Category Archives: Evangelical

Firsts and Lasts

Tomorrow is the first ever #NanaimoPrideWeek, not only is it the first week, it’s the first ever public event to recognize diversity and equality in our city.

I watched a beautiful video this morning of the crosswalk being painted. Community members stood conversing and recording this historical event. The spokesperson for the Nanaimo Pride Society spoke about diversity and inclusivity. He spoke about community, support and family friendly events.

This was a far cry from the stereotype we see portrayed in the media.

I was struck with excitement and also a little fear. Would the rainbow remain untarnished from vandals and nay-sayers until the conclusion of the events on Sunday? I’m praying for love to win the day as people choose to either participate or remain silent.

This next week is not about the “gay agenda”,  it’s about equal rights to be as human as anyone else. I once watched a TED talk about the gay agenda. I cannot remember who was speaking, but his words stuck with me:

“What is the gay agenda? As a gay person, I would like to know. I don’t wake up in the morning and have my gay coffee, my gay breakfast and drive my gay car to my gay job.”

If I had to put this hypothetical agenda into words, I wouldn’t suggest that LGBTQ people are trying to make everyone, everywhere, in everything queer. We’re trying to make it so that people don’t have to come out anymore.

Wouldn’t it be great if youth stopped taking their own lives because they no longer have to choose between a half-life or a lie? Wouldn’t it be great if weddings were about love and not about politics or religious legalism? (I could go on about this, but I won’t, maybe another time). Wouldn’t it be nice to go to the bathroom without someone checking your genitalia?

How about eating in a cafe? Wouldn’t it be great to be treated like a human instead of a disease? It would be great if not every conversation was about who you do or don’t sleep with, I mean do straight people get asked about their sex life (or lack there of) by any well meaning concerned citizen?

Fact is, people in civilized society are being refused medical treatment, hospitality, services, funding, protection and insurance–to name a few. Pride week isn’t about making out with a pink pixie and tie dyeing your poodle–it’s about saying “we exist, we’re human, do something about it.”

On this first Pride Week celebration, I am looking forward to the day when I can share with my loved ones “and that was the last time it was legal to hurt a person for who they love.”

“That was the last time I was afraid to bring my boyfriend/girlfriend home to meet my parents.”

“That was the last time the church fired their youth pastor/worship leader.”

“That was the last time fear spoke louder than love.”

Untitled Poem, written in church

In the shadow of the cross
are the broken and lost
the weeping and weary they come.

To the place where the Son
did what must be done
so they could forever know love.

You are the one laid on His heart
while hanging on that tree
He cried out to His Father in pain

Thinking of you the King of the Jews
looked up to the Heavens and sighed
He breathed His last breath and He died.

The enemy rejoiced
at the death of the Christ
he regaled his defeat with the grave

Jesus had promised He would return
from the tomb did He rise
to ransom they that were slaves

Listen you lost, you broken, you weary
that’s where your story starts
from before your very beginning
you were written on the Father’s heart.

Come out of the shadow
out of the darkness
come claim what’s been restored.

The debt has been paid
you’ve been set free
come here, take it, it’s yours.

Rejoice my brother, my sister, my friend
you’re now the child of the King
lift up your head, your heart and your voice

Let the praises ring!

Following God in Faith

As I was wrestling with the clear impression to move to Vancouver Island last year, God again brought to my mind and heart the story of Abram—one that He has used repeatedly to guide me.

12 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation,
    and I will bless you;
 I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.” 4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there. 6 Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.
12:1—The Lord called Abram. He did not give Abram specific details. But in His command there is a promise, “to the land I will show you”. God went before Abram, had a place already in mind for Abram and His family.
God has already told me where to go, he is going before me and setting all things up according to His plan. I simply must follow in faith.
12:2-4—God followed His command with a promise. We know this promise well, it is something we learn again and again and come back to. We use it to remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness, and in Hebrews to remind us of Abraham’s faith.
God has called me, and He has given me a promise. My efforts in obedience will not be wasted. 
I was talking with a friend and I thought about walking blindly by faith. As I chewed on that thought, I realized that I never walk blindly if I am truly walking by faith. My gaze, when walking by faith, is ever on the Lord. As long as my eyes are on Him, and I am seeking His will and guidance, I am never walking blindly.
Think of driving without a map. You may not know exactly where you are, where you are going, or when you will arrive. But looking out the window, you can see ahead of you. You see the road signs, the weather, the scenery. You see the speed limits, the other travellers and around here the wildlife. You never truly drive blind. And if you do, maybe it’s time for new glasses?
12:5-7—So what then? Abram followed the Lord immediately. He took his wife, his nephew and his possession and began the journey. When the journey was not yet complete, he built and altar to the Lord and worshipped him.
I am amazed at Abram’s attitude and faith. At this point, what was Abram thankful and worshipful for?
He has just left his entire family behind, he left behind all that defined him, his livelihood, his home, his status, even his culture. He did all this at the command of God in return for a promise.
He is probably really smelly, sleeping with the animals, his wife is more than likely irritated with him for dragging her across the wilderness to the middle of nowhere. And yet, he pauses to worship and to remember God’s goodness to him.
The most common question I have been asked is “Why Vancouver Island?” and the simple answer is “Because the Lord commanded be to”. Is this answer enough? Looking at the life of Abram, the calling of the father of the nation of Israel, I would say yes, it is.
Then the question begs what does following look like?
Abram did not know the full scope of his journey. He knew the starting point, and he knew the ending point. The stops in-between departure and destination were at best vague.
I feel a little like that myself. I know that the starting point is University so far the stops in between have included Clearwater, Sexsmith, Grande Prairie, Kansas City, Missouri, Vietnam, Washington, DC, Cleveland, Ohio, McBride and many other places. I trust that the Lord is using this to refine me to the woman He needs me to be to effectively minister to the His people. And even more than that, to be willing to follow the Lord anywhere, is truly freedom indeed.

A good friend once asked me, “If Jesus pulled up beside you in a car, and offered to take you anywhere you wanted to go, what would you say?”
My initial response was “Who cares?! It’s Jesus. I would respond ‘Lord, take me to your favourite place.’”
Upon more reflection, I realized that Jesus is already taking me to his favourite place. In scripture we find Jesus with the lost, the poor, the broken and the needy. Here is that place, and the more I walk with my eyes on His, the clearer my calling becomes.
***Edited from a message I gave in 2013 regarding following God’s call.

Radio Silence Renewed My Soul

I’ve been absent from the blog life for about a month. I needed time to focus on the Spirit and what He might be leading me into. Over the next while I will be sharing poetry and song lyrics that I’ve written during these past few silent weeks.

I’m hoping to start nailing down some melodies and maybe do some collaboration. If you have any ideas (concrete or abstract) about something that God has done in your life or a story of overcoming seeming impossible odds–I want to hear from you!

For your reading pleasure, a poem from July 5th.

In the shadow of the cross
are the broken and the lost
the weeping and the weary they come.

To the place where the Son
did what must be done
so they could forever know Love.

You were laid on His heart
while He hung on that tree
and cried out to His Father in pain.

Thinking of you
The King of the Jews looked up the Heavens
He breathed his last breath and died.

The enemy rejoiced
at the death of the Christ
he thought he surely had won.

The world stood still
as the grave was sealed
inside the Most Holy One.

Jesus had promised
He would return
three days later He walked from the grave.

Death was defeated
sin had been conquered
Jesus freed the enslaved.

Listen you lost
you broken and weary
this is where your story starts.

From before you were born
before your very beginning
you were on the Father’s heart.

Come out of the shadow
out of the darkness
claim what has been restored.

Jesus paid the ransom
you’ve been set free
come and take it–it’s yours.

—Cheryl Folland

Who Do You Say God Is?

Before we can trust, hope, believe or have faith that God has good in mind for us, there’s a central truth that we need to grab hold of. God is who He says He is. There are not many disciples of Christ who would say that the Bible is untrue. Though they may believe on varying extents of it’s accuracy, it’s agreed that it has been remarkably preserved and in it we find the account of who God is. 2 Timothy 3:16 says that all scripture is breathed (inspired) my God. It’s safe to say that the account of who God is, His testimony of Himself, is accurate and truthful–after God cannot lie.

A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of taking part in a course called Believing God by the lovely Beth Moore. In it she posed three essential questions every person needs to think through in relation to what we believe about God.

1) Who do people say God is?

The people around us, and public opinion influence us greatly. Who do those people think God (primarily the Father) is? The answer exists on a spectrum from non-existent to a bully with a stick. In my opinion, it takes more faith to believe that God doesn’t exist and sometimes I wonder if that’s why people who deny Him are so exhausted all the time. Being created in God’s likeness, being God-breathed, we crave Him. To deny that craving or replace it with something else leaves us beyond dissatisfied.

2) Who do you say God is?

Only by taking an honest look at what we truly believe about who God is can we begin to see Him as He really is. We will never have a faith that exceeds the strength of the God we perceive (Beth Moore). The God that I have created in my mind is in the image of man, broken sinful man, and is not an accurate representation of God at all. An improper view of God is an idol and not God at all. I pray to this idea of God, talking at the image I’ve made, and then get angry when the real living God doesn’t do what I think He should. I think for a long time I viewed God as a vending machine. If I put in just the right amount of piety and good deeds then the blessings that I wanted would come out.

Don’t get me wrong! God delights to bless His children. These blessings always come on His terms and in His timing and are ALWAYS better than what we would be willing to settle for.

3) Who does God say that He is?

God says a lot of things about His nature and His character that reveal the heart of who He is. Primarily, He is the Maker of Heaven and Earth. Now, just soak that in for a second. Before you go “Ya, ya, I know that…He made everything”, let’s just think about this for a second. He made EVERYTHING. Every leaf, every pebble, every animal, every person, every star, every planet, He made it all. Every time man makes a scientific discovery, God is cheering us on going “Yea, isn’t that fantastic. I was hoping you’d see it!” Why did He make everything? For His glory and enjoyment. It’s easy for us to think that looking at the Heavens. The swirling galaxies and nebulae are beautiful. They show us how big God is in comparison to how small we are and help us to look at Him in awe.

We miss that He made us for that same reason. God made you because he enjoys you. Scripture says that He delights in us. What’s more, He sent His Son to die that we might enjoy permanent relationship with Him. God is the Maker, the Father, the Healer and the Redeemer. He loves us more than we could ever hope to understand. Take out your Bible, or check out Biblegateway and discover who He says He is. You won’t be disappointed.

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