Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012

What a day... (a day with Pastor G)

I can't believe I have not written since March. I am a slacker. This has just been a great day. It began with sleeping in next to my wife who just returned from San Francisco. The kids all decided to crawl in bed with us this morning and "wake" us up. It was a calm and peaceful morning around the house. The kids opened up the gifts that mom brought them from her trip and the day started off well.

It only got better. As I went to my office to spend time with God, He immediately began to rock my world. The devotionals and the scripture reading were very timely. One of the devotions was about prayer. God spoke to me yesterday through the sermon at Towers that my prayer life is inadequate. God reminded me of that as well this morning in my quiet time. One of the quotes that stuck out to me is, "A child of God never prays to be conscious that God answers prayer, he is so restfully certain that God always does answer prayer." I am reminded to continually rest in God and trust in Him. He hears me and He always answers according to His perfect will.

A question I asked myself this morning after reading was, "Is my heart far from God when I actually think it is close?" I sometimes think my relationship with the Heavenly Father is better than it really is. This made me think about my sin and that the impact of sin hinders all relationships. I know this, but man was it a big slap in the face reminder this morning.

I spent the next several minutes on my knees with God. I could really feel His presence this morning.

After lunch I took off to Steveston. Steveston is a place I have a huge burden for. Steveston is a place that needs the Gospel. For the past several months I, along with many others, have been praying for and serving this great community. I have built some great relationships mostly with business owners and am really seeing the favour of God.

I plopped down in a chair at Rocanini coffee today and began to just brainstorm on how to gather a group to talk about spirituality. Everyone around here is spiritual. Most do not care for Jesus or believe in Him, but they believe in the importance and benefit of spirituality. As I thought and thought about how to gather a group to become a discussion group, I got stuck. After just a few moments of thinking, I opened up the book I have been reading by Jeff Christopherson called Kingdom Matrix. Pages 67-71 of that book were exactly what I was trying to figure out. Almost word for word and almost the identical situation, Jeff, began to elaborate on gathering a group for the purpose of discussing spirituality. Thank you God for using this book to clarify and reaffirm a lot that I had been already thinking, but did not necessarily know how to begin.

I moved across the street and began talking to my Punjab friend Harvey. Harvey owns a local pizzeria and I go by a lot to say hi and grab a slice of Pizza. It is the best in Steveston (my opinion). He began to openly share about his life in Delhi, India and he began to talk about his Sikh religion. We talked about the shooting at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin. We talked about evil. We talked about pizza. He actually invited me to the back of his shop to share a home made cup of chai tea. God is opening up many avenues to share the Gospel with Harvey. However, the past few times I have began to share, something happens. His phone rings or a customer comes in to order pizza or he abruptly changes the subject. However, I believe God is at work in the pizza joint. We are trying to arrange a time for him and his wife to go out for Indian food with me and Jessica.

As I continued to walk the streets and pray, I bumped into my friend, Huong, on my way to the donut shop. After some maple mini donuts and fresh pink lemonade, I decided to visit my friend Lydia. Lydia came to a block party this summer and also to the joint service we had with Hope Church on July 29. Lydia ate her lunch and just began to chat with me. She works on Sunday morning and finds it hard to find a service that fits into her schedule. I shared with her my vision for a church plant in Steveston. She shared that she would be very interested in being a part of something new. She said she has been a believer in Jesus since she was 9. She said she had a group of believing and non believing friends that would probably be interested in exploring a "new church" in Steveston. She gave me her email address and I emailed her already to continue the conversation. Stop by and see her at Steve's Board shop in Steveston Village.

This takes me back to the beginning of the blog. I must keep praying. I must keep trusting. Jesus is the head of the church and He has already started the church. He will continue this in Steveston if we trust Him. Will you pray with me for these people and this community? I plan to move forward pretty quickly and only see great things happening. God is at work and He has invited us to join in with Him.

I pray that the idea of discussing spirituality will work and lead to deeper conversations. I pray that this type of group can begin over at Adelaide Court. This is an apartment complex near Towers Church that we want to serve and also see a group begin as well.

Please pray with us and for us.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

14 years later

During the Spring Break of my last year of university I had the opportunity to go on my very first mission trip. My first mission trip was to Vancouver, BC. Jessica and I were just dating at the time and her parents were serving at Towers Baptist Church. It was a great trip and it really opened my eyes to the world outside of the South. It was this trip that God began to call me into His ministry. After that Spring Break trip Jessica and I both served for 10 weeks in very urban areas and it was that summer that God called me to ministry. It is really awesome to know that 14 years later God has called us to Vancouver and next week a team from my university is coming during their Spring Break to serve the same church and city we served in 1998. God began in me something at Towers Baptist Church in 1998 that has now allowed me to be the pastor of Towers Baptist Church 14 years later. I just thought that was a cool story to share.

Engaging our Neighbourhood - PART DEUX

I wrote a blog on February 1 about the way we at Towers Church are engaging our neighbourhood. Obviously we prayed. After some scouting in Quadrant 1 of our immediate neighbourhood we prayed everyday for the people that live in the over 700 households in just the NE quadrant from Towers. A mission team arrived last week and they flooded the streets going door to door collecting canned goods for The Richmond Food Bank, inviting people to our first neighbourhood meet and greet, and engaging people in conversation. This past Thursday we had our meet and greet and 2 families came. Am I disappointed that only 5 people out of approximately 3000 people showed up? The answer is no. Here are the reasons why I am not disappointed: One of the areas in Quadrant 1 is an apartment complex. My goal this week was to go to this apartment complex and meet the manager to see if the second mission team that arrives next week could come over and do something special for the kids. One of the people that showed up to the meet and greet was the manager of the complex. He came along with his three daughters and I talked to him for quite a while. His children go to the same school as my kids and his daughter is in my son Logan's class. He is a Jewish man from Israel, but was born in Uruguay. He was very open to us coming to the complex to provide some fun for the kids during their spring break. Another person that came was a guy from one of the very close local convenient stores. The mission team had stopped by his store to get drinks and snacks and invited him to come to the meet and greet. He came to the meet and greet and came back to worship service on Sunday and said he would be at the new men's Bible study on Thursday. We also took all the left over food to the Fire House that is in Quadrant 1 and ended up getting a full tour of the Fire House, trucks, and met some great people.

We have now entered a new month and we begin to pray for Quadrant 2 (and continue to pray for Quadrant one). Quadrant 2 is the NW Quadrant in our outreach/engagement strategy. In this area there is about the same number of households, more apartment complexes, more stores, and the school that Towers already has a partnership with. Because of our relationships with the school and families from the school we know several people in this neighbourhood. There are Muslim families. There are Buddhist families. There are Mormon families. There are Punjabi families. There are Canadian families. There are many types of people from many different places with many different faith backgrounds. Will you pray for these people? They desperately need Jesus. They just don't know they desperately need Jesus.

We plan to have a neighbourhood meet and greet for this part of our neighbourhood next week while the team from Southern Miss is here to help. Will you partner with us in prayer? We will be inviting people to our Easter Weekend at Towers.

I am excited and encouraged about what God is doing in our neighbourhood. Do you want to be a part of what He is doing? Pray, pray, pray!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Mission Team #1 - LMCA

A lot of churches and church plants here in the Vancouver area rely heavily on support from other groups from the US. One great way groups, such as churches, businesses, and schools, support us is by building a long term partnership to assist with ministry. Whether that is done with paper (money), prayers (interceding for us), or people (mission teams) we are thankful for all partners.

Lake Mead Christian Academy from Henderson, NV arrives here on Monday. I want you to be praying for this team for the duration of their trip from their arrival on Monday, February 27 to their departure on Saturday, March 3. I am going to list some of the ways that they will be helping us at Towers Baptist Church and some other pastors/planters/churches in the Vancouver area. Please pray for this team that they will be used to engage people with the Gospel message of Jesus to penetrate the lostness and darkness that surrounds us. It is not about us. It is all about Jesus Christ.

Here is the list (in no certain order):
The team will be going door to door in Quadrant 1 (neighbourhood outreach area 1) to collect cans of food for the Richmond Food Bank. They will use that as the conversation starter. They will also be giving out Towers information on a card that invites individuals and families to a Neighbourhood Meet and Greet on Thursday. This card will have the invitation, but also a list of important dates, such as Easter Weekend service information, family movie nights, Vacation Bible School, etc. The people who come to the meet and greet will have a special "thank you" visit. The team will also be prayer walking and talking with people in Steveston as we continue to think and pray about church planting in that area. They will be working with Origin Church on the University of British Columbia Campus. They will be working with Urban Village Church and also ministering to the homeless, mentally ill, and drug addicted on the downtown east side. They will also be spending an entire day at Walter Lee Elementary school. Every homeroom and the library will have special helpers for the entire day. They will be joining with the youth of a local Chinese church for a night of worship and also doing some kids programs and children's activities through out the week. They will be doing a scavenger hunt in the Chinese malls and stores and on public transit. There will possibly be visiting some religious temples such as a Buddhist temple, a Sikh temple, and a Muslim mosque. There is so much that they will be doing and experiencing. Please pray that at least one person will come to know the salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ through this team.

As a church we have been praying for over 700 households for the entire month of February. Pray that someone in those 700 households will be open to talking about the Gospel and that God will radically save them.

Pastor G

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Blessed by our prayer gathering

Every Thursday night is a prayer gathering at Towers Baptist Church. We gather together to pray for the church, the lost community around us, our city, our nation, our world. We also pray for our local leaders with Send Vancouver, our national leaders with Send North America and NAMB. We also pray for an unreached people group in the world and for other churches in our area.

The reason I say I was blessed tonight at our prayer gathering is because of who came to pray with me. Only one person came tonight. It was not someone I expected. It was not a member of the church. It was not even a regular church attender. It was not even someone who has visited the church. It is a guy who called me randomly several weeks ago needing to talk to a local pastor because he was hurting. I have met this guy twice. Once before a Sunday service (he did not stay for "church") and once this week when he took me to lunch.

I say I was blessed because of the excitement and the faith that this guy brings to the table. He is a guy who is trying to get back in his walk with Christ and he is looking for a faith family. He shared with me that he has been praying for me and Towers Baptist Church. He told me tonight that he feels God leading him to become a part of our faith family. I shared with him some vision I had shared with the church and he got really excited about what God is going to do.

We had a great night of prayer. We spent an hour together praying for the sick and hurting of the church to the spiritual warfare on Vancouver Island. We prayed for the situation he is going through and he prayed for me as pastor of Towers Church. We prayed for revival. We prayed for his daughter. We prayed that ALL people who will be engaged through our new outreach strategy will be saved.

The point is we prayed. We came before God with our praises and our requests. We interceded for others and we worshiped together. God is good. It is all about Him. It is never about us. Will you pray with us? Maybe next time you can join us for our weekly prayer gathering.

www.towersbaptistchurch.org

Pastor Garrett

Friday, February 3, 2012

Praying like crazy

I have been serving as pastor at Towers Church for almost 6 months. There are three things that I want you to pray for everyday. One is our neighbourhood outreach strategy. Read the previous blog post for an explanation. Secondly, is the village of Steveston. As I sit and watch this community I am saddened that there is no SBC work here. I am meeting with another pastor of a CFC church this morning to see if he has a vision for planting a new church. We need to work together to preach the Gospel to this lost and unreached area. This place is a place that is vibrant, full of life, but also lost. Let's plant a church here! I am praying daily for Christians to rise up who live in Steveston and for God to provide people and the way to plant a church in this awesome neighbourhood of Richmond. Thirdly, there is a new development being built on the river near the Richmond Olympic Oval. Over the next 15 years this development will house 1,000's of people. There is a huge need to engage those people when they begin to move in to those housing units. There is a huge need to engage them with the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. Will you pray with me? I have a feeling God is going to do something huge because we are committing to pray.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Engaging our Neighbourhood (WIll you pray?)

I have been thinking a lot lately how to "engage" the people in the neighbourhood in the immediate area of our church building. This morning, I believe that God gave me this simple strategy for reaching and engaging our neighbours. I went to Google maps and printed out the area around the church. The borders are the four major streets around the church. The church building is almost in the middle of these four streets. Therefore, I divided up the area around the building into quadrants. I assigned to each quadrant three months of the year. For example, one of the quadrants is the area where the church building and our house are located. The months assigned to this quadrant are February, June, and October. This means that during those months we are going to pray everyday for every person in every house in this quadrant and engage them n some way. The same will happen for the other 3 quadrants during different parts of the year.

I was driving through the first quadrant today and began to count the number of houses. Can you believe that I counted over 730 households? If all quadrants have at least this many houses (they probably do) that is a total of almost 3,000 households within a very short walking distance to Towers Baptist Church. Let's say there is an average of 2 - 4 people in each household. That means there is approximately 8,000-10,000 people within a short walking distance to our church building. Our church, Towers Baptist Church, is one of only two SBC churches for this entire area. These two churches are actually in the same building.

I am going to lead our church to pray everyday in the month of February for Quadrant 1. March will be Quadrant 2, and so on. Will you join us in praying for people on the streets inside Quadrant 1? Quadrant is a really funny word after you say it a lot or type it a lot. I am hoping to develop a set of printed sheets in a book form to hand out to our people, but until then this blog and email will have to do.

WILL YOU PRAY WITH ME?

Here are the streets, along with the one high school and one fire station and the one church:

Arvida Gate
Arvida
Aquila Rd (our street)
Algoma
Algonquin
Bissett Drive
Bissett Place
Agazzi Court
Alexis Court
Auburn Drive
Amethyst Ave.
Athabasca Drive
Anglesea Drive
Ashcroft Ave
Anahim Drive
Aragon Road
Williams Road (Between 4 and Shell)
No. 4 Road (between Williams and Francis)
Arrowsmith Drive
Shell (between Williams up to trail before Francis)
Albion Rd
75 unit housing complex near corner of Auburn and Shell
McNair Secondary School
Firestation