Misery Transformed

An eyelash is overlooked, until the moment one lands in our eye. The rubbing on our eyeball is highly irritating! Our concentration, our focus is broken until we can get that eyelash out.

One tiny hair doesn’t affect too many lives. Our neighbors don’t know of and don’t share in this irritation.

This is how misery can affect us, too. Often, we’re the ones who are hindered. Depending on the nature and severity of our current misery, our families may also feel repercussions. Due to this enormous distraction, we quit focusing. We pause on serving God and pause in our worship.

God’s enemy does not fight fair. God wants us, wants our hearts and has literally moved heaven and earth to prove it. Meanwhile, His enemy doesn’t care, at least not about us. The enemy is working to keep us disconnected from God. He preys on us, to find our weaknesses and magnifies them to keep us crippled and our eyesight hazy when we look to God.

Joseph sums it up well: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” Gen 50:20, NLT.

But God!

Once we’re past the initial emotions that first occur in a state of misery, we have a choice to make. Are we going to marinate in what ails us, letting it permeate deep within? Or are we going to hand it over to God?

Giving it to God means trusting Him to do something. God is The Master Creator. He is very well experienced in making beauty appear. It is not unfathomable to believe that He can also take our hardest, most painful moments and transform them into something breathtakingly beautiful.

Trusting God with our misery does not mean that it is automatically canceled. The pain may not go away. The healing may not come as we expect. The relationship might never be restored. Our career situation may not change overnight. The circumstances may not change immediately.

What does change is our hearts. Rather than just focusing on what’s happening to us, let’s keep our hearts and eyes open to how God is working through us. When God is in it, our situation is no longer beyond the point of reasoning. All is not hopeless, all is not lost. God can use our experience to share hope, particularly with those in similar situations. God will use us to meet needs, to comfort and to love as He loves.

God can use our story, our misery, for ministry.

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Written by Sabrina Jacques-Rowe
Communications Director,
Henderson Highway Church

Adventurer & Pathfinder Pre-Registration

We’re launching two new children’s programs at Henderson Highway!

Adventurers is for children 4 to 8 years old.
Pathfinders is for children 9 to 16 years old.

In order to best meet the needs of the children, we’re asking all interested families to pre-register. This will help us know how many people and which age groups to plan for.

Please pre-register May 31.

**Note: An official registration form will come later.

 

Who Do You Work For?

It was to be a quick, uneventful trip to the local dollar store. The one purchase would be less than a few dollars. She was prepared to pay, eager to rid her wallet of loose change.

$2.50,” the clerk chirped.

She quickly counted out ten quarters and dropped them into the waiting open palm.

The cashier huffed, sighed and rolled his eyes in one movement, laying the money on the counter.

Seriously?!” he muttered under his breath, not caring that the customer heard and saw it all. He scanned the coins, counting without diligence. As the shopper left with her purchase, there were many questions swirling in her head.

Why was he working there if it bothered him so?
Did he not care about how he was misrepresenting his employer?
Is this how he lives every day, frustrated at the inconvenience of his own life choices?

Colossians 3:23 reminds us to “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”

When people come to us with their needs, how do we treat them? Does our treatment differ when their need may be inconvenient to us or may require us to exert more energy to help?

Have we positioned ourselves to serve if our hearts are not fully committed to the task?

It’s one thing to have a job and be willing to do it well. To give our best to whatever is in our path. Maybe we’re eyeing an incentive or are trying to impress a boss.

For Christians, our work, our service should be executed to a higher standard. Paid or unpaid, there is no task too small or finite for one of God’s followers to do.

When He lived here, Jesus helped everyone, interacting willingly and lovingly with all people. I’m sure He didn’t drag the towel on the floor that night in the upper room, reluctantly reciting from His divine script that He was there to wash the disciples’ feet because God told Him so. I can’t picture Jesus wiping off the dirty water with a shudder.

Jesus took great pleasure in serving us because He used every interaction as His chance to love us. We can take great pleasure in serving each other because it’s a chance to show Christ’s love.

Our lives don’t have to be perfect. Our circumstances may not be ideal. But if we’re willing, God can use us where we are, for His good and for His glory.

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Written by Sabrina Jacques-Rowe
Communications Director,
Henderson Highway Church

Accurate Representation

Over the last two weeks, we’ve looked at lessons from the fig tree in Mark 11. Hundreds of years later, we are still learning from this moment.

Lately, we’ve seen an increase in breaking news headlines announcing of organizational changes. The media release explains that a company has cut ties with an employee because their actions did not reflect organizational standards and values. Whether intentional or accidental, the actions of the employee were cause for dismissal. They misrepresented the company and were now a liability.

When Jesus and His disciples found the fig tree in Mark 11, it should have been full of fruit. Its leaves were in full bloom, suggesting that the figs were ripe for the picking. But there wasn’t even one fig on the tree. Jesus then cursed it to never bear any fruit again. The tree misrepresented its standards and was now a liability.

Jesus and His group approached the fig tree to satisfy their hunger. But when the tree turned out to be empty, they were disappointed. Perhaps they left even hungrier than when they first approached. At the risk of discovering other bare trees, they may have been hesitant to try another fig tree anytime soon.

When the group passed by the tree the following morning, they noticed it had withered from the roots upward.

Whenever I’ve seen a withering plant, it usually starts from the top and travels downward. The tops would first droop, then die. Slowly, you’ll see less and less green in the stem as the plant dies. There is hope for the plant if it’s trimmed or cut down before the death spreads to its roots. Once the roots are lifeless, there is no chance for new life. Withered roots are unable to absorb nutrients and water from the earth.

This encounter with the fig tree teaches us that God takes His name very seriously! He has even issued commandments describing how His name is to be used.

If we claim the title “Christian”, if we act like a follower of God, then the expectation is that during any interaction with us, we’re responding and behaving as someone who is closely connected to God. Our words, our actions, our ideas should be filled with good intentions. Our very presence would feel welcoming and inviting because God is with us.

When we send out mixed messages, like this fig tree, we risk hurting people. When we misrepresent God, the condition of those in need may deteriorate.

This does not have to be our experience. Let’s learn from this Bible story and made a decision to live and represent God with our best. We are not alone in how we live day to day. The Holy Spirit is available to us and helps us live honestly, representing God with accuracy in all that we do.

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Written by Sabrina Jacques-Rowe
Communications Director,
Henderson Highway Church

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Read more about the fig tree:
Part 1: Are We Productive?
Part 2: Seasonal Produce

Seasonal Produce

Last week, we began looking at lessons from the fig tree in Mark 11. Hundreds of years later, we are still learning from this moment.

Though the tree looked promising, it did not produce any fruit. It did not fulfill the purpose for which it was created. This tree was then destroyed by Jesus Himself because it produced nothing. Even one fruit would have changed the fate of this tree.

When it comes to our lives, we must be producing something in order to be effective. It’s not enough to only look like a Christ-follower or to wear the title. We must live and love as Christ did.

Life is full of seasons. Each of us is living at our own pace in this journey of a Christian life. There are seasons of hardship. These moments can be incredibly painful and we may wish to hit a pause button on life in order to catch our breath. There are also seasons when we may not want to awaken from what must be a dream because life is going spectacularly well. Blessings are lining up for us and our jaws keep dropping lower and lower in amazement. We can’t forget the in between seasons. We may have developed a new appreciation for the mundane during the recovery from an upswing or downswing season.

Regardless of what’s currently happening at this very moment, life does not stop. We are not exempt from producing fruit because of what’s happening to us. The hardships and trials can fuel our resolve to dig deeper and hang on.

Dig deeper into God’s Word and cling to His promises. When we’re rooted in Christ, He will help us to weather the storms and keep on producing. Spend time in His presence, talking with God and listening to what He wants us to learn.

The enemy takes advantage of our trials and hardships to distract us from following Christ. As long as our focus shifts from Christ, we will stop producing fruit.

There is good news. Producing something, even if it seems small, is still a sign of production. It’s not about the amount of fruit that’s produced. It’s about whether or not we are producing something good that reflects the presence of Christ in our lives.

We’ll continue exploring the fig tree next week–stay tuned!

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Written by Sabrina Jacques-Rowe
Communications Director,
Henderson Highway Church

Recap of IMPACT Winnipeg Launch

The movement to impact Winnipeg kicked off Saturday, April 7. Henderson Highway Church was closed as rallied together with our sister churches at the RBC Convention Centre in downtown Winnipeg.

The morning began at 10 am, where we explored this idea of Impacting Winnipeg. Pastor Chris Holland, speaker, and director for It Is Written Canada, together with Pastor Elmer Manzanares, coordinator for IMPACT Winnipeg, shared the vision. This is not a project or a program, as there are no end dates in sight. Rather, this is an intentional movement to flood the city of Winnipeg with the gospel message of Jesus Christ. Attendees were given an opportunity to ask questions to a panel of Winnipeg pastors, Pastor Chris, Elder David Ripley, President of the Manitoba-Saskatchewan Conference, and Pastor Lynn Ripley.

Our morning continued with inspiring music from the It Is Written Canada musicians. It is a soul-stirring experience to sing unitedly with 700+ others from our sister churches as we praise God through song! Pastor Chris spoke on the topic “Jesus, the Great Healer”. Through the experience of Nicodemus, Pastor Chris taught us that Jesus is the answer. He is where we can find wholeness and restoration. And if Jesus came to bring healing to all aspect of our lives, then we must have a work to do as well in follow up to what He began.

The morning session was live streamed via the Henderson Highway Church Facebook page. A children’s program also ran during the entire morning, for children ages 4 through 12. Located directly across from the main meeting room, the children were also encouraged to love and trust Jesus. There was a time for musical praise and worship, as well as crafts, a Bible story, a puppet show and more. They had over 80 children participate.

Our launch day events continued in the afternoon, where we met at Red River Valley Junior Academy for an interactive prayer and praise experience. The prayer time was intertwined with carefully selected music and scripture. In case you missed out, the music was amazing! While there were moments for the congregation to sing, there were also times for us to meditate on the music performed by the It Is Written Canada musicians. In addition to our musical prayers, there was spoken prayer, corporately and privately. The program was designed on the ACTS theme of Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.

The work to impact Winnipeg is not an easy task. Because we believe that this is work that God has called us to do, we wanted to spend time asking for His direction over us and over this call. We do not want to rush ahead of God and work without Him. In order to impact Winnipeg effectively, we need to respond to the call that God has placed on every one of us.

What’s the end of impacting Winnipeg? The second coming of Jesus Christ. If everyone you meet in and around Winnipeg has been introduced to Jesus and have decided whether or not they choose to follow Him, then our work is done. But there are still a number of people who have no idea who Jesus is.

There will be upcoming training events in Winnipeg (such as TMI Equip on May 26) as well as other health programs. We’re encouraged to support the events hosted by our sister churches. There is no competition as we’re all working towards the same goal. Save the date from now for Discoveries in Revelation with Pastor Chris Holland, March 15-April 6, 2019.

Let’s keep this question before God: How will You use me in impacting Winnipeg?

Are We Productive?

The vibrant tree stood tall with its lush leaves. It was flourishing and full of life. Eager to satisfy their hunger, the group approached the tree anticipating its fresh fruit. They couldn’t wait to sink their teeth into some figs.

Though they got closer, it was still hard to spot fruit hanging from the tree limbs. Jesus scoured the branches, searching high and low for some sign of fruit. There wasn’t even one fig in sight!

The production process of a fig tree is a bit different than other trees. Many times, leaves appear first, followed by that tree’s fruit. However, for the fig tree, growing figs appear first, followed by the opening of its leaves.

Jesus selected the fig tree because, based on its appearance, it was supposed to have something to offer. The fullness of the leaves suggested that there was plenty of fruit to pick. Instead, there was nothing at all.

Disappointed and disturbed by this tree, Jesus said: “May no one ever eat your fruit again!”

As followers of Christ, we share some similarities with fig trees. Christianity goes much deeper than it appears on the surface.

Some of us have mastered the appearance of a Christian. We can speak with great eloquence and know the fitting scriptures to apply at the appropriate moments. We know how to walk and carry ourselves, particularly when we’re feeling blessed and highly favored. We have perfected well-timed smiles and can flit about here and there looking busy while serving the Lord.

Yet, looking like a Christian does not mean that you are living as a Christian. Being a Christian means that we’re intentional about producing fruit. Fueled by our relationship with Christ and His transformational power in our lives, we will want others to have this experience as well.

The love of Christ is meant to be shared with those around us. If when people interact with us, and they leave without being fed, nurtured or encouraged in some way, then we have not produced any fruit.

The day that Jesus and His disciples came across the fig tree, they were in need. They were hungry and needed to be fed. Because they tree did not produce any fruit, the group left this encounter in the same condition that they first arrived in.

We’ll continue exploring this fig tree lesson next week–stay tuned!

 

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Written by Sabrina Jacques-Rowe
Communications Director,
Henderson Highway Church

God Works Through Awkwardness

Elijah, a prophet of The Most High God, had his awkward moments. Let’s check out a few of his highlights.

Elijah boldly strolled in to see the king unannounced and uninvited. Just as quickly as he walked in and delivered his short message, he walked right out. Then there’s that day on top of Mount Carmel. After mocking and taunting the prophets of Asherah and Baal, Elijah prayed a simple prayer and fire came down from heaven immediately. Shortly afterward, he outran the king’s chariot back into town. There’s also the time he asked a woman gathering sticks for water and bread without even saying hello.

One of his most awkward exchanges came when God told Elijah to anoint Elisha as his replacement. In obedience, Elijah went to find Elisha. They did not have a somber and reverent ceremony to mark Elisha’s new call. Instead, Elijah walked up, threw his cloak around Elisha and walked away. It was Elisha who chased after him to find out what exactly was to happen next.

Yet, for as quirky and awkward as Elijah was, he was still called by God. God used Elijah time and time again for great things. Though the Bible doesn’t say much about the relationship between Elijah & Elisha, we can see that God’s work was done well. Not only did Elisha stick around but he asked for a double portion of the spirit that Elijah had. Elisha saw the hand of God, even through the awkwardness.

If you compare Elijah’s behavior to some of the other Bible prophets, he does not rank high for grace and eloquence. However, there was enough good in Him that God knew He’d be able to use Elijah. Furthermore, Elijah was willing to do whatever God told Him. He was obedient.

There are times when we hinder ourselves because we don’t think we fit the part. We’re quick to list the reasons why we cannot do this, that and the other. We’re quick to forget that nothing is impossible for God—including using us for His work. God specializes in using misfits!

Some of us are more gracious than others. Some could give masterclasses in eloquence to the rest of us. There are introverts and extroverts among us who thrive exactly as we are. Regardless of what we may deem our strengths and weaknesses to be, God looks deeper than that. He looks for the hearts that He can use for His purpose and for His glory. God works through the awkwardness in undeniable ways.

If we’re willing and have a desire to follow Him, to be obedient to His call, God will use us for His amazing purposes!

 

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Written by Sabrina Jacques-Rowe
Communications Director
Henderson Highway Church

Mobile ABC Christian Store

The mobile ABC Christian Store is stopping in Winnipeg for its spring run!

Stop by to purchase games, Bibles, Christian videos, music, reading materials, vegetarian & vegan food products and more!

The truck will be parked in the parking lot of church on the following dates:

TIP: Contact the store pre-order your favorite items. Email or phone 800 661 8131.

Check out their flyer below:

Who Is Pleased?

“When you’re trying to please people, you lose your creativity.” ~ Pastor Sethres Dixon

Tasks can mutate into challenges when we get distracted. When we have something to do, our focus should be on accomplishing the task at hand. The Bible even tells us “Whatever you do, do well.” We’re to strive for a standard of excellence in all of our work.

Sometimes, we shift our focus. While we may have begun with our eyes and minds on the end goal, we slowly drift off course and become pre-occupied with the idea that people should be pleased with our performance. No longer are we spending our energies to do well. We’ve divided our efforts into finishing the task and pleasing others.

We will not have worthwhile accomplishments when our motivation is to please others.

When we’re focused on pleasing others, we stifle ourselves. Our brainstormings and thought processes are restricted because we have applied filters to them. If an idea, even a God-given one, seems too outlandish it is not used. Instead of working on the task at hand, we’re working to cram ourselves and our tasks into the boxes and limitations that others impose. The work then becomes a drudgery. What was once enjoyable is now detestable.

May I suggest that the only audience to please is an audience of One? If we work to please God, our overall outcome will be enhanced.

God is the most innovative Being we know. The Bible describes the countless, ingenious ways of God. He plants ideas in us. We will dig deeper into our creativity knowing that with God, all things truly are possible. We’ll approach our work with excitement because this is an opportunity to do something great for God.

Will everyone be pleased? No. There are things that God uses His willing people to do that the unwilling may not be prepared for. Those who aren’t ready to move where God is leading will be uncomfortable with our enthusiasm. The enemy will also set up key people to distract us.

Let’s keep our eyes fixed on God as we work.

 

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Submitted by Sabrina Jacques-Rowe