REGISTRATION NOW OPEN!!!

Good afternoon, friends!

We are anxiously awaiting the launch of our summer Online Book Study, God Is Able by Priscilla Shirer. Registration is now open so feel free to sign up at any time!

Click image for registration form!

***CLICK IMAGE TO REGISTER!!!!!***

During this study you will also have an opportunity to be a part of a community with the other women who are participating in this study along with you– women from all around the world. The sign up for that community group will be posted within the next couple of weeks.

What you will need:

God Is Able (book), a pen, a notebook, a wifi connection (for accessing the study thoughts and discussion), and an open heart to see the amazing God we serve in new and fresh ways!

We hope that you will plan on journeying with us this summer on a quest to grow deeper spiritually.

Much love,

Doretta, Mandy, Cindy, Julie, Melissa, Megan, Ashley, Christianne, Nathan & Phil

{Faith} The Counterfeit Message behind the 3-Legged Stool

Phil Bio PhotoWritten by: Phil Zinck

A few years ago I read an article by Ms. Arianna Huffington, introducing her book “Thrive: the Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating A Life of Well-Being, Wisdom and Wonder”. Like most in a world where the pursuit of the holy grail of success requires an insatiable lust for money and power, she was chasing “The Dream” at all costs. Unlike many, however, she was afforded the luxury of a wake-up call – a second chance – when she literally collapsed from exhaustion.

Money and power; measures of success – those two legs of her 3-legged stool – that cannot sustain happiness, peace and contentment in the long run. In the preface to her book she talks about her recovery and the epiphany that she received, that realization that there was a leg missing from her 3-legged stool of life. That missing leg was the “need for well-being, with meditation, mindfulness, unplugging and giving as transformative to achieving the right perspective in our workplace and our lives.”

Reading this preface and her ground-breaking, revolutionary realization (yes I am being sarcastic!) evoked a fire in my spirit because it perpetuates the lie that we are defined by the fruits of our labour, our successes, our failures. The fundamental failing of such a philosophy is the mis-guided belief that our successes in life form the pillar, the foundation of who we are as individuals. This is the counterfeit to the message of Truth – God’s Word – that must be the cornerstone, the steadfast, immovable, unchanging “legs of our 3-legged stool” of who we are as children of God (the “why”). Only when we realize, internalize and personify who we really are that we can truly understand and strive towards success (the “how”) that does nothing more than bring glory to the name, the fame of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

So, what are the legs of my 3-legged stool? This is an important question because those things that become core to who we are will become our motivation to achieve what we passionately believe to be true success. This is the “why” behind the “how” and it starts and ends with knowing the character of God and embracing the Truth of what eternity holds for all.

The verse that jumped out at me as I mulled this over is found in Jeremiah 9:23-24. It reads:
This is what the Lord says:


“Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom,
 or the powerful boast in their power,
 or the rich boast in their riches. But those who wish to boast
 should boast in this alone: 
that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord
 who demonstrates unfailing love
 and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth,
and that I delight in these things.
 I, the Lord, have spoken!”

These are not the interpretive words of a prophet, nor a passage with an allegorical context. The clarity of the first and last lines of this passage gives weight to these words: “This is what the Lord says”, and “I, the Lord, have spoken”. God Himself is giving us the “why” of our lives – the legs of the 3-legged stool that is who we are – and in doing so leaves us looking inwards and asking some tough questions:

Is my priority to REALLY experience the character of God and be immersed in the splendor of genuine, true commune with the most Holy God or am I content to keep Him as a decorative trim covering the rough edges of my human nature?

Do I REALLY desire to understand the fullness of His unfailing love?

Am I REALLY ready to let Him mold me, refine me with His refiner’s fire (Zechariah 13:9), to be known by Him as one of His people?

It’s the message of Truth that defines the “why” behind the “how”.

It’s the message of Truth that eternity will pursue through other paths like money and power, fame, self-help and “holistic living” because the Truth is too simple.

And in the shadow of Truth you will find books like this one written by Ms Huffington, trying to find the recipe for a life of peace, joy and hope without the Truth at its core. Well written prose with a counterfeit message.

But we know better.

{Faith} I Want Faith Like a Troublesome Seed

Phil Bio PhotoWritten by: Phil Zinck

We will never fully understand all that there is presented to us in the Bible. Mainly because it is God’s Word, declaring in some shape or form His limitless character. One such scripture for me has been the comparison of faith to mustard seeds. As long as I can remember I have heard pastors and speakers focus on the smallness of the mustard seed and say that “all you need is a little bit and major stuff can happen. You just gotta believe”. I’ve struggled with this for years – the subjectivity of “small”. How small is too small? How small is small enough?

Matthew 17:20 is one of the “mustard seed” references in the Bible. Here, Christ – in another coaching moment with His disciples – states “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you” (NKJV). Other translations (like the NLT, my favourite) use the phrase “ . . . as small as a mustard seed . . .” What gets me about references to “mustard seed-size” faith is that a few verses earlier Christ is “giving the gears” to His disciples for having too small a measure of faith to cure an ailing, demon possessed boy.

So, how small is too small? How small is small enough?

Why does the preaching on this topic seem to highlight an apparent contradiction or inconsistency in Christ’s teachings? Of course every faith-believer in Christ would immediately attest to the inerrancy and complete consistency of scripture. So then, what gives?

With this backdrop I will take you back a couple of Sundays to May 1, 2016 when Pastor Jesse McCaul spoke at our church. Pastor McCaul is the Senior Pastor of New Life Fellowship and overseer of this fellowship of churches in Cambodia (amazing story, incredible ministry!! Have a look at http://www.cambodiaoutreach.org/whoweare). Pastor McCaul spoke on this passage, but presented the meaning in a way I had never heard.

Referring to the original language of the scriptures, he noted that this passage is not referring to the miniscule girth and size of the mustard seed but to the more general “faith as a mustard seed” translation. He went on to recall conversations he had with farmers about the mustard seed and how they would refer to it as a “Troublesome Seed”. When he questioned them further, they explained that the mustard seed is RESILIENT, PERSISTENT, ROBUST. All you have to do is throw it on the ground – any ground, anywhere – and it will take root and grow. The mustard seed, as coined by the farmers, “could grow on the moon if given a chance!” It requires very little attention, will grow anywhere in almost any climate.

So then Christ, when coaching His disciples, was not talking about how little the measure of faith is needed to see the hand of God do amazing things but was encouraging them to keep on, to persevere, to never give up on their faith in the face of seemingly impossible odds and watch their faith grow.

We need a faith in Jesus Christ that is not so sensitive to the spiritual climate around us that it shrivels and dies at the slight hint of the works of the enemy. We need a faith in the one, sovereign and most Holy God that can not only carry us through those deep, dark valley experiences of life but can – and will – carry us out of them and into a place of confidence, peace and rest. We need a faith in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit that will cause us to be constantly aware that He – God the Holy Spirit – has a plan, a purpose, a calling for each and every day that we draw breath.

RESILIENT, PERSISTENT, ROBUST FAITH!

But wait, there’s more!!! (just like those Shopping Channel ads, only much better!!)
While this revelation was absolutely inspiring for me, there is one other attribute of the mustard seed that causes my heart to skip a beat with excitement and anticipation: the mustard seed when taken root and blooms is also

PROLIFIC!!

Producing often,

in abundance,

in vast quantities!!!

WOW! I don’t know what is meant by the expression “my mind was blown”, but my mind was blown!!
Our measure of faith in the providence, the protection, the promises of Christ may be small, and we may not be the strongest, most passionate disciple (like poor soil) however eternal impacts of our faith will be determined by its robust, resilient, persistent nature. Our faith can grow – it WILL grow – with tenacity and vigour if we don’t give up on it. And this “Troublesome Seed” of faith will move the mountains in our lives, it will change lives of those that mesh with ours and make a difference in the eternal destiny of people near and far, in our lifetime and in the lifetimes that follow.

So set your mind on the promises in God’s Word as you embrace every situation that challenges your faith today. Feed on the encouragement and energy that comes as your faith grows, and look forward to that day when the flower of its bloom totally overcome and overwhelm, to the Glory, Honour and Praise of our most high God!

{Mom’s Week} For Never And For Always; A Model For Humility

Phil Bio PhotoWritten by: Phil Zinck

For Never and for Always: A Model for Humility.

A few years ago as I was reflecting on Mother’s Day, two words kept coming to mind:

Never; Always.

I couldn’t get past these words. And yet at the same time, memories arose from their slumber. Memories of my experiences with my mom; memories giving life and personality to these simple words like an artists’ brush transforms a simple, white canvas into a kaleidoscope of image and colour.

Never; Always.

These words can have both positive and negative connotations depending on the topic at hand or our mental state, or at times a bit of both. For me, I am thankful and blessed for a mom that personifies in many ways the positive in both. But as I started to capture the “Nevers” and “Always” of my mom’s character as seen through the rose-coloured lens of a thankful son ☺, I began to realize that I was also capturing the humility that Christ modeled for each of us – woman and man – who call Him King, Lord and Saviour.

Never without a smile.

Always happy to see me.

Never a word of gossip.

Always thankful.

Never to see someone in need.

Always ready to give.

Never visits without gifts.

Always ready for a song.

Never one to ridicule,
Yet Always one who could take a joke – with that smile.

Never to say “no thank you” to any form of dessert.

Always proud of any family achievement.

Never to turn down a game of any type, and

Always ready to have fun.

Never looking for praise,
but Always giving it. 
Never just sitting down (mom, take a break!!).
Always ready to share her faith.
Never shy to pray.
Always thankful for Jesus Christ.

Never; Always.
A lofty standard? Perhaps.
Achievable? Absolutely.
For as we embrace His mercy, His grace,
As we call on His Name and seek His face,
Our desires for self, for rights He’ll replace
with a love and compassion that in every case,
every place,
Looks like “Never” and “Always” that is
penned in this space.

“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” – Philippians 2:3-5 (NLT)

We can do this, you and I!!

{Faith} The Pure of Heart

Phil Bio PhotoWritten by: Phil Zinck

The Beatitudes; a Challenge to Change: The Pure of Heart



One of the most famous of messages given by the Messiah is recounted in Matthew 5, verses 3-11. In some respects, this is the most misunderstood and misapplied of messages, from that day to now. “The Sermon on the Mount”, the “Beatitudes”, can easily be received as a feel good message, and to be fair it’s easy to see how this can happen, with those repeated “you are blessed” proclamations. However, when you cast a more critical eye on these verses you will see that this message was more of a warning, a “shot across the bow” in seafaring parlance, to smarten up, stop dishonouring God, to change their ways.

Change; the ultimate affront to one’s independence, one’s self-sufficiency, our very human nature. In this passage Christ lays out in plain view those practices, habits, and failings that needed to change if a truly genuine relationship with a loving Creator was ever to be experienced.

This was – and is still today – a tough-love message. After all, when you read of the life of Christ you will see that He never wasted time preaching to the choir. In fact, He did the exact opposite, addressing the chasm in relationship between God’s chosen people and God himself each time He had the mic. And the only way to a restored relationship was for people to change their ways.

The Beatitude that challenges me more than any other is in verse 8, the need to maintain a pure heart. I love the interpretation offered in The Message:



”You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right.” 



So, what does it mean to be pure of heart, to have “your heart and mind put right”? Simply put, it means to be intentional in your pursuit of holiness, to be singular in purpose, in every aspect of our life and in every interaction with the world that we live in. And that purpose is to demonstrate to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, that our passion is to make Him Lord first, always, all the time, in everything. Seems obvious, yet we cannot lose focus on the fact that this significance of purpose brings with it a significant challenge. That challenge is not found in reaching that place of singular purpose, but in staying there.

In our heart we desperately want that intimate relationship with God, that singular pursuit of holiness, yet how many times have we treated our heart like a multi-purpose venue. With the best of intentions we start “committing” each day to keep God first and foremost; “Holy Spirit, please give eyes to see, ears to hear what You want me to see and hear”. Yet so easily the busy-ness and distractions of life overwhelm to the point where this becomes stale, lifeless, vain repetition. Weeks pass at a dizzying pace and singularity of purpose quickly erodes into something like this:
Monday – Friday: “well, you know God, life is crazy busy. I know that you’re there and that you see how crazy my life is, so I’m sure you understand why I can’t just drop everything to spend quality time with you.” (Ouch!!!).

Saturday: “God, even you took a break after creating everything. Granted, I may not have achieved in my week what you were able to do, but I’m only human and you are God, and, you know, I need my down time to decompress. That’s what Saturday is for. Remember, God, tomorrow is Sunday and I’m going to give you a solid 3 hours to make me feel good about being in church” (Wow! This is painful, only in that it can be so darn accurate!)

Sunday: “God, Here it is! That quality time that I am able to carve out for you. I can give you 9am to noon. After that, well, you know, it’s the only day when we can spend time with family and friends. How can we be salt – n – light of we don’t spend time with those who we are close to (don’t forget, God, every year I spend a Sunday afternoon feeding the homeless a Christmas dinner  – that’s gotta count for something, right?)?”

A bit extreme? Perhaps so, perhaps not. I pray that none of you reading this would say “this is MY life!!!” I would dare to wager, however, that we all can recall specific periods where our relationship with God has slipped into this spiral of betrayal and deceit.  Thankfully, God is merciful, His grace has no end, His love everlasting, and when we realize where we are and confess this counterfeit relationship as the sin that it is, He is most willing and able to forgive and restore us again to that right relationship with Him that He do cherishes and we so truly desire.

The last part of verse 8 from The Message reads:

“Then you can see God in the outside world.”

Why is it so important to strive for singularity of purpose? Simply put, to see God in the ups and downs, in the blessings and the difficulties of our everyday; to see Him work in and through our lives and in and through the world around us. Oh to experience His favour as we live in that place where His Lordship is all that matters!

“Holy Spirit, I need you to shine the light on the path that you would have me follow in my pursuit of Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. But even more so, Holy Spirit, I need to know your presence so intimately that my heart will be pained, my conscience shaken, at the slightest sign of losing my focus on this most holy pursuit. I want my inside world to know the reality of your outside presence every moment of every day. In the name of the eternal and everlasting God and to His glory I make this plea believing that You are with me always, Amen.”