AROUND THE EDGE
Stories and thoughts from the Home Churches across the network.
Generosity Multiplied – Welcoming Ukrainian Families
Dan and Anne Reinhardt
Three Hills Home Church
Months ago the Edge gave us a surprise gift — $200 to give to whatever our home church wanted. There were no immediate needs within our group, so we looked outside. We saw that thousands of Ukrainians were fleeing the Russian invasion. I heard from my stepbrother, who serves as a missionary in Romania, that their little village was receiving refugees. Knowing how poor rural Romania is, we recognized that there would be a financial strain on their church to provide for these Christian families fleeing the Ukraine. So we added some personal donations to the gift, and sent it to Romania to support these Ukrainian brothers and sisters in Christ. That alone would have been fine, and we would be glad to have helped. However, the Bible teaches that generosity comes back to you in unexpected ways.
I received a text from my missionary brother, asking if we would like to invite two Christian Ukrainian families to our town in Three Hills. I did not have to pray long on this one, and I responded, “Yes!” In a matter of weeks we were at the Calgary airport welcoming our first Christian Ukrainian couple to Canada.
And then a few weeks later, the cousin of the wife and her family arrived with their son and mother. Two months later, the son of the mother and his family arrived via Germany! We had a celebration lunch recently. The mother, Nadia, can hardly believe that her whole family is safely out of Ukraine. They all feel like life in Canada amazing, surreal. They are all applying for permanent residence visas.
The series of miracles for their journey all happened in connection with Christians and churches along the way. It opened her eyes to the reality of God’s presence through his people. One day while driving in the car with her, in her broken English, Nadia told me that something had happened within her heart. “I … pray … Jesus.” Wow!
Anne Is teaching the women English lessons. Two of the men have jobs. They all have their separate places of residence. We feel amazingly blessed to have these dear people in our life! Generosity has enriched our life.
UPDATE (Dec 8/22): We had our home church meeting tonight. We heard from our Ukrainian friends that the third family husband has found a job as well! So you can go back to the original documents I sent you, which said that all three men have found jobs. What a blessing it is to have these dear folks in our life group.
House Church Traditions
Typically the word “tradition” doesn’t get much airplay around the Edge, but meaningful traditions can be good for a community. We have found some traditions in HC help solidify the sense of family with positive memories. So here are a few for you to consider…
- Writing and speaking blessings on anyone who has a birthday – praying over them – kids included
- Making up hampers or special gifts at Christmas for struggling families know to your HC people
- An out-of-the-box Christmas gift exchange within your HC – ie. socks, home-made snacks, etc
- Celebrating some of the Jewish feasts special to Christ and rich with meaning – ie. Passover, etc
- Spring get-away, Summer camp-out, Thanksgiving hike – an annual outdoor event for the whole family
Whatever traditions you establish as a group, will be most of what you remember years later.
Hello Edge Family,
I had requested money from the network to help a neighbour and I wanted to let you know what we did with it. Our next door neighbour Gail, is an elderly lady who lives alone with two dogs and a cat. She keeps up with as much around the house as she
can and always has a nice garden outside. This summer it came to my attention that she had a large leak coming from somewhere in the roof or a window. I walked into her kitchen and a large portion of the plaster ceiling had falling down from the moisture. Gail
said when it rained last a literal stream of water flows down through that hole and she directs it into her kitchen sink so it would not cause further damage.
Gail and I had a chat which was pretty sad, because of the age of her roof insurance wouldn’t cover anything and she didn’t have any extra funds to help. We knew this to be true because she was applying for lots of jobs within our area. She had worked at a fruit stand but they opted to hire someone younger this season. She felt really low, like she needed to sell her house and move on. She tried to sell her property but it was worth less than she had outstanding. She felt trapped in a house where she had no options.
That’s when I approached the edge for funding to stop the leak in her roof and provide her with a more stable living environment. She loves this community and does not want to leave but her options felt thin. The edge board approved of $1500 to repair the worst
area around a window and a roof and then I began working on the worst area. It quickly became clear that the roof needed much more work to be repaired properly. This is when a friend of Gail (did not want to be named) heard all of the story and how the edge
was helping out wanted to help as well.
We took a step back and figured out what it would take to put a proper roof over Gail’s head. With the support of the edge , Gail’s
friend loaned and the Giles’ family and another local roofing contractor Jake Wolf, we had raised enough money and labour to replace Gail’s roof. It took Jake and I over two weeks to finish Gails roof. Jake agreed to work for $1000.00 (which is an extreme
discount) and I donated my time. The water damage required us to replace some of the roof structure and replace the old roof boards with new osb sheets before installing new shingles, fascia and eavestrough.
With the charity of the edge as a catalyst Gails life has been changed. She went from having a dangerous and worry some house to
having a places he could call home again AND she gets to stay in her neighbourhood. This opportunity has created a deeper friendship with Gale and has already afforded many opportunities to share why we are a part of the edge, what it means to live as a
Christian. For our family we have seen again how generosity changes a life and for that we are grateful.
During our Edge Leaders Retreat last week in Pitt Meadows, BC, my good friend, Les Martens and I paused from our retreat activities and went to have lunch with my friend, Phil, in Surrey…. Our desire was to follow Jesus right into his life.
A little of the back story….Phil is a friend from university in NB whom I reached out to recently after 40 years. He is a very intelligent, strong, good looking lad with a great sense of humility and humour and a love for making music and mountain climbing.
During our short visit, Phil treated us to pancakes, bacon, beverages, some of his recorded music and some great stories. Les and I were blessed to receive Phil’s hospitality. The purpose of our visit was to encourage Phil, yet we came away blessed as well. Phil even gave us parting gifts. This was amazing because of Phil’s condition.
You see, Phil’s life was turned upside down this past May when he suffered his second stroke which left his left arm and leg dramatically impaired. He joked about his difficulty mixing pancake batter with one arm.
It was interesting to hear Phil’s comments about the light in Les’s eyes and mine. Our chance to share where this light was coming from. Les’s compassion with Phil was wonderful to see. Seeing a shepherd care for part of the flock he just met was very touching. We had a chance to share a couple of “God stories” with Phil to encourage him. His response: “I need to get closer to God. Jesus is an okay word…I just need to get closer to God”.
After playing some music, Phil allowed us to pray with him. It was a humbling time for sure. I was reflecting on our visit as we drove away from Phil’s place. Following Jesus into a person’s life can be as natural and simple as receiving lunch from person who gladly gives of himself, regardless of his circumstances.
Thank you Les for your openness, caring and compassion for this friend of mine and showing me the “way of a shepherd”. During our retreat we talked often of the Five-Fold Ministry (APEST). It was such a delight to see it unfold before my very eyes.
An encouragement to all who read this: I believe following Jesus into people’s lives is really quite easy. Look at the natural rhythms of life all around you (eating, visiting, partying, playing) and invite others in to join you or go be with them. Let your light shine brightly as you journey on these missional adventures and watch God touch lives and hearts.
I had a dream a few nights ago about a polar bear coming around the corner of my yard. It saw my two friends and I and started running towards us aggressively. I knew that it was very dangerous and I yelled at my friends to run to the back of the house and get inside. I ran up to the front of the house to distract it and got to the top of the stairs to the front door as it caught up with me. I saw that if I kept running I would be overtaken so I turned around and faced the bear with a spirit of aggression and anger and just stood my ground. I wanted to kick it and hurt it but I just stood my ground. The polar bear stopped, and stood there hesitating because of my change of energy. As I stared it down with my spirit and eyes, it eventually backed down and walked away defeated.
I looked up Polar bear in my dream book and it only had one note beside it: Religious Spirit. The Polar Bear is known as one of the most dangerous and aggressive bears in the animal kingdom. The dream presented this idea that the religious spirit is actually very violent and aggressive. It brings death. And this can be said of the religious spirit in the spiritual arena. Once it latches onto a believer, or any human for that matter, it kills off the child within, it kills off the person’s divine personality, it kills off grace. And over time it forces onto people a false burden. The “should” burden. The burden that says unless you are a certain way, God will not love you. God will reject you unless you are perfect and follow all the “rules”.
These lies, kill a man in a worse way than physical death does. It makes a man forget the sweet love and mercy of God, the unconditional love of a father. And worse of all it nullifies the power of Christ’s death, suffering and resurrection in a person’s life. Religion binds us in chains again by telling us it is by what we do and say and how we live that we earn God’s approval and love and mercy. Believing this is like spitting at Jesus hanging on the cross for us. He literally died so that we could be FREE from that nonsense. Because of what Christ did; paying for all of us a ransom from that bitter law-bound slavery, we are set free from the chains of the law. He did it all FOR US. A gift. The biggest gift.
What used to bring death and condemnation, is now powerless over us because we believe in Jesus and what he did. And beyond that, Jesus’s work astoundingly returned us to a one on one relationship with Abba Father – despite our sins. We enter into God’s presence because Jesus unceasingly absorbs ALL the dirt we carry and will carry. Jesus is the antidote to the real virus. We didn’t and couldn’t and cannot do anything about our own predicament. It is only his blood that can suck out the poison, and reunites us with Abba; The joy filled, hopeful, unbeatable, warrior-King who laughs till he cries tears and his nose flares. Abba, who thinks with a furrowed brow and can’t wait to sit with his children and play a game of Chess, or Code Names, or Mario Kart. And to see us with Abba again is Christ’s reward. To see this reunion; how it blesses Abba’s heart and changes ours, delights and fills Jesus to no end.
The spirit of religion makes us forget our Abba and transforms our image of him into a dictator who desires bleached robotic humans who will bow in fear to him. Humans who must act perfect or die. The spirit of religion teaches us to look at other humans with judgement and condemnation because they don’t believe as we do. They don’t act as we think they should, they can’t get it together fast enough, they are weak, they don’t love God enough, or they love the wrong God(s), or the wrong political party, or they love the wrong gender, or ask questions that offend us, clothes that offend us, tattoos, piercings, hair, lifestyles that offend us.
The spirit of religion gets us looking at others with a constant eye-roll instead of seeing who people really are underneath the stupid curse. It makes us forget that they are human, woven together at birth by God, who are meant to live with Abba but have been taken captive by the curse. Friends, grace is choked out by the spirit of religion – and grace is the daughter of love, and love is who God is. The spirit of religion teaches us that it is by our works/ways/words that others will see Abba and be saved. And this is one of the deadliest ways of this evil spirit. It is ONLY by the spirit of God that another’s heart can be changed. We do not love God because we think it will change other people’s minds to be the same as us. We love God because we love God. Period. What fruit comes out of that is Abba’s decision.
Ephesians 2:8-10 The Message
Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.
Matthew 22:36-40 The Passion Translation (TPT)
36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”37 Jesus answered him, “‘Love the Lord your God with every passion of your heart, with all the energy of your being, and with every thought that is within you.’38 This is the great and supreme commandment. 39 And the second is like it in importance: ‘You must love your friend[c] in the same way you love yourself.
Abba, send your powerful spirit, like a warm chinook wind after endless weeks of an icy-winter, and melt away all religious paradigms about Jesus that have been subconsciously ingrained into us. Give us discernment to recognize where religion has chained our divinity – our freedom in Jesus. Then give us the righteous-table-turning anger to stand our ground against this spirit and turn it away. Give us back our joy again. Jesus, show us who you really are. Spirit, open our eyes to see him. And when we see him, fill our hearts with a love so great it violently overflows from us and onto every piece of ground that you send us to play on.
In John 7 we read the account of Jesus being present in Jerusalem for one of the Jewish Annual Festivals. The masses were conflicted. ‘Who is this man’? Some said he was a good man, others said he was a fraud. The general consensus seemed to be that he couldn’t possibly be the Messiah, because the people said; “We know where he comes from. When the Messiah comes, he will simply appear. No one will know where he comes from”. They couldn’t imagine that the promised Deliverer could be so normal as to grow up among them. Their expectation for something ‘supernatural’ or at the very least – something more ‘grand’ and ‘mysterious’ blinded them from God’s work in the ordinary.
God loves to use the ordinary stuff of life; the ‘under-the-radar’ types of things and types of people to accomplish his purposes. In God’s Kingdom, things are not always as they seem.
God chose Israel, the weakest and smallest of all nations.
Jesus took a few loaves and fishes.
Jesus chose 12 uneducated, normal and certainly ‘under-the-radar’ men.
As I was pondering this, I thought about the Edge Network of House Churches. We are just an ordinary group of people scattered across this great county of ours. We don’t have any grand buildings. We don’t have a large budget. There are no ‘larger-than-life’, charismatic leaders among us. We are ordinary. I would imagine that people might look at us (If they even notice us) and not be very impressed. And that’s okay, because in God’s kingdom things are not always as they seem.
Jesus was the Messiah! God took Israel and made them into a great nation, accomplishing his eternal purposes through them. Jesus fed over 5000 people with a few loaves & fishes and those 12 ordinary men were used to begin the greatest movement in the history of the world!
We see a pattern in Scripture and it tells us something about how God works and thinks. God loves to use the small, ordinary stuff of life to accomplish more than we could ever dream or imagine!
So, I say … let’s keep our eyes fixed on Jesus! Let’s be faithful in the small, everyday tasks and callings Jesus gives to each of us. As we follow Jesus into the lives of ordinary people, lets do every small act with great love! And then we will trust God to do whatever he wants to do as we offer up our few loaves and fishes!
Remember – in God’s kingdom, things are not always as they seem.
…After one small prayer meeting, a person felt they should anoint their doorposts with oil as the Hebrews did in the first Passover – a symbol of the covering of the blood of Jesus and faith that just as God protected His people from the plagues, He will protect us in the midst of Covid-19. We should still take precautions, but we can also affirm our ultimate trust in God.
…A co-worker called an Edge family member out of fear of the virus and sickness, and she was able to share the gospel of hope in Christ. She and her family rejoiced over this opportunity, and it gave them strength. Let’s watch for opportunities to give life and hope.
…One of our men was at work a few days ago and someone known to have a foul mouth stood up in front of everyone in the lunch room and said, “I need to share something. I don’t want to be offensive, but there is one true God and Jesus is His son. I don’t have a sinless life, but I BELIEVE!” Other men then started testifying of their faith right there in the lunch room!
Our house church was celebrating several birthdays that took place last month, and one of the things we do is pray over everyone who had a birthday. This one particular Sunday, one of the small children asked if they could pray for one of the adults. It was a pretty simple but very special prayer.
Then another child wanted to pray for me, as I had a birthday that month as well. Then a different child prayed over one of the other children who was celebrating a birthday.
SMALL CHILDREN PRAYING BLESSINGS OVER OTHERS. It was one of those moments when you say, “This is why we do this!”
In 2017, the Edge network of HCs rented a booth in the Calgary Body, Spirit, Soul Expo like we do every year. We create a warm atmosphere and offer to pray for anyone who asks, amidst the other booths offering palm readings, energy consultations, or strange little figurines. It has been an excellent place for us to initiate conversations with those seeking hope and assurance, and not just with the ones attending the expo, but even more so with those working in the other booths.
A couple of weeks ago I got a surprise call from one of them asking if I had time to get together. So we met at Prince’s Island and had an awesome conversation about many spiritual and Biblical things. He confided in me that Jesus was his favourite prophet of all the prophets, and out of all of them, Jesus is the one he wants to be like. Our discussion was so open and honest, I really appreciate it. We agreed we will do this again when he is back in Calgary.
So seeds were planted at the expo in 2017, and they were watered a couple of weeks ago, and the Lord causes the growth, just like in 1 Corinthians 3:6-7. May the Lord keep growing in him, until we meet again.
We (Verne and Bernice) just launched a “Greenhouse” community that will be meeting at our home in Bowness. We are excited to put into practice a “Greenhouse” community much like the original “Greenhouse Experience” that John, Tim, and Dylan, along with several Edge members explored in November of 2018 over 4 weekends. We were so encouraged by this experience that we wanted to share it with others who were interested.
We had our inaugural meeting on July 4 and have had another meeting on July 11. Roxanne C. along with one couple who is very dear friends of Bernice and I have been to both of our meetings. In addition to those of us who were at the meetings we have interest from a friend who lives in our building as well as two other couples who may or may not be able to attend at this point. However, I introduced them to some initial things we are studying/discussing and we are trusting the Lord to bless them through the invitation.
I would like to extend an invitation to anyone who may be interested in journeying with us in this endeavour to contact me at 403-978-8746.
THE INCREDIBLE STORY OF Loni Balisky‘s NEW KIDNEY! (Updated Version)
17 years ago, Loni was in the middle of her first kidney failure. While at a Bible camp, one of Loni’s mom’s friends was praying for her. While praying, this friend saw a vision of a storehouse of body parts, she then felt to motion towards Loni’s body that God was putting kidneys into Loni in the spirit… She then said, that she saw something about a 3 and a 5, but didn’t know what it meant..
Loni thought to herself… Do you mean 35 years old? OH NO! That is waaaay to far away!! I can’t wait 17 years for a new kidney!!
Some time later, Loni’s life sustaining dialysis treatments began to fail. Her family began a desperate search for a donor, and even launched an online marketing campaign. This caught media attention, and Loni was followed by the local news. After much turmoil with the online campaign, Loni was blessed to received a living donor kidney transplant from her uncle! His heroic and selfless act saved Loni’s life, and this transplant was a huge blessing to her! This transplant also allowed us to get married in Maui, and to visit both Australia and Mexico. The transplanted kidney operated successfully for over 7 years, but unfortunately it eventually failed, and she had to return to dialysis. We will always remember the ‘sweet pea’ years, and we will always be so thankful to Loni’s uncle Paul!
For the last 8 years, Loni has been on dialysis. During this period of time, she also gave birth to a miracle son Troy while on dialysis! This was an incredible story all on its own, but too long to share here. Because of her previous transplant, and because she receiving dozens of blood transfusions over the years, she had developed a high antibody resistance, and her match chance for transplantation was with less than 1% of the population. Because of this limitation, we had given up hope that a donor transplant would be a realistic option. We instead turned our full hope towards receiving a supernatural Kidney from God! As age 35 approached for Loni, we kept our eyes on this 17 year old prophetic word, that predicted that this would be the year that Loni would receive a miracle kidney.
Then on April 4th, out of nowhere we got a call from the hospital, which said that they had a kidney for Loni from a deceased donor somewhere in Canada and that they were transporting it in. Not only that, but they were excited to share that it was a 6 out of 6 perfect antigen match, which avoided all these antibodies and would work amazingly for her! (A 6/6 is the closest match second only to identical twins. The chance of any two random people having a 6/6 antigen match is 1 in 100,000. For comparison, blood siblings only have a 25% chance of having a 6/6).
We rushed to the hospital, and Loni passed every test with flying colors. Her health was in the best condition it had been in years, and she was physically, emotionally, and spiritually primed for transplant! As we headed into surgery she did not require any anti-anxiety medication, and was radiating peace and joy! The transplant surgery was a textbook procedure, and she received a successful transplant the next day on April 5th.
** A humongous thank you to the kidney donor for selflessly offering themselves to the donor program, and to AHS for facilitating such an amazing match and transplantation! If you haven’t already done so, please consider signing your donor card! You too can save a life! **
AND A HUGE AMEN! Thank you Jesus for fulfilling this 17 year old prophetic word, given my Loni’s mom’s friend, and for providing a Kidney for Loni while she is 35 years old!!!
BUT THATS NOT ALL!!!
For confidentiality reasons, donors and recipeient names are not shared with each other.
With rememberance of the prophetic word, Loni’s mom reached out to her friend, who she was still close with. Unfortunately her friends husband had been struggling with a serious heart condition, and had been staying with Loni’s mom in Edmonton while he was in hospital. Unfortunately, Loni’s mom informed us that her friends husband had just passed away due to his heart condition, and so she didn’t want to bring up our exciting news about the prophetic word being fulfilled.
However, as we pondered where the kidney could have came from… We realized that the day that we received the call, was the same day that this husband had passed away… so Loni’s mom began to ask her friend more questions, and we soon found out that her friends husband was an organ donor… and that his two kidneys had been donated after his passing, one went outside of Alberta, and one stayed within Alberta… we then found out that the kidney that went to the person in Alberta had a very high antibody resistance, and was very unlikely to receive a transplant, but due to an incrediblly rare match and high compatibility they were able to receive it!… we then confirmed that the husband had a compatible blood type with Loni… WOW! While we asked more questions on our end, we were told that our donor was a middle aged person, and that the kidney had been sent from Edmonton!!!
WOW! Although we could not confirm it by name, these facts are shocking! The same date, same destination province, same source city, compatible blood type, and the sender was told the recipient had a very high antibody resistance and an extreme high compatibility match… The exact same scenario that Loni had!
WHAT? Did this just actually happen?
Did a wife prophesy miracle kidneys, which would arrive 17 years later while Loni was 35 years old?… And did God lock in an extremely rare match, with a 1 in 100,000 chance of happening to defy all odds?… and did he line up this “random” donor, to be none other than the husband of the lady who prophecied new kidneys 17 years ago? ??
We are totally blown away and so thankful!
We sensed God’s presence and that unique sense of “FAMILY” that God’s children experience when together, as people from the Edge gathered in Calgary Feb 1-3. It was a wonderful time as we worshiped our Lord together, listened to him and to one another.
We wrestled together with what it means to make Disciples and what language we use to help us better engage in the mission. We all agreed I think, that we want to be people who GIVE LIFE to others. Giving Life is the essence of what Jesus has invited us to join him in!
We also affirmed from Ephesians 4:1-16 that the Lord has given every person in His body at least one of the 5 gifts of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Shepherd or Teacher. These 5 roles were each evident in Christ and He has imprinted his DNA into his body, the church. What if every House Church and community affirmed, encouraged and would seek to activate all 5 of these gifts! The promise in Ephesians 4:14-16 is a mature and whole church, which is growing more and more like Christ in every way!
We also celebrated new groups forming and joining the Edge. These groups meet in homes, offices … wherever people gather and God leads!
Thanks to everyone who attended and helped to make this time together so encouraging and inspirational!
Lord, please restore our “edge”. Shake us again with your presence and your word – make them unavoidable. We need another word from you that gives us direction and hope. Fill us with Your Spirit – Your warrior, mission-driven, love-motivated Spirit. And give us boldness to ride valiantly – living out your calling to us – riding close behind you – breathing down Your neck.
Let us sense the passion of your heart and follow you into people’s lives with conviction and confidence. Lead us clearly to those people, and clearly lead them to us. Orchestrate connections by Your divine appointment. Give us people Lord! We don’t want 1000’s of dollars to build facilities, we want 1000’s of people and to build them into your kingdom. We want to start villages that impact the villages around them. We want to wage war against the enemy of those villages.
We ask for your Spirit to go before us, and to anoint us for your mission. Let the gifts and abilities we have as a village rise to the surface and be used to build up our people. May there not be one person among us who is not valued and anointed for service in your kingdom and mission. Give us the full measure of unity and maturity. And as we live for you and serve you together, we ask for the joy of the Lord to be our strength. May we join with the early disciples in a sense of awe and joy as we witness the signs and wonders of Your Spirit freely moving among us.
We want to hear the call again from our commander Jesus Christ, “Ride with Me!” And may we see apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers mount up. Let there be new riders moving to the front lines. Let the children who have never ridden mount up and become warriors. Let those newly adopted children of God see the devotion of their brothers and sisters, and find their example irresistible. With fire in their heart, and us by their side, may they pursue and find their own horse to ride. This is our prayer, in the name of Him who is dressed in white and rides on a white horse, the Alpha and Omega, the King of Kings – our Lord JESUS! Amen and amen.
The Body, Spirit, Soul Expo in Edmonton went so well! A few people received physical healing and we were able to share the gospel freely! (more than usual I would say and people were so receptive!) We GAVE away numerous Bibles that were so welcomed, and there’s interest from people about church and/or House Church. One young lady just texted last night and says she started reading the Bible we gave her and is planning to go to church for Christmas.
We would often ask people what brought them to the Expo and their answers were so interesting. A few said, “Community” – amazing that they would come to this Expo looking for that! It was such a great conversation starter and way to offer to connect. Others came for purpose, direction, healing, etc. It was so refreshing to be able to talk about these things that matter, pray with them and offer to follow up! 17 people left their contact info of the 26 who requested that we pray for them over the next 2 weeks.
Thank you again everyone, for partnering with us!
Last Saturday night we got together with 90 plus Christians from different churches to celebrate Hanukkah.It was a glorious celebration.Hanukkah is also known as the Feast of Dedication, mentioned in John 10:22,23: ” And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.
Another name for Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights. Just a few days before this festival, our Lord was also in the temple courts and in the midst of the festival preparation, and very possibly standing with the backdrop of the giant burning temple lamps. Here, our Lord Jesus cried out, ““I am the light of the world.Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”(John 8:12) Jesus was pointing to Himself as the fulfillment of the Festival of Lights!
The first Hanukkah was celebrated in 168 BC and it commemorates the re-dedication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem . The temple was desecrated by the Seleucid King Antioticus 1V Epiphanis. Epiphanis means “God manifest”.The historical book of Macabees records that the Jews had risen up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt. They took back the temple and rededicated it back to God.
We celebrate Hanukkah because our Lord Jesus celebrated it. We also celebrate this festival to stand with God’s chosen people, the Jews whom He chose and loves and will be coming back to save one day soon.
We also gather to identify ourselves with other believers in the area. As we know, sometimes we are looked on quite “suspiciously” by them.
We also marked the occasion by rededicating ourselves to God for His service as His temples. As followers of Christ, are we obliged to celebrate Hanukkah or any of the other Biblical Feasts in Leviticus 23? …Of course not! But we are free to celebrate, and remember … and why not?! All of these ancient Feasts points to the redemptive work of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
A few weeks ago some of us baptized a new lady to our home church in a neighbours hot tub. This came after some very strong and direct spiritual battles for freedom and healing. Praise the Lord – she did it – the Lord did it! Generations were changed and healed that night! Coming out of the water she said “I didn’t expect that.” Expect what? “That strong wind that came through. That was crazy”. There was no wind, but there was for her! We read John 3:8 to her – “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit”. We all were blown away!!!
“We knew this young man (K) through business, since he was 27. Today he is 41. I always talked to him about the Lord and prayed that one day he would come to know Him. We tried to be a good witness all along.
Our friend K was raised with a Catholic Mother and a Hindu Father. He often talked about God, but didn’t know the One True God.
Years ago he met a young woman, fell in love, got married and had two young children. Unfortunately the marriage went sideways and is now ending.
K came to stay with us just before his court appearance. He was very upset about what was happening.
We asked K if we could pray for him before he went back home to face his court date. He said ‘yes’, so the day of, we got up early to pray with him and I felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit to ask him if he wanted to receive Yeshua and be born again. Without hesitation, K said “Yes”!!
We prayed with Him. Many tears of joy were shed.
Our dear friend went home and the judge found favor with him, entitling him to 50% custody of his children which is what he wanted along with some other financial considerations.
He is down here for a visit tonight, which is our House Church night! PTL!
God’s timing is always so perfect!!! He is so faithful!!
Sometimes it seems like it takes a long time for a friend to come to know the Lord but it will all be worth it in the end!!”
On July 13 EIGHT of us piled into 2 cars and headed for Vancouver. (Actually it was Surrey!) The drive itself was a ton of fun and was a great time to deepen friendships. At every pit stop a few people moved from one car to the other. The road trip there and back was like a ‘mobile retreat’ in an of itself!
When we arrived at our location at Pacific Life Bible College we felt like we were home … among family! After the hugs, and bathroom breaks … we entered into a wonderful time of worshiping our Lord Jesus Christ together. The entire weekend was so GOOD in so many ways. We loved being with our family in Vancouver area. Thank you for hosting us! We enjoyed times of payer, worship, equipping and deepening our friendships and our commitment to BE THE CHURCH in simple organic ways as we follow Jesus into the lives of others.
Here is a short video of the highlights…
Thomas & Tim met at a coffee shop to pray and listen to God before they went out (just as Jesus sent the 12 and later the 70) to look for ‘people of peace‘ whom they could share the Gospel with. “We were going out knowing that we would be sowing seeds of the Gospel, or to harvest what others had planted” says Tim. The 2 men went with some nervousness, but also a sense of authority and that Jesus was leading them. They felt led to a condo complex and once there Jesus directed them to knock on doors where the yard lights were on. They did and had some excellent conversations with several people, thus planting seeds of the Kingdom. The highlight of the evening however was when, after a bit of friendly conversation, one young gentleman said, “I’ve been wanting to read the Bible, but just haven’t gotten around to it”. They asked if he owned a Bible, to which he replied ‘no’. Then they asked if he would be open to them returning to share and discuss the Bible to which he declined, but he did readily accept the gift of a Bible!! Pray for this young man to read the Bible and find a relationship with the author Jesus Christ!
The Rundle HC had a rich time celebrating the Passover Seder together on April 14th. We had about 18 adults come and experience the deep truths hidden within this festival – many for the first time. One of the most meaningful symbols is the hiding and then the finding of the “Afikomen” (Bread of Affliction), which speaks to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus in the Messianic observance. We highly recommend this to all our home churches. Please contact us if you would like some help leading in this.
We celebrate the baptism of an entire family…in our bath tub! (Reminds me of Acts 16:33, where the jailer ‘and all his family were baptized’!) We are overjoyed to announce new members of God’s family! It was the most humbling privilege to baptize our friends Taryn, Tyler, Sanaa and Neela. On Resurrection Sunday, they came with open hearts and faith by the power of the Holy Spirit.” What a privilege it is to follow Jesus into the lives of others!
We had a tremendous week! A strong relationship is building, and it’s a source of encouragement for all of us. We continue to marvel at how the Lord is speaking the same language to both movements, despite the language barrier between us. Each time we see them and enter into their lives, the relationship goes deeper, and we know we are not alone in this movement. The Lord is a rider on his white horse, riding across this land.
There are so many stories, but I’m going to share this one with you for now. In behind the scenes, our prayer team went to do a house blessing – which turned into that, and so much more with a couple in our community. The wife of the home had literally packed her husband’s bags the night before and was ready to leave him the day we had scheduled to come… After we all did much listening, witnessing, encouragement, and prayer, they are joining with God in fighting for their family and for his kingdom. 2 demons were kicked out of their home, the husband prayed for his family and protected his home spiritually for the first time. The next day, my friend told me that she had unpacked his bags, that they started getting rid of any possessions that they would be ashamed to show Jesus, and that her husband has been praying for their family constantly. Today, she committed to start memorizing this scripture about running the race (Heb 12:1-3), so that she can use it as her sword and shield. There have already been some bumps along the way, but we take heart in the Lord and we will continue connecting with them. Glory belongs to God alone! Please, would you continue to lift up this family with us?
Listen to this!! One house church had been discussing and studying COMMUNION and how God will often pour out his blessing when we partake of the elements in faith, remembering and celebrating God’s supreme sacrifice for us. Later that week one of their HC members woke up in the middle of the night with an illness. She awoke her husband and together they shared in communion. Yes … in the middle of the night. In that moment and by God’s grace she was healed.
Maaaaaan! God is good! He is faithful when we step out to be used by him. Many lives were touched yesterday. Thanks everyone for your prayers!
Including kids, we had 14 people and 1 dog come out! Some from the Edge, and some new friends we met through thelastreformation com. I’ll share some stories from the group.
One shopkeeper asked for prayer for emotional healing, and she was instantly flooded with love and peace as God touched her. Another man, God healed all the pain in his knees and feet and he was very excited and wants to meet again to learn more about Jesus. Another guy God healed all the pain in his back.
We also prayed for a young homeless guy who had cancer, and the kids brought him hot chocolate and food. The kids also gave out some money and gift cards to some other people in need. We also met one guy who found Jesus 18 months ago, when Jesus broke his alcohol addiction, however he needed new hips, so we encoured him and prayed for his hips. He didn’t have any pain at the time, so we are believing all is better for him!
One lady started manifesting evil spirts right in the parking lot when a couple approached her, and she swore she would never acknowledge the name of Jesus. However, after and hour of prayer and singing worship, she was totally set free and then she gave her life to Jesus!! AMEN! She also wants to stay connected to learn more about Jesus.
I am so humbled by yesterday, and I want to grow to get to know our good God more! and to be used by Him! The Word is truely alive and active!!