Category

Uncategorized

Finding the Rest of Your Life

By | Uncategorized | One Comment

It’s kind of funny that God had to command us to rest.

Let’s be honest, we probably all have a friend, family member or co-worker who could use a reminder TO work. Seems like rest is something that many people in our culture have mastered.

True Rest

However, on closer inspection, it is a lack of true rest that has us running around like chickens with our heads cut off (how’s that for ugly imagery!). Many people are busy, but not really going anywhere. We are restless. Jumping from one project to another, trying to find meaning and enjoyment, but often missing out on both in the blur of busyness.

That’s a problem. One that God wants to help us solve.

Our Fruitfulness is directly tied to our Restfulness

When we learn to rest in the work of God, we become strong. When we rely on God and find our strength in him, he gives us the ability to do far more than we could in our own strength.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but restfulness is the key to fruitfulness.

Humankind was made to be productive. We thrive on transforming things, making them better, faster, more beautiful. We were created this way by God. He is a designer, the ultimate Creative! In order to be at our most productive we need to use our time wisely and make the most of every opportunity (Ephesians 5:15-17).

Some think that to make the most out of every day they need to squeeze every drop of time out of the day. Arnold Schwarzenegger said that in order to get more things done people need to learn to “sleep faster.”

This is not the solution.

Finding Our Rhythm

Instead, we need to get back to the rhythms of life that we were designed with. One day in seven needs to be set aside to rest and enjoy all we have been a part of creating in the past week. This may look different from one person to the next, but the principle holds true-we are best with rest.

This summer I challenge you to take time to rest. Shut off your phone, turn off your notifications, and go for a walk, or take a nap. Maybe the best thing you could do is go for a bike ride with your family or a coffee with friends. But whatever you do, take time to speak with God and listen to his leading. Thank Him for his blessings, talk to him about your concerns, and find his strength in your weakness.

May this be your most restful summer ever!

*I hope to see you this Sunday at North Pointe. We will have pancakes before each service to celebrate Canada Day.

It’s Time to Renew!

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Summertime in Alberta is very special.

After months of cold weather and staying indoors, everything and everyone comes alive. Days are long and the nights are warm (especially if you are able to sit around a fire with friends!).

Pause?

Many things are put on pause during the months of July and August so we can squeeze the most fun out of the season.

Sometimes it seems that we even put our relationship with God on pause.

We don’t do this on purpose, it just happens. We slide into a rhythm of camping, vacationing or staycationing. Then we forget to keep up disciplines that we put in place throughout the year. Bible reading, prayer and being encouraged by other believers becomes a distant memory.

Exhausted

Is it any wonder that we often come back from holidays in need of a holiday?

I have spent a week on the beach and felt more tired than when I started the week.

Here’s the secret that the Bible has revealed for everyone as plain as day: “Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength (Isaiah 40:31).”

We renew our strength when we wait, hope, and trust in the Lord.

Taking time at the beach, laying in a hammock or reading a great novel are fantastic things to do in the summer. It’s even fun to take the kids to K Days or take in one of the many festivals in our awesome city.

Renewed

The only way to start September with strength is by prioritizing your relationship with God during July and August. We were made for relationship with God, even in the summer. So when you wake, take time to read the Bible and pray. Pray with your children before bed, even if it’s a little bit later than usual. And curl up with a good Christian book and feed your soul at some point.

Start September renewed! Enjoy the summer while it’s here!

My Dad is Stronger than Your Dad!

By | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

As a young child, I idolized my dad. I wanted to be just like him in every way. To be able to fix cars like him and to know the things he did about history.  Mostly, I just wanted to be tough like him.

My dad was the toughest guy around. I knew he could beat anyone in a fight. In fact, I was so convinced of this that I got into a fight with three of my best friends about who had the toughest dad.

I won. LOL.

I don’t think my experience is all that unique. Young children often look up to their parents, and young boys, in particular, seem to look up to the strength they find in their fathers.

That’s one of the many reasons that fathers are so important.

Dad’s Are IMPORTANT

This Sunday is Father’s Day. Father’s Day has been celebrated since the middle of the last century in North America. It is the one time of the year that dads wear a tie made out of paper or get a gift card to Canadian Tire to buy cool tools or BBQ nick nacks.

At North Pointe, we celebrate dads. There’s no such thing as a perfect dad, but fathers are necessary to positively shape children and families. We also understand that Father’s Day can bring up all sorts of negative feelings, depending on the relationship you have (or did not have) with your father.

Good Father

Rather than avoid a day that might be awkward, we choose to celebrate. Regardless of what your experience has been so far, God is a Father to the fatherless and sets the lonely in families (Psalm 68:5-6). God is perfect as a father, only giving good gifts to his children…and we are not talking about video games and Barbies. He gives us the gift of a relationship with himself. He gives the right to be in a family where we are adopted and given full rights as children. We even become heirs to all that he has. Pretty amazing stuff.

I have experienced both a good father here on earth and a good Heavenly Father. I feel pretty blessed. However, no matter what your experience has been up until this point, I want you to know that God loves you. And he wants to show you what a good Father is all about.

This Sunday, I challenge you to come to North Pointe. Bring a friend (perhaps your dad!) and hear the message “My Dad is Stronger than Your Dad.” I think you’ll be glad you did.

Blessings.

Pastor Michael

Celebrating Unity in Diversity

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

This Sunday is our International Sunday. When you arrive at the church you will notice a few things that you don’t normally see at North Pointe.

Compassion Experience

First, In the North Parking Lot, you will see a tent and semi-trailer set up known as the Compassion Experience. From Friday morning through to Monday night people will tour through a makeshift home from the Philippines to see how some people live, work and play around the world. It will be both educational and motivational, providing a better understanding of the complexities of life.

If you are interested in participating in this free tour, sign up by clicking here.

Keewani’s Story

Next, as you enter the doors, you will see flags from MANY countries displayed throughout the church building. At North Pointe, there are over 82 countries represented and more to come! We are thankful for this diversity. It makes us stronger. It makes us better, and it certainly spices us up! Our service this Sunday will feature a woman named Keewani speaking on behalf of Compassion Canada. The Compassion Experience features her childhood home. We are grateful she will be sharing her powerful story with us.

Culinary Celebration

Finally, after the services, we will have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children around the world through sponsorship. $41 each month goes a long way. Then we celebrate through food! Down the hallway of the church will be tables with delicacies from various nations and cultures. What a fantastic opportunity to share with one another.

Make sure to join us on Sunday. Let’s celebrate the diversity of our world. We are all created in the image of God. Jesus prayed that we would be one (unified), just as the Father, Son, and Spirit are one (John 17:21). Let’s live out International Sunday EVERY day.

Blessings.

Pastor Michael

PS-We are still looking for volunteers to help us Friday-Monday from 10:30am-6:00pm to give tours of our building and hand out coffee and water to those who have come through the Compassion Experience. If you are willing to volunteer a few hours of your time, please email me at mike@np.church

 

You Can’t Judge Me!

By | Uncategorized | One Comment

Judgy (is that even a word?) people are not fun to be around. They rarely seem happy and regularly look for faults in other people. They police others by a standard of their own making.

It’s hard to satisfy a judgmental person. You will never be good enough to earn their respect.

Twisted Motives

However, I think it reveals a deeper issue. When we judge or look down on someone else, we are, in a twisted way, elevating ourselves. If you get 60% on an exam you may feel bad until you meet the person who got 53%. Then you might even feel a bit superior and smug about your own lackluster performance.

Note: If you have to put another person down in order to look good you probably need to check yourself!

Jesus talked a lot about judging while he was on the earth. The main thrust of his teaching was that if you are going to judge someone you better have your own house in order. There is nothing worse than a hypocrite who says one thing and does another (see Matthew 7:1-5).

However, in our culture, we have come to a place where we think that no one has the right to judge us. No one has the right to call us on the character traits/choices in our lives that are hurting us or others. “You can’t judge me!” is the cry of our culture. This is not healthy or true.

Love: The Ultimate Motive

Love was the motivating factor for everything that Jesus did while he was on the earth. It was his love for people that had him teach about all sorts of issues, from sexuality to finances to relationships. Jesus didn’t impose standards because he hated or wanted to burden people; he did it so that people could experience freedom and joy in their lives (Matthew 11:30).

As a Christian, it is not my place to judge people who do not have a relationship with Jesus by the standards of the Bible (1 Corinthians 5:12). However, I am called to encourage, correct and even discipline fellow Christians when they are not living the way the Jesus has asked them to live. Why? For their own good, and because it is people who claim they are Christians and live unlike Jesus that give him a bad name. Hypocrisy has kept many people away from Jesus. We can’t allow this to happen.

A loving parent corrects a child when they are doing something harmful. A loving Christian corrects and encourages a fellow believer when they are harming themselves and others through words and actions that aren’t Godly. Love cares enough to confront, and then comfort that person as they turn from their ways.

Leading and Learning

I have surrendered myself to input from several people whom I meet with on a regular basis. They have the right to call me higher in areas that I am struggling with. They love me and have my best interests in mind. Some of our conversations have been difficult, but they have been good. And I am better because they care enough to call me out and call me up.

This week, may you lead your life with love. Have compassion and grace for those who are far from Jesus, and encourage those who are trying their best to follow Jesus. We need one another!

Just a Little Bit More

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

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!

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

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!

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

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!

By | Uncategorized | One Comment

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!

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

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