Building great people, because great people build great families and great families build great communities.
To God be the glory!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Trouble With Lists...

The trouble with lists is that they are usually incomplete. I forgot to say, I like rainy days, most people don't. You see them running here and there afraid to get their hair wet. I'd like to raise my hands up toward heaven and let the rain (especially spring rain) run over my head and down my neck. (nuts eh?) If I wasn't so shy, I'd dance a little dance and sing in the rain (good movie).

To be honest our likes and dislikes can change. Some change over time, usually a long time, others can change over night. It is disturbing to discover how easily our emotions can change.

I suppose if people can fall in love, it would seem reasonable they could also fall out of love. However, my not liking broccoli (did I say I don't like broccoli) doesn't affect the broccoli. There are no Veggi therapists that I know of. I am saddened by the increase in broken relationships, especially marriages. May God be allowed to bring healing. According to my message for this Sunday "imaturity" can be contributed to much if not all of the relationship problems we face today. Could it be that we simply need to "grow up"?

Monday, January 28, 2008

I like: Fall mornings... Mountains at daybreak... The sound of horses eating hay... The aroma of fresh cut wood... The echo of a hymn coming from a church on Sunday morning.

I don't like: Starched shirt collars... Crabby women... Complaining men... My feet being touched... Wet bread... Broccoli... Pineapple on pizza... Anyone who hurts children.

I like: A big bowl of ice cream (any flavor)... The sound of children laughing... Frost on the windowpane... Coffee brewed over a campfire... Summer thunderstorms... The sound of a frieght train in the mountains.

I don't like: Gossip... people who never have a good word... Mice... Dreary days... Whipped dogs... Poor losers... Broccoli... People who feel sorry for themselves.

I like: A sun setting over a quiet lake... An early morning cattle drive... A dun horse... My wife's eyes... R&B music... Logs burning in the fireplace... Black licorice... Dial "Gold" soap... The sound of a 440 Mopar motor.

I don't like: Empty houses... Cooked Cheese... The sound of the phone ringing at 3 in the morning... Hypocrites... Broccoli, did I say Broccoli?

Psalm 23

Almost 3000 years ago, the Psalmist, David, wrote a few lines of poetry that have endured through the ages. It is perhaps the best loved and most often repeated poem in the Western World. It is used most often at a time like this for our comfort and stability.

You may have read it many times, but you may not have read the Message Bible version?

God, my shepherd! I don't need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word, you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.

Even when the way goes through Death Valley,
I'm not afraid when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd's crook makes me feel secure.
You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.

Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.
I'm back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.

"My Cup Runneth Over"

The following story so moved me that I immediately purchased three silver goblets, had them engraved as per the following account and gave them to our children. Perhaps one day when they most need it they will remember this gift of encouragement.

Deborah, a beautiful 38 year old, former model and mother of two teenage boys was dying of cancer. She already had undergone surgery, but some of the cancer either had evaded the scalpel or had grown anew in the area where chest, neck and arm meet. Because the woman was in an extremely weakened condition, the surgeon called in a consulting physician to help in determining whether or not Deborah would be able to withstand further surgery. After examining the woman, the consulting physician told her that he was going to recommend against the surgery.

“You don’t think I’m strong enough to survive it?” she asked. The doctor replied, “In my professional opinion, weighing your condition against the risk of the surgery, and the potential benefits…” and then he broke off his response. He was unable to finish telling the woman that he could see no hope for her. But Deborah had other ideas. “I want you to change your recommendation,” she said.

Then she pointed to a silver goblet standing on the night table. “My father gave me this cup when I was a little girl,” she explained. “Read the inscription”. The doctor read the inscription aloud - a phrase from the 23rd Psalm. “My cup runneth over”. Then Deborah said, “My father told me that the cup of life is never half-empty or half-full, it’s always overflowing with possibility. He said that it didn’t matter what terrible things were happening, if I had conviction, if I believed in God and myself, my cup would never run dry. My cup would always be a source of life, inspiration, strength, love and everything else I could possibly need.” “With God all things are possible”

Then Deborah took hold of the water pitcher on the night table and poured water into the cup until it flowed over the brim and splashed on the table top. She said, “My cup runneth over with conviction. It will never run dry. I will have surgery and somehow I will survive and I will live to see my two boys become men. You doctors take care of my body. God AND I WILL TAKE CARE OF THE REST.”

Deborah had surgery…and she did survive...and she lived to see her two boys become men.

The Gathering Place exists to facilitate and nurture meaningful relationships, and to recognize, honor, and acknowledge each members calling. Above all we desire to help you connect with God. If there is anything we can do to assist you, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Senior Pastors (Rev.) Ed and Judi Brouwer, Community Pastor Casey Brouwer

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Ten Steps of Faith and Obedience

Whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:19)
Introduction: This Statement of Faith and Obedience is designed to be used as a discipling and biblical counseling tool. It is designed to be a resource for Christians who do not have access to higher education, seminaries or even Bibles, such as the many who are outside the Western world. It provides some of the essential teachings for a faith that is biblical and evangelical. It is also designed as a Christian alternative to the AA 12 steps.

Please note that this is only a tool. Knowing Jesus Christ is a spiritual union of the soul with God. This can never be reduced to a mere set of beliefs or steps. Nor can using these steps serve as a substitute for participating in the life of a local church; they are only supplementary.
Nevertheless, God has ordained means of grace, such as prayer, fellowship and Bible study. And these steps are designed to be a tool to encourage believers in faith, repentance, employing the means of grace and expressing their faith in obedience. They are concise statements of some of the essentials of the Christian faith, and the obedience which flows from that faith, expressed in the form of "steps." You may use it in individual and family devotions and in small group meetings. It is in the context of relationships that we become doers and not just hearers of the word.

It can be used for both counseling people with life dominating problems and for discipling new believers. Why the Ten Steps since we already have the AA 12 Steps? The 12 steps are designed to help people achieve sobriety, and they have been wonderfully effective for many in achieving that end. The Ten Steps have a different purpose: the bring people into God's kingdom as well as helping them get sober. The 12 steps can used to bring people to sobriety. But the Gospel of Jesus Christ alone can bring them into God's kingdom. The Ten Steps attempt to help people receive and apply the Good News of Jesus Christ.

It is often in one-on-one friendships or in small groups that God works to sanctify us and bring us to the place of maturity and faithful obedience. He uses the fellowship, love, prayers, encouragement, teaching, examples, correction and accountability of our leaders and brothers and sisters to bring us from being believers to being disciples. Each step can be the basis of a small group meeting. The following questions can be used:
Which passage(s) teach this step?
What does it mean?
Are you applying it? How?
How can you improve in your faith or faithfulness in this area?

Ten Steps of Faith and Obedience
1. We believed God so loved us that he gave Jesus Christ to die for our sins and to rise again from the dead. We received the forgiveness of our sins and eternal life as gifts.
2. We confessed, turned from and put to death anything in our lives we knew to be wrong, knowing Christ freed us from the power and the penalty of sin through the cross.
3. We received the fullness of the Holy Spirit to know God better and have a fruitful life and ministry. We received the fruit, the gifts, and the power of the Spirit along with Christ’s authority over the powers of darkness.
4. We experienced God’s healing power and grace inwardly, outwardly and in our relationships with others.
5. We made a covenant to live and serve in the Body of Christ through active membership in a local church. We celebrated God's covenant love for us through Communion and affirmed our covenant love for Him through Baptism.
6. We loved and worshipped God passionately and exclusively in response to his great love for us. We decided to deny ourselves, take up the cross daily and follow Christ as his disciples.
7. We loved one another as he has loved us and given himself for us.
8. We served Christ through regular worship, fellowship, prayer, Bible study and witnessing for him in word and action.
9. Having received eternal life, we shared this good news with others from all nations through evangelism, discipleship and starting new churches.
10. Above all, by God's grace, we sought to do everything for the glory of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The IAM Ten Steps may be freely copied and distributed provided they are not changed in any way. Copyright © 2005 Internet Accessed Ministries


The following was sent to us about Korina - cute!

Answers given by 2nd grade school children to the following questions:

Why did God make mothers?
1. She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.
2. Mostly to clean the house.
3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers?
1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.
2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring.
3. God made my Mom just the same like he made me. He just used bigger parts.

What ingredients are mothers made of ?
1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in theworld and one dab of mean.
2. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly used string, I think.

Why did God give you your mother and not some other mom?
1. We're related.
2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's moms like me.

What kind of little girl was your mom?
1. My Mom has always been my mom and none of that other stuff.
2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.
3. They say she used to be nice.

What did mom need to know about dad before she married him?
1. His last name.
2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer?
3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?

Why did your mom marry your dad?
1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my Mom eats a lot.
2. She got too old to do anything else with him.
3. My grandma says that Mom didn't have her thinking cap on.

Who's the boss at your house?
1. Mom doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because dad's such a goofball.
2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed.
3. I guess Mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.

What's the difference between moms & dads?
1. Moms work at work and work at home and dads just go to work at work.
2. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.
3. Dads are taller & stronger, but moms have all the real power 'causethat's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friend's.
4. Moms have magic; they make you feel better without medicine.

What does your mom do in her spare time?
1. Mothers don't do spare time.
2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.

What would it take to make your mom perfect?
1. On the inside she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.
2. Dye it. You know her hair. I'd dye it, maybe blue.

If you could change one thing about your mom, what would it be?
1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid ofthat.
2. I'd make my mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did itand not me.
3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back ofher head .

Monday, January 21, 2008

The problem of thinking anxiously about the future is that we forget about the present,such that we live neither in the future or the present.

Mean while back at the ranch….

My family and I own a quarter section on Sidley Mountain. God has blessed us with this 160 acres of picturesque ranch land just 24 kilometers from Osoyoos. We believe that it is now the season for us to develop and direct the ministry vision that Judi and I have dreamt about for some 3o years.

It is our dream to build a western retreat lodge that would house a regional church for the Osoyoos to Rock Creek area—with beautiful, yet simple, facilities including a worship centre seating 300, dorm rooms for at least 120 people, classrooms for training lay ministers, and a recreation area. All of this would be clad with well aged barn wood, donated from several of Sidley Mountain’s homesteads. Future outbuildings would include riding stables and roping pens.

All of this will be designed to minister to the local person - spiritually, emotionally, physically and socially and set in a peaceful inspiring rural setting.

We are preparing several week-end retreats for the upcoming season. These would include, team building “Survivor”, Motivational - Personal Development and Ministry Enhancement week-ends.

Our intent is to give the members of the Gathering Place the opportunity to minister in and through these events. Further more we are dedicated to improving the training level of our lay ministers by investing income from these “booked” retreats in their particular areas of ministry. For example one of our members is developing her Family Counseling skills, so after a week-end of ministering together we would invest a percentage of the registration fees toward furthering her education in Family Counseling.

Simply stated, we are not only going to fellowship together on Sundays we are going to minister alongside of you and support you in bringing you closer to your full potential. We believe you are necessary to the plan God has for this area and we are committed to investing in who you are and the ministry gifts that God is graciously perfecting in you.

We are planning one retreat week-end per month. On that particular week-end we would not have church at the normal meeting area. Rather we would begin our ministry on the Friday evening and work through the week-end. This would enable us to meet hundreds of new brothers and sisters, exercise our serving, and rejoice in what God is doing in the individual lives of people around us. You could serve a few hours or the whole week-end. You could serve coffee around the campfire or teach a workshop. You could assist in team building games or pray for special needs. The possibilities are unlimited! We pray that you will be as excited about this unique prospect as we are in presenting it to you.

The Brouwers, Eagles Nest Ranch

Sunday, January 13, 2008


What a great week-end! On Saturday we had an incredible time of fellowship, dreaming and planning. The pizza was good too! I was real impressed with the sacrifice so many made to be part of the planning. My family and I have never experienced this much support. Sunday morning we were very pleased to have 5 first timers along with our regulars. What an encouragenent to share Christ with so many new friends. We had a "real" time together. As a first service it was exciting to see who God has brought together. We had fellowship before and after. We had several testimonies and a great time of prayer. The word was simple and clear yet powerful. It felt more lke a conference seminar as we sat around tables and interacted during the sermon.

The highlight for me was the "buzz" of conversation after the service... someone noted that it was after one oclock and we should maybe go for lunch. We cleaned up and 16 of the group went out for lunch together. Judi and I along with Erhard and Theresa left the resturant after 4:30. To say we were excited would be an understatement.

We have had several e-mails from folks looking for us... we now meet at the Sonora Community Centre, 8505 68th Ave, Osoyoos

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A Glimpse Ahead

What happened not only to Zacchaeus, but also through Zacchaeus, in the sharing of his wealth and his turning round of any dishonesty into huge generosity, was a picture of this.

Prior to Jesus coming into his life, Zacchaeus' purpose had simply been to advance his own well-being, regardless of the consequences for others. Now this was turned right round.

I believe Jesus wants our salvation to be "consequential" for others as well.

Jesus by His Spirit gives gifts to His followers in order for them to multiply and when He returns there will be a personal accountability for the extent to which those gifts had actually been put to work.

The parable we will look at on Sunday has great relevance to us today. It shows the challenge and the responsibility, that we as Christians face. Which is to work with that which the Lord has given us.

In such an atmosphere, and with the sense that it may not be too long before the Lord returns, its very tempting to do exactly the same thing that the listeners to Jesus were tempted to do - which was simply to wait until He returns.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

So Here's A Question

When Jesus was asked about the Father, He replied, "If you have seen me you have seen the Father". I wonder how many of us have ever really considered that when people see us they are supposed to see Jesus?

2008 Will Be Great!

The proof of our friendship with Christ is demonstrated by our loving one another in the family of faith. When it comes to human relationships there is a single commandment; That is to love one another. Not just to love, but to love as He (Jesus) loves us.

As goes my relationship with Jesus, so goes my relationship with others!

How did Jesus demonstrate His love?
First, He freely gave. Jesus did what he did for us without coercion. That's a great question to ask ourselves I doing what I am doing freely?

The divine love that Jesus talks about is active goodness.

True love does not insist that everyone fits the same mold. Our relationships with those in the body of Christ should move us to being more like Him. There may be differences of opinion.

So here's how it works: "A loving community is a place where there can be difference, but one can still belong. It becomes a healing place and a converting place when its members have learned to stop trying to heal and convert."

Listen, if you believe something differently than I do, and I spend all my energy trying to get you to be where I am, I get in the way of love. But if I accept you where you are and we just say, let the Lord work it out, then love flows freely and people can share their opinions, they can share themselves. They can share who they are and what they think without worrying about being devalued or judged. Even a person who comes in who is not a believer and says, You know I don't believe this and I don't believe that. That's okay, we love you. It's all right, come on in, have a coffee with us.

See, it is not our job to convert.
It's only God's job to convert. Our job is to be the vessel of love that God does that through.

We are here in tje body of Christ because God called us and chose us to be here. Who is going to say to the Lord, you chose poorly?

As we accept and love each other especially in our differences, God can draw others to Christ through us. So how we are with each other is our 1st form of witness to a hurting world
Drill that into your mind. Our first form of witnessing, is how we are with one another.

We are seldom aware of why we go through troubles, why we go through struggles, but if we will love our way through them, then a watching world will notice and will believe. For the Lord to have his way on earth and to establish the fullness of his kingdom as he desires, He must have a church who looks like Him and is able to work with Him.

Unfortunately many in His church have been wounded and isolated—not just through the firepower of the enemy but from “friendly fire” within the church herself.

God wants to revive His church, healing and restoring her and bringing her back to her primary calling of looking like Him.

God loves you! He is longing to have a relationship with you. You are the church, the apple of His eye, He is not the church that hurt you! We are in the most critical hour of world history as light and darkness and good and evil converge with greater force than at any other time. If there were ever a time for the church to be the church it is now.