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Sharathon Thank you

October 1st, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in News and Updates

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99 Reasons You Should Go to Church This Weekend

October 1st, 2014 | 1 Comment | Posted in Encouragement

Rich Langton

by Rich Langton
I grew up attending church. Many of my earliest memories are times spent at the church building, with church people, or in church services. So when I meet people who aren’t regular attenders it’s a surprise to find that sometimes they don’t know why you might be a part of it.

I got to thinking about this.

Why do we go to church? What benefit is there in attending church regularly… for me, for you, for others?

One thing lead to another, and I realized the reasons are endless. I started to list them and soon discovered that the exercise was a huge blessing.

So, why go to church? I’ve listed 99 reasons below.

Some of these reasons are serious and thought provoking, others are just fun… they’re not in any particular order and perhaps a portion of them won’t apply to you. Either way though, I hope you too will be encouraged by my sharing of this list.

More than that – I pray it inspires you to not only attend church this weekend, but to serve and contribute. And let’s all remember to invite others who may not know the incredible blessing that being a part of a local church can be.

Why go to Church? Here’s my list of 99 reasons you should go to Church this weekend:

1. The Bible indicates it’s what we should do. (Hebrews 10:25)

2. You will have the opportunity to worship God.

3. You will likely have some of life big questions answered.

4. The preaching of the Bible will help set direction for your life.

5. You will probably make some new friends.

6. You’ll probably see some old friends.

7. Being there is a sign of your discipleship.

8. Being there will encourage your pastors and leaders.

9. You’ll be encouraged in your walk with God.

10. You’ll likely encourage other people in their walk with God.

11. If you’re single, you may meet someone.

12. It will help you define what you believe.

13. It will help you understand the Bible.

14. If you have kids, it will teach them to value God and His Church.

15. People who attend church usually live longer (I didn’t make this one up… google it!)

16. It will give you an outlet for service and ministry.

17. It can help you develop personal leadership.

18. You’ll sing inspirational songs that will carry you during the week.

19. It will encourage you that God is good (if it doesn’t, it should).

20. It will help you to look outside yourself.

21. It will provide an opportunity to give financially to those in need.

22. You’ll receive love from other people.

23. You’ll be able to show love toward others.

24. You’ll hear about the great things God is doing in His Church locally and throughout the earth.

25. You’ll be prayed for.

26. You will be able to pray for others.

27. You’re likely to hear and be encouraged by answered prayers.

28. You will be able to give praise reports and share stories of God working in your life.

29. You will be able to worship God with other likeminded people.

30. It’s an opportunity to introduce a friend who doesn’t know Christ.

31. You’ve probably got nothing better to do. (Watching TV, or sleeping-in don’t count as better!)

32. Your family need you to go.

33. It honours God.

34. Because gathering is part of what it means to be a Christian.

35. Because it’s good to have your views and opinions challenged.

36. Because we all need regular reminders of our position in Christ.

37. It will help you acknowledge and confess your sins.

38. It helps you to be in the world, but not of it.

39. It will help you end one week, and starts the next, with the right focus.

40. It’s a break from work.

41. It will help you re-order your priorities.

42. It’s where your real friends are.

43. It will help you put your life story, into the grand narrative of scripture.

44. It will remind you that you have nothing to fear.

45. It helps take your focus off yourself and onto God.

46. It helps bring perspective and feeds the soul.

47. Because gathering strengthens your faith.

48. The discipline of going will help you be disciplined across all areas of life.

49. It will allow for support in times of need.

50. It promotes stability in your life.

51. It helps to promote a happy marriage.

52. It gives you something great to do with your kids.

53. It will help you to improve your self-esteem.

54. It will help your interpersonal skills.

55. It will help increase your ability to cope with the trials of life.

56. It will help you to be a happy person.

57. It will positively influence future generations.

58. It will provide you with an opportunity to share in communion.

59. It will allow you to take an active role in missions work.

60. It will help you be a better member of your local community.

61. It will help develop your children’s self-confidence.

62. Your children will learn the Bible.

63. It may keep you out of trouble.

64. It will help give you a sense of purpose.

65. It will shape your vision of the future.

66. It will give you eternal hope.

67. It will help you to know what you believe.

68. It will help you to know what you stand for.

69. It will encourage creativity.

70. It will allow you to be disciplined, mentored and pastored.

71. Because you’ll learn about Jesus and have the opportunity to get to know Him.

72. Because you want to go.

73. It’s a pleasant experience.

74. It will give you the opportunity to express yourself in song.

75. It beats staying at home and being alone.

76. You get to put your Sunday best on… (or your skinny jeans depending on the church).

77. You’ll find acceptance.

78. You’ll be loved.

79. You can love others there.

80. Real forgiveness is found there.

81. The gathering of God’s people will help draw you closer to God.

82. You’ll meet likeminded people.

83. Jesus will be there.

84. It will remind you that you’re not alone.

85. It will help the process of sanctification.

86. You’re likely to learn something about God, the Bible, yourself, or others.

87. Growth of the fruit of the Spirit will likely happen.

88. It will bring with it tangible and intangible blessing.

90. It’s a declaration that you’re a Christian.

91. It will give you something interesting to talk about on Monday at work.

92. Because being planted will help your life to flourish.

93. It reflects a life lived beyond yourself.

94. It will bring joy to your life.

95. A miracle you need may come to pass.

96. You’ve been promising someone that you’d go and it’s time to make good on your word.

97. Because it’s the right thing to do.

98. Because faith without works is dead.

99. It will literally change your life for eternity!

Why go to church this weekend? You’d be crazy not to go, especially with all these reasons to be there!!

So, why do you go to church? Let me know in the comment section below.

Over to you…

Rich

How to Make The Most of Your Season

October 1st, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Encouragement
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Once upon a time I dared to dream I might write a book someday. By my age I would have book in hand yet here I am, book still unwritten, ideas dry in my brain.

As much as it’s continually uncomfortable to be with groups of people who are successful in ways that I would like, I’ve just come to understand that my “season” isn’t now. That has been a hard road.

In October it’s easy to recognize the fruits of the season: pumpkins, pumpkin bread and homemade pumpkin spice lattes dominate Pinterest right now. They are the fruits of an autumn in full swing.

But sometimes we still reach for a watermelon in October or a carton of strawberries near Thanksgiving and they don’t taste quite the same as they did in the height of summer.

I’ve struggled against the season in my life for many years.  My kids were too young, my life was too busy, my heart was too dry. And my book was {is} unwritten.

Psalms describes the righteous person:

Psalm 1:3 (NIV)

“That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither — whatever they do prospers.”

Fruit IN SEASON.

So I don’t have to produce giant harvests at all times of the year {or at all stages of my life}? And the small things I do are good things? I read this Psalm earlier this week and I took a deep releasing breath.

I believe God wants us to do great and mighty things for Him and He’s called us to listen and obey Him in this. But maybe my own personal tension between feeling like I should be farther along than I am and wanting to be a good steward of what I do have is simply that I’m in a different season. I don’t have to struggle against the season that I’m in.

That book? It will be written. In the RIGHT season.

I’m learning four ways to make the most of my season, recognize that the “fruit” I’m bearing is exactly the kind God wants me to bear and that God designed life to run in beautiful seasons and cycles.

1. Stop Comparing

The grass really isn’t greener, even if it looks like it is. So yeah, maybe you don’t have a crazy awesome book deal or your online shop hasn’t taken off like you thought it might. Maybe your toddlers are in a rough stage and you don’t even have the time to go to the bathroom by yourself.

It’s okay. It really is.

We are each of us designed to be right in the place we are in. Right now. I’m here to tell you that you were built for such a time as this and no other.

Maybe your kiddos are all hard, all the time, but I promise that no family has it as easy as they may seem to have it. Maybe your shop is still gaining ground, or you are still typing hard on that manuscript. Its okay. I promise it is.

Comparison will steal your passion, chase away your joy and kill your soul.

2. Be thankful for the “fruit” you have harvested.

So maybe you haven’t gotten as far as you wanted to by 25, 35 or 55. I know I haven’t. I dared to dream that I was going to be a real, honest-to-God author by now.  But I’m not. However today I have pumpkins and spice, candles and rain-boots, grey skies and warm kitchens. I have beauty gathered in arms full of harvest, it is smiles and hands-held and feet that have traded bare toes for socks because summer is over now.

The fruit in this season is good fruit. It may not be all that I’d dreamed but it is very, very good.  I think we are all familiar with how gratitude can change a heart and a soul.

3. Plant the seeds for the next harvest.

If you are worried about the things you must do, or the “fruit” that you want to see the next time around, there are things you can do to begin to work at it. A book does not write itself.  A business does not start itself.  Jot down the good ideas you have, find a mentor to help you in your project or ask some good friends for specific advice.

A few months ago I wrote a lengthy email to some trusted people in my life asking them for specific advice. It went something like this: If you could run my life (so to speak) what would you have me do about this ____. The answers that came back were varied, insightful and generally amazing. It helped plant some seeds in me for this next season.

And the time you have? Do something purposeful with it.

4. Be okay that sometimes the season is REST.

Repeat this mantra: It’s okay to rest.

When we can begin to understand that there ARE in fact seasons of life and now may or may not be your time to accomplish that dream that you thought you’d have done by now then you can take a deep breath. Our anxieties about it all begin to uncoil and we can be okay with the fact that our life is running the course God has chosen and not the one we have chosen.

There even is fruit in seasons of rest: inspiration, rejuvenation, health. Remember that sometimes “producing” means taking a nap or closing our eyes. It even might mean setting the project down for a few weeks or months to get a different perspective on it.

So here I stand. Coffee in hand with a blank paper. Pray for me and I’ll pray for you: that you realize your season and you rest in the place God has for you.

“When Jesus Say Yes” Michelle Williams Christian Post Exclusive: Singer Talks Cutting Out Bad Relationships, Overcoming Insecurities

October 1st, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Artist Spotlight

michelle-williamsSome people remember Michelle Williams as one third of the Grammy Award winning singing group Destiny’s Child, while others appreciate her penchant for theater where she has starred in multiple successful Broadway shows.Regardless of how the world has viewed her, the 34-year-old Christian entertainer had a hard time believing in her purpose not too long ago. Now that Williams has centered herself in her faith once again, she is opening up about the path taken to overcome struggles in her fourth solo album, “Journey To Freedom.”

Michelle Williams recently spoke to The Christian Post about her new album and the various struggles she has faced, including not believing in her purpose.

 

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While Williams is no rookie in the music industry, she told CP that her fourth album reflects her growth as an artist and business woman.

“I took charge as far as this project is concerned,” she explained. “It was what I wanted to be released, so I’m happy about that.”

Although the singer’s latest body of work is an inspirational album, it colors outside of the lines of gospel music by blending genres and featuring heavy hitters from the music industry. While gospel artists like Tye Tribbett and Lecrae have spots on the album, so do mainstream powerhouses like Beyonce Knowles, Kelly Rowland and Fantasia Barrino.

With popular producer Harmony Samuels creating the majority of Williams’ album after working with the likes of Chris Brown, Ariana Grande and Jennifer Lopez, there may be some who question if the R&B, hip hop and pop sounds on the record stray too far away from traditional gospel music. However, “Journey to Freedom” is not about Williams entertaining what potential naysayers may think about her abilities to push the envelope.

For Williams, the beauty of freedom is more about learning to let go of other people’s opinions of her.

“When you’re no longer looking for permission to do your calling, you’re no longer looking for permission to be who you are,” Williams told The Christian Post about her definition of freedom. “You might be a goofy, outgoing person, and people probably can’t handle your personality. But hey, that’s the way God made you.”

The singer has dedicated her album to those who desire to be free, but admits she has not always learned how to operate in her own freedom. She describes overcoming these feelings on “Believe in Me,” the song she penned and connects most with on her album.

“People might tell you ‘oh my gosh you’re great, you have a great calling on your life,’ or ‘Oh your hair is so pretty today'” Williams told CP. “…If I come to you and give you a compliment, it probably should be confirmation of what you already know. I just did not believe, I didn’t think I was as good as other people around me.”

However, God showed Williams just how wrong she was.

“God keeps showing me time after time with the different things that He does in the industry that He’s with me and that He believes in me,” she told CP. “I know that it’s only Him that makes a way.”

Williams grew up in church all of her life and came to realize that her faith in God must also be evident in the belief she has in herself.

“He is real, and if God is real and He continues to bless me and allows me to do what I love, than I need to believe in me,” she told CP. “I believe in God, but you have to believe in yourself with God.”

Blessings began to flow in Williams’ life when she decided to heed that message, let go of people who did not belong in her life and put God first. This opened the door to opportunities like hosting the new Oxygen show “Fix My Choir” and creating a partnership with Hyundai’s non-profit organization, Hope on Wheels.

For Williams, it was important to let go of people that hindered her in order to receive what God would bring into her life next.

“I was in some business relationships, I was in some personal relationships that weren’t best. Sometimes it’s as simple as who you surround yourself with,” she revealed to CP. “I started to surround myself with the right people. I got back in alignment with my prayers and my studies.”

While Williams has famously been the subject of less-than-kind memes on social media, she has learned to stop looking to Twitter and Instagram before God. After the singer made God her priority, she was able to reap the blessings of what she had sown.

“It can be as simple as why do we wake up in the morning and the first thing we do is we tweet or go on Instagram? It was literally making what I call first fruits,” Williams told CP. “In the morning, God gets my time first. I’m setting my day for expectation, because I’ve already talked to God first instead of putting poison in my mind of what’s going on on social media.”

Although Williams is not condemning anyone for their use of social media, she does emphasize the importance of giving God her attention first each day. While “Journey to Freedom” gives fans a glimpse of her personal walk with God, the singer wants people to share their testimonies after listening to the album.

Instead of simply releasing a record for her fans, Williams is trying to help her listeners who are struggling and encourages people to reach out to her on her personal website, www.IamMichelle.com. If she can, the singer says she will do everything in her power to help those who seek it.

In the meantime, Williams told CP that it is important for her to remain transparent for her fans.

“At the end of the day I want people to say Michelle always told her truth, at least. I want to at least be transparent because somebody is going through what I’m going through,” Williams told CP. “There’s somebody who does not believe that God will step in and make a way for you, and He honestly will.”

Michelle Williams’ album “Journey To Freedom” is available wherever albums are sold on Sept. 9. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram @RealMichelleW.

Cineplex In the Gallery presents “The Vatican Museums 3D” – October 2nd & 19th Only

October 1st, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Events

For a list of show times near you, click here.An extraordinary voyage of discovery to see the most impressive collection of works of art built
up over two thousand years of history. VATICAN MUSEUMS 3D, a SKY production in collaboration with the Vatican Museums Directorate, for the very first time brings Ultra HD 4K/3D film cameras inside the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel, to show the masterpieces in these collections as they have never been seen before.

A unique, spectacular, fascinating event: the history of one of the world’s most famous, renowned museums, the history of us all.

From the masterpieces of classic statues to the Cast of Michelangelo’s Pietà, right up to Fontana’s modern sculptures; from paintings by Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci and Caravaggio to those by Van Gogh, Chagall and Dalì; from the extraordinary frescos in the Rooms of Raphael, such as “The School of Athens” to the spectacular masterpieces by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel such as the “Creation of Adam” and the majestic “Last Judgment”. These are the stages of a unique , emotional journey under the guidance of the Director of the Vatican Museums, Professor Antonio Paolucci, expertly leading us through past, present and future.

Discover Your Love Language

October 1st, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Events, Lifestyle
lovelanguagesClick here to take the FREE Discover Your Love Language Quiz!

New York Times Best Selling Author Dr. Gary Chapman is coming to Ottawa for “The 5 Love Languages Tour: The Secret to Love That Lasts”

WHEN: Thursday, October 30th, 2014 @ 7:30pm

WHERE: The Met Bible Church (2176 Prince of Wales Drive) MAP

COST: $15/advance, $20 Gold Circle (limit to first 100 people, includes front section seating and autograph). Cost goes us $5 at the door. Available online here and at Salem Storehouse.

Presented by FunandFaith.ca

Scripture Scraps

October 1st, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle
I forget that kids have an incredible capacity to memorize things. which further emphasizes the need to get them learning before they become like me and forget to even bring the shopping list to the grocery store, that i wrote for once. For goodness sakes.I was reading Hunter a nursery rhyme book – full of nonsense really. Have you ever listened to them, like really? They are dumb. Like why would i sing my child to sleep telling them a cradle will fall and down will come baby. Now go to sleep sweetly. My child. You are safe. Anyways, sitting there next to my boy in his twin bed with striped blue sheets, he opens his tiny mouth and tells me almost every rhyme in that book of twenty.

Whoa.

Am i the mom of a genius?? I know better. This is normal. God gives kids such an ability to learn and absorb and remember. Sometimes I wish I could remember how good it felt to remember.

So, instead of filling Hunter’s growing mind with dead rhymes, why not fill it with life breathing Scripture.

And Scripture Scraps was born. It came to me all on it’s own, without pinterest even, during a car ride, where I was the driver… I hoped and prayed I would remember this idea until I had a chance to stop and write it down. Well I did remember. So this must really be something.

Also? I have been wishing for a good excuse to buy a smash book. with a 40% coupon in hand, I headed to Michael’s with a kick in my step like I was fulfilling some life-long dream. I got my hoped-for smash book, some tape, pockets, and papers. all for $14.

SUPPLIES:
1. smash book (or any type of scrapbook or journal)
2. tape/glue/pen (the awesome thing is that smash books are sold with a fancy pen that doubles as a glue stick)
3. 3×5 cards or blank notecards for verses
4. stickers, flashcards, whatever your heart so desires

I wanted to make this easy and vintagey coupled with lots of fun, colors, and random. You gotta keep the little ones interested with every page.

I picked out some verses (they don’t have to be easy ones… challenge their young minds!), to go with the smash book pages, and wrote them on the notecards. There is a visual trigger on each page, helping Hunter remember what the verse is about.

Here are some of ours:

My favorite page:

Forgive me if this isn’t really a lamb. I consulted with my biology loving husband and he said a lamb was his best bet. So I went with it:

Inside this pocket are pictures of Hunter and Sage:

The kids are thrilled over this.

Hunter: Mom, you made this for me??

Me: I sure did.

Hunter: I’m so excited, Mom!!!

We will read this book every day. Or ideally anyway. Sage wants to color all over it at this point. But that just means she thinks it’s fun. I’m sure of it.