Meet YWAM Turner Valley’s SBS of 2016/2017

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I’ve been looking forward to this post for a long time, because we’ve so enjoyed getting to know the amazing group of students that make up YWAM Turner Valley’s current School of Biblical Studies – we couldn’t wait to introduce them to you! While they’ve been here since September, their class photo just took place this month, hence the long wait. But in the meantime, we’ve had such a wonderful time getting to know these twelve lovely people, who are such a joy to have on our campus, and are working so diligently and passionately, studying God’s Word.

This year’s school includes students from six nations: Canada, USA, Australia, Austria, the Netherlands, and Norway. And this school has included the addition of a dog to our campus, which has been a treat (though as you can probably tell from his harness, this is a service dog, so he can’t play all the time).

It’s been a pleasure to teach these students, to grade their work, and to remind them that once they’ve completed SBS, Titus Project is nextūüôā

Psalms & A Special Guest

Last week, I (Helen) had the great pleasure of teaching our SBS students about Psalms. I really enjoyed this lecture because it was all about equipping the students to study the Psalms for themselves. The focus of my lecture was to help the students understand the Psalms as literature, and to get them excited about what God wants to do in their lives through this portion of Scripture. I also really enjoyed the lecture because it was an opportunity to be creative, and engage the students in learning.

Probably my favourite part of the lecture, was the first hour, in which I invited Karla Adolphe, of Enter the Worship Circle, to share with us her heart for the Psalms. Enter the Worship Circle has written many of their songs from the Psalms, so it seemed like a natural fit that Karla should be part of my lecture. I interviewed her about what the Psalms have taught her about God’s character and about prayer, and I asked her how the Psalms have influenced her personal life as will as her ministry as a singer/song-writer/worshiper, and then she played for us! It was pretty special to have Karla in class with us, and her thoughtful reflections on the Psalms, both in spoken form and in song, were both encouraging and challenging for me, and hopefully, the students! (Thanks for being with us, Karla!)

While video was taken of Karla’s interview and performance during my Psalms lecture, it hasn’t been edited yet, so in the meantime, I leave you with one of the exercises Karla had us do as a class: read Psalm 84, then listen to Karla’s song, “Safe Place,” from Chair and the Microphone Vol. 3. See if you can identify the themes Karla picks up on in the song.

Enter the Worship Circle: Down Here and Up Above

Yesterday Enter the Worship Circle‘s newest album, Down Here and Up Above, became available for purchase on iTunes!

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Michael and I have been listening to this album for the last couple of weeks (thanks Karla!), and we’ve really been enjoying it. It’s a different¬†sound for Enter the Worship Circle, but the quality of the lyrics and the music are¬†as excellent as ever, and the “pop” feel make¬†the hope-filled themes stand out . As Ben and Karla put it, “this is music for your unfinished story, music that reaches out from where we are now to the eternal places we long for…”

Here’s a taste of the album, the first single released, “Tear the Veil.”

If you are in Canada, download here!

If you are in the USA, download here!

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Spatchcock your turkey.

Last year when I was getting ready to cook a Thanksgiving meal for thirty to forty people, I was doing some turkey-related research, and came across a method called “spatchcocking.” It sounds, well, unbiblical, but two years in a row I have spatchcocked three turkeys, and now it is my #1 tip for Thanksgiving/Christmas/any turkey-involved holiday meal preparation. Why? Well, yesterday, I put three turkeys in the oven at 1:15pm, and two of the three were out of the oven by 3:30pm. (The last bird took about another half hour). ¬†These turkeys were all over fifteen pounds – if you have a smaller spatchcocked turkey, it can be fully roasted in as little as an hour.

So by now you are undoubtedly wondering, “What in the world is, um, spatchcocking?” Simply put, to spatchcock a turkey (or any bird), use sharp scissors or a knife to cut out its backbone, flip it over so it is breast-up, and then press firmly down on the bird’s breastbone until you hear a cracking noise. Now your turkey is, well, splayed out. It might not look like a picture perfect bird by this point, but now that the surface area of the turkey has increased, it will cook much more quickly, and evenly. If you don’t like turkey because it’s usually dry by the time it reaches the appropriate internal temperature throughout the entire bird, this is the method for you. Here’s a little video demonstrating the process:

This fellow did a few things differently than I did. I didn’t have the courage to cook my turkeys at 450 degrees. I preheated the ovens to that temperature, but upon putting the turkeys in, I turned the ovens down to 400 degrees. Also, I roasted the birds in roasting pans, not on a wire rack and baking sheet.

I also have to say, every spatchcocking video I’ve watched makes the process look pretty easy, and maybe it’s because I don’t have very good kitchen shears, but removing the backbone from a turkey is a task that takes me about twenty minutes to half an hour, which means I’m probably doing something wrong (though in my defense, I’m pretty sure one of this year’s turkeys had scoliosis). In any case, spatchcocking the day before you cook is a good idea, as who wants to wrestle with a raw turkey on Thanksgiving? So if you’re cooking Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, I hope your turkey is defrosted, and your kitchen shears are sharp! Go forth and spatchcock, and Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Philippians: Joyful Sacrifice for the Gospel

About a week ago, Michael and I had the opportunity to teach an Inductive Bible Study method seminar¬†at our church, Okotoks Alliance. We usually use the book of Philemon to teach the method (it’s short and packs a punch!), but we had taught the method using Philemon at OAC in 2014, and we wanted to invite people who had come to the first seminar, as well as newbies. This meant we had to pick another book; we settled on Philippians.

Why Philippians? Part of the reason is that it is¬†only four chapters long. ¬†Also, there are really no theological landmines in Paul’s letter to the Philippians, which is important when you only have three hours. But those practicalities aside, we taught Philippians because it’s an incredible book, it lends itself beautifully to application, and Philippians 2:5-8 are some of our favourite verses of Scripture:

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

As I studied Philippians to prepare to lead others through studying Philippians, I was struck by the theme of Paul’s use of examples of people suffering humbly for the Gospel, with joy. The first example is Paul himself. Paul¬†repeatedly speaks of his own imprisonment, never complaining, but noting how what had happened to him had “really served to advance the gospel” (1:12). When contemplating the possible outcomes of his situation, he struggled to choose whether it would be better to live and continue to contend for the Gospel, or die and be with Christ (1:21-24).

Later, Paul unpacks two more examples of suffering for Christ, with joy: Timothy and Epaphroditus (2:19-30). Timothy is described as a man who seeks the interests of Jesus Christ, unlike others who seek their own interests. He had served with Paul for the Gospel, and Paul knew he could trust this young man to care for the Philippians’ welfare. Epaphroditus is described as dedicated to the work of Christ, as he had been ill and almost died, risking his life for the Gospel.

The ultimate example of suffering for the Gospel with joy, of course, is described in 2:5-8, quoted above. Jesus – God Himself, denied Himself, serving in life, through His death, and in His resurrection. The author of Hebrews says, “for the joy that was set before him [Jesus] endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2). By making Jesus’ example central to his letter to the Philippians, Paul shows the reader that Jesus does not ask His followers to do anything He has not already done. He has gone before the Philippians (and us), suffering with joy.

What does it look like to suffer with joy? Paul is not suggesting the Christ-follower “fakes it until s/he makes it.” The cause of Christ is so worthy, when we rightly understand the Gospel, joy is inescapable, unavoidable. Paul could rejoice from prison, because he saw the Gospel going forward. Epaphroditus could suffer life-threatening illness for the cause of Christ, because he knew the work of Christ was more important than life itself. ¬†When we rightly understand the beauty and implications of the Gospel, no sacrifice will seem too great. Like the apostles of the early church, when we comprehend¬†the fullness of the Gospel, when we face difficulty or persecution as a result of our faith, we can even rejoice that we “were counted worthy¬†to suffer dishonor for the name” (Acts 5:41).

I know I don’t always¬†usually don’t have this attitude. When I face challenges directly related to my identity as a believer (because we live in a world that can be hostile to followers of Jesus, regardless of the country one lives in), my response is not always¬†hardly ever¬†rejoicing. As I read Philippians, and as I see these examples of believers suffering for the Gospel with joy, I know I need a deeper understanding of what Jesus has done. Are you in the same place, or am I the only one? Lord, help us¬†to comprehend the Gospel in a way that makes joy inescapable, regardless of the challenges we face. Help us¬†to meditate on Your Word and Your goodness, so we¬†can’t help but rejoice, regardless of our¬†situations and circumstances. We don’t want to paste inauthentic smiles on our faces –¬†we¬†want an authentic¬†joy that comes from knowing You.

Dinadi: hand knitted products + merino wool = changed lives

If you’ve followed our blog for a few years, you’ll know Michael and I are big fans of Purnaa, an ethical garment manufacturing company in Nepal. Not only do we believe in what they’re doing, and love the products we’ve purchased (both through their Kickstarter campaign and through a group buy), we’ve had the pleasure of meeting up with two of the founders, in Nepal and in Canada, and we know they’re legit. All that said, you can imagine that when we found out they were starting a new business in Nepal, we were pretty pumped!

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Dinadi is a social business established in Kathmandu, Nepal in April, 2016. At Dinadi, Nepal is central to who we are which is why we use the term ‚Äúcrafted by Nepal‚ÄĚ. Nepal is still recovering from last years devastating earthquake and struggles with issues such as unemployment, poverty, human trafficking and bonded labour. We believe one of the keys to bringing change to these issues is good job opportunities, both for those who’ve survived these issues and for those who are at risk to be affected by them.

We now have 39 knitters and crocheters who have graduated our training program and are part of our production team. Dinadi exists for them.¬†Rather than working in a factory each piece we make is crafted in our artisans homes. This gives maximum flexibility for our employees to stay at home to be with their small children, care for family members in need, or work their way through college. On each product label you will see the signature of the artisan who has proudly crafted your piece.”

Pretty awesome, right? What’s even more awesome, is you can be part of providing job opportunities for men and women at risk, in Nepal, by being part of Dinadi’s Kickstarter campaign! By supporting Dinadi, you can be the proud owner of some beautifully created knitted and crocheted products, like:

the Kristina Half Mitts

the Kristina Half Mitts

the Clara Mittens

the Clara Mittens

the Emma Hat

the Emma Hat

the Anders Hat

the Anders Hat

the Johanna Scarf

the Johanna Scarf

Aren’t these products beautiful? And you can even choose to have them shipped to you by Christmas, or in February! This is a great way to do your Christmas shopping now, while supporting a business doing incredible things with some of the most vulnerable people in Nepal. Learn more about Dinadi, and learn about the rewards for different pledges, by visiting Dinadi’s Kickstarter campaign page.

 

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