Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Christmas Story

I read this story earlier today in a church newsletter.  It is well published on the Internet with no known source.  I hope you enjoy it!
This is a story of a young pastor. His church was old. Long ago it had flourished. Famous men had preached from its pulpit, prayed before its altar. Rich and poor alike had worshiped there. Now the good days had passed from the sections of town where it stood. But the pastor and his wife believed in their rundown church. They felt that with paint, hammer and faith they could get it into shape. Together they went to work.

Late one December, a severe storm whipped through the river valley and the worst blow fell on the little church. A huge chunk of rain soaked plaster fell out of the inside wall just behind the altar. The pastor and his wife swept away the mess, but they couldn’t hide the ragged hole. His wife despaired, “Christmas is only two days away!”

That afternoon the dispirited couple attended an auction held for a local youth group. The auctioneer opened a box and shook out a handsome gold and ivory tablecloth. It was a magnificent item, over 4 metres long. There were a few half-hearted bids, then the pastor was seized with a great idea and he placed the winning bid of $6.50.

He carried the cloth back to the church and tacked it up on the wall behind the altar. It completely hid the hole. Its shimmering handiwork was a fine holiday glow over the presbytery. It was a triumph.

Just before noon on Christmas Eve as the pastor was opening the church he noticed a woman standing in the cold at the bus stop. “The bus won’t be here for 40 minute,” he called and he invited her in to get warm. She told him that she had come from the city that morning to be interviewed for a job as a governess to the children of a wealthy family, but had been turned down. She was a war refugee and spoke imperfect English.

The woman sat in the pew and prayed. She looked up as the pastor began to adjust the great gold and ivory lace cloth across the hole. She rose suddenly and walked to the steps of the chancel. The pastor smiled and started to tell her about the storm damage but she didn’t seem to listen. She took up a fold of the cloth between her fingers.

“It is mine” she said. “It is my banquet cloth.” She lifted up a corner of the cloth and showed the pastor that there were initials monogrammed on it. “My husband had the cloth made especially for me in Brussels. There could not be another like it.”

For the next few minutes, the woman and the pastor talked solemnly together. She explained that she was Viennese and that she and her husband had opposed the Nazis and decided to leave Austria. They went separately. Her husband put her on a train for Switzerland. They planned that he would join her as soon as he could arrange to ship their household goods across the border. She never saw him again. Later she heard that he had died in a concentration camp.

“I’ve always felt that it was my fault to leave without him. Perhaps these years of wandering have been my punishment...” The pastor tried to comfort her and urged her to take the tablecloth but she refused and then she left.

As the church began to fill for Christmas Eve, it was clear that the cloth was going to be a great success. It had been skillfully designed to look its best by candlelight. After the service the pastor stood at the doorway and many people told him that the church looked beautiful. One gentle faced middle aged man, the local clock and watch repairman looked rather puzzled.

“It is strange,” he said in his accent. “Many years ago my wife – God rest her – and I owned such a cloth. In our home in Vienna, my wife put it on the table only when the Bishop came to dinner.”

The pastor became very excited. He told the watchmaker about the woman who had been in church earlier that day. The startled man clutched the pastor’s arm. “Can it be?” Where does she live?’

Together the two got in touch with the family who had interviewed the woman. Than in the pastor’s car they started for the city. And on Christmas Day, this man and his wife who had been separated so many years were reunited.

To all who have heard this story, the joyful purpose of the storm that had knocked a hole in the wall of the church was now clear. People said it was a miracle, but I think you will agree it was the season for it!

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Growing Forward!

December is a great opportunity for reflection and evaluation on the year that has passed.  Looking back over 2013, I’m amazed again at God’s goodness, blessing and favor on us.  It has been an exciting year of ministry opportunities, growth and some stunning ‘God moments’ that went beyond anything that we would have dared to ask, dream or think.

In January, Barb and I travelled to Edmonton for the launch of Leading Influence Alberta.  Everyone needs to make at least one trip to Edmonton at that time of year just to experience the incredible sunshine, the fresh air and especially the ‘dry cold’.  Pastor Larry Lindoff serves as our chaplain at the Alberta Legislature but he could also be an unofficial ambassador for the city of Edmonton.  He regaled us with insights and facts about Edmonton that were almost enough to distract us from the -20C daytime temperature.  Larry’s warm and outgoing personality is a fantastic fit for us at the Legislature ‘village’.  I visited again in mid-April, just as the snow was starting to melt and was thrilled to watch Larry in action.  He’s a virtual ‘people magnet’ and MLAs and staff alike are drawn to him. 

While we were in Alberta, we also launched PrayAB (www.prayab.com) which is the prayer ministry of Leading Influence in Alberta.  Elaine Baille is doing a fantastic job of providing leadership and oversight to this important part of what we do. 

February marked the beginning of the spring session of the BC Legislature.  More importantly, it marked the start of something we have worked towards for a long time.  As the result of a request from a member, we were able to launch a weekly prayer gathering in the Legislature.  This has been a long road of 2 steps forward, 1 and sometimes 3 steps back, but by God’s grace we were finally able to see this long-term goal achieved.  On a weekly basis, a group of MLAs meet together to pray and encourage each other in their faith as they serve Jesus in the political arena.  We finished the spring session by celebrating communion at our last meeting time before the election was called.  I’m not sure if it was the first time that happened, but I know it’s the first time in a very long time!

In March we held our 7th MLA Prayer Breakfast.  The sold out event was well supported by MLAs and many friends and supporters.   The Prayer Breakfast also marked the beginning of our 60 Days of Prayer Campaign.  60 Days was designed to mobilize the church to pray during the BC Election Campaign.  In addition to daily emails, FaceBook posts, twitter updates, highway billboards, smartscreen and radio ads (and the list goes on…) we used simple silicone bracelets as a reminder for people to pray.  One Cabinet minister put a bracelet on at the breakfast and wore it through the entire campaign.  One of my favorite memories of the spring session was to see him ‘flash’ his bracelet at me from the floor during Question Period.  He wanted me to know that he was praying. I would flash mine back at him to show him that I was too.

April marked the end of the 39th Parliament in BC and launched the beginning of the election campaign.  Sadly, we said goodbye to some retiring members who were instrumental in helping us establish Leading Influence in BC.  We will always be grateful to those who opened doors, made introductions and helped us find our feet as we began our ministry.  I was able to make a quick trip to Alberta to cheer on Larry and Elaine during the Alberta Youth Call to Prayer.  Elaine initiated the AYC2P in Alberta.  While we were in the building, Larry and I were welcomed and introduced before Question Period.

May held some huge surprises for us.  On Election Night in BC, we saw 13-15 Christians elected to office.  While God is neither a BC Liberal nor a member of the BC NDP, He is advancing His Kingdom and it’s important to remind ourselves that God is eager and able to respond when His people come together around the purposes that are close to His heart.  In this case He gave us men and women who have hearts inclined to His plans and purposes.
The Legislature resumed sitting in late June and through all of July.  I was asked to open the 40th Parliament in prayer.  It’s the second time that I’ve been given the privilege to pray at the Throne Speech and always an honor. 

Through the combined generosity of our ministry partners and the Canadian Bible Society, we were able to provide a bible to every MLA.  It was an exciting project that was well received by Members on both sides of the House. 
Through a series of ‘promptings’ and conversations, I made a trip to Saskatchewan in September to explore the possibility of launching Leading Influence Saskatchewan.  As is often the case, I arrived to discover that God had already been at work in preparing the way before I got there.  He had not only prepared the way, but prepared the right person for us.  As a result we are pleased to announce that Pastor Barry Berglund would be joining our chaplaincy team to provide ministry to MLAs in Saskatchewan starting in 2014.  Barry will be a great addition to our team.  He comes from a successful background in business and has a long track record of ministry involvement both in the church and in the marketplace.  His understanding of life in the business world will be a tremendous advantage for him as he takes on this ministry challenge.  Barry will continue in his role as Senior Associate at Lawson Heights Church in Saskatoon in addition to working with us.  We are delighted to have him join our team! 

One of our goals for 2013 was to increase the number of church visits as a way to stay in touch with our partners and share what God is doing through Leading Influence.  As of last week, I visited 28 churches this year and had the privilege of speaking to well over 6000 people. We covered most of Vancouver Island and the lower mainland with several visits into the Interior and Alberta as well.  BC Ferries should show a profit off our ferry fees alone!  
It’s been a great year!  God has been faithful to make a way time and time again.  Thanks so much for standing with us!  We cannot do this without your partnership and support! 

Do You See What I See?

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time this fall working on a 5 year strategic plan for Leading Influence.  While it’s always been in my heart to see the ministry established in every province and territory, it was time to re-visit the how behind what that looks like, and then map it out step by step.  Going through this process has challenged me and my faith tremendously.  In many ways, I am as overwhelmed at the size and scope of what God is calling us to do as I was in the very beginning.  The task is ENORMOUS!  At the same time, I am filled with a growing excitement and anticipation as I look forward to what God has in store for us.  Here’s what we see as we look towards the future.

As you already know, we currently are underway in BC, Alberta and now, Saskatchewan.  As God helps us and goes before us, we plan to launch in Manitoba and Ontario in 2014.  Depending on how many doors God opens, Ontario for us could mean both Toronto (Queens Park) and Ottawa.  Our first priority is Queen’s Park.  Establishing a presence in Ottawa will continue to be high priority for us moving forward and we will do so at the earliest opportunity.

In 2015, our plan is to add two Maritime Provinces and then follow with two more in 2016.  Which two go first depends largely on the doors that God opens for us. 

In 2017, we will launch Leading Influence in Quebec.  Quebec presents many challenges, but it’s important that we are there to reach out and serve the members of the National Assembly.  We will spend considerable time over the next few years developing a viable strategy to reach the leaders of Canada’s oldest and 2nd largest province.

In 2018, we will establish Leading Influence in each of the 3 Territories. 

It’s an ambitious vision that presents many challenges.  At the same time, it is a vision with many opportunities and possibilities and puts us in a place where we can effectively reach leaders and shape nations. 

One of my favorite bible stories is found in Num. 13:30 when Caleb stands before the people and boldly declares ‘We should go up and take possession of the land, for surely we can do it!’  I love his faith, passion and absolute confidence in spite of what he sees in before him.  I know that Leading Influence can do nothing unless the Lord helps us and our partners and friends stand with us. 

The past 6 years have been exciting and rewarding, but our biggest opportunities are before us.  We are can’t do this without your partnership and financial support.  As you consider any year-end giving you would like to do, we would be grateful if you remembered Leading Influence.  We have an ambitious 2014 ahead of us.  Reaching our goal will require a tremendous amount of favor, wisdom, faith and financial investment.    Your gift as we approach the close of 2013 would be very timely and greatly appreciated.  Click here to be taken to our secure online giving portal.
Thanks so much for standing with us!  Have blessed and prosperous 2014!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Life Climatology

It's foggy outside today... so foggy that flights from Victoria have been cancelled since early this morning.  Ironically, Victorians cope with fog fairly easily, but if 10 flakes of snow had fallen this morning we would be in full panic mode and schools would be closing for the day.

Over the past week, I've had multiple conversations with leaders and followers alike who are struggling with a personal fog.  For whatever reason, their job, relationships or personal lives aren't as sunny and bright as they believed they would be.  Without exception, they all believe that the sun is shining brighter 'over there'.  While it's true that the sun might be shining brighter 'over there', I'm convinced that by the time they get there, the sun will be shining brighter somewhere else.  Contrary to what they believe, there is no conspiracy against them.  It's not even that they are unluckier than most.  It's generally because they bring or create their own fog wherever they go.  We create our own weather!

The older I get, the more I become aware that the bulk of my challenges are self-created.  They come out of my decisions, my choices and my behaviors.  As I look back over the course of my life, the decisions that have created the most grief for me have been made based on impulse, impatience or an intentional irresponsibility.  Sometimes the challenges in my life have been created by my personal stubbornness and unwillingness to bend or yield. Inevitably those negative characteristics in my life have created fog or worse yet, thunderstorms, tornadoes and even the occasional hurricane.  I can tell you it's not any fun to live through a hurricane that you've created.

In the same way that we create 'fog' in our lives, we also create the conditions for the sun to shine!  Admittedly, there are things that happen that are outside of our ability to control or influence, but in the grand scheme, those are fewer than we think.  Here are my thoughts on how to make the sun shine in your life.

1) Have a positive attitude.  Opportunities come to those who are upbeat and have a bright outlook.  John Maxwell says it this way, 'Your attitude determines your altitude'.  You only fly as high as your perspective will permit you.

2) Watch your language.  Eliminate negative vocabulary.  Negative thinking and conversation saps life out of those around you.  Stop saying things like 'I can't...', 'it's too hard' and 'impossible'.  Start saying, YES we can! and soon you will see that NOTHING is impossible.

3) Adjust your focus. An important lesson that every motorcyclist learns is that the motorcycle goes where you look.  The same is true with life.  We generally get what we are looking for.  Learn to look past the fog and see what's there.

4) Be Proactive.  Do things that help your situation.  Make a call.  Send an email. Go beyond what is normally expected.  Do the things that help your situation.  It all pays dividends.

5) Create Momentum - Find a way to create a series of small 'wins'.  Depending on your situation, a win might be as simple as creating a to do list that you follow through on.  Accomplishing something is better than accomplishing nothing and provides momentum.

6) Stick with it. Life has more in common with a marathon than it does with a sprint.  I've learned a few things about running over the past few years.  The only way to be successful is stick with it.  Learn to run in the sun, learn to run in the rain.  The easiest thing to do is quit.  The hardest thing to do is succeed.  This much I know to be true.  Winners never quit.  Quitters never win.

7) Be Patient.  The fog may not lift tomorrow, but it will lift!  Speaking of lifting, the fog has dissipated.  The sun is shining.  Good things await! 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Eastward Ho!

August 28th marked the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr's iconic 'I Have A Dream' speech.  Thanks to YouTube, I was able to watch the full length speech several times.  Even though we live in a different time, the speech had an effect on me.  The issues are different than they were in 1963, but the hope of a better tomorrow inspired me to do my own dreaming, and more importantly, take some steps towards fulfilling the dream that already exists in my heart.  Without concrete steps, a dream is a momentary wisp that is either forgotten or disappointing. 

As many of you know, Leading Influence has a vision is to provide Chaplaincy care to every politician in Canada.  Since 2007, we have been doing that on a full time basis at the BC Legislature. By God's grace, we've found favor and seen good success.  We've created a model that works and that is transferable.  In January of 2013, we launched Leading Influence Alberta.  While our current chaplain (Rev. Larry Lindoff) is only able to commit to a volunteer role at this time, we are seeing great gains in terms of laying a solid foundation for the future.  I'm excited about what we've accomplished, but I am restless and determined to fulfill all that God has placed before Leading Influence.

I'm pleased to announce that we are exploring partnership opportunities in Saskatchewan. We are very early in the process, but there are some excellent possibilities before us.  I'm hopeful that we will have a chaplain in place for the Spring session in Regina. These are crucial days in our world and a godly presence and voice in the lives of leaders is more important now than ever before.  Pray with us that we find both God's leading and His wisdom as we move forward.  In the meantime, we'll keep you posted as things develop.

He vs. She .... The Rematch!

After a hard fought battle last year, the 2nd Annual He vs.She Half-Marathon looms large on the horizon.  This epic fundraising battle of the sexes between Tim and Barb happens again this fall, culminating with the Good Life Half Marathon on Oct 13.  The plan is simple.  Sponsor the participant of your choice on either a per/km basis or at a flat rate. A half marathon is 21 kms, so a $5/km pledge is a $105 commitment, $10/km is $210. 

Last year, the stakes were high... Tim would be required to wear a costume to the Legislature.  Barb would compose and perform a song on the Legislature steps declaring her love for Tim.  However, Tim won by $1 at the wire, so the costume option is still a possibility. (Admit it, you'd love to see pictures of Tim in a costume at the Legislature...)

Our goal for this fundraiser is $7500. It is a planned part of our regular budget that helps us provide ministry to MLAs.  This is a fantastic way for those of you who believe in what we do but don't often have the opportunity to get to a local fundraiser to support the work of Leading Influence.  We need and value your financial partnership!

Make your pledge by clicking here!  Thanks for your support! 

Pledge deadline is October 15.

It's A New Day!

Did you know that the average turn over in any BC election is just below 50%?  Somewhere between 40 and 43 people either retire, choose not to run again or are defeated every 4 years.  Elections are a bittersweet time for me as I say goodbye to people that I've invested in and pray that the seed we've sown produces a harvest in their lives.  The upside is that there are new people who take their places and life and ministry carry on.

We've seen some exceptional people replace those who have moved on to other opportunities.  I'm very excited about the core of people that I've been able to connect with thus far.  We continue to hold a weekly prayer gathering when the Legislature is in session.  That meeting has grown over what it has been previously and we've had some exciting times together. 

One of my first conversations with a new member went something like this:  'I'm pretty excited about becoming an MLA, but I'm much more excited to see how God will use me to bring others to him while I'm here.'  What a great sense of purpose and calling!  I'm looking forward to being a part of seeing that happen!

Our Bibles for MLA project was fantastic.  We built on a great partnership with the Canadian Bible Society and were able to place Bibles into the hands of MLAs.  Most were gladly received!  We combined the Bibles with a welcome package profiling Leading Influence and our work at the Legislature. It was a great way to introduce ourselves to 'The Class of 2013'.  Over the past few weeks, we've received thank you letters and phone calls from MLAs expressing their appreciation for the gift and our work. 

I'm excited about what I see as we move forward.  We've got some great momentum and some excellent possibilities.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

They Found WHAT at the Legislature?

The news took me by surprise on Tuesday morning.  Two people had been arrested on terrorism charges after 3 Boston Style bombs were planted on the grounds of the Legislature early Monday morning.  Bombs?  Victoria?  OUR Legislature?  These are things that happen in other parts of the world, not downtown Victoria at the place where I work and where I was the night before with thousands of other people celebrating Canada's birthday.

A big hats off to the many branches of law enforcement agencies that worked together to ensure that the threat was 'defused' (pun intended) so that no harm was done.  That said, just to think that there were people (fellow Canadians at that....) who sought to do great harm to the people of my city on the grounds of the buildings where I serve is a bit unsettling to say the least.  I appreciated the response of the Premier yesterday morning who said it this way. 

“We cannot let this change us, We cannot be ruled by fear.”  Premier Christy Clark is right, we cannot be ruled by fear.  We must be ruled by Someone greater who sets us free from fear and allows us to live in freedom and peace.  (There's some great sermon material there, but I'll leave that for another time!)

The best antidote for fear is faith!  As the only Christian ministry actively engaged at the BC Legislature, we felt it was appropriate to respond in faith to what had just occurred.  We wanted to be proactive, responsible, respectful and wise.  Today, 15 people walked the grounds of the Legislature, mixed in among the tourists and spent their time asking God to protect the buildings and the people who work in them.  The buildings are just stone, but they are a symbol of our freedom and way of life.  The people who work in them, regardless of what their role, are just like you and me.  They have families, lives, hopes, dreams, goals and ambitions.  We prayed for their protection and safety.  As I walked and 'floated' from group to group, I found these words in Ps 91:4,5 that became my primary prayer focus.  Pray it along with me today!

He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Throne Speech Prayer - June 2013

It was my privilege to open the 40th session of the BC Parliament in prayer today.  This week also marks the start of our 7th year of living in Victoria. 

This is the 2nd time I've been afforded the privilege of opening in prayer for the Throne Speech.  You can read about the first time here. (Someone actually forgot they were scheduled to pray and I was called from the gallery to 'pinch hit'.  It was a pretty remarkable moment...) The difference between then and now is amazing.  Then, I prayed in a group of strangers.  Today, I prayed for friends and people that I have walked with  and built relationships with for the past 6 years.  BC is blessed with some incredible people who freely give themselves to serve us.  What an incredible privilege I have to serve God in this way! 

Here's the prayer I prayed today. Take a minute to pray it along with me.

God in Heaven, we thank you for the bounty and beauty of our great province and the many ways in which You have blessed us. We live in a majestic land that is rich in beauty, in natural resources and in the diversity of gifts, talents and abilities instilled in the many people who call British Columbia their home.
We pray today for those who have been chosen to lead our province both in government and opposition for the next 4 years.   Give them strength to walk with integrity and honor.  Help them to do what is right, to govern from a place of compassion and to walk with great humility before You and the people of British Columbia. 
We pray for our Premier and her Cabinet.  We ask that You will help them set a course that is prudent, compassionate and courageous.  Grant them the ability to see clearly those things that must have the greatest attention and priority in the days to come.

Let your blessing and favor be on our province and those who will lead us forward.


Friday, June 14, 2013

MLA Bible Project

We've just discovered an exciting ministry opportunity. We'd like to provide bibles to every MLA marking the occasion of their election, but more importantly we'd like to make an investment of the Living Word into the lives of our political leaders. 

Combined with the strong number of Christian MLAs elected to office, these bibles will be like seed in the ground that will in due time produce a harvest! Our cost on giving each MLA an attractive, leather bound bible is $35. 

We need your help to make this happen! The bibles will be presented during the first week of July. To help us with this project, please click the link below. https://www.canadahelps.org/dn/798

Monday, June 03, 2013

2 Minutes 2 Change the World

What if you could actually change the world in 2 minutes a day?  I know it sounds like one of those gimmick weight loss or fitness commercials that promises incredible results while you do basically nothing, but I'm thinking about something much more significant than what you might see in a late night infomercial.

When we launched the 60 Days of Prayer campaign coming up to the recent election our strategy was to invite people to pray along with us for 2 minutes a day.  We kept the prayers brief and to the point.  Hundreds, maybe even thousands of people engaged with us through email and social media.  We were astounded by what we saw take place on Election Day.  The media kept referring to the outcome as a miracle!  They don't know the half!!  13-17 Christians were elected to office!  I don't know that it's the most we've ever seen, but it's a significant number to be sure.

To be clear, God isn't partisan.  God is SOVEREIGN and He responded to the prayers of His people all across BC.  In His wisdom, He prepared leaders from across BC to serve our province for the next 4 years and we had huge part in seeing them elected to office simply because we prayed.

It's exciting to have a large number of Christians serving as MLAs.  If the number is as high as 17 that's almost 20%.  That said, public service is still a tremendously difficult role and those who serve need our prayer support. 

Consider this:  If the 2 minute prayers of hundreds of people across our province resulted in a stunning election result, what might happen if we continued to pray for those who govern over us?  It just might be that God would respond to us again and hear from heaven and heal our land. 

'When people find out that this prayer thing really works, everyone is going to want to do it!'

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Post-Election Reflections

Most of the pundits have had their say on the come back from the brink electoral miracle we saw a few weeks ago.  It was a stunning turn around of fortunes for the BC Liberals and can only be seen as a huge disappointment for the BC NDP.  Here are my 'Post-Election Reflections'.

I am tremendously proud of the prayer campaign that we ran for the 60 days preceding election day.  We had hundreds of people across BC praying every day that God would use this election to accomplish His purposes for our province and that He would give us leaders of His own choosing.  I believe that what we did was a HUGE FACTOR in the outcome!  We have seen somewhere between 13 and 17 Christians voted into office. I am MOST EXCITED about this result!  God is not partisan, but He has shown again that He is Sovereign.  This is a huge answer to our prayers and a confirmation that the ministry of PrayBC was both effective and fruitful. Simply put...PRAYER WORKS!

Today, we have strong Christian members who sit on both sides of the House.   Those I know are people with a strong faith and a commitment to serve God as they serve the people of BC.   This is a blessing to our province. My great hope is that the Church across BC will continue to stand in the gap for all MLAs as they serve our province.  While we are blessed with a strong contingent of Christian members, we must remember that we live in a democracy and not a theocracy and adjust our expectations accordingly.  By God's grace those who have been elected to serve will find favor and be effective as both salt and light in their respective caucuses.  At Leading Influence, we are committed to helping them do that in the best way we can.

In a few weeks, MLAs will be sworn into office and our work of serving, supporting and encouraging members continues.  We are looking forward to the next 4 years!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Join the Movement

What if there was a way to mobilize people all across B.C. to pray, with focus over the next 60 Days, about the future of our province? What could happen? What might God do in response to our prayers? How might He answer and what kind of future could we shape for our province… simply because we prayed?

We’re about to find out!

Starting on March 14, Leading Influence Ministries is launching our “60 Days of Prayer” campaign through our prayer ministry Pray BC. We invite you to “Join the Movement” and participate in our cyber prayer meeting. Each day, we will send out a tweet, Facebook update, email and post a prayer on our website that will serve as a prayer focus for that day. We're inviting you to pray and share with your networks our focused prayer each day for the next 60 days.

You can join the movement:

1) Follow us on twitter @praybc and using #praybc when you retweet.

2) Like our PrayBC page on Facebook and share with your friends.

3) Join our email list and tell your friends.

4) Wear a PrayBC bracelet. See our website for more information.

We look forward to seeing what God will do as we seek His will for our provincial election, May 14, 2013. Please join the movement and thank you!

Yours in Prayer,

Tim Schindel

Friday, March 08, 2013

7th Annual MLA Prayer Breakfast

We held our 7th Annual MLA Prayer Breakfast on March 7 in Victoria.  This was our best breakfast ever on so many levels!  We had the best response from MLAs that we've ever had with 27 confirmations.  Our speaker was Shelley Morris, CEO for the Cridge Centre for the Family .  Shelley did an amazing job of honoring our leaders, inspiring us to live out our 'life sentences' and subtly and yet very pointedly sharing her own faith.  It was a rich time.

I'm told we have 500 pictures of the breakfast.  I've yet to see them, but when I do we'll post the best ones on our website or the blog and let you know about it!

Thanks to all of our sponsors who made the event possible.  We can't do this without you!

Do Politicians Really Have Souls?

If your opinion of politicians is based on what you see/hear in the media and on those 15 second sound bytes that come out of Question Period or media scrums, I can understand completely why you might wonder if politicians have souls.  There's not much less complimentary than a clip of a red-faced politician pointing at his/her opponent making outrageous accusations.

If your opinion of politicians is based on what you hear politicians saying about other politicians, that too might lead you to conclude that politicians have no souls.  When it comes to politics the goal is always to make the other team appear to be heartless and uncaring.

If your opinion of politicians is based on what you hear other people saying about politicians, you might also conclude that politicians have no souls.  They are after all, the people who raise our taxes, close our schools and appear to fail at addressing our many concerns.

After working with politicians personally for the past 6 years, I see something very different...

I see people who have given up their right to personal privacy and personal opinion for the sake of giving themselves to a cause that they believe in.

I see people who make tremendous personal and family sacrifices for the sake of serving others.  Most backbenchers work 50 hours/wk.  Most Cabinet Ministers work somewhere around 70 hours/wk.  They leave for work early and get home late and their world revolves entirely around serving other people.

I see people who try to manage unrealistic expectations.  No one likes a wait list, no one likes to see a school closed.  At the same time, our expectations are generally way over the top.  We willingly understand that in our lives there are times when we have to wait, sometimes years in order to get the things we really want or need.  When it comes to services that government provides, we want it now, we want it fast and we want it for free. Politicians are saddled with the same financial realities that you and I are wrestle with.  Wants and needs are subject to our ability to pay for them. 

I've sat with politicians who were hurting because of what is being said about them.  I've sat with politicians who have wept because of what they see in the media.  I've been with members at the bedside of their loved ones and have prayed with them for family needs, personal needs and professional concerns.  There's no doubt in my mind that the people who make themselves available to serve us politically are real people, with real feelings and a genuine desire to serve the people they represent.

The Bible tells us that we should pray for those who govern over us so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives.  (1 Tim 2:1)  The context of this verse is profound.  Paul is writing this letter to Christians who are living under Nero's rule.  This was in a day when were Christians were openly persecuted for their faith.  Nero would dip Christians in tar and have them mounted on poles to be burned alive and at the same time light the streets of Rome.  You might not like Christy Clark or Adrian Dix or Stephen Harper, but none of those people are burning you or your children to light the city streets at night. 

Praying for our leaders makes a huge difference in their lives.  Since 2008, we have been championing a prayer movement for BC politicians that we call PrayBC.  Each day of the week, we pray for one of the 85 MLAs that serve our province.  The prayers are personalized and written from a non-partisan platform.  Not only do members appreciate them, I often hear reports of how those prayers have appeared at 'just the right time' and how it was 'just what they needed'.  One member said it this way: 'I can mark on a calendar the days the church prays for me.  Everything in my life goes better!'

We'd love to have you pray along with us.  The easiest way to learn more about PrayBC and to join our prayer network is to visit www.praybc.com 

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Expanding to Alberta

I love the moments when faith becomes sight!  Our vision has always been to minister to MLAs in every province and territory in Canada.  On January 24th we had the privilege of launching Leading Influence Alberta and commissioning Pastor Larry Lindoff to serve as chaplain at the Alberta Legislature.  With 30 years of minstry experience in a variety of settings, Larry is well suited to serve Alberta MLAs in this way.  We are blessed to have him on our team!

We believe that Leading Influence has a bright future in Alberta and that God will be Larry and his team as they begin the journey of building an effective ministry to Alberta's key leaders and decision makers.

Every ministry needs a strong prayer foundation.  Along with launching Leading Influence Alberta, we also launched PrayAB.  PrayAB has the same mandate and vision as PrayBC.  Each day we will focus on praying for a different Alberta MLA.  We launched PrayAB on Feb 1 and are seeing a strong early response.  Elaine Baille is providing leadership and oversight to PrayAB and will be a key part of seeing this part of our ministry grow and develop.  For more information on PrayAB, visit www.prayab.com.

For more information on Leading Influence in Alberta, please contact Larry directly at larry@leadinginfluence.com or through our office email. info@leadinginfluence.com

Friday, January 25, 2013


I'm having an incredible time here in Edmonton.  Barb and I arrived on Thursday morning to launch Leading Influence in Alberta.  We've established a partnership with Evangel Church and Pastor Larry Lindoff to provide pastoral care to members of the Alberta Legislature.  We're excited about the future and what God has in store.

As we were setting up for our event last night, I remembered the last time I was in that room.  My first pastor's wife had passed away and her funeral was held at that church.  Carolyn (but I always called her Mrs.) Brown was my Sunday School teacher, Youth Leader, Mentor and friend through some of the most important years of my life.  She was a bit 2nd mom and big sister.  Some of the most important decisions and choices that I've made in my life came because of what seemed like off hand comments from Mrs.B. She was there.... at the right place, at the right time and had the insight to say the right thing, just when I needed to hear it! I was blessed to have her in my life.

She would often tell me how proud she was of who I was and what I was doing with my life.  She might have said it to others, but she always told me I was her only success.  I doubt that was true, but it always made me feel special.

My favorite memory of her comes from a time just after we met each other.  For a few months, she and her husband lived with our family when they first moved to our little town. On this particular day, my mom was baking cookies and had to step out for about an hour.  She left Mrs. B in charge of pulling out the last sheet of ginger snap cookies.  For whatever reason, the cookies got burned.  When I arrived home from school, Mrs B had a stack of cookies and a glass of milk for me.  She kept feeding me her 'burnt offerings' for as along as I was willing to eat them.  It became our favorite story.

This afternoon, I visited another former Sunday School teacher.  Carl was part of our church, a family friend and my SS teacher for more than a few years.  His health has been in decline over the past few years.  I don't get to Edmonton often, so I wanted to see him if I could.  As we were talking I remembered that he might not remember me as 'Tim'. So I started, for about the 3rd time, to talk about my parents and ask him if he remembered and slowly went from my dad to my mom and then asked if he remembered their kids. I asked if he remembered 'Timmy' and he lit up. I said 'I'm Timmy!' He responded 'I'll be jiggered, you're all grown up!' I responded, I hope so, I'm 50!!

We visited for a while more and then I began to read Ps 23 to him. He started to quote it with me and  I flashed back to SS days.  My eyes starting leaking as I was struck by the precious moment I was experiencing. When I stood to go, he grabbed my hands and began to speak Aaron's blessing over me.  Heaven opened!  It was powerful!  I left feeling richer. He went back to watching Beverly Hillbillies!

The older I get, the more the heroes of my youth and childhood are fading and passing from this life into eternity.  To many people, they might be just ordinary, regular people.  In their own eyes, they were nothing more than ordinary or regular.  But when I begin to contemplate the immensity of what they have invested in me and the fruit that has come as a result, I am profoundly greatful.   I have been so blessed because ordinary people were faithful to be who and what God called them to be.

I'm challenged today to be true to who God has called me to be.  It's been a good day of remembering. 

Friday, January 18, 2013


Next month marks the 2nd full year that I've been running for exercise.  One of my long term challenges has been to learn the value of good stretching.  I've come to enjoy running.  Stretching on the other hand has been something of an acquired taste, until recently...

On Dec 31, I signed up for the Vancouver BMO Marathon in May.  I've run 3 half-marathons and wanted a fresh challenge.  There's a huge difference between a half-marathon and full marathon in terms of training requirements. I'm running A LOT more and a LOT farther.  To say that my body is 'feeling it' is an understatement!  My legs are both tired and sore most days, unless I take the time to do some serious stretching.  Stretching forces the muscles out to their full length.  It keeps them from becoming stiff and less flexible.  In the end, I will be a better runner because I stretch and my body will feel better while I train.

I've been stretching in some other ways too.  In early January we invited a group of people together for a ThinkTank session.  We spent a morning talking about opportunities and possibilities for Leading Influence.  What could the future look like if there were no limits?  It was a stretching experience too!  I've come to the realization again that in order for Leading Influence to move forward, we have to do things differently.  It's the same challenge that every leader faces.  In order for the organization to move forward, the leader and the organization have to stretch and grow.  For the past 2 weeks I've been working with a business coach who is doing an amazing job of helping me see and change my thought processes and my actions so that we can achieve our goals as a ministry.  It's exciting and has been a very enjoyable experience.  My homework for later today is to map out what I want to be doing in 2017 and 2020.  (I'm not entirely sure what I'll be doing yet, I'm just glad to know that I'll have a plan when I get there!)

I've learned this about God.  He is all about 'the stretch'.  Check out these words from Isaiah 54. 
“Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.  Is. 54:1-3 NIV

Note the words, Enlarge, stretch, lengthen, strengthen.  The context of the verse speaks of making room for God's blessing in your life.  It's interesting to me that the preparation requires us to move out of our comfort zones and familiar spaces into something new.  This requires focus, discipline, courage and faith.  We don't get to new places haphazardly or by chance.  It always involves some intentional and purposeful choices.  Stretching isn't easy or comfortable.  It requires work and discipline, but it's a key part of getting us to where we need to be.

In terms of more immediate stretching, I'm very excited about launching Leading Influence Alberta next week in Edmonton.  We've built a unique partnership with Evangel Church and Pastor Larry Lindoff that is going to allow us to engage with Alberta MLAs and support them as they serve their province.  We'll post some pictures of the event next Friday!