for our sins was fully accepted.

Make sure to invite someone to one of our services this weekend. Jesus has come to give real hope, new life and lasting purpose to everyone in the world. Including those closest to you.

He is Risen!

Happy Easter!

Pastor Michael

 

Never Alone

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One of the greatest fears that people of all ages face is being alone. Autophobia or monophobia is the technical name for it (for those of you who like to be in the know!).

Don’t get me wrong, there are times you want your own space. A few hours to break free from the chit chat, small talk, pushy crowds and demands from kids, employers and even your significant other can be a dream come true.

Made for Relationship

For the most part though, as humans we are relational. Even Batman has Robin!

We were made to be in relationship with one another. And this is because we were made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), and God is relational to the very core. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have been in perfect union, 3 in 1 for eternity.

On the cross, the union of Father, Son and Spirit was broken temporarily. When the weight of the sin of the world was placed upon Jesus on the cross, he became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). In that moment, and for about three dark hours, Jesus’ agony was not only physical. His pain was spiritual and emotional.

Separated for our Unity

For three desperate hours, Jesus was separated from the Father. This happened for our benefit, so that we could have the hope of being made right with God. The cost was steep, but Jesus hung in the agony of desolation for us. He did this so that we could enjoy friendship with God.

Jesus was alone so we will never have to be lonely.

Make an effort to come this Sunday to North Pointe. And bring someone with you who could use some Good News and encouragement. We are never alone!

Deathbed Confessions

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A deathbed confession is when a person admits something that is weighing on their conscience before they die. Often this is done to a close friend, family member, doctor or pastor/priest.

While Jesus was hanging on the cross between two thieves, he heard such a confession.

Clearing the Air

Evidently one of the two thieves wanted to clear the air. He was guilty, had been convicted, and now he was paying for his crimes with his life. He did the crime, now he was doing the time.

Then he called out to Jesus. “Remember me.”

In a few moments, all three of these men hanging on their crosses would be dead, to slip entirely out of memory. They would be no more than a blip on the radar.

However, this deathbed confession changed this man’s destiny. He would not slip away from memory…Jesus remembered him. He was going to be with Jesus. And 2000 years later we are still talking about his brief discussion with Jesus.

The criminal wanted to be remembered. Jesus gave him so much more.

The criminal wanted forgiveness for his life of crime. Jesus gave him forgiveness for a lifetime.

Don’t Wait

And Jesus will do the same for you. Whatever weighs on your conscience, whatever your guilt or shame, Jesus wants to take it.

And the Good News is that you don’t have to wait until your dying breaths.

Today you can experience a taste of Heaven on earth. Today you can experience real hope, new life and lasting purpose.

 

Just call out to Jesus.

 

I hope to see you this Sunday. Bring someone with you. It may be just what they need to hear and experience.

 

Father, Forgive Them

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Last week we started a sermon series at North Pointe called “Any Last Words?” It is focused on the last words of Jesus as he was hanging on the cross.

Words Are Powerful

One can learn a lot about a person by their last words. We hear what was most important to them, as well as their hopes and regrets. These words reveal what they want to be remembered for and pass on to others who will live on.

Jesus last words are very counter-intuitive. There are so many things that he says that are surprising, even shocking. However, when we get to know Jesus we begin to understand that his last words were a culmination of everything he taught in his ministry on earth.

This Sunday we will look into Luke 23:34 where Jesus calls out, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Stop to consider that Jesus is saying this to people who have spat on him, beaten him, hurled insults his way, and then crucified him.

Incredible.

Even when the crowds were at their worst, Jesus saw them in the best light. He was thinking the best about them, and he thinks the best about you, too.

Use Your Words Wisely

Maybe this is hard for you to believe. Throughout your life you have had people think the worst about your intentions, actions, and words. Maybe you are the type of person who gives mercy to yourself but asks for justice to be meted out for everyone else.

Regardless of your story, Jesus wants to show us his great love and have us extend that to everyone around us.

I think the world could use a lot more love and forgiveness. And I suspect that you could too.

See you on Sunday. Ask someone to join you. Use your words to make a difference in a friends life. They just might begin to experience real hope, new life and lasting purpose in Jesus.

 

Watch last weeks sermon here.

Read last weeks blog here.

Any Last Words?

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The last words of a person can reveal a lot about their character, values, hopes, dreams and mental state at the time.

Last Words Matter

For some, their last words reveal their dry humor, such as the convicted murderer James W. Rodgers, who, when asked if he had a last request before going in front of a firing squad replied, “Bring me a bullet-proof vest.”

Leonardo da Vinci revealed his ache at not accomplishing enough in life on his deathbed. In his final breaths, he said, “I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.”

I hope that when the time comes for me to utter my last words that they will be full of love, and lacking any regret.

Jesus’ Last Words Really Matter

Over the next four weeks and on to Good Friday we will look into some of Jesus’ last words from the cross. At his lowest moment, beaten, battered and bruised, rejected and reviled, Jesus spoke words of limitless love.

There is so much we can learn from his example.

Jesus was Selfless in Suffering, Praying in Pain.

He showed Greater Grace and Determination in Desolation.

Unlike Jesus, when I am going through pain I find it very hard to focus on anything else. There is a direct correlation between rising pain and lowering care for the needs of those around us. It is hard to help others when you are hurting.

As we look forward to Easter Sunday I want to invite you to join us on Sunday’s in one of our three services (9:30am, 11:00am, and 12:30pm) in either our North or South Auditorium or online at www.np.church. Our services are usually posted early the next week so you can view them when it suits you best.

As we dig deep into the last words of Jesus I know that you will be prompted to action.

Love is an action word. Love must do something. Even in pain, loneliness, rejection, and desperation.

So take action and join us on Sunday. You’ll be glad you did.

 

 

 

Humbled, Excited and Nervous

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Humbled. Excited. Nervous.

These are just a few of the words I use to describe how I feel right now when asked by friends and family.

The role of Lead Pastor carries a tangible weight of responsibility that God has been preparing me for over the course of my 21 years in full-time vocational ministry. And for the last 14 years, I have been blessed to be a part of the North Pointe family. At times I wasn’t sure if there would be a chance for me to fulfill the calling of leading a church that God laid on my heart as a fifteen-year-old. Other times I thought our family would need to relocate to a different church, city or province to see this dream fulfilled.

I am so thankful that God had other plans.
He prepared me. He shaped me. And He told me to wait.
And His timing is always perfect.

As I write this I am trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I am now the Lead Pastor of North Pointe Community Church. But a strong vote of 98% of the membership and 97% of the soon-to-be members (you know who you are!) has confirmed that it’s true.

Humbled. Excited. Nervous.

I am humbled that God would take this small town kid and set me in such an important leadership position. I am humbled that God chose this broken man, who in times of heavy grief wondered if I’d ever pastor again. And yet, Christ in his mercy has seen fit to elevate me. Humbled.

Excited. Not the ‘kid in a candy store’ excitement that is erratic and unpredictable. It’s a growing sense of joy rising in me with a fire in my belly. “Greater things have yet to come, greater things are still to be done in this city,” echoes the popular worship song. I am thrilled to see the people who will experience real hope, new life and lasting purpose in Jesus Christ in the coming months and years. The future is bright. And I get to be a part of it. Wow!

Did I mention that I was feeling nervous? I have been in training for years and this is the next logical step. I don’t think you can ever be fully prepared for a position like Lead Pastor. At times the weight of responsibility piles on me. In times like these I am reminded that God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). It is this nervous energy that keeps me on my knees. I need God more than ever. I haven’t arrived yet, I have just begun. Lord help me to lead with love, wisdom and integrity.

I am honored to be the Lead Pastor of North Pointe, and I look forward to what God has in store for us as a church body. It’s going to be a good ride.

29 YEARS OF ADVENTURES IN SAYING YES

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Twenty-nine years ago Rev. Bruce Fisher invited me to serve on his pastoral team at Central Tabernacle in Edmonton.

I said, “Yes.”

I had a lot of hair and some experience.

Twenty-nine years later I have almost no hair and a bit more experience.

Isolation To Congregation

Being a pastor was not my childhood dream. My aspiration was to become a hermit – to live a tranquil life in isolation undisturbed by people. So how did I get from isolation to congregation?

I said, “Yes.”

God nudged me to follow His calling and be trained to become a pastor.

Ten years along my pastoral journey I accepted the role of Christian Education and Missions Pastor at Central – a storied church and one time flagship of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Only two years previous a horrible congregational split had eviscerated this wonderful group of people. We worked hard to heal their heartache and despair.

Leading Through Relocation

Four years into our labor of love – February 1994 – Pastor Bruce’s health failed, disabling him and sending him to the sidelines. God called away all but me from our pastoral team. Four months later I was asked to be the next Lead Pastor at Central.

I said, “Yes.”

June 30, 2006

Fast forward six years to May 2000. Our congregation took a big risk, stepped out in faith and decided to relocate to the least churched area of Edmonton. We left an iconic facility in an urban location and began to look for land on the frontier of northwest Edmonton.

Three years later – April 2003, after multiple failed attempts to secure land – an opportunity arose to purchase 38 acres of a farmer’s field in the middle of nowhere.

We said, “Yes.”

A New Beginning

One month later after the snow melted we celebrated God’s provision by holding a party and “planting” a Bible on the property – prophetically declaring that our influence would be inspired by the Word of God.

$1.3 million in debt, and facing an $11 million building project, we also said “Yes” to raising an additional $1 million over the next ten years to support the dream of developing a Village of Hope in Harare, Zimbabwe for orphans of HIV/AIDS. To raise a million dollars, you need a million dollar idea. The VoH was a million dollar idea.

(It took us 15 years to achieve our goal but today there are homes for children, a nationally ranked school, a medical clinic, a feeding program, and a multi-purpose community facility.)

Come As You Are

Sunday July 16, 2006 was opening day at North Pointe Community Church. Our roadside sign offered the heartfelt invitation of “Come As You Are.” We meant it. People believed it.

They said, “Yes.”

The original 495 people now number 3716 – those who call NP home – from 85 nationalities, and 16 denominational backgrounds. And we’ve only just begun. Our roots go back 102 years to people meeting in a house church who started this whole endeavour.

Sunday July 16, 2006
International Sunday April 2018

North Pointe is a come as you are, life-giving, mission-driven church, devoted to Jesus, and His love for the world.

We exist to lead people into real hope, new life, and lasting purpose.

Leaving Home

North Pointe is family. The facility is home. Jocelyn and I always knew that one day we would bless North Pointe by following God’s prompting – this time to leave home.

We said, “Yes.”

Our “yes” to God was never meant as a “no” to our church family. Our richest memories are coloured with North Pointe blue and the love shown to us.

Sheila Walsh and Pastor Jocelyn at a SRO event for women in September 2018.
Staff appreciation luncheon on February 28, 2019.

And we will watch from a distance as people we love see to it that North Pointe thrives as a community of people in process; where the curious, the unconvinced, the skeptical, and the used-to-believe, as well as the committed, informed and sold-out, come as they are together around the conviction that Jesus is the Saviour, the Son of the living God.

God bless North Pointe.

Yes and amen.

Rev. Bob and Rev. Jocelyn Jones (PB & J)

APPLICATION

Join the conversation. Please leave a comment below for Pastor Bob and Jocelyn. Thank you.


Hope grows here. I write to share stories that inspire people, build faith in Jesus, and offer lasting purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.

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JESUS: DESPISED AND REJECTED

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Rejection makes you feel like you’re not good enough. That everyone is better than you. Rejection is defined as to throw away, the state of being refused or the denial of love and acceptance. No wonder it hurts so much.

One person’s opinion, or one single incident, should never define who you are. Don’t let your self-worth depend upon other people’s opinions of you. Just because someone else thinks something about you, doesn’t mean it’s true.

When it comes to revealing one’s true character, there are few tests as effective as rejection. No man ever passed this test like Jesus. He was abandoned and rejected, not by just one but by all. Nevertheless, He remained loving, kind and generous.

He accepts and loves you as you are.

Rejected

He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him.

That’s my Jesus.

Nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

That’s my Jesus.

He was despised and rejected by mankind.

That’s my Jesus.

A man of suffering, and familiar with pain.

That’s my Jesus.

Like one from whom people hide their faces.

That’s my Jesus.

He was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

That’s my Jesus.

He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.

That’s my Jesus.

He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.

That’s my Jesus.

And yet…

He took our pain.

That’s my Jesus.

He bore our suffering.

That’s my Jesus.

He was pierced for our transgressions.

That’s my Jesus.

He was crushed for our iniquities.

That’s my Jesus.

The punishment that brought us peace was upon him.

That’s my Jesus.

And by his wounds…we…are…healed!

That’s my Jesus.

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.

That’s my Jesus.

APPLICATION

Join the conversation. Please leave a comment below. Thank you.


Hope grows here. I write to share stories that inspire people, build faith in Jesus, and offer lasting purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.

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THE REAL DEAL: VELVETEEN PASTOR

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“The Boy’s Uncle made me Real,” the Skin Horse said. “That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.”(Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit(1922) (Avon Books Edition, 1975), pages 12-13)

Becoming Real

Like the Velveteen Rabbit when new, Pastor Bob started in this pastoring business with a full head of shoulder-length hair, and a full beard. 39 years later, he has been loved well by his congregations and communities, has a lot less hair, and has like the Velveteen Rabbit, become “real”.


A guest post from Tim Fowler – published author, member of the Board at North Pointe Church and a fellow writer. You can enjoy his work here – Birch Canoe.


The Deal With Being Real

Being a pastor is like any other job. You go to school, train, apply, get hired and go to work, you report to someone, and others report to you. 

But, it is unlike any other job: it will rub your hair off.

Pastor Bob has lead too many funerals, dealt with too many unknown details of pain and grit in his counseling office. He has blessed babies, graduates, marriages of young and very old. He has visited broken people in their broken homes, talked people off the proverbial cliff, and experienced the shock and horror when they cannot be talked down. 

These are people he loves, and knows well, people from his congregation and community. These are not strangers executing a single transaction, they are people he has a relationship with. Some are deep relationships.

By The Time You Are Real

“You can only become real by being loved for a long time.” The Skin Horse said. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

Life tends to polish off the rough edges, grinding, honing, polishing, making us real.

Pastor Bob has been real for sometime. He has witnessed sparkling miracles, and vicious bitter disappointment. Through it all he maintains focus on God’s promises. In fact he leads a congregation where our tag line includes the phrase: where people are real.

APPLICATION

Join the conversation. Please leave a comment below. Thank you.


Hope grows here. I write to share stories that inspire people, build faith in Jesus, and offer lasting purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.

  • Subscribe. I’ll put helpful content into your email box early Mondays and Thursdays, as well as upcoming events at North Pointe Community Church, Edmonton, Alberta.
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THE HOLY SPIRIT AND LOVE

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The intensity of what happened after I prayed convinced me that something supernatural was taking place. My future changed in an instant.

I was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Talking To Others About Jesus

The year was 1976. Ancient history for some but for me it feels like just yesterday.

A Saturday afternoon and I was kneeling by my bed praying. It was me and God. Saturday afternoon prayer meetings were not usual for me but this was an unusual time in my life.

I was living in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario where I had a job with Air Canada.

God was prompting me to talk about Jesus with people who were closest to me. The thought of talking to others made me nervous.

I needed love, confidence, and power.

An Encounter With Real Power

Acts 1:8 records Jesus’ promise, “…you will receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon you.”

So, I prayed, “Lord, please fill me with your Holy Spirit.”

God answered my prayer.

My experience that day was real. I began to pray in a language that I did not understand but made sense to me.

I received a power that included the ability to speak up over my self-consciousness.  I became Spirit-conscious.

God's Messenger HD Desktop Background

The Holy Spirit And Me

By nature I am non-demonstrative, and reserved. Few people would ever describe me as being overly emotive.

Pentecostal-type experiences are often labeled as mere emotionalism, however they are much more than that.

Myself and other spirit-filled, introverted ministers and believers stand as testimonies that being filled with the Holy Spirit is about power not emotion or personality.

The fullness of Holy Spirit doesn’t change personality – He empowers believers to be bold, loving witnesses.

A quiet spirit can be quite a powerful influence in sharing Jesus with people.

It is good with the Holy Spirit and me.holy-spirit-1


Screenshot 2016-04-30 16.01.23I was asked to write my story for the May/June 2016 issue of The Testimony, the national magazine of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (PAOC).

Read the full story in The Testimony here.

APPLICATION: Sunday February 17th at 6:00pm is North Pointe’s next Prayer and Praise night. Our focus will be on the Baptism In the Holy Spirit. Save the date and plan to participate. Please leave a comment below.


I write to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.

  • Subscribe. I’ll put helpful content into your email box on Mondays and Thursdays, as well as upcoming events at North Pointe Community Church, Edmonton, Alberta.
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