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George has nothing on George!

August 27, 2009 Leave a comment

ocean-s-thirteen-0.jpg

It was a plot. A scheme. It was cooked up around a table by like-minded strategists, all of whom understood the cost of such an undertaking, and didn’t care. More joined them – lent their skills and talents to the cause. They planned. Then they waited. On August 23rd, they sprang into action. We heard rumours, but we weren’t at all prepared for what really happened.

 No, this isn’t the trailer for Oceans 14. The truth is, George Clooney has nothing on George Balaktsis. No, this was real. Somewhere along the way, George and his crew at LivingStones got the idea to bless FireLight by making a barbeque supper for us, and by providing a worship team for our FireLight service to give our musicians a rest.

 We at FireLight were really blessed just by the idea itself, but we weren’t prepared for what we walked into on Sunday, August 23rd. Our family arrived in Marjorie park, drop-jawed, to find over a hundred people milling about, many of whom were LivingStones ready to serve us. The barbeques were being expertly manned by the two George’s and the one Guy, barely seen in the swirling smoke of Greek and Canadian delicacies cooking on the grills, beckoning to all with their enticing aromas (the delicacies, not the 3 G’s). Mounds of food and piles of smiles waited for us as LivingStones took care of us, insisting that we eat first and not lift a finger to clean up.

 Then the greatest joy of all came as many LivingStones, who had already gone to Church in the morning, stayed to join with us in our evening FireLight service after the barbeque blessing supper. And what a time of worship it was! I preached about worship, and Brad and his crew took good care of the music. It was a particularly profound time of gathering together in the Lord’s presence – FireLight and LivingStones: distinct fellowships, but joined in our love for one another. As I look back on it, it stands out as one of our richest times in the Lord in recent memory.

 So why was the evening of August 23rd such a profound experience of the Lord’s presence in our midst?

 Well, first, this came at a really good time. FireLight has faced a challenge or two lately in the spiritual war, so this extravagant expression of love and care from LivingStones was just the ticket – the Lord’s ticket. It was His expression of care for FireLight through His servants at LivingStones. In other words, it seems that it was His idea all along. That’s one of the reasons why the blessing was supernatural, and rebounded to all of us.

 I believe another major reason for the multiplied blessing is that the Lord Jesus liked what the saints at LivingStones did on that day. In John 13:14-17, after Jesus takes on the practical role of a foot-washing servant for His disciples, He says,

 “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”

 Now, George and his crew used souvlaki and guitars instead of basins and towels, but I don’t think one of us battle-weary FireLighters would deny that we got our feet washed REAL GOOD at the loving hands of our brothers and sisters in Christ at LivingStones. And according to His word, the Lord Jesus blessed us REAL GOOD for actually serving one another, as He instructed us to do.

 So, many thanks to George, Brad, Vic and Brian, and all of LivingStones, for your demonstration of love and service to us at FireLight. How much it meant to us I cannot adequately express.

All I can say is that there’s a sequel in the works…

May the Lord bless you,

Rob (www.weccwinnipeg.ca)

Categories: Rob's Blog

A new addition to FireLight…

August 20, 2009 Leave a comment

So Joel and Danielle had their baby… JDT.JPG

And a fine specimen of babyhood he is too! Théo André David is his name, and we had the privilege of being among the first to see him at home. Karen and I had just finished a great anniversary meal at Resto-Gare out there in St. Boniface, and we were headed home when we thought the same thing at the same time (people who have been married for awhile tend to do that): “Why not see if Joel and Danielle and Théo are home from the hospital yet?” So we pulled up in front of their house, phoned them (they were home!), and we came in for a visit.

We saw what we expected to see, having been through it three times in the distant past – an incredibly cute baby, and two incredibly tired parents. Although, Joel and Danielle looked way better than Karen and I looked in a picture that some comedian of a family member took of us soon after we had Daniel, our first son. Pale doesn’t adequately describe it. We looked like mimes after a 10 day fast. 

Besides being fruitful and multiplying, having babies can be really helpful for the advance oftheo.JPG God’s Kingdom in our hearts. First, there’s nothing like becoming a parent to help us understand our Heavenly Father a bit better. There have been so many times in the raising of our children when, even in the middle of a frustrating discipline situation, I felt the Lord say, “See? That’s what it’s like dealing with you.” So children are good for the Lord’s humbling process in our lives. And there’s nothing like having a baby to knock the selfishness right out of you. Just when we begin to fantasize about “me time” or “us time” or “sleep”, one Tarzan yell from that eensie weensie bundle of joy jars us back into servant mode again. It’s amazing how unselfish we can be if we have to. And Jesus is committed to finding ways to help us learn the art of denying ourself, taking up our cross, and following Him. 

So welcome to this world, Théo. It ain’t heaven, but the Lord has given you two great parents parents to love you, to show you around here, and to point the way to the life that is truly life. And I’m sure you’ll be teaching them a thing or two too.

May the Lord bless you,

Uncle Rob       

Categories: Rob's Blog

Les jeunes ont avancé…

August 4, 2009 Leave a comment

 So I just got back from Alfred, Ontario . My mission: to speak at a multi-Church youth “advance” (“retreat” isn’t all that accurate, considering young people are devoting a whole week-end to receive equipping in submittingjeunesse1.jpg themselves to God and resisting the devil). The theme was “Au-delà de nous-mêmes” – or “Beyond Ourselves”. Slightly familiar, since that was the theme the Lord had us exploring at our recent WECC Family Getaway! The participating fellowships were Churches from the Hawkesbury/Rockland area, right near the Ontario/Quebec border, between Ottawa and Montreal . Oh, and the area is 90% French, so my mission had an extra challenge in that I preached and lived and breathed in French for the three days out there. At first, I thought, “Bring it on!” but after I arrived, I found myself in a strange predicament. I found that I was able to speak – even preach – in French, without much difficulty at all, but I had a lot of trouble understanding people when they spoke to me. So I was only OK as long as I was talking! I guess my ear wasn’t “tuned” to the Eastern Canada French accent (which is beautiful, by the way!). So I ate my share of humble pie while I was out there, nodding and smiling instead of answering a question that was directed to me, or saying “encore, s’il vous plaît” a million times. But even though I limped through the weekend being half linguistically challenged, the young people were very patient with me, and I was able to let the Lord’s strength be made perfect through my weakness. I suppose Paul dealt with the same kinds of issues, as he took his Aramaic, Latin and Greek language skills (all spoken with a Hebrew accent) to places where local dialects and accents must have created some funny misunderstandings for him, like in restaurants and stuff (“Oy vey! What’s this? I ordered fish!”).

 All in all, though, the Lord helped us as we sought Him together over the weekend, and I feel that we received what He wanted to say. The young people responded well to the Bible times, and they received the challenges that I placed before them from God’s Word. Add to this the opportunity to play some volleyball, the chance to play the jambe, and the invitation to sing “Great Big God” and “Montagne” in French for them, and I would say it was a great “advance” together in the Lord. It was also great to see Benoit and Louise Séguin and some of the other brothers and sisters that I met a few years ago when I went with Barney Coombs and his team to be presenters at a leaders’ conference in Hawkesbury. jeunesse3.jpg 

 We know that the Lord is doing something unique among every language, tribe and nation on the earth these days, and these dear folks in this region of rural Ontario and Quebec are no exception. I was grateful for the privilege to see it first hand, even if I did feel geeky. Sometimes that’s the best way to make sure the Lord gets the credit.

 “Not to us, O LORD, but to your name be the glory…” – Ps. 115:1

May the Lord bless you,

Rob (www.weccwinnipeg.ca)

Categories: Rob's Blog