Only 7 more days 'til the kids are back at school. Watch this little video I put together to see just how happy Elizabeth and I are about it!!!
Grace's fall kick-off will be on September 23. That means that I have 2 days less than a month before we mark another year's "beginning" in our ministry cycle.
September is always the busiest month of the year as we are both planning the entire fall calendar as well as preparing for the period in which we see the most substantial numeric growth in the church. We've got quite a bit on the go before we even hit the 23rd. Here's what the schedule looks like:
AUG 26: Introduce New Grace Logo (you'll see it here soon!)
SEPT 1: Launch new Grace website (contingent on me getting my last items to the web developer)
SEPT 8: All-church flier delivery day AND free BBQ at the local Superstore
SEPT 9: Pastor Bartley's vision message for the fall and commissioning of new pastor, Cary Sawatsky
SEPT 16: Terry Fox Run (we're not holding church services in order to participate in a local 10K charity run for cancer.
SEPT 23: Fall Kick-Off: New series entitled Confessions of a 37-Year Old Pastor
In the midst of all this, we have kids starting back to school, with Silas and Ephraim in a new school, we are replacing the flooring in our den and office (painting those two rooms as well, we have an all-day staff retreat, and I'm finishing out my tennis league season.
Simply put, I'm already tired from just looking at the calendar.
We've just returned from a short (3-day) camping excursion to Algonquin Park; the most beautiful and scenic part of Ontario I've seen yet. We camped for three nights at Mew Lake. The weather wasn't the greatest, but we had a fun time nonetheless.
Out first night the temperature dropped to "see-your-breath" lows. We were all sleeping in winter clothing, including our toques. I still froze and slept little. The next day was gorgeous and sunny. Silas, Sarah and I spent a fair bit of the day on the beach at Mew Lake while Elizabeth and Ephraim drove back to Huntsville, Ontario to buy underwear. One of them forgot to pack any. Let's just say it wasn't the one sitting in the car seat.
The second night sleeping was much better. It was warmer AND we were all thoroughly exhausted from the first night's sleep loss.
We spent part of day two back at Mew Lake's beach, although the weather was cold and gray. Silas and Ephraim romped in the sand and waded in the water, completely immune to the crummy weather conditions.
That afternoon we drove to Lake Opeongo, Algonquin's largest lake. There, we rented a canoe and went for a trip on the water. Elizabeth and the boys didn't last long, so Sarah and I dumped them on shore and we explored a bit of the lake ourselves. I could have gone all day! It was fun. The lake is beautiful.
Our third night of sleep was disrupted by an incredible thunder storm. It rained nearly and inch in less than an hour. We got up this morning to a soggy mess. We packed up and headed home to be back for Sarah's work shift which started at 5pm.
Algonquin Park was fantastic. I look forward to many, many more excursions and wilderness exploring.
At Grace this summer, we've been in a teaching series called The Spiritual Reflections of Billy Joel. We've used the titles and topics of some of Billy's most popular songs as a launching point for spiritual discussions.
Yesterday, I had the privilege of delivering the Sunday morning message called "I Go To Extremes."
I began the message by playing the song by Mr. Joel and then showed a video clip from the 1990's sitcom Home Improvement. The clip was from season 2 where Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor had a lawnmower race with Bob Vila.
For some reason, the first part of the message didn't get recorded as I discussed the implications of Tim Taylor being an extreme personality.
If you're interested in hearing what I had to say, you can download the message here: CLICK - DOWNLOAD
Other than my body being totally messed up regarding the time zone, having a good time here in B.C. I'm finally sleeping like a west coaster, but I'm still hungry like an Ontarian. Weird.
On Tuesday I co-led the worship with Jason at the morning session, playing guitar and leading some vocals. We were supposed to have a carwash in the evening but the weather was not conducive (cold and rainy) so we attached postcards to bags of microwave popcorn (unpopped, of course). Phil suggested that Bartley, Darin and I skip out early and hang out at his house. Which we gladly did. We stayed at Phil's late playing Settlers of Catan. Bartley won the first game. Phil won the second. I sucked during both.
Wednesday was a day off for us so Bartley and I took the SkyTrain into Vancouver (we're actually staying in Surrey) and visited a former member of Grace, Beverly. Bev moved out here 2 years ago to be closer to her family. We ate lunch at a pub downtown and the wandered around the historic Gastown district where I bought some stuff for my kids.
Well, I'm writing this on day 4. Today will involve more flier delivery and a car wash. Again,however, the weather is not looking too promising for the car wash.