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Just a Little Bit More

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One of the most elusive pursuits in the world is contentment. It always seems to be just beyond our reach.

When we get the car of our dreams, we realize that the leather seats are a bit too hot in the summer. “I guess we should have got the cooling option…”

Finally, the house we have been waiting for becomes a reality after years of saving. Once we move in we realize that it just doesn’t look right with our old furniture. “Time to go shopping…”

After raising kids and planning what to do with the extra time we will have as empty nesters we realize that life isn’t nearly as fun without a bit of the buzz. “If only grandkids were on the horizon soon…”

We have all been there. We seem to have the need to strive for more, but too much is never enough.

A Learning Curve

Contentment is not natural.

The apostle Paul reminds his listeners in Philippians 4:11 that contentment is learned. He had to learn it, and I suspect that it was something he was learning until he drew his last breath. Certainly, it is something I am learning, and thankfully God is a patient, yet a persistent teacher.

Real Blessing

This Sunday we are going to be continuing on in our series called Fake News.

We are going to uncover the lie that tells us if we follow and obey Jesus we will be ble$$ed. Yes, the spelling of ble$$ed was on purpose, as there is a growing group of people that believe prosperity is the mark of a blessed life. I know that the Bible teaches us so much more.

I look forward to seeing you this Sunday. Make sure to ask someone to join you. It just may be their first step towards true contentment.

Have a blessed day.

Pastor Michael

The Long Weekend!

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This weekend marks the “un” official start of the summer season for most Albertans. The May Long weekend brings with it the anticipation of warm days and long evenings outside. Summer is such an exciting time as people wake from their hibernation and venture outside to walk their dogs, go for a bike ride or play that frustrating game known as golf. As a family, we enjoy being in the water at the lake and campfires in the evening. Smores galore!

However, there is a dark underbelly of summer that we as pastors face. We don’t see certain people for a few months. Weekend getaways, time spent on vacation, and family reunions land on Sundays. I understand. We juggle the same kind of schedule in our family. But this year, I want to urge you to make a few choices that will help you better stay connected with God and one another. I know it will be one step towards your best summer ever!

Practise Hospitality

In Hebrews 10:25 we are urged, “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” You may not get the opportunity to attend on a Sunday morning for a few weeks, but that does not mean that you have to be right out of the loop!

The church is people, not a building. Everywhere God’s people are, that is where the church is. So, you can have church on your back deck, on the patio of your favourite restaurant or coffee shop, or on your favourite walking trail. If you are not in the groove of doing so, make sure to invite people over to your home or out with you to enjoy the summer together. And when you do, make sure to pray together, and encourage one another. You can be a difference maker by offering a hamburger and a hug!

Watch Online

All of our Sunday messages are online. Simply click on www.np.church/resources to watch the latest sermon or www.np.church/podcast to listen to the podcast. This is a great way to feel close to what is happening at North Pointe even though you may be far away. Being on the same page in what we are learning together and what God is challenging us to be as a church is important all year round, including summer!

Pack your Bible

All too often in the summer months, people go away and their routine goes out the door with them. This includes their relationship with God. Days turn into weeks without reading the Bible or having a consistent time of prayer. It is no wonder to me that we often feel more tired at the end of summer than we did at the beginning! God tells us in Isaiah 40:31 that “Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength…” It is our time spent with God that refreshes us, far more than our time spent on the beach. But you can do both! Get a tan, and spend time with Jesus!

I hope to see you at some point this summer, and I will be praying that your vacation time is very restful. Just don’t forget to practice hospitality, join us online, and keep reading your Bible!

 

Walk, Run, Ride for Hope!

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Several years ago I decided that it was time to take my physical health more seriously. Late night snacking and carb-laden treats around the office had my waistline expanding outward at an unprecedented pace. It was time to take action!

Right around that time North Pointe hosted its first Walk, Run, Ride for Hope, in support of the Village of Hope in Zimbabwe. I trained for a few months and eventually completed my first ever 10k run without stopping. Goal achieved!

Making a Difference

But the greatest goal wasn’t running a 10k. It was raising awareness and financial support for the children, staff, and community of the Village of Hope.

Since that first year, our family has walked, biked and ran various distances on the Walk, Run Ride for Hope. It is not about how fast or slow you are, it’s that you are there. And it’s fun!

The highlight of the morning is pinning the picture of one of the children that lives at the Village of Hope on my t-shirt. It is a reminder of why we raise money and why we get together…it’s for the kids!

Since the early 2000’s North Pointe has made a significant impact in the lives of children in Zimbabwe. We have provided hope for many hopeless families. And it is so easy. Sign up, get some donations from friends, co-workers, family or strangers you meet on the bus…then walk, run, or ride your bike for 2.5/5/10kms. You’ll get a t-shirt and some cool swag. We will even have healthy snacks and prizes there for you (or, if you prefer, we will have unhealthy snacks for people like me!).

What an awesome way to start your Saturday morning!

Take Action Now!

Early bird rate is $35 for an individual or $100 for a family by May 27, 2019.

Click here to register.

 

I can’t wait to see you! I’ll be the one running VERY slow!

 

Fake News!

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In the last several years there has been a spread of “Fake News” on social media platforms, and it has even seeped into traditional print and television media.

This Fake News is a way to spread false information or propaganda…and it has been a part of life in one way or another for thousands of years. I would spread “fake news” about my sister to my parents all the time when I was a kid.

It’s Everywhere!

Unfortunately, deliberate disinformation doesn’t just come out of Facebook, Fox News, and CNN. It also happens in churches. There are some people that quote verses and concepts that are not in the Bible or are terrible interpretations of what the Bible says.

In the next six weeks, we will be looking at some common misconceptions and disinformation that has seeped into the public consciousness about what the Bible does and doesn’t say.

Does the Bible Really Say That?

On Sunday we will look closely at the saying “God helps them that help themselves.” If you were to ask the average person on the street or in the church I have a suspicion that they would say this is true and that it is in the Bible somewhere (maybe the Old Testament…or perhaps in Revelation?).

Let me be the first to burst your bubble by stating that this pearl of wisdom is not in the Bible, and it is not wise.

Want to know why?

I guess you will have to plan to join us this Sunday at either 9:30 am, 11:00 am or 12:30 pm. We have childcare at all of our services and we are ready for you and a friend that you would invite. If you cannot be there in person, you can watch online the following week by clicking going to www.np.church/resources

Pastor Michael

 

 

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.