Friendly Encounter

The longer I waited, my anger increased.

Heading home from one appointment, I had allowed myself ample time to arrive before catching a ride to my second appointment. As a daily bus rider, I was familiar with the transit system. I lived in a location that was convenient for commuting by bus.

I had not accounted for the option that one or two busses may not even arrive. What should have been a few minutes wait at the bus stop turned into nearly an hour.

Seething while waiting, I prepared to unleash at the bus driver…whenever that would be.

Finally, I spotted the name of my destination on an approaching bus. I was ready.

When the doors opened, I was greeted by a friendly-faced bus driver that I knew. And knew well!

The un-Christ-like greeting melted away in the hot sun. I canceled my well-rehearsed scolding. The repercussions would have been harmful and potentially long-lasting.

In preparing for Impact Winnipeg 2019, I remembered this incident from years ago. We hope to make a positive impact on the entire city of Winnipeg.

What would happen if I’m rude to someone at a store, at school, at work, but run into them at the RBC Convention Center next spring?

I’m cringing.

Preparations for this large-scale event begin early. More than the logistics of parking and event necessities, our hearts need to be ready. We need to intentionally plant seeds of kindness today.

That day at the bus stop changed the way I interact with people, particularly when I am upset. Every face we see on Winnipeg streets –everyone who crosses our paths– is a potential attendee for Impact Winnipeg 2019. Before they hear messages about God and His love, may they experience His love through our actions and behaviors first.

Urim and Thummim

So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Ephesians 5:15-17, NLT

On the television program, Undercover Boss, a top-level executive would alter their appearance to immerse themselves in their company undetected, to learn more. While the chief executives had overall goals, they needed all parts of their organization to work together to achieve them. They wanted to be sure that employees on all levels understood the mission and purpose of the organization.

Pretending to be a new applicant, the disguised executive would ask questions to learn about the company. They would ask about the overall goals and whether this was clearly communicated and upheld all throughout the organization. Additionally, the executives would also spend time getting acquainted with staff, learning what their personal goals and intentions were as part of the organization. Why did this job matter to them.

The Urim and Thummim were placed on the shoulders of the High Priest and revealed God’s will to His people. It is essential for us to understand the work of Christ on our behalf and His will for our life today.

Jesus came to earth as a type of undercover boss. He altered His appearance and immersed Himself in our world to learn more. Disguising His glory, Jesus put on a costume of human flesh. His goal was our salvation. He wanted us to be sure of God’s love for us.

Jesus spent time asking questions and teaching those who were willing to learn. He also spent time getting to know people on a personal level. He learned what mattered most to them. Jesus also showed us what things are valuable to Him. He was always willing to meet needs. Especially if that fulfillment would help to strengthen a relationship with Him.

We no longer rely on the Urim and Thummim method to learn of God’s will. Jesus’ death on the cross gave us direct access to God. We see His will revealed throughout history and in the Bible. God’s will is for us to be saved.

We don’t have to live forever wondering why we’re here. God has a plan for us. To save us and to help share this good news and blessed hope with others. Anytime we’re unsure of how to serve Him, we can ask. We have access to Him at any time, through prayer. He always has time for us.

 

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This article is part of the Ten Days of Prayer 2018 series. Visit that page to find all the other articles in this series.

On Beyond Zebra

             (photo by Josué Sánchez)

Elder David Ripley, President of the Manitoba-Saskatchewan Conference, conducted a Leadership Summit for the church board February 16-18. Assisted by his wife, Pastor Lynn Ripley, they empowered attendees to earnestly seek God to be effective as leadership at Henderson Highway.

Armed with handouts, electronic presentations, and statistics, Elder Ripley also packed a few extras for this summit: M&M chocolates, measuring spoons and a children’s book. Yes! From one simple tale, we were challenged to think outside the box.

Written by well-known author Dr. Seuss, On Beyond Zebra contains some fantastic insights for leaders. Here are a couple of quotes:

“…because Z is as far as the alphabet goes…”
“…my alphabet starts where your alphabet ends…”

The English alphabet contains only 26 letters. All the words we’ve learned to spell contain letters from this alphabet. While we can combine letter and tweak their sounds, there is nothing beyond the letter Z.

However, God is able to create new beginnings from what we believe to be an ending. Where we’ve exhausted our knowledge base, God is just getting warmed up. Nothing is impossible for God!

Much of 2017 was an unexpected year of transition in our church. Through the high and low points, one thing is clear: we need a new vision and mission for Henderson Highway.

Reflecting on previous experiences as a pastor and church leader across the globe, Elder Ripley shared some of the obstacles and blessings that come with leadership. He also spoke of the confidence and authority that comes with being obedient to God’s direction.

While we all have awesome ideas, we do not want to create our own vision for God’s church. We want to follow God’s vision for His church. This is a gradual process that will take much prayer and time to plan.

Doing something new invites change. Some of us are eager for change. Some are hesitant and even outright resistant to change. As we take steps moving forward, we encourage you to partner with the Pastors and church leadership in prayer. Let’s boldly ask God where He wants us to go.

Let’s be ready to move when He answers. On beyond zebra.

“So on beyond Z! It’s high time you were shown that you really don’t know all there is to be known.”

The Breastplate

I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. 1 Corinthians 1:10, NLT

When you first unbox a new puzzle, the pieces are not pre-assembled. A puzzle is a deconstructed image. It’s up to the user to take the time to put the puzzle together. Often the box cover serves as a reference point.

Each piece is a tiny section of the larger image. It’s hard to understand what the final product is supposed to be if we’re only looking at the puzzle as individual pieces. They must come together to achieve the effect that the artist intended.

The 12 stones representing the 12 tribes of Israel were kept in the breastplate close to the heart of the High Priest. From this we learn how important it is for us to press together, to be united in Christ’s love, and to reveal this love to people, inside and outside the church.

The Breastplate was a beautiful part of the High Priest’s garment. However, its significance is more than ornamental. The breastplate symbolizes that loves that God’s people should have, for Him and for each other.

In order to represent Christ accurately, God’s children need to be united. Just as a puzzle is designed to fit together, God has created us to fit together. There are talents and skills that He has gifted us with to compliment each other as we work toward the Kingdom.

Have you ever tried to complete a puzzle on a soft or uneven surface? It doesn’t work well. Jesus is the solid foundation on which we can assemble together.

Unity is key in order to display God’s love as He intended. His love is perfect. If we, as puzzle pieces, are missing or try to force ourselves into places where God hasn’t called us, we ruin the larger picture. The image is distorted without all the pieces in the right places.

The love that we display when we’re not unified is distorted. Let’s keep working together to provide a clear and accurate picture of God’s love.

 

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This article is part of the Ten Days of Prayer 2018 series. Visit that page to find all the other articles in this series.

IMPACT Winnipeg 2019 Launch

Everyone is welcome to join us Saturday, April 7 at 10:00 am for the launch of IMPACT Winnipeg 2019.

Pastor Chris Holland, Speaker & Director of It Is Written Canada, will be here to lead this city-wide rally. Henderson Highway Church will be closed for us to meet at the RBC Convention Centre on April 7. Located in downtown Winnipeg at 375 York Ave, this venue will also be the home for Impact Winnipeg 2019 next spring.

God loves everyone and wants us all to be saved. IMPACT Winnipeg is about flooding the city with the everlasting gospel message of Jesus Christ. This launch is the first step of this outreach. We’ll have an opportunity to come together and have dedicated prayer time as we seek God’s wisdom and direction. We’re earnestly asking God “How will you use me in impacting Winnipeg?” 

Our launch day continues with an afternoon event at Red River Valley Junior Academy. Beginning at 4:30 pm, we’ll have a time of intentional and focused prayer. Interspersed with interactive music and scripture, we’ll continue to seek God’s direction for IMPACT Winnipeg. We cannot do His work without Him.

Events
10:00 am — Launch event at RBC Convention Centre (375 York Ave)
4:30 pm — Prayer & praise event at Red River Valley Junior Academy (56 Grey Street)

Children’s Program
Free children’s programming will be provided for children ages 4-12. Registration opens at 9:50 am in the Pan Am Room (across from the main meeting room). All children must be signed in and picked up by an authorized adult. The programming runs from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm.
There will also be space available for parents & guardians caring for young infants and toddlers.

Parking
Street Parking: The Winnipeg Parking Authority offers 2-hour complimentary parking on Saturdays in the downtown area only. This happens anytime between the hours of 8:00 am to 5:30 pm. *Drivers are responsible for obeying all street signs and reading the details on the pay stations.*

Parkade: The RBC Convention Centre does have its own underground parkade. For details and pricing, please visit their website. (Our event will be held in the North building)

Free Surface Lot: We have access to a lot southeast of the Convention Centre. It’s between Carlton St & Hargrave St, and in the block between York Ave & Broadway Ave. (Located behind the Worker’s Compensation Board at 333 Broadway Ave). A team from West Park Church will be onsite to distribute parking tickets for this lot. In order to park for free, you must have this special parking ticket. Access to the lot opens at 9:30 am. (see map below for location)
*Space is limited for the free lot. 

((Please note: Plan to arrive early! The Winnipeg Home & Garden show is also happening at the RBC Convention Centre the weekend of April 7.))

Save the dates of March 14 through April 6, 2019. Please take time to prayerfully consider how you will support and attend Impact Winnipeg 2019.


RBC Convention Centre Map

Parking Lot between Carlton St & Hargrave St

Red River Valley Junior Academy Map

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Updated April 6, 2018

When God is With Us

I open my eyes as a new day dawns. Sounds from the early morning drift through my window. Children are waking, filled with energy after a night’s rest. The streets are getting busy as the markets are set to open. There are things to do, places to go.

I should go to the temple to pray today. Praying at home is fine, but there’s something comforting about being where God is. If only I were invisible.

It’s not easy to navigate the streets, even with the daytime crowds. Someone always seems to point me out. Or they whisper angrily as we pass each other. Even without making eye contact, I just know they’re talking about me.

Sigh

They hate me. I’m not a bad person. God is working on me. But my job? People hate what I do. I’m a tax collector. I’m really trying to make the most of a bad situation, but no one cares to listen to that part of my story.

As I approach the temple, my eyes scan the area for a place to pray. Over there! I spy a little corner where hopefully I can pray unnoticed. Maybe I’ll blend in with the crowd. With head bowed, ready to talk to my God, my thoughts are interrupted by a loud, pompous voice.

I hear a Pharisee praying. Aloud. As though these temple steps were his private chamber. I want to ignore him, but I can hear every word he says.

Wait, what? He’s not like me?

He’s right—he’s nothing like me.

Sigh

I shouldn’t be here. I am nothing. My days aren’t filled with religious duties like his. My speech isn’t as eloquent. I’m not versed in all the scriptures and fancy teachings. People like him.

All I know is what God has done in my life. Is that even enough? If a Pharisee is going to stand on the temple steps, of all places, and declare that I’m horrid before God, is it true?

Well, maybe, just maybe I’ll give this prayer bit one last shot. I don’t even know what to say anymore. I had something in mind, but my head hurts. My heart hurts. I should really go home. I won’t bother coming back to temple anymore. Yet, I feel compelled not to leave before saying something. Maybe God will understand? Maybe He’ll hear me?

“O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.”

That’s all I have the strength to pray. I don’t need anything else. I don’t want anything else. Just His mercy.

Ouch! How long have I been beating my chest? I didn’t even realize.

Suddenly I’m feeling better than when I first arrived. God, is that You? Are You here beside me on these steps?

I’m glad I stayed.

I have peace.

(Adapted from Luke 18:9-14)

The Girdle

 

Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. (1 Peter 3:15, NLT)

I remember learning about the benefits of a girdle. Designed to be worn under clothing, this article was small, yet powerful. The main goal was to restrict and alter your shape into something more flattering. Many people do not want to reveal their full selves. Many are uncomfortable with their true selves being on full display. Certain clothing drapes the body better when parts of the midsection are held back.

One of the articles of the high priest’s garment is a girdle. Surely with all the layers of his clothing, no one would notice whether or not his midsection was a bit bulky. Why would he need a girdle?

For the high priest to be girded with his sash meant that he was fully arrayed in his garments and ready to serve. Likewise, we should always be prepared to serve and witness.

The girdle or sash the high priest wore was the opposite of what we know today. His girdle was not restrictive in any way. Rather, when his girdle was on and tied, it was a symbol that he was ready for service. He was ready and available to be used by God.

Are we ready to serve?

Have we loosened whatever may be holding us back from fully engaging in God’s work? He wants to use us to reach other people. God has filled us with gifts and passions that will help spread the gospel message in a unique way. Our stories, our daily life experiences allow us to share a common ground with people in similar situations. But we cannot be effective if we’re living restrictedly.

God wants us to be free.

Free to love. Free to serve.

 

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This article is part of the Ten Days of Prayer 2018 series. Visit that page to find all the other articles in this series.

Transformation of the Heart

Change my heart, O God! Make it ever true.
Change my heart, O God! May I be like You.

These song lyrics speak of a desire for change. More than a change of pace or a change of clothes, the words describe a heart transformation. When we sing this song, our desire is to change from our current state to the people God calls us to be.

When we’re asking God to transform our hearts, it means we’re consenting to the necessary work involved. The challenges we face during change are what make it difficult.

In this song, we’re asking God to give us a heart that loves people. This means letting go of unbiblical biases and un-Christlike conditions that we attach to how we currently love people.

We’re asking God to give us a heart that serves people. We’re asking for our eyes to be opened to the needs around us that we can meet through our service. God has gifted each of us with skills and talents that can be used to lead people to Him. We may need to eliminate or reprioritize certain activities so that we’re available to serve as God has called us.

We’re asking God to give us a heart that desires closeness with Him. This may mean altering our mindset to think more positively about people, places, and things. Quit seeing the impossible and weighing all the cons to a situation while ignoring the potential pros. We need to ask God to show us how. We should move forward knowing that God makes all things possible through Him.

It’s unfair to ask God to change us to be more like Him and then attempt to deflect the changes He suggests. When we trust God with our lives, He walks us through every minute detail of our heart transformation. God operates in a way that always yields the best results.

Let’s live out the desire expressed in the song. As we ask God to change our hearts, let’s embrace the changes and trust what God has planned for us.

The Ephod

I will be your God throughout your lifetime—until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you. Isaiah 46:4, NLT

Competitors on the television show The Amazing Race each carry a large backpack. The bag, when empty, is light and easy to manage. But once it’s packed full of additional clothing, outerwear, extra shoes and other necessities, it can become a cumbersome burden. In fact, sometimes the weight of the full bag can even be a hindrance of sorts.

The racers compete in teams of two. On occasion, the stronger team member would offer to carry their partner’s bag when they notice a struggle. After a time, the unburdened partner would have to resume carrying their own bag again.

As the high priest carried the ephod on his shoulders, so our High Priest carries our burdens, strengthens us in our trials, and enables us to witness for Him even in difficult circumstances.

Some aspects of our lives can burden us from time to time. Depending on what’s happening in that moment, we may struggle to survive. There are times when we may be physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually exhausted. We may have no energy left to carry anything else.

We do not have to shoulder our loads alone. We have a High Priest. We have Jesus! He has offered to carry our loads, permanently.

Shouldering our burdens is only one part of the role. Our High Priest’s work doesn’t end there. He continues to support us by strengthening us through the trials and sticking by our side the entire time. He doesn’t sit on the sidelines, waiting for us to conquer life on our own.

One reason why our High Priest willingly carries our loads is that He loves us. Another reason why He carries our loads is to free us up to share the good news of Jesus with others. Even in our bleak moments, we see glimpses of God’s goodness. These glimmers of hope motivate us to keep moving forward. They’re meant to be shared with others, to motivate them to keep moving forward as well.

Thank you, Jesus, for being our High Priest. Thank you for carrying our burdens.

 

 

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This article is part of the Ten Days of Prayer 2018 series. Visit that page to find all the other articles in this series.

City-Wide Worship Service

 

On Saturday, February 10, there will be a city-wide worship service hosted by Red River Valley Junior Academy.

As they plan for their future, they ask for our prayers and support to guide their decision-making process. One way to do this is to have all the Winnipeg Adventist churches join together for worship and prayer.

The morning starts at 9:30 am with various Sabbath School classes for all ages. The adult lesson study will be led by Elder David Ripley, president of the Manitoba-Saskatchewan Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

The worship service begins at 10:40 am and will be filled with lots of praise music, selections from the school band and a special message by Pastor Sethres Dixon, senior pastor of the Henderson Highway Church.

The venue for worship will be at 851 Panet Road (The King’s School). This is northeast of Panet Road and Munroe Ave. There is parking located both in front and behind the building.

The venue is also accessible by Winnipeg Transit. The closest stops, services by routes #77 and #85, are at Panet Rd & Girdwood Cres.
Northbound stop is #40689
Southbound stop is #40690

At 6:00 pm, there is a special meeting at Red River Valley Junior Academy (56 Grey St). All constituency delegates, parents & guardians of students are invited to attend. This meeting will explore some of the options for RRVJA and its future. There will be refreshments served after the meeting. There is also childcare available.