In October 2000, Pam Borchert and I started teaching together at Summerland Christian Playschool. Mrs. B, Mrs. E and nine precious little ones. It was our very first class. The years flew by and now five of those children (the ones that were 4 years old at the time) just graduated from High School! How does fourteen years go by so fast? I can remember each of them at four years old. I recall their cute little faces, their 4 year old personalities. Something about each one of those children has stuck with me through the years. The way their little voice sounded or something they said or did. Who they were at 4 years old is very much who they are now. Quiet... outgoing... thoughtful... scientifically inclined... adventurous... We saw a glimpse of who God created them to be; their identity in Christ.
This year, playschool again flew by. The precious class of 2013-14 will graduate in 2027! That is thirteen years from now. I know it will pass all too quickly. I can't help but wonder how these kids will be impacted as they grow. Will they remember that God created them for a purpose? That God has a plan for them? Will peer pressure change how they see themselves? Will they continue to see the gifts that were evident in them as a preschooler and grow to discover more of who God made them to be? Will they remember that God made them, loves them and wants to be connected with them forever?
During circle time during the last week of playschool this year, I had a very serious chat with the kids. I told them that I needed them to never, ever forget something VERY important. I almost cried as I looked into their precious little faces knowing I wouldn’t be with them much longer… “Please, always remember that God loves you!” “Oh Mrs. E! Of course we will remember!”
Thirteen years from now, before they head out into the big world after their grade 12 graduation, they will receive a note from their playschool teachers reminding them of God's unconditional, eternal love. That He was with them in a big way from the beginning. A reminder that we saw a glimpse in their four year old selves of who God made them to be and encourage them to follow that fearlessly and passionately.
Celebrate 2014, held on Sunday, June 8, reminded us that we have so many things to celebrate and be thankful for this past year. A highlight of the evening was witnessing four individuals in our church family be baptised. You may not have been able to attend the event, but we wanted to make sure you had the opportunity to watch and celebrate as well...
These are the testimonies Michael, Amy, Kayla and Katie shared with us that night:
Testimony of Michael Batt:
Hello, my name is Michael…
I would like to thank God for the opportunity to meet Pastor Del and Rod and Brenda Conrad who have become wonderful friends to me. In addition, I am thankful for the Tuesday morning men’s group, because without them, my quality of life would be considerably lower. Finally I ask God’s blessing on the Summerland Baptist Church congregation for their prayers and support.
I have opened my heart to God because of the joy of being blessed with the gift of life, and the miracles that I experience each day. I recognize these blessings through the songs of the little birds God made, the beauty of our parks, the smell of the blossoms in the air, my lake shore walks and the knowledge that God is with me through the good and bad. Most importantly, I realize that God has given me the hope of a better future. These are some of the reasons I want to be baptized… so God and all those who witness my obedience can see that I desire to live my life in a way that will make God smile!
My life has been changed because I now believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he died for my sins. I have asked Jesus to forgive my sins, and to come into my heart and life. It is my intention to let Christ live in me and guide me for the rest of my life.
Thank you God!
Testimony of Amie Wouda:
When I was four years old I was determined to go to the front at a Billy Graham crusade and ask Jesus into my heart. Although I was young, the decision was very clear to me. My Mum has been faithful to keep songs I wrote and prayers I prayed around this time demonstrating my faith in Jesus and delight in Him and has often reminded me of stories of His faithfulness to me at this age as we went through many family challenges and I overcame phobias and anxiety.
As a teenager, my relationship with God deepened as I came to know Him as my faithful friend and comforter. I had very little church influence as a teenager except for summer family camps but would pray a lot and was very dependent on God. I would go to bed and talk to Him until I fell asleep and felt like He revealed who He was to me. I would share this with friends and see them come to faith in Christ. When I went to Bible school at eighteen one of the most exciting things about it was being taught by teachers and preachers that who God had revealed Himself to be to me quietly as I prayed as a teenager, is actually who He is.
Being shown His character and person and desire for me in His word affirmed my relationship with Him and my trust in that still small voice I had spent years listening to alone. Bible school was a great time, full of solid teaching, a deepening relationship with Jesus and enjoying seeing a lot of miraculous answers to prayer and people accept Jesus as their Saviour through outreach ministries. I discovered more of how Christ desires to live His resurrection Life through me as I rest in Him. And then, in time, I had a few years where I became more jaded; I still loved the Lord and desired to live for Him but I was hurt and disillusioned and I became busy and took less time to listen and really engage with Jesus. My desire to share Him waned as I got consumed with my own small world.
Over the last year, Andy and I have been on a challenging and joy-filled journey of surrender, forgiveness, restoration and trust. I am finding myself falling more in love with Jesus again and discovering more of what it means to live life in light of who I believe myself to be. We have been so supported by this church family this year, practically, emotionally and in prayer as we have journeyed through challenges and joys.
Testimony of Kayla Rogall:
Ever since I was a little girl my parents have brought me to church and taught me about Jesus and his love for me. I feel very blessed to have that because there are a lot of kids that don’t get the chance to learn about his love for us.
Being in the middle school youth group and the girls Bible study group I have had the opportunity to learn even more. I have been getting closer to God and learning so much from Mikel, Sarah and Tianna and I am so thankful for that. One day we were reading verses with Sarah and Tianna and I got to read one:
Matthew 6: 33-34 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all will be given to you as well. There for do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Ever since I read that verse it has been in my heart, because it reminds me that I can bring all my worries, problems and stress to Jesus and he will take them and help me get through them for his love for me is greater than any worries I may have. I want to follow the path that God has for me and walk it with Jesus. My love for the Lord is everlasting. I am very ready and excited to devote my life to God and teach others about his love for us!
Testimony of Katie Van Bergeyk:
Hello my name is Katie and I am 12 years old. I grew up in a Christian home where we went to church every Sunday and my parents taught me about Jesus. Two years ago when I was in my bed one night I knew that I wanted to have a relationship with Jesus so I asked him to come into my heart. I want to get baptized because of all the things Jesus has done for me and because he will always love me no matter what. (And I love him.)
Video Credit: Steven Cogbill (Thanks Steven!)
Celebrating what God has done among our youth this past ministry year:
SBC Youth Report 2014
God has done and continues to do extraordinary things with our youth at SBC. As I have reflected on what God has done this year, Ephesians 1:11 seems to be a fantastic descriptor.
It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. (The Message)
Our youth are discovering who they are in Christ. As I interviewed our youth for the SBC Youth Celebrate video, I was inspired as they shared all the beautiful transformational work that Jesus was doing in their heart and minds. God is doing an outstanding work in our youth. As a church family, I appreciate how we are committed to ensuring that they feel connected and loved here at SBC.
Our Mission Trip to Mexico was fantastic. This year, we partnered with One Life One Chance, a mission group based in Abbottsford. Our mission trip experience provided a combination of building and serving. The main goal was to build a house for the Vasquez family of seven. They had been living in 8’x12’ shack without electricity, water, gas and just a dirt floor. At the end of the week, we completed a 22’x22’ home. I was so impressed with our team and their willingness to serve Jesus through serving others.
This year we also had 4 mid-week bible studies from September to June. I knew the value of these Bible studies for our youth when I heard of parents having to arrange their schedule so that their kids wouldn’t miss it. This year we focused on building a meta-narrative (or overall big picture) for the youth in regards to the Bible. In using the “The Bible” TV series, we provided an overview of the Biblical story and helped the youth gain a big picture perspective and develop an understanding of how the Bible is interconnected.
Our weekly High school and Middle school Clubs were excellent this year. The High school youth met on Wednesday, and the Middle school met on Friday nights. As leaders, our hearts’ desire for these nights was that they would be a place of safety and welcoming to all. We knew that this was happening when we noticed a large influx of non-churched youth into these club nights. Our youth knew that this was a safe place to bring their friends, and they did so without any encouragement. My favorite part of these nights as a leader is multi-tasking: having 4 conversations going on at the same time as the youth are so excited to share what is going on in their lives. It’s a real gift to have the privilege to share Jesus’ heart towards them as they express what is on their hearts.
Another thrilling area in the youth ministry this year, is witnessing all the groundwork that has been done in building a healthy transition from the Sparks and Spudz program into the Middle School Club. After spring break, we welcome all the Grade 5’s to start attending Friday Nights and Sunday Mornings. It’s encouraging to see all these familiar faces from Sparks and Spudz charging around on Friday nights, and it’s even better when you notice that they are bringing their friends too.
These incredible things wouldn’t be happening without the incredible leadership of Jesus Christ. He is the heart of our ministry and continues to set the direction. It’s a tremendous task to be about discerning his voice and leading. This discerning doesn’t happen in a vacuum. I am joined by an incredible group of leaders: Tianna Reimer, Craig Meadow, Sarah Laurie, Erin Selles, Tammy Carter, Laceydawn Loeppky and Misty McDonald. These partners are remarkable, and I am especially excited when I hear about the incredible amount of prep work that they do for their Bible studies.
I believe Jesus has incredible plans and dreams for our church family, and I am excited about taking steps to create intergenerational connections in our church family. Having youth engaged in our church family and witnessing others walking their faith out authentically is one of the most powerful gifts that we can offer. I pray that as a church family that Jesus would continue to guide and inspire us in this direction.
Adam and Eve found themselves in a challenging place. They were in paradise, had meaningful work, were walking and talking with God and had each other for companionship. In many ways they were experiencing a perfect life; the kind of life that many long for these days. Then one day the serpent spoke to them and called God’s character into question. His insinuations: Did God really say? You will not surely die and God knows that you will become like him, questioned God’s honesty, integrity, and goodness. Eve’s sudden lack of certainty in God’s character coupled with the temptation before her led to a very bad choice – she didn’t trust God and therefore she did what he told her not to do. She then shared her bad choice with Adam and the rest is literally history.
Our entire planet has a history of bad choices upon bad choices (what the Bible calls sin), and it all began with Adam and Eve’s lack of certainty in God’s character. They didn’t believe he was good, could be trusted, and that he was being lovingly protective by telling them not to eat of the tree. Out of their false beliefs about God they made their choice and we now live with the consequences.
Nothing has really changed in the untold number of years that have unfolded since. To this very day people question God’s character and integrity, make choices based on their fears and ignorance and then live with the consequences. Even followers of Christ who have the privilege of living life with him and who should know better, fall into this trap. God’s character is questioned, his attributes are often ridiculed and the peace, trust and love that could be ours are forfeited.
The prophet Jeremiah speaking to the people of his day who had lost their ability to know and trust their Lord gave them this reminder:
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 9: 23-24
In other words when someone asks, who is God, or what is he like, God’s people should have the understanding to say: we know our God. That is why this summer we are going to stop and look at God’s character with the specific purpose of growing in our ability to know, trust, and love him. There are many attributes of God, far more than we can cover in one summer sermon series, so we will limit ourselves to a few that help us to remember his kindness, justice and righteousness. We want to know our Lord so that when temptation comes to doubt his goodness, question his love or believe that he really doesn’t have our best interest in mind we can say: I know my Lord and I trust him even when tempted otherwise.
July 13 God is Love
July 20 God is Supreme
July 27 God is Good
Aug 3 God is All-wise
Aug 10 God is Holy
Aug 17 God is Faithful
Aug 24 God is Gracious
Aug 31 God is Just
To listen to the sermons in this series, click here.